Monday, December 30, 2013

Postpartum: Breaking up with the Breastpump

It's taken me a long time to write this post, but weaning from the pump is a very difficult thing to do emotionally and physically.  It is a little crazy that something that is so cumbersome in your life can be so difficult to give up. Nearly everything about being a first time parent has a learning curve and breastfeeding/pumping is no different. When the time finally comes to give it up, there is a whole new set of things to learn.

Emotionally, pumping is a roller coaster ride that I can say I was definitely not prepared for.  When you are pumping, you simultaneously feeling like a superwoman and total crap.  It is exhausting, and you really have to have incredible support at home. This is my break-up with my breastpump; I officially dumped my pump!

When I was pumping round the clock, I NEVER thought I would actually miss anything about it when I quit. Believe it or not pumping mommas here are 4 things I miss about my pumping days.


Things I Miss About Pumping:
1. "Me" Time
Pumping is 20 minutes of built in time for just you. When you are a mom, time is a blessing! Those 20 minutes were mostly time where I was baby free and could sit and read (or blog) or watch a little TV. Now, that I am no longer pumping, taking that time feels a bit selfish. Enjoy the whoosh, whoosh talking of the pumping while you can! 
2. Eating "Free"
When you are pumping, you get to eat extra calories for "free". I was pumping double what my little man ate (60 ounces), so that was practically another meal I could eat and not feel like a terrible fatty fatty two by four.  I know it's silly because you still need to eat healthy for yourself and the baby, but still..
3. The Girls 
Ok, so it's vain. It's ridiculous, but enjoy those boobs! They may be a little leaky, and they might hurt like the dickins. BUT they look great in a top!!!! Where oh Where did they go? Wahhh. 
4. Supermom
When you are pumping, there is this euphoric feeling like you are doing something incredible for your kid! I felt like the strongest woman for doing it for my son, and when you quit, there is definitely a bit of a backwards feeling of it.  I almost felt like I was letting everyone down when I quit.

While I miss all those things about my trusty old backpack of fun, there are several things that I absolutely do not miss at all. And I mean AT ALL!!

Things I Do NOT Miss About Pumping: 
1. Scheduling the Schedule
What time is? When are we leaving? How long will we be there? Is there a place where I can pump? Oh my. Oh my. When you are pumping, you are a slave to the clock. I constantly had to be packed up and ready with my whole kit and caboodle (see what I carried in my pump bag here).  I do not miss having to schedule everything we did around that! 
2. How Much Milk?
Pumping makes you constantly worry about how many ounces you are making versus how many ounces the baby is eating.  Even when you are overproducing, there is this constant need to make more and more and more.  I read somewhere to feed your baby not your freezer, and it couldn't be more true. I became obsessed with filling our deep freezer with more more more milk. 
3. Ouch, Owe, OMG 
I 100% do not miss the PAIN. Anyone who says breastfeeding is pain free is clearly very blessed.  That was not my experience at all. I would say the entire time I fed or pumped there was some dull pain, and at other times it was excruciating. I dealt with mastitis, blisters, and cracks. I do not miss the constant aching boobs. 
4. Slave to the Pump 
This one is pretty similar to 1 and 2, but it is very true. When you are pumping, it is a dominant feature in your life.  Everything revolves around it.  You can't travel. You can't just pick up and go anywhere. That black backpack came with me everywhere, as did my cooler bag most of the time. I am no longer a slave to my pump! FREEDOM at last! 


I had been struggling with pumping and my time management for a while, so I finally had to decide to quit (with some help from my family).

When I Quit:
It was the beginning of October 2013, and I was 5 Months Postpartum. I was right in the middle of football season and sophomore research papers. As a teacher and a cheer coach, these things dominate my fall. It was so overwhelming to teach the hardest thing I teach, to work the toughest schedule for cheerleading all year, and to continue to pump.  Ultimately, something had to give.  I was really defeated because I had been on such a supermom high. I defeated the 2 week breastfeeding goal, the 6 weeks goal, the 3 month goal, and I wanted so, so badly to make it to 6 months. There were several days that I felt disappointed in myself, but I had to let it go. 

