Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Spirit

Guess what today was! Alright, I'll let you know...it was the last day of school before winter break. We have just about made it through the half way point in the school year. It's become tradition this time of year for our school to have a pajama day as a reward for school wide behavior. It's a ton of fun. The kiddos get to wear pj's, enjoy a treat and watch a holiday movie. I've enjoyed spending time with my students at this event every year since I began teaching, but this year was extra special now that I teach kindergarten. They are still at that age when everything is magical and exciting. They were able to be kids today and it was a beautiful thing to observe. 

What has touched my heart this holiday season is the love that my students have given me. Many of them wanted to give me something, anything, as a Christmas gift. Some sadly told me that they couldn't and others gave me something sweet, like a snowman ornament. While I enjoy the gifts that I received, I let my students know that the greatest gift they have given me this season was the chance to be their teacher. I'm completely truthful when I say this. The trust, faith and love they bestow upon me is amazing. Each "aha" moment from them when they finally figure out a skill they have been working on to master is a gift. When a student beams at me because they can blend the sounds in a word and can finally read it always brings tears to my eyes. I just get so excited for them when they are able to achieve their goals. 

When you take away the stressful parts of teaching, the parts no one tells you about in college, and you focus on the moments when you are teaching, what's left is magic and reminds you about the spirit of Christmas. Everyday I'm thinking about others and how my actions affect them. I want to know how I can help my students to make their lives better in the long run. Once I figure it out, then I do it.  That's what Christmas is about- focusing on blessing others and thinking about them. 

I hope my students have a wonderful holiday season. Yes, I'm excited about break because I get to spend time with the Baby Monster, but I will miss my kiddos!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Enough is Enough

Well, I was going to write about my diminishing desire to keep up with my workouts, but I decided to watch Women of the Bible on Lifetime. It just made me decide to get over it. I need to drop the excuses, believe in myself and just DO IT! Women are strong human beings who have endured through centuries. I can endure a 20 minute workout and I can respect my body by nourishing it.

Poor me. Why me? Why aren't things going the way I want them to? It's no one's fault but my own because some where along the way to where I am now I lost something. My tenacity is gone. My hope has vanished and the fear has set in. It's time to start looking at myself like those around me see me. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am tough. I am enough.


Monday, December 1, 2014

'Tis the Season

Going back to work, whatever your work may be, is difficult after a lovely vacation. Today was my first day back in the classroom after nine days off for our fall break. I enjoyed the time I had with my husband, son and the rest of my family. We had a movie night that featured Frozen and Malificent. We shopped at the mall as a family to find the Baby Monster a pair of new shoes because his feet are GIGANTIC! Mom and I baked holiday cookies. My week was filled with moments like these. So, to say I had extreme Monday blues was an understatement. The Baby Monster didn't make it any easier when he burst into tears the moment he saw me walking out the door. I had to wipe a few tears of my own away by the time I made it to the car.

Then, when I walked to my classroom door a pop of red caught my eye and the joy of the Christmas season made its presence known. One of the amazing teachers I work with delivered a small poinsettia to every teacher on my team. Right then and there I knew it was going to be a good day.

My Monday continued to get better when I  picked  up my kiddos and every face broke into a smile when they saw me. Just like that I couldn't wait to get back in the classroom teach. It's hard not to smile and feel jolly when children are all a buzz because they know it's December and that brings Christmas. But wait, it got even better!

 During one of our lessons a student was working on addition word problem. Now this student was concentrating and hard at work connecting cubes to model an addition sentence. Then suddenly he stopped what he was doing, looked at me and said, "I missed you last week." My heart melted. Being a teacher feels like a privilege some days because I have the chance to earn the trust and respect of children who look up to me everyday and count on me to guide them. My Grinch heart definitely grew a few sizes within those moments.

My day was a perfect example of what the holiday season is all about. It's about giving, working to make others happy because you want to while spreading kindness and cheer.

It also means eggnog, which now completes my magnificent Monday.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Thanksgiving through the end of November

Wow. I cannot believe that November is over tonight and tomorrow is the very first day of December. The past thirty days have flown by. I'm always left in shock when a month ends because there are times when it feels like it drags on forever and then, whoosh it's over. So here it is- the wrap up to my Thirty Days of Thankfulness.

Day 27- I am thankful for the Thanksgiving holiday. As a kid I never really appreciated it. I enjoyed learning about the pilgrims and the Native Americans because that appealed to my heritage. Sure, whipping up butter and making pilgrim clothing out of paper bags was fun. Then there's always the food to look forward to. A Thanksgiving feast meant a delicious gold oven roasted turkey, whipped mashed potatoes, buttery corn, cheesy broccoli, sweet and tart cranberry sauce, steamy stuffing, and mom's pretty pearl onions; however there weren't presents! Lame.  Every Thanksgiving morning I woke up to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, which felt like an all day event. Surely the turkey would have been done once the parade was over and Santa made an appearance. My impatient youth didn't allow me to really appreciate the true beauty of Thanksgiving. It took moving 1,000 miles away from the family I grew up with to truly be grateful for Thanksgiving. That special Thursday in November means waking up to tradition and that feel good excitement of knowing a parade is starting that will instantly transport you to your childhood. Thanksgiving means truly being grateful for your parents who gave you all they could while growing up and never letting you down when the holidays came around. I never knew until I was old enough to catch on that we went without a lot of things. Thanksgiving means spending time with family near and far (through the phone) and loving every moment of it. It means the beginning of the Christmas season when all things seem magical and the possibilities are endless. As an adult and as a mom, I am truly thankful for Thanksgiving Day.

Day 28- I am thankful that I do not have to work in a grocery store on Black Friday and that I can sleep in.

Day 29- I am thankful for a mom who always gives me a pep talk and believes in me no matter what.

Day 30- I am thankful that God knew that I was ready to feel like I had more than I could bare and lead me back to church this morning. It felt like coming home.

So there you have it! Thirty days done and over with. My fall decorations are packed up and the Christmas decorations have come out. It's also the first day of Advent, which when I was growing up was one of my favorite times of year. My heart is singing and saying, "Welcome to the Christmas season!" So with that I am going to have sip of eggnog and head off into dream land.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Days 15-26

Happy Thanksgiving! Turkey Day is here and I could not be more excited. A little more on that in a later post because I have to catch up.

Day 15: I am thankful for my friend, Mary. We've known each other since 10th grade and even though our schedules get busy and we go days (and sadly months) without talking we can pick back up where we left off like it's no big deal. That's a special friend.

Day 16: I am thankful for quiet Sunday.

Day 17: I am thankful for evenings spent with my husband after we both have had a long day of work, especially when he's not home for 8 days straight.

Day 18: I am thankful for the view out my window during any kind of weather. It's like my own personal living piece of art.

Day 19: I am thankful for my cats, Sammy and Mick. They have really started to embrace the Baby Monster. I love watching Mick try to give my son some cat snuggles.

Day 20: I am thankful for a sweet desert every now and then to celebrate a friend's birthday. I'm glad that the world has happy people in it because we need to that joy to hold on to.

Day 21: I am thankful for the few early out days I get because it means more time with my son. Those days are even sweeter when they happen on a Friday before a break.

Day 22: I am thankful for spontaneous days out with my family that lead to laughter and fun.

Day 23: I am thankful for a dish washer. Enough said.

Day 24: I am thankful for the time spent with my mother baking holiday cookies. The holiday tradition brings me back to happy childhood memories filled with warmth.

Day 25: I am thankful for the new tradition of meeting up at lunch with my co-workers, who are now friends. We do this one a month and it's something I always look forward to.

Day 26: I am thankful for my sister-in-law who was one of my best friends before she came a member of my family. We just get each other! I'm also thankful that it is Thanksgiving Eve!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Days 12, 13, and 14

It's short and sweet today since it's Friday and I'm whooped.

Day 12- I'm thankful for my Crockpot. Yes, you read that correctly. Some days can't be beat when you have had a hectic time of it only to come home and remember that your dinner is done because it's been cooking all day long. That takes one more thing off my to-do list and allows me to relax with my husband and son. I know my ancestors would have been thankful for a slow cooker too!

Day 13- I'm thankful for a body that functions like it should. My body my not be at my ideal fitness level, but it hasn't given out on me. It allows me to exercise, play tag with son, dance with my husband and hug my mom. When I get frustrated with my looks I will remember this.

Day 14- I am thankful for a best friend-turned-sister-in-law who is also a wonderful aunt and her equally wonderful husband.  The Baby Monster received a special Halloween treat today complete with a trick-or-treat bag for next year and a set of fantastically fun Halloween books. The Baby Monster is blessed to have those two loving people in his life.

