(sorta) Wordless Wednesday: Happy Anniversary!


Happy 3rd Wedding Anniversary to my AWESOME husband!

Together 6.5 years, married for three, plus one amazing little boy.

Yes, I'm thankful.

Can I get an AMEN?



The 2011-2012 school has ended.

Multiple IEPs, last minute parent meetings, freaking awesome increases in reading scores ::pats self on back::, and one empty(ish) classroom (plus a cross-country marriage, storms, & toilet floods)...well, all that made for an interesting year.


I'm done.

And I'm celebrating.


Because I'm not knocked the fuck up ::eff u aunt flo:: and 
a few drinks sound AMAZEBALLS right now.  

Oh and the best part of my night...

True story.

That and Smirnoff Triple Black tastes better with a slice of real lime.

Try it.

(And you're welcome.)

Have a great holiday weekend folks!

Hello, summer!

Wordless Wednesday: Big boy.


No fear.............all the way up, then down, by himself....I'm in trouble.

Favorite Firsts! (video)


So as a quick link up to TAT this week, I give you one of my favorite of Thad's "firsts."  I filmed this months ago...maybe January/February (?) when hubs was gone in TX.  Every night when I'd lay the little guy down I'd say, "Love you, sweet dreams, night night."  (And sometimes is a different order.)  One night he caught on and started saying "nigh, nigh" back to me.  My heart just.melted. - I couldn't handle it.  The next night I tried to catch it on camera, but that was harder than it sounds...lol.  Ignore me and enjoy the very soft and sleepy "nigh, nigh" - too cute and sweet.

How I Rock My Marriage: Melissa V.


Hi ELF readers! I'm Melissa & below is is my husband Clay. :) We have 3 crazy kiddos, 1 Beagle, & 1 bird .  We have a busy life with 3 small ones, but we always manage to find the fun in all of it.
Two Peas in a Pod
In order for you to get a true feel for my marriage, I think you need a little background about our family dynamics & how we came to be...

All 5 of us

These are my kids - Pearson is 7, Mackenzie is 6, & Killian is soon to be 5. Clay & I have been together for 4 years and married for 2. The math doesn't add up right? Well that's because things didn't work out in my first marriage with my children's 'biological' father.  I always asked myself, "why?" This brings me to 'How I Rock my Marriage' with Clay. :) 

I have everything needed this go around -- Respect for one another, being a United front, TRUST, & most importantly - Laughter.  Those 4 things are key to making any relationship work.  Unfortunately, I did not have that the first time around.  God never wants a marriage to fail, but he always has a plan for us.  I know His plan for me was to have 3 beautiful children and move on to meet Clay.  It was a valuable life experience for me...one that taught me what to do differently.  And when I am with Clay I know this. is. IT. for me.  I have married for all the right reasons and he is truly my best friend.  There is no one else we would rather be with in all of our spare time.    

The day Clay proposed to me in Vegas
I met Clay when Killian was 1, Mackenzie was 2, and Pearson was 3. Clay was just a super handsome fellow making his way to the top in our local Government and had no strings attached to anyone.  He had never been married and didn't have any kids.  My thoughts were, "what would he want with me? I have 3 small kids, just got through with a semi-amicable divorce, and I live in another state." You know what folks?  None of that mattered.  We became friends first & lovers second.  He loves my children as if they were his own and has never treated them any different than that. He changed all of their diapers with me (yes- all 3 of them were still in diapers), helped give Killian his bottles, read them books, and just eased right in with no problem being 'The Dad'.  They really love him :)  Aside from his great looks, suave charm, & intelligence - none of that would have mattered if he hadn't of loved my kids & them love him in return.

Other than my 4 main points that make our relationship work - here is a look into our daily life.
We have a busy schedule with the kids.  We go to Scouts on Monday, Killian's baseball practice on Tuesday, Mackenzie's cheer & Pearson's baseball practice on Thursday - and then the weekends are filled with games.  This leaves for very little time to do the date thing.  But we try to fit a date night in at least 1 time a month.  