Why I Quit: 
It was not a decision I made lightly. I decided to quit pumping for time with my family. (Which I have amazingly so much more of now) I quit to get back my sanity.  I know it isn't true for everyone, but my hormones were completely wack-a-doodle the whole time I breastfed, so I had to give up the pump to get the ME back to ME. I, also, quit because I couldn't take the constant pain anymore.  5 month of continuous itching, cracking, blistering and so on was my limit. I needed to sleep the whole night. I needed to wear a real bra again. I needed to feel like I could sleep on my stomach and not cry in agony. Everything is a balancing act anyways, and I had to finally realize I needed to be a Mom and stop trying to be Supermom.

How I Quit:
When I decided to quit, I did a lot of research on the process. What I learned is that there are few resources for pumping mommas! There is next to nothing out there about full time pumping mommas and quitting. If you are an exclusive breastfeeding mom, then the baby helps you wean over time. Pumping isn't so. You have to do it solo. There are lots of old wives tales out there, and there used to be a drug to dry it all up... not so anymore.  When you quit it's got to be YOU.  It was much more PAINFUL than anyone had warned me. It really hurt, and the pain made me want to give up quitting.

When you commit to quit, be sure you are really ready.  Take pain meds (a cold medicine supposedly helps dry up the milk, too - though I tried this with limited success. I really can't recommend taking medicine for off label purposes because I am way to much of a rule follower for that.) Anyways, these are the things that worked for me.

1. Time and Patience 
When I went back to work in the fall, I began to cut back my number of daily pumps by necessity. My 20 minute pumps also started to become 15 minute pumps (especially during the day) because of the time constraints in my life.  When I decided to quit, I really should have weaned a bit more slowly, but when I decided I was done. I was done. So I went from three pumps a day to 0. OUCH! It took time about a week for me (yes prepare to be in PAIN for a week!) Get help for the first two days because I couldn't lift my hands above my head. I knew that I was risking mastitis again, but I didn't care. I decided I would take the antibiotics if it came to that. 
2. Cabbage Leaves
Yup, I tried it. I smelled terrible, but it really did seem to help. I read online that cabbage leaves helped to dry up your milk, so we bought two heads. I read that you should only keep it on for an hour, but that didn't do much for me. I pulled it out of the fridge and cracked it a bit. Covered each boob with a leaf (the whole boob), and covered that with a towel, then added ice packs on top of that, then another towel, finally one or two sports bras (glamorous - I know)! Enjoy those rock hard lumps of pain, though, because after this your boobs might disappear. 
3. Hot Showers 
I read conflicting information on this, but I took crazy hot showers the week I quit and it was MAGIC. I would massage the really painful lumps. In the first couple of days, I even used my manual pump for just a minute to get some relief.  
4. Tight Sports Bras
I wore a sports bra round the clock (except for in the shower), while weaning. Again, I want to warn you... IT HURTS BADLY. BE PREPARED. Take meds and cry! It's OK. I needed at least a week, and even the second week after I was still decently leakly (though, by the end of the first week the pain was so much better.) Heck, I still occasionally leak, it's part of the fun!

When you decide to wean from the pump, make sure you are really ready to do it. Once you do, there's no turning back.  I am glad I made the decision I did for our family, when I did. I don't think I could have managed it all much longer without a nervous breakdown.  I know so much more for when we decide to have our second child, and I without a doubt will try to breastfeed again.  And if the baby struggles, we will pump once again. I loved my experience and wouldn't trade everything I learned.

Good Luck to all you pumping mommas!
Happy Pumping! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our Life: Ice Ice Baby

Texas weather can be one of the craziest things! It is BEAUTIFUL a nice, temperate 70ish, and then, BAM icepocalypse. The weather this weekend was completely insane. I managed to make it to the grocery store on Thursday evening (with the rest of the CRAZY people) before the storm made it in.  

I have been trying my hand at freezer cooking, so go figure we were completely out of food before a huge ice storm. We wanted to take the baby out to play, but like the awesome parents we are we didn't have a winter coat or shoes for the kid! (Again remember we live in TEXAS...) Yes, that is a hoodie and my hospital socks in the pictures, but we layered and layered him. 

Being stuck inside with a seven and a half month old for an entire 48 hours is a little crazy for two parents, especially when this baby is a busy, busy boy. He is a crazy fast crawler these days, and now, he can pull himself up! Eeks - more about that in our next monthly update! 