Enjoy your Friday night, ya'll!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans' Day

My day 11 of my Thirty Days of Thanks is dedicated to all of the service men and women who selflessly gave their time and their lives to protecting the country that I love. Throughout my life I had many veterans to look up to. Both of my grandfathers served in WWII as did my great uncle. My father was part of the National Guard. The Vietnam War ended right before it was his turn to deploy. I am forever grateful for what these brave men and women do. They are proud, courageous and patriotic- they are everything this country stands for.

I was teaching my students about the importance of Veterans' Day on Monday. It was important to me that they understood why we did not have school today. They were astonished when I told them that the members of our Armed Forces had to report to work today while we were at home with our families. Then they cried out in disbelief when they realized that those same men and women wouldn't be home for Christmas. Right then and there they began to understand the importance of this day. We are going to continue learning about veterans this week. Tomorrow we are making thank you cards to send out. It's my hope that this week's lessons stays with them throughout their lives.

Thank you to those who have served, those who are serving and those who will serve in the future. Without you everything we love and hold dear in this country wouldn't exist. You are heroes and never forget it.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Coffee Memories

It's November 10, which means I am on my tenth reason to be thankful. Today's thankful thought was brought on by my friend. She took her daughter to get her first coffee drink and shared the sweet moment with us. When I saw the picture of her daughter holding a warm cup of peppermint mocha it brought me back to my first taste of coffee with my mom.

Going to the mall with my mom was a special treat. Growing up we were all so busy. For a long time my mother acted like a single parent taking care of three children while my father worked two back- to -back jobs. His part-time job bordered on full-time hours. My mom had to clothe us, feed us, get us to school and still make sure we made it to dance classes and baseball practices. We also threw Girl Scouts and Camp Fire Girls in the mix for good measure. As the oldest child I missed having my mom to myself, so a trip to our mall with only her made my world go round.

Many a mall trip would result in a stop at The Beanery. It was this little coffee shop in the mall with just a counter and a register. My aunts and uncle claimed it as coffee gold and my mouth watered whenever I stopped by with them. The aroma of fresh brewed coffee would fill my nose and make me just want to try one little taste. The request was always met with, "I'm sorry, but you're too young." Then there was that one special trip...

We made our usual pit stop at The Beanery after walking through the mall and stopping in at the Franklin Mint. I loved gazing at the beautiful porcelain dolls they sold. My mom was ordering something delicious. Darn it, I was old enough to try it this time! To my delight my mom walked me to a bench so we could sit, relax and talk. We chatted, she sipped, and we chatted some more. Then she handed me the cup. Giddy was the way to describe it. Finally, she noticed that I was old enough to have coffee just like her.

It was decaf...that's why!

"Finish it. It's yummy," she told me. Oh was she correct. At the bottom of the cup was a milky brown liquid with what looked like a swirl of chocolate mixed in. I had my first taste of mocha! That was it- I was hooked. I sipped the last of the mocha concoction until was gone, licked my lips, and grinned up at my mom. She smiled back at me. Then we stood up and continued to walk through the mall, looking at Yankee Candle. When we came across this store it mean that our trip was almost over.

Getting in the car I licked my lips one more time, savoring the chocolately coffee taste while gazing up at the moon through the car window. In that moment I knew I'd  never forget having my first coffee with my mom. The experience is like a precious gem that I have tucked away safe and sound, but enjoy taking out to admire every now and then.

Every minute with my mother is a gift, and everyday I am thankful for each and every moment with her. Even the coffee filled ones.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Days 6,7,8 and 9

Can we just press the pause button? I need to catch my breath and try to wrap my head around the fact that by Friday we are halfway through the month. Why does time accelerate as we get older? I can't figure out why it had to turn out like that. Even more reason to be thankful for all of the little things!

Day 6- I am thankful for my students. I don't remember if I've already mentioned them, but if so it's okay because I am truly grateful and privileged to be their teacher. My kindergarten students are sweet, hilarious and offer me the best perspective on life. They remind me not to get caught up in life and just stop and smell the roses!

Day 7- I am thankful for my wonderful, amazing and beautiful fellow teacher and friend, Livie. We've been teaching together for three years now and I couldn't imagine doing it without her. She makes me a better teacher and person. She's a saint. A girl needs good friend in her life. I'm proud to call her mine!

Day 8- I am thankful for my friend Danielle. I'm so happy we wound up having classes together in college. She's an amazing! She's also a force to be reckoned with. I'm also proud to call her my friend. I think it will be a lifelong friendship- who else can I obsess over Once Upon A Time and Harry Potter with?

Day 9- I am thankful for my son's smile. He's at that stage where he wants to show affection, but only on his terms. When he smiles at me my breath stops, my heart is ready to burst and I want to cry. He's a gift from God. His smile is going to change the world.

Tomorrow is a Monday. I'm making a promise to myself not to get caught up in the Monday Blues, but to take it on with a positive attitude.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Days 4 and 5

And let the thanks continue!

Day 4- I am thankful for a wonderful group of mothers I met through Facebook almost three years ago. They were there while I was pregnant as understanding and sympathetic mothers and mothers-to-be when Dr. Google became too overwhelming and when I just needed someone to talk to. A few years later I still keep in touch with those amazing ladies. I haven't met them in person, but I feel like they are a group of friends I can count on. Maybe one day we'll actually meet! 

Day 5- Today I am thankful for coffee. That's right, I said it. It perks me up in the morning when I unwillingly wake up in the morning. It's the perfect reason for planning an outing with friends. Also, it tastes delicious! I can't believe I waited until I was almost a senior in high school before I decided it was a necessity. Thank you, coffee! You give me the extra push I need. 

I wonder what's in store for Day 6? 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Days 1-3

Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite holidays in the last couple of years. I enjoy the history behind it and I love the message that it brings front and center each year. While I am thankful for the people and blessings I have in my life, it's just nice to really focus on those blessings during a special time each year. For me, this time of year, Thanksgiving, is a time of reflection. Instead of celebrating a bountiful harvest, it's a celebration of the blessings I received and using them to  move forward. With that being said, here are my first three blessings that I am thankful for.

Day 1- I am thankful for my husband. He loves me unconditionally. He thinks I'm beautiful, smart, and perfect.Some days a girl just needs that validation because getting through each day is though. A person could lose themselves in it all, but he makes sure I'm always on the correct path.  Everyday he reassures me that I'm the one for him, and not everyone can say they have that. I am thankful for my best friend.

Day 2- I am thankful for stories. Whether they are told by family members, friends, movies or book, a story is special.  The ability to slip away into another world, real or imaginary, is a gift. It's also fun!

Day 3- I am thankful for the snuggles and cuddles from a sweet toddler. Everything in my world is put into place when I can hold my son in my arms. It's a privilege to know the feeling of trust and love without any hesitation.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why Do I Do This?

Seriously? I haven't written a post since July? You think to yourself, "I have time to do it later." Later never happens though. I obviously lost a lot of "laters" because it's been nearly 3 months since I  have taken the time to sit down and write. Life gets too busy and I wait for down time, but when will I learn that down time doesn't exist? Nope, time flies by.

In the past three months a lot has happened. The Baby Monster turned one! I still can't believe it. He's such a vibrant little character. It may not be correct to call him The Baby Monster, he's a toddler  now. Where did my baby go? The Baby Toddler doesn't sound right. Baby Monster is here to stay! Parents are right when they say you will always be their baby. The Baby Monster could be 40 years old and he'd still be my baby.

You can't tell by this picture, but he did have a wonderful first birthday party. We did a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme since he LOVES Mickey. All of our friends and family came to celebrate our sweetheart's first year of life. It was all smiles and fun until the cake came out. The Baby Monster HATES cake. The icing freaked him out. He looked at the cake with huge wide eyes because it was pretty amazing, but the moment the icing touched his fingers it was all over. Maybe next year I should try a giant cookie?

Other things that have happened...I started my first year as a kindergarten teacher. It's been a fun ride so far! Kindergarten is where I belong. It's a joy to see my kiddos' smiling faces each day. They crack me up at least once a day and definitely make me see the world from a different perspective. It's crazy to think that I started my journey into the field of education thinking I was going to teach secondary education. I thank my lucky stars that I decided to teach elementary education.

In three months time I have watched my little boy grow and have taught my heart out. Coming home from a day of teaching to an active toddler is much more exhausting than teaching a full day of third grade and coming home to a newborn. The Baby Monster is keeping me on my feet. Oh, and making me go blind. He broke my glasses today!

