Thursday, December 31, 2009

15 weeks - update

I know, I know. I'm a horrible blogger! But since Christmas Break started, I've barely even logged in to googlereader to read anyone else's, much less put effort into my own! I even have some Christmas posts that I had started way back when that I need to finish off and post.

Just know that I have been busy. Busy laying around all day and enjoying the holidays. Busy spending time with all of my family and getting some much needed rest.

Besides staying busy with all of that, I did make it to another prenatal appointment yesterday. This time our little one's heartrate was 10 beats slower, but still a solid 156 beats a minute. My weight and blood pressure and everything else is still fine too. The only big thing the doctor advised me of for right now is not to lay flat on my back. No problem, I thought, I'm a side-sleeper anyway. Actually, problem. Last night I couldn't fall asleep for anything. All I wanted to do was lay on my back! Which is weird, because I never remember doing it. Oh well. If that is the only thing keeping me up at night, I feel like I am doing okay! Most of my bad symptoms are starting to slowly disappear. I'm actually starting to feel a little more human again!

Oh, and our ultrasound is scheduled for the end of January. Can't wait!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

School Angel Tree Gifts

I want to take this chance to publicly brag on my students. Well, actually their parents, I guess.

Our class went together and adopted an angel from the Angel Tree at our school. I sent letters home asking parents to send in anything on the list, even hand-me-downs would work. I did this last year and had a pretty good turnout. But nothing prepared me for what these kids and their parents would do this year. This angel got so much stuff! These families gave and gave and gave some more. 

Now I know that of course my kids could not have done this without the help of their parents. But I have to think that maybe some of my kids stayed on top of their parents until they sent something? And even if it were all parents, good for them. What a great way to set an awesome example for your children! I even had some families send in money and toys who I know are having to make cut backs this year. Yet they still made room to give to others. I am so proud of these kids and their parents!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ramblings About Teaching and Book Review - No Fear in My Classroom

I read this book as part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge.

This book originally caught my attention because I was interested to see what the book had to say about handling parental problems. As a first year teacher, this was one of my biggest struggles last year. I guess I had always idealized being a "teacher." I wanted all of my kids and parents to like me, ya know? After all, I was responsible for their education 35 hours a week. I bust my butt and make sacrifices just so these kids will know that I love them and gain the knowledge they need to help them be successful not just in the fifth grade, but in life. I dedicated four years of my life just to learn how to do this and will probably spend the next thirty years or so doing it. Why wouldn't they like me??

It didn't take me long to realize that not every parent was going to like everything I did. It even seemed that some of them didn't like anything I did. I struggled with this daily. My heart was broken. Luckily I had an entire support system, without which I would probably have been committed to an asylum:
1.) a common sensical, supportive husband 
2.) fellow interns who were going through the same thing 
3.) an awesome mentor teacher to give me reality checks
4.) two really amazing co-teachers to help me through each and every day
5.) a great principal and caring staff members

Even though my skin is a lot tougher this year, I am still learning how to deal with this issue. My parents are also much better this year, which helps a lot, and they all know that this is not my first year. One year of experience makes a big difference, especially to parents. I'm also realizing that of course some of them are going to watch me like a hawk. They send their babies to me everyday and have to trust that I am treating them like my own and giving them the skills they need to complete fourth grade. I would watch me like a hawk too! And I've accepted the fact that even if I have tried my best and made all of the "right" decisions based on my training and experience, there are still going to be parents who don't agree with me or who feel like I have not done enough. Oh well. As long as I know that I have done my best, I can't sweat it. 

So now, back to the book - 

This book was divided into four parts: Personal Fears, Student Fears, Parental Fears, and External Fears. I did gain some understanding from the Parental Fears section, but that was about it. A lot of the Personal Fears didn't apply to me and most of the stuff from the Student Fears section was pretty much common sense. 

Another thing that I don't agree with is that I think some of the right kind of fear is actually healthy in a classroom. A reasonable amount of fear that I am not doing my best keeps me working hard. Students should fear consequences, or else do the consequences really work? Students should fear not learning what they will need in life, that way they will see the importance of the knowledge and pay attention and actually care to learn. 

By the end of reading the book, I was just skimming for good stuff. I can see keeping it as a resource for future use, but that is about it. Don't really recommend. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Belly Laughs - The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth

I read this book several months back when Jeff and I first started thinking about trying to have a baby. I am one of those really weird people who reads books way ahead of time. (I was reading marriage books before we were even engaged. But hey, I wanted to know exactly what it was I would be agreeing to!) A good friend from school had mentioned that this book was hilarious so I decided to give it a try.

First of all, she was right. This book was extremely funny. But you have to remember that this book was written by Jenny McCarthy. So yes, there were some not-so-nice words and parts that were a little on the vulgar side. Scratch that. Very vulgar. But if you can handle that kind of stuff, then you would love this book. She is brutally honest about the highs and lows of her pregnancy. Some of the chapters had me literally laughing out loud and some have me really, really hoping I don't have some of her troubles!!

I enjoyed her book enough that later on in my pregnancy, I plan to read Baby Laughs - The Naked Truth About the First Year of Mommyhood.   

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Splendor (A Luxe Novel)

I wrote about the Luxe series originally here. This book is also part of my Fall Into Reading Challenge you can read about here. For the Luxe website, click here

Having enjoyed all three of the other books in this series, I was really looking forward to this one. I couldn't wait to see how Godbersen would wrap everything up. It is such a good series that I don't want to give away any details at the risk of spoiling any of the books. I would definitely recommend this series to anyone.

