Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A New Perspective

Noelle is sleeping so I thought I would take a moment to blog. I'm not sure the direction this blog is going to go...but I will get my fingers moving and see where they take me!

I can't believe that tomorrow, Noelle will be 3 weeks old. Where have the last 3 weeks gone? I can tell you. I have been holding her, feeding her, changing her, sleeping with her, and staring at her. I have snapped about 600 pictures, planned her wedding in my head, and envisioned her as a toddler with bouncing pig tails, following me around all day.

It goes without saying that Noelle has changed me. Being in the presence of someone who is truly innocent and has not yet been tainted by the world is such a humbling experience...similar to what I would think being in the presence of Jesus would be like. She's perfect in every way.

I want to be better for her. She inspires me so much to really be the person I know I should be. I want her to be proud of me and of Luke. I want her to know how much we love her and will sacrifice for her. I want her to know how hard it is for me to be brave and stay all night with her while Luke is working at the hospital, but I do it because I know that I am not a child anymore...and I must be the adult for her.

Noelle will change the way I teach my students. When I look at her face, I see my students, and I have a feeling that when I look at my students, I will see Noelle. I will see them as the true children they are. I will respect the fact that they were once Noelle's size, and they deserve to be treated with kindness (not that I don't, but I can easily forget that they are KIDS). I can now forever say that I will treat my students the way I would want Noelle's teachers to treat her. Having a child truly gives you a new perspective.

Well, I have given myself 3 weeks, and now it is time to get back to some normalcy around here. Our housework is building up, and I can't use the excuse, "I just had a baby" for much longer. We need to learn how to put Noelle in our routines and not use her as an excuse to do nothing. Along those same lines is the fact that I lost a quick 20-22 lbs. after she was born, but I have a good 10-15 to go before I am back to what I looked like before I got pregnant. I need to start thinking about myself and getting myself back to the shape I was in...not only for looks but also for my health. I want to be here Noelle as long as I can, and eating crap and not exercising will not help.

Here's to a great future with some positive changes! Thank you, Noelle.

Monday, March 29, 2010

PUB, the tub, and real baby tears...

We experienced three rites of passage in Babyland this weekend-- PUB, the tub, and real baby tears.

What is PUB, you ask? Well, it is "poop up the back." Noelle successfully completed this task on Saturday night as Luke and I were enjoying a fun family dinner of chicken on the grill, potatoes, and salad. The weather was mild, the neighbors were out, and March Madness basketball was on. It was really picture-perfect, and we loved being a family of 3, enjoying a spring dinner together.

Noelle was in her bouncy seat while we ate, and when I finished, I picked her up to hold her and talk to her. She had been "tooting," "farting," "passing gas" (whatever you want to call it) for a few minutes, so I knew a diaper change was in her future. It was then that I moved my hand off of her back because it felt wet. My first irrational 1st time mom thought was, "SHE'S BLEEDING! SOMETHING'S WRONG!" However, when I actually looked at my hand, it was a nice shade of mustard yellow. I knew what we had experienced here....poop up the back, or PUB.

I rotated her a little to show Luke what was going on, and his face was a nice mix of horrified and completely hysterical. He started laughing so hard that he had tears in his eyes. He immediately took her and we headed to the bathroom for a bath.

It was quite the task, getting a completely poop-saturated onesie off my baby girl without it touching her gorgeous face or hair. Luke began filling the baby tub and we plunked her down in it.

Prior to this episode, we have given Noelle an "immersed" bath one other time. She screamed her face off and made us feel like horrible human beings, even though we were doing a good thing for her. However, this time, she was pretty calm and seemed to actually enjoy it! She liked the warm water, and she let us wash her hair. She even got some water in her eyes and didn't make a sound.

As disgusted as I was with the PUB episode, I was delighted that Noelle finally learned to trust us and enjoy her time in the bath. It was fun to get her all clean and smelling like a sweet baby. I look forward to the next bath.
Now...I have mentioned that Noelle can scream her head off. She only does this when she is cold (so, clothing changes, diaper changes, baths, etc). Other times, she is very sweet and doesn't fuss. During one of her episodes this weekend, I noticed that her eyes seemed a little wet. Yes, my baby girl's tear ducts were opening which meant that real baby tears were just on the horizon.

