So it begins…

week 1

I have had problems with my weight my whole life. In elementary school I was the chubby kid and in high school I was the fat girl. My senior year of high school something changed and I began losing weight. I don’t really know what caused the change but that year I finally had motivation to work out and eat less. The weight seemed to melt off. At my highest I weighed 275 and my lowest was 173. I had managed to lose 100 pounds! For about 10 years I was pretty successful at keeping the weight off. Through the years my weight did go up and down but I always managed to stay under 200…until I got married.

I don’t know what it is about getting married but most people I talk to say they gained weight after getting married too. I really started gaining weight when I was dating my husband. We went out to eat a lot and we got into the habit of eating some sort of treat every night. When we got married I weighed 206 pounds. I really tried to lose weight before getting married but life got busy and I never got around to it. Right around the time I got engaged I got my first teaching job. I was working around 60 hours a week. I didn’t make time to work out and I was eating fast food a lot.

Fast forward to now. I have had a baby and as much as I would like to use that as an excuse for being overweight but I know I can’t. I lost all of my baby weight after about two weeks of giving birth. Unfortunately I started to gain the weight back when I finished nursing.

I have been trying and trying to lose weight but I have not had the will power to do it. My biggest struggle with losing weight is food. I can make myself workout, but put a cookie in front of me and I’m powerless. This last year I have made a habit of getting donuts or cookies everyday after school. Everyday I would tell myself I would be good, but then the cravings kicked in and I would cave. Now that I’m on summer break I am hoping I can really focus on losing weight.

I’ve decided to track everything. I have created a chart to record my weight and my measurements. I’m including that here just in case anyone else would like to use it. It’s a power point document so it can be edited.

body measurements

Every Sunday I will record my results and share them on here. My hope is that this will make me feel more accountable. I am also really hoping that all my numbers will decrease but even if they don’t I still have to report them.

My exercise program is going to be pretty basic for right now. I want to ease back into exercising so I don’t get burned out. My goal for the first 30 days is to do cardio for at least half an hour every day. In addition to the cardio I am doing two 30 day challenges. (One for arms and one for legs) I am going to include those challenges here as well.

30 Day Arm Challenge

30 Day Leg Challenge

Now the last part of my plan involves food. As I said before this is my real struggle. I am going to plan my meals out each week.

weekly menu

To download the menu planner click here

I went shopping on Saturday and got everything from the store I need. I will have no reason to go to the store so I won’t be tempted to buy the treats I see. I don’t have a real “diet” planned, but I do have 4 ideas I am going to try to follow.

1. No treats!

2. Eat at least 2 fruits a day

3. Eat at least 3 servings of vegetables a day.

4. Limit carbs and starches.

I am sure that as the summer progresses I will need to adjust my plans here and there but right now this is what I will be following. I have also take a before picture and I really hope I will be able to have an awesome after picture. Wish me luck!

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What I learned this year

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Wow this school year was really great! I started teaching at a brand new Charter School and it was quite the experience. I moved from teaching High School to Middle School. So many people told me I should be afraid because 7th/8th graders are the worst, but after this year I have to say I honestly think they are the best. In High School it seems you find a lot of students who think they already know everything so they check out when they get to class. In Middle School the kids are still eager to learn, sure there are a few who don’t seem to care, but I think that is more the exception than the rule. I really loved this school year and I am actually really excited for next year. Although I think we had a very successful year there is always room for improvement. I have created a list about what I learned and I plan to use this list to help me be more successful next year. My hope is that someone else might find some value in one or more of the items in this list.

1. Demand organization

My school is unique in the fact that I have 7th and 8th grade students combined together and we are all together all day. We do every subject in the same classroom, so it feels a little like an elementary classroom. That being said we did not have a lot of room in our class and we worked in rotations so students couldn’t have an assigned desk. I created folders for all of the students so they could store their work, but I learned this did cut it. The last term I finally offered 2 points of extra credit for each week if a student could show me they were organized. The extra credit was good motivation but there were still a few in class who did not even try.

This next year I plan to make organization mandatory. I have decided that all students need to have a 2 inch 3-ring binder. After watching all of my students this year those who seemed to be the most successful used 3-ring binders and some sort file system inside. I know this might be a head ache waiting to happen but I am going to do my darnedest to make it happen.

