Sunday, November 24, 2013

What IF...

I found a video today via another blog, Cinderella Wore Glass Slippers.  It so perfectly sums up the "What Ifs" of infertility. You must watch this video, but I can't quite figure out how to embed it because it is not from youtube.  So just follow  the link. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

My First Linky!!

I am attempting my first linky with Doodle Bugs...let's see how it goes!

I save burnt out light bulbs every year and repurpose them as snowmen ornaments.  I always put a request in my newsletter right around this time of year for kids to bring in old light bulbs. 
This is one of my favorite craftivities to do with the kids.  It's so simple, the results are adorable, and I *think* it is a school-made gift a parent might actually keep because it's cute and not just because they feel obligated to keep it because their child made it.
All you need is...
*Watered-down Elmer's glue
*"Clear" Glitter...or maybe it's called iridescent??
*black and orange tempera paints or Puffy Paint
* strips of fabric
*hot glue gun
*ribbon or large paper clips 
Here's what you do:
1. Hot glue a looped string to the twisty part of the light bulbs or manipulate paper clips to act as ornament hooks (pliers can be helpful)
2.  Have kids hold bulbs by the twisty part and paint the entire bulb with watered-down glue...sprinkle glitter on and hang to dry. (I normally call a small group of kids back to my kidney table rather than attempt for the whole class to do this at the same time).
3.  After the bulbs have dried students add nose, eyes, buttons, and mouth.  My partners have had better luck with Puffy Paint...I stick with the tempera paints because the school has them.  The paintbrushes you needed were for the glue...for the faces I've found that dipping a sharp pencil in paint and dabbing it works well and gives the kids more control/precision.
4.  This picture shows snowmen that all have the same scarves, but the last couple years I have had a variety of Christmas-y and winter-y scarves that the kids can choose from.  Hot gluing the scarves really only requires one dot of glue where the scarf overlaps itself.  
*That's it!
You may want to glue the scarves on before the kids paint faces because then they are more apt to make the face the appropriate size...but you run the risk of them getting paint all over the scarf.
One of my teaching partners, Teaching with Giggles, has added little twig arms with hot glue and they turned out super cute! 
We have a LOT of new staff at our school this year.  One of our fourth grade teachers used to make these cute little name plaques as a welcome gift whenever someone new joined the staff.  She retired last year and an AWESOME parent volunteer (whose daughter is currently in my class and I taught her older sister) noticed that none of the new teachers and assistants had I got volunteered to take over the tradition.  I don't mind though, I actually had a lot of fun.  And the parent volunteer along with our former fourth grade teacher helped me with this year's batch of plaques because there were so many.
Anyway, I would like to give away 2 plaques with whatever name or saying you would like on them...just leave a comment and your email.  I will contact the winners and send your plaque as a "thank you" for stopping by! Winners have been chosen, but I'd still love it if you joined my followers!!


This may be one of my best ideas to date: a hallway bulletin board that can stay up all year!  In September there were apples with the students' names on them.  In October we painted fall leaves.  Soon we will swap those out for snowflakes.  And in the spring we'll make buds and blossoms.  The writing was done with chalk and hair-sprayed to keep it from smearing too bad.  
What do you do when you slash around in too many puddles and end up with cold, wet feet?  Buck up and deal with your poor choices...that's what I say.  There's something to be said for a good ol' natural consequence.  Maybe next time you'll think twice before jumping into that oh-so-tempting frigid water.  Or, I guess this works too.  Stuff a massive amount of paper towels in your shoes before the teacher notices what you are doing and continue work as usual.  I can appreciate the problem-solving, so I had to snap a picture.
We moved into our house 4? 5? years ago.  As part of the closing deal we had the previous owner pay to remove the master bathroom shower that had leaked and was causing some water-damage issues.  We were going to update the bathroom anyway, so we didn't have them put in a shower.  We lived with an unfinished master bathroom until about a year ago when we decided it was finally time to do something.  DH did a great job demo-ing the bathroom...ripping flooring out, the vanity, the toilet, the drywall, the insulation.  He also (with a teensy bit of help from yours truly) did a great job putting in new insulation and laying a custom cement shower-pan.  I've been much less than decisive about my vision for the bathroom...or l should say I haven't completely agreed to his ideas and he isn't fond of mine we've been at a stand-still since...early spring?  Oh my goodness...maybe this weekend it's time to iron out some compromises b/c I don't know how much longer I can live with the disarray. I can't tell if it's the constant clutter of displaced bathroom items or the 150mg of Clomid finally kicking in...but I'm about to blow a gasket!

