Search This Blog

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Growth

It has been well over a year since my last post and much has transpired.  Most remarkably is the amount of growing that has happened in all aspects of life. 

My children are amazing and exhausting all at the same time.  Ella is now in fourth grade which puts her in my hallway.  I find myself wondering how that has happened and proud at the very same moment.  She is such a fun kid, full of personality, emotion, beauty, wisdom, and a sympathetic heart.  She is open to new adventure and confident in a way that I admire.  I love that she reflects on her behavior and tries her hardest (most times) to change things she knows need improving.  She is such a good mixture of me and her daddy.  This is another thing I marvel at and thank God every day for letting me have a , part in her creation.  Grayson, on the other hand, is such an intelligent and sensitive young boy.  He isn't always sweet at home, but his heart is tender and he cares. He still loves to snuggle and tells me daily that he "cries inside" because he misses me during the day.  How long will that last?  He is meeting new friends, reaching new goals, and conquering new fears on a daily basis.   My baby is now in first grade. 

I was able to finish another year of teaching which of course brought much learning.  It was not the easiest of my years, but not even close to my hardest. Last year was one of growth on the professional level which was frustrating at times.  The one thing I know for sure is that I love my kiddos no matter what the situation.  We built relationships and learned things we thought we couldn't.  And, this summer I prayed for a "new" kind of year and I feel God has provided just that.  I was ready to return this month and I am eager to teach this new group of kids.  This past summer provided many opportunities to see past students who made me feel ancient, but it was a good kind of ancient.  I love hearing about their goals and seeing them (most of them) successful on their own. 

Kermie and I just celebrated another year of married life... that makes 13 now.  More like 18 if you count all the years we dated.  That is over half of my life and this astonishes me as well!  We most definitely get on each others' nerves on a daily basis, but we have a way of making it work.  Bunking with someone of the opposite sex (and opposite personality/brain) is not easy. He is the dominate personality, fly by the seat of your pants, artistic, down to earth, and who cares about organization type while I am the check it off my list, slightly ocd, logical thinking, you tell me what to do, and believer in multiple chances type. They do say opposites attract. Each of our extremes help to balance each other and for that I am grateful. :) We get better at being together as each year passes.  And, showing our kids a positive and realistic example of marriage is something we make a priority.  I know that I pray for their future spouses frequently.  Maybe our relationship will help them with theirs in the long run. 

This past summer was one of the best yet!  We did absolutely nothing and I tried to stay away from social media to focus on family time.  I do feel that we were all able to meet each other on a new level and make more memories that didn't require any extravagant trips or adventures.  I am a firm believer that less is more in most situations, so I am trying my hardest to keep that mindset and teach it to my own children.  We live in such a corrupt and busy world now days and I know it is robbing our children of experiences and souls that can see past what the world says is important.  There are many things available today that do make life more fun, but there has to be a balance in it all.  And, that right now is the goal in our household... finding the balance. 

If there was anything that I didn't look forward to about returning to school it was the busy lifestyle.  I never want to be so busy that I forget to ask my family how their day was and see when they truly need me.  When you have that type a, check list personality like I do, it is so hard to keep the balance and enjoy the present, so this is a constant struggle.  I am learning, though, to let things go and enjoy what presents itself.  Even at the ripe old age of 32, I am still finding myself and my purpose in every day.  I love that it constantly changes and that there is always the thought that my best is yet to come. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

This one's for the girls

It's officially May and I haven't blogged for three months.  In all honesty, I've blogged multiple times in my mind as I shift and thumb through different ideas that pop in and out as the days pass by, but getting on the computer and actually typing this stuff down is another story.  On the other hand, over the past several months, there has been one issue that has been a recurrent theme in these "mental blog posts" and that's the issue of why the female species has to be so hard on one another whether directly or indirectly.

