Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Babies,Nursing, and Breast Pumps, oh my! Win a $50 gift card

**This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal, with a prize of a gift certificate**

Bentley is not even 2 yet, and I'm having a little, maybe a lot of, baby fever. Perhaps it's because he's been such an independently un-baby baby, perhaps it's because when Fynn was his age we decided that we were going to start trying for a second (and 6 weeks later found out I was pregnant!), it could also because a woman I work with is about to pop any day and I'm feeling a little jelly belly about her adorable belly and the excitement of it all, but really, it's probably because Bentley stopped nursing about 2 months ago so I officially feel like I no longer have a baby. (and no, I don't plan on having another one any time soon!) 

For me, the weaning phase seems to be the end of thinking of my child as a baby anymore. It just seems so big, so grown up, so toddler/big kid. Such an ending. Not that we weren't ready. In September, I knew the end was near when we were just nursing before sleep. So when we had back to back weekends where the kids spent the night at grandparents' houses (yay for birthday getaway weekends and early morning half marathon races... I guess), it wasn't a surprise that Bentley lost interest in nursing after that and we just seamlessly stopped. It was a good ending, but it was a little sad.
Some of my pumping supplies that were such
a part of daily life for almost 20 months

My life for the last 4 1/2 years has revolved around either being pregnant or nursing. So it's weird not to be thinking about what the best hand breast pump is or how many ounces of expressed milk I needed to have stashed in the freezer... come to think of it, I think I still have 8-10 oz left. I digress. As usual.

The point of all this rambling is that we're done. Nursing that is. And while I'm relieved to have my body to myself (oh what a wonderful feeling that is!), It's also a little of a let down, because nursing was our snuggle time, and now that we're done, there are far fewer snuggle-fests then I would like. I also now have to worry about whether he's getting enough to eat which I never worry about when nursing because of all the benefits of breastfeeding past infancy and the reassurance that he was getting his calories from somewhere. B's pediatrician had us all worried for a few months because he had "fallen off the grown charts", but he's gaining well, super smart, and breastfed (or formally breastfed) babies tend to have slightly different growth charts than their formula fed peers, so I'm not worried.

Now, for the fun part. A giveaway! Because it's been way too long since I've hosted on and it's about time to share. The prize? Glad you asked. It's for a $50 gift card which just about everyone can use at this time of the year- because Christmas is expensive yo, even when you swear it's going to be a low-key, not going overboard, kind of Christmas... yeah, right. So enter it up in the Rafflecopter below by commenting, sharing, and visiting me on Facebook.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 16, 2016

Life as a librarian

Forever ago I wrote about my job change for this year. I went from being a 5th grade classroom teacher to a 6th-8th grade library/media specialist. Since then, I haven't really blogged much, but things have been a roller coaster of crazy life.

Being a librarian is everything and nothing like I thought it would be. I'm in love with the books. Reading them, talking to kids about them, recommending them- it's everything I've ever loved. I also teach a reading group four mornings a week which I enjoy (but don't love) and teach a daily digital citizenship class for 6th graders that has been a ton of work and equally rewarding. I'm creating the curriculum, designing the lessons, and working with students for 6-8 weeks to develop their concept of online safety, communication, and research skills. This is the part of the job I love as it combines teaching and technology in a way that has been very rewarding for me, I only wish I had more time with each group! 

Aside from my daily teaching though, I do find the library to be a bit isolating. While I see lots of people throughout the day, most of my interactions are quick and I don't feel like I'm developing the relationships with staff and students that I want. It's gotten better as the year has progressed, but I still don't feel like a part of the school community--which is hard to feel after 5 years in my last school feeling like I played a large role. 

That said, I wouldn't change a thing. Our mornings are hectic as I have to be out the door by 6:35 which leaves Drew to do the last minute prep before getting the kids and himself out the door by 7. But, I'm also out of work at 2 most days which gives me time to walk the dogs, workout, and shower before picking the kids up on daycare days or go for a run before heading home on the days where my mom/mother in law watch the kids. Being able to fit in workouts on a more regular basis has been huge for my sanity, especially with the crazy hecticness of the preschooler, the toddler, the dog, and the puppy.

While the schedule has been good, there are other things about my new school that I'm loving. For one, I can't beat the 12 minutes commute. Way less time in the car, way more time with the kids (most days that's a good thing). Then there's the administration of this school- I have never before felt so supported by and encouraged by my bosses. The priority is always what's best for everyone, and people will bend over backwards to make that happen here. 

My favorite thing so far has been the book fair that I planned and ran last week. I loved advertising, drumming up interest, setting up displays, and selling books. Even better? It was majorly successful and the money raised means I get to buy more books for the library. Amazing and super satisfying. 

I'm not sure if the library is my forever home, but I am glad I took the leap of  faith and came to this new school.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Why I let my 4 year old dress herself

"How long have you let her dress herself?"

or

Rainbow pattern nightgown, heart pattern pants,
reindeer antlers (this was in October)
- worn to several stores and a playground
"Interesting outfit choice" 

or

"she's definitely a free spirit"

I hear these a lot in many variations, but all with the same underlying question why do I let her dress herself?

