Thursday, February 23, 2012

All things Mack!

Sick weeks are always hard and this was no different. Mack had a high fever off and on for 4 days with a bad cough, congestion and a loss of appetite. It is already difficult to get this kid to eat a full meal and with her basically not eating anything for 3 days I knew her weight would suffer. Unfortunately I was right and she is now back below 30 lbs!!! For once in their lives, Kait weighs more than Mack which is just kind of sad. I guess I won't feel bad giving her girl scout cookies this week if it will help her gain some weight back. I was finally able to get her an appointment yesterday on base and they ended up having to take x-rays of her chest. Because I had the other two kids with me, I wasn't able to go back with her where she was getting the x-ray done. Thank goodness she is such an easy going kid because she just walked right on back with the nurse without a single glance back at me. I was worried she would be scared or nervous. What was I thinking?! And she even got an x-ray of a teddy bear to take home as a souvenir, as well as a handful of stickers! She did have some fluid in her lungs, but luckily it was not full out pneumonia yet and her oxygen levels were at 90% which isn't horrible, but definitely not good either. She is on an antibiotic and albuterol treatments, which are never any fun, but at least she is on the mend and fever free. This is all good news, EXCEPT now the other two are starting to come down with the same thing. Here's praying it doesn't get as bad as hers did.

In other Mackie news, she is doing so well at school and is blowing me away daily by how much she is learning!  I mean, I know she is 4 years old already, but I was not prepared for how fast she would grow up! She can write all her letters, her name, numbers, knows advanced shapes (hexagon, octagon, trapezoid, etc) and has even started doing basic addition! I am so proud of her! She has been drawing dinosaurs since she was barely 3, but they are seriously getting good! She can draw a stegosaurus, triceratops, t-rex, brachiosaurus, apatosaurus, and even her made up dinosaur, a "hercadon".  I'm sure she can draw others too, but those are the most recognizable. She loves books and I am just waiting for her to come home knowing how to read on her own.

I am still unsure about when I am going to start her in kindergarten, though. I really hate that she has an August birthday. Seeing how well she is blossoming in school, I am leaning towards her starting Kindergarten this coming school year.  I really didn't think I would, but I honestly think that she is ready. If she didn't have the personality she does, I would be more hesitant, but she is SO social and so happy that I think holding her back would be a disservice to her.

I love her little (or should I say big) personality so much! She is not an average 4 year old girl and I could not be happier about it! Usually the first thing she says to someone she meets is, "I'm Mack! I love dinosaurs, and lizards, and snakes, and frogs!" which always throws people off because when you look at her, you think, "Wow what a gorgeous little girl!" and then you hear her talking about snakes and things and it makes you look twice. I also love how rational she is. I mean, don't get me wrong, she can still fly off the handle like any other 4 year old and overreact about things that really don't matter, but those moments are few and far between. Even a lot of her tantrums are done methodically and thoughtfully. For example, anytime I am getting ready to leave the house without her she tells me calmly, "Mommy, if you leave without me, I am going to be sad. I will cry if you leave. If Daddy leaves, I won't cry. I will be sad, but I won't cry. But if you leave me, I will cry!" Then she does actually start to cry once I am leaving. But it is so calculated! I mean, she makes a very conscious decision to be upset instead of just letting her emotions take over. She really must be my child because I pretty much operate the same way. It makes me nervous too though, because I know that girls can be mean. Especially to girls they think are different or weird which Mack is a little of both! She has already had a couple girls ask why she wears boy clothes, and even one (sweet wonderful girl who I miss a lot!) say that Mack was not a "real girl" because she loves dinosaurs. Thankfully Mack has the ability to be oblivious to this stuff, I just worry that one day she won't. I guess only time will tell, but I hope that by us continuing to encourage her individuality and confidence that she will always let stuff like that roll off her shoulders and that she will be proud of herself for staying true to who she is.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Teaching and Parenting

One of my biggest fears when I was going through my education classes at Texas State was that once I became a teacher I would have to deal with parents. The very thought of that made me reconsider my chosen profession. I had never been very good at talking to parents about their children, specifically their less than pleasant moments. In high school I worked for YMCA's after school program and through college I worked for Extend-A-Care (which was basically the same thing) and my worst moments at both of those jobs included angry parents. I always became flustered and felt very inept in those moments, despite my confidence in my job skills. I knew that their "babies" were the most important things to them and the fact that they were yelling at me that I was not adequately caring for them was always too much for me to handle. 

Well, before I actually finished my degree and became a teacher, I became a parent instead. The very thing that scared me. Now I was going to become one of those crazy parents who never thinks anyone can properly teach and care for my child. Turns out though, becoming a parent BEFORE becoming a teacher might have been a great blessing. I finished my last semester (student teaching) in North Dakota when Mackenzie was 5-8 months old and I never felt more confident dealing with parents than I did in those three months. All of a sudden I became fully aware of the responsibility it takes to teach other people's children. I didn't feel intimidated by my students' parents. I was one of them now. I sincerely think that being a parent will help me to be the teacher that I want to be. 

Vice versa, I genuinely think that my teaching background has helped me become a better, more involved parent. There is always that "joke" (I actually don't think it is very funny) that you have to take classes/pass tests to do pretty much anything, except becoming a parent. This is sad and is a huge disservice to children, but luckily for me, my last two years of college were spent learning about child emotional and physical development as well as discipline and teaching techniques. I feel as though I entered parenthood as prepared as one could hope for. I am constantly aware of my children's developmental levels and am always doing more research of ways to encourage them at every stage they are at. Now this is not to say that I do not have my lazy days. I definitely do when just pulling out the play-doh seems like a lot of work. But even on my lazy days, I try and incorporate some level of "teaching" if possible. My 4 1/2 year-old and 3 year-olds both do chores, have a daily activity (craft, paint, play-doh, etc) participate in story time, and are expected to get themselves dressed and clean up after themselves. Sometimes those tasks and teaching moments take up A LOT more time than if I just did them myself, but then what would they be learning? That someone else will be there to do it for them. I want more for them. I want them to realize the importance of constantly being in the process of learning new things. I want them to know that Mommy thinks they are capable of doing new things. I want them to be able to prove to themselves that they can do things for themselves. 

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Inspiration has struck again. I always seem to go through blogging phases and I think I am about to be going through another one, thanks to a good friend, Brandy.

Awhile back I wrote about needing/wanting a hobby. Since then A TON has changed, but that desire still seems front and center. And so, I decided to try some new things. I finally learned how to use my sewing machine this summer! Of course now I am missing a vital piece for it and cannot use it until I order a new one (which is very disappointing since I bought a cute apron pattern). I also started using our Canon Rebel X. I am especially excited about this because I really want to be able to take good pictures of my family. I have so many talented friends that any and all advice about sewing or photography would be greatly appreciated.

In addition to those new hobbies I have started P90X which is a hardcore workout DVD program. Brian convinced me to do it with him, which actually works out well for both of us. We are each other's motivation. Only three and a half weeks in, and I have already noticed a significant difference. I currently weigh less than when I got pregnant with Mack and have more muscle definition than I did when I was 21! Very exciting, especially since I had very little expectations of it working. Eventually I will post a "before" and "after" picture, but I don't think I am that brave yet. We'll see.

Here are a couple pictures I have taken so far. Not even that good, but I am eager to learn and practice :)