October 19, 2013

What makes a home.

Andrew, Mer, and I have moved more times than I can remember. It's tough moving and getting comfortable in a new place at first. But the thing I find most joyful is our ability to make each place unique. This time our move has been more blessed than any other. We moved in one weekend with the gift of friends. I still get emotional thinking about the helping hands that could've spent their weekend doing much less strenuous things, but instead CHOSE to help our little family move.

We are among the group of people who never really keep household items that we do not use. Objects in our home rarely hold sentimental value. Well, except for a coffee mug my mom purchased for me. She has the same exact one. On days when I'm missing her, I can take that mug, fill it with coffee, then sip from that cup and feel as if she is a bit closer to my heart. And then there's our wedding pictures, family pictures, books, and Meredith's things. She believes in the value of all her things. I go to bed praying many nights over that she does not become a hoarder. The matter of cleaning out her toy box often times becomes a crying matter.

This time as Andrew and I embarked on yet another move, we found that we had accumulated a little more since the last move. And we found the gracious hands that helped pack our valuables away to be so loving, quick, and even more valuable than the things being moved. Those people mean more to me than any of the possessions being moved about. They are precious and invaluable, our closest and most cherished friends here in Virginia.

Now we are completely unpacked, and still on the road to making this space as unique as we are. But as we do so, there are some pieces that have become invaluable to me. These pieces are made by hand from people whom I love dearly. They will forever be pieces in our home. These are pieces that help make our home.

                                   


                                       

October 18, 2013

A good day to begin blogging again.

It's been quite a while since the last time I wrote on here. Maybe since the beginning of the summer actually. I was not feeling the whole blogging thing anymore. Why was I doing it? I couldn't quite figure that out. I had lost the excitement and joy that came with keeping up blog appearances. I didn't want to be tied down and committed to it either. I'm just gonna say it...sometimes bloggers can be as attention hungry as the next media-lovin person. We all want to be noticed, be in the spotlight for our creativity, unrealistically enhanced photos, Pinterest-inspired DIY projects, most-awesome-food, or whatever. But truth is...I'm back to writing because I'm ready to write again. I crave the fellowship and ideas this platform brings. I love the way women come together and share ideas and opinions all in the form of a blog. So here I am. And here you are, reading this.

There could've been no other perfect day for me to take the time and reinvent this space. I feel like the word of my life right now is TRANSITION. I'll explain. Almost half a month ago, this little family moved into a bigger space overlooking a beautiful golf course (this must've been Andrew's plan all along...to move right next to a golf course). More than a month and a half ago, I decided to go from teaching second graders to kindergarteners. I couldn't have been more excited about that transition. I felt like it was in the cards, God's plan, and all the stars aligned to present me with that opportunity to work in kindergarten. So right there, just within a month and a half, I moved classrooms within a weekend in order to begin teaching kindergarteners and moved houses with such tremendous help from friends, who are less like friends and more like family.

Then, it happened. The BIG moment of change was just on the horizon. I was told I'd have to move from my school to a different one that needed another kindergarten teacher.

There was nothing I could do. I felt helpless in the situation. I didn't want to go. I wanted to kick and scream and act like one of my kindergarteners who don't get their way. But I couldn't do that. I couldn't act like a train wreck to the school board and principal, so....

So I brought it to God.

And I threw a crying fit. I told Him I didn't want to go. That this might be His plan, but I didn't understand it and I wanted to fight the decision because it wasn't fair, and I was comfortable where I was, because I had built a family and friends at this school....because I didn't want to go. I was devastated.

And I asked God to change the situation or change my attitude about it. And that's exactly what He did.

Over the span of a few days, I grew relatively comfortable with the fact I'd be moving to a new school. Andrew encouraged me that this move could be so good. My spirit had been put at ease. I began to grow excited about the change. After all, I never knew what God had up His sleeve. What were his plans for this life or this move? That's what I'm still trying to figure out. For right now, I have to trust and take joy that God has it all figured out and I'm just there for the ride. 