Not going to lie. Sometimes her outfit choices lead to funny looks. Like the time we went to the mall (in July) and people kept giving us funny looks or staring at us. About an hour in I realized the was wearing bunny ears. I was so used to it, that I didn't even notice.

Jean skort, pj top, my sweater- Worn in November
There are times that she rocks nightgowns as daywear and dressy dresses to go for a walk. Some outfits majorly  clash, or involve multiple layers. She may accessorize with fairy wings, bunny ears, or giant flower headbands. She may wear winter boots in the summer and crocs with socks in November.

Why do we let this happen? So glad you asked:



1) It makes her happy-enough said

Not bad, just an interesting accessory choice.
2) Who does it hurt? Yes, it can be mildly embarrassing to hold hands with an apparent hobo-child while out shopping, but otherwise its a harmless situation

3) It's entertaining. The looks alone make me laugh, but also seeing her bound down the stairs in the day's selection makes me grin.

4) She dresses herself without fighting- if you have or have had a preschooler, you know what a big deal this is. Most of the time, Fynn gets up in the morning, dresses herself and is ready to go without a word from Drew or me. I call that a parenting win. Lately this has been harder with the cold weather and some sensory issue flair ups, but letting her control as much as possible has minimized the battles
Paisley dress, puppy-print flannel pj pants and
a leaf pattern headband -worn to a neighbor's house

5) The sensory issues- she has them. They're exhausting. One major reason why we let her choose is because if she picks it, then it feels "right" on that day which means a lot of meltdowns and crying prevented. 

6) She gets bossed around enough. We tell her when to eat or go to bed. We tell her how to behave and what words she can and can not say (aka, don't repeat anything mommy and daddy say when they're upset)... this is one area where she gets to call the shots. As long as it's weather and situation appropriate, I'm cool with what she decides to wear.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Most of my Christmas shopping is being done online. Because I hate people

Every year I have the great intention of starting Christmas shopping early. In August Drew and I are always "we should start now with some little stuff, just to get going" and then December 1st we're all "crap, wth happened?"

Every. Single. Year.

Last year we joined Amazon Prime because we were so late getting started and we didn't have time to go to the stores and wander around with no ideas. That was awesome. Also we both hate crowds and stores at Christmas time are the anxiety-filled clusters that make me want to become an Alaskan homesteader... except without that cold Alaska piece. 

This year UncommonGoods contacted me for a sponsored post which at least got me thinking about Christmas gifts a little earlier AND I found some awesome personalized gifts on their site that are perfect for a couple of hard to shop for family members. 

That was awesome, and at least got a few gifts out of the way before December hit.  Of course, then I found all kinds of stuff I want, especially the items you can customize because I'm a sucker for personalized gifts-if it can say my name on it, I want it. If it doesn't say my name on it, then I like things like this sweet key holder that can come in the state of your choice. Maybe I would actually be able to find my keys if I got this...nope, probably not. 1) I'd never remember to put my keys there and 2) my behemoth set of everykeyintheworld would never stay no matter how hardcore the magnet is. 

Aside from their awesome product choices, I can totally stand behind their commitment to sustainability and being a positive and rewarding place to work. Check out their commitment to customers, employees, and communities here

I loved my experience working with UncommonGoods and will absolutely keep them in mind for future gifts. I'm also glad their opportunity came when it did because it's December 11th and we're 3/4 of the way through our Christmas shopping which is an unprecedented accomplishment for us. A little more online shopping and maybe (maybe) one journey out into the big bad world of real-life stores and we can call this Christmas shopping a wrap... except for all the wrapping that will ensue. 

I am curious though... all these people who are done before December or at least early in the month, how do you do it? How do you plan what to buy and actually buy it? Teach me your secrets because the stress of gift buying every year wears me out. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

When you love your job, and then you leave it.

I loved the last 5 years as a 5th grade teacher. When I was offered this job budget cuts and a summer of anxious job hunting, I was nervous, but it ended up being the best thing that could have every happened to me. Teaching 5th grade was incredible. My teaching partners became two of the best friends I've ever had, and I became a pretty awesome teacher. This job made me into the teacher and person I am now, and I'm forever going to be thankful for all it brought to my life (can you tell that the rose-colored glasses of hindsight have already set in?). No, it was not all sunshine and daisies. There were plenty of times where the job was miserable and I was frustrated, and the thought of doing it for the next 30 years was unimaginable. But it was my world. It was what I knew. I loved my kids, I love what I did... but I didn't love the commute. 

Ever since we moved in November of 2014, I had been commuting 45 minutes each way. Add in daycare and that was about 2 hours a day being spent in the car. 2 hours that I was missing with the kids. It meant getting up early. Getting home when it was dark out and never feeling like there was enough time for everything. A year and a half of that had taken it's toll. So last spring I went to my administrators, told them I was going to be looking for something closer to home, and asked for their letters of recommendation. After applications, interviews, and being ::this:: close... I didn't get any of the 4th-6th grade teaching positions I applied for (4 in all). So at the beginning of August I was prepared and even excited for another year of 5th grade.