As a female myself, I've lived this reality and would never dream of going back and reliving those childish days when I most definitely chose to surround myself with members of the opposite sex than the "mean girls" that said one thing to my face and another behind my back.  I always tried to be selective in choosing my friends while trying to be accepting and forgiving of others at the same time.  Life only made sense to me when I felt lifted and motivated by those around me, but at the same time I wanted to make sure I wasn't being judgmental by not associating with those that weren't necessarily the most optimistic and caring individuals.  It's too bad that this kind of "childish" stuff followed me well into my thirties.  I guess when you are a girl it never truly ends.  Much is self-inflicted and some is the result of outside influence (bullying), but regardless of how the shame is placed on a girl's life, it should have never gotten there in the first place.  We (females) are emotional beings and naturally selfish (I'm both of these for sure!), but CONSTANTLY putting others down to make yourself look better is not okay.  CONSTANTLY manipulating situations to come out on top isn't right either. CONSTANTLY playing favorites and expecting everyone to be a certain way isn't right either.  Most people who know me don't typically come to me with complaints and gossip because I don't like taking part.  These days, I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  I'm usually "out of the loop," and begin wondering what others really think about me as a person and professional.  Don't get me wrong, I've most definitely participated in gossip and I will be the first to admit manipulating situations to give myself the upper hand, but I usually immediately recognize this flaw and seek to change myself for the better.  In the past, I've typically always kept quiet and went about things on my own and in what way I felt was best.  And, although I intend to continue the latter, I refuse to not to stand up against things that I know are not okay.  After all, as the adults influencing young children, isn't it up to us to be the role model and show girls the right way to act? Aren't we setting the example of how to treat each other and how to encourage the best in others no matter how hard it may be.  There are SO many times that I have  had to suck it up, keep my opinions to myself, and sacrifice for the greater good.  Can you imagine what this world would be like if the majority of women did this?  Can you imagine what message we would be sending the girls under our influence?  Life is not a popularity contest and it IS okay to be who you want, when you want.  You don't have to make excuses for you, but no matter who you decide to be, you do have to be both civil and respectful.  This means women and girls alike need to be honest, encouraging, inspiring,  mature, kind and have the ability to see their flaws and fix them in order to better their selves.  

As a school teacher, I see this stuff day in and day out with our girls in fifth grade.  We are talking 10 and 11 year olds, people!  They are friends one day and enemies the next.  Instead of being happy for one another, they degrade and belittle.  Instead of accepting differences, they force each other to fit the "mold" of what a girl "should" be.  I cannot count the number of times I hear the word "cool" during the school day (This relates to both genders.).  Kids have this idea of what is BEST, and this idea is so terribly twisted that it breaks my heart.  Do we honestly come out of the womb with these misconceptions or are they something we are learning?  Is the media messing with our gender?  Are the parents and adult role models playing into this?  It just doesn't make any sense to me.  I refuse to believe that girls are naturally mean, self-absorbed, and incapable of being decent human beings.  I refuse to have children in tears because they don't fit in or have been hurt by the words of another girl. I also refuse to have girls feeling the "shame" they place on themselves because they aren't sure what someone things about them.  Life is not all about you no matter how bad you want it to be.  Life is better when we are at peace with one another, working to encourage each other to be the best we can be.  No where in the mix does that mean talking about someone behind their back.  No where in the mix does that mean you have to completely agree with someone else.  No where in the mix does that mean you have to be BFFs with everyone.  But, what it does mean is that we cannot continue tearing each other apart because these girls will grow to be the same women that do the same things as an adult.  The cycle has to be broken somewhere.

As a mom of a second grade girl, I see and hear about instances of this same type of girl drama. Seven and eight year olds should not have to think about such non-sense.  Yet, it happens all of the time.  Girls get jealous if another chooses not to play with them at recess.  Girls get upset if someone shows someone else a little more attention.  I know that a lot of this is due to the fact that we are imperfect human beings from the moment we are born, but I know that us parents could do a lot more to make sure little girls aren't going home with their hearts broken.  I know that my daughter is selfish like the rest of us, but I also know she has the power to control that selfishness just the same.  Instead of getting jealous, envious, or even, I'd like for her to show empathy and realize she has a choice in how she reacts to certain situations.  None of those listed are going to make her feel better, only worse.  I most definitely want her to be the best at everything.  Doesn't every mother?   But, I also want her to encourage others to be the best at everything as well.  I would cherish her encouragement of others far more than being at the top of the food chain any day.  Meanwhile, it's up to other parents of young girls like myself to teach our daughters how to be girls that inspire and can truly be counted on .

