A Working Mom

Being a mom is hard.  Moms are tough and sometimes I feel like I lack that toughness.  I think I experience 8 million emotions in a day. Before I had Lucy I remember having a convo with my mom that went like this:

She said “Candace, you think you love me, you think you love Drew, but you don’t know what love is until you have that precious baby in your arms.” At the time I had no idea what she was talking about.

But oh how right she was.  Of course I love my mom and love my husband but the love I feel for Lucy is completely different.  Sometimes it feels like my heart is literally going to explode from the love and feelings I have for her.  A person I’ve known for 4 months but feels like she should have always been here.

Some mornings I have to make a conscious decision to get up and get her ready for the day.  There are some days that I just want to ignore the fact that I have work and spend the entire day with her.  I love my job.  I love my students and love seeing their sweet smiling faces each morning. I know I am exactly where God wants me but leaving Lucy each day is tough.  Some days are easier and then some days, well they aren’t any fun. I rely on God’s strength, peace and grace daily.

We have become so thankful for our weeknights and weekends. Drew and I cherish those precious moments with Lucy. It is the best feeling to come home from work and know that I get to hang out with her.   However, there are times when I need to be somewhere or we want to go do something and those emotions sneak in (guilt, fear, anxiousness). At times, I feel guilty going to work because I am missing those sweet moments with her: smiles, laughs, rolling over, etc but I also know that the Lord has called me to teaching and that’s what is best for Lucy right now: me to teach.

At times, I feel guilty going somewhere after work without Lucy because again I am missing something. It’s really hard. It’s a component of this mom thing that I never thought about and no one really told me how to deal with it. We try and do as much together as a family as possible but there are times (just to keep us sane and having a healthy marriage) that we need to get out as a couple or with friends and be Candace and Drew. Although I feel like those times are spent with us talking about how we have the most beautiful baby in the world and that we just miss her, wonder what she’s doing, is she ok, etc.

I have seen how a mom’s work is never finished through the amount of things my mom has helped me with.  When I was on bed rest, she drove me to all my appointments, she spent a few nights after Lucy was born here helping and now she brings Lucy to Cincinnati Children’s hospital 3 times a week for me while I am working. I would be so lost without my mom. I am so thankful for the example she has been for me growing up.

Being a new mom is hard. Really hard at times. But it is so so worth it. The first time Lucy looked at me and smiled it was AMAZING. The first time she laughed I could have cried from pure happiness. I am far from being perfect at being a mom and I have no way figured out the balance of being a mom and being Candace but I do know that nothing makes me happier.

And on the tough days, the not so “instagram worthy” days I lean on the Lord for strength and guidance.


Lucy’s Birth Story—-no gross details :)

Well Lucy is 2 months now so I guess I should start blogging/journaling her life. 🙂


Toward the end of my pregnancy, I began to have high blood pressure.  The doctor suggested I sit as much as possible while at work (hello I teach first grade…that’s not possible).  I began having to take my blood pressure while at work and before going to bed.  My BP continued to stay in a hypertension range and eventually I was put on bed rest.  With that decision, my pregnancy became “high risk”.  I began going to the dr weekly and having a NST (non-stress test) twice a week.  Thankfully, at each appointment and NST Lucy looked healthy and happy.  However, my BP continued to stay high and they began to be concerned that Lucy was getting “too big”.  At a 36 week ultra sound, her head was measuring 41 weeks.  I began to slightly panic and ask the ultra sound tech how accurate that measurement was and she brushed it off saying on it could be a week behind or ahead.  My first thought was this child can not already be measuring 41 weeks with 4 weeks to go…she is never going to come out?!? At my next dr appt, my dr talked to me about delivery options but was still optimistic that a c-section would be the last option.  He predicted Lucy to be around 9 pounds. We then set my induction date for May 12th, exactly a week before my original due date of May 18th.  Drew and I were so excited to see an end in sight and know we would soon meet our little girl.  However, it did not stop me from spending countless hours on a excerise ball hopping up and down hoping to induce labor myself.  

