Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mutiny in Homeroom

Yesterday was a horrific day at work.  I got very little accomplished and my day began with total mutiny.  I knew it would be challenging returning from a 5 month maternity leave in November when the students are exhibiting their "holiday behaviors," but my homeroom class truly won the award for most disrespectful.

In the weeks leading up to my return to teaching, I had nightmares pretty regularly: I would give the class a directive and they would just continue to talk and do whatever they wanted.  I would wake up freaked out and tell myself, "it's not really going to be that bad."  Needless to say, my nightmares are becoming my reality.

The kids were in a pissy mood yesterday because the rest of the region got a snow day and because of the geography of our district, we did not.  We got some ice and a light dusting, so we only had a 2-hour delay.  The first 20 minutes of the day is Homeroom and there is a school-wide expectation that students are engaged in silent sustained reading during that time once the teacher had done morning announcements.  Yesterday, we also had locker seals presentations.  My class is one of the largest 7/8 homerooms in the school ---25 kids.  Most homerooms are between 12 and 15.  It took forever for me to do the announcements because kids kept socializing with their neighbors and if they are talking, I stop, stare at them, and wait for them to figure it out before continuing.  I then explained that it was going to be difficult to award all the locker seals in one day, but I would try.  In order to do this, I needed their cooperation.  They should be reading silently and wait for their name to be called for locker seals.

They ignored me and continued to talk.  Only 2/3 of the kids even had a book to read!  This is a school-wide expectation.  They know they need a book every morning.  I restated the expectation.  I'm sure my voice sounded a bit irritated by that point.  I explained again that in order for me to do locker seals, I needed they to be silently reading.  One lovely little girl had the balls to look me directly in the eye and say, " that's ever going to happen" with her best 13 year old sarcasm.  It was at that moment that I snapped.  It is never okay to yell at students, but I did it.  I told her, in front of everyone, that it most certainly WAS going to happen even if I had to get the principal himself to come in.

This awful moment has made me physically sick ever since.  Honestly, I am not sure how I am going to repair the damage done.  I'm already known as a pretty "mean" and unpopular teacher.  I am okay with that to a certain extent, but yelling is something I am working hard on eliminating in my family interactions and I don't want it to bleed into my work as well.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Dairy Dilemma

The little guy's dairy issues have me totally stumped.  Upon going back to work, we had to begin supplementing breast milk with a little bit of formula.  Not much, maybe 8-12 ounces a day.  I was worried because of his dairy intolerance that he would not be able to handle the whey protein.  Luckily, he seemed okay.  He spit up more, but was comfortable.  I assumed he had outgrown his dairy issues.

So last Friday I decided to test Liam's intolerance by eating a yogurt (and some chocolate too).  BIG MISTAKE!  The next day, not only was there projectile vomiting, he was shrieking in pain as well.  It sucked.

The confusing part is why he tolerates the formula but not a yogurt filtered through my body.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Big Weigh-in

I got my 5% star on Thursday!  In 6 weeks, I've lost 5% of my total body weight.  Since I'm a small person to begin with, 5% was only 8 lbs.  I've actually lost 9.5 lbs since starting WW, so as long as I don't go overboard during Thanksgiving, I should be able to get my 10 pound star at my next weigh-in in two weeks.

As for the work-outs, that has been challenging now that I'm back to work and completely exhausted at the end of the day.  I'm still doing them, but the running is not going very well. I have not been able to get past the 2 mile/25 min mark.  Some days even that isn't possible.  I did a 60 minute power lift class on Thursday and I am so sore.  My legs and butt are killing me, so Friday I got on the treadmill and couldn't run longer than 5 minute stretches.  Even walking hurt.  Then toward the end of my time on the treadmill (I think I was at 2.33 miles), this man got on the treadmill next to me and he smelled horrific.  Not like stinky pits, but like pure filthy funk. He smelled like he was homeless, which is doubtful given that if he were homeless he probably wouldn't have a gym membership.  The stink was so unbearable, I had to leave.

I am heading to a 30 minute step class this morning, still sore.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A change in plans

So I've been a bit nervous about the challenge placed before me by my principal last week: to develop and implement an individualized intervention program for the 10 lowest 8th grade readers in our school.  Obviously, I learned how the reading process develops and there are plenty of resources and information about working with pre-readers who are 6-8 years old, but for teenagers......not so much. My experience and most of my post-graduate study involves interventions for adolescents reading at a 4th grade level or above.