Pictures below:










Saturday, November 30, 2013

Moose: 7 Months Photo Update



How Big?: He is still a big boy! He is over 18 pounds, and he has put on even more height this month. 
Clothing Size?: We are done with 9 month clothes! (He can still manage maybe a few things, but absolutely no 9 month onesies.) He is in all 12 or 18 month clothes.  Pants are really long on him, but the 9 month pants squeeze him too tight! 
What/When is he eating?: Moose is ready to eat off of our plates! He just needs a few more teeth for that! He loves to eat carrots and sweet potatoes.  
Sleep?: Because of some MAJOR developmental milestones, our awesome sleeper has had some trouble sleeping lately.  Poor dude has been teething, and he has been sick.  With a big confluence of things, momma and daddy are adjusting to getting up earlier and some nights in the middle of the night.   
Movement?: YES!!! This guy can CRAWL.... AND he can PULL UP to standing. 
Milestones?: OMG. Everything all at once! Seriously, he was not even sitting up a month ago. Now, this kid can sit up, pull up, crawl (like a pro), and a million other things.  He tried to crawl up the stairs... we need a baby gate. He almost has a top tooth. He had his first Halloween, and his first Thanksgiving! Sheesh. One month of crazy fun!!!! 
Hardest Moment(s) of the Month: First time being sick :(  I cannot even explain how tough it is to watch your baby be sick.  Pathetic, I tell you! 
Best Moment(s) of the Month: Oh so so so many! Watching Moose light up when he sees lights.  Watching him eat sweet potatoes right off my plate! Freaking out when Sam let him crawl up the stairs. 
Looking Forward to: CHRISTMAS! HOLY SMOKES FOLKS
Here's a photo recap of our last month:

Halloween with my tiny fireman! 

My little ham learned to pull himself up.



Watching your kiddo be sick is really tough. We took him to the doctor, so that we could be sure he was okay. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Daddy let him climb the stairs and almost gave me a heart attack. 

Daddy helped Moose top the tree. (It's good that daddy helped out because Moose might have eaten the star, otherwise.) 

We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas! 


Lots of Love, 
The Rileys!
 









Sunday, October 27, 2013

Moose Posts: 6 Months

 
How Big?: At his official 6 month doctors appointment, he is officially 18 pounds and 27.75 inches.  He is in the 60th percentile for weight and 90th percentile for height. 
Clothing Size?: Nothing in the 3 month category remotely fits him. Most of his clothes are 9 or 12 months.  I would always advise buying big for a boy.  Boys look cute in a clothes that are a little baggy, but clothes that are tight and bursting free not so much. 
What/When is he eating?: Moose eats and eats and eats and eats. He has tried peas, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, prunes, bananas, and MILK. Our boy still loves his momma's milk, and I am savoring all the time that he gets to have it. It was a hard road pumping, and I had to give it up recently.  I will post about my hard and emotional journey with quitting soon.  
Sleep?: We had to start putting him down earlier because he wasn't sleeping nearly enough.  He is a stubborn napper, and sometimes he will only sleep for twenty minutes at a time during the day. 
Movement?: Mover and a shaker!!! He scoots and scoots. Circles are easy for Moose these days. He will get up onto his hands and knees, but then he just sort of plops onto his face.
Milestones?: First TEETH! Holy cow. This guy got two at once.  His front bottom two teeth are through the gums and on their way up.
Hardest Moment(s) of the Month: Moose has been a little bit constipated this last week, and it has made him really upset. (As it would make anyone cranky!) I HATE seeing my kiddo hurting. It's the very hardest thing I am having to deal with as a parent.
Best Moment(s) of the Month: Starting a bath time remodel, watching Moose learn to sit up in the bath tub, spending time being goofy with my husband.. So much fun stuff!
Looking Forward to: November! It's going to be an awesome month.  I am truly a blessed woman!

Lots of love, 
The Rileys

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Homeowners: First Time Remodeling Before

Gulp! We did it... 

We have officially torn up the floor in our master bathroom. We aren't sure how far this remodel project will take us, but anything will be better than a leaky floor and busted tile. 

Here are before pictures of our bathroom from when we were first buying the house..


And here are some tile smashing pictures of our work in progress!!

Our Life: Life lately

Two words: Football Season

I cannot even explain how hectic this time of year is!! I feel like I am juggling too many hats all at once (or as Sam says 'pissing on too many fires').  I am in between my mommy, wifey, teacher, and coaching duties on a daily basis. This doesn't even factor in my dog owner, friend, daughter, and so on responsibilities.  It's really tough to leave stay at work for practice and games, when I know my little man is growing and changing so much each and every day. 

I am learning to balance everything, and giving up pumping has been a huge step in that (but more on that later). 