Pretty Much
And then, as it often does, fate intervened and I found myself signing a contract as a middle school library/media specialist at a school just 12 minutes from home.

Scary? You bet. I've never been a librarian. But my inner geek was psyched to be the keeper of the books and the job included teaching several classes, leading reading initiatives, and (of course) curating and running the library. It also means I'm out earlier in the afternoon which makes my workouts/running or errands infinity easier to fit in. The kids' new daycare is 30 seconds from home and most days I leave work, run/workout, go home and shower, pick up the kids, and still manage to get home an hour (or more) sooner than I was able to all last year. That alone makes it all worth it. 

It's definitely a learning curve; new district, new school, new staff, new students, new curriculum, new programs, and new expectations all around. Right now I'm loving the role, but feeling a little isolated in the big old library. Hopefully as I get to know people, they get to know me, and projects get going more, I'll feel like more a part of the community and find my people. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Dirty 30

A little more than a week ago I hit the big 3-0 and it was a little bittersweet. While the number isn't really important to me (trust, I'm not that woman freaking out about "being in my 30's"), it was a little sad to end the decade of my 20's. So much happened over the last 10 years. The major highlights were, of course, marriage, 2 kids, dog, 2 houses, 3 jobs, graduating college AND grad school, and finally feeling confident in myself for the first time in my life.

So it's sad to see all of that cemented in my past as "my 20's", but more than that, my 29th year of life what phenomenal. Easily one of the best years of my life, and one in which I accomplished so much. During my 29th year I:


  • Earned my M.S. Ed. in Literacy Education with a 4.0 (because I'm awesome)
  • Lost all the baby weight from the two tiny humans and then some and then became confident enough to realize that my weight wasn't what was important in looking and feeling great about myself. 
  • Took a giant leap of faith at the beginning of August and left my classroom teaching job for a whole new adventure (which will have to be a post in and of itself... some day) as a library/media specialist in a different school and district 
  • Kicked my second battle with postpartum anxiety through exercise and a little re-prioritizing of my life (thus, less blogging, more family time and me time)

  • Made and further developed real, meaningful, and lasting friendships with some awesome people. Seriously, the benefits of true friends who have your back no matter what's going on or how busy life gets are priceless, and this last year really proved that to me.
  • Fynnie started pre-school which was a proud-Mama moment. I love watching her grow and become such and independent little girl, but it also is hard to realize just how quickly it is all going by.


So what's on the agenda for 30? Well, I don't really know yet, but I have some ideas.
  • In October, Drew and I are running our first half marathon which will either be one of the best things we've ever done, or the dumbest idea we've ever had... I'll let you know how that works out.
  • Later in October, our family is adding another addition. Nope, I'm not preggo (good lord I could not handle that right now), but we're getting another dog at the end of the month. Now. What kind of dog would go perfectly with our 9-lb baby of a Shih Tsu? Of course, a Great Dane. She'll probably only be about 140 lbs fully grown... no big. She'll just weigh more than I do. 

  • Drew and I have several other races planned through the end of 2016 which means a commitment to running consistently and making time for it even when it's hard
  • Probably more classes. Because I'm a nerd. Also because the job shift means I'm not completely qualified for what I'm doing now. And I'm a nerd. 
  • Wedding stuff! My brother in law is getting married next fall (on my 31st birthday to be precise), so there will be a lot of wedding activity as our entire family is in the wedding party. I can't wait to see my tinies as a flower girl and ring bearer... and being a bridesmaid should be an adventure too... though trying to do that while keeping my two from losing it could turn out to be "interesting", let's go with interesting.
  • And who knows what else? A year from now we could be anywhere, doing anything! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

For non-makeup people- flawless skin from Studio Gear

As much as I've blogged about and reviewed make up over the last couple of years, I actually don't wear much of it. Around the house or just out and about with the kids, I usually don't wear any. For work or even when I want to look nice, foundation/powder and mascara are the extent of my make up repertoire. When I get samples to try, I love to play around, but I actually don't really know what I'm doing the majority of the time.

When I was contacted to review Studio Gear's new Mineral Wet and Dry Powder Foundation, I wasn't even sure what shade to go with. For the past 4-5 years now I've stuck with a certain brand and shade without fail because I knew it matched my skin tone and it was easy to purchase when I ran out. The lovely Megan over at Studio Gear was super helpful in helping me match my old mineral foundation to the Studio Gear brand shade (it's bisque by the way, because I'm as pale as pale can be... even with my summer "tan").

The awesome people over at Studio Gear sent me the foundation, a Revitalizing Day Serum and this super cool brush called #3 Domed Foundation Brush. 