This morning, while changing her clothes, I saw one, big tear stream from her eye. It instantly made me want to melt and cry with her. I now know why parents hurt when their children hurt...and this was just because she was cold. I can't imagine the pain of when she needs her first band-aid or cast, when she experiences her first disappointment or failure, or when she experiences her first heart break (I will kill him!).

Right now, I am staring at a peaceful, beautiful little miracle who is all mine...even when she poops up the back.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Life Savers

I am typing this with one hand (my left hand, actually) because I am managing to feed Noelle at the same time. My talents amaze even me.

I have been a mom for 16 days, and I have already started a list of baby inventions that I can't live without. If you're not a mom or not close to becoming a mom, I apologize for the irrelevance of this post.

1. Medela 4 oz plastic bottles. She loves these and is not "confused" by them when she switches back and forth between nursing and taking a bottle.

2. Boppy Newborn Lounger. This is not the same as the Boppy nursing pillow. This is like a donut with a cover on it, and she lays in it a lot. This keeps her off the floor, couch, or bed. It elevates her head, and it makes it quite possible for me to do things like use the bathroom or eat cereal and not feel like her safety is at risk. We are borrowing this from a friend right now, but we will be purchasing one for any subsequent children.

3. Baby Wipes Warmer. Noelle is very content and peaceful 90% of the time. She only gets really, really mad when she is cold and/or wet. Cold and wet is a horrid combo for her. This makes diaper changes dreadful (when are they pleasant?), because she screams until no sound comes from her sweet little body when the cold wipe touches her. I decided it was worth the $25 to invest in a warmer. It earned its money the first night, when I changed her in the middle of the night and she didn't make a sound. Beautiful.

4. Aquaphor ointment. I got this at a shower from Luke's Aunt Kathy, and she said it was the best. Definitely true! She had the very beginnings of a diaper rash, and I put some on her and the redness was gone by the next diaper change.

5. Pampers Swaddlers diapers. We didn't know if we would like Huggies or Pampers better prior to her birth, but we got some of each as shower gifts. We definitely like Pampers better, as they fit her perfectly and haven't leaked. The Huggies seem huge on her and we can't get them snug enough on her.

That's all I have for now (not too mention my hand is sore from typing with like 4 fingers for 15 min.)!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Little Girl

When we went to the doctor for the first time with Noelle last Monday, she weighed 7 lbs, 6 oz. She was still down 9 oz. from her birth weight. Her assignment was to gain at least 7 oz. in one week and come back today for a weigh-in. Well, my baby girl failed this assignment and only gained 2 oz, despite the fact that she is eating all the time and doesn't seem to be upset that she isn't getting enough food.

We now are going to be supplementing with formula after every feeding, and we have to go back next Monday for another weigh-in. Who would have thought that my daughter would have problems gaining weight? It seems she has her father's body type, and she will be oh-so-grateful when she gets older!

Me on the other hand....I am happy to report that I have lost over 20 lbs since Noelle was born, and now I don't have much more to go before I get back to where I started. It's really fun to see pounds fly off and not have to exercise! I know the next 10-15 will not be that easy to get rid of, and I am greatly looking forward to going back to Zumba and starting jogging again.

That's all I know for now! Have a great day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A request

Just a little request for prayer. With the birth of my sweet little girl, Noelle, I feel the weight of the responsibility of caring for her financially now more than ever. I am the bread-winner in my family, like it or not, for at least one more year before Luke begins his residency and therefore brings home a paycheck. With all of the horrendous budget cuts that schools are having to make (Mitch Daniels = not my favorite person), my corporation will have to RIF (reduction in force) 7 elementary teachers. I am not sure where I fall...I think I am above this line with my years of experience....but I am not sure. It is possible that I could be let go due to the budget cuts, and this thought terrifies me. I lose sleep over it. My stomach hurts over it. I look at my precious Noelle's face and realize the gravity of the situation...she is depending on me to provide for her, and I want to be able to do that.

I am not only asking for prayer for myself-- that I will survive whatever happens with the RIF situation and be able to find a new beginning at another school if that is what I have to do, but I also ask for prayer for the other teachers across the state who are being RIF'd and left with a pretty desperate situation as it comes to finding a new job.

These really are sad economic times, and it seems like the focus is all on healthcare right now, but our education system is quickly going down the shitter, too.

