Thursday, January 30, 2014

10 Months!

Kid is 10 months on Sunday, and (like I say with every update) I can hardly believe it!

He is full of personality, and he definitely knows exactly what he wants. And he has no problem letting us know.

Arched back, red face, clenched fists. And the screams!

Frustration at its finest!

So how do you deal with a 10 month old's temper tantrums, you ask?

Well, I'm no expert. But the hubs and I are figuring out what works for us.

1. Distract, distract, distract! Kid is not throwing temper tantrums to get what he wants. Well. He is. But it's not like he is a two year old that understands all that stuff, yet. He's just a frustrated little boy that can't put into words what he is feeling (or thinking). Distracting him with a toy or his sippy cup has been extremely helpful

2. Consistency. As with anything in parenting, consistency is key. If we don't want him to play with the TV remote, don't let him play with it even one time. If he plays with it once, he will think it's a toy and can play with it all the time.

3. Stick to your guns. Don't give in if the tantrum continues. Be strong. Taking the remote away from him, and then giving it back so he'll stop crying is exactly what you don't want to do. It will reinforce the tantrum. And then he'll learn that throwing a tantrum equals getting what he wants. And that is bad news bears.

4. Be observant. Kid's tantrums are because he is frustrated. We mentally keep track of what triggers his tantrums and are mindful of that. He once got a hold of Daddy's iPad and started chewing on it. Of course, he screamed when we took it away. Not because he wanted the iPad, but because his teeth hurt and he needed comfort. We handed him one of his hard plastic toys. Straight to the mouth it went and the tantrum was over.

We're coming to realize that Kid is frustrated with not being able to communicate with us. We started some basic baby signing a few months back, but are realizing the necessity of it. If we work more at those signs, giving Kid a way to communicate with us, I think a lot of the tantrums can be avoided.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

::Dinner Plans #2::

Wow, has it been awhile since I've made dinner plans!

We have spent a lot of time with family these last couple of weeks, and a lot of it has been for dinner.

But, we're now getting back into the swing of things. I know that it's a Wednesday today, but I thought I would post the meal plan for the week, anyway. I have cooked every night so far (which is unusual!).

Sunday: Chicken Soup
Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Peach-Whiskey BBQ Chicken & Green Beans
Wednesday: Garlic Butter Venison Chops & Mashed "Potatoes"
Thursday: Chicken Fajitas
Friday: Cumin-Spiced Pork Loin & Garlic Veggies
Saturday: Date Night! (out to dinner!)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Admitting Defeat

Well, the time is here to admit defeat to the NaBloPoMo for January of 2014.

I did not post every day. I could not post every day. And, I won't be continuing with the challenge.

It is a really hard challenge!

I've come to realize that I can't put that much pressure on myself (funny that pressure was the theme of this month!).

I may try again with the NaBloPoMo during a summer month, when I'm not hustling my behind to school every day. Except today, when the wind chills are expected to reach 40 below zero. School has been canceled for the safety of our students. This isn't something that happens frequently. I work in the same district from which I graduated. During my life as one of their students, I can count the number of times on one had that schools were closed due to the weather. This year? With these crazy temps...we're on day four of cancellations. It is crazy!

Right now, I'm off to deal with 10 month old temper tantrums. Are those really a thing?!

Friday, January 10, 2014


NaBloPoMo January 2014

Day Eight

Have you ever tried acupressure to treat a problem?
What was your experience with it?

Nope. I have had zero experience with acupressure to treat problems.

I have had one experience, though, with acupuncture.

I was in college, studying in Cuernavaca, Mexico. My mornings consisted of an upper level Spanish course. My afternoons consisted of a course in hanging out in Mexico. It. Was. Awesome.

My Spanish teacher in Mexico was also certified to perform acupuncture. I walked into the classroom one morning to find Britney, one of the Bostonians, with her head on the table and ten to fifteen needles sticking out of her head and ear. Shocked, I sure was.

Britney had been struggling with migraines and was missing quite a few class sessions. She would stay in bed all day, in a dark room. That's no way to enjoy Mexico! Our teacher convinced her to try acupuncture and, after a few sessions, it's as if she were cured. She never missed another class. She never seemed to have any sort of headache or migraine.

I wonder if acupressure has the same effect?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

\\Thankful Thursday Vol. 7//

I'm feeling all sorts of discombobulated with the NaBloPoMo going on, and with the short work week.