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2. There is such thing as too much trust

I tend to be a very trusting person and with students this is not always a good thing. In my school students are on computers on and off throughout the day. I mistakenly assumed my students would follow instructions and stay on the assigned website. Now don’t get me wrong I worked on monitoring my students, but my classroom works in rotations and sometimes they may have a few minutes when I was away working with another group. As far as I know my students didn’t get into too much trouble but during the 3rd term I noticed they were starting to fall behind on their work. After a little investigation I found that they had created a “chat room” using their emails. They made sure to hide the tab when I walked by so I remained clueless for about a month. I am hoping no one is judging me for this confession, but I thought I should share so no one else makes the same mistake. Once I found out what was going on I started looking into the emails and found out that almost the entire class was in on this “chat room.” Term 4 was very different because I laid down the law about what was and was not allowed when it came to the computers and 2 of my students lost computer privileges because they decided to test me.

Long story short… do not trust your sweet doe eyed students! They are in reality quite devious.

3. Co-workers gossip

This may be very obvious to everyone but me but be careful what you say when you are around your co-workers! I luckily did not have anything drastic happen to me, but my co-teacher had her fair share of gossip about her. She is technically a paraprofessional, but she helps teach in my classroom. She really wants to be a full time teacher, but unfortunately my school did not have room to hire her as full time. The last few months she has been interviewing for positions at other schools. One of the schools she had applied at told her that another teacher from our school told them (during a bunko game) she was a terrible teacher and not to hire her. This teacher also told the school that she was not invited to come back to our school next year (which was not true at all).  Luckily this other school called me as a reference and I set them strait about the whole thing. This little piece of gossip almost cost my friend a job opportunity. Luckily she was offered the job (although she chose to stay with me. YAY!)

4. All parents are not equal

In our society we like to use blanket terms when referring to groups of people, but that really is not fair to anyone. One of the blanket ideas I have heard a lot is that parents are a teachers worst enemy. During this school year I have learned you never know what to expect from parents. (My previous school was a residential treatment center so I didn’t really work with parents very often) This last year I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of parents. We as teachers need to do our best to get to know parents as well as our students. Getting to know parents will help us understand our students better and it will help us better meet their needs. At the beginning of the year I dreaded parent teacher conference, but then I learned this was a great opportunity for me to sit down and really get to know them.

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5. Small room = big smell

My classroom is inside a modular building. We have two windows, one door, and our bathroom is connected. We also eat lunch inside the classroom. We tried opening windows, but if you ever went outside and came back in you were assaulted with the most horrendous smell.  Winter time was a little better, the kids weren’t running around as much during lunch, but summer and fall oh my! We finally settled on a sentsy (technically prohibited) to help us with the odor. I had to change that thing twice a week to keep it strong enough to over power the smell of the kids.

6. It’s amazing to have a teaching partner

Like I said before I work with a paraprofessional. In my school we call them instructors because they really do more than typical paraprofessionals. My Instructor helped me so much this last year. The way our class is structured you really have to have at least one more teacher in the room. (3 groups that rotate every 30 minutes) When I was bogged down with one project or another she was always there to help. She would grade or organize or clean, anything to help out. I had never worked with a teaching partner before and after this year I don’t know that I would ever want to go back.

7. You can never be too organized

I already talked about student organization, but this time I mean me. I try to be as organized as I can but I have learned you need to have organization within organization. We basically began the year with desks and chairs. I have no cabinets, no storage cubbies, nothing. During the year we tried to bring what we could to get organized but it wasn’t easy. We don’t have very much space so we have to be careful of what we put in there. Now having gone through a year in that class, I fell like I have a better grasp of what will work. I am so excited to make my vision happen as the next school year begins. I am so so excited I will be able to post it on here and share my excitement.

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8. First year at a charter school is chaos

My school is a charter school and this was is first year. Many of you have probably been in that situation before but I had no Idea what I was getting myself into. As I said previously all I had were desks and chairs, well half of the classes in the school didn’t even have chairs for the first week. We had no curriculum until two weeks in and when we started coming it was in bits and pieces.  Everything in our school was used; my desk, the students desks, my projector (that never worked) even the curriculum. I only had bits and pieces of my math curriculum. I really do think the concept behind my school is great, but it is going to take another year or two to be able to achieve our goal. I have also really loved this last year so if I had to I would do it all again.