The morning of May 12th I woke up, showered, and we were out the door by 6:15.  My parents and sister met us in the hospital parking garage and walked with us to Labor and Delivery.  I was a big ball of nerves.  We checked in and they showed us to our room.  HOLY COW! We seemed to have the largest room in the hospital.  I was uber impressed and began to get more and more anxious.  By 7:00, we had met my two nurses and began doing blood work and an IV.  Things were moving more quickly than I imagined and I began to feel lite headed and yuck.  The nurse came in and decreased my fluids a bit and by 8:00 began the pitocin.  


I am not going to lie.  I had been preparing for this moment for the past few weeks by watching 16 and Pregnant.  When you are on bed rest and don’t have cable, you eventually run out of things to do and I thought this may prepare me better for labor, if these girls can do it so can I.  About two hours after getting the pitocin drop, I was feeling some contractions but they were manageable and not too terrible.  I began to get confident and think those girls were just being dramatic, this is nothing. Soon my thoughts changed 🙂 Around 10, my dr came in and asked if I wanted to have my water broken. I’m sorry aren’t you the dr?? shouldn’t you be telling me “ok its time to break your water”. Obviously don’t give me a choice in the matter! I told him to do whatever he thought was best and then he proceeded to tell me he wasn’t sure when he would be back to do it so lets do it now.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but again thinking about the show I had been watching I was expecting the worse.  It wasn’t my favorite experience but I did begin to feel more contractions.  I also was under the impression that your water broke once and then it was over. UMMMM NO! It continues to happen. It was so uncomfortable and with a room of family I was not loving it.  

About 30 minutes later, the contractions were beginning to strengthen and I was beginning to use some of the breathing techniques we had learned in our class. By 12 I was over the breathing and asking for the good stuff AKA epidural time! The nurses responded with “Well if you get an epidural then you are committed to having this baby today.” ummmmm hold up lady! I am laying in a hospital gown, connected to a few different tubes, my water is broken and continuing to leak (sorry for the image) and I am having contractions….yes I am committed…My mom pointed out to the nurse that my water had been broken so I was pretty much ready to commit to this haha The nurse then admitted that she had forgotten my water had been broken and she would call the appropriate people for the good stuff.  I was so relieved but also a bit nervous because I had read that epidurals can slow down the labor process.  Thankfully this was not the case for me.  After my epidural, I was able to relax and my body began to do its thing. By 3:00, I was fully dilated and the nurse said I was ready to push but the dr was currently delivery other ladies so I would need to wait. 


They moved my bed so it was almost vertical. The nurses explained to us that it helps move the baby down into a better birthing position. I sat like that for about 2 hours and then decided I should maybe nap while I was waiting. My family all said good-bye and my dad prayed over Drew and I. It was one of my favorite parts of the entire experience. I slept for about 30 minutes and around 6 my nurses came in to tell me it was almost my turn.


At 630,we began the pushing process. Again, tv shows and movies do not prepare you at all!! I never realized how much work the pushing process would be. I pushed on and off for three hours. We would wait for a contraction, count, begin to push and then wait for the next contraction. A few times the nurse would tell me to “sit this one out” so that I could rest for the next contraction. After each push, I was “rewarded” with an ice chip from either my mom or Drew. After pushing for about 2 hours, I began to run a fever and the dr became considered that Lucy needed to come out quickly. When I heard him discuss this with my nurse, I began to assure them that I felt fine. However, I did not. I was dizzy, lite headed and achy. But I was not wanting to push for so long only to have to do a c-section. Around 9:00, I began to get discouraged but thankfully Drew and my mom were encouraging and forceful. They were not going to let me give up. At 9:30, we met our precious baby girl!!!! So thankful for God’s blessing and strengthen!


Lucy Jane Clayton was born at 9:30 weighing 7 pounds 8 ounces and 20 inches long.



Exciting News!

It has been forever!!! SERIOUSLY! Forever since I’ve blogged. I almost couldn’t remember my log in info. No good. So lots has been happening in the Clayton household recently!


Drew and I feel beyond blessed that God has chosen to give us a sweet baby.  We had been praying about this little miracle for a few months and I was SHOCKED when I took that pregnancy test.  I actually was just bored one night and decided to try one.  Drew was watching the Reds game and it took a lot of convincing to get him off the couch.  We both almost didn’t believe it! Actually I didn’t believe the test and called my mom to come over. 🙂 Moms are the best! (And I get to be one!) She came over and slightly confirmed the test but she still was unsure. After going to the doctor, we got the confirmation we needed to finally feel like we could celebrate! We are so excited.  God has already taught me so much through this journey.  Every time we go to the doctor I am amazed at how awesome God is.  We heard a heartbeat of a baby that was only 8 weeks old.  I saw a picture of a tiny baby.  This baby is developing and can already do so much at 14 weeks.  I just continue to be in awe of how Mighty my God is. 