Today, the burden was lifted!  One of our Title 1 teachers who does have experience teaching older pre-readers agreed to take on the intervention class period in exchange for me teaching her 6th grade Title class.  That, I can do pretty confidently.  The curriculum is developed and I will have an assistant.  I haven't taught 6th grade in 4 years, so that will be a nice change.  It also means that I will get to know a group of 6th graders who will most likely be with me in 7th and/or 8th grade for top-tier when they exit Title.

So yay!

So the plan isn't going all that well

Keeping up with my blogging and my workouts while working full time is quite the challenge.  I'm not letting myself off the hook, just taking this first week to get adjusted to a much more compact schedule.

Pumping milk is also more difficult this time around as I am so much busier and have more responsibilities at work than I did 3 years ago.

All complaining aside, work is going well.  My top-tier classes are planned through winter break, so now I am focusing on my small-group intervention class.  It is definitely busy.  Fortunately, I know more than half my students from last year, so it was like I never left.

And that's all I have time for today!  Tomorrow is my Weight Watchers weigh-in and I'm scared.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Too old, too poor, but still want more (sort of)

Kids that is.  As much as I want to feel "done" having children, I don't.  I have the same feeling I had after Zozu....there will be another.  Logically, there are plenty of reasons why two children are enough for us.  I do not enjoy's super difficult on me physically.  It was hard to work, nearly impossible to sleep during the last few months.  All the nausea and "surprise" vomiting, the kind that gives about a 20 second warning.  The weight gain and subsequent work to take off the pounds.  All that is awful.

Then there's my age, which I think factors into the physical difficulty.  If I allow my body to fully recover from my  recent pregnancy and continue to protect Li Li's milk supply, it will be at least 7 months before even considering becoming pregnant.  That puts me at 38 during the pregnancy and almost 39 at the time of delivery and that is if we get pregnant right away.  Do I really want to be 60 at my child's graduation?

The biggest reason NOT to add to our family is money.  We are currently in a 1000 sf home with 3 small bedrooms (10 x 10) and only one full bath.  There is no real attic space and no basement.  Where would this third child sleep?  With his/her brother or sister I suppose.....a tight squeeze.  Selling the home is obviously not an option with the market the way it is and on my meager salary, there is little chance of getting approved for a loan large enough to cover a bigger house anyway.  Then there's the issue of child care.....if Dad works, then we pay for 2 kids in full-time daycare and 1 kid in before/after school care.  Estimated cost: $2300/month.  It just doesn't make sense.  That relegates Dad to the home for several years.  Will he even be able to get a job after that long away from the workforce?

So yeah, lots to consider.  And not a whole hell of a lot of time to decide.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Days 10 & 11 of 28 Ways

Idea #10: If you don't "need" it, don't buy it.  

Do not be drawn in by "sales" either.  There are always sales.  Seriously.  Set up an email address that you use specifically for shopping.  Subscribe to email alerts for all the stores you typically shop from.  You will soon discover that there are always sales going.  Check that account once or twice a week and clear it out.  When you really do "need" something, go to your special shopping email account and do it up.

Idea #11: Avoid commercials on TV.

These just suck you in and keep certain products (usually the worst ones) in the forefront of your mind.  Remember, these huge corporations have psychologists on staff whose sole job is to trick you into thinking their product is one you cannot live without.  So just avoid them.  How?  Limit TV watching in general.  This does not mean you have to avoid your favorite shows.  Utilize Netflix, OnDemand, or DVR and with the last two options, FF through the commercials.  If you are watching network TV with commercial breaks mute the commercials and get up and do something so you aren't looking at the screen either.  Think of all the crap you can get done in those commercial breaks.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What's wrong with my baby?

I am at a total loss as to what is going on with the little guy.  He began "spitting up" and gagging about 12 hours after birth.  I called the nurse in and she said he was just clearing extra fluid from his stomach.  Okay.

 He was a good eater from the start, nursing efficiently and often.......and doing a lot of spitting up.  At one of his earliest doctor appointments, I was told that he was just overeating and would soon outgrow it.  Okay.

At about 3 weeks old, he becomes "colicky" screaming for hours on end.  Pooping at least 5 times a day and constantly spitting up.  Another doctor appointment.  He *may* have colic.  Okay.  He will outgrow it.  Okay.  He is still gaining weight, so the puking is no big deal.  Okay.  We'll try some reflux medication. Okay.