So, the next time you feel the urge to talk about, put down, criticize, or bully someone of the same sex, stop and think about the potential outcome of your words.  As women, we have a huge responsibility of modeling the younger generation.  Let's take this job seriously.  I know I will.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Bliss

Any one that knows me well, knows that I love snow.  Yes, I love it because it gives me unexpected
days at home with my kiddos, but I also love it because it's beautiful!  Any window you look out of right now allows you to catch a glimpse of a marvelous, winter wonderland; for this I am grateful! Just last week, I was beginning to think we wouldn't get a good snow this year.  And, I had almost gotten used to the fact that snow days were over for the year and I'd get a little extra family time this summer.  Don't get me wrong, summer is great, but there is something extra special about being snowed in.  It makes my heart warm.  I just hope all my kiddos at school are warm... literally!



As soon as I logged in this morning, I realized that it's been a while since I last posted.  That seems to be the trend during the school year and might have something to do with us not being at home much during the week.  So, I'll take a few lines and fill you in on what's going on with the Donovan Clan. I'll start with Ella and Grayson.  Ella is going full force with piano and I'm pretty sure she's found her niche.  She's much like her daddy in the arts respect.  She's musically inclined and I love that they have that "natural" ability.  I, on the other hand, have to have the music in front of me to play anything at all!  Grayson is busy playing basketball right now (his first time at it) and has decided he'd rather play it over tee-ball.  We shall see.  I will say that it's the first sport he has actually practiced on at home... on his own.  In addition, we're working on the sibling fights and I'm praying for lots of patience.  I think it's gotten better, but we still have miles to go before we're done!  We've had to really limit technology time and, at times, I'd like to totally throw all electronics in the trash can!  I don't ever remember being so "obsessed" with technology, but I guess that is because it didn't exist!  Does any one else have this problem?  Fifteen minutes is about the max time I will let either of them play for a day.  It's just so hard to know where to draw the line without hindering their creativity.

Now, on to the rest of us.  Kermie has been working non-stop on the house after he gets home from work and on the weekends.  Although it may not look like much, he's actually gotten a lot of the "behind the scenes" work done.  With our house being so old, he has run into several obstacles that I know are driving him crazy.  And, I feel pretty helpless not being able to help with the actual design and building since I have no idea what to do.  Consequently, I've just been trying to keep the house clean while all of the madness ensues.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there aren't many more obstacles and we can get our bathroom and laundry wrapped up soon!

On a side note, I recently went to a new doctor to see what their opinion was on battling my anxiety, depression, fatigue, etc.  I had several blood work tests done and was put on a vitamin (all of which have been thoroughly researched) regiment.  After just a few weeks, I was feeling quite a bit better.  My energy level itself nearly doubled!  I'm very thankful for the energy to exercise consistently at home and keep up with my kids!  There for a while I felt terrible and guilty that I felt so worthless.  A week ago, I went back for my follow up visit to see how my blood work results came back.  My thyroid was all good, but I had several food allergy concerns that I honestly wasn't surprised by. Based on a low, moderate, avoid (not safe) scale, I am to avoid all dairy and egg whites.  There were a few other common foods that fell within the moderate range, but the dairy was the kicker.  I love all things dairy!!!!! I'm going to try my hardest to LIMIT some of my dairy intake, but to completely avoid would not be living (At least not for this ice cream, cheese, and egg loving momma!)!  We shall see how this goes over the next few weeks!  On top of the food allergies, I am also trying a more natural form of antidepressant which means coming off my Cymbalta.  So far, kind of rough.  I may or may not make it through that transition!  If not, life will go on and I'll be blessed either way! :)


I'm thankful for this down time to blog!  Maybe I'll get another 4 or 5 days of it! :) 


Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015: The Year of Peace

I typically am not one for resolutions  because I don't like the feeling of defeat when what I've set out to do isn't very realistic.  However, this year I'm going to take a different approach to make my life one of peace.  Last year was definitely a trying year (peace-less at times) and was full of many ups and downs, but throughout the whole thing, I learned many valuable lessons.  So, based on those experiences, other life lessons, and what I feel God wants for my life, I've created a list of things I'm going to try harder to do this year and a list of things I'm not going to try harder to do.  Hopefully, maintaining a balance between the two will fill my life and my family's life with more peace than ever before.