Here's to being optimistic...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Photo Shoot

When Noelle was first brought home, I took some pictures of my beautiful baby girl. Here are my favorites.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Week of Firsts!

Noelle's first car ride home from the hospital
First doctor's appointment
First car ride with mommy (out to Babies R Us)
First census
First walk in the neighborhood
First time peeing on Daddy!

First St. Patrick's Day

Not pictured: First time going through McDonald's drive-thru, first time at Target (first of many!), and first time out to dinner (Mommy & Daddy went to O'Charley's)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


In one week, everything has changed. One week ago tonight, Luke and I were enjoying a dinner at Olive Garden together, staring at each other in disbelief that our little one would be coming into the world the next day. Now we are here with her, and I find myself flip flopping between being so happy that my heart could burst and so emotional that I could cry for days. I am in such awe of her and the greatness of God that I weep sometimes when I look at her. My heart melts when I see the way Luke looks at her. Holding her is the highlight of my day. She is my dream come true.

I want to be everything she needs. I want to be able to give her a life full of fun memories and happy times. I have an undeniable fear that I won't be good enough. I have flashbacks of the hurtful things I have said to my parents in the past, and my heart already breaks for when Noelle inevitably does the same thing. I understand-- after only 1 week, I understand what my mom meant when she said, "Someday, when you have kids, you will get it...."

I am scared of everything. I want to protect her from the outside world. I can't bear to watch sad shows on TV because my empathetic heart breaks for anyone in pain right now. I hate scary TV shows or watching my usual Dateline, 20/20, 48 Hours Mystery....I can't deal with the thoughts of how nasty the world is in some places. I just wish I could guarantee that no harm would ever come her way, and Luke and I can live to be 200 so we can see every part of her life.

I really hope these emotional times go away soon because I don't want to spend my time thinking of the sad things in life. I want to cherish how wonderful she is and the time we have together. I just can't put into words the immense responsibility we have been given, and I just want to do it right.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Noelle's First Pictures

Here are some pictures of the early moments with Noelle...

This was Noelle at about 6:30 a.m. Thursday morning...

This was Noelle by Thursday evening!

After Noelle's first bath in the hospital

Noelle had a ton of are a few (friends Jenna with her daughter, Avi and Candace without her son, Brayden)

Our first family photo

More later....

Monday, March 15, 2010

Her Story

It's been a whirlwind. I am getting teary-eyed just starting to type this entry. I am an emotional person even without pregnancy hormones surging through my body, so I am not going to be surprised to have tears streaming down my face by the end of this post. Am I sad? No-- so far from it. I am so unbelievably unworthy of this gift I have been given...and I am failing miserably at finding reasons why I deserve to be the beautiful Noelle's mother. Her beauty and sweetness and innocense just mystify me....all I can do is weep. She is a miracle, and she is mine. Here is her story!

On Tuesday, I went to my doctor's appointment with Luke, and we learned that I was dangerously close to going into labor at any second. I was 7 cm dilated, and I was a ticking time bomb. I was told not to go to school on Wednesday, and that I would be induced on Thursday morning. Induction was never something that we even talked about as a possibility. I thought that was only for people who were way over due, not two weeks early! All I could think about was all of the things that we needed to get done in 2 days, and I was so excited that I couldn't sleep. The pregnancy aches and pains were taking their toll, and I was ready to be "unpregnant."

I spent Wednesday relaxing and getting all my bags ready. I did laundry. I cleaned. I did some last minute baby shopping. I enjoyed my day and counted down the minutes until I could go to bed. Luke and I enjoyed a dinner at Olive Garden, and we spent some quality time together, talking about how our lives were surely going to change.

I didn't sleep more than a couple hours on Wednesday night. When I woke Luke up, it was like I was 6 years old, waking my parents up on Christmas morning saying, "Santa came! Santa came!" We got ready, ate breakfast, loaded the car, and headed to the hospital to check in by 7:30. They took us to our room, and we immediately began prepping for the big day ahead. The labor nurses were so sweet and took great care of us. I was hooked up to the monitors to monitor the contractions and Noelle's heartbeat, which was pounding away loud and clear.

By 8:30, my doctor came and she broke my water. All I can say is thank GOODNESS my water didn't break while at school or somewhere else. Kinda gross. They noticed that there was meconium in it (meconium = baby's first bowel movement), so Dr. Ertel said that the NICU nurses would need to be present at the delivery to make sure the baby would be breathing OK. There are risks involved when the baby has had a bowel movement in utero, mainly if the baby aspirates it while taking his/her first breath.