The medicine did not help whatsoever.  I began asking other moms who suggested I cut dairy out of my diet and see if it helps him.  Okay.  He stops pooping frequently.  Still spitting up.  Another doctor appointment.  He *may* be experiencing difficulty digesting milk protein and if so, he probably would have trouble with soy too.  He has an immature digestive system.  He will outgrow it.  Okay.

I cut out all soy.  He begins seeing a chiropractor and taking probiotics. He improves.  Less vomiting.  Less screaming.  Not pooping very often.  Lots of gas.  We begin to phase out the chiro treatments--3 weeks between adjustments.  He gets worse.  No pooping at all.  Lots of pain, shrieking, increased vomiting.

He is now 4 1/2 months old.  I recently switched my primary care to a natural family clinic and explained to the naturopath what was going on with the baby, as well as my own life-long digestive problems for which there has been no real diagnosis.  She thought for sure gluten was the culprit.  I had my blood tested for problems with iron, thyroid and gluten.  All came back negative.  So still no definitive answers.  She suggested I go gluten-free for a couple weeks and see how Li Li reacts, mainly just to rule it out.  Then I need to bring him in for more testing.

I am considering taking him to a specialist at Children's Emmanuel.  I just want to know what is wrong with my baby and fix it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Days 8 & 9 of 28 Ways

Let's start with a funny.....

Idea # 8: Non-bathing.  Think of all the money you will save on bath products not to mention really sticking it to the man by "stinking it up" in capitalist paradises like shopping malls or even better, the workplace.  

I tried desperately to find a link to the article so you all could read for yourselves, but couldn't so I will try to summarize.  In the Oregonian the other day, there was an article about so-called "non-bathers."  Apparently it is a movement to return to the good old days when people reeked and had to slather themselves with perfumes to cover the nasty stench of sweat and filth.  The exception being that perfumes are toxic and pretty much taboo in the "natural" community (I personally decry perfume, but support bathing).  I do get that bathing daily is not always necessary in order to stay clean and it is a fact that daily hair-washing damages your hair and scalp.  But......the fact remains that we do live in a society that has certain social norms and expectations.  Yes, sometimes those norms have been discriminatory and in those cases it is important to fight the power and change the norm.  Non-bathing, however, can definitely go too far and I refuse to consider myself a hater because I would not want to spend the day working in a cubicle next to Stinky McStinker.  I can barely stand to ride in the car with myself after a workout....the smell of sweat is just plain icky.

Idea #9: Make your own cleaning products.  

This idea is one that we follow somewhat at our house.  No only does it keep you from supporting corporations that wish to chemicalize your home and body, it also saves money and is eco-friendly.  We have not yet ventured into home-made soap, shampoo, etc.  I may just give that a try at some point.  If you are considering going the "non-bathing" route due to the harmful chemicals in soaps, why not make your own.  That way the stink factor is under control and you can still call yourself eco-cool.

Oh crap...I forgot a day!

I suppose we can add this to my list of many failures.  The looming return to work has me a bit preoccupied and it is taking its toll on my physical health as well so I'm not feeling the greatest.  Strangely, I am not unhappy about going back to work.  I do like my job and am looking forward to the new challenge I had placed before me yesterday: developing a small intervention program for 8-10 functionally illiterate students of average intelligence (meaning they are intellectually capable of full literacy).  I have never worked with adolescent non-readers before, so this will allow me to learn something and apply it immediately.  It's also nice that I will have a work period every other day to develop this before actually beginning the program.

I still intend to keep up with blogging as I venture into the world of middle school from 7:00 am --3:00 pm each day.  I'm sure I'll have lots of humorous stories to share (those kids really are hilarious).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Major Regret

It is difficult for me to even write about this because it means admitting to doing something I find morally reprehensible: circumcision.  My husband and I disagreed on this subject and he does not have this level of regret.  He is still living in "his" reality which was that almost all boys were circumcised in the U.S. in the 1970s.  Of course, I don't want my son to be the one with the "weird dick" in the locker room as a teen, especially when he has a genetic predisposition toward a slight build and a late-onset puberty.  The thing is, now that the damage is done, I have seen a lot of moms changing their sons' diapers and at least 50% of those boys are intact.

I can only hope he doesn't hate us for doing this to him.

Day 7 of 28 Ways

Idea #7: Less is more!

We've all heard "you get what you pay for" and this mostly holds true (not always).  It is far better to have 5 pair of $100 shoes than 50 pair of $10 shoes.  This idea compliments yesterday's idea in that it fights the "planned obsolescence" that cheap commodities thrive on.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 6 of 28 Ways

Idea #6: Repair rather than toss and re-purchase.

