Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Top 10 of 2010

In thinking back over the past year there were a lot of good memories created. I am going to list my top ten.

10. Starting School in August

I know you think-you start school every August. This August however was very different for me. This is the first time in my entire career that all I am is a teacher. Not a teacher getting her master's degree, a teacher completing her National Boards, or a teacher about to have a baby. Just a teacher and that is all and I have loved it. I have the sweetest group of kids and a fabulous intern.

9. Family Trip to Destin

This was the first beach trip for Jaxton. It was different being at the beach with a baby, but we had a great time and lots of special family moments to cherish. We also were very lucky to avoid the oil spill.

8. Ashlynn's 5th Birthday

First let me say I cannot believe my baby girl is 5! Time has flown by so fast. She went from being a baby to a little girl in what seems like a blink. Ashlynn did turn 5 in style though. She had an amazing princess party complete with make up, dress up, crafts and royal princess games. We hired a party planner that did absolutely everything, which was perfect for us because all we had to do was show up and enjoy.

7. 9 year anniversary trip to Little Rock

Marshal and I have been to Little Rock thousands of times before. Living in Russellville for so long Little Rock was just where you went. However, since moving to NWA we rarely make it to Little Rock these days. On June 16th the Governor held a reception for all teachers that achieved National Board Certification. Since that happen to be Marshal and my anniversary we decided to just turn our trip to Little Rock into an anniversary get away. We had so much fun. We stayed at the Captial Hotel and enjoyed an evening in the River Market.

6. Losing 26 pounds

I know that is a little mis-leading since I did have a baby in November of 2009. However, in 2010 I did work very hard and lost 26 pounds. You know those cute pregnant people with the little basket ball bellies? Well that was so not me. I gained 42 pounds with Jaxton and 50 pounds with Ashlynn. After Ashlynn I held onto ten of those pounds and never lost them. When I had Jaxton I was determined to lose my baby weight. I am so proud to say I have done that plus an additional six pounds. I have one of my bestest friends and Personal Trainers to thank for all of it. She kicked my butt and I love her very much for it! Now if I can just get back on track and do my Pilate's I am told this baby gut will tighten up. We will see. Maybe not the best picture but maybe you can tell I am back to my pre-pregnancy body (or you can just take my word for it- Ha).

5. Jaxton's Baptism

This was a very special day for so many reasons. First, I am so thankful for the blessing of his life, it is so important to me to be able to promise to raise him in a Christan home and to let him know that he is a child of God. I was also so excited to have my parents, Marshal's parents, my aunt, and my grandparents here to help us celebrate. It meant so much to us to be able to surround Jaxton in love. There was another reason this day was so special to me. A reason that I haven't shared with very many people. When Marshal and I were standing in front of the church and saying the vows, a young couple was sitting right in my line of vision. This couple had recently lost a baby to miscarriage. She was sitting there with tears streaming down her face. I couldn't help but just ache for her. I hated that I was standing up there with my beautiful baby boy and she was sitting in a pew with empty arms. I knew exactly how she felt. I knew the pain behind those tears. You may wonder why I am telling you this. You may think this is an odd thing to have made my day so special. I could literally see God holding her hand in that moment. She was hurting and she felt so alone, but I could see God right there with her. It reminded me that even though I didn't feel it at the time, God never left my side. He held my hand through all of the pain and tears and he never left me. This realization made Jaxton's baptism so incredibly special for me. I have prayed for that couple many times since that day. I barely know them. In fact I can't even tell you their names. I can tell you that they are expecting a baby anyday now and I can't wait to see them in front of the church baptising their own special child.

4. Jaxton's First Birthday

Knowing that Jaxton is my last child, I have just tried my best to soak up every minute with him. He turned one in November and I just can't believe it. While I miss the baby days with him he is starting to show his own little personality which is so fun too! For his first birthday we invited several friends and family members to help us celebrate. For the party favors everyone received some money with instructions to perform a random act of kindness. It has been so cool hearing about all the different ways people used the money and how it has helped. I know it is a birthday I will never forget and I hope someday Jaxton will enjoy reading about it. 3. Ashlynn Starting Kindergarten

This has been so much fun. I have absolutely loved getting to see Ashlynn during the day. I get hugs and kisses throughout my day and it has been so wonderful. I have also learned so much about her. Getting to see her in her social setting and interacting with her peers has taught me so much about my little princess. I had no idea how much like her momma she was until this year. She is so independent and has such a mind of her own.