So, I'm back in the saddle and plan to take time for myself to write. Maybe this month I'll focus on what I am thankful for. This time of year can get crazy for me, especially when I set my expectations too high for a perfect holiday season. I need to focus on what is most important- family, friends and the blessing of seeing a new day.  I need the reminder because I let the things that matter to me just slip away sometimes. Time does not stop, so I need to keep up, take it when I want to and appreciate the small things in life.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Remember Your Blessings

Today I had a doctor's appointment at an awesome office that is about 30 minutes away from where I live. While normally I detest driving, today's drive was really nice.  It was a feel good, music blaring, sing-your-heart-out kind of drive that allowed me a nice amount of time to reflect on my life.

This past month has left me in a funk. There are a number of reasons. My baby boy will be a year old next month. That fact alone has me wondering where the time has gone. I've also felt the extreme pressure of being the person in charge of our financials. I'm proud that I've provided for my family financially pretty much on my own this past year, but it has been hard, which took a toll this month. There a few other thoughts that have left me feeling lackluster but today's drive and a dose of sunshine helped me out.

It's easy to get caught up with thoughts like  "Why us?" or "Gee, it must be nice to have that," when you are constantly having the world share their blessings with you. Social media gives us the ability to instantly share our thoughts, feelings, and treasures. It makes sense that people want to share their successes and what makes them happy. I know when something makes me excited from my head to my toes I want to share that with the world because it's a good feeling. However, I've been so caught up in thinking I am not where I want to be that I stopped looking at the blessings right in front of me. My success is not measured by being in the same place as others. My life is only based on where my family and I are heading compared to where we standing in the past.

How can I be in a funk when I have friends like these? I have been friends with these amazing women since high school. Through thick and thin we always find time to meet up with each other and be there for one another. We call ourselves "The Breakfast Club" because for four years of high school we always had breakfast together before classes started for the day. Looking back now, that was a gift many don't recieve and I'm happy we are still friends.

There's no time to feel sour when I can whip up a sweet treat that satisfies on a hot day. I successfully made iced coffee for the first time and it was delicious! The hubby loved it which means I rock. If I can make him smile then my day has been worth it. Iced coffee in a bubbly and bright owl tumbler makes life grand. This picture also means more than just enjoying a coffee. It represents having a life where I am able to sit back and relax for a few, letting the world go on its merry way without me. Not everyone has that opportunity. Life is a daily struggle with some of us struggling more than others. I am grateful that my burdens are few at this point and time in my life.

My greatest blessing of all is this little man right here. He's happy, healthy and that, my friends, is worth its weight in gold. Everyday I stress myself out because my dreams and hopes for my baby boy are huge. I worry about having enough money to provide for him. I wonder if we will be able to go on vacations that create lasting memories. I pray everyday that he feels loved, safe and secure. I just need to stop and look at him to let the stress melt away. He IS loved, safe and secure. This baby boy has a quirky, loving, happy personality that I need to soak in. I can learn a thing or two from this almost-one-year old.

There is no need to wait just once each year to count your blessings. Do it every single day because it's easy to lose sight of your life and get lost. My family is headed for nothing but amazing times if just remember my blessings.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

ipsy Glam Bag- June Review

Where did June go? It seemed like it was taking forever for the month to arrive, then it did and now I have people asking me what my plans are for July 4th. Um...I don't know. I can't even keep track of what day it is since school let out.
I borrowed this from a friends FB page because it's so true!
Now that you are well aware of how I lose track of time during the summer months, you'll forgive me for my late-ish ispy Glam Bag review post. I've been too busy enjoying it!

This month's theme was "Pretty in Paradise". How perfect is the bag? Too perfect- I'm in love with it. The colors are just calling to me. I could stare it for hours thinking of all the great island getaways I want to go on. My bag featured (I'm listing produce from left to right- sort)   Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach SprayBe A Bombshell Lashout Mascara, NYX Butter Gloss in Crème Brulee, Realtree for Her fragrance, and OFRA Universal Eye Brow Pencil. Honestly, I enjoyed all of my treats. My favorite item has been the the gloss. I love the simple color along with the shiny, smooth finish.

Then, if I'm ranking from my favorite to least favorite, the hair spray comes next. I'm living in a Florida summer. That means hot, sticky weather with the daily thunderstorm. Even though it's sticky hot outside want to look nice, but I don't want to deal with blow drying and straightening my hair. It's too darn hot. The spray has been my best friend for styling my hair. Wash, towel dry, spray, and bam! I've got great looking beach waves.

Coming in third place is the fragrance. It's smells pretty, sophisticated and flowery. It was a refreshing change from what I usually wear which is fruity or woodsy. My hubs even liked it.

The mascara- I have a love/hate relationship with it. I was in need of some new mascara when I got my bag. I thought it was going to be a match made in heaven. A perfect match it has not been. First I had to get over the smell, once I got over it I liked how it applied and my lashes looked nice. Then there were moments when my eyes got watery and itchy. I couldn't figure out what was going on because allergies don't tend to bother me; then it dawned on me that my eyes got watery and itchy when I wore the mascara. This reaction could just be me. I don't think I'll be buying it again once it runs out.

Last, but not least is the brow pencil. There was nothing wrong with it. I just wasn't excited about it like everything else. It applies nicely and I have used it almost every time I've applied my make-up since getting it. I like that it has a beeswax base. Personally, I haven't given much thought to brow pencils. They seem to work so perhaps I will use them more often.

So there it is. My Glam Bag review. Here's a recap: DO get the NYX Butter Gloss and the Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray. If you're looking for a fragrance change Realtree for Her is the way to go. Be A Bombshell mascara could go either way. And if you like eyebrow pencils than ORFA  Universal Eye Brow pencil could be for you!

Links to find the product:
NYX Butter Gloss - http://www.nyxcosmetics.com/
Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray - http://www.walgreens.com/
Be A Bombshell Lashout Mascara- http://beabombshellcosmetics.com/
Realtree for Her- http://www.realtreebeauty.com/
OFRA Universal Eye Brow Pencil- http://ofracosmetics.com/

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

No, Never, Yes

It has officially been a full week since I started my summer break. We've had a few great moments happen in the last seven days. The Baby Monster went swimming for the first time. The hubs bought him a nifty pool float for him. I think I like it more than he does because I want one for me! The float has an overhead cover to shield his delicate baby skin from sun. It's awesome. We made it 25 minutes before the Baby Monster decided he wanted to drink the pool water. I call that progress because for the first ten minutes he had his little legs locked tight and was not a happy camper. I'm looking forward to more swimming adventures this summer.

It's been a big week for the Baby Monster. Not only did he go swimming for the first time, but he also took his first step all on his own. I'm not ready for him to walk yet. He gets into enough trouble as it is and he only crawls. I can't begin to imagine the amount of mischief he will get himself into once he begins walking. I guess it's a good thing that he has shown me he understands the word "no".  At first I thought I was being ridiculous when I told him, "No, you may not climb the cat tower." Really? How in the world could he understand what I was telling him? It was natural to say it, but I felt silly. Duh, he's only 7 months. He only says "mama" and only when he's not happy with me.  Well, I've been getting good at telling him "no" these past two months because he doesn't hold back with how he feels about it.

This is the result of the word:

He does exactly what I tell him to. Today it was, "No, you cannot eat that piece of paper." He put the paper down and then gave me this face to let me know he was NOT happy that he stopped. I guess paper tastes better than I thought. That face! It will not break me. 

After The Baby Monster decided to smile again it was time to make up my Bikini Body Mommy work out from last night. Before I continue on about how I will NEVER miss out on a workout again, let me just gush about how much I love this free workout program by this really cool woman named Briana. I stumbled across the 90 day fitness challenge while talking on a mommy forum. I am so glad that I did because this was just what I needed to kick up my get- healthy journey. 

The workouts take about 20 minutes and I can get them done without the Baby Monster getting upset. Each workout is intense, but when I don't think I can do an exercise somehow I am able to. She is very motivational and comes across as genuine in her videos. I'm on day 11 of 90, but in the first 6 days of work outs (and watching my Weight Watchers Points more carefully) I saw a 6 pound weight loss. Check out the Bikini Body Mommy website here!  

Last night our power went out so I hightailed it over to my mom's because dealing with the summer heat and a  baby is no joke. I stayed over late because I did not want to go back to my place sooner than I had to and deal with a home without A/C. There was a moment when I thought I could get my day 10 workout in until I realized that I only had my flip flops and my weights were at home. I made the promise to complete the missed workout the next day and proceeded to watch Extreme Weight Loss ( love Chris and Heidi Powell!) 