That's right. After two weeks off from school, I was granted 2 extra days to stay home with my two main men. The temperatures dipped so long (and the windchills even lower!) that schools across the state of Minnesota were canceled on both Monday and Tuesday.

And so, here I am, marveling in how quickly this week flew by.

I find that it is impossibly easy to get into a rut of negativity. And once you're there, it's hard to climb your way out. Writing down my thankfuls for each week has become a way to stay away from the negative. Feel free to leave your thankfuls in the comments.

This week, I am thankful for...

...two extra days off from school. It was so delightful to stay home with my boys and lay low. It was so cold here that we didn't even leave the house on Monday. On Tuesday, we made the trip to our local community center to play in the pool. Little mister LOVES splashing in the water during bath time. While it took him a good 20 minutes to observe the community center pool, he was splashing and playing and laughing and talking up a storm. observant little boy. We have noticed that, while Kid is an outgoing character, it takes him a little while to warm up. When walking into a room/building/house full of new people, he is a quiet and mellow little boy. Once he warms up, though. Oh man, there is no stopping him! It is so fun to see the characteristics that he has from both his dad and I. I am excited to see what other characteristics and personality traits we start to notice.

...time away from school, period. Don't get me wrong. I love my job. To pieces. It is such a wonderful thing that I get to walk into that room each morning and greet 20 smiling faces. 20 little people that are so excited to learn. 20 munchkins that think I am the coolest thing since sliced bread (can you tell I teach kindergarten?). But time away makes me appreciate it so much more. I teach those 20 buddies all day long. Reading. Writing. Math. Coat zipping. Shoe tying. Working nicely with friends. Playing nicely with everyone. Respect. Responsibility. It's a big job. And it takes a lot of energy. So when I am granted those two weeks for winter break, oh, how wonderful it is. And I know, I know. Parents can get stressed with all of their munchkins at home. It always works both ways.

What are you thankful for this week?

Tender Spot

NaBloPoMo January 2014

Aaaaand, I'm back with another installment of NaBloPoMo, where the theme is pressure.

Day Seven

In Japanese, pressure translates to "tender spot." What are your pressure points?

Am I missing something? Doesn't everyone have the same pressure points? The points on your body that stop bleeding, or can eliminate a headache? The point between your pointer finger and thumb? The place by your nose, at the corner of your eyes?

But let me tell you about two of the things that make me tick (they're silly).

1. Elbows on the table, and other poor manners/eating habits. I grew up in a family that had dinner together every night. And every other Sunday, we made the trek (all of ten minutes) to my grandparents' house for dinner. My mom has always called my grandma (don't worry, it's her mom) a snob, and we were expected to be using our best manners. The threat was that, if we didn't, we'd have to go to Grammy's for dinner weekly by ourselves! Elbows do not belong on the table during dinner. Hats do not belong on the head at the dinner table. Or in my grandma's house. Or in church. Mouths should be closed while chewing. Speaking should not happen while food is in the mouth.

And hold your utensils properly!

2. Toilet paper on the roll incorrectly. The toilet paper should come from the back. And there are two reasons.

Reason Number One: it's easier to tear the paper off the roll with one hand when the toilet paper comes from the back of the roll. It is also easier to tear the toilet paper cleanly, and close to the roll. When it comes from the other side of the roll, you get a lot of extra paper hanging down (to the floor!?!?) when all is said and done.

Reason Number Two: when the toilet paper comes from the back of the roll, kiddos (mostly the little ones) cannot unroll the entire roll of paper. When the toilet paper comes from the top/front of the roll, it only takes a few spins of the roll for all the paper to be on the floor.

Which is no good.

These are a few of my *least* favorite things...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Positive Pressure

NaBloPoMo January 2014

Day Six

Can peer pressure be positive? Why or why not?

To this I respond with a resounding YES!

Peer pressure has always carried such a negative connotation, but when used in the right way, it can have a positive result. Don't get me wrong. Peer pressure can be horrible. It can be very hurtful, and can cause quite a few problems.

But, there is a time and a place for just about everything. Peer pressure is one of those things.

Say you found 20 bucks in the parking lot at Target while hanging out with your girlfriends. You think it's a good idea to keep it. You could use 20 bucks to buy groceries, anyway. It's the holidays. Money is tight. 20 bucks would really help. Maybe the money was dropped so that you would find it because someone, somewhere knew you needed it.

