Thursday, August 30, 2012

More Babies

No, I'm not pregnant.  Sorry to disappoint.  And, just so there is no confusion... We are not trying to get pregnant any time in the very near future.  There.  Now...

Allow me to summarize the last few years/months of my mind recently.  (At least related to this particular topic; trying to summarize my mind in general would be impossible.)

Before pregnancy:
"I want to have FIVE kids.  I will settle for four but not a single one less than that.  Whatever it takes.  I also want to be a young mom - one that looks cute at Back to School night and her kids' friends think she is 'cool.' I also want my kids to be closer together in age.  Sure, it will be hard to have five kids under ten; but, it will just be a crazy season of my life.  I will survive it, and it will all be over at once; plus, my kids will be best friends and will be SO thankful when they are older that I selflessly 'popped' them out one after the other.  We'll handle college costs when that time comes.  We will not think about things like that right now."

During pregnancy:
"I do not want to be pregnant again for a VERY long time.  [Given the above convictions], I will allow myself ONE year to 'recover' before starting this cycle again."

With a one-month old:
"I think I'll be fine with just one baby.  Maybe I'll adopt when Sam is 30."

With a six-month old:
"Ok, this has gotten a little easier.  I think I can handle two (or maybe three) kids; but, a year is NOT a 'very long time.' Sam really needs all of my attention right now; and, I still have A LOT of weight to lose before I want to gain 40 pounds again. Three or four years between kids seems reasonable.  How old will that make me for baby 3?"

With a one-year old:
"Oh gosh... WHAT is going on with me?!?!  I kind-of miss the teeny-tiny baby stage.  Sam is SO fun; but, he is just getting WAY too big.  He will make SUCH a good big brother, and he would LOVE having a playmate.  I kind-of want to decorate a nursery again. We have all this really cute baby stuff that we barely got to use.  Plus, I think I'm finally 'getting' this mom thing a little bit.  I mean, I'm still a hot mess; but, I'm starting to be ok with that.  I'll be so much better the second time around. Oh gosh..."
"I still have A LOT of weight to lose."


Ha!  In all seriousness, something has come over me recently.  For probably the first nine or ten months after Sam was born, I lived in constant fear of seeing a little pink line on a pregnancy test.  (I'm sorry if that sounds awful, it is just the truth of where I was.)  But, as time passes, the idea is (strangely) seeming a lot less daunting and a lot more wonderful again. A woman's ability to forget is perhaps her best and worst quality simultaneously, isn't it?

Although I'm totally confident in our decision to wait a little longer before growing our family again; I'm starting to 'get it.'  I think I understand now why two years is such a common span between babies. (That is how much time is between my sister and me, Jeff and his brother, and several of my friends have recently added baby #2 around the 2-year mark.) At one year, you don't feel like you have baby anymore.  Plus - with breastfeeding over and the return of other things, hormones are starting to send really crazy mommy-vibes to the brain again - the same ones that made me a crazy person approximately two years previously.  Seriously, if you had told me even three months ago that I would have ever considered getting pregnant again so soon; I would have thrown something at you.  Now, I just get it

Don't get me wrong, I still think Sam needs a lot of my attention.  And, I'm not exactly missing sleepless nights or looking forward to five more years of changing diapers; but, maybe a big family is still in the cards.  Maybe not.  I guess only time will tell...

(Source) Adorable photo, but... WOW.  Now this, I cannot imagine!

Can you all relate to this sort-of evolution of thought?  How much time do you want between kids?  How much space did you put between the ones you already have?  What do you think is the ideal distance?

Just feeling curious and maybe a little (baby) feverish today.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Classroom

Well, I finally got around to taking some photos (albeit horrible phone ones) of my classroom.  I really wish I had taken "before" shots so you could see the transformation, but you will just have to take my word for it when I say that I did NOT have much to work with.  I seem to have been blessed in my career so far with exceptionally hideous, oddly shaped, and outdated teaching/office spaces.   Alas, I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds myself in this predicament year after year; so, maybe someone out there will draw some inspiration at my humble attempt to "make the best" of a terrible space. 