Never. Again. I will never miss a BBM (short for Bikini Body Mommy) workout again unless it's absolutely necessary. It felt like a day of the Insanity workout all over again. I hate Insanity and I can't tell you why exactly. Maybe because each session felt like forever? I didn't have sneakers? Oh well I should have gone barefoot. No ten pound weights? I'll find canned food next time so it feels like I'm lifting something. I wanted to die. However, I am proud of what I accomplished today. I made a promise to myself, I followed through with that promise and I feel great! So whenever I think I can't accomplish something that seems beyond difficult, which today felt like that, I'll tell remind myself by saying, "Yes, I can do this." There will not be any more no's or never's coming from this girl when I feel like I can't do something. It will be yes- though I may make a face like the Baby Monster in the process. 




Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Joys of a Baby Boy

Phew, I made it! Summer Vacation 2014 has arrived and is in full swing. This was my third year closing out a the school year and it doesn't seem to get any easier. Why is there so much paper work?  It never feels like all the work is going to get finished and then some how it magically comes together and I am standing in the middle of  a bare bones room when it hits me - it's all done. 
I'm still in shock that summer break is here. Maybe it's because I have 2 and 1/2 glorious months with my son. I never got that 6 weeks of maternity leave with him.I'm just beyond happy that I have more time to keep falling in love with this precious soul. 

The Baby Monster is 9 months old. He blows me away. Everyday he reveals a new facet of his personality. I had a feeling it was going to be a big, mischievous and sweet personality from the moment he was born, but in the past couple of months, as he's started transitioning from infant to toddler, he has confirmed it. 

A few of my friends and a cousin are going to have (or just had) baby boys. It really got me thinking about how lucky I am to mother a son. I always thought I was going to have a little girl first. The day of the ultrasound when I found out that I was going to have a boy left me feeling a little deflated  as well as shocked and confused. Every day dream that starred mommy and daughter playing Barbies, having tea, dressing up and getting our nails done flew out the window. All I kept wondering is how could I raise a little boy? How did being a mommy to a little boy work? I had to accept that tea cups needed to stay in the cupboard, manis and pedis would be done alone, and Barbies would stay boxed up in my closet. Instead it meant embracing trains, trucks, baseball, soccer or any other sport that I a look into the life and workings of what it means to be a little guy. He’s such a bruiser and I can see the mischief in his eyes. Like any little boy, and yes, starting a very young age, he smiles when he passes gas and enjoys making all those silly bodily sounds on his own- on my arm, on my leg, on the couch. It cracks my husband and me up! I've never laughed so hard in my life. He makes me laugh all the time.

What makes having a little boy special is that you see the rough and tumble part and then you, only you, are allowed to see the sweet part that indicates you have a little gentleman on your hands. It’s also the venerable, innocent side that  many guys have but refuse to let us women see. It’s the smile he gives you because you’re his everything, that little kiss (or slobber) on the cheek, the hug that he gives you because he never wants to let go. Oh, and just wait until he says “mama’ for the first time. My heart was ready to burst from all the love and joy that filled it when I heard that two syllable word. I've realized that I will be my little boy’s first love. There is a sacred bond formed between mama and son from the moment he’s brought into the world.

The moment his big, bright eyes looked into mine I was hooked. There was an unspoken agreement where he let me know that he would trust me, love me and bring all the joy in the world so long as I was there to take care of him and be the person who would always love him back. I will. I always will. 





Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The June DietBet

I think I like throwing my money away. A couple of weeks ago I entered a diet challenge at work with a $10 buy in. I only lost about 4 pounds for the entire month so I'm confident that I won't be placing for the first, second or third place prizes. What do I do next? I enter a DietBet with my lovely virtual mamas I met through Facebook and put in $20. I have to lose 4% of my weight to get my $20 back. That means I have 27 days to lose just a smidge more than 8 pounds.

It's day two of the DietBet challenge and I'm already failing miserably. The challenge started on Monday which is my Weight Watchers weight-in day and is also my Points reset. I was ready to start off with a bang. Instead I'm down to 8 Weekly Points, have not counted any exercise and only drank three of my five 20 ounce bottles of water that I have been committed to since the beginning of May. The only thing that I'm proud of is that I have tracked every food and drink that I've had since Monday. So, what am I going to do about it? I'm going to make a plan!

My June DietBet Plan:

1. Track, track, track! My Weight Watchers app is going to be my best friend and I will measure EVERYTHING.

2. Begin the 6 week exercise plan using BBM (Bikini Body Mommy) or Dance Fitness with Jessica as my preferred activity.

3. Begin C25K after my last day of work which means I have to either wake up before everyone else to get my run in or take the Baby Monster with me so he can get his morning walk in. The Florida rainy season has begun and that makes trying to get our evening walks accomplished too much of a gamble. Will it rain or will it not rain? That is the question...from now until November. The rainy season conveniently coincides with hurricane season. You either get drenched or blown away.

4. Take my measurements because the scale is evil and shows weight gain when I KNOW I've lost something (inches I suppose) because my clothes fit better.

5. Continue to drink my water.

6. DON'T GIVE UP!

Losing 8 pounds or more in 27 days is possible. I want to see Onederland again. I'm so close! The proof of my hard work is in the low-fat pudding!
Left: December 2011      Right: March 2014
Now, time for that beauty rest because there is no way  I will be able to take this all on and come out on top with some decent sleep!

Sweet dreams.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Favorite Thing

Athletic is not a word I would use to describe myself. Sure, I participated in sports, dance and cheer leading; but I was never considered an athlete. I remember my mom bought me this great shirt that said, "Cheer Leading Is My Sport". It  listed all the reason why cheer was considered a sport. I'd argue with anyone who wanted to say different. Still I never considered myself athletic. In my family (or more to the point in my father's eyes) you were athletic if you played baseball and were good at it. You were athletic if you played football  and you were good at it. I was not great at soft ball. My father called me Missy No-Hit- a nickname that has stuck with me since I was eight. I detested basketball. I gave it my all, but I just did not have the coordination and I did not like the pressure of trying to get the ball from the opposing team. So when my husband muttered that I was athletic while on a walk the other night I almost stopped dead in my tracks. Me? Athletic?

This past month I have been working out about 5-6 days a week trying to follow the Rockin' Body workout plan from Beach Body. It took me some time to figure out that I'd probably like to dance as a form of exercise. After having to take a few days off because of medical concerns I arm just a week away from completing the 30 days. Recently the Baby Monster has wanted to stay by my side no matter what and trying to get a work out in has been hard. In order to make him happy and to still stick to my work out sessions I decided we'd go on walks instead. On Sunday morning I stepped it up a notch by tracking my walks and route to see how fast I walk and how far I walk by using this great app called Map My Walk. I'm hooked!
On Sunday morning the Baby Monster and I were up bright and early because he still does't understand that mommy would like to sleep in past seven on the weekends. The teenage years are going to be blissful! Hopefully he'll enjoy sleeping in. Anyway...  We were both cranky so I decided we needed a morning walk. I was curious and wondered how far we really walked by taking our usual route. That's when I searched for an app and found the awesome Map My Walk. I started the the workout and the music on my phone began playing automatically. Usually the Baby Monster and I take quiet walks, but I thought the change-up would be good. It wasn't good...it was great! Duh! Why did I not play music while walking before? My pace gathered speed and off we were. My stroller was whizzing by while I pushed it with a purpose.
The Baby Monster and me right before our walk. He was one cool dude in his sunglasses. 


It turns out I walked 1 mile in 18:02 minutes and our entire route was 1.46 miles. The amazing thing to me was that I couldn't get enough. I was sad when we made it back to our destination. The morning was beautiful and cool, the sun was shining, the music made me feel like I was on vacation ( I don't get to go many places at this point in my life...boring, I know.). 

There were moments when my feet weren't picking up fast enough to walk my next step and I wanted to burst into a run. Running and I do not get along. We are frenemies. I want to run, but once I do I become frustrated with how hard it is that I stop. Quitting attitude? Yes. Then again I am a person who was never considered athletic and in the past I've constantly failed at every exercise attempt so this feeling of accomplishment through exercise is foreign to me. I had a sheen of sweat all over me yet I was energized instead of gasping for breath. I realized Rockin' Body helped me with that by building up my stamina through constant dancing. Oh yes, I felt very accomplished. 

On Tuesday the hubs asked if I wanted to go a for walk. I gladly said yes and out we went. The idea was to go for a leisurely walk. The slow pace wasn't working for me. I just wanted to take off because I remembered that my last walk was SO. MUCH. FUN. The hubs couldn't keep up! He was huffing and puffing, muttering and complaining. We switched roles! He soon found the humor which kept me going. He encouraged me to keep the fast pace and bust butt. That's when I heard him mutter, "Well she's become athletic." Those words made me feel that all of my actions and small changes have been worth it. My hard work is paying off. 