Things I WILL try harder on in 2015:

  1. Write more because it is a form of therapy for me.  Possibly a book?
  2. Be open-minded and always willing to learn new things.  God has placed too many awesome people and books in this world for me to stop learning how to be the best me I can be.  
  3. Forgive and truly forgive!  I want to let more "irritating" things roll off and immediately forgive anything that causes unrest in my soul.  Life is too short!
  4. Say NO more often so that when I say YES, I will be giving the best of me.
  5. Surround myself with positive people!  Life will always be hard, but it's about how we deal with situations that affect us in the end.  Positive, positive, positive!  We are too blessed to always look at the negative!
  6. Stay healthy both physically and spiritually!  For me, this will mean eating well, spending time with God, exercising, and worrying way less!
  7. Spend quality, "there" time with my family!  They are my most prized possessions and the time I am with them needs to be meaningful.  I don't want to just check it off my list, I want it to be purposeful.
  8. Lastly, and most difficult, be open.  I want to share my thoughts and emotions with my friends and family, but in a way that is uplifting for them and me both!  
Things I will NOT try harder on in 2015:
  1. Making everyone "happy" all the time.  I'm making decisions  based on what I know is right and best, not what pleases the majority.
  2. Keeping up with everyone else!  I love social media, but it can get me down at times.  I want to spend way less time on it and when I do, not let those thoughts of comparison steal my joy.
  3. My National Boards.  I set out on the journey this past semester, was very motivated, and got ALOT of it done.  On the other hand, something happened inside of me that caused it to be burdensome and stressful.  I want to be the best teacher I can be and at the moment, this limits me being my best.  My heart needs to be in it, so maybe down the road my heart will change.
  4. Make excuses for me.  This one is strange, but my whole life I've never felt like I "fit" in.  I am very introverted, but at the same time can be extremely social.  I've always over-analyzed every moment of every social setting by asking myself, "Am I responding the right way?"  "What do they think of me?"  But, from now on, I'm going to embrace me for me and know that God made me so I need to stop trying to be everything else that I think I'm supposed to be.  Easier said than done, but that's where I am.  If I can't relate and interact, then that's not something I can help.  I don't mean to come off wrong, but I struggle with this daily!  I LOVE people, all people, but I just don't know how to show that very well! 

I'm hoping that this post made sense to the majority.  Somehow, I already feel peace just by putting this into words.  I hope everyone has a blessed year and that when life throws a curve ball, we mend and react in ways that promote peace.  Until next time :) 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New year, new house!

 The hustle and bustle of the holidays has about died down, and now the real work begins for us (Kermie and I ... and whoever we persuade to help, that is ).  For the past year or so, we have been toying with the idea of remodeling our house.  We outgrew this lovely abode many moons ago and had thought we wanted to sell in the past.  But after much contemplation, we've decided to see if we can keep the house we fell in love with about eight years ago and change it to meet our current needs. This remodel is going to be a major undertaking and possibly take a while, so I thought that if any of my readers enjoy watching HGTV as much as I do, you might enjoy going through the journey of remodeling our home along side of us.

Let me first start by telling you a little about this house.  When we first bought this house, we fell in love with its' potential, character, and uniqueness.  It was built in the late 1800's and has an interesting history as a saloon/boarding house for train conductors stopping by.  It has been remodeled and updated over the years and I unfortunately did not take pictures of the house before we got a hold of it.  On the other hand, I plan to do a much better job of taking before and after shots of our current renovation.  So, I'll begin by  showing you what we have to deal with at the current moment and what our plan will be.

The space below is currently used as a dining/catch all room.  Our house is just a little over 1800 sq.feet which makes every room fairly large and open.  I love the big rooms, but I also think we have a lot of wasted space.  It's time to make use of it!

The entry way into the kitchen will now be closed other than an opening near the kids' art easel that will lead to a new guest bath and Grayson's room.  Cabinets and appliances will go along that wall.  

I plan to make this area a breakfast nook.   
A wall of cabinets/appliances will go here.
The space below is currently our kitchen.  Please excuse the messy counters and broken cabinet doors!  We are turning this into Grayson's new bedroom. 