Anyway, welcome to my home away from home/little shoe-box of a classroom. Come on in and I'll show you around!


One of my classroom dreams has always been to have matching desks, and this is the year, folks.  It's the little things, you know?  Anyway... This is the view from one side of my classroom.  You probably recognize that cutie little banner from Sam's birthday party - multi-tasking at its finest - and the colored "word wall" from my old room that I spent way too much money having laminated to not hang up. Eventually, I'd like to have student work and "Current Events" to post, but for now this will do. (Note: The empty bookshelf in the back is patiently waiting all the crisp new novels I ordered this summer.  Dream #2 come true!)



Hideous cabinet = Excellent for storing EVERYTHING.  Hideous filing cabinet = Perfect for adding a little chevron to the room! I'm not opposed to a little vandalism of school property when necessary ;)  (Chevron contact paper/drawer liner from TJ Maxx.)


My desk area and more brown desks.  (There are 25 total desks in this teeny little room!) The bulletin board is covered in fabric (pay no attention to the wrinkles) and the poster is from the movie The Ides of March - an allusion to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar/ a good excuse for Ryan Gosling and George Clooney to make a classroom appearance. 



My little work station in the front of the room with Yellow Sheets, attendance records, weekly plans, and my make-up work binder.  (See details here.)  Also, how cute are those flower pens I found for 50 cents each at Walgreens?  I haven't had a single student ask to borrow one yet! Haha!



The little fabric covered boxes are from my laundry room and hold things like paper clips, scissors, glue, etc.  Below, there is a labeled crate for each class to store their journals.


Martha Stewart stick-on calendar for keeping up with block schedule etc. and little bucket with dry-erase markers et al.


My desk with my beautiful new MacBook Air and Shakespeare bobble-head.


And, finally, a little *bonus* sneak peak into my "Classroom Organization Binder" which was inspired by this post from Stephanie at Eat.Write.Teach. The "To Do" List on the front page is color-coordinated by day (but, of course) and is my LIFE LINE right now.  (It is available as a free printable here.) The other tabs in the binder are: calendars & checklists, class rosters, lesson plans, parent communication, syllabi, standards, emergency, team-teacher, meeting notes, and other.  This is the first year I've ever made one of these and, so far, I'm loving it.  I don't know how I ever survived without it. :)

So, what do you think? I hope the end result of my extreme-makeover classroom edition is a happy, bright (it needs to be for a class that starts at 7:30AM), comforting, and inviting space for my students. Mission accomplished?
*See this post for photos of my old classroom. Different space, same style (+ or - some red and teal).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Clean House

For the last two days, Jeff and I have been in a sort-of "funk" where we are noticing every speck of dirt, dust, and grime in our 96 year old house and feeling like it is totally disgusting and overwhelming.

We get in these funks about once every six month and promptly decide to move.  Too bad the last time we just threw our house on the market without doing one thing to "ready" it wasn't so successful.  Ugg.

Owning an old house is hard.  Even when it is clean, it isn't.  Add a baby and a long haired dog to that mix, and you've got yourself an anxiety attack waiting to happen.  At least in my world.

Heck, owning a house period is hard.  You know my battles with it.  There is still a big part of me that just wants to donate everything and move to a sterile loft downtown and never look back.  BUT, now, there is also the part of me that appreciates the space we have for our boy (and his ridiculous amout of stuff), and the importance of having a home more than ever.

So, it's a dilemma really.

Which brings me to this... How do you handle your house cleaning responsibilities?

Source
With my new position, we have - obviously - gotten rid of our bi-weekly cleaning lady.  :( And, I'm feeling a lot of pressure (self-inflicted) to keep my house neat and spotless all the time now that I "have time."  Of course, the irony of that is that I'm also in my house a lot more these days.  And, Sam is just a hot mess.  Anyone that spends one second in our house during his waking hours suddenly has a new appreciation for the fact that there are dishes/clothes/whatever ALL over the place.

Then there is the fact that we have a babysitter coming into our house every morning.  Oh how I love her (by the way), but I can't let her think we live like pigs. 