After my water was broken, they started me on pitocin (pitocin = evil). This made me start contracting immediately, and I was no longer comfortable. I was in pain very quickly, and I started to worry about how bad it was going to get before it was over.

The contractions got a lot stronger and about 2 min. apart. I tried doing some things we learned in childbirth class, like sitting on the balance ball, or standing, or having Luke massage my back, but I was in so much pain that I couldn't remember anything what I learned. I didn't want to breathe. I didn't want to be strong. In fact, I remember wanting to rip my stomach off and throw it across the room. The time had come for the epidural.

The few minutes it took for Barb, the epidural goddess, to make it to my room seemed like an hour. Finally she arrived, and she did her miracle. It took about 4-5 contractions for her to finish getting the epidural in, but soon after, I was feeling pretty good. I thought if I got an epidural I wouldn't be able to feel my legs or move them. Not true. I could feel them and move them, kind of like how you feel when your leg falls asleep. However, I couldn't feel the contractions. Wonderful!

This part of the labor process was great. We watched a movie. I took a little nap. Life was good. About 3 hours into the process, Dr. Ertel came back to check me, and sure enough, she said was time to push! By noon, we were starting the pushing process, and I thought that we would have our baby in an hour or two...

Well, maybe in two or three hours....

Or....maybe in about 3 1/2 hours?

Yes, that's more like it. I pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed until I thought my head was going to fly off. I was OK at first, but then my epidural started to wear off a little, and I was in a great deal of pain. I just wanted to see my baby, so I was highly motivated to push hard and keep going. I did NOT want a c-section, and I was so thankful that my doctor never mentioned one. She and the nurses just kept telling me that I could do this.

So...I did it. When she finally came out, I was a sobbing mess. It was such a great physical relief to have her out, and the emotional component to giving a birth was overwhelming. They handed her to the NICU nurses right away because she ended up crying before they could suck the yucky stuff out, so she did aspirate some meconium which was not good. I could hear her crying, and I kept asking Luke #1, what "it" was....I didn't remember the doctor saying, "It's a girl!" and #2, is she OK?

I could tell by the looks on the NICU nurses' faces that they were concerned. I could see that Noelle's color wasn't really that great. I knew that Luke wasn't allowed to cut the cord because they had to hand her over to the nurses so soon. I also knew that she hadn't been placed on my chest and I hadn't even gotten a chance to look at her before they were talking about taking her to the NICU for 4 hours.

I got really emotional and said, "I just wanted to hold her..." and my doctor asked if I could. They let me hold her for a few minutes, and I was just in shock that she was here! They took her away without us knowing how big she was or if she was truly OK.

Luke left to tell our family the news, and I just tried to relax and take in the fact that I just gave another human life. I also was SO excited that we had a little girl, and I just wanted to see her up close again.

Luke went to the NICU to see her, and it became clear that though she was doing fine, they wanted to watch her for a lot longer than originally anticipated. We had a waiting room full of visitors, but our little girl would not be allowed to be in the room with us until much later.

I finally got to go and see her about 2 hours after she was born. I was worried that I was missing out on that critical bonding time that they always talk about. I was sad that I wasn't the one to feed her first. I was jealous that Luke got to see and hold her (really hold her) before me, but as soon as I laid eyes on her, all I could think about was that I was her mother!

Luke took "tours" of people to the NICU several times to show off our beautiful baby girl. Each time we went, we were hopeful that they would let us take her with us, but they wanted to wait for more observation. It was finally about 11 p.m. when they allowed her to come to our room. Thank goodness!

We were so out-of-body-tired, but we had work to do! Little Noelle needed a bath, and she needed to eat, and we had lots of tests and checks and things to get done. We didn't sleep much that night, that is for sure, but we got to have our precious girl with us all night, so life was good.

Noelle's birth wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be in my head. I didn't think I would be induced. I didn't think she would come 12 days early (on her grandfather Eric's birthday, no less). I didn't think that she would swallow meconium or spend any time in the NICU. None of the websites, books, or classes could prepare me for the flood of emotions I was going to feel. But....we made it, and I feel like the strongest girl alive right now.