I have no idea what I'm doing with his room yet!


The next space is our only true hallway that leads to our only bathroom, mine and Kermie's closet, and our bedroom.  We have lots of plans for this space.  Some of it will remain a "hall," some will be turned into a laundry closet that is part of the master suite, and some of it will be an entrance to the new bathroom.

I can't count on both hands the number of times our current shelving has fallen.  It is duck taped in multiple spots!


This is our current bathroom and laundry room.  I can't wait for those two to be separate!  Out of this space will be a new guest bath and our master bathroom.





Next, is the master bedroom.  I love our room, the size and color of it.  We will take out the carpet and lay hardwood.  We will get a new bed and I'd love to have a sitting area.

I did not make my bed today! :)



The last three spaces will probably have the least amount of reno done to them. We plan to repaint the living room, foyer, and Ella's bedroom (last!  Her room has been done so many times!).  We are also bringing a piano to put in by our french doors which I am pumped about.  It will all get repainted!

Ella is on a pillow pretending to be canoeing.  Not sure what all of the animals are doing face down in the water!!




Grayson will take the tall bed and will be getting a natural wood dresser and desk to match.  Ella will get a big white bed and some sort of desk as well.   

Now that you know what we're working with, let's move on to the fun part!!!  I have been brainstorming as has Kermie for quite some time on how to best make our house fit our needs and keep its' charm.  So, here are a few ideas that we have.

Master Bedroom minus the carpet.  Add a rug.  Something like this.  Tranquil!

I LOVE this for the master bathroom.  Will probably go with a similar seafoam green, but not the same tile. We are having a large walk in shower.  

Something like this for the sitting area in our bedroom.  


I love both of these breakfast nooks. 

I am digging the grey cabinets on bottom!  IKEA has some that I really like.  I also like the open, rustic shelving.  It will force me to stay organized!

Definitely doing concrete countertops!

I'd love to have a farmhouse sink!  I saw one at the Reuse Store in Dry Ridge, but it had a crack!  Keeping my fingers crossed!


I like both of these looks for the guest bathroom.  Not sure on this yet. 

We will have a kitchen island that will hold our sink.  I still haven't found anything that I totally love, but these are along the right lines. 


I also like these two looks for our master bathroom.  Other than the color, I can't decide what "look" I'm going for yet.

This past weekend, we went to the Reuse Store in Dry Ridge to see if we could find any tile for the bathrooms.  We did end up finding the floor tile and the tile for our shower.  I want to put something dark in the bottom of our shower to off set the two tones.  

                                      

As of now, we have several holes in different walls within our house where Kermie is trying to get an idea of his game plan.  He has found lots of cool treasures while knocking out walls and visiting the attic/basement.  

This is an old piece of tile from the AC Tile Co.  It dates back to the 1800s!  

A newspaper that also dates back to the 1800s.  

An old cigarette case. 

And, some other odds and ends like a horse shoe, tons of coal, and old tools.  

Our first reno will take place in the bathrooms and will happen SOON!  I hope to take many pictures throughout the process to show the transformation.  And, I'd appreciate any prayer for my sanity throughout this whole process!!!  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Perspective

Perspective.  It's something we all need to have in order to make it through tough situations.  It's something we all need to maintain compassion and empathy for those around us.  It's something we all need in order to live a life that's worth living.  Needless to say, this past year has brought much perspective into my life.

This time one year ago, give or take a few hours, I knew my life was about to change.  As I exited what was once my van, I hurried to my daughter who I was hoping was unharmed from the impact.  I found her scared, but totally unscathed.  Blood rushed from my head, my vision went black, the van sat in ruins, I was obviously late for work, calling for help was impossible as my cellphone sat beside my bed at home... you name it, it was happening right there in that moment, but my perspective held strong.  I knew life could be much worse.

In the hours that passed, we were rushed to the emergency room where I overheard many scary conversations.  She's lost a lot of blood.  Her face is unrecognizable with the laceration on the right side.  We need to run more scans.  The wood could cause infection to spread.  The optical nerve is severed.  This is going to be a long road to recovery.  I heard these things and my mind drifted to dark places.  Then, I saw my family.  My husband beside me, parents, friends, and many acquaintances were surrounding me in prayer and with their presence.  My perspective stabilized and I knew life could be much worse.