I’ve learned to be content and confident in God’s plan for my life.  

I hope to keep my pregnancy updated here! oh and we refer to our sweet joy as bunny. love love love

PS I also have had the best husband during this 14 weeks (well he was already the best but he has been the best, best…he just came in with a milkshake. yum)

Classroom Tour

Hooray for it being September! I am loving that my kids are getting into a routine and slowly understanding the expectations.  It’s been a pleasant change from the craziness of the first week of schools. 


While I was at Disney World, they had a station that you could fill up a Mr. Potato Head and a box for just $20.  My wonderful husband helped me stuff that box and potato head as full as we could get it. I definitely got my money’s worth! Whooo!!!  Each time the class receives a compliment from a staff member they choose a piece for our potato head.  When Mr. potato Head is fully assembled, the class will receive a party! They have worked so hard and loved it! 


On my back wall of cabinets, I’ve posted our weekly learning targets. It is near our class meeting area so it is easy to reference to the students during whole group lessons.



I love CHEVRON! (obviously) I use these handy file folders to organize weekly copies, important papers, papers to file/grade.  I’ve used folders like this for the past 3 years and love them!


This is my small group area.  Yes that is a fanny pack hanging from my file cabinet.  I purchased it for our Disney trip but it has been a great addition to my recess procedues. I can easily keep my bell, sun glasses, bandaids, tissues, and my cell phone.  Who cares if I look like a tourist?!? haha


This is my Book Nook/ Daily 5 board. I am implementing small portions of Daily 5 in my classroom but hoping to move to the entire program in the next few months. I have split my students into groups and each day they will work at their center spot. We only have about 20 minutes so we won’t be changing centers during that time. 


Love my color posters!


I am obsessed with chevron and also pinterest/ Teacher Pay Teacher posters.  I spent a pretty penny at Staples printing super cute posters in color ink. haha BUT I love them!


Last but not least… My husband ordered curtains for me from Sassy Steals but I definitely need another one because this does not fit properly. Oh and my awesome coworker helped with the hanging process.Image

Five For Friday Linky Party



I linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for this Five for Friday!

1.  My students are finally getting in the hang of this school thing! Hooray!!! I have loved Apples and ABC’s Beginning Sounds Printable.  We have been reviewing letter names and sounds and doing a few pages each day. They are able to work independently which is AMAZING!

2. My husband started a new job this month and this has been our first week with us both working 40 hours.  It’s a new thing for us since his old job allowed him to be home by 4 but we are adjusting well.  I am very blessed.

3.  I started a Chronological Bible Study and I am LOVING it! I am so thankful for God’s many blessings and promises.  It’s amazing to read throughout the Old Testament and see his constant provisions. I can be confident in His love for me and His promises.

4. Um so N*SYNC may be reuniting on Sunday! I am BEYOND PUMPED! I will be attending a viewing party and may even have a N*SYNC shirt on.  Whoot Whoot!

5. We currently have very few plans this weekend and I am so excited about that.  


With school starting, I need to find a new balance and start blogging again.  I’ve been trying out a few new recipes too and will definitely get those up soon!

Have a great weekend!


Classroom Decor

so thankful for my family! My wonderful sister came with me to my classroom today to help with a few projects! We were able to get a lot done and spend some great time together.  

My classroom has two large windows and I am addicted to natural sunlight so I ALWAYS have my blinds open even though my classroom overlooks the playground.  (My students and I adjust to the busy schedule of the playground) I’ve always wanted to have cute curtains but I haven’t made them so I decided to make some pendants and create a banner.  

I went to Jo-Ann fabrics and found the CUTEST scrapbook paper.  I used the paper to cute out large triangles and small triangles.  The larger banner will go over my windows and I plan to put the smaller one over my door. I’m in LOVE with the scrapbook paper and it is what I planned my classroom colors around.  

I used ribbon and super duper special tape from the Parent Teacher Store to tape the ribbon to the back of the pendants to hang on the wall.  I think it turned out soooo cute!