Noelle Elizabeth is such a blessing, and the weight of the responsibility of taking care of her is so heavy....but I believe in God now more than ever, and I know that He will get us through. come the tears.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Oh, Boy....It's a Girl!

Noelle Elizabeth Ernstberger was born into this world on Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 3:49 p.m. I have so much more to share with you about her arrival, but for now I will just say that she is a gorgeous, happy, healthy girl who is just lighting up our lives. She weighed 7 lbs. 15 oz. at birth and is 21" long. She is everything we hoped she would be and more....and she is a SHE which means my mother's intuition has been right on track!

More later!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

those nights (by luke)

tonight is one of THOSE that I wish would freeze in time so that I can soak in every ounce of each moment....every chirp of the birds singing, every gust of wind againt my face, every ray of sunlight that streaks beautifully across the sky. it is one of THOSE nights that helps me have that revelation once again. the recognition that this IS life. this is REAL living. this is is the precious gift my Creator has given to me......of feeling and emotion, of being moved inside by beautiful things, of having the capacity to experience fully the gift of life.
everything suddenly has more meaning, and my one and only wish is that I'll be able to remember absolutely everything.... down to the tiniest detail....because without these memories, the moments that I hold preciously close to my heart.....the real experiences of life...could be lost forever.

nights like these are few and far between for me, and I've only experienced a handful to memory......a warm, muggy night in Loreto, Italy as I stood in a hotel parking lot gazing across the countryside at a brilliantly lit cathedral across town.....a late summer night admiring one of our Creator's masterpieces, the Milky Way, in Quetico Provincial Park as I lay by a campfire stretched across a slab of cold granite, arms behind my head and staring into the cosmos in awe......the night before my wedding, when I looked into my wife-to-be's eyes and knew that I was the luckiest man in the world......

these are the nights where life is so real to me, and on this night as I reflect on the incredible priviledge I've been granted of soon beoming a parent, my heart is filled with immense humility and joy. this is life and living at its greatest, and I am forever grateful and blessed.

Last Day of Pregnancy

Well, today was my last day of pregnancy (at least for now)! It was bizarre not getting up and going to school, but I enjoyed spending time on the couch, for sure! I ran a couple of errands, picked up some last minute baby items, and enjoyed the absolutely gorgeous weather outside. I am so happy that the baby will born without any snow on the ground! It was nearly 70 degrees today, so the snow has melted and the baby will have a beautiful Spring birthday!

I am waiting on Luke to get home so that we can enjoy a final dinner date out as just the two of us. We will then spend some time together, get the house picked up, and count down the hours until bedtime-- so we can wake up and go to the hospital by 7:30 tomorrow morning!

The bags are packed and sitting by the door. The laundry is done. The cats have no idea what is about to hit them :-)....we have called friends and family. We are ready (as we're ever going to be)! Who knows, by 24 hours from now, we should be holding our sweet baby boy or girl!

Since this is my last day of being pregnant, we have to take our 38 week picture. I also will complete one last pregnancy survey!

How far along? 38 weeks and 3 days

Total weight gain: Sittin' pretty at about 40. Woohoo! Thankfully that number should be going down after tomorrow!

Sleep: Still waking up about once a night to pee. Tossing and turning is nearly impossible, so my hips just go numb. I think poor Luke has worse nights' sleep than me, though. He thrashes around, says he doesn't have any room (because of my belly and the number of pillows I need to be comfortable), and he has to get up pretty early. Sorry, Babe!

Best moment this week: Learning that I was 7 cm dilated and yet not in labor, and finding out that we would be meeting our sweet baby by March 11th.

Movement: As I type, the baby is going to town, putting its butt up in the air and trying to find its way out.

Gender: We will find out soon enough, right?

Labor Signs: All kinds....had 2 hours of solid contractions every 8-10 minutes apart on Sunday. Braxton Hicks contractions galore. Um....and yeah did I mention I am 7 cm dilated?

Belly Button in or out? Flat & weird looking!

Cravings: I want Olive Garden soup & salad....which is where we are going tonight!

What I miss: Cute clothes....and now that spring is here, the clothes are really cute and colorful! I am excited that I will be wearing them again soon! My two pair of maternity dress pants from Target got me through about 5 months, but I am ready to put them away!

What I am looking forward to: TOMORROW! It's BABY TIME!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's Go Time (almost!)