I am still working to become a better teacher, but that is a challenge too. Hopefully, I can hang tough through this year, and I will be even better next year. I love teaching, but I wish I felt more prepared. Maybe all second year teachers feel this way? Who knows...

In other parts of life, everything is AWESOME!!! I am loving being a mom. My Moose makes me smile every day. 
 
He is the light of my life! And he and his daddy make the world so amazing. 

Here are some of the fun changes we have been seeing in this little guy lately! 







Monday, September 30, 2013

Moose: 5 Months


How Big?: Mooseroo is a big boy! He is at least 17 pounds, and it's pretty much impossible to get him still long enough to see how tall he is. He will get checked again at his 6 month doctors appointment.
Clothing Size?: Baby clothes are crazy. They have sizes on them, but the sizes are not very standard from what I can tell. Sometimes he fits into 3 month clothes. Other things have to be 12 months.  His socks have to be at least 12 months... my big footed boy!
What/When is he eating?: Woohoo!! This is the biggest Milestone of the month. Baby Moose started rice cereal (at the doctor's direction). He eats it once or twice a day, and I'm still a pumping momma. He gets breast milk (approximately 35 ounces a day... crazy hungry baby!) Today for the very first time Moose ate peas. He loved them!! Starting solids is an adventure in and of itself.  I am working on a post about it, so stay tuned. Read about Moose's first foods here.
Sleep?: We are some highly blessed parents! Our son is not a huge napper, but little man sleeps through the night pretty consistently.
Movement?:  We are very soon to have a crawler on our hands.  Moose scoots around, rolls all over, and never wants to just lay down anymore.
Milestones?: First food. First Football game. First time wearing pants. First time roaring!!!! It's one of my favorite things he does... Grrrrr.
Hardest Moment(s) of the Month: This month has been very full.  Starting back to school has been very very tough! Having to leave our little guy each day, and momma having to be gone with football is hard!!!!
Best Moment(s) of the Month: Every single day is a blessing. I cannot even explain how many awesome moments we get with this guy. I have loved him coming to football games. I love watching him figure new things out. Just yesterday I watched him grab onto his Daddy's full glass. I know it means we are in for all the grabbing, but it's truly awesome to see him growing.
Looking Forward to: I know it's a double edged sword, but I am looking forward to a crawling little moose! I also know how much fun we are going to have this holiday season!!!!

Lots of love, 
The Rileys



Moose: Starting Solids



Please keep in mind that I am certainly not a doctor, and about half the time I don't really know what I'm doing either.  Enjoy the experience of a new momma. :)
Signs of Readiness:
Moose went to his 4th month doctor's appointment with Grandma and a list full of questions sent by a nervous mommy.  My biggest concern was when should he start eating and what to feed him

Our very awesome doctor explained to my mom the signs of readiness.
 - assisted sitting up
 - watching us eat 
 - hungry after a bottle 

My chunky baby showed readiness at 4 and a half months, so according to doctors orders we started little man on rice cereal. In hindsight, I probably would have just added some to his bottles for a bit, but the mommy in me just couldn't wait to try the spoon.  

He wasn't very sure of what we were doing the first time, and he kept using his tongue backwards.  He would shove the bite of food back out of his mouth. 

 
When to add new foods:
Our doctor suggested letting the baby eat rice cereal for two weeks before introducing new foods, but after the first two weeks we decided to give him three weeks with it.  We had only occasionally been using the spoon, and we wanted to get him a little more used to that. 

I am really glad we waited because the extra week made a difference for him.

We are just now on his first veggie.  The doctor encouraged us to start with veggies and save the sweet fruits for after.  We started with peas. (Gerber's stage one) I would like to make his baby food, but we haven't had the chance with football season going on.

We are doing three day rotations, but day two of peas caused Moose a little tummy trouble. He had the runniest, messiest, all-over the stroller-iest poop ever! Momma decided to give his belly a break, and we will try two more days of peas before we move on. 

 Our plan is to try spinach after peas. (Grandma says she will make him some.) Then, we will try green beans.  It's quite an adventure, but we are loving it!!!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Postpartum: Exclusively Pumping at Work


I originally posted about my experience exclusively pumping.  I wrote my first blog about pumping because I found it difficult to get information about scheduling and how to store the milk, especially for the exclusive pumper.  (Read it here.) Now, I bring you an update of how it is going pumping at work.  

I am an exclusively pumping teacher. 