But, I really don't want to be so focused on chores and cleaning that I don't take advantage of this precious time to be with Sam and nap do things I really love.  So, what's a girl to do?

Source
I've tried weekly cleaning schedules (like this one, currently); but, I'm not sure it is my thing either.  I like the feeling of a totally clean house way too much --- Like, I'd rather just spend one whole day cleaning and be able to enjoy the totally clean house for that one night.  (Am I crazy?)

I'm leaning towards adopting more of this approach:
Printable from my talented friend Erika here.
But, it stresses me a little too - if I'm being honest - because I'm not cool enough to be into sticky floors.

Tips?  Advice?  Let'em roll... :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blog Gems Lately

I haven't done one of these round-up posts in a while, but in my few free minutes to "surf" my blog-reader the last two weeks, I've seen some good stuff out there. 

Here are a few of the "gems" worth checking out if you (like me) love a good reason to avoid housework and productivity on the weekends:

*in no particular order*

"The Talk" at Momastery (Glennon doesn't post that much anymore, but pretty much every time she does it is GOOD.)  This is a letter to her son at the beginning of the school year about loving people - especially the ones in his class that no one else pays attention to.  I'm probably going to change the names up a bit and give it to Sam in a few years when he goes to school and can read.  Don't worry, she said that's ok to do.

"The Night Before Kindergarten" at Enjoying the Small Things.  Kelle is another one of those bloggers that amazes me with her ability to make every post amazing.  This one is so good... Even made me a little teary about five years from now when Sam will start school.  Crazy.
Kelle Hampton

"The Hard Facts: Friendly Kids Make Happy Adults" at MWF Seeking BFF.  This is a blog I just found recently, and I love her style and voice.  I also loved this post. It's subject - socializing your kids - has been on my mind a lot lately; but she was able to write about it light-hearted enough that it didn't stress me out.  It made me thankful for my very happy boy --- even if he still isn't walking or talking! ;)

and, "Mommy Truth, Why I Really Invite You Over from Baby Rabies". - Another repeat offender on this list.  Love her.  And, while you're at it, read this post too.  This list needed a little funny, don't you think?


Happy Saturday friends!  I survived my first week back in the classroom... Now I'm off to enjoy my well-deserved weekend with my boys.  Have a good one!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Icebreakers and First Day Activities


Every year before the first day of school, I scour the internet for some kind (any kind) of creative "icebreaker" to do with my classes.  There are A LOT of ideas out there I assure you; but, most of them are just plain corny and overused - especially for the high school classroom. (Either that, or just WAY out of my league, like some of the Pinterest photos I've included in this post.)

That said,  I still think doing some kind-of "getting to know you" activity IS important no matter how old the students are... We are going to be spending a lot of time together, and I'm going to ask a lot of these young people - to work hard for me, do what I ask, participate in class discussions, and consider some controversial topics in literature and life - the least I can do is take ONE stinking class period to get to know them.  (Sorry if you are one of those "jump right in" teachers... It's just not my style.)
Source
To be honest with you, I have yet to find something that I LOVE for the first day of school.  This year, as well as several years prior to this, I started off with your classic "two truths and a lie" game.  In case you are unfamiliar, basically, I just ask that every student write down three statements about himself/herself.  Two of the statements should be TRUE, and one should be FALSE. Then, they take turns reading their statements to the class, and we try to guess which one is the lie.  It is simple.  It doesn't take much upfront planning on my part. I learn a good bit about the kids - both from their facts and the "approach" they take with the activity (serious/funny/sarcastic/etc.) Plus, my students usually enjoy it.  (I also like to tell the class that this helps me figure out who the good liars are in the class so I can "keep my eye on them" later. Ha!)  Because I'm not opposed to a little bribery once in a while, I usually offer some kind-of candy "prize" for anyone that stumps me/the class.