The Baby Monster and I went for another walk this evening. Instead of thinking of my walk as a chore, I was able to look forward to it as a fun activity. This is HUGE for me. Finding that app was a great thing because I feel challenged now. My goals are to gain feet on my walks and cut down the time it takes to walk a mile. Tonight's walk was awesome! I have heard of runner's high, so I wonder if there is a walker's high. Listening to music, watching the sky fade into dusk and feeling the pavement beneath my feet took me to this place where everything was perfect. Once I was in that place I was able to push myself. 

Tonight I shaved off about a minute and a half from my walk and gained 13 feet since Sunday. I'm proud of myself. A few months ago I dreaded the idea of sweating in the heat of a Florida summer in the name of exercise. Now I am embrace it. I've failed so many times before, however something feels different this time. Dare I call it confidence? Whatever it may be I'm holding on to it. 


Sunday, May 25, 2014

ipsy Glam Bag - May Glam Bag Review

Happy Saturday! The Baby Monster and I were up bright and early this Saturday morning because he doesn't understand that he can sleep in on weekends. I think my hubs has him trained. All this week they both slept in until 7-7:30 a.m. while I got ready for work. The hubs goes to work this morning and the Baby Monster is wide awake at 6:15. Why?! He's currently chilling with his friend Mickey Mouse, so I have a few moments to write. Okay, here it goes...

Okay, I'm just going to put it out there. I fail at being a girl. My hair hardly looks great because it's mostly up in pony tails. I try to figure out how to do cute braids, but only end up frustrated when my fingers become tangled in the frizzy mess. Sometimes I can pull off a cute outfit, however it's the result of going shopping with one of my friends who I enlist as my personal shopper. She just "gets it". I never thought I'd own a pair of skinny jeans. I'm in Khol's for two hours with her and I come home with a pair of skinny jeans that I love! Then there is a makeup. I love makeup. Makeup doesn't love me. It's like a foreign language that I've been trying to learn and can never quite understand it. There is so much product out there! I never know what to get or what works for me because I hate spending the money on something and wind up hating; so when one of my friends told me about ipsy when we went out for coffee I was all over it. 

For just a $10 subscription I get the chance to try out beauty products that I never knew about, let alone would have thought to use each month. The products are mailed to you in a fun Glam Bag that is personalized for you after taking a short quiz. This month I received my first Glam Bag. I couldn't wait for it arrive. Check out ipsy so you can subscribe for your own Glam Bag.


Being that this was my first ipsy experience, I had to snap a shot of the adorable bright fuchsia packaging my Glam Bag was mailed in. And just look at my Glam Bag! I love the print. I just realized I forgot to include a picture of the Hang Ten Classic Sport sunscreen with the rest of my loot. Never fear! I'm here to review the contents of my bag and that means more pictures.

LA Fresh Travel Lite Face Cleansing Wipes- It was nice to see these in my Glam Bag. I had never heard of this company or product before so I was game to try it out. As the packaging suggests it is oil-free. The wipes had clean scent that was not overpowering like some makeup remover wipes I have tried in the past. My face felt pretty smooth after, but when I accidentally wiped my lips there was a slight burning sensation. Would I purchase them again? Probably not. I have a cleanser that I have been using for a few years now and love. If I'm traveling I'll pack it with me. If I forgot my cleanser and had to go the store where I saw this product, then maybe that would be the only time I'd purchase it.

Hang Ten Classic Sport SPF50- When trying out new sunscreen I'm hesitant. My skin is sensitive and I go back to the summer when my aunt slathered on Banana Boat sunscreen while we spent a day at the pool and my skin just burned! Not from the sun, but from the sunscreen. Hang Ten was gentle and I did not have a reaction. It feels light upon application unlike some sunscreens that feel heavy when you're trying to rub them on. It was also not greasy. This would be great for wearing under makeup.I did not know this product existed, but now that I know I may try out a full sized spray version if I can find it at my local stores. Neutrogena is my sunscreen of choice. The price seemed reasonable for the spray version.

Pacifica Mineral Eyeshadow Duo- I love eyeshadow. There are so many pretty colors out there. This Pacifia color is no exception. I received Duo #2 which is called Moonbeam & Unicorn (my inner Disney is going, "Oooh, so magical."). I am all for mineral makeup so I was excited to see this in my Glam Bag. The colors have a shimmer effect and very pigmented, you just have to make sure you don't put it on too lightly. A little pressure is needed, but don't hurt your eyeballs! I liked it.

Olive Natural Beauty The Olive Lip Balm- Finally, we made it to the first of my favorite products from this month's Glam Bag. Once again, never heard of this company before (see a pattern?). I have a basket in my bedroom that as a collection of lip balms that I forget about and then remember I bought them when I clean out my purses every couple of months. I will never forget that I have this lip balm in my purse. It's awesome! I'm trying to invest in more natural products where I can. This is one product I can commit to. I love the rosemary scent and flavor of this lip balm. Once applied my lips have instant relief. They get dried out in the summer months, which in FL is NOW. It is also a reasonable price at $5.95 for a tube according the company's website. That works for me because I don't go through lip balm quickly. This product will always be in my purse.

Pur-Lisse Pur-Moist Hydra Balance Moisturizer - What a gem this Glam Bag goodie turned out to be! I LOVE this product. I've been on the search for a great moisturizer and settled on Olay (which I like), but this blows it out the water for me. After a shower I look forward to applying this following my cleanser. I feel like I'm at a fancy spa. It's gentle, smells great (very fresh and light), non-greasy, and just glides on. There wasn't a sign of a reaction after the first use. I love how my skins feels after I apply. My only disappointment is the price that the full sized product costs. When I checked out their website a tube of this awesome moisturizer is $55. I just can't budget for that. This product will have to go on my Christmas, Anniversary or Birthday list when my hubs asks me what I want. Until then, it's Olay for me. If you can afford this awesome moisturizer go for it! You won't regret it.

Whew, that was a lot of reviewing, but I was happy to. And by the way, in no way do I get anything for reviewing these. I happen upon a lot of great products and ideas through reading blogs which I think is neat. If I can even help one person like me, who wants to have a clue about beauty products but doesn't know where to begin, then I did good!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Recipe Raves

"You are becoming quite the cook!" I would have never thought I'd hear my husband speak those words. Ever since I've joined Annie's Buying Club I have had to meal plan. With certain things I tend to be a procrastinator (i.e. laundry, dishes, cooking), but knowing I have fresh produce in the fridge that must be addressed has helped me become a better "chef". Every other Sunday I plan breakfast and dinner for the next two weeks, with the lunch being left overs from dinner. I make a menu from a template I created (it was super simple- a two column table with 7 rows to plan out each week in a word document) and then print out the recipes I decided on. My ultimate goal is to put the recipes in plastic sleeves so I can store them in a recipe binder that I jazz up with a pretty cover. I love binders- one of my quirks.

With a few successful recipes under my belt I thought I'd share my favorite recipes that I've made each week. Everything I have chosen is simple to make because most nights I'm trying to cook with the Baby Monster crawling around the house and wanting constant attention. A common question that is asked on one of my mom forums is, "What is something that I can make this healthy and easy?" Well here are some recipes to help answer that question.

This week's share of food provided me with a lot of kale and collard greens. I've never tried kale and I haven't been too fond of collard greens so I had to find recipes to make them some of the most delicious foods on the planet because I knew I was going to be eating them forever (okay only two weeks).

On Monday I made collard green enchiladas. I'm proud of how these babies came out. Look at how yummy and tidy they look with their enchilada sauce and cheese topping.
This dish lasted us about 4 or 5 days. I can't remember because I know the hubs sneaked in two enchiladas at once so I can safely say he enjoyed them. The recipe can make 9-12 enchiladas. I made 10. This meal was also served with some pork. You can get the recipe here.

This next recipe was my favorite from this past week. It's a Summer Garden Crustless Quiche. I wanted a delicious recipe that called for kale and this was it.

 This recipe called for carrots and zucchini, but I didn't have carrots and I reserved the zucchini for another favorite recipe. To make up for it I added some peppers and onions instead along with a two strips of chopped turkey bacon. I couldn't wait for breakfast because I knew this savory creation was waiting for me. The hubs also ate more than his fair share...again. It's his way of complimenting my cooking I suppose. Try this quiche out by checking the recipe here.

We eat a lot of broccoli in my house. I like it steamed with a little bit of salt and pepper or with a cheese sauce. I never would have thought to roast it. Why did I wait so long to roast broccoli? It is AMAZING. This was the side dish that made my husband say, "Wow, you're becoming quite the cook." The broccoli gets a little bit of a crunch to it, it seems extra light and air, and the best part is that it brings out just a tiny bit of sweetness that I would not have expected to come from broccoli. I didn't take a picture of it because it was gobbled up right away. Take a look for yourself and definitely try out oven roasted broccoli by clicking here.