9. Be grateful for the little things

Starting the school year with basically nothing helped me appreciate all the things we had. I was grateful my class had chairs when most of the other classes didn’t. I was grateful I had taught before, one of my coworkers had never taught before and it was really hard on her; she actually left around christmas because it was too much. We had basically no playground equipment so I was extremely grateful when a grandparent found a way to get us a basketball hoop. My students used it every day after it was put in. I was grateful for the fun people I worked with and their positive attitudes. I was grateful for parent volunteers who made our load a little lighter.

10. I really do love my job!

After working at a treatment center for two years I started to get a little burned out and I was really wondering if teaching was form me. This school year has been such a blessing to me because it helped me remember how much I really do love teaching. I did not dread going to school once this year. My students were so amazing! I could go to school in a bad mood and within 10 minutes of being around them I would be cheered up. There was not a single day when I wanted to quit. Teaching is definitely a difficult profession but it is also one of the most rewarding professions there is!

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Becoming a Mother

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I always imagined what life would be like as a mother and on April 4, 2015 I was finally able to realize what an amazing blessing it is. My Daughter, Claire, has completely changed my life. I never knew such a tiny little human could make you feel every emotion under the sun.  This blog is still very new for me but I love that I now have an outlet to share all I have learned and all I have yet to learn. I hope at least some of my posts on here might bring some level of comfort to other mothers or at the very least a laugh.

I decided it would be appropriate to share my birth story. Something I have learned is that once you have a baby you love to hear about birth stories (at least I do). I think you feel like you are finally part of the exclusive club of “mothers.” Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying you can’t be a mother if you haven’t given birth, but I do think it changes your perspective on pregnancy and labor.

I really had an ideal pregnancy, and now some of you probably hate me for saying that but its the truth. I didn’t throw up at all, although I did feel nauseous a lot in the first trimester. As long as I kept food in my stomach I was able to keep things under control. The main “discomforts” I had during pregnancy were

  • Thirsty ALL THE TIME
  • Needing to pee ALL THE TIME
  • Really tired, especially in the first trimester
  • I had major problems sleeping. I was even prescribed sleeping pills, but they really didn’t do anything for me.
  • Out of control emotions! My poor husband couldn’t seem to do anything right.
  • Body aches
  • Heart Burn
  • Crazy allergies (which I read is a common symptom of pregnancy)

I will admit I was very nervous about becoming a mother. I was so excited to see my little girl, but I also knew life was going to get a lot harder once she came out. I know a lot of women get really antsy around week 38, and they try to do things to make them go into labor. I personally was perfectly happy letting her stay inside to cook for as long as she wanted to. Turns out it was a good thing I felt this way because I ended up being 5 days over due before going into labor. I’m going to lay out what happened during those 5 days. (I am trying to be specific because I remember reading as many blog posts as I could find about what to expect when I went into labor)

Monday (March 30, 2015)

This was D-Day. I was pretty sure at this point I was not going to have Claire on-time. I had not had any contractions (not counting Braxton Hicks). I went in for a check up and I did not seem close at all. My Midwife decided to strip my membranes to help move things along. I have heard a lot of opinions about stripping membranes, some say it works and some say it doesn’t, I’d say I’m somewhere in the middle. One reason I am glad she did it is that right after I had a few mild contractions. I had been so worried I wouldn’t know when I was in labor and that allowed me to know what contractions would feel like. I had contractions inconsistently for a couple hours on Monday but then they completely stopped.

Tuesday (March 31, 2015)

Nothing really happened this day, I woke up hoping I would still be making progress but all activity seemed to have stopped.

Wednesday (April 1, 2015)

Wednesday was pretty much the same as Tuesday. I had a few mild contractions here and there but nothing consistent. I talked to my midwife and we made an appointment for the next Monday. At this point we were both thinking I would have to be induced.

Thursday (April 2, 2015)

This is the day everything began to change. I got up around 7am and within about 20 minutes I started to feel contractions. They started out pretty mild, but they were beginning to become more regular and consistent. I didn’t want to get too excited, I was worried it was a false alarm so I sat around at home and tried to go about my business. Around noon I decided to call my midwife, they were starting to become more painful and they had been coming every 5-7 minutes for a couple hours. When I got to the office, she checked my progress I was only dilated to 1.5 so I was very discouraged. She told me I was definitely beginning the labor process but she didn’t know how long it would be. She told me to go home and try to relax and to come back the next morning.  By that night the contractions had become quite painful. I was pretty much up all night because they hurt too bad to go to sleep.