"You should really turn that in to the customer service desk," says one of your friends. The others agree. Your head tells you that maybe you should pretend to return it. Keep it for yourself, but make them think you returned it. Who would know anyway? The person missing it probably has no clue it's gone. Besides, would you expect someone to turn in the cash you lost, or would you consider it gone?

"Turn it it," the girls keep saying. Well. You don't want to look like a thief in front of your friends.

They follow you in to Target.

You turn it in.

Peer pressure wins.

You may not know just who that money belonged to, or if they come back to claim it. But it could be someone's last twenty dollars. That may be the money they had to buy their kid a birthday present, or to help pay for the week's groceries.

You were pressured into doing the right thing. Even though you didn't want to.

Now. In all honesty, I would hope that peer pressure wouldn't be needed to turn in someone's lost money. Hopefully, the world is still full of good people that would do the right thing, regardless of who's watching.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Swimming Up Stream

NaBloPoMo January 2014

Day Five:

Tell us about a time when you didn't bend to peer pressure, and you swam against the stream.

I've always been my own person. I don't typically follow trends. I am completely okay with doing things my own way, even if it isn't deemed "cool."

But I can't really think of a time when I didn't bend to peer pressure.

Maybe when my girlfriends were drinking at a party, and I didn't want to? But they didn't pressure me to drink.

Maybe when people were smoking cigarettes near me? They asked if I wanted to. I refused. But, they didn't pressure me to do it.

Maybe when some friends went to TP another friend's house, and I didn't go? Again, they didn't pressure me to do it.

I never really put myself in those situations. Especially after second grade.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Peer Pressure

NaBloPoMo January 2014

Day Four:

Tell us about a time you bent under peer pressure.

I remember it so vividly. I was in second grade. There was a girl that nobody really liked, or even talked to. But I was friends with her. She and I played soccer together. Her dad was the coach. I would go over to her house on the weekends and play with her and her siblings. She would sometimes come over to my house, too. She moved away after third grade, and I completely lost touch with her. I remember her name, her siblings names, but for the life of me, I cannot remember her last name. Either way, I wouldn't share it here.

In second grade, four desks were pushed together to make a small group. This girl, my friend, was part of my group, along with two boys. I remember their names, too. They were part of the "cool" group. Isn't it amazing how early cliques start? These boys, that were in the "cool" group were even in the "cool" group throughout high school.

The girl of our table group had gone to ask the teacher a question to get help with one of the math problems. The "cool" boys thought it would be funny if, when she returned to her spot, all of her pencils and crayons were missing from her desk. Since I was the one that sat next to her, they asked if I would take her things out of her desk.

My second grade self bent to the peer pressure and did it. I took her box of crayons. I took her two pencils. I even took her box of markers. I put them on my lap, and scooted close to my desk. Her writing utensils were hidden. She'd have no way to complete her work.

She came back to her desk with her paper and nothing to write with. The boys laughed. She opened her desk and searched for something, anything. The boys laughed more. I saw that look on her face. The sad, confused, hurt look.

Man, I felt horrible. I felt like such a mean person. How could I do that? I was her friend!

I gave them back to her before she even sat down. I apologized profusely. I even drew her a picture, and played with her on the playground like I did every other day.

That was one of the last times I allowed my peers to persuade me to do something that I knew would hurt someone. Of course, high school rolled around and there were other times that I was pressured to do things. I usually held my ground. Especially when my heart was telling me, screaming at me, to do the right thing. 

Like it did in second grade. When I didn't listen.

I listen now. I've listened ever since.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

::Dinner Plans #1::

Sunday has arrived again, and with it comes the end of winter break.

Except not really, because the governor cancelled school for the state of Minnesota. The temperatures will be dropping well below zero today and tomorrow. The thermometer is already reading 13 below, and that isn't even including the windchill!

Needless to say, I am quite excited to spend another day at home with Kid and the hubs. Maybe I can finally get to finishing the high chair I started painting.

Okay, okay. I haven't started painting yet. But I did sand it down!

Anyway. Time to figure out a meal plan for the upcoming week.

