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?"


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


"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. 
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