Hello! It’s been FOREVER since I’ve blogged!! I think I was on a serious vacation this summer with minimal cooking, thinking, writing, and anything that required too much energy.

As school is approaching, I have given more thought to the school year and started making my annual “to do” and “to create” lists.  I (and along with friends and family) dedicated today to making my number one thing on my list “seats for my small group table”.

The day started with church and then lunch with my sisters and my best friend Whitney.  We ate at Panda Express. LOVED the orange chicken and white fried rice.  We then went to Walmart where I bought my pink crates for $3.97 each.  I picked up 5 of them.  I also got a twin mattress pad to use for the padding on my seats.



We then went to Home Depot.  I brought in one of my crates and found a nice employee to measure some wood.  Of course, the man already knew I was a teacher, planning to make a seat, and needed between 5-8 pieces of wood cut.  He asked “Where is everyone getting this idea from?” I said, “pinterest”.  He then said, “I’ve heard that word a lot lately”. haha My sweet Whitney took a pic of me discussing my plans with the nice man. He also worked it out that I could use scrap wood so it was only 51 cents for each piece! I left spending $3.85 (we had to add M&Ms to our order)



Our next stop was Jo-Ann fabrics.  I have to emphasize that it is still myself, my two sisters, and Whitney.  They were troopers going around town with me! I found two different chevron fabrics that I liked and got 2 yards in one color and 1 yard in the other. I also used their app to receive 25% off my entire purchase. whooot!

My husband was golfing so I recruited my mom and (eventually my dad) to creating my chairs.  We started by measuring and cutting down the mattress pad. It was a bit tricker than we anticipated.  I used adhesive spray glue to glue the pad to the pieces of wood.



I chose to use two pieces of mattress pad for each seat.  I had to make it super comfy for my sweet firsties!

My mom then measured out my fabric and then we hit a road block.  My dad’s stapler gun was not working so my SWEET dad went and bought a new staple gun! He is the best and took good care of me! I put the pad side down on the fabric and began stapling one side to the wood.  Once one side is stapled down then we pulled tight on the other side and began to staple it.  For the sides, we tried to wrap it like a present (didn’t always go as planned).



I used a ribbon to create a hook to easily pull up the seat to add items into the crate for storage.



My awesome parents helping me!!

And the final project!



I’m pleased with the final project! I am revamping my “Book Nook” time for this year and these will be great seats for students to read independently while I pull students to read with me.

Potatoes and Pizza



I made these simple, quick potatoes last night for dinner.  My husband invited friends over to watch the big game so we did Hawaiian Kabobs and roasted potatoes. yum! One particular friend was so grateful that he unloaded the dishwasher for me. love it.

Roasted Potatoes

red potatoes

Italian dressing mix

Mozzarella cheese

Salt, Pepper

Olive Oil

1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

2. Wash the potatoes and the best part… leave the skin on! Whooo!!

3.  Drizzle the olive oil and Italian dressing mix packet over the potatoes.

4. Salt and Pepper to taste.

4. Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Take the potatoes out of the oven and throw the shredded Mozzarella cheese on the potatoes.  Place the potatoes back in the oven for about 5-7 minutes.




Friends of ours just had their first baby.  A sweet baby girl! She is prefect! Our group of friends used http://www.takethemameal.com to sign up to provide meals.  I LOVE the website.  If you haven’t heard of it, you should totally look it up! Anyways… we signed up so I decided to make this Buffalo Chicken Pizza and because it was so easy to make I made one for Drew and I too.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Pillsbury Pizza dough

chicken (cooked, my husband grilled ours with a hot sauce marinate)

Hot Wings Sauce

Ranch Dressing

Cheddar Cheese

Green Onions

Olive Oil

1. Preheat the oven to the desired temperature on the pizza dough package. Roll out the dough and drizzle some olive oil on the dough.  Bake the dough for 5-7 minutes.

2. After 7 minutes, take the pizza out of the oven and use a mixture of ranch dressing and hot wings sauce to create the sauce for the pizza.  Spread the sauce on the dough.

3. Now create your pizza! Place the chicken, cheese, and green onions.  Bake for the remaining time. 10-12 minutes or so. Enjoy!

I served this along side a salad. It was delicious and simple!