Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

And no, I am not talking about Christmas.

And that means a LOT, coming from me...lover of all things Christmas.

In fact, I start counting down until Christmas in September. Sometimes earlier.

But no, I am not talking about Christmas.

I am talking about that sweet little perk-o-my-job called SUMMER BREAK!

One week separates me from staying up late, doing what I want, wearing sweats all day, sitting outside, and of course hanging with my baby girl all day long. The thought that some teachers I know are already out of school makes me want to upchuck my lunch, but I know that I am lucky to even have a break at all. I know other professions aren't as lucky. I honestly don't know what I would do if I had to work during the summer. Yick.

I think the teachers are just as ready as the kids for summer. Scratch that. I think the teachers are 100 times MORE ready than the kids for summer. My students have summer-itis like whoa and I can't get them snapped out of it enough to care about stratus clouds or the Indiana General Assembly or 2 digit divisor division. Nope. I just can't.

But does that keep me from trying? No.
Does it keep me from banging my head against my desk as I grade a paper that says that the country we live in is Indiana, the county we live in is Knox, and the continent we live on is USA? Also nope.

I found out today that a parent was talking about me behind my back. This makes me sad. This makes me angry that I leave my baby every morning at 6:30 a.m. and don't see her until near 5:00 p.m. to try and do good things in my classroom...only to find out that I am still not "good enough" or doing things "well enough" for this parent.


One week. One week. One week. Then a fresh start for next year. If there's one thing I know for sure, any subsequent children that I will be vivifying in the future will be born during the month of May or June so that I can safely take the rest of the year off and not worry about having to come back to clean up the mess of a maternity leave.

I thought I was making a wise choice...coming back and all. I don't want to walk away next week and regret it. I don't think I will. I just have to hold my head up high and know that I honestly and truly put 110% into my job and this actually is not just a "job" to me...otherwise I would not have come back this year. This is a career I have chosen. A career that I care a lot about. And a career that I will be happy to take a little break from come June 4th at 3:10 p.m.

One week. One week. One week.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hi, I'm Ashley...Remember me?

As I hear the rhythmic sound of Noelle's swing going back and forth, and as I see my sweet baby girl snoozing in her seat, I say to myself..."I NEED TO BLOG!"

I don't think I have gone this long without blogging in a super long time. I apologize. I owe you two, soon to be three, Tasty Tuesdays...which means tomorrow I am planning a three course meal to make up for it! I know you are on the edge of your seats.

Let's get down to the nitty gritty. I am wrapping up my third year of teaching. Luke just completed his third year of medical school. I feel like the years are flying by, and I can't believe we are within one sweet, wonderful year of Luke graduating and being able to sign two very important letters on the end of his name. I am so proud of him. I can't wait to watch that man walk across a stage and truly feel the gravity of his accomplishment. And I can't wait to hold a bouncing baby girl on my lap as she claps her hands for Daddy! (or Papa as Luke wants to be called)

I just rested my hands on my belly the way I did when I was pregnant. Difference is...I am not pregnant. Don't plan on being pregnant for quite a little while. Yes, my belly is still hanging around for the long haul. I keep telling it that it no longer is Noelle's happy home, and it can go away and be gone forever, but it does't want to listen. I admit, I have been slacking. I haven't done the Shred in about two weeks because I simply don't have time, and when I DO have time, I most certainly do not have the energy. I plan to get back in the saddle when summer break rolls around (in a mere 7 school days...but who is counting?). I have set a goal of booking a family portrait session with a great photographer (yet to be named...suggestions?) in September for Noelle's 6 month pictures. This will encourage me to get in my best shape and look as good as possible while having something to look forward to. Think I can do it?

Speaking of photography, I am really jonesin' (I like that word) to get back into it. This time, I want to focus on little kiddos. I think it would be so fun to continue to see children in all phases of their lives and photograph them in a beautiful way. So, I am gonna start this Friday with a beautiful little boy of a friend of ours, and I can't wait to post about it!

What else? What else? I am thankful that I have a job in this horrible time for teachers. I am thankful that I have a loving husband in this difficult time for some couples I know. I am thankful to have parents and in-laws who stepped up to watch the little girl while I went back to work. I am thankful to have friends to laugh, vent, and celebrate with. I am thankful that summer is just a few days away for me. Oh yeah...and that baby girl? She's so amazing. Thankful is not a good enough word for how I feel about her. Honored? Awe-struck? Amazed? In love? Humbled? It all fits.

Life isn't perfect right now, but it's good, and I'm happy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Yes. I am alive.

I am still here. Don't give up on me. I am in the middle of finishing out a school year, organizing and purging in every room of my house, giving supportive pep-talks to a now fourth year medical student, feeding, changing, holding, and entertaining a 10 week old, and taking care of myself (and by that, I mean showering at least 4 times a week and making sure to brush my teeth daily). I am so busy and occupied during the day that I barely have time to be alone with my thoughts, let alone take those thoughts and type them out on here. But I am not giving up. I have a lot to say. A lot to show you. My baby girl is the most amazing little human I have ever known, and I can't wait to share more of her with you. Until then...
Keep checking back...or else!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A cornucopia, if you will...