Days went by with multiple doctors in and out of my room.  Surgery, stitches, bandages, nightmares of objects flying at my face, indescribable frustration not being able to open my eye, IV after IV, the fear of looking scary to my own children, fear that I had let down my students at school.... these were the things that consumed me.  And, then I was placed in a room next to a woman that was much worse off.  The lady's health was slowly deteriorating and I knew that the life she led up to that point was not one similar to mine.  I was surrounded by family, told that things WOULD get better, and I knew that I would get back home and eventually back to what I used to call "normal."

Once home, I remained on the IV and became frustrated at having to carry those medicine balls around every where I went.  I had my sweet, home health nurse come to visit weekly and I made constant trips back to UK to my marvelous doctors.  I looked different and was uncomfortable with myself and the way others looked at me.  I hated the fact that children were scared when they passed by.  There were going to be so many surgeries and my vision was not improving. I remember thinking about how different my life would be with only one working eye.  I panicked any time I remembered that I couldn't see anymore.  I panicked when I knew that I wasn't going to be able to teach my students the things they needed to be taught.  I panicked when my own kids struggled to find happiness and suffered with anxiety.  However, on and off again, I would remember to think about the big picture.   I had health insurance unlike many people around the world.  I had trained, professional doctors working to put me back together unlike people in third world countries.  I looked different,  but what did appearance matter?  There were people born with much greater deformities and spent their entire lives dealing with it.  I was lucky to have the opportunity to improve with surgery.  Yes, I was blind in one eye, but at least I had one eye! Not to mention, it was capable of seeing perfectly.   I was blessed with a job that placed a very capable young lady who desired to teach in my spot while I healed.  Even though I wasn't physically able, I was still able to mentally plan those lessons to be sure nothing got left out.  My own children were healthy and time would heal their pain and fears.  And, they would probably be better equipped for future tragedy because of this experience.  Perspective.

Months passed.  Days were better than others.  I had ups and downs as I've recounted in previous posts.  I was most definitely healing on the outside, but I can honestly say that the last month or so have been the hardest for me.  I've never been one to stay down for long and am usually able to find perspective fairly quick, but my recent thoughts and feelings have kept me down.  For once in my life, I can honestly say that I understand what it feels like to be depressed.  I'm sure it had something to do with the one year mark approaching.  I'm sure my mind is still processing everything that has occurred in the past year.  Or, maybe it's just because life is finally back to normal now.  Surgeries are over for the most part and my check ups are far and few between.  I'm working, being a mom, being a wife, sister, daughter, friend and juggling life like I did before.   This time two weeks ago, I would have told you that I wouldn't have been able to handle this day.  Driving to work wouldn't have been an option as I would have relived the events of December 2, 2013.  But, I am happy and thankful to say that I've regained that perspective again.  Yes, this year has been hard and I will probably never totally heal mentally or physically, but I am committing to keeping that perspective that I know is so crucial in life.  There are abandoned and starving children as I write.  There are people who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction every second of every day.  There are others that have incurable illnesses and deal with imaginable pain.  But, by the grace of God, I have control of my life and how I handle the negative things that are thrown at me.  I have hope and I have been created for a purpose. 

I'm marking this year as a success.  I'm marking today as a victory.  And, I'm holding on to the perspective that I can help make this world a better place no matter how bad my situation may be. 

 

Monday, October 27, 2014

My Joy times two


My children bring me so much joy.  There may be times (lots of times ) that I am totally exhausted by the two of them, but there isn't anything that compares to the joy I get from being their mommy.  There have been many experiences lately that have brought me much joy.  Getting to watch Ella perform at her school's talent show made me so proud.  She not only did a cute little skit with one of her good friends, but she gave her very first performance as a pianist.  Watching Grayson play in his last tee ball game of the season made me so thankful for the coach he had this season because this little guy loved learning and came a long way.  And, seeing my kiddos enjoy all of the fall festivities that come this time of year makes me thankful for the ability to make these sweet memories.  


video