Now go out, get the ingredients and enjoy the deliciousness! I'm going to be busy cooking another quiche for breakfast this week.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Review

   My first Mother's Day is in the books. I think I can safely say that it was more of a Mother's Day Weekend and it was a sweet weekend at that. My Baby Monster experienced quite a few firsts. He said "mama" for the first time. Since he started making adorable cooing noises I have waited for mama. What has me mostly excited is to hear what his voice will sound like. He's such a happy sweet baby boy that I can only imagine his voice will be just as happy and sweet sounding. Hearing him call out mama when he's upset, happy, or playing has made my heart sing. Saturday is when I really heard him use mama for a purpose. The moment it came out of his mouth I swooped down and picked him up to snuggle. He said it one more time and I looked at the hubs for confirmation. My face turned just an inch away from him when Baby Monster said, "Mama!", grabbed my face with both hands and  planted a big mushy, wet baby kiss on my cheek. Best. Moment. Ever.
   The Baby Monster must be an over achiever because saying mama was not enough. He's been wanting to stand since he was born. He practically leaped out of my arms on day two. Lately he's been standing well but has been hesitant to let go of my hands, my hubs hands or the whatever he's using as support. On Saturday he was holding on to my pinky for dear life when he gaves me a mischievous little grin. Can you guess what happens next? The little guy let go of my pinky and stood for about ten seconds on his own until he plopped down on his bottom because I was hollering and squealing like a crazy lady. As a working mom who is away from my son five days a week for about seven hours a day I know that I will miss many firsts; so to have been home when he first tried to stand on his own was such a gift.
   All of this was just Saturday. Mother's Day actually arrived and it left me alone with the Baby Monster.  The hubs had to work (thankfully it was an early morning shift).For just a moment I threw a pity party. I really wanted my hubs home with me to celebrate my first Mother's Day. Then I stopped feeling sorry for myself because it dawned on me that I was given a wonderful gift. I had my son all to myself and we were going to have a great day! I just needed to make sure I had sleep first.
    The Baby Monster needs to learn that on holidays people enjoy sleeping in. He hasn't gotten that memo yet and has woken up early on every single special occasion. I was gifted with a 4 a.m. wake-up call. Happy Mother's Day, mom! I was okay with it because he gave me many opportunities for a nap.
   We then spent the day with my amazing, strong and stubborn mother. I love that woman with all of my heart. The day she leaves this earth will be one of great sadness for she is a force of nature. Everyday I get to talk to her is a gift, and even more so because she has had to fight to live everyday for the past 6 years with every medical extreme you could throw at her. The hubs came over to visit when he got off of work and after a long visit we went home...and then back again for Mother's Day cheesecake. Yum!
   My Mother's Day didn't leave me showered with physical gifts, but I could feel every blessing that makes being a mother one of the best jobs I have ever had. I'm looking forward to many more.



 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Errand Champion

  I have a cousin named Aarron. My 8-year-old self thought he was a pretty cool dude and enjoyed going over to my aunt's house so I could play with him and his other brothers and sisters. Six kids and at the time, ages ranging probably four to 12 years old, all got together to play. Oh my, did we get ourselves into a lot of trouble! I promise there's a point to this. My mom would check off a lot of things on her to-do list on the weekend, which I am finding is prime to-do list checking time, and naturally I'd always ask her what she was doing. She would say, "I'm running errands." This answer would leave me slightly confused because all I heard was Aarron instead of errands. I tried to figure out why she was running my cousin, but it seemed like fun so I wanted to go along with her. Finally after whining that I wanted to go with her she explained that she was not spending time with my cousin, but getting chores taken care of. That didn't sound like fun.

  Years later and errands still stink! I wish it meant that I was visiting with a person I liked spending time with. Today's errands went well though. The hubs had his first Saturday in forever off so I was able to get a lot of things accomplished before 3 p.m. I slept in, played with the Baby Monster and meal planned for the next week because our veggie share is in on Monday. Then I made a grocery list. Once the hubs woke up from his early morning nap I was the gift card queen and bought a new 20 oz Tervis Tumbler water bottle so I'd be more inspired to drink all of my water. I also got the hubs a new Tervis for his coffee. We then zipped over to Chic-Fil-A (YUM!) and took that to go to the book store. The bookstore was a major score because they had a ton of baby books on sale so the Baby Monster got six new books. I dropped the hubs and the baby off at home and I was on my to go grocery shopping. I went to two, count them, TWO stores in order to get amazing deals.

   My errand running rocked! This means I get to enjoy my Mother's Day chore free. Getting things checked off my to-list makes life feel great. Since my Saturday has been awesome I am going to send good vibes out to the world and hope that everyone else has an enjoyable Saturday as well! Have fun.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Get Your Tennis Shoes!

   There are moments in my life that I will look back on from time to time where I can remember my exact emotions, feelings and actions. My 10th birthday is one of those times. I can remember opening my last present thinking that I was a lucky girl to have family that loved me enough to celebrate my birthday and give me awesome gifts. When I finally brushed aside the torn wrapping paper to look inside the package I saw a strip of paper with the words, "Look in the back" printed on them. I looked up at my aunt with confusion and excitement because this particular aunt was always up to something. She lead me outside to the back of her vehicle then popped the door open to reveal a brand new pink bike. I jumped. I shrieked. I yelled. That 10th birthday will always be on my list of good moments to look back on.
 
   There are other important moments that are on my list as well. The moment when I found out my grandfather passed away, forcing me to face death for the first time in my young life. Or the time when I went to the San Fransisco Music Box Company with my aunt to pick out a special gift for my mom because she had just given birth to my baby brother. Instead of finding mom the perfect gift I fixated on a music box that featured Clara and her nutcracker. I can remember just staring at it thinking of the ways I could convince my aunt that this was the gift for my mom because I had to have it. She wound up getting it for me. I still have it. All these moments are mixed with the good and the bad.

  Thursday morning I was able to collect another important moment that will go on my list. I'm a teacher who works in a state where tenure is no longer a thing for new teachers. I began my teaching career last year and that turned out to be rough time for my district. Sadly at the end of the school year instead of packing up my classroom to put it away for the summer months I had to pack it up and move it out into storage because I was let go. After a miserable summer I got a call that there was a position available at my old school. I applied, interviewed and was offered the position of third grade teacher.

    I worked very hard this year to grow and develop my craft. As the school year started drawing closer the end the nerves started eating at me. I didn't want to relive those miserable weeks that I had endured last year. I kept wondering if I be let go again. I questioned if all of my hard worked paid off.  I love teaching so my heart would have broken again if something were to happen and I wouldn't be able to come back to my school next year. With only five weeks left that meant I would find out if I was going to come back very soon.

  On Thursday my AP told me "Get your tennis shoes, you're going to kindergarten." That's right, ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to teach kindergarten! Getting official word that not only was coming back, but that I get to teach a grade level I've been wanting to teach since my second internship was one of the best moments ever. My face has had a smile plastered on it since Thursday and I don't think it's going anywhere. Next year cannot come soon enough (Until the end of summer break actually arrives and then I'll wish I had more time with the Baby Monster. Oh life, how fickle you are).

   While I enjoyed my time as second grade and third grade teacher, I know I'm made for kindergarten. I fell in love with it during my second internship. For that internship I taught half a semester in second grade which I really liked. The thought of leaving it for kindergarten kind of scared me because I liked the independence of the second graders and the curriculum. So when I switched second grade for kindergarten I was a bit apprehensive. It only took me about ten minutes of me being in there to fall in love with everything. My mentor teacher was awesome, the students were great and I couldn't believe what they were capable of accomplishing at such a young age. I was simply amazed.

   The second half of the semester flew by because I was enjoying my time teaching so much. When it was time to request my grade level for my final internship I made sure kindergarten was the top of my list. Later in the summer the letter arrived to inform me that I would indeed be placed in a kindergarten classroom for my final internship. I was ecstatic. My experience in my new classroom only confirmed what I knew to be true- I was made to teach kindergarten. I had hoped to get a position in that grade level my first year teaching, but I was offered second grade and I was pretty happy about that. I was chosen out of 200 applicants for that position so I was honored. Plus, I do like second grade! This is why I love teaching. There is something about every grade level that I truly enjoy. Kindergarten just has that special something.

  It has taken me three tries, but finally I get to teach kindergarten again. I cannot wait to work with the wonderful ladies on my team. I worked with them before during my final internship and when I took a long-term substitute job. My Pinterest account is flooded with kindergarten goodness. I'll have to make sure I pin some great looking tennis shoes! I'll need more than the one pair I have. I'm ready!