Long time, no bliggity blog. I have been a busy lady here as of late! I am officially a working mama. Yes, I know...all moms are "working moms" (I know this more than ever after being home alone with my little nugget for 8 weeks), but I am a for real working mom because I am getting up at 5 a.m. and getting paid for it (insert angelic music from the heavens here). I haven't had time to blog daily about Noelle's poop or my 30 Day Shred let me present to you the cornucopia of postings, also known as the "what the heck have I been doing with my life?" post.


Sunday was my first Mother's Day! It rocked! I got to enjoy a beautiful day with my beautiful daughter (I still pinch myself when I say that). I was handed a warm, swaddled bundle of joy Sunday morning with a little ribbon tied around her wrist. Tied to the ribbon was a beautiful aquamarine ring with champagne diamonds on the sides, set in white gold. No, it's not the $1200 Le'Vian I was drooling over, but it is beautiful and perfect and very unexpected.

We enjoyed a wonderful day of church and a lunch with Abe & E. I tried to make the day as long as possible. I was dreading the next first day back to school. I cried a lot that night and felt totally guilty as I was preparing her bottles for the next day. It was really hard to put her to bed that night, knowing that I wouldn't be spending any more quality time with her the next day.

However, I was pleasantly proud of myself when I managed not to cry the next morning. She was in a great mood and was very calm. She was asleep by the time I left, and knowing that my dad was going to be watching her and loving on her helped. I wrote out detailed instructions and called home to check in, but she did great.

At school, my colleagues and students were very happy to see me. I got a lot of hugs and even some flowers on my desk from the staff. I have now been back for two days, and I am finally starting to get my room back the way I want it and sort through all of the projects/assignments the kids are in the middle of. I have to say that it is hard to come back after being gone 8 weeks. I feel like I don't know what I am doing and am all disoriented. However, only 16 more school days and then I will have a fresh start next year. All in all, I am happy I chose to return, and I have had a lot of fun reconnecting with my kids.

I am looking to my left, and I have a sleeping nugget beside me in the crack of the couch cushion. She is two months old today. How is this possible? I don't understand! She is growing so quickly and changing so much. She pays attention to things and responds to our voices. She smiles and is starting to coo. Oh yeah, she slept 7 1/2 hours last night! Straight! No waking up! I checked her two times to see if she was breathing. It was great to be able to sleep through the night. I hope she keeps this up!

Let's see...what else can I throw into this treat bag of a blog post? Oh yes, the Shred. I haven't done it since Friday because I have been insanely busy. Really. And I don't want to spend a lot of my Noelle time on working on. However, I did Zumba yesterday and I ran 2.8 miles today on the treadmill. As of this morning, I am 4 lbs. lighter than I was 12 days ago. I am going in the right direction, and I at least have one pair of pants I can wear to school. Hopefully the kids don't slice and dice me at lunch when they realize I am wearing the same pants all 5 days a week.

Well, like all other working moms, I am counting down the days to the weekend and just truckin' along. I am adjusting to this new lifestyle and very happy that it has been a smooth transition so far.

That's all I've got for now.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Poor Baby

The tears are over. The pain is gone.

Oh, and Noelle is doing fine, too.

Yes, today was the day of the immunizations at the doctor's office. My sweet girl will be two months old on Tuesday (unbelievable), and today was her well-baby visit.

She did great for the first part. She weighs just under 11 lbs (around 50th percentile) and measures almost 24 inches (which is like the 85th percentile)! She laid on her belly and lifted her head up for the doctor, showing off all her baby skills.

The poor baby didn't know what was coming, though. I got her all cozy and warm, but then I had to lay her down on the table and watch the nurse viciously jab (OK...not really...she was very gentle) a needle in my baby's chubby little thighs not once...not twice...but three times. It's honestly difficult for me to write about because I am recalling the memory of seeing her sweet face go from wide eyed and adorable to bright red, mouth gaping open, trying to cry but no sound coming out. It seriously was several seconds before the poor thing took a gasp of air.

When she was all done, Noelle just looked at me and threw her arms out, screaming, tears coming down (does this rip your heart out yet?), and I picked her up and held her tighter than ever before. She calmed down pretty quickly, and the nurse did give her some pretty awesome silver holographic band-aids.

I got her home and fed her and gave her the first dose of infant Tylenol. She has now been sleeping for close to two hours.

Noelle won't remember this day...but I will as the day that I officially became a mom. No, I know I birthed the child two months ago...but when you cry because your child is in pain, and you would do anything to take it away (the thought flashed through my head-- THE KID NEEDS AN ICE CREAM CONE!) have truly arrived to Parenthood.

30 Day Shred - Day 15

Before Noelle's 2 month (TWO MONTHS!!!!) doctor's appointment today, I took advantage of her snoozing in her swing and did the Shred. I didn't do anything yesterday because I spent a day getting beautified (hair color, cut, eyebrow wax, and facial). There was no time to work out in between all of that strenuous beautifying. a nutshell...I am halfway through the Shred. Level 2 is kicking my butt...I don't know when I will be venturing into Level 3 territory. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 14

I took yesterday off, but in my "off time" I did manage to go to the gym and run for 20 minutes straight on the treadmill! I bought one of those nifty Nike Plus things that go in your shoes (in my new Livestrong Nikes!) to calculate your distance, pace, calories, etc. It was pretty cool and motivating to see that I did 2.71 miles total (including my 5 min. warm up and cool down) and all in all at under an 11 min. pace as an average. When I was running, it said I was at an under 9 min. pace. This is good for me...considering "speedy" was never an adjective anyone used to describe me.