Here's to hoping we all have a peaceful weekend without blown gaskets!

Remember, you can still join the party and link up with Doodle Bugs!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Howdy Y'All!

Each morning I greet the student next to me with a “Good Morning, Buenos Dias, Bon Jour, etc.”  They return a greeting and then turn to their neighbor with a greeting.  The greetings pass around the whole circle until the last student greets me.  Some popular lines in our class recently have been “May the Force be With You,” “Greetings Earthling,” and “Live Long and Prosper” (very sci-fi of us, don’t you think?)  Anyway, “Howdy y’all” always gets a hearty chuckle out of the kids.  That and when the two Jason’s sit next to each other (almost every day) and say “Good Morning, Jason,” “Good Morning, Jason.”  I mean, you can’t ask for better comedy than that!

So, howdy y’all.

Today marked the first official day of conference week and I feel like I got off to a good start.   I was hoping for a perfect day, but I did have one no show.  But all the conferences went well.  Parents seemed calm and happy and appreciative and interested and those are all good things to see.

I am on our student study team (SST) and sometimes meet parents who seem so ill-equipt to be parents or don’t even seem to want the job.  And it makes me mad!  But mostly sad.  So, engaged parents is a good thing for my fragile emotional state.  A week or so ago I had to go straight to pick up my kids after back-to-back SST meetings with parents of the ill-equiped variety and I could not keep myself together.  Luckily I have Title reading specialists come into my room first thing, so I was able to leave the room without leaving the kids unsupervised.  I didn’t really know where to go.  I felt like such an idiot roaming the halls, tears streaming down my face, trying to hold my breath and smile as I passed our custodian and a couple parents.  All my friends were busy teaching, of course, so I went to the Principal’s office because we’re tight like that.  J/K.  Not really.  One of the other teachers was filling in for him and she was really sweet to me. Poor thing.  Hey, you’re the principal today and your first order of busy is to calm this hysterical childI mean, teacher.

SOthis all started with a “howdy y’all” and I was only going to write to say that I made it through one day of conferences. 

And I was going to brag that I get to go to an early showing of Catching Fire tomorrow because my little sister scored some free tickets.  My DH (Dear Husbandthat’s a fertility acronym) is sick and can’t go with, so hopefully I can find someone to go in his place.  Maybe my ONE and only follower, Teaching With Giggles??

AnywayTMI alertMonica, don’t read this part: I need DH to feel better stat, because I think (if the Clomid miraculously worked this time) I should be, wellI don’t need to spell it out for you.  But I’ll be seriously upset if we miss our first egg in (possibly) years.   

Monday, November 18, 2013


So, I finally finished report cards and can now bring you this---what is sure to be thrilling---blog post.

I know, you’ve been on the edge of your seat just waiting 

I actually do have some great ideas for posts, but I keep adding them to a list because I kind of chose a bad time to start a blog.  I mean, conferences start this week and Thanksgiving is after that.  With all the busy-ness, I haven’t had time to updateBUT, I want you to come back, so promise I’ll be better soon-ish.  That is a December resolution: take the blog-world by storm! Or at least, truly enter it.

As a teacher, my resolutions have never come at the beginning of January.  Rather, they come at the end of a school year (what I’ll do better next year), the end of a hard day (what I’ll do better tomorrow), during some inspiring professional development (what I’ll do better next week), and at conference time (what I’ll do better next trimester).  So, here I am with conferences loaming and about a million resolutions of what I need to do better at next trimester.