Friday (April 3, 2015)

The next morning I was very ready to go see my Midwife again. (funny side note. I had to wait until 10:00 because I had a second phone interview scheduled for my current job. I had several contractions while I was on the phone, but I think I covered it pretty well if I do say so myself.) As soon as the interview was over we went back to the doctors office. She checked me again and although I was only dilated to a 2 she said I was almost fully effaced. She decided to strip my membranes again, and this time it hurt so so so bad! she said it was worse because my babies head was pressed against my pelvis. She sent us to go walk around for a while and she said we should try to have lunch, but at this point I was pretty much in labor.  I managed to stay home until 4:00, but by this time the contractions hurt really bad and I was starting to shake. We got to the hospital and got all checked in.

I had thought I might try to do an unmedicated delivery, but by the time we got to the hospital I was very ready for an epidural.  Now this is going to sound silly but I was kind of afraid to ask for the epidural. My midwife had said to let them know when I was ready, but for some reason I felt like she was telling me I needed to wait longer before having it (all in my head) we were in the hospital for 6 more hours before I couldn’t take it anymore. By the time they gave me my epidural I was shaking pretty much uncontrollably. Luckily there were no complications with the epidural and soon I had relief from the pain. By this point I was almost dilated to a 4, I had expected to progress much more quickly than this. The nurses tried to get me comfortable so we could rest but they had to keep coming in to put me on my side. The babies heart rate kept jumping and blood flow is better when laying on your side. Now the problem with laying on your side when you have an epidural is that all the medicine tends to drain to the side you are laying on so half of my body started to feel the pain again. The nurses kindly came to roll me to the other side but then I started to feel sick. Now keep in mind I did not throw up once while I was pregnant… that is until this point. I lost everything in my stomach and then I was not allowed to drink any water.

Saturday (April, 4 2015)

The nurses were getting a little concerned about the babies heart rate because it kept jumping. My midwife came and broke my water, hoping it would speed things along. I had been in the hospital for about 16 hours at this point but I was still only dilated to a 4. They told me at this point that if things didn’t start to change quickly we may need to think about a c-section. I had been terrified of having a c-section, I had heard how much harder it is to recover and I did not want that. When they told me I may need a c-section I almost started crying but then realized I didn’t care anymore. I was very ready for the whole experience to be over. Not even an hour later the nurses came running in because the babies heart rate really spiked and that was when they decided we had to do a c-section. Once they made the decision I think it only took about 15 minutes to get me ready for surgery. They rolled me in and I got sick again! Can I just say how horrible it is to throw up when you can’t feel your body! Surgery went really quickly and for any of you who fear c-sections I did not feel a thing. You feel your body shift as they work but no pain. I was a little concerned because I heard the doctor say “wait she’s stuck, she’s really stuck” (poor little baby was wedged into my pelvis and he had to really work to get her out. (turns out my pelvis is too small to fit a baby so I will need to have a c-section for all of my babies)  As they were taking her out they noticed she had pooped so they had to rush her away to make sure she didn’t get any of it in her lungs.

It’s amazing how much better I felt immediately after surgery. I was still very numb but I was happy and my body was already starting to feel better. I had hoped for a skin to skin moment with my baby but I was not able to because of her lungs. Luckily her lungs were clear and they were able to bring her to us within 20 minutes.

I know this was a very long post so thank you for sticking with me. I think I wrote this more for myself than anyone else. As I started writing this I realized how I had never documented my delivery experience and I will be really glad I have this in a few years when the details start to get fuzzy.  Becoming a mother has been very challenging but so wonderful! I love my little Claire Bear more than anything and I can’t imagine life without her.

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Summer Attack Plan

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I have been counting down the days to summer, as I am sure all teachers do. This is my first year teaching at a school that has a summer break and I can not wait! I have several goals for my break but I decided I needed to come up with an attack plan to make sure I achieve those goals. I have come up with 5 steps for making the most out of your summer, they may not work for everyone but they have certainly helped me.

1. Post your goals for all to see

I have several goals this summer (lose weight, work on TpT, learn how to market my store more effectively, spend time with my daughter…) It may be annoying to be constantly reminded about what you are supposed to be doing but I have found it is also very effective. I have my list of goals posted in three place in my house; the wall next to my bed, the fridge and by my computer. I have no choice but to see those goals multiple times everyday. I am not going to lie, there are definitely times when I see them and think “who cares!” but then I regroup and refocus and get myself back on track.