 

 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Painting Like A Pro

   Well, shucks, it's been 7 days, an entire WEEK since I've checked in. It has taken forever to get this post up. My excuses are valid. The baby monster has been sick for the past week with a cold so he's been needing extra love and care. I'm also going to be honest- my laptop died and I never keep in plugged in so I've been lazy and have let it sit on my table for the past 5 days. It's getting to be a hassle every time I plug something in that has a cord longer than an inch. Apartment living with an active 8 month old who enjoys chewing wires is not all the fun it games it seems to be. It's much easier to let the laptop battery die then let the Wire Detector find it.

   My laptop's charged now so I can post this!

Lovely painting, no? I created that. Well, actually copied what an instructor did, but this version is all mine! I celebrated my belated birthday with my friends at this awesome place called Painting With A Twist. If you have one in your area I highly recommend it. So what you do is sign up for an artwork you would like to paint. You pay to reserve a seat for a class. The "twist" part is that you can bring any beverage and snack that you like with you. And when I say beverage, I mean your favorite adult beverage. It's fairly inexpensive. I booked a private party because I knew I wanted to celebrate my birthday with a group of friends. It did not cost me extra to book a party. We all still paid $35 for a two hour session. Everyone had a blast. After we left that night I got a lot of texts and calls from my friends who thanked me for a great night. All of them said they had fun. My one friend is scheduling a private party for June because she enjoyed the class so much. Check out this link to see if you can find a studio near you. It was a good time.

Look at that smile! That's the sign of a fun night out. 

  My fancy art work will be displayed just as soon as the hubs gets to it. I'm banned from ever hanging anything on our walls because I'm terrible at making things level. Everything always has a tilt to it. I'm proud of my painting, even if my glass jar isn't leveled. It reminds me of a summer night in New Jersey catching lightning bugs during a balmy summer evening. Everyone down here in Florida calls them fireflies, just in case you were wondering what I was talking about. I usually get confused looks when I mention lightning bugs.

Well that's all I have for now. I got some really exciting news today at work, but that's for a post all it's own.


 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Simple Pleasures

   There are many things that make me happy because I am genuinely a happy person. Right now I am beyond happy, dare I say giddy, because I have a brand new  pencil sharpener in my classroom! Early in the school year I had to take over a classroom. I was welcomed with a great class, great set-up and a not-so-great pencil sharpener. I stuck with it because a good pencil sharpener is NOT cheap.
   Last week I finally caved and ordered a new pencil sharpener because I couldn't stand it any longer. It was seriously taking about 2 minutes to sharpen one pencil. It was getting to the point that I had to use another teacher's pencil sharpener. My brand new beauty arrived in the afternoon yesterday and I was able to use it today. Amazing! I couldn't sharpen enough pencils. What took 2 minutes now takes mere seconds. I feel like a new woman.
   Sharpening pencils was one of the best moments of my day. Now I don't have any more pencils to sharpen because a pencil monster seems to eat them all up. May I should invest in a never ending pencil!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Go Away Monday

  Why do Mondays have be so....Monday? It doesn't matter how delightful my weekend was, Monday always finds a way to let me know it's the beginning of the work week, the real world week (this is when everything shuts down on Friday and you forget about it until the cycle starts again on Monday), and that I'm still far away from Friday. Tuesday isn't as fun either. I'll take Wednesday and Thursday over Monday and Tuesday.
  Today is a Monday due to the fact that I'm coughing like a mad woman again! This time I have a stuffy/runny nose combo instead of aches, chills and a fever. I really hope it's allergies bothering me this time and not another chest infection. While I was waiting my turn in line at the drug store so I could buy some allergy medication the woman in front of me heard me cough and said, "Oh that sounded like me last week. I thought it was allergies too, but it turned out to be bronchitis." I told her if my immune knew what was good for it then it wouldn't play that game because I just finished being sick a month ago. If I have bronchitis my immune system needs to have serious heart-to-heart because I am over this. I
   Also, this lovely Monday is the day that I'm supposed to make a payment on my veggie share through Annie's Buying Club. Guess what website isn't working? If I don't pay for it tonight I don't get my yummy vegetables or there are fees or something like that. I'll be upset if I don't get to finally try this buying club out! Organic veggies are on my to get-healthy list and it's important that I am able to start soon.  I'm just a bit agitated.  And impatient.
   I guess my Monday wasn't that horrendous, but it could have kept the upbeat attitude from Easter. The Baby Monster and I had to spend his first Easter without my hubs because of work. We still had fun though! The night before Easter we dyed eggs while my husband was at work- I'm seeing a pattern here. Then Easter morning we looked in his  Easter basket and the Easter Bunny was real good to him. He got Bible stories, an Easter onesie and Here Comes Peter Cottontail. We were able to watch that with my hubs. The rest of the day was followed by naps and dinner with my grandmother, aunts, mom, dad, and cousin. It was a lovely day and I only hope everyone else enjoyed their Easter Sunday as well.
   Oh gee, I'm having a coughing fit again. It makes it hard to type when I'm constantly coughing, so for now I have to say goodnight.
 
 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday's Moments

    Today lived up to The Many Moments Blog's title. They are all note worthy moments and, let's be honest, Wednesdays need some spice. Unless you've been living under a rock, you may have heard of the Blood Moon that made it's appearance early Tuesday morning. The rare phenomenon was talked about on just about every news station in my area. Unfortunately, I needed to sleep that morning and missed it. That's okay because today at recess my kiddos and I gazed upon a sun halo.
    I had no idea what was going on, but my kiddos kept saying, "It's a rainbow by the sun! Look at the rainbow!" I thought they were seeing things because I was looking for a very bright "traditional" rainbow, but once I followed the direction of their pointed fingers I saw it. Science lesson: a sun halo occurs when the light shines through ice crystals. It A rainbow is when light passes through water droplets. And if you are curious to know what a sun halo looks like, check out this link. I had never seen a sun halo before today and I'm glad that I did. I've seen halos around the moon thinking that they were simply beautiful to look at.
    Nature didn't stop it's performance after the halo sighting. While I was sitting on the couch feeding the Baby Monster, I looked out the window quickly and had to stop. Sitting on a tree branch was a beautiful, bright red cardinal. My phone was next to me so I took a picture because the sight was too pretty to pass up. When I lived in New Jersey I remember my mom telling me how much she loved to see a bright red cardinal against the snowy winter backdrop. I haven't seen snow in 12 years, but seeing the cardinal brought me right back to my childhood.

I love this photo because from the top to the the branch that the bird is sitting on reminds me a New Jersey winter, while it mixes with the bottom half that is a typical day in Florida when the clouds roll through. It's like how I had to mix it up when I moved here. 
    Last, but not least, I got my behind off the couch and got my sweat on! My little man fell asleep at 8:15. This mama could not be happier that he's going to bed earlier. Ever since he started crawling and trying to stand he sleeps better. That means I am able to get work outs in. 
    I completed Day 4 of my S-P-P challenge and then found myself on Youtube to use a video by Dance Fitness with Jessica. If this is the first time you have heard of her then go check her out right after reading this! The video showed up on my FB news feed late February when a friend posted about her great leg workout. At that time I was trying to figure out what type of exercise I would actually be interested in doing when I saw the video. It was like a sign from God telling me to get off my behind so I can live long enough to enjoy my son. 
   Back in my heyday (sadly it feels like I peaked at age 14) I used to be a cheerleader and a dancer. It all ended when The Move happened. I don't know why it never occurred to me to use dance as a workout routine, but you know hindsight is 20/20. Bam! I am full of over used cliches tonight. I had been planning to use this video since February, but I needed to buy new sneakers. I finally bought new sneakers that are AWESOME and never started because I got horribly sick in March during my Spring Break which I had decided was my launching point. Tonight just seemed perfect for it. I LOVED every moment of it. I even did two videos. My legs are going to kill me tomorrow, but secretly I am going to enjoy every hurt because I know it's leading me to something greater. 
   





Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sabotage

My decision making process concerning food choices is stuck on repeat. I make the same stupid mistake over and over again. I can't even call it a mistake. A mistake is something that results from committing an act where you weren't aware of the consequences. When I make these poor choices I aware of the consequences and how they make me feel. Sometimes I wonder if it is food addiction, but I think that is going to the extreme. What I suffer from is boredom. I have no reason to be bored. Once I get home from work I have a baby to take care of and a home to maintain. When I get bored I eat. That is not a healthy cause and effect relationship. When I'm bored I should read a book, organize something that I know needs organization, get my son out of the house and take a walk; instead I turn to food because it's right there. All I have to do is walk to the kitchen grab something and have instant satisfaction. The entire time I'm doing it I know I shouldn't because I know how terrible I am going to feel. It makes me feel ashamed. It makes me feel weak. It makes me feel foolish. When I eat healthy, make time for exercise and make the right choices I feel invincible. Maybe that seems silly, but it is difficult for me not to turn to food. Goodness, my entire life revolved around food. I've talked about it before. What is easier to get your kids when you're struggling with financials, but what to give them a treat? A Happy Meal. What's something easy to do when you're husband is working two jobs and you are left feeling like a single mother to three children? Make the fastest, simplistic meal possible. I don't fault my parents. I know they tried their best. My mom was just trying to gift us with a luxury she didn't have growing up. My father was just passing on family habits that he learned while growing up. I'm trying to break them now and it's a fight! Making the conscience decision to eat right and be active is a daily struggle that I face every day when I wake up. I'm not addicted to the food, I'm just used to my habits. Changing a habit or creating a new one does not happen overnight. For instance, I've been doing Weight Watchers since August. I have lost 44 pounds since then. It's been about 7 months since I started and it wasn't until recently did I acknowledge I had lost so much weight. I felt like I should have been working harder at it, however I realized the reason why tracking my food didn't feel like "work" was due to the fact that it has become a part of my life. It took me 7 months to feel that way. I don't want to just track food anymore. I don't want to eat a bag of potato chips just because I can and it is within my point range. I want to choose foods that I will not only enjoy, but have a healthier pay off. That is where I am struggling. Add the boredom (which is me getting tired of this routine I created) to the struggle and that is why I make the poor decision every time. I am stronger than that! I went to work 11 days after having my son because I needed to provide for my family after Life threw us a major curve ball. I have stayed strong for every moment my mother has had to go to the hospital, wondering if that visit was her last because she would never come home. I survived the fear that overcomes a person when they learn their mother went into cardiac arrest. At 14 years old I was able to pick up the pieces of my life when it turned upside down after having to move 2,000 miles away from everything and everyone I knew and loved because my family had to. Yet, the ability to make a good choice concerning my health cuts me at the knees. Two weeks ago my week was fantastic. I was 4 pounds away from seeing the 100's again. Last week was horrible and the result was not good. I promised myself that this week would be better, but here it is, Tuesday with nothing but poor choices for the past two days. I still have five days to turn this week around so I vow to do it. A lot can happen in five days. It has to because I am done with the self sabotage. I don't care if I'm bored, stressed, sad, happy or anything else. I will not use food to help. No more of this, I have better things to write about than my constant struggles and defeats related to food and health. I am better than this. Next time I talk about food I am going to talk about how I chose to use it for fuel instead of fun. I'm also going to talk about the new, exciting hobby or activity I completed in food's place. I'm turning off repeat.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Get Your Squats, Push-Ups and Planks On!

   Happy Sunday! It has been a beautiful day here in the Sunshine State. My sister took the Baby Monster shopping with her today. Aunt and nephew bonding time gave me a few hours to myself. Normally I would take this time to sleep, but my son finally got the hint that weekends are for sleeping in past 6:30 A.M. and he woke up two hours later than normal Those extra two hours allowed me to feel well rested.
   Since two hours to myself is like vacation time I went to the mall to pick up our family portraits from the portrait studio, bought two adorable outfits for Baby Monster because I couldn't help myself, visited the hubs at work, and had an iced coffee with one of my nearest and dearest. It was heaven. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon with my baby boy and mom. Like I said, it was a lovely day.
  My day was almost ruined by a selfish driver who did not stop at the stop sign. One major pet peeve of mine has always been people who think they are above the law or any rules that society follows. Now that I am a mom it infuriates me even more when I come across those kinds of people. We were almost home from my visit with my mom when I pulled into my complex. I'm incoming traffic and therefore do not have to stop. However, the man driving the car who wanted to exit the complex thought he did not have to stop either even there are signs there say, "Incoming traffic does not stop". He didn't even acknowledge my car. He just blew right through the stop sign. I knew he was going to do it and stopped because I saw he wasn't slowing down as he was approaching the sign. I should have blown my horn, but I was angry. My baby was with me. It's one thing if someone were to hit my car with just me in it. That driver would get a piece of my mind and a visit from law enforcement. It's another thing if someone were to hit me while my son was in the car with me. Then I'd rain all hell on you. Selfish people like that get my blood pressure going which is why I need to work out.
  Here is the challenge that I talked about in yesterday's post.  I think I need to do another round of these this evening after my experience, but I finished Day 2 this morning before baby boy woke up.
As you can I did not create this challenge. It looks like it belongs to Dawn ( it is called Dawn's 30 Day S-P-P Challenge). It came from this blog, doe Stuido. Here is the link http://doestudio.blogspot.com/. It also has a great 52 Week Saving Challenge that I pinned four months ago and have been trying to follow (but forgot about...oops!).
  While I am only on Day 2, my thighs, butt and arms are killing me. Apparently I am more out of shape than I thought. If I can get my eating back under control I think this challenge will help tighten things up. It does not take a lot of time. This morning while my son slept I actually wanted to complete Day 2 because it's so easy to knock out. By Day 30 I'm confident I'll cry when I see I need to complete 100 squats. I'll just forget about those for now.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday

 Saturday evening- a time of day when anything is possible. Maybe you're going out with your girlfriends for a night on the town. Perhaps you and your significant other are going to catch a movie and then have a delicious dinner. Then again, you could be spending your Saturday like me. Little dude crawling and babbling while I attempt to catch up on a t.v. show and decide whether or not I want to load the dishwasher. I'll probably load it and then reward myself with Cinderella because that seems to be the only interesting thing on tonight.
   It's okay that I'm having a laid back Saturday with my little dude. We had a lot of fun on my birthday this past Thursday and yesterday we were out. That's just too much for the baby monster (yes, that is a term of endearment for my son. It just rolled of the tongue one day. I'm also known as the mommy monster. He's a cute little monster). My son is like a little old man. He's set in his ways and would rather be home crawling on the floor while Mickey Mouse Club House is on in the background instead of being out visiting his Grams and Grandpa. I don't get it. He has a great Grams and Grandpa.
  Lets get back to my birthday. I did have a good one.The weather was gorgeous. My students made me feel very loved. I got a card and some sweet  notes that wished me a happy birthday with thanks for being their teacher. Those are some of the best gifts I could ever receive. Then they broke out singing "Happy Birthday" to me.
   After school I went home so my hubs and I could have dinner together and then we went to my parents' home because my dad ordered a birthday cake for me. He was very proud of his design decision. I'm blessed with such loving parents.
My dad has always known me well. Purple is my favorite color. 
   Though my birthday was low-key I enjoyed the time with family. Don't worry, I do plan to celebrate some more later down the road with my friends. We're going to get our paint on and dig down deep to find our inner artists. This, I cannot wait to do!
    This birthday was just a teeny bit hard for me to face. I'm on the other side of 25 now. Turning 25 was exciting since it felt like I was really in the adult club. I managed to achieve a lot by 25, which was a goal I had. It seemed like a good number. While I have a great many things to check off of my bucket list, it feels different now. I'm closer to 30 than I've been. Seriously, I can remember turning 10 and getting my brand new bike. It felt like yesterday. Sometimes I still feel like I'm 16 years old.            
    Knowing that 30 is not as far off as it has been really got to me. Mainly I'm still upset over the fact that I'm still not where I want to be physically. I still remember telling myself that it was okay to be chunky because I was going to get skinny by the time I reached my twenties. That did happen and then I let it slip away from me. Seven years later I'm back to telling myself that it's okay because I'm going to get skinny by the time I reach my thirties. To be honest, I am weary of this weight-loss battle. Since August I have lost 44 pounds. That is a huge loss and I know I'm on my way to getting back to where I was seven years ago. Right now I weigh the same as I did that day seven years ago when I told myself that enough was enough. It's mentally draining to keep telling myself that I am going to get past this point when I  keep getting angry that I was already here and had taken care of it. 
   What I need is a swift kick in the behind to get myself in gear. I have all the things I need to get going, but I'm not in the frame of mind to actually start. Frustrated does not even begin to describe what I feel. My birthday gift to myself has got to be the start of changing for good. A healthy life style was one of my major New Year's goals and here we are 4 months later and I can't even figure out an exercise routine. Thanks to some positive ladies I met while pregnant I joined an S-P-P challenge (squats, push-ups and planks). It's nothing major, but it's a start. I'll talk more about it because it's a simple thing to do each day for a person who wants to get a routine started. My overall goal is for my weight not to be on my mind everyday. I'd rather be thinking of Johnny Depp or what book I want to read next, not have my thoughts be interrupted while reading my book thinking, "Well the hero would not go for a girl like me because I look awful!" 
  This is not the direction I thought this post would take, but obviously these thoughts have been on my mind. That's what this blog is about though. Getting the many moments and thoughts out there to start each day new.