So I've been at my new school for half a week. There's no classroom for me to move into yet, because there's no room. Another teacher will be moving into a mobile unit so I can take her room. As of right now, I'm co-teaching and getting to know the students in kindergarten. This downtime is a blessing, for sure. There have been days when I missed or even shed a tear over missing my students and faculty at the old school, but God has a plan for this life. God has a plan for me, Kristin O'Leary. This is my journey through God's grace, love, and mercy. TRANSITION can sometimes be more beneficial than staying in an area of comfort. As for the transition of this blog, the title has changed. It is more often than not that we have to come up with a title for our situation or a heading to describe our life. There is no better heading or title for your life than your name. After all, your story is exactly that...yours. So, I decided to call this blog exactly what it is...a story about my life and my perspective: Kristin O'Leary. This here blog is all about God's work through me and in me, and about those whom I love the most in my life: my family and friends.

So today is my day off. Today is a day of relaxation. I can literally show in a few snapshots what my day has been like. I contemplated doing something productive like shopping, taking a walk at the park, folding laundry (or washing laundry would've been better), cleaning the house....but naaaaaaaaaah.
Instead my day went like this.

Watching the sun rise from the sunroom....before little Meredith woke up.

Take Meredith to school. Tis so sweet.

Relaxed...put my feet up.

Ate some o' these, then felt guilty so...

I ate some o' these here greens.


Now there's no telling what the rest of the day holds. Picking up Meredith from fun days in second grade, then who knows what adventures we might run into. There might be pumpkins, there might be paint, but nothing is set in stone yet. Either way, it's going to be great.

And happy Friday to you.


AWESOME=Android App/Classroom Management Tool

When you're a teacher, it seems there's not much to life besides teaching....except for those three months out of the year called summer. Whatever the hardships teaching may bring, I am continuing to try and look on the bright side of things. I love working with children, seeing them smile and hearing them laugh. Even more, my heart is so full to see them achieve great, no matter if it's solving misunderstandings with a friend or finally understanding why sentences must have punctuation at the end and a capital letter at the beginning. Light bulb moments are my absolute favorite. With all the wonderful feelings students evoke in me, they can also sir up some fairly intense emotions as well. I find that a classroom full of drama packed boys and girls can be a terrible experience if there's no classroom management plan in place. For a little over a month now, I've found that my students simply don't care about my classroom management plan. It just didn't do it for them...it didn't help them to see the light in why we have to remain on task and follow instructions, be respectful and helpful to our peers. Well, recently I came across a website called Class DOJO. You can enter all your students names, then each student gets a monster looking icon which represents them in the classroom. The first day I implemented this in the classroom my students loved it. I projected the computer screen all day long so they could see how it would work in our class. What's even better is that Android market has am app for it! So I don't have to correct behavior by going to my computer screen all the way across the room, but I can do it on my phone. How awesome is that! Another feature I'm in love with is the connecting with parents feature. I can print reports every week and send them home to parents or I can email them to parents. I must say, this is a huge time saver when it comes to writing or calling parents to let them know how their child is doing. Not only can I take my classroom management tool with me on every bathroom break, recess time, and lunch breaks, but I can connect with parents so easily and effortlessly. Below are some screen shots from my phone.



June 14, 2013

The Things I'm Loving. SUMMER ITEMS.

Summer Fun.


I love summer. Summer loves me. Summer makes me brown in the knees. Long skirts. Short tops. Wedge heels. Golden frocks.

April 14, 2013

Love | Bananas.


My heart is full.
Any woman whose love has taken flight for more than a few days time knows how full her heart will be upon his return.

Andrew had to go away on business three days last week, returning on Friday evening. I had missed him so dreadfully much, although the return to school from spring break kept me entirely too busy to dwell on the business of his leaving. Upon his arrival Friday night, I only wanted to be in his presence and soak up the joy that only having another adult in the house can bring. There were three items on the agenda: a sweet kiss on the lips to let him know I missed him greatly, resting my head on his chest to feel his arms over my shoulder, and spending quality cuddle time on the couch, listening (if listening means watching his lips move) to his stories of work-related issues in the beach area of the Outer Banks. My love had finally made it home. I had security knowing my family was together again under one roof.

Disclaimer: Don't get me wrong. This feeling is not always the case. But it is true when they (I'm guessing "they" were great philosophers of love) Distance makes the heart grow fonder. No, my life is not a storybook nor a fairytale. Just thought I'd add that bit.

After spending some quality time together throughout the weekend, I woke up refreshed and exuberant on this fine Sunday morn. Happy to have my love home, and with a horrifyingly large amount of brown polka-dotted bananas, I decided to make a favorite of Andrews.