2. Maternity Leave

I loved my Maternity leave. I took a little over three months off. I didn't feel like I got to enjoy the first month because the holidays were so busy, but come January I loved every minute of it. I got to spend a lot of time with Ashlynn. We had a couple of Mommy/daughter days while Jaxton hung out with Nonnie. I also got some alone time with Jaxton while Ashlynn went to mother's day out. It was just a sweet time I will always cherish.

And the number one event of 2010.....

1. Turning 30!

I dreaded this sooooo much. I was not looking forward to leaving my 20's behind. However, turning 30 has been wonderful. Marshal planned a fabulous trip to KC to celebrate my 30th birthday. I had so much fun! Ethan and Sarah went with us and helped make the trip very special. However, the birthday celebration is not really what has made turning 30 my number one event. It is all of the things that have happened since the celebration. I am very proud of all the things I have accomplished in my 30 years of life. Since turning 30 I have deepened my relationship with Marshal and have been reminded that he is not only the love of my life, but my best friend. I have also become incredibly open and honest about my feelings with people. That may not be a good thing, but for whatever reason I feel more compelled to just tell people exactly what I am thinking. I have reconnected with a great friend. I care more about myself and less about what other people think of me. I feel old enough to know what I want and determined enough to get it. I feel great and I can't wait to see what the next 30 years of my life bring!

So bring on 2011!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Traditions

I have told you before that I don't have a very big family. Marshal and I are both only children. My cousins (while I have a ton of them) are all ,13 years up to 29 years, older then me. Therefore, this time of year always brings about a little sadness for me. My children have no aunts and uncles to spoil them or cousins to play with. It is just me, Marshal, the kiddos and my parents. I am a lucky girl to have parents that are so active in my children's lives. I wouldn't trade it for anything. However, the older I get the more I long for a house full of relatives for the holidays.

I can remember as a little girl gathering with my mom's six brothers and sister and all of their children. It was magical. My grandparents were there and since I was the baby of everything I was surrounded by attention and love. I wish I had that to offer to my children.

I told my mom she could have a couple of more children. She didn't really think that was a good idea. So I don't think the big family filled home thing is going to happen. I don't have control of the size of my family, but I can control the way we celebrate the season of Christmas. I hope by establishing some Christmas traditions my children will be able to cherish their childhood memories as much as I did.

Watson Family Traditions:
  1. We decorate our Christmas tree only with ornaments that have special meaning. We get a new ornament each year that sums up what has happened in our lives that year. Ex: new baby, new home, special trips, etc. Our tree may not be a Martha Stewart tree but it is decorated with love and special memories.

  2. We go to Branson each year for one weekend in December to see the Christmas lights. Ashlynn has grown to absolutely love this and talks about it all year.

  3. We go to Christmas Eve candlelight service. This is my favorite worship service of the year. When the sanctuary is filled with hundreds of people holding candles-it is nothing short of breath taking.

  4. We hang stockings for everyone. Including our pets. Stockings are my favorite Christmas decoration ever. I love opening the stockings on Christmas morning and seeing all of the neat little goodies stuffed inside.

  5. We adopt an angel off the angel tree that is the same age as our children. This is something special I use to do with my dad. He would help me pick a child that was the same age as me and take me shopping for that little girl. I love that this year Ashlynn was old enough to kind of understand what it meant to buy for someone else.

  6. We decorate with nativity scenes. I love looking at them. I love being reminded why we are celebrating.

  7. We get family pictures taken around this time every year. I know a lot of people just get pictures of the kids. It is so important to me to have a family picture taken. I want my children to be able to look back on the memories of how we all grew and changed. Marshal lost his dad at an early age. I wish they had more family pictures to look back on.