Sunday: Red Pepper "Breaded" Chicken
Tuesday: Venison Fajita Stew
Wednesday: Damn Fine Chicken
Thursday: Chicken Noodle Soup

What are you planning to make this week?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Resolutions 2014

I'm not the greatest when it comes to New Year's Resolutions, but I'm hoping that this year will be different.

All it takes is some hard work, right?

As is the case with a lot of people, I feel more obligated to do something if I am held accountable. One way to achieve that accountability is to write down the resolutions. I've decided to write resolutions for the different aspects of my life, two or three for each.

2014 Resolutions for Minnesota Night

1. To include an image of some sort in all posts, whether it be a picture or an image created with PicMonkey. Do you use PicMonkey? It is nothing short of amazing!

2. To post at least twice a week.

3. To plan ahead. It is so much easier to manage a blog if there is a plan. Last minute posting does not work for me. With a plan, I hope to have well thought out posts with some great images (see number one).

2014 Resolutions for Life

1. To stay on top of the laundry. I don't know if is easier to designate one day as laundry day, or to do a load each day. But I need to do something to improve. I find myself doing a small load each week, and watching the piles of laundry explode until there's nothing left to wear and it takes 10 loads to get it all clean. No more. Staying on top of the laundry is a must!

2. To shed a few pounds. Honestly, I'm not too concerned with the number, especially since I reached my pre-pregnancy weight a few months ago. I'm more concerned with the shape my body has taken post-baby. While I know this is completely normal, there is nothing wrong with working out a little more, being a bit more active, so that I may be a bit happier with my shape.

3. To keep my camera handy and the battery completely charged. I have such a nice camera. It's a shame that I am not using it more. I need to take more pictures of my amazing little family.

2014 Resolutions for my Other Job

1. To maintain a clean desk, with papers organized each night. I often leave work with a mess on my desk that I decide to deal with the next morning. Which leads to busy and somewhat stressful mornings. I need to take 5 to 10 minutes of my after school time to organize and file said papers.

2. To include positive parent communication each Friday. There is no way that I can call every student's family on Fridays with a positive note. I plan to call five or six families each week to talk about something wonderful their child did at school. So frequently, teachers get in the rut of negative phone calls home. Little Bobby was misbehaving again. Susie isn't being friendly to a certain student in the class. The list goes on. While these calls are quite important, the positive calls are equally so.

And there you have it. My 8 New Year's Resolutions.

Friday, January 3, 2014

((this moment))

((this moment))
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Procrastination Nation

NaBloPoMo January 2014

Day Three

Do you have a tendency to procrastinate, or do you like checking things off your to-do list?

This is another one of those prompts where I say, both.

My husband and I hosted his buddies/coworkers for a New Year's Eve party, and we were cleaning the house right up to the wire. Most people would have the house cleaned, vacuumed, and dusted at least a day or two beforehand. Not me! No way, no how. It kind of goes back to the first prompt. When it comes to cleaning the house, I work better under pressure!

On the other hand, though, I am a list maker. Nothing makes me happier than crossing something off the to-do list. Sometimes, I write something on my list as I am doing it, just so I can cross it off. Do other people do that, or is it just me? Just me.

So, when it comes down to it, I'm a procrastinating list maker.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Nine Months

The little man is nine months old.

I can barely believe that nine months ago, the little boy came into the world. I kind of remember it like it was yesterday. But I kind of don't, at the same time.

Perfect time for the birth story, right. I know many people won't want to read this. And for that, I apologize. I want to use this space as a place to share recipes, crafts, and the like with y'all. But, I also want to use this space as a place to remember important this about my family. I'd say a birth story is one of those important things.

The hubs and I had just completed a day of spring break--his last day, my first. I had been coming up with a list of things to get done over the course of the week. Nesting type things: clean the house, set up the crib, paint the bookshelf for the boy's room, make a few meals for the freezer. We had just come off  of a weekend of Easter gatherings, and I wasn't feeling the greatest. Even though I was tired, there were a few things I wanted to complete around the house. I sent the hubs to bed, and started prepping a meal for the freezer. I still had 6 weeks to go until my due date, so I wasn't too concerned with getting everything done. I had written a hefty to-do list for spring break, though.

Around 10:15, I decided to head to bed. I began my usual bed time routine of washing my face and brushing my teeth. As soon as I laid my head on my pillow, I felt wet. I shot straight out of bed and pranced to the bathroom, not want to leak on our carpeting. I sat on the toilet and continued to "pee."