For example: writing.  I’d get more specific for you, but honestly, I need to teach EVERYTHING about writing better than how I am teaching it now.  This is all glaringly apparent after thumbing through the kids’ notebooks, assignments, and published/prompt pieces and taking copious notes on how they are progressing with each standard. 

Yikes!  How does it always creep up on me like thathow atrocious their daily work can be!?!?  When I’m teaching and they’re responding and when I’m roving or conferring I am always so impressed with my little authors.  But THENthe horror of seeing a notebook full of one-sentence “I like” and “I went” “stories.  Or page after page of “I love my ____.  I rilly rilly love ____. We hav so muth fun I love ___ so muth.”

So, resolutions for writing after conference time:
*Plan for it, instead of winging it...
*Confer or rove every day...
*Keep up on assessments-type activities...
*Use more authentic/mentor texts for teaching.
*Let students share and respond to one another’s work more.
*Find ways to inspire quality writing (I’m thinking each time we publish, I will type the stories of kids who wowed me in one way or another and they can illustrate their book and put it in the class library.  If that goes well, I might allow them to submit other pieces they think are worthy to “the editor”that’ll be mefor review and possible publication).
*Find a waymaybe kidblog?... to let them type on the computer every now and againto get ready for computer-based assessments in a couple years. (Anyone know any good websites or programs for this?)

Anyway, update on the KinderCoaster baby efforts:  I started round three of Clomid. 150mg!!  50mg the first round was annoying, but tolerable.  100mg the second round was awful!  Stomach cramps & back pain, hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, and mood swings.  Oh! The mood swings!  I felt like a crazy person.  I’m pretty sure my ovaries looked like this:

(Get it? Angry birds because they can’t lay eggs?)

It was so bad that I was pretty hesitant about 150 and actually was feeling nervous-sick in the couple days prior to starting the pills.  In the moments before I took them, my husband (JT), gave me a hug and said, “I’ll miss you.”  We both promised to remember that whatever happened in the next 30ish days, we’d still love each other.  I was breathing all heavy-like and closing my eyes, trying to talk myself into itlike I do when I prepare to take a shot (I HATE shotshaven’t had one in years!)

I took them.  My tongue fought it for awhile, so they had that nasty taste that you get when a cheap non-coated pill doesn’t go down on the first try (except these little puppies aren’t cheap).
Tonight I took the final 3 pills of the 5 day regimen.

I’m still waiting.
For the inevitable horror that will ensue.

But, nothing is really happening yet and I am very close to positive that my side-effects were almost instantaneous with the last two doses.  So, what gives?  I mean, I shouldn’t be upset that I feel fine, but I kind of am.  Maybe upset isn’t the right wordhow about worried?  Like, why don’t I feel like $*#!?  Is it working?  Did my angry ovaries just up and explode last time around?  That’s a jokebut seriously, can that happen?

I have totally been dreading the side effects, but I kind of wish I could just feel crappy for a little while so I know that something is happening in thereyou know?

I know.  Resolution: stop being such a masochist.

So, let's hear it...what are your November resolutions??

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

. . .

Periods.  Yes, let’s talk about those because that seems like a totally appropriate thing to mention as a third EVER blog entry, right?

Seriously though, I got thinking about those little things after my husband told me I should maybe edit my first post.  As a writer, I don’t like them so muchthey seem sofinal.  Periods are supposed to go at the end of a complete thought.  But I’m hardly ever done thinking about something.  I keep thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it ‘til it darn near drives me crazy!

And then I think about it some more. 

I much prefer ellipsesif you haven’t noticed; semicolons will work too if I’m feeling fancy---and dashes are a great way to add flare!

As a teacher of six- and seven-year-old writers, periods are the bane of my existence!  “That’s a great story, Jonny, but herelet me read it the way you wrote it:

I like to.
play with my friend we.
go to the park it.
is fun it is really.
really fun. "

Student laughs and agrees, yes, that sounded nuts.  However, even after skillfully differentiated instruction from yours truly, Jonny continues to struggle distinguishing between the end of a thought and the end of a line.  It’s okay really, I don’t blame him; I’m just excited to see periods that are the size of a crumb instead of a Cheerio!