This year, I went a little further with this concept and gave a QUIZ at the very start of class.  I enjoy a little humor at their expense, so I got a kick out of telling them to get out a blank sheet of paper and number it 1 - 25 as soon as they walked in the room.  (Some students started panicking immediately about the summer reading they didn't do!)  Anyway, the quiz was really just a little "Quiz on the Teacher" with True/False statements like  "Mrs. Chapman was once a competitive gymnast" (True) and "Mrs. Chapman has read all of the Harry Potter books" (False - I haven't read a single one!!).  In the end, I gave a prize (something "valuable" like movie theater boxed candy in my case) to the student with the most correct answers. I even had two or three "lightening round" bonus questions to break a tie.  The game was a lot of fun and allowed me to really introduce myself - more than just the surface level "I went to Clemson, I like to write, and here's your syllabus" - and it was especially appropriate since I am new to the school.  Then, I told them it was their turn and introduced 2 truths and a lie game.

So... that's what we did on Day 1 (which is really two days now because of block scheduling - totally new to me!).  What about you? What ideas do you have for the first day of school?  I'd love to hear some new ones and add to my tiny repertoire.

And, on a slightly different note, I ran across this "Prayer for the First Day of School" when I was searching back to school stuff on Pinterest.  Seriously, it brought tears to my eyes... This is EXACTLY my heart for the kids that enter my classroom this year... I need to be praying this every single day.
Apparently, no one really knows who actually wrote this - if you do, please tell me!
BUT, this website designed this and another cute printable of it!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Midweek Confessions

I'm tired today.  Jeff has the flu (great timing huh), so I'm basically taking care of two boys, and I didn't sleep well last night because I was in the guest room and worrying about germs and Sam getting sick, etc. etc. etc.  Add that to the first two days of teaching (which is always kind-of a performance), and you've got one tired momma... Isn't that always the way it goes when you write a "my life is so good" post?!  I should have known...  Anyway, I'm just going to jump right in --

- I am counting down the minutes until nap time.  There, I said it.  Sometimes you just have days like that, and I've been dreaming of my own afternoon nap since the moment my alarm went off this morning.

- On that note, today's after-lunch activity involved me giving Sam a People magazine and letting him rip it to shreds.  I've convinced myself that this is somewhat educational because he is at least seeing words, and he is definitely developing stronger arm/hand muscles.

- Even at the sacrifice of good sleep, I opted to sleep on top of the guest room sheets and comforter last night.  I don't have plans of hosting any overnight guests any time soon, but that is how much I despise changing sheets.  Fresh, clean, and wrinkled.  Two out of three isn't bad, right? ;)

- While I am very thankful for your compliments on my outfit and "look" for school yesterday, I must admit that I "put my best foot forward" for the first day in part because I knew I was going to share the photo with you.  (Again, I don't know how fashion bloggers do it - that much pressure EVERY day?!?)  Anyway, I assure you that my style will only go downhill from there.  Haha!

- Speaking of fashion, I have taken the fashion glasses to school both days this week; but I am too nervous to wear them.  I feel like someone might call me out on being a fake, and I'll be mortified.  Ugg, it is hard work being absolutely ridiculous.

- And last (and completely unrelated), I realized this weekend that in TEN years of visiting Jeff's parents' house, I have never once successfully backed out of their driveway without going through the yard.  Thank goodness they keep inviting me over. :)

Alrighty friends, that's all I've got today... I'll leave you with this cute new viral video called "The Parent Rap."  If you haven't already seen it, I highly recommend it for a good laugh and another reminder that you are NOT alone in your stacks of dirty dishes and applesauce covered t-shirts.   

See you tomorrow, it looks like naptime is (finally) upon us!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In Which I Awkwardly Post a First Day of School Photo

First, happy back to school to all of you teacher-readers who are getting back in the grind and setting your alarm for an ungodly hour again this week.  And, THANK YOU to those of you who participated in my teacher link-up last week.  I admit that with all the craziness of my own classroom, I haven't had a chance to visit all of them yet; but, I am making my way.  :)

And now, because I'm awkward, and shameless, I'll share my First Day of School 2012 Photo with you.

See other "First Day" photos here and here.  (What?! All 28 year olds don't do this?!?)