Not wanting to scare my husband, I called into the bedroom, "Babe, I think I wet the bed" (knowing full well that my water had broken).

He called back, "No, I think your water broke," as I was thinking: well, duh.

Naturally (for me, anyway) I began to cry. I was shocked, surprised, and scared. The hubs got out of bed and called his sister (a family practice doctor) to tell her what happened. I called my mom. And my sister.

Once off the phone, I began to throw together a hospital bag (which was on my to-do list for the week). My hospital bag consisted of: a clean pair of underwear for my husband, sweatpants for us both, a clean t-shirt for us both, tooth brushes, our camera, a book, our cell phones, and our iPad. I also grabbed a bath towel.

The hubs was already warming the car.

I waddled out of the house and put the bag in the car. I put the bath towel on the front seat and got in. I called my mom again. Still no answer. No answer from my dad, either.

We were in our hospital room, and hooked up to monitors, by 11:15. Tests were run, and it was confirmed that my water broke.

I finally got in touch with my mom.

The contractions weren't so bad to start. But, of course, they got worse as time went on. I wanted to labor a little bit in the tub. A nice warm bath sounded delightful.

That didn't happen. I threw up along the way, used the bathroom, and got back into bed. The nurse came in and mentioned that it was time to decide on epidural or not. I went for it, and got the epidural. I was then stuck in bed for the remainder of the time.

I pushed for 40 minutes.

Kid was born at 5:23 in the morning, weighing in at 5 pounds and 13 ounces. He was 19.25 inches long.

And his 9 month stats? I couldn't get his well baby exam until the 10th, so I will be sure to update then (with photos!). Complete with pictures, too!

Under Pressure!

NaBloPoMo January 2014

Day Two

What are you currently feeling pressure to do that you don't particularly enjoy?

It's not that I don't enjoy it. Because, really, I do. Most days, I am so lucky and so excited. I love my job. I feel truly blessed that I get to go to school every day, and teach the little people in my care.


It is winter break.

(I just had to look up my school calendar, just to make sure I don't have to go back to work until the 6th.)

But I'm feeling the pressure to get back to school today. Or tomorrow. Or even both. As a teacher, there is always something to get done. My to-do list has gotten longer and longer over break.

The hard thing is that, since I love what I do, I constantly look for new ideas to teach the same concepts. New ways to engage the students. New ways to teach vocabulary. Letter sounds. Simple addition. Graphing. I tend to change things each year, because there is always room for improvement.

This isn't what I "don't particularly enjoy," though. No. It's the fact that I'm feeling the pressure to go into work during break. My time off. My so very precious time off. The time I get to spend with my husband (we work in the same field!). The time we both get to spend with our boy.

I always feel like a child when winter break comes along. Not only am I ultra excited for the time off, but the five-year-old in me throws her hands over her ears, stomps her feet, and yells

"I don't wanna go to school!"

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pressure: NaBloPoMo January 2014

NaBloPoMo January 2014

I may be crazy, but I've signed up for a challenge. I'm challenging myself to blog every day for one month. And it just so happens to be a month with 31 days. Here come 31 posts from me! Woo hoo!

This month's theme is pressure. Today's prompt is:

Do you work well under pressure?

In all honesty, I would have to say yes. I work extremely well under pressure.

But, I also have to say no (because I'm being honest). Sometimes the pressure is too much, and I fold.

While making my way through college, and even now in my professional career, an upcoming deadline motivates me to work. But not in the way of managing my time wisely. I've always created a better product if I begin a day or two before the deadline. College papers were often started the night before their due date. I could crank out projects in a few days, tops. And I graduated with a very good GPA, so I wasn't turning in crap-tastic papers and projects. I was making some pretty good grades!

But now, as an adult in the real world (because college is NOT the real world!), I sometimes struggle with pressure. There is so much pressure on moms, and this is the pressure that gets to me the most. The pressure to be good enough, to be the best mom. I don't feel this way all the time, but around some moms I know, I feel a constant sense of competition. Competition, to me, equals pressure...not while playing soccer...but the mom competition.

When faced with the pressure from mom competition, I crumble. I second guess. I don't work well, and it doesn't feel good.

Luckily, I have a fabulous group of girlfriends, plus my sister, and my mom to build me up and remind me that that competition, that type of pressure, is bogus and not worth my time!