As a reader, I get it.  You NEED periods and reading can be exhausting and confusing without them.  Teaching kids to read with fluency and expression is one of my most favorite things!  I love pointing out authors’ punctuation choices and what they tell us readers to do with our voices.

My favority-favorite author for demonstrating and practicing expression is Mo Willems.  The Pigeon books are awesome, but I am especially fond of his Elephant and Piggie tales.

Speaking of teaching kids to read with fluency and expression, I have (what I think is) a great way for students to practice Fry High Frequency Words while simultaneously becoming more fluent and expressive readers.  I’ll show you someday when I get it all web-ready.
………………Switching gears from the education-side to infertility issues……………….
As a teen, periods were just plain inconvenient and, let’s face it, pretty weird.  But, I think most teens eventually recognize their period as a fact of life and a necessary evil.  We get why it happenssort of.  Back then, my erratic and infrequent cycles thrilled me rather than scared me!  "The less of that wacky business I have to deal with the better!" I thought. 

I didn’t even know how in the dark I was about my cycle until I had trouble conceiving and read Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

You see there were a couple times, back as newlyweds, when I’d slip up on my birth control and spend the rest of that month in a complete tizzy about what I would do because obviously I was going to have a baby in nine months.  (Big change for Scaredy Squirrel!)  I mean, it only takes once, right?  That’s what we were always told anyway.  And we all grew up believing that “late”=pregnant.

Well, no surprise then that when we decided to try to get pregnant and my cycles were 38, 48, 56, 67, 78, etc. days longs I was convinced each time that I must be pregnant.  It really didn’t dawn on me that my increasingly distant cycles were a sign of annovulation.  The BFNs have been tough, but there is always a little sliver of hope: maybe I peed on that stick wrong...maybe I'm just a tiny bit pregnant...maybe I'm too well hydrated...maybe the test is a dud.

It's been awhile since I bought an at home test, what with routine blood work now to measure my progesterone levels and see if I've ovulated.  The blood results are tougher even than the BFNs.  Instead of a little line on a stick telling you that you aren't pregnant, you have a real -live nurse telling you that you never even had the chance.

That pesky little Hope Gremlin still sits on my should though.  "Haven't had the chance YET, is what she meant to say.  It's possible you just haven't ovulated YET.  Or maybe they mixed up your blood with someone else's...there was that old guy who got his blood drawn right before you..."

So, BFNs=tough.  Negative blood work=tougher.

But the toughest of all is that damn little “.”  It’s so final. 





Monday, November 11, 2013

Punctuation Takes a Vacation

So, l decided to show my husband the bloga little reluctantly I must admit.  It’s one thing to get used to the idea of broadcasting yourself to a bunch of people you don’t know; it’s an entirely different thing to share your DIARY with people you love and trustthe risk is greater.
Anyway, I shared it with him because I share everything with him.  And, well, he already knew everything anyway.  I was excited and nervous and looking for feedback.  “Do I sound like a complete crazy or is it sorta good?”
He liked it!  I was afraid he might laugh and call me a nube or something; he’s Irish and always making jokes.  I’m Nordic (among other things) and always seriousor at least compared to my Irish husband.  But he liked it!  His only feedback was that I should maybe edit it a bit…"You need some commas or something,” I think is what he said.
I’ve heard this before.  I heard it in junior high.  My teachers referred to it as the “Ponderosa Period.”  It was the phenomenon occurring with students coming from the Ponderosa neighborhood who seldom used periods.  Apparently we were masterful at adding detail, but didn’t know when to cut it off. 
I considered my husband’s advice and decided to give my post another look-over.  Then I decided not to change it (much) because 1.) That’s the way I talk in my head, 2.) It’s not like I’m writing a research report (been there, done that, neveragainthankyou!), and 3.) I’m practicing being imperfect.  So, the punctuation or lack thereof, stays as is.
Even though I didn’t really use the advice this time around, his comment got me thinking about another subjectI think I’ll write about that one next.
P.S.  I stole my title from Robin Pulver who wrote a children’s book with the same title.  Awesome book for teaching about the importance of punctuation! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

It Starts Here

So, this is itmy first EVER official blog entry.  I feel so savvy.  I’ve actually been wanting to start a teaching blog for awhile now.  One of my teaching partners started one this past summer and between her and all the other amazingly creative and hilarious teacher-bloggers out there, I was feeling inspired.  “That seems like fun,” I thought.