I am definitely guilty of this one.  Too often I will throw away something once it's broken or messed up mildly and go out and buy a new version of the same item.  How wasteful!  And it encourages planned obsolescence which drives the greedy corporations to make more cheap crap with sweatshop labor.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 5 of 28 Ways

Idea #5:  Consign, consign, consign.

If you just can't let go of your favorite brands despite their *ahem* less than favorable business practices, you can still stick it to the man by purchasing them used.  Consignment and previously owned products are not limited to clothing.  Furniture, bikes, toys, and baby gear can all be purchased via craigslist if consignment store shopping is too labor intensive for you.  Many children's consignment shops operate on a trade system, so you bring in the stuff your kids have outgrown and get store credit toward things they can use.

My two favorite shops are Bella Stella and Piccolina.  And while I'm at Piccolina, I can jump across the street to Mother Nature's.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 4 of 28 Ways

Idea #4: Sew something!  This challenge is for me specifically since I purchased a machine over a year ago for the sole purpose of providing myself and the kids with inexpensive, sweat-shop free clothing.  Unfortunately, I have yet to learn how to use it.
Below you will see a list of things I have every intention of making.

1. curtains
2. tablecloth
3. pjs
4. skirts
5. dresses

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 3 of 28 Ways

I sincerely apologize for the lack of links in this post.  I promise to revisit Idea #3 and add links to worker-friendly companies as soon as possible.  For now, I only have time to post the idea itself.
Idea #3: Buy products from companies or manufacturers who employ fair trade policies and even better, those who do so while employing American workers in American factories.
I know that sometimes it's just not possible to find what you need at a locally owned business, but you can purchase products that were made outside of sweatshops or made in the USA by companies who treat their employees with dignity, respect, health care, and a living wage.
My aunt has been an employee of Costco for many years and I know they are one such company.  In fact, it's a good place to apply if you find yourself in need of a job.
I hear a baby crying, so more later...I promise.

The Weekly Weigh-in

Hanging my head in shame, I stand before you humbled once again by my own hunger.  I failed the challenge to avoid snacking after dinner for a full week.  I made it two days.

On the up-side, Thursday is my Weight Watchers weigh-in and despite using up all flex points and nearly all activity points for the week, I managed to lose another pound.  I appreciate that WW is not a "diet" but rather a way of ensuring that you eat the right amount and right balance of foods each day.

I am doing a great job of staying off processed foods and refined sugars.  I am also avoiding soy and dairy due to the little guy's digestive issues.

So that's that.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 2 of 28 Ways to Fight Global Capitalism

Idea #2: Reduce your oil consumption.  The recent BP disaster and the controversial pipeline through the Middle East keeps our attention focused on the big oil companies and their seemingly unapologetic greed.  Additionally, a reduction in gas emissions lessens air pollution so it's a double good deed.

I did a simple search for practical ideas on cutting oil use.  Stuff anyone can do without drastically changing one's lifestyle or shelling out a bunch of money.  Here's the link...

Confidence and Perception

While returning from Zumba class yesterday, a Rolling Stones song came on the radio and I had an epiphany.....ugly people CAN be perceived by others as beautiful.  Case in point: Mick Jagger.

Okay, take a good long look and tell me if this man is not totally hideous. Eeeeew doesn't even begin to describe the unappealing body, distorted face, and horrendous wardrobe.  Nonetheless, tons of women the world over have found him super hot.  I'll concede that Mick's "rock star" identity automatically makes him more appealing than the average man, but still........not hot.

Mick's appeal I believe lies in his confidence and his own self-perception.  Do you think that Mick Jagger gives a shit that I find him ugly?  Why should he?  He's rich, famous, and has more women than he can manage even in his old age.  He marketed himself as hot and people accepted that.  

I want to challenge others to embrace their inner Jagger and adopt a more positive perception of their appearance.  This takes some work (you don't see me committing to doing it).  It involves reprogramming our thought processes.  Personally, I have spent most of my life seeing a fat and kinda ugly person in the mirror even though that has rarely been the reality.  The saddest thing about a negative self-perception is that other people tend to see what you see.  If you are projecting a negative self-image, then that is what will shine through.  You also lower certain expectations and seek out less than you deserve.  This is especially dangerous in terms of relationships (both romantic and platonic).

Like I said, I am not taking on this particular challenge, but I am working on changing self-perception in other ways.  I've spent most of my life focused on the outside and now and focusing on more on the internal.  More on that another day.