Yes, this is a weird angle because my (dear) husband took it from the bed at 6:30AM.  And, just to clarify in case there was any question - Yes, I do look slightly pregnant, which I am NOT. Ha!  That darn camera just never lies does it?  (I don't know how Fashion Bloggers do it.  I haven't even hit "Publish" yet, and I already feel ridiculous.)


Today was our first day with students and, because I have a DREAM job right now, that meant that I got to be creative/professional/organized/social/etc. in the morning, and then come home to enjoy lunch with both of my boys (Jeff comes home for lunch), a long walk, and some quiet nap/blogging/Pinterest time.  Does life get any better than that?

In case you can't tell, I'm pretty happy with my new job and schedule.  I am really loving the opportunity to  be a teacher - which is truly a BIG part of my heart - and a mom - an even BIGGER part.  I'm only about one week in; but, I can already tell that my mornings are going to be so good for me;  and, my time with Sam in the afternoons is SO sweet. (Have I mentioned that he is standing on his own now and about to start walking any minute?!?! I have instructed the babysitter that there is to be absolutely NO practicing when I'm not around - haha!)

To be honest, 12:00 - 4:00 kind-of feels like "stolen" time - you know, like when your plans for an entire day get cancelled and you find yourself with "extra" time you didn't count on - right now.  This afternoon, as I pushed Sam's stroller down our street in my yoga pants, I actually  felt kind-of nervous and sneaky - like this job is too good to be true, like I am cheating someone or something.  I assure you, I am not (just look at my pay-stub if you don't believe me - ha!); but still, you get my gist.

Of course, I know everything is still new and it won't all be butterflies and rainbows all the time.  Some time soon I'm going to have piles of papers to be graded and laundry to be folded during Sam's afternoon nap; but, for now, I'm soaking it up.  Life is good. 

*Don't be fooled into thinking for one second that I'm not still a hot mess... I'll be back tomorrow with some confessions.  Come back and join me, ok?  (I'll also be writing an update on my weight loss journey soon, for those of you that care.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Separation Anxiety

A month ago, I would have probably bragged that my son never showed any signs of separation anxiety if you asked me.  I would have said something about that being "one of the benefits I've seen of having him in daycare" or, "we just always have him around people," like - somehow - his lack of this "condition" was a result of my stellar parenting.

A month ago, when I told you all that, I would have been being honest; but now? Now, ladies and gentlemen, we have officially boarded the "separation anxiety" train, and it doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon...

Ever since my trip to Williamsburg a couple of weeks ago, Sam has been incredibly clingy to me.  He always wants me to hold him, cries when I leave the house (or room, for that matter), and the like.  This weekend, for example, we were driving through a neighborhood looking at houses (just for fun - we do that) and Sam had a total FIT when I took two steps away from the car to grab a flier...  has even started affecting his night-time sleep recently - as in, he won't go to sleep without me and he goes CRAZY if he wakes up in the middle of the night and I'm not right there.  It is bad.


I'll admit it... At first I kind-of liked it.  Especially since I had been gone and it was nice to feel "missed."  But, man, that stuff will take a toll on you...  I am exhausted, and I feel terrible because I started back to work this week and have no choice but to leave him for a few hours each morning.  In my mind, I know that he is fine and the separation is healthy for him; but, oh it breaks my heart to leave the house with him crying!

From the little internet research (which we all know is completely reliable) I've done, it seems like all of this is pretty normal.  It is inconvenient, but not surprising, that is also corresponds with my return to work part-time.  But, some things I've read say this stage can last until the child is up to TWO years old.  Oh no you don't.

Have you had experience with separation anxiety?  How did you handle it?  Do you have any tips for overcoming it, or is it best just to ride it out?

I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Off to a Rocky Start (and Some Diet Questions)

We'll call this my midweek confession ok? 
When I posted about my weight loss journey and woes on Tuesday, I really didn't expect much of a response.  I mainly wanted to do a little self-reflection and establish some accountability from you all to keep me motivated as I get back on track.  Instead, I heard from LOTS of you.  I also started the day with 0 followers on My Fitness Pal, and have at least 25 people seeing my work-out, food diary, and weight loss records -- talk about accountability! So... Thank you!  (I'm 'emyselfandi' if you want to be friends too.)