Banana Bread. 

Click here for recipe.
Here's to doing something sweet for the love in your life. 

March 25, 2013

Growing. Tis better to be an only child?

My baby is growing. Every time she walks through school, all the teachers comment on how long her legs are getting. I, of course, think this is insanely awesome considering my short mama self. Yup...I am short and I pray that she grows into the vertical height I never had. I am such a proud mama to my little munchkin. She is smart, beautiful, artistic, caring, and lovely.






Speaking of my lovely child...she is the only one Andrew and I have. We've talked about having more children more times than I can count, but the answer always tends to be the same: No. It's not just Andrew who finds the idea of having another child outside of our realm of reality. There are times when I can't imagine bringing a child into our lives, especially because we both have full-time careers outside the home. Who would love and take care of our little one when and if I went back to work? I know it sounds somewhat snobbish, but I wouldn't have another child unless I could stay at home the first few years. The infant/toddler years are truly so much fun. Then again, I guess a parent would do whatever it takes to support their child, even if that meant both parents working full time during the day. I just can't bring myself to do it! One of my desires is to be a stay-at-home mom with toddlers and babies roaming around the house. It'd basically be like my own little classroom, so my education degree wouldn't technically go to waste. *Wink, Wink* Maybe this idea would go over well with the hubs...YEAH...PROBABLY NOT.

On the other hand, there is this issue of Meredith growing up as an only child. I feel guilty more times than I wish to admit about my child being the one and only. I grew up with five other siblings, my twin sister and four brothers. The adventures we had together were full of excitement, imagination, and lots of fights to the death ("GIMME MY BARBIE BAAAAAAACK!!!   MOOOOOOM!!!!"). Either way, I wish Meredith had that endless banter between siblings that I remember with my childhood. There are times when she is playing at the park and I think...Man, it sure would be nice to have that brother or sister who always looks out for you no matter what. Or how great would it be to always have a playmate that isn't boring mom or dad. Meredith is getting older and sooner than later she will realize that mom and dad are super boring and she won't want to play with us. That's where siblings come in...except...we don't have another. I guess we'll just have to stay cool forever. That might be easy for myself...ha!

Anyway, the question of more children is always up in the air. We are so young anyway (27 and 31), so no permanent decision needs to be made now. Whatever happens....I hope it's the best for my wee little Irish/Italian family. I pray God's hand is over our lives, directing our paths in whatever we do.

What do you think? Are you an only child? Did you turn out fine?


March 14, 2013

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookie Cake. Delish.

Lately I haven't had the energy, interest, or time to bake anything. This drives me crazy because I absolutely adore baking...especially more so than cooking. Although I'm too tired after school to do anything constructive, yesterday I had this overwhelming feeling to bake. So I did. It must have been a Pinterest-inspired moment, because otherwise I'm not sure I would've made this sweet lookin' thing.

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookie Cake. From Kraft.




I've yet to taste this cake all put together, but in pieces it's delicious. I can only imagine what it will taste like once cut and on my plate. Yum!
You can find this delish recipe here.

March 13, 2013

Blogalicious. Designing.

Top of the marnin' to ya, dear readers!
First I'd like to say that I'm overjoyed to see some new followers here!
I love seeing new people here and leaving comments from day to day. Connecting is so much fun!
Secondly, I am excited to display the new design here today. Since beginning in my teaching career back in October, 2012, I haven't been able to play with blog design as much as I've wanted to. In all honesty, I MISS IT! Blog design is the creative side of me that I can let loose on and just be totally me. Plus, the results are always inspiring me to create more.
If I could...I would forevermore go into web design...
BUT...Life must go on and children must be taught and I must get paid. =)
So...What do you think?




My ultimate goal this morning was to create something fun and bright, but also modern looking.

March 11, 2013

Trimmed.

Nothing is better than a little pampered time. After a year and a half, I've finally found a hair salon that I feel is worth the price. The atmosphere was enjoyable, clean, friendly, and modern. I even enjoyed my hairstylist. I know there's not a huge difference between the before and after, but it feels so nice to have my hair texturized.
As the stylist started to texturize, or thin out my hair, she said there was so much it could take all day. Ha! I have thin hair...but a lot of it apparently.
Anyway, oh happy day!  G Patton Salon...thank you for holding up your good reputation.

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