Viva le Jagger!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

28 Days and 28 Ways to Fight the Global Capitalist Machine

As I mentioned the other day, one of the things I'd like to accomplish during National Blog Posting Month is commit to doing something every day that fights global capitalism.  With the recent election results hammering me, I feel that individual consumer habits must change in order to prevent the almighty dollar from taking complete control politically.  Our economy will continue to fall into the toilet until we are all flushed away.  Oh wait....not all....the wealthiest Amercians will be doing better than ever. 

So what can we do as struggling Americans?  How can we jump-start our own economy and preserve the American worker identity? 

Idea #1:  Shop at locally-owned businesses.  Here are some ideas for those living in the Portland area.

Groceries: New Seasons Market (beware...Fred Meyer is no longer locally owned)
Fast Food: Burgerville
Fatty Breakfast Food: Elmers
Outdoor Clothing and Gear: REI
Hardware: Parkrose Hardware
Appliances: Standard TV & Appliance

I'll spare you my disgust at the election results

Instead I will write about my dream home.  The one I won't get because I choose to teach in a high-poverty school where kids just don't pass their OAKS tests as frequently as Republicans would like so it must be all my fault and I should be fired or at least kept from cost of living pay increases.  Oooops......not supposed to be talking about the election result.  *sorry*

We are hoping to have a larger home by the time Zoe is in 5th grade.  That means either selling our current home or doing an overhaul and adding a second floor.  I thought it might be fun to list out all the things I hope for in our next house.

Location: W/in the city limits and school boundaries so the kids will attend Franklin, Cleveland, Grant, or Douglas for HS.
Lot size: 7000sf is ideal
House size: 2000--2500 sf
BR: Master suite w/ plenty of closet space, large bathroom w/jetted tub and stall shower;  3 additional bedrooms--one for each kid and a guest room.
BA: master bath, 1 other full bath, additional 1/2 bath would be great, but not necessary
Floorplan: fairly open with living/dining/kitchen all w/in view
Family Room: either in a finished basement or above.  Must accommodate kids' video gaming area as well as movie-viewing.
Laundry: can be anywhere
Kitchen: large, lots of counter space and storage space; separate pantry for dry goods, double oven.
Green Features: lots of windows and skylights, rain barrels, bamboo, solar panels

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Writing Prompt 11/2

Tell us the story of a piece of jewelry you own. Where did it come from, and what does it mean to you?

When I was fifteen, I decided to leave the small theater school I had been a part of for four years.  I had never attended public school and, as an actor, was curious about "experiencing" the typical high school thing in order to use it later in my work.  I knew I probably wouldn't enjoy it, but nonetheless, I did it and looking back, I am glad.  I made several lifelong friends during the short time I attended FHS.

Now back to the prompt......the jade and silver ring.  As I was leaving the theater, one of my teachers and fellow performers was also leaving to take a job with a rep company in another state.  She always wore this ring on her pinky during performances.  I think it was a bit "much" for her everyday jewelry rotation.  While getting ready in the dressing room one evening, she gave me the ring.  She said it had been given to her in a similar way.  I still have the ring even though my fingers are too fat to wear it.  

A blog post a day....

probably doesn't do much of anything, but I've decided to join ~semi-crunchy mama~ in the NaBloPoMo challenge this month just for shiggles.  I am always at such a loss for things to write about when I actually sit down to do it, so please have no expectations of prolific ideas or witty platitudes.  I doubt there will be any.

So what will I be blogging about this month?  Perhaps the transition from maternity leave back into the working mommy camp.  Yes, I've done it before, but this time is sure to be a different kind of challenge.  My little guy eats a LOT more than Ms. Zozu did (yes, she's a "Ms." as you're never too young to be a feminist) and he has food intolerances even when filtered through my breastmilk, so that makes the whole thing much more complicated.

I also had this grand idea of giving myself and the 2 or 3 people who read this blog some simple ideas for fighting the big corporate giants (aka capitalist pigs) and doing each of them.  I know how to do it, yet I find myself often too lazy to DIY and instead running to Target.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Battle Wages On

It's been awhile since I posted on my war against fat and food.  In case you've wondered, the battle is still ongoing, however I am getting it under control and feel that I am slowly but surely winning.

I began Weight Watchers a month ago and have lost 7 lbs.  I am still working on eliminating snacking after dinner.  That is a difficult one to manage, but it's my goal for this week.  If I can make it a week with no evening snacking, I will treat myself to a 90 minute massage.