Thank you for the encouraging words, support, partnership, and perspective.  

Now, the confession...  As the comments came in on Tuesday (I read every single one through my phone, but rarely get to actually sit down at the computer and respond), I found myself extra motivated (maybe even a little pressured) to really DO IT this time.  I even resisted the urge to lick the brownie bowl from my baking - which is huge for me.  BUT... We had friends over for dinner, and I was so consumed with making my dinner yummy and pretty, that I simply couldn't be bothered by calorie counting.  FAIL.  And, just like that... I was off the wagon.  I am ashamed to admit that I didn't track a single calorie yesterday; and, while I didn't binge, I definitely wasn't as careful about my food choices.

That's how it happens every time...  I get super motivated to lose weight and change my habits, and then one "legitimate" excuse or busy day comes up and it's over. I find myself justifying by saying "I just like food too much, it isn't worth it" or "Now isn't a good time for a diet, I'll just start next week/month." And, there I am, six months later, still uncomfortable and unhealthy.

It is, unquestionably, why I have failed at this quest so many times before.  I get mad at myself, and instead of fighting back harder, I give up.  It is a terrible cycle, and I've been in it for years... But, NOT ANY MORE.
From Pinterest
So, what are your tips for staying motivated with a new diet/work-out plan?

Also, how do you handle tracking calories for elaborate recipes or meals out

Do you allow yourself "cheat" days or meals?  And, if so, how do you get back on track?

Today, I am tracking calories again.  I had a healthy breakfast and I already have a scheduled walking-date for this afternoon with a girlfriend.  I can do this  And, to those of you that signed on with me this week, SO CAN YOU.  We are in this together - the ups and the downs.  We got this!


Until tomorrow,


P.S. I'm going to post my "Letter to New Teachers" tomorrow and some details about our teacher link-up that is most definitely happening next week.  See you then!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Getting Real about My Weight

If you read this blog pre-baby, you probably remember my love-hate relationship with diets... I am an equal opportunist, meaning I'm willing to try anything; but, the diet only gets about two days to prove its value (i.e. make me lose 10 pounds) and ease (i.e. require nothing of me) before I give up and move on to the next great thing.  Sad, but true. (For a "brief history of my even briefer diets", click here.)

Anyway, the beginning of the school year is kind-of my New Year's Eve.  I love the opportunity for a fresh start, and I always have lofty goals of a more organized, productive, and healthy life.  You know where this is headed...

I'm not pregnant.  I'm not breastfeeding or taking care of a newborn.  Shoot, I'm not even working full time.  I have no excuse anymore for not taking care of myself.  It's time for me to get real about my weight.

First, a little background...

This is our wedding day (why is that always the baseline?) in June 2007.  I weighed about 135 pounds thanks to a busy semester of wedding planning and student teaching plus a few weeks of nervous energy.  I felt beautiful on that day.

Fast forward to the first day of school in 2010.  Thanks to three years of the "D.I.N.K" lifestyle and goodies in the teacher's lounge, I had gained about 30 pounds.

Then... I got pregnant.  This photo was taken about a week before Sam was born in July 2011.


There are really no words... I can giggle at this photo right now; but, if I'm being honest, it makes me sad.  I gained about 45 pounds, had gestational diabetes, and was miserable.  (To put that into perspective, if Sam stays in the 50th percentile, he will not weigh 45lbs. until he is SIX years old.) I do not want to do pregnancy like that again.

Luckily, my body reacted well to breastfeeding and motherhood.  When this photo was taken in August (just five weeks after Sam was born), I had lost 35 pounds of baby-weight; and, seriously, I felt like the skinniest person in the world!
And, by the first day of school in 2011 (which was technically the beginning of October because of maternity leave) I was actually down ten pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight.  *Yes, I am a huge advocate for breastfeeding as it was the absolute only diet I went on.

Which brings me to today...