The foundation: Okay, so the color so does not look like it will match my skin tone when it's in the jar. It's a little yellow-tinged and looking at made me a little nervous. In fact, I waited about a week after getting it before I actually tried it because I didn't want to "waste" a make up application if I was going to end up washing it off. As soon as I tried it though, I was proven wrong. It matched perfectly and blended just right. I don't get how mineral foundation really works because it seems like it should make your skin dry, but instead just looks awesome. The proof? Check out these gorgeous pix from my 30th birthday. Obviously my stellar good looks play a role, but the make up doesn't hurt. 

The brush:I think the brush is key in the flawless application. I just dip it in the powder, tap off the excess, and then buff it onto my face. No fancy moves or shades or other games. Just gently buff it on and call it a day. This brush that they sent me is super soft and sweeps across my face as though there's nothing on it... yet leaves my skin looking awesome. I just don't get it.

The serum: They tell me this serum can be used 2 ways: over moisturizer or mixed with the powder foundation. I'm not fancy at all, so I just put it on over my moisturizer at night and I've found over the last three weeks of daily use that my skin appears smoother and less red-tinted since using this. While it's not to the point that I can go to work without any make up on, it's getting there. 

The verdict: I think I may be a convert. My skin just feels better than with my old brand and I think I look pretty awesome. It's more expensive than my old drug store brand... but I'm learning more and more that you get what you pay for, especially when it comes to your skin. I can easily buy online on their website (now that I know what shade to go with). They also have a subscribe and save option where you can save $3 on each purchase and have it automatically delivered every 30, 60, or 90 days. You can also check out their website and YouTube tutorial for tips and  ideas for how to use it.

**This post was powered by BrandBacker**

Thursday, June 30, 2016

What I Read: February

I'm super behind in blogging my books read updates, and blogging in general (hello 2 month unplanned hiatus, whatevs). My goal was to read 60 books by the time I turn 30 on September 3rd. February brought me 2/3 of the way to my goal. So instead of being productive during the ~20 minutes of peace and quiet I get during rest/nap time, I'm going to write.





34. Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery 
A classic, and one of my favorite in the Anne series. Spoiler alert: Anne and Gilbert end up together and it's sweet and heartwarming. Despite having read the entire series more times than I can remember, I still love Montgomery's over-flowery descriptions and Anne's obnoxious passion for life. If Anne were a real person, she would drive me bonkers, but since she's a fictitious historical character, I can just enjoy her and chalk it up to the early 1900's... because who wouldn't be chipper and joyful about life when wearing floor length gowns and writing novels by hand.


35. Cloud Castles by Kathy Lynn Emerson
I had to google this book just to remember anything about it, which tells you what kind of impression it left on me. Finding it on Google was a challenge as well which shows that it's a wildly popular title. All sarcasm aside, this was an easy, beach read that was a little far-fetched. It's a "suspenseful romance", but hey, it takes place in Maine (woo hoo) (which is also probably the only reason I read it). The main character inherits a random house in middle of no where, Maine from a relative she barely knew and on the way there gets into an accident that almost kills her. When the cops do a tox screen, they discover she was on drugs at the time of the accident even though she's never taken anything... and the far-fetched continues from there. If nothing else, some of the stuff that happened made me laugh an roll my eyes, so it has that going for it. 

36. Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery 
This is probably my least favorite Anne book, mostly because much of it is written in letters to Gilbert and takes a different tone than the other books because of that. That said, it was still an enjoyable read. Usually I skim this book when reading the series, but this time I actually read the entire thing and got a lot more out of it than usual... I should probably share that example with my students about how even I can be a crappy reader sometimes and what happens when you actually put in effort.


37. Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
I continue with my Anne reading with Anne and Gilbert's wedding and the start of their marriage. It's cute, sweet, with just enough heartbreak and misfortune to make it both believable and engaging. I have a slight Gil crush on both book and movie versions of the character (and was crushed to discover that the actor who played him in the movies had died... like 10 years ago). This book shows another side of Gilbert, which is why I always enjoy it. Also Anne grows up a bit and is a little less perky which is always a plus. 

38. I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had by Tony Danza
Not going to lie. I picked this book up because I figured I could laugh at Tony Danza's attempt to teach and complain about how hard it is... and then he put his heart and soul into making a difference in his students' lives and I changed my tune. Everything that's hard about teaching, he actually did and worked through; unruly students, lack of parental support, struggling readers, he worked to reach them all, and I was impressed. Granted, he did it for a year, had a tv studio recording it, and had the name/money on his side, but he really worked his butt off. The book isn't fascinating, but it's interesting and will make you respect all the teachers you know for all that they do. 


39. Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery 
In this book, Anne is really all grown up with several kids and another on the way. It's less about Anne, and more about her kids and the scrapes, mishaps, and mischief they get into. It's cute and sweet, but I do wish there were more of Anne in it as she is the focus prior to this. Alas, I guess that's life; pop out a few kids and no one gives a crap about you any more. I kid... kinda.

40. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
The only book in February that was truly amazing. It's a sci fi tale of what happens when the Earth's rotation suddenly slows down significantly. At first it just slightly lengthens the days and screws up clocks, but then bigger and bigger changes happen as a result of the slowing earth. The first big issue they face is whether to go by clock time or daylight time, but then the issues get bigger. What was great about this story was that, while all this was going on, real life continue too. The main character, Julia, deals with the effects of the slowing along with her parents' struggling marriage, friendship issues, and growing up. There was not a single thing about this book that I didn't enjoy. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

When the doctor is wrong, and why I'm not going to lose weight.

Bear with me, this is long, but I wouldn't be posting my weight and clothing size on the internet if I didn't think this was important:

I'm 29 years old. I weigh between 133 and 136 lbs depending on the day and how many pieces of candy I've scarfed down the second both kids are in their beds for rest time, and my size 6 pants are loose. Over the past 4 years I have given birth to two children, gained over 70 lbs in the process, and lost all of that weight and then some. I workout 3-5 times a week, and can kick butt at intense workout videos. I can run a 10 minute mile while chatting with a friend, and I manage to haul around a 38 lb. 4 year old and 18 lb. 16-month old on a daily basis. While I'm no twig, my body is strong, capable, and at what I consider the best it's ever been. I've never before been as comfortable in my own skin.

Which brings me to a few weeks ago, when I went to the doctors for a check up. I stepped on their scale, saw a mid-130's number flash on the screen and thought nothing of it. So imagine my surprise when, 20 minutes later, the nurse practitioner informed me that my weight showed that I am "unhealthy" and "overweight" and that I should work towards losing 5 or so pounds in order to be in a "healthier" weight range.

I'm not going to lie, I was rather taken aback. We like to blame the media for perpetuating this impossible image of the ideal body type, but what about the"experts" in the medical field who know all my information, yet tell me that I'm just not "healthy" enough. That the two numbers that went into creating a BMI determine whether my body is at its best. These are the people we trust to care for our bodies and advise how we can get or remain healthy. Were I to take her advice and attempt to lose 5 or so pounds, I would not be able to do so in a safe or healthy way. I'm confident in my body, and willing to stand up to "professionals" who give inappropriate advice, so I was quick to question the situation, but many people are not and many would take that advice as doctor's orders and attempt to lose more weight.

I will not be working to lose weight. My body doesn't need to be smaller or have zero fat on it. I will continue to run, and strength train, and push my body to its limits. Not because it needs to change, but because being strong and capable makes me feel good and because taking the time to sweat it out on a regular basis is the best gift I've ever given myself. Also, because I like to eat junk food, lots of junk food. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fitbit Customer Service is awesome

A month ago I bumped my Fitbit Surge against a chair while walking through our dining room and was devastated to discover I had cracked it. I'd only had it since Christmas, and am a little obsessive about meeting my daily step goal and tracking my runs. I was so upset that I had broken it and worried that the crack would get worse and make the entire device unusable. 
My cracked screen

I e-mailed Fitbit customer service to see if there was a way to replace the glass or otherwise fix it. They asked me to send them a picture of the damage and info on where it was purchased from. Two days after that they send me a new one.

Color me shocked.

I was not expecting a whole new Fitbit. At most I thought I would send them the broken one, so they could replace the glass. In reality I was afraid they were going to give me a discount on buying a new one, as some of the forums I'd read about similar issues said that was their resolution. Not only that, but they didn't even want me to send back the cracked one. I e-mailed them back to ask about sending the broken one to them, and they advised that I could keep, recycle, or "do what I would like" with the broken one.

Mind blown.

Not only do I have a new Fitbit, but now we have an extra one that Fynn enjoys wearing around the house- constantly asking what time it is and how many steps she's taken. That kind of service makes me love my Fitbit even more.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

In our house, we're getting strong, not skinny.

Like 99.9% of women, I've always battled with body image issues, yada yada yada. Pretty sure most of is from growing up where my mom was always on a diet of some sort and fretting about her weight. (sorry, mom, if you're reading this)
Showing off some guns

Knowing this made me realize I don't want Fynn to know I worry about weight or being thin, so I've always tried to talk about being healthy, and strong. I'm not perfect. Drew and I often discuss weight loss or whether our clothes make us look skinny. Fynn has seen me first gain and then lose a lot of weight over the past 2 years, so I want her to see the thought and work that goes into being in shape and having a healthy attitude about exercise.
Fynn picked out our workout today

Lately Fynn has been joining me in some of my workouts, and it's been fun to see her try to do different exercises. Today we rocked some 30 Day Shred a la my bestie Jillian Michaels and Fynn professed afterwards that we were getting super strong together, though I was pretty sweaty which she thought was gross. I'm trying to get us both in the habit of exercising during Bentley's morning nap, that way I can get my workouts in each morning once we're on summer vacation.
Our DVD player is broken, so we rock our workouts on the laptop



And now, my blogging time must come to an end as a certain 3 1/2 year old is upstairs yelling "Mom-EE, Mom-Ma, Mom-EE, Mom-Ma" along with some nonsense song that is sure to wake up her little brother.

