It's that time of year again and it can't be avoided any longer. The back to school commercials are chipper, Target's seasonal decorations scream SCHOOL!, parents are excited, and teachers are full of many emotions.
I'm feeling especially sentimental tonight and can't help but feel grateful for this summer in particular. I have felt so at peace and so creative this summer. I've checked off so many personal bucket list items: start a blog, learn to cook, and spend time with family and friends. Those things seem very simple but for a busy teacher, they also often seem impossible.
So, in thinking about this glorious summer, I've realized that the biggest lesson I have learned has come from a toddler...
Specifically, this toddler. Meet Millie. She's 3 years old and I call her my niece. I realize she isn't the true definition of a niece. She is not my sister's daughter. She is my cousin's daughter. But with our moms being identical twins, we've spent our lives growing up together and we share half of our genetics. So she's my niece.
This past week, I spent some time with my Mil. Tomorrow, as I go back to work, she gains a little sister! Being a big sister can be difficult. You go from having all the attention to suddenly having to share. So Millie and I had a Big Sister Day at the zoo. We had a blast looking at the tigers, lemurs, and big cats. Millie, naturally, as a toddler, was more interested in the chickens and the goats and when I asked her what animal she liked the most she told me she loved "the fishes!" This made me laugh because well, we didn't actually SEE any fishes. But I digress... one thing that we love to complain about when it comes to toddlers is that they are STUBBORN! Millie is no exception! When I got to her house to pick her up, she didn't want to go. When we were leaving the zoo, she didn't want to leave. When we got to my parent's house, she wanted to stay all night long.
That's the beauty of being a toddler though. Millie is so content where she is in the moment that she can't imagine she could have fun anywhere else. So often, I've wasted hours of my life wanting to be somewhere else, never feeling content enough where I was. We've got to start living a little more like toddlers (minus the uncontrollable tantrums...)
So summer is over and we've come full circle on the tour of the world in my own little kitchen. We started with delicious Mexican food - cilantro lime lettuce wraps, steak burrito bowls, and authentic Spanish rice.
For my last hurrah before we head back to school, I fixed up a lovely Mexican Fiesta for my friend Sara! So turn on some fabulous Selena music (not Gomez), and cook up some Teriyaki Chicken Tacos with a Grilled Pineapple and Pear Salsa!