But, I never got around to it because, well, I guess I was scared.
 Or lazy.  Or preoccupied.  Or all of the above.  See, I was thinking that maybe I didn’t have what it took to blogmaybe I won’t be funny or creative or maybe I’ll run out of things to say or people won’t like the things I say or people won’t even read the things I say.  As if there was some standard for blogging and I was going to fall in the “Basic” or “Beginning” range (CCSS & TPEP reference for my fellow teacher folk)!  I’ve never been good at being below averageor even average for that matter.  In everything I do, I want to be a little bit better than perfect, as if my whole self-worth rides on it. I don’t really fail at stuffat least until now.

July marked my 28
th birthday and my 5th year of marriage.  August marked one year of failure:  failure to get pregnant.  When you hit the year mark, your doctors (and insurance) start calling you “infertile.”  I started journaling because that’s what I’ve always done when I have ugly feelings that I can’t hold in, but don’t know what else to do with.  I still have my childhood diary and write in it from time to time.  Funny thing you should know about me: even as a kid, I only ever used it to rant or wallow.  It was a safe place to let go of my ugly.  I could (and still do) lock it up so no one can see my much-less-than-perfect parts.

Recently, I turned to the fertility-challenged blogging community for support because infertility is a lonely and relentless landscape to navigate.
  Even when those around you who know about your struggles try to comfort and encourage you, it is still lonely.  Again, I was inspired.  These ladies were ranting and wallowing and celebrating for the whole wide world to seeand their “ugly” was helping people like me to cope.  They succeeded in making me feel less alone.  They verbalized the things I was thinking and feeling.  “That seems liberating,” I thought.

Some big changes are on the horizon for me right now (completely unrelated to teaching or fertility), and I have been feeling trapped by my fear of change.  One of my teaching partners compares me to Scaredy Squirrelanyone??  Real quick: he’s a character from a cute series of kids’ books who loves his simple, predictable life and is terrified of the unknownbut each adventure he has into the world beyond his safe nut tree enriches his life.  Anyway, she’s totally right; I am Scaredy Squirrel.  And she would know, because she’s a Scaredy Squirrel too.  SoI’ve been feeling trapped. And scared.  And defeated.  And frustrated.  And a whole list of ugly things, so being liberated/enriched sounded awesome.

And that’s when I decided to start KinderCoaster.  I realize now that it could be read as kinderwith a long i, as in we need to be kinder to one another because we are all dealing with ugly stuff.  But is kinder even a word or would it be more kindor would it be more kinder like first graders would say?? (Sometimes I think teaching those little people makes me less smarter). 

Anyway, I wasn’t thinking of a long i soundI was thinking Kinder, as in kindergarten.  As in little people like first graders and babies.  And Coaster, as in rollercoaster, because the coaster that you put your drink on so it doesn’t leave a ring just wouldn’t make sense.  Oh, and because life, for all of us, is one big series of ups and downs and twists and turnslike a never-ending rollercoaster  that is both fantastically thrilling and pee-your-pants terrifying.

It is time for me to let golet go of my fears of being judged as less than perfect.  Making my diary public seems like a pretty good way to start.  And because it is my diary, fair warning: there is probably going to be a lot of ranting and wallowing because that is what I have always used diaries for.  But, I will try to balance it out with some good stuff too because life is full of good stuff and it just seems healthier to acknowledge that.

And that is the main purpose of this blogtotally selfish: it is my place to release the ugly, face my fears, and be imperfect.  And if you feel entertained or inspired or comforted by this endeavor, welcome aboard the KinderCoaster.