Even though a designated date night is few and far between, we can still make fun time together.
The kids go to bed around 7:30-8 every night - so we hurry to make their lunch boxes for the next day and have the rest of the night to spend time together. Sometimes we just sit around and make each other laugh (we are really silly when it comes to impressions), watch our favorite television shows (we both will watch the show even if it's not the one we love), and sitting on our porch.  When the weather is nice outside, we like to sit on the porch at night, in our rockers with the lights off.  We just sit, talk and laugh. We sound like 2 old fogies don't we? :)  

Listen - in short of all of this - make time for each other, show each other respect, never give each other reason to doubt the trust, and always Laugh.  After all, this is the person you vowed to be with for the rest of your days.
Make it count Ladies! Just Rock it!

                       Thanks, Melissa! Be sure to check out her blog and if you'd like to be
                           featured on How I Rock My Marriage Mondays, email me!

elffamilyblog at gmail dot com

Wordless Wednesday: Mother's Day Photo FAIL


The best Mother's Day Photo FAIL ever. =)

Click to enlarge.

Poor little guy just wanted to go play, not posed for photos. 

Paying a Student for Good Grades???


Last night I logged into Facebook to see the following question...

(Enter soapbox.)

I do not condone students getting paid for good grades.
(And I guess I'm the minority...at least on this fb post.)

As a teacher, I see this a lot more than I'd like.  I lovingly call my freshmen this year, the "time-out generation" -- many, if not all, of my kids were raised when "time-out" became a BIG thing (or so I believe...), but many of their parents didn't use it correctly (the spanking/time-out debate is for another day).  Often they were put in "time-out" with little to no follow through/follow up and now we're left with a generation of students that have absolutely no regard for consequences, self-ownership, or responsibility. (And please remember the demographic I work with before you get all hair up your ass, please & thanks.)

I have students who do the following:

Walk out of class without a pass after I tell them "no."

Refuse to work and tell me "I don't want to." and think it's acceptable.

Believe that any/all missing work they turn it needs to be graded on the spot & entered into the gradebook (when they couldn't be bothered to do it when it was assigned).  

Etc., etc., etc.

*And this truly has little to do with classroom management and/or my relationship with these students.  We get along great...in fact, I often can't get them out of my room...lol.  They just truly don't believe they have to do anything unless they want to.  WEIRD.

I could go on and on, but I won't -- you get the general idea.  So the thought of paying (which to me is bribing) kids to do well in school is appalling.  I believe that doing well in school is an expectation and along with many other expectations in life, you shouldn't be paid for them.

Then again, if you want to pay your child for saying "please" and "thank you" and sharing their toys -- go right ahead.  I won't stop you, but I won't coddle your child when they get to high school either.

::steps off soapbox::

How I Rock My Marriage: Mel


Hi I’m mel from Never a Dull Moment, while I’ve been enjoying  Libby’s series “How I rock my Marriage”  I pondered for a few weeks what makes mine work; what makes us happy and working towards “Happy Ever After” this past weekend we rounded 5 years towards it!

Hubs & I, May 12, 2007

To tell you how I rock my marriage, I have to explain how we got here (a little ramble)...
I met the hubs when he was the bagel clerk (and in charge of the coffee) and I was the nighttime front end supervisor at a local grocery store. He immediately made me laugh, and I can honestly say something clicked. We started hanging out and I was quickly warned by others (at the store) that he only saw girls as numbers, and not being into that I backed off. Being persistent he got my home phone number (at the time I was at college) and called to find out what was up, when I told him he was upset that I believed that and thought that of him {come to find out those who told me were jealous that he wasn’t interested in them} this started our agreement that honesty is always best and communication is key! {It’s hard to believe that happened almost 10years ago!}

Our first Christmas 2002

We’ve had our bumps in the road, and were far from perfect but how I’ve rocked my marriage is through communication, respect, compromise and laughter!

