Monday, August 31, 2020

Piper's First Day of (Remote) Kindergarten

Happy Monday, everyone! It's been a little while since I've checked in and that would be because school has started up! This past week we have been creating and settling into some new routines. 

Last week, I wrapped up everything for my job before handing in my laptop and such. Today officially begins my first week of being a stay at home mom, again. For more on that, you can read my post: Everything is Changing | Stay at Home Mom x2

For multiple reasons (providing consistency during a pandemic being a large part) we have decided to start the new adventure of schooling Piper from home this school year. Piper started remote Kindergarten last Tuesday and it's going much better than I anticipated!

Piper had the chance to meet her teacher in-person the day before school officially started, which was really nice. We were given a ChromeBook during our visit along with all of the paper assignments and materials needed for the first 30-45 days of school.

Piper receives pre-recorded video lessons from her teacher 5 days/week for English and Math. As her learning coach, I am with her during all of her lessons and I help facilitate her written assignments. 

Before school started, I was worried Piper might fall behind in doing remote learning but, from the material we're covering that will certainly not be the case. She has been learning and applying so many new things already. It's so exciting to witness and facilitate. I feel very blessed to see a side of Piper that would usually be reserved for her teacher at school.

As we settle into our new routine, I'll be happy to share our current schedule and how we're making it all work. More to come on this new learning adventure, soon!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Piper's 5th Birthday Party at Chuck E. Cheese

This is definitely considered a throwback post since Piper's birthday party happened SEVEN months ago! I can't believe I never shared about Piper's birthday party this past winter. I love sharing these memories for our future-selves to look back on, so I decided not to wait another day!

A few months prior to the mere thought of a world-wide pandemic, when life as we knew it was normal, we gathered some friends and family at Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate Piper's 5th Birthday!


This video and these photos serve as such sweet memories, even more-so now that we know we will not be able to gather with friends and family in this way anytime soon.

We were all blessed with a fun-filled celebration for Piper's 5th Birthday!
We are so proud of our 5 year old!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Everything is Changing | Stay-At-Home Mom x2

Hey, everyone! How has August been treating you? August has begun a season of big changes for my family! This is a good time to remind myself and others that not all change is bad.

At the beginning of August, I was told that our church site would be combining with the main campus and my role as Site Admin would be dissolving, along with the Site Pastor and Worship Leader. At the end of the month, I will no longer be employed by our church. The COVID-19 Pandemic has taken it's toll in many ways and this has been one of the greatest impacts to my family, personally. I also recognize the great impact it will have on the community, as well.

First of all, we already miss our church family! None of us knew that the last time we gathered together in our building would be for the last time. However, we know more than anyone that the church is more than a building and, it's really the people and the opportunity to reach more of them in the community that we will miss the most. Since I am pregnant and will be welcoming a baby late Fall (height of cold and flu season), I was not planning on attending many more in-person gatherings for quite some time, however, once we are ready to attend in-person gatherings more routinely again, it is our intention to join gatherings at the main campus for our church. We were already driving about 15 minutes to attend services at our site. Main campus will add about 10 minutes to our commute.

As for my role with the church, I absolutely will miss it. I will miss the great influence from all those I worked alongside. I will miss being able to use and expand my giftings in that role. I will miss being used by God in that way, specifically.

God has been so good to me! He has prepared my heart for this special transition from working to being a stay at home mom (again). Earlier this summer, I began praying for God to give me direction in what this next season was going to look like for my family. First, we asked God to give us direction in whether or not we should send Piper to school, or school Piper from home. After some time, a lot of tears and debates, I felt at peace with the choice to school Piper from home this Fall. Thank you, God! What I didn't know, was how I was going to to do it all. 

Next, I prayed for some direction in how I was going to make it all work. How was I going to continue to work in my role, become a teacher for Piper and, welcome a new baby all at the same time? Over the course of a few weeks, God opened my heart to the possibility of needing to take a season away from work, or the possibility of needing to reduce hours. He didn't give me an answer at the time, except for the direction to prepare and wait. So, I did. When the news came that I would not be working in my role at the end of the month, I felt a sense of peace. This was the direction that I had been praying for! Thank you, God!

Trust me when I say, this isn't what I wanted. What I wanted was for there not to be a pandemic. I wanted to be sending my 5 year old off to kindergarten as normal this school year. I wanted to continue working in this role with the church. I wanted to keep going to our church every Sunday as usual. I wanted to welcome our baby into our family this Fall without coming up with plans that involve quarantining our family before and after birth. This isn't what I wanted at all, but I can trust that God is sovereign and that He is working everything for our good and His glory. He is redeemer.

I feel incredibly blessed to be able to have the opportunity and ability to stay at home with my children; to keep them safe at home during this season. Not everyone has the option to school their child from home and even though it wasn't my first choice, given the circumstances it is the best choice for us right now. I am so grateful to be given this discernment and the ability to make it all happen, with God's grace and direction.

I also feel so incredibly blessed by our church, and leadership. They have met us exactly where we are, with such grace, love and generosity. I know that not everyone gets the opportunity to work for their church, and so it may be hard to imagine but, it truly was the best place to work. I will miss being poured into by such wise, kind and supportive people while working alongside them.

So, in a just a couple more weeks... here goes stay-at-home mom life, take 2!

Friday, August 7, 2020

My Meal Planning Process

Back when I was working on trying to lose weight, I consistently did one thing that helped contribute to my success. That one thing was meal planning! Even though I am not trying to lose weight right now (weight-loss on hold during pregnancy), I find such a value in meal planning. It helps me to stay on track with my financial budget and helps us to reduce food waste. I also just love to have a plan to follow!

Over the years, I have tried a few different processes for meal planning, and my current rhythm has been my favorite! 

Friday: meal plan and make a grocery list
Saturday: grocery shop
Sunday: meal prep anything that needs prepped for the week

Spreading the process out over the course of a few days helps me to go at a comfortable, sustainable pace. It makes it more enjoyable, too!

Since it's Friday, I figured I would share my meal planning for next week:

Breakfast Options:
- Avocado Toast + Bacon
- Egg, Bacon + Cheese Burritos

Lunch Options:
- Salads
- Chicken Salad Sandwiches
- Leftovers

Dinner Menu:
Friday: Marry Me Chicken + Twice Baked Potatoes
Saturday: Buffalo Chicken Salads
Sunday: Spaghetti Squash + Meatballs w/ Garlic Knots
Monday: Lettuce-Wrapped Burgers + Corn
Tuesday: Burrito Bowls
Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Salads
Thursday: Homemade Sesame Chicken + Vegetables + Rice
Friday: Homemade Pizzas

Here's a peak at what our homemade pizza looks like - we love them!

Hope this helps you in your meal planning!