However, I cannot say that the ending did not disappoint me. I LOVED this series right up until the last 15 pages or so. I just plain did not like how it ended. There was only one story line that I actually liked the ending to. I went to the official website of the series to check out the author's blog and found that I am definitely not alone. There are over 156 comments on her post about the series' end, most of them from outraged or disappointed fans. However, after reading her reaction and reasoning behind her ending, I don't feel so upset about it anymore. Yes, if I had written the series I would have ended it very differently. But I didn't write it. Where I am more of a hopeless romantic, Godbersen is more independent and free spirited. Of course her ending is going to be different from mine. 

But no matter which personality type you are, you can still enjoy the series as a whole. Lots of twists and turns and suspenseful endings. Beautiful details. For more on why I love the series, check out my original post

I also found this site with pics of the cover dresses. Really pretty! I think I was born in the wrong century! 

Monday, December 14, 2009

1/2 Price Living

I bought this book for the obvious reason - I wish I could live my life for half the price! 

But I was kind of disappointed in this book. I was hoping it would have lots of good shopping and saving tips, but it really didn't. The only tips it gave were really obvious ones - like get your clothes from consignment sales, meal plan before you grocery shop and use coupons. Seriously. That was all. Most of the book seemed to be helping women justify staying home and not working. That is fine for those women, but I am not one of them. In places it almost seemed as if I should feel guilty for not wanting to do it. I don't deny the benefits of staying home, but it is just not for me for a lot of reasons. (Which is a whole other post in itself!) I really don't need a book to try and guilt me into it - I have a mother for that! 

I read this book as part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge.

Friday, December 11, 2009

2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

Yep, another challenge. Over the next few days I will be joining several. What can I say? A LOT of good challenges start in January.

Today I am joining the 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog. I am signing up for The Mini Challenge - check out and read 25 library books. The next size up is 50. That's almost a book a week and probably too much for me. But who knows? Maybe I'll get there. And I love the idea of supporting local libraries. If it weren't for the library, there would be no way I could read all of the books that I do. Books are expensive! Also, I will be counting books I check out from the library at the school where I teach. I am not really sure if it qualifies, but you can't get much more local than right down the hall! To visit the official challenge page, click here.

So Far, So Good: (date finished) library

1.) Nancy Drew 1: The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene (01/03) AES
2.) Nancy Drew 2: The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene (01/06) AES
3.) Blubber by Judy Blume (01/16) BGPL audiobook
4.) How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else (01/22) BGPL audiobook
5.) The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (01/29) BGPL
6.) Nancy Drew 3: The Bungalow Mystery (02/01) AES
7.) Front of the Class: How Tourette's Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had by Brad Cohen (02/08) BGPL
8.) Nancy Drew 9: The Sign of the Twisted Candles by Carolyn Keene (02/16) AES
9.) Julia and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell (03/06) BGPL
10.) How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (03/10) BGPL
11.) The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis (03/25) BGPL
12.) Nancy Drew 5 - The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene (03/28) BGPL
13.) Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (03/30) BGPL
14.) Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices (03/31) BGPL
15.) A Journey to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard (03/31) BGPL
16.) Baby Laughs: The Naked Truth About the First Year of Mommyhood by Jenny McCarthy (04/04) BGPL
17.) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (04/08) BGPL
18.) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (04/13) BGPL audiobook
19.) Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz (04/15) BGPL
20.) The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (04/30) BGPL
21.) The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan (05/09) AES
22.) The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan (05/18) BGPL
23.) The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (05/28) BGPL
24.) The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner (08/19) BGPL
25.) Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar (09/30) BGPL audiobook

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Heartbeat : )

Last Wednesday (12/02) I had my first doctor's appointment with my actual doctor (before I had just seen the nurses). Other than the ultrasound, this appointment was one that I had looked forward to the most because we were supposed to be able to actually hear our baby's heartbeat. I was so nervous that something would be wrong and they would not be able to find it. I know, I know, I'm a worry-wart, but I can't help it! Everyone keeps telling me that if something were wrong, my body would tell me. I know this in my head, but it is still very hard not to worry! 

But as it turns out (as it usually does!) I had nothing to worry about at all. Dr. L had no problem at all finding the heartbeat. It was a solid 166 beats per minute! It was such a great moment for us. Our baby has a heartbeat. Our baby. It's actually in there! I know this may seem silly, but up until now, it's been pretty hard to wrap my mind around. Don't get me wrong, it's still mind-boggling, but a little less so. I mean, it's not like I look pregnant yet, just a little flabby around the middle. And even though I have been pretty sick, it still just feels to me like I am sick and tired all the time. I don't necessarily "feel pregnant." And even though I still don't physically feel pregnant, my heart definitely feels a little more like a mother. Just hearing that tiny, fast heartbeat makes me want to eat better, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. I cannot even bring myself to drink any caffeine now either because every time I think about it I hear that little heartbeat and I think about making it beat faster than it needs to be right now. 

The only other interesting thing that came from this appointment was that because of a pre-existing heart condition, my doctor wants me to see a cardiologists. I've had surgery to correct the problem, so I don't really foresee any problems, but my doctor wants me to have an echo done just in case. She says sometimes pregnancy can make past problems sneak up again. I'm supposed to see a cardiologist every year, but I don't think I've been since I went to college! I know, I know, I should definitely take better care of my self. I don't have an appointment yet, but definitely be in prayer that there are no problems.