At Sam's first birthday party on July 12th, 2012.
I am coming up on the first day of school 2012 (wow).  Since I stopped breastfeeding three months ago, but continued to eat whatever I wanted and not exercise, I have gained those ten pounds right back.  In case you haven't kept up with all those numbers, that means I'm almost exactly where I was before I got pregnant - about 30 pounds overweight*.

So, I'm ready to get serious... As of yesterday, I have signed up for My Fitness Pal online and downloaded the ap to my phone. (If you are also doing the plan, feel free to follow me.  I'm just emyselfandi.) I'm committing to counting calories and exercising this year - NO excuses!  My goal?  To lose 30 pounds by January 1.

I admit that I don't have a good track record with dieting.  I don't like to be uncomfortable and, frankly, I like junk food.  But, this time is going to be different.  Here are a few reasons why:

- I want to feel better and have energy to keep up with my wild boy.

- I want be ready for the next pregnancy and go into it MUCH healthier - for my body, and my baby.

- I want to set a good example for my boy of healthy living.

- I want to look good in my clothes and bathing suit.  (What? Anyone who says that isn't at least some of their motivation for losing weight is delusional.)

So... here goes nothing!  I hope you will join me on this journey... It is sure to bring plenty of laughs and confessions - but, hopefully, some victories too! Look for a "first day of school photo/check-in in about two weeks.
*According to the CDC's healthy BMI range, I need to lose between fifty (whoa baby) and twenty pounds.

Monday, August 6, 2012

This Is Lately


I officially go back to work in ONE week.  Ridiculous.  But seriously, I can't even explain what a difference it makes knowing that I am going to be working part-time from now on.  I am SO happy and feeling so excited to start this next little chapter. 

Last week, as you might remember, I was in classes every day from 8 - 4 at "The AP Institute" - which is really just a fancy way of saying "school to learn how to be smarter than your really smart students." ;) It was a long week and I was VERY happy to be reunited with my boys and sleep in my own bed at the end of it, but it was just the motivational jolt I needed to start off the school year.  Unless you are a teacher you probably won't understand this a bit, but I literally get GIDDY thinking about syllabi, bulletin boards, and lesson plans... This is what I was made for!  Funny, but oh so serious too. (And, yes, the alone time was wonderful and therapeutic, and it made me even more thankful for my "normal.")
Anyway, with that in mind, I think I'm going to declare next week "Back to School Week" here.  I get A LOT of emails about my Classroom Organization post - especially the "yellow sheet" idea - and many of you mention how hard it is to find blogs/resources for secondary teachers.   I'm definitely NOT an expert, but I aim to please folks.  So... I'll be sharing more of my organization techniques, lesson plan ideas, favorite school supplies, and even teacher-fashion inspiration beginning on August 13th.  (I'm also working on a "Letter to New Teachers" that I'm hoping to share Thursday or Friday.) What other back-to-school topics would you like to read about?  Just let me know and I'll do my best to include it!  Also, would you guys be interested in a teacher link-up? I'm always looking for new ideas myself!


Switching gears, but speaking of things I'm passionate about... My baby is disappearing every day and being replaced with a fuzzy-headed babbling BOY.  I know I've been saying this for a year; but, I am really just in awe of how fast time flies now.  He is the funniest, happiest, and (often) wildest little thing.  Right now, he is especially into climbing into and under things (like in the photo below that my mom sent me while I was gone). He is also into gurgling (as in blowing bubbles in his throat with his spit), climbing stairs all.the.time, pointing, and screaming.  I'm pretty much even more obsessed with him now than before. Who knew it was possible?

In his new forward-facing carseat.  Such a big boy!  P.S. The American Pediatric Association recommends that babies stay in rear-facing seats until they are two years old. We are using a rear facing Britax in my car, but we bought this one for Jeff's because it will last us up to 100 pounds. Just in case you were judging. ;)

And, since I'm already gushing, I think I can officially announce Sam's first word now... Although my mom swears it was "girl" (pronounced gurl), we are ignoring that and going with "Mama."  *Score* He's been making these sounds for some time now; but this weekend (shortly after our reunion) he started saying it very intentionally when I would walk away or leave a room.  I died a little bit.  Of course, he also occassionally refers to Jeff/Addy/ his toys as "mama" too; but, I'm claiming it... Consider Friday, August 3rd marked in the baby book* (i.e. this blog).