But, I put Noelle in her bouncy chair and managed to simultaneously complete day 14 of the Shred AND win Mother of the Year because I did in fact hear (yes, hear) Noelle have a blowout, but did I stop the DVD to change her? No. I was on the last circuit and thought that surely 2 more minutes wouldn't kill her. I know. Report me to CPS immediately.

On that note (the note of poop), Noelle's bowels have been moving quite nicely this week. In fact, since Saturday, I think she has had 3 massive poopy blowouts! Yay for her! I think this is one of those times when they say, "You know you're a mom celebrate your kid's disgusting poops!"

Two cheers for busting a move and busting a diaper!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


This is my new word...regretnancy. It's can't steal it. It does NOT mean that I regret getting pregnant. No way. It DOES mean that I regret the daily Twix bars, bowls of ice cream, and McCafe Frappes I had in my 8th-9th months of pregnancy. Oh yeah, they tasted great at the time, but now I am left with the aftermath.

I gained about 40 lbs with Noelle. I lost 20 right away. Now I am left with the final 20. What sucks is that prior to getting pregnant, I had lost about 20 lbs over the course of 6 months or so by running and eating better. It took so long to get to that point, and now here I am, back at square one.

I wish I would have done better while pregnant. I now am less than a week from coming back to school and even my fattest of the fat pants barely button...and they look like shit on me. I guess sitting in sweat pants for 8 weeks helped me to ignorantly believe that I wasn't the size of a small cow.

I have made changes, especially over the last 2 weeks. I have been working out regularly and have finally started eating better (which is 95% the battle for me). In fact, I joined Weight Watchers online last week. I really love it so far and think it is going to pay off. I have lost 2 lbs or so in the first 5 days. I guess that's a start.

So, all my pregnant friends, learn from my mistakes. The weight is a million times harder to get off than to put on, especially now that I barely have time to brush my teeth.

Tasty Tuesday - Angelic Tomato Pasta

Yes, I made up the name of this recipe. Call me Rachael Ray!

I whipped this up the other night when I wanted something light and pasta-y (new word...goes down with "regretnancy"). I am trying to watch what I put in my mouth, so I combined a little a this, a little a that...and....Angelic Tomato Pasta was born! Enjoy.

Angelic Tomato Pasta
1. 1/2 of a box of angel hair pasta (make it whole wheat if you want to be extra good)
2. 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
3. 1 garlic clove, chopped or one tablespoon of the already minced kind (which is what I have, and I don't measure it. I think on this one, I took the tip of my chopping knife, stuck it in the jar, and flung a heap into the looked like a tablespoon).
4. 1 tablespoon of olive oil (again...didn't measure)
5. 1 tablespoon of butter (I DID measure this one)
6. Lots of herbs...oregano, basil, garlic powder, parmesan cheese)

1. Boil pasta until done
2. In a sautee pan, heat oil and butter on medium heat.
3. Add garlic to sautee pan and let it roast a bit until slightly brown.
4. Add tomatoes...cook for a few minutes.
5. Add your first round of sprinkling oregano, basil, and garlic powder into the pan.
6. Drain pasta and then add to sautee pan.
7. Mix all the juices and tomatoes together with pasta.
8. Add another round of sprinkling oregano, basil, and garlic powder.
9. Cap it off with parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper if you like.

It was pretty freakin' good and good for you, too. Enjoy!

Monday, May 3, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 13

The wagon was almost broken down and my lumpy behind was half-hanging off of it, but I did climb back on and got it going again. Yes, I completed my 13th day of the Shred. I was simply too sore after jogging on Saturday to do the Shred over the weekend. I was proud of myself for having the strength to turn on the DVD and do the workout today. I have Zumba tonight as well, so today is a big victory in the workout department.

Also a victory is the fact that I have lost 2.5 lbs this week! Finally, the scale is moving in the right direction!!! Only about 37.5 lbs to go...HA!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Taking a Break

I am sad to say that I have taken a day off from the Shred today. OK, I am not that sad. I am tired. I didn't have time for it today. I did, however, get my butt to the gym and ran on the treadmill for the first time in a year. I was just going to start the Cool Runnings Couch to 5K plan again (if you are a new runner, this is a great plan), which consists of alternating 60 sec of running with 90 sec of walking for 20 minutes, but after the first minute I was feeling good and decided to keep it going for as long as I could. I ended up jogging for 16 minutes without stopping. Not too bad for my first time out...considering I had a baby and all.

Maybe it was my NEW running shoes that gave me the extra kick. Yes, I broke down and got some nice, new running shoes. Hey...if it motivates me and keeps me going, it's worth the money.

Jillian and I will continue our love-hate relationship tomorrow.