Friday, April 8, 2016

But you say it Mama

Do as I say... just don't say what I say.

Fynn is a perceptive child, and she definitely picks up on my potty mouth. Some how I hold it in while at work, or around other people's kids, but it comes out in front of Fynn (and Bentley) and sometimes that means awkward moments like these:

Exhibit A:

In the car months ago after a rough (r.o.u.g.h) day and long car ride with both kids screaming.

Fynn: "Don't say F*****g Mama, it's not nice."

Valid point, Fynn. Valid point


Exhibit B:

Easter dinner. Drew's whole family and mine.


Fynn: (turns to me) "Where the hell is Lyssa?" 

Exhibit C:

In the drive thru line, and a cranky old guy honks his horn, flips me off, and calls me a moron while almost hitting my car because I didn't move out of his way. Apparently I was supposed to drive over the car in front of me in order to accomodate his van into the drive thru lane.

Fynn: "Well, that was f*****g rude"

Yes, yes it was


Therefore, I've had a good long chat with Fynn about why we don't drop F-bombs or other similar curses and promised both her and myself that I will keep those words in my head and attempt to be a better role model... or at least minimize the chance that she'll pull out a few of those choice words in even more awkward situations. 

Mom of the Year- right here, folks. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What I read: January

I'm getting close to getting caught up on my book lists and cruised past the halfway point in my goal of reading 60 books by time I turn 30 in September. 

25. Action Research: A Guide for the Teacher Researcher by Geoffrey E. Mills
Obviously I chose this book for a bit of light-hearted reading; and it totally delivered. Luckily it was my last assigned reading book for grad school (woo hoo!) and it wasn't bad per say, it was just all about planning, conduction, and reporting action research which is obviously a riveting topic that everyone should delve into. It had a ton of great information, and was invaluable in the action research process, so if you're doing some action research in your classroom, I highly suggest it. If not, ditch it.


26. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

One of my students brought this book to me because she had absolutely loved it and my kids know I'm always looking for new books. This did not fail. It was emotional and powerful and I'll be damned if I didn't throw it down at one point and refuse to continue reading because I didn't like what had just happened. But of course I had to finish and find out what happened, I'm so glad I did. I'm pretty sure 2/3 of my class has read this book over the last 3 months and every single one of them loved it. High praise from a group of 5th graders with very different book tastes. 

27. The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler
I actually didn't have a good idea of what this book was about before I started reading it. It showed up in my Books You May Like list in my library e-book app, so I downloaded it when I was pumping one day. It's a book all about girls from the 50's and 60's who gave their babies up for adoption because they were young, unwed mothers. The stories in this book were heartbreaking as many of the girls were forced into giving up their babies, or had no idea that it was even possible that they could keep their children. It was sad and frustrating at the same time. I did lose interest at some points because all of the stories were pretty similar, so they started to blend together.  


28. Unenchanted by Chanda Hahn
Sometimes I swear I love young adult books way more than adult. This is one of those books that makes me think that. It's the first in a series called "An Unexpected Fairy Tale" and made me think a lot of the TV show Grimm. In the book, Mina discovers that she is a decedent of the brothers Grimm and that she is therefore cursed to battle the elements of different fairy tales. Her father was killed by the curse, and if she doesn't survive it, the curse will go after her younger brother who doesn't speak. I like the way Hahn incorporates fairy tale elements into the book without being cheesy or predictable, and I love how Mina is a dynamic character who grows as a person as she discovers just how strong she is.

29. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout 
No lie, chose this book because half of it is set in Maine and that is a rare enough occurrence in media that it caught my attention. This book is about the Burgess siblings; Jim, Bob, and Susan. Jim and Bob escaped Maine to move to NYC as soon as they could, while Susan stayed behind. All are a mess, and it's clear that losing their father in a freak accident when they were young is the cause of that (the kids were in the car while the dad was getting the mail, and the car ran over the dad). The siblings end up coming back together when Susan's son is arrested for a hate crime, and Jim and Bob (both lawyers) come back home to help their nephew. I didn't love this book, but I felt compelled to find out what happened to everyone, so I kept reading. 

30. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 
A classic. I've read this entire series too many times to count since my grandmother bought it for me when I was about 10. I started again, because one of my students picked up the series and was having a hard time with some of the vocabulary and understanding the time period. Then, of course, I got sucked back into the series and have been working through it since. I think this first book is my second favorite, because I love young Anne and how unpredictable she is. Her penchant for finding trouble borders on being ridiculous, but is also hilarious. And now I really need to find the movie version on DVD because I have no way to play my old VHS tape, and I love that movie.


31. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery 
Book two in the Anne series. I love how this book shows her growth commitment to fulfilling her dreams. Rereading these books for the first time in almost 10 years, I picked up on so many nuances and subtle details that I had missed when I last read them in high school. 


32. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This book is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I don't even know where to start with describing this book except to say that Hawkins is an amazing writer. The way she unravels a story with subtle details and descriptions is just phenomenal. I got to the end of the book and realized just how many times she hinted at the truth throughout the book, but I had missed it because I was so caught up in what was happening. This book reminds me a lot of Gone Girl in the way the story unfolds and the way the ending left me shocked, yet expecting it at the same time. In looking for a picture of the book cover, I was so excited to discover that it's being made into a movie that is coming out in October. 


33. Fairest by Chanda Hahn
This is the second book in the Unexpected Fairy Tale series and it was just as good. Love the main character, Mina, and I love the use of fairy tale elements in a modern, mystical format. I'm only bummed that I can't seem to find the rest of the books through my library either in e-format or actual book. I'm hoping that they get them soon, because I'd like to see what happens next. 



Monday, April 4, 2016

I didn't need help when I had a newborn, I needed help about 6 months later.

When you bring home a tiny human, everyone bends over backwards to help you out. Family members bring food, friends stop by with gifts, and everyone understands that you're exhausted and overwhelmed and not your usual self. No one things you're lazy if you're napping midday or gives you the side-eye for wearing the same pair of leggings for the third day in a row as you cruise through the DD drive through and consider it a successful outing. Fast forward a few months though, and you're expected to be all "back to normal" (whatever that is) and get your stuff together. You've had time to adjust! Baby is older! You know what you're doing!

Nope Nope Nope Nope Nope

Here's why. The newborn stage is easy. And yes, I know, any new mom with a newborn is ready to slap me right about now as they're right smack in the midst of all the hell that is newly postpartum life. Hear me out though. Keep in mind, this is my experience, but I'm going to show you how life with a newborn kicks the pants off life with an older baby.

Round 1: Sleep
Newborns are up all night, but they also sleep on and off all day. So while you're sleep is a broken down hell of choppiness, the number of hours you get in a day can actually be a decent night's sleep.

Starting at 6 months my kids play the 45 minute "screw you, mom" game all night long. Followed by not napping during the day which wouldn't help any way because, yep, back to work it is by this point. 

The winner: Newborn. Because from when Bentley was 6-12 months  4 hours of chopped up sleep felt like the ultimate luxury, and that's messed up.

Round 2: Feeding

Know what my newbie babies eat? Milk. And as I'm 120% pro-boob, that milk arrives at the perfect temp, is constantly being made, and requires no bottle washing. The messiest part is the spit up which results in multiple outfit changes a day (for both mom and baby)

Know what happens when you introduce solids? You get food in every crease and crevice of the high chair, floor, and baby. Also that food has to be made by someone which creates dishes to wash. Also, now that you're back at work, that easy-peasy milk now has to be pumped multiple times a day require more washing of pump/bottles.

The winner: Newborn. Because washing pump part sucks

Round 3: Diapers

Again, from the breastfeeding perspective: an EBF baby's diapers don't smell. At least not like poop or even all that bad.

Bring on the solids at 6 months? And you develop nasty diaper concoctions that are always convinetly created right as you're trying to head out the door for work. And you're probably already 10 minutes late.

The winner: Newborn. Because poop.

Round 4: Assistance

Everyone wants to snuggle your newborn, watcher your older kids, or do other things around the house to make a new mom's life a little easier because "oh newborns are so hard". Even better are the meals that are dropped off/made for you and the fact that everyone forgives you for being scattered, messy or otherwise a mess,

By 6 months you're expected to have your ish together which is bonkers. Somehow you're supposed to handle this baby thing along with back to work along with keeping your household together because obviously it's sooo much easier now that baby sleeps more at night (excuse me while I laugh so hard I cry at the though of babies who sleep through the night)

The winner: Newborn, because I like to set the bar low and love it when others do too.

Round 5: Playing with baby

Newborns are kind of boring. I mean yeah, you can spend hours fawning over teeny-tiny toes and the perfection of each feature. I'm not knocking that. But since all they do is eat, sleep, poop, they can get kinda boring.

Older babies are all exploring the world and discovering how to move their bodies. It's exhausting and exciting and gives you all the proud mama feels because they're growing up so fast.

The winner: Older babies because they become actual people, and that's kinda fun

Conclusion:

Older babies are fun and cute, but the work involved it exhausting combined with the increased expectations of getting your life back on track. Honestly, if I had my way, I'd tell people to leave me the hell alone for the first 6 months and then invite them over to hold/snuggle/help. Because by that point I'd appreciate it a lot more.

Monday, March 28, 2016

What I Read: November/December

Continuing on with my goal to read 60 books before I turn 30 this September. Here's what I read in November and December.


16. Inferno by Dan Brown
I love Dan Brown. His books are so multi-layered and unfold in such a way that leaves me breathless. This one brings as back to Robert Langdon who again gets himself involved in a twisted, international affair involving death, deception, and crazy people. I think the craziest part of this book was how much of it really could happen and the devastating impact on the world if it did. I'm totally vague-blogging right now because I don't want to give away too much. If you liked The DaVinci Code and/or Angels and Demons, you'll love this. 

