Friday, December 20, 2013

2013: A Year in Review

Dear Friends and Family,

     What a year for our little family! So much has happened! In early spring, Jared graduated from Indiana University with honors with a degree in Biology. He then was accepted in to the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the University of Tennessee Memphis Health and Science Center. We moved to Memphis, Tennessee  July 1st, and we've enjoyed it thus far! There's a children's museum,  a great zoo, and a really cool park we go to often. After living in a tiny apartment for about five months, Jared had the idea of buying a house! So, in a matter of a month, we found, purchased, and moved into our first home! It was a wild, and huge choice, but we are loving it. So what's been going on with our family?

     Jared? Well! He's been one busy guy! He graduated from IU and is so busy being a student at UTHSC. He usually is gone about 12 hours a day with school and studying. He recently rushed with the Phi Delta Chi fraternity and will pledge in January. Something out of his comfort zone, but so good for him. He also joined the Association of Student Pharmacists. He's been very involved with school, and is enjoying it... Most of the time. : )

    Joel is being such a boy. He's growing up very very fast lately! This year, he enjoyed playing with Elijah (a friend from South Bend), learning to tell time, learning how to be a friend to his sister, moving to a big house, learning how to cook with mom, baking, learning responsibility with feeding the animals, and running in our back yard. He loves to play dress up and cars. Recently, he's been very interested how the human body works. What is a digestive system? What does a brain do? Why do we need skin? Questions like these happen all the time! He's a very curious little guy. He still says Grady is his best friend.

     Evie is still little miss spunk. She's into everything. Dumps everything out. She's such a sneak about it! Evie has really enjoyed the Zoo, finding a new friend everywhere she goes, shopping with mommy, painting and drawing. She's also into coloring and drawing. She carries a note pad around and "takes notes". She's not a physical kid. Mostly snuggling, and playing indoors. She sings CONSTANTLY! She's not into baby dolls, but is into stuffed animals. She continues to say Kate is her best friend.

     I'm FINALLY a stay at home mom again. It was a long year working! I was so sad to have to quit my job I had before we moved, but I'm loving being with my babies. I recently finished my testing to become a  Nationally Certified Child Development Associate. It took a year in the making, and a three separate tests, but it's done! I now am working on our playroom (with the help of Jared) to have our house be state licensed so i can stay home with my kids, and work with kids as well. I'm excited. I also have been called as PRIMARY PRESIDENT! What the heck is that all about!? This is going to be a crazy calling.

     I'd like to say that WE got a dog, but she's really mine. Piper is an American Dingo and she is MY dog. She follows me around the house. She's really great with the kids and has never been aggressive toward them. Even when Evie dresses her up in dress up clothes! She is seriously the best dog ever!

     We've been really blessed this year. A great school, great kids, great house, great family! Maybe in the next year we'll have an announcement for ya. :) but not yet!

The Toney Family

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Story

Yesterday marked my final day as a working mother. Although I may not know if I'll have to work again in the near future, this past year has taught me so much. I'll start first with "My Story".

In January of 2012, Jared and I had a long talk about whether or not I should go back to work. We were struggling financially, borrowing a lot of money from my parents and were plain, just not making it. I called around to the only place I really knew. A local chain called Growing Kids Learning Center. I interviewed and accepted a position as an Infants teacher. I trained in a room with two women. One of whom i would be replacing, and the other my soon to be co-teacher. I jumped in with two feet. I knew the company and most of it's policies (I had worked for Growing Kids at a different location after high school while pregnant with Joel.) and i may or may not have been a bit of a "know it all". I did not come in as humble as i should have.  After one week, a large group of staff decided to stop talking to me. My soon to be co-teacher was among them. The Friday finalizing my last training day, my future co-teacher refused to be in the room with me. I was told by the women i was replacing that no one liked me and they were going to get me "out". I basically had to pull up my big girl panties and say, "I'm not here for you. I'm hear to support my family." I hated going to work everyday. My one saving grace is i loved those babies in my room like they were my own. I wanted to go to work to be with them. Not the women i worked with.

 Shortly into my work year, the company provided an opportunity for it's staff to take a course to become a Child Development Associate or CDA. I wanted to be a part of expanding my knowledge in early childhood so i signed up for the course. There I met Beckey Thompson. I had no idea how this woman would change my life. She loved our small group of women that met together weekly. She was inspirational, she was loving, she was understanding, and she was the example of "if you don't help them, no one will". She helped me culitvate my love of working with infants. I grew such a respect for her that i trusted her with information regarding my employment. I shared the good and bad. She was one of my inspirations to rise above the utter crap

Because i shared my experiences with Beckey, she knew i was unhappy in my work place. I went to her crying about a situation and she told me, "Get out of that place. Your family deserves better." And that moment I knew something had to change. Lucky for me, it happened to fall in my lap. Beckey had a friend who was opening a new infant and toddler center. I interviewed for the job and to my surprise, i got it!

In December of 2012,  i began my journey at Discoveries Infant and Toddler Center with Jennifer Long. She gave up her life savings to do her dream of opening a childcare after losing her job. Jennifer had just had a baby and wanted to build the best environment for her child so she created a small, infant and toddler only, childcare program. After working with Jennifer for only a short time, i grew an immense amount of respect for the knowledge and passion she had working with children. Everything Jennifer does at Discoveries is for the benefit of the children and staff. Childcare is her passion and she encourages and supports her staff to feel the same. Miss Cynthia was hired as the toddler teacher  and i could not have asked for a better co worker. She worked with Evie in the toddler room and Cynthia treated her with respect and love. I can speak no ill of Cynthia.

Now we come to the present. Now we come to where my work journey ends. I submitted my resignation. I quit the only job I would be happy to stay in for the rest of  my days. I know there was a reason I had to work for Growing Kids. As terrible of and experience it was emotionally, I had to in order to meet Beckey. I had to meet Beckey, so i could meet Jennifer. I had to meet Jennifer to continue to inspire my knowledge and passion for working with infants. I had to do this to become thankful for my family.

Now, this is only the cliffs notes. This is only the logistics of my story. I have so many more successes and trials mixed in here. But i guess those are for me. Those are for my growth. I just needed to write down what happened so i can remember.

I can't forget.