2. Find an accountability buddy

I just recently joined a Facebook group thats sole purpose it to keep you accountable. It’s amazing how many facebook groups there are these days. I’m pretty sure you could find a group to go along with any of your interests. (just to prove that point I looked up Bee Keepers and found tons of information and groups. Totally random I know but I have this funny desire to become a bee keeper one day). In that group we share our goals and help keep each other on track. I have found that it really helps me stay on track if I know someone out there can give me crap about not doing what I am supposed to.

If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your goals with total strangers I would suggest finding a friend to help you. You don’t have to be working on the same goals, the point is to share your goals with one another, check in regularly and hold each other accountable.

3. Wake up early

Have you ever noticed the days you sleep in super late are the days you just lay around in your PJ’s all day? We all love the feeling of sleeping in and we all deserve to every once in a while. I have noticed, however, the days I wake up early and get moving are the days I am most productive. I have a 14 month old so sleeping in is not always an option for me. I have decided that I am still going to get up at 6 every day and workout. I’ll admit I would love to push that back to 7 but if I want to work out and get a shower in I need to get up before my husband is gone to work. (have you every tried to shower or even go to the bathroom with a one year old running around?) I also know that if I don’t get up and get going I will end up sitting around for the first few hours of the day wasting precious time. I am going to allow myself to sleep in on the weekend just like when I am at work. The other nice thing about waking up early during the week is that when it is time to go back to school your body does not have to adjust to a new schedule.

4.Create a Schedule

If you are anything like me you think up grand ideas about what you are going to do with all your “free time” but never follow through. I know that I can be productive, I manage to get a lot done while I am still teaching, so logic tells me I should at least be able to accomplish as much when I have 8 extra hours for each day. I decided the reason I am not productive is because I don’t “have” to do anything. There is a lot I would like to get done, but its not like I will lose my job if I veg out on the couch all day watching Bones. By creating a schedule I feel like I can hold myself accountable for what is on the schedule for the day.  Here is the schedule I made myself. I’m sure as the summer begins I will adjust a few things here and there and I have many blank areas to still allow for watching bones. (too bad I am on season 10 and I will run out of episodes before the end of the summer)

Summer Attack Plan Schedule

5. Give yourself a break

I know as teachers we tend to be hard on ourselves, but we need to learn to give ourselves a break. I really do want to be productive this summer, but it is still summer and I want to enjoy every minute of it. If something happens to mess up my schedule for a week I will just work hard to get back on track the next week. Don’t beat yourself up about not meeting a deadline you created for yourself, just regroup and keep working towards it. The most important part of a goal is achieving it and it doesn’t matter how long the road is or how many bumps you hit along the way.

If your reading this and you have your own tips please comment below, I would love to hear them!

 

My HISTORY of teaching

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Hello! welcome to my teaching blog. I have recently opened a store on Teachers Pay Teachers and have decided a blog would be a really great way to help people get to know me and my teaching style. I have been teaching for about 4 years and although that makes me a novice I still think I have some valuable resources and ideas.

My first teaching job was at a residential treatment center. It kind of seemed like fate when I got this job.  I graduated from Utah State University December 2012 and in May of 2013 I received a call from the principal of this school. I had been applying for all the teaching jobs I could find, but so far had no luck. I was completely shocked when I received this call, because I never applied for this job. I was told the University had given him my name and that is why he was calling me. It was a really great job and I love the students I worked with. I was actually terrified my first day thinking I was going to be working with “troubled” teens. I will admit that it wasn’t always the most uplifting place to work (99% of the kids are forced to be there), but it was a great experience for me.

After my second year of teaching my husband and I found out we were expecting a baby! We were thrilled, but it did make me rethink my job. The treatment center was a year-round school with no breaks and I wanted to be able to spend time with my new baby. While I was on maternity leave I was offered a job at a brand new Charter School in a neighboring town and I accepted.

My first year with my new school is almost complete and it has been a really great year. I am teaching a combined class of 7th and 8th graders and we teach on ability rather than grade. (I’ll write another post on how my class works) The other thing that is new this year is that I am not only teaching Social Studies. I was thrown into teaching EVERYTHING and wow what a change that has been. When I was in middle and high school I hated math so I was really worried about teaching it, but I can honestly say I now enjoy it! I feel like I get the benefits of teaching elementary (teaching a lot of subjects) without all of the struggles of working with the little ones.

I am excited for all of the experiences in teaching I have to live and I can’t wait to share them all with my new audience. Please be patient with me as I learn the ropes of blogging and social media and I a newbie and I am sure I will make a few oopsies a long the way!

-Katie