We knew within months of dating we wanted to be together forever, we had already talked kids, religion, values, dreams, wishes and goals. {Personally} I don’t understand why people say “I do” before talking about if they’ll have kids, or how they’ll raise them, or what they want to do down the road (more than just a year). For us we also let each other know if something’s bothering us, no matter how big or small- if it’s going to fester and become something bigger- we don’t let it. However, one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given (and constantly share) is “choose your battles wisely”. We all have our pet peeves some things are worth “fighting” about others aren’t; for me socks on the floor isn’t one of them.

 Everyone argues/fights/bickers/disagrees but it doesn’t have to be ugly. We don’t fight in public, we don’t go there (this includes social media posts too- not saying there isn’t a phone call or text message to a bff but it’s not public, it’s not out there for all the family/friends/co-workers to see). We don’t push buttons. We all know there is a clean and a dirty way to fight; you know what can set someone off and what upsets someone; we don’t fight dirty. And in our marriage and in parenting; even though I “carried” Lexie my opinion doesn’t weight any more than his; for us it is still 50/50.

Marriage to me is about compromise; and forgiveness. No one’s perfect and we all make mistakes. We all know what we want (short term and long term) but sometimes we don’t get our way. One thing we've learned (especially now as parents) is even though you may have plans you need to bend without breaking. Sometimes this is the little things like managing schedules and making sure both parents have time for themselves, and together as spouses.  Hubs and I usually end up sharing our wedding anniversary celebration with Mother’s day weekend so sometimes Mother’s Day isn’t fully “mother’s day”. Take this year for example. Saturday we enjoyed a child free stress free day (thanks to my mother-in-law). Today was the first nice (weather day) we’ve had in a while and I knew Hubs had been dying to go fishing, so I encouraged him to go (not my best move, I know) but all in all it was the right thing; he got to have a great time with his dad (and his mom got the day to herself) while Lexie and I played around the house- yes it’s mother’s day, yes it’s “my” day but you know what? I have an IOU for another day, and that works for me!

We’ve all heard “laughter is the best medicine” and I think it’s key to being happy, it doesn’t have to be a belly laugh, but be happy, in some cases it’s a choice, do what makes you happy as a couple. What made you fall in love? What made you say “I do”?  Life gets so serious with work, and bills and drama. Laughter is just as important as any other part of a relationship!

So how should you rock your marriage? Learn what works for you! It’s like parenting one thing may work for us (like co-sleeping, breastfeeding, and cloth diapering) but that doesn’t mean its right for everyone! 

Lexie's 1st Birthday, Aug 2011

Thanks, Mel! Be sure to check out her blog and if you'd like to be featured on How I Rock My Marriage Mondays, email me!

elffamilyblog at gmail dot com

p.s. If you're new to the blog, missed some of the past HIRMM posts, or 
just want to reminisce, click here to read back through them!

"Bless You" & "Go Hawkeyes!"


How cute is this??!??!  

On the way to the rehearsal dinner Thursday night Thad was quite the chatterbox.  His newest phrase, "Bless you." is just too sweet and the "Go Hawkeyes!" he's been saying for a couple weeks now.  

p.s. This video made me realize how badly I need to adjust his car seat - wow...little man is getting so big!  

Your hobby shouldn't stress you out.


Says the hubs to me tonight.

And it's true.

I've been doing a lot of thinking in the last week.  E's home from TX (still on strike), the house needs prepped for selling (new tile floor, painting, counters, etc.), bills are needing to be paid, laundry needs done, family is arriving today/tomorrow for my sister's wedding, and I've still got 11 school days to go.  Add to that the really concerned parents ::insert A LOT of sarcasm:: are suddenly interested in why their kid isn't passing and want to hold 532,323,643,010 meetings before the end of the year and I'm a bit spent.

Oh and don't forget that I have Etsy shop now too.

I'm pretty sure I'm fucking nuts. Or part of this new phenomenon and you know what?  I'm not ok with that.