17. The Brat by Lynsay Sands.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. Even the title is stupid. I finished Inferno in the middle of a pumping session and needed something to read for the next 20 minutes, so i stupidly downloaded this. Get this: medieval times. Kings niece needs to marry as does a knight. Niece is the most horrible, unreasonable brat except it's just a game because she doesn't want to get married. They get married, and then someone tries to kill the guy and the brat saves him. The writing was mediocre, the story line even less impressive. I guess they can't all be winners. 

18. Vision in White by Nora Roberts
No joke, I had to Google this book to remember what it was about. Pretty sure that says it all. It was typical Nora Roberts and if you've read one of her books, you can absolutely predict the entire story line. It's the first of the books in the Bride Quartet, so I of course I read them all because I'm a sucker for people falling in love, and once I read part of a series, I get stuck and feel like I have to finish it. If nothing else, Nora Roberts just keeps the semi-decent romance novels coming and fools like me keep reading them, so kudos to her.



19. Everything I never Told You by Celeste Ng 
Luckily I found this book in between Nora Roberts errors in judgement. This book starts with the line "Lydia is dead, but they don't know that yet"- and I was hooked. The book goes back and forth from after Lydia's death, the years before it, and all the way back to when Lydia's parents met to unfold the story of this Chinese-American family living in the 70's where the parents clearly play favorites (Lydia) and struggle with the fact that neither accomplished what they had hoped to accomplish in their lives. This book is so well-written and the family is fascinating.


20. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
You guessed it, another book in the Bride Quartet that I couldn't help but read. This was the second book and it was cute and all, but the usual Nora Roberts style- not much to it, but it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside when you're done.






21. Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle 
I had high hopes, because I love John Green, but this book was just okay. It's a compilation of three short stories with interweaving story lines and characters. There was nothing bad about it, it just didn't thrill and engage me like John Green books usually do, so I was disappointed. 




22. Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts
You got it: book 3. Nothing more to say.

23. Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts.
4th book. It was cute to wrap it all up and was a nice conclusion for the series.




24. Looking for Alaska by John Green
Here is the John Green I love. I was surprised when I went to find a picture of this book to discover that this was Green;s first novel. The main character in this book, Miles, goes to an elite prep school in search of the "great perhaps" and ends up finding friendship, love, and heartbreak. This novel is sweet, adorable, and heart wrenching, all at the same time. Green just has a way with words that makes you fall in love with his characters and feel everything that they are feeling. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

The second snow day this week

At 5:31 this morning my phone rang. It was school. Immediately the am I late for work? Why would they be calling me? Crap, am I getting fired circled my mind because paranoid is my middle name. Alas, it was a snow day. Which took me completely off guard because there was no snow. We had a snow day Monday for that storm, and apparently the rain/ice for today lead to some treacherous roads- I wouldn't know, I've been cozy at home with the kids and the wood stove. 

I'm a little bummed. I've got things to do at work. We were in a good flow... also I wanted to get out of school early this summer because, duh, summer. 

Mimi project: Fun and tasty
Not going to hate on an extra day home with the babies though. We played with Play-Doh, read books, painted, colored, rode bikes in the living room (because who doesn't ride bikes in the house?) and then... I was out of ideas. And it was only 11 am.

In comes my saving grace. Drew's mom called to see if it was okay for her to come over and hang out a bit/do an Easter project with Fynn. I'm hoping she couldn't tell that I was doing a happy dance while on the phone with her. Mimi came over, a grand time was had by all, and it lasted until nap time.

And here we are at 3 pm. Bentley is sleeping, Fynn is singing to herself in bed, and I'm on the phone with the hospital about the bill from when Bentley was born that they have screwed up at least 6 times and still claim we owe them money. Even though we've paid it. And the kid is more than a year old. 

Fun stuff

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Photo-Dropping it like it's hot- Round 1

Months of not blogging has left me with a plethora of images in need of sharing. Here it goes (and I think they're in order):


Hanging out in the driveway with my little man while his sister takes a much needed nap

Boys and their trucks

Home Depot Projects


 We took a visit to a (semi-) nearby animal sanctuary. And only semi-regretted the 2+ hours in the car each way.

Babywearing at the zoo. Love our Tula

Kid meeting kid (I couldn't help myself)

Naptime near the tigers





.

There have been lots of tandem-wearing walks
which has really helped me get back into shape























Of course we had the obligatory fall apple-picking which was hated by all children involved.


 And because he is so happy, and so stinking cute, some pix of the little dude.








Halloween brought us a princess fairy (in all pink, naturally) and a recycled monkey costume that was just a little too big.

B is suitably unimpressed that his sister wore it first. 









Bentley loves to help empty the dishwasher which means a change of clothes and dirty dishes.

Their faces. Love them.


When aunties babywear

Went to an over the top birthday party where a princess visited and Fynn was in girly-girl heaven.




Still many more pictures to come... but sleep first, because there's never enough of that in this household. 

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