I just got back from the doctor and am still reeling from what she said. She told me I was 7 cm dilated. She couldn't believe it herself. She said in 6 years she hadn't seen a person dilated as much as me and not in labor yet. She said that basically I am in labor and that the baby needs to come out! She used the word "impressive!"

Luke and I exchanged crazy-scared-excited looks, and she suggested that Thursday morning at 7:30, I get induced. I can't believe this time has come! It is so exciting and scary and amazing all at the same time!

Tomorrow I am taking the day off to relax and put my feet up. These were doctor's orders. I don't really know what to do with myself right now, but I know that my life is about to change forEVER....and I feel so unprepared.

My mind is racing with the what-ifs...the possibilities....the questions....but I know that we will be taking life as it comes and experiencing the most amazing gift of all--- giving life to our first child.

Max or Noelle, I hope you are ready for this world...ready to meet your crazy parents who will no-doubt mess up numerous times in your life. I hope you are ready to make a bring some good into this sometimes depressing universe. I hope we make you proud and always do the right thing for you. We love you so much already!

Updates to come!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Since my doctor's appointment on Tuesday, I have been waiting, waiting, waiting for things to start happening, happening, happening! Every back pain. Every cramp. Every contraction. Every feeling. Is this it? Is it time? Nope...not yet.

I have been occupying myself by staying busy at school. I finally have everything in line for my maternity leave. My substitute came in to meet my kids. I feel as ready as possible for that transition.

My kids even threw me a baby shower on Thursday, which was such a totally cute surprise. They were very into all the gifts. I know have had 5 baby showers, and I need to write Thank You's for 3 of them. That is definitely something I can still do while I am waiting for Baby E.
We have stuff to get done around here, but Luke and I have both been so tired that things just aren't getting accomplished. We did cash in about 5 gift cards yesterday and get a jogging stroller! :-) It's all about priorities....

I am very conflicted about when I want Baby E to come. I want to meet him/her NOW! I am prepared and ready. I want this party to get started! BUT....I know that if I can make it to Spring Break (March 19), that will be SO much better for me as it comes to school. That's only 12 days. There are times, however, when lasting 12 more minutes sounds impossible. I guess the beauty of it all is that I don't get to decide any of this...Baby E I am just along for the ride.

I will leave you with my 37 week picture.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

37 Week Update!

I had a pretty interesting doctor's appointment today! Not only was the baby's heartbeat in the 170's because, in my doctor's words, "he/she is having a party!"...but I also found out that I am dilated to almost 5 cm right now. I am totally shocked and can't believe that I am that far along. I was hoping for 1 cm. I am feeling a healthy dose of reality right now, and I can't believe that the baby is going to be here in 3 weeks or less!

Other than that, the first day of ISTEP seemed to go OK. Let's hope the kids do well tomorrow and Thursday.

I will definitely update if anything crazy happens (like....I go into labor!)!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Made it to March!

I can't believe it is March already! I can't believe it has been 37 weeks that I have been pregnant, which means I am down to my final 3 weeks. I am stunned that I am going to be a mom in 3 weeks or less, and I am overwhelmed with so many thoughts and feelings.

I am so physically uncomfortable that I am just itching to get this baby out, but I know that the implications of having this baby too early will complicate "the plan." If I make it to Spring Break, I don't have to count Spring Break in my maternity leave and basically I will get an extra week. This will put me back at school toward the end of May. If God decides that this baby needs to come this week, I will be back by mid April. I am not ready to do that, and it is not what I wish to do. I pray that I can just suck it up and be strong for 3 more measly weeks so that I can have this baby in perfect time. I know that I can't plan it or choreograph it, but I know that I can hopeful that things will work out the way they are supposed to.

My students start ISTEP tomorrow. I am so nervous, I could barf. I have been teaching my face off since Christmas (well, before then, too...but the pressure has been high since returning from break), and unfortunately with missing 2 weeks of school in February, it really put us behind. It is so unfair the weight they put on these tests....making us feel like we have failed if our students don't all pass...making the kids feel dumb and like losers if they don't pass. It really is a downfall of our education system. I am all for accountability, but seriously you should see some of the stuff they are required to do. It's a nightmare!

Well, I'm off my teaching soap box for now. There's plenty else to be happy and positive about, so I guess I will focus on that. Hope everyone's having a great day!