I'm not ok with feeling like I "have to" blog every day.  I hate that I stress about not couponing enough (let's not even go there...I know it's ridiculous).  I'm not ok with comparing my stats to others. I'm not ok with selling out.  And I feel like I'm on the verge of doing that (and going crazy).

Now, don't get me wrong.  I love my Etsy shop, I love to blog - but I feel like I'm losing myself. (In my time after Thad's in bed.)

I miss coming home and just watching tv (no laptop, fb, etc.).

I miss sitting in silence and reading a book...or books.

I miss baking at night and cooking real meals.

I miss not checking facebook every day.

I miss me.

So, in re-evaluating me and what's important I'm going back to my roots.  I'm going to take time for me.  And as I was talking to the hubs tonight, he really reiterated that.  After all, "your hobby shouldn't stress you out."

So stick around folks.  I'll still be here.  I'll still be blogging, but it's going to be on my schedule...and, well, frankly....my schedule is a bit hectic right now.

Wordless Wednesday: Pucker lips.


One of my newest faves. Before the hair cut and during the first swim of the year.
Too cute. ::insert melting heart::

How I Rock My Marriage: Jamie


Hello ELF readers!  I am Jamie and I blog over at Handling With Grace?.  When I sat down and tried to think of the ways that I rocked the socks off of my marriage, I kept going back to thinking, "Hmm...  See that little human being that is growing and thriving under my watchful eyes?"  THAT is how I rock my marriage- by being a hands on, teaching, patient, loving Momma to our daughter.

{this weekend at the BBQ festival}

But even though I continued to think of the ways that I bless my husband through my relationship with our daughter, I know that this is not what this particular post is supposed to be about.

I have a confession to make.  I am one of the single only women in blog land who does not have a perfect, easy marriage.  Yes, I hear your gasps of shock and horror.  I know, I know.  Believe me ladies.  I read your blogs, I know that your husbands are all perfect all the time and you never fight.  We, on the other hand, are not always perfect.

We fight.  We make up.  We laugh.  We cry.  We stew.  We dream.  We pout.  We cuddle.  We complain.  We giggle.  We press buttons.  We enjoy each other.

Something that I have learned over the past 15 years of dating him is that all of those things are OK.  It is how you handle the bad times that makes the difference.  The other thing that makes a difference is how you spend your good times.  We have a GOOD time together.

New Orleans
New York
Dressing up and going out

Being silly

I rock my marriage by trying to hold it together when it's bad and by having a freaking ball the rest of the time.  I rock my marriage by enjoying the heck out of life.  I rock my marriage by making my husband laugh.

Come visit me and say hi over at Handling With Grace? I would love to meet you!

Thanks, Jamie! Be sure to check out her blog and if you'd like to be featured on How I Rock My Marriage Mondays, email me!

elffamilyblog at gmail dot com

p.s. If you're new to the blog, missed some of the past HIRMM posts, or 
just want to reminisce, click here to read back through them!

First salon haircut!


So, little man has some hair.  Quite a bit of hair.  It drives E crazy.  Me?  I love it.  It's so soft and perfect.

However, Thad is in a wedding Friday and hubs talked me into getting in cut (and has been pushing for the last two months or so...lol, I can only hold him off so long).  So off we went to the salon this morning.  Now, Thad's had his hair cut three times before, but my mom was the one to do it - so this was his first "real" haircut.

To say I was nervous was an understatement.  It was prior to nap time, but by the time we got through waiting, we were cutting it close (lol, no pun intended).

And here he is...BEFORE.

What the heck is that??!?

He sat so.still.  It was unbelievable.  He didn't move, kick, hit, anything.  Whimpered once or twice, but made it through the whole thing like a champ.  

How stinkin' cute is he?!?
All that said...I cried.  Like a baby.  We left and he was a champ, eating his sucker from the stylist...and I was quivering.  I made it until we got home, put him down for a nap, and then I let the tears spill.


I don't freakin' know.  