Let's see... What else has been going on?

After my five days in Williamsburg, I met up with Jeff and Sam (and Jeff's parents) for the Chapman family reunion in Richmond.  We've been going to family reunions with Jeff's family for almost ten years together; but, this was the first time we got to take Sam along and introduce the newest generation.  He, of course, ate up all the attention and was a perfect (albeit loud at times) angel.  It was really special and fun. I'm waiting for a photo of the whole gang from the weekend; so, when I get it, I will post.


I think that's really my lately in a nutshell.  Life is good.  I've got a jam-packed week of trying to get myself back on track and accomplish at least a few things off of my "Summer To Do List," but I'm mostly just going to soak up my mornings with Kathi Lee and Hoda at home.  In the meantime, I'll be back tomorrow to talk about (you knew it was coming sooner or later) my WEIGHT.  Oh happy day!

And P.S. Check out my newest sponsor - The Button Factory.  They have incredible deals on authentic vintage and handmade clothing and accessories.  You will fall in love.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Worth Your Time to Click

Can you really jump from a political/religious post to a shopping post?  Of course you can, and I'm doing it! :) Actually, joking aside, I'm able to finally move on and write some other stuff now that I have that out of my head a little bit... Thanks for your support and feedback yesterday.  This is a community I am SO proud to be a part of... Thank you!

Anyway, moving on... 

I know better than to title these posts "July Sponsor Highlights" because even I rarely click on those when I see them in my reader.  But, ya'll, these are seriously worth your time and attention.  I am SO blessed to have great online businesses with amazing women behind them supporting this little hobby of mine.  The least I can do is share the wonderful products they are creating with you all one day a month... I hope you will take a few minutes to click on the links below and show some love!



Boy Oh Boy Boutique specializes in iron-on appliques to add a little prep and style to your baby boy's onesies.  You know I love that!  And, now the shop has started offering "party packages," or groupings of ten bow ties/ties of your choice or customized - perfect for baby showers, etc.  Also, most recently, Boy Oh Boy has added personalized nursery decor (shown below) to their collection. Styles can be emailed as printable PDFs or mailed as 8x10 prints.  So cute!  *For free shipping at Boy Oh Boy use code FREESHIP2012.



Room to Romp never fails to impress me with their adorable clothes for little boys.  Especially as Sam gets older, I am struggling to find clothes that still look like a "little boy" without looking like a baby.  Sandy NAILS it! I love everything in her shop!! Wouldn't these be adorable for back-to-school? (Nevermind that Sam won't be going to school for four more years.)

P.S. Sandy wanted me to tell you all that she will be taking a little bit of a vacation in August, so get your orders in now to be filled at the end of the month.  For that little inconvenience and for back to school shopping, she is also offer free domestic shipping when coupon code EMIFREESHIP is used.


Windows by Melissa has been booming in the last few months!  Recently, Melissa has designed and began selling her own horizontal stripe fabric - which I adore - I in a variety of colors.  She has also started offering (in addition to her regular custom orders) pre-made ready-to-ship items in her shop.

Very similar to what is hanging in Sam's room.
And hey, while you're feeling particularly generous with the clicks... Go visit her blog and enter to win the give-away of the week - not one but TWO sets of pillows (so you can "share the love") between now and Tuesday 8/7.

Finally, click on over to Shared Joy and treat yourself to a colorful pair of fabric-covered button earrings or a handmade headband for your little one.  Jennifer's "Emma" headband has been wildly popular, and she is currently updating her stock to include lots of different college spirit color-schemes.  This is (one reason) why I pray for a girl some time in my future. ;)


Need more incentive to click on over?  Jennifer will give you 10% off on your purchase with the coupon code EMYSELFANDI. 

So, are you in love yet? I think my job here is done... Now get clickin!!


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