  8. We always wake up at home on Christmas morning. This is one of the advantages to the small family thing. I don't have to work my Christmas plans around anyone else. Once Ashlynn was born I have been adamant that she be able to wake up in her own house on Christmas morning. Santa leaves the gifts out for her ( and now Jaxton too) and it is such a special time for us.

I know you all have your own things that help you celebrate the season. I hope you enjoyed reading some of the things that are important to me. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wish List

With Christmas getting closer and closer I can't help but think of all the things I want this year. I have been a very good girl I am sure...

My Wish List

  • I wish I could learn to sew
  • I wish I was a better speller
  • I wish cake wasn't fattening
  • I wish my husband was more romantic
  • I wish I could be Carrie on Sex and the City for just one day so I could play with all of her shoes
  • I wish I had more friends that I could count on
  • I wish Marshal's dream job would never require me to move
  • I wish my flabby belly would magically disappear
  • I wish I had room to adopt 500 animals
  • I wish I was more flexible
  • I wish college football lasted year around
  • I wish I had cash with me more often
  • I wish winter was only a month long
  • I wish I was more technologically savvy
  • I wish people would not smoke in public
  • I wish I was not a picky eater
  • I wish that I was really good at something- don't care what just one thing I could do really well
  • I wish I didn't always feel the need to tell people what I am thinking
  • I wish I could take good pictures
  • I wish someone would tell me what to cook for dinner each night

My wish list could keep going but I am sure this is enough for Santa to work on for now.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Parenting Advice

A couple of days after I went back to work from my maternity leave, a coworker said to me "Parenting is the hardest thing you will ever do". "No one ever tells you that it is so hard that sometimes you feel like you just might not survive it".

I have played those words over in my mind so many times I cannot even tell you. I find such great comfort in them because it lets me know that I am normal. I feel so blessed that 95% of the time my kids are great. They are sweet, well mannered, and I can just squeeze them up and love them. But then there is the other 5%.

Now Jaxton isn't really old enough to be able to help it. His "wear me out" moments (to this point) have just been about him being sick and me wanting to be able to make it all better. Ashlynn on the other hand.....that child's 5% makes me truly question if I will survive this.

We had a weekend full of those "I'm not going to survive this" moments this past weekend. It was like someone had stolen my precious little angel and replaced her with a complete and total fire breathing dragon. When she gets going there is no stopping her. She is so strong and determined it ridiculous.

On Sunday afternoon Ashlynn turned back into her sweet normal happy smiling self. Thank goodness! My problem is I feel like I have no control when she gets out of control. I started seeking some parenting advice from friends. I have got to find some way to be able to handle and stop these fits before another happens.

Parenting advice seems simple enough, right? Well not so much. you see I took 9 hours of child development in college. I get multiple hours of parenting staff development each year. I've read books professionally about effective discipline. I am a kindergarten teacher for goodness sake. Parents ask me for advice all the time. Discipline is part of my job. Not saying all this to sound like a know it all, just saying I have tried every trick in the book.

I did however get exactly what I was looking for. That magic wand that I get to wave next time the 5% decides to rear it's ugly head. The funny part about it, the friend that gave it to me doesn't even know she did it. In fact it didn't come in the form of advice at all.

On Monday I got a Thanksgiving card from a sweet sweet friend. Inside the card she told me all the reasons she was thankful for me. Part of what she wrote said " Your sweet silly smile always brightens my day. Thank you so much for being such a strong, determined, kind, smart, goal drive inspiration to those around you. " I read this statement a thousand times. At first I just was so flattered that she said such sweet things to me and then I realized that is Ashlynn. She is strong, she is determined, she is passionate, smart, and once she gets a goal in her mind she works like crazy to complete it.

These are all qualities I was getting complemented on, but yet those same qualities are pushing me to the edge when it comes to my child. I don't think my qualities are always a good thing. They have gotten me into my fair share of trouble. However, I am very proud of who I am and I am very proud of the daughter I am raising. Instead of trying to stop those behaviors in Ashlynn I need to be teaching her how to effectively use them.

Now finding the patience while doing that, well that's a whole other story. Wish me luck...