He looks so old!  He was my baby - with that hair, he was still a baby.  Without it, he really is a toddler.  I can't handle it.  I miss his little baby face, surrounded by all that shaggy softness.

I'm such a wimp.

Running and playing with my new 'do at Great Grandma's.
Oh, and he's not getting another "real" haircut for a year if I can help it.  Shaggy hair, here we come! ;)

Amateur outtakes 2.


So, I've been MIA.

The hubs is still home! ::squee:: But without pay...BOO.

I've had 5 IEP meetings in the last two weeks.

We hit Menards for flooring, etc. and hope to tackle a shit ton of home projects in the next seven days (please wish us luck...lol).

AND I shot some more amateur photos tonight.  Hub's cousin is getting married "on a budget" and since I'm by no means a professional (and barely even an amateur) I agreed to take photos for free.  Experience for me = pics for them.  Win/Win.

Here's a few outtakes from tonight. 

Have a great weekend folks!

Safe Shepherd Giveaway (Sponsored Post)


So, if you've been hanging around my blog for a little while you may notice the copyright that pops up if you try to right click on my blog.

Why would I do such a thing? Um, because I'm a paranoid freak.  Well, not really, but kind of.  If you remember, I'm a closet a blogger, which means I don't want/need any of my family/friends finding my blog.  (Come on, I need a place to vent about them...lol.)  

Add to that, I teach high school.  And high school boys.  And my high school boys, well, they like to google me.  I would prefer that images/names/etc. of mine don't pop up along with random personal information.  It's bad enough that my facebook profile pic pops up in an image search, I don't need them invading every corner of my lives.  

Oh and I've read those horror stories of women who discover their pic/family pic/baby's pic has wound up on some type of advertising without their knowledge/consent.  I don't wanna be that person.

Enter Safe Shepherd.  

Safe Shepard is a shamazing site that can help you become 
a little less, um, neurotic...like me. ;)

Noah from Safe Shepherd says it best:
"SafeShepherd is a free service to help individuals and families protect their privacy, but...we also offer a premium service for higher security.  

Our SafeShepherd service removes your personal info from people search sites and marketing data bases.  This combats two things: Spam (Marketers who buy your personal info and use it to sell you stuff) and Cyber-Stalking.  

Cyber Stalking is one of the biggest reasons why we reach out to parents and families so that they can keep their kids safe from the unknowable.  While the chances of anything bad happening are very slim, every parent should know that there is a way to easily remove their families and child's info from the internet."
Amen to that.  Seriously.  Blogging is a big risk.  You not only put yourself out there, but as a family blogger, your family too.  It's a bit scary and I'm so thankful that Safe Shepherd is making it so easy to keep my information secure.

The website and service is super easy to navigate and use.  I was amazed at the random records it found.  At less than 20% scanned it had 15 records! 15!  That's insane.  (And some of those were even with my maiden name.)  Creepy if you ask me.

So, if you're like me and don't want your info plastered all over the internet, sign up for Safe Shepherd.  Basic membership is FREE, but if you'd like to upgrade (like I did), you can sign up for a premium membership (by month or by year) OR you can WIN an a PREMIUM membership today!

Safe Shepherd has generously offered to giveaway 

In case you weren't counting, that's 13 winners!  Holy amazeballs batman!

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I've checked out.

17 days.

That's all I have left of this school year.

Actually, with my sister's wedding, I only have 15 days left (thank you personal days).

And I've checked out.  I'm pretty sure I'm worse than the kids.

Add to that, my goal is to be in Texas by July 1.

The house needs to get finished, up for sale, and then get sold.

That's a big fear.  We need the house to sell before we can move.

And we need to sell before I can put notice in.  So while I'll be signing my contract for next year, honestly, (and I can be honest, because it's my blog), my heart isn't in it.  Ever since E left it's been hard, but after our two trips to TX, it's been even worse.

I can't wait to be back together as a family.

Pray for a quick (like very, very quick) sale.