Pumping is its own beast, but pumping while teaching high school and coaching cheerleading during football season in Texas... Whew!!!! (Sorry for all the prepositions there!) Three weeks into the school year, I have already learned a lot.

My current schedule:
Pump 1 - 5:50am
Drive to School
Pump 2 - 7:40am
School Starts at 8:00am
Pump 3 - 12:00pm
(My lunch which is really only 20 minutes long)
Pump 4 - 2:30pm
(My conference period) 
Pump 5 - 6:00pm
Pump 6 - 9:30pm LONG PUMP (I pump as long as it takes to feel totally empty before bed.)

My schedule has little to nothing to do with my choice at this point. It is all based my assigned lunch and my assigned conference. I pump after I get home from practice, so really I make do with what I can. Sometimes that happens, and if you want to pump long term (anything longer than 6 weeks) you really have to be flexible and committed to using every single spare minute of the day.   I mean for real. There are times when I feel like I don't have one second of spare time.

This schedule is soon to be on the change again because I simply cannot keep up and have energy each day.  My goal is to drop two pumps in the next month.  (That is if I can keep it up!)

Changing schedules has been really hard on my body, and while I never fought engorgement in the summer, I now deal with some sort of achy boob almost daily.  :/ As a friend told me, "yes, it hurts, but it's temporary." Some days are easier than others.  

Milk Production:
In the summer, I was able to be on my own schedule.  I created an oversupply by pumping so frequently for so long, and I consistently made 60 ounces a day.  When I started back to school, I noticed a reduction in my supply almost immediately.  Now a month into the school year, I am down to 40 ounces a day.  This is fine for us because I am just maintaining. Each day I pump no longer gets us ahead, but each day means another day that the baby gets breast milk. 

I am still vigilant about drinking water, and I will say the days I eat more I can tell a difference in my milk output.  My milk output is never spot on and varies a bit from day to day. (I can vary anywhere from 1 to 10 ounces.)

Storing Milk on the Go:
I am a secondary teacher, and there aren't too many inconspicuous ways to carry bottles full of milk to a faculty fridge. (A faculty fridge that you never know who is in, and you're never sure what the smell is!!) I decided that it wasn't worth the walk down the hall, since I am already so pressed for time when I am pumping at work.  I could keep a mini fridge in my room, but there isn't much room... So, I use a cooler back pack. It works for me! I pack my pack every morning for pumping all day. 

I already told you what I keep in my pump bag here.

In my cooler, I take:
    - two of the tall skinny ice packs
    - two extra bottles 
    - two extra lids 
    - a cup towel for extra milk
    - ziploc baggies just in case 
 

Personal Experience:
Pumping at school is terrifying initially.  During our summer in service week, one of my male principals accidentally come into one of my fellow pumping teachers classrooms.  Poor things the both of them!!! I made a sticky note that says "do not enter" and taped black construction paper together to make a makeshift sign.  Each time I pump, I place these things on the window.  I don't keep them up all the time, so that my janitors and principals know the difference.  It seems to work so far.  I have had to yell at a janitor putting keys in the door once, and I have had a technology guy waiting on me outside my door.  These are not comfortable situations, but you just make do.

Honestly, the worst is students outside the door waiting to be let it.  The talk and laugh and jiggle the door handle and FREAK you out.  

My cheerleaders know that I pump, but they know because it's been a necessity to tell them.  I have to leave another coach in charge for 20 or so minutes on game nights.  Plus, they are with me so much more. 

I will say that I thought pumping was tough before school started... but now, I cannot even explain what a commitment it is.  I worry about leaking through my shirt all the time. I hurt more often than I don't.  I think about quitting all the time.  I feel guilty for thinking about quitting.  It's a lot more emotional than I ever knew.  

I think my time as an exclusive pumper is drawing closer to it's end.  I always said that I would do what was best for my family, and as long as it worked we would do it.  I find more and more that stopping to pump isn't working.  It is limiting.

But, even with all of that... I am so proud that Moose still hasn't had formula.  I also think it has played a big part in my loosing all the baby weight so quickly.



I really appreciate all of you guys keeping up with the blog.  It's been quite a journey! Leave a comment and share your pumping questions or your pumping experience.

Other Postpartum Posts: 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Teaching: Sketchnotes


I am an avid Pinterest user, which as most people know can get dangerously addicting.  I have tried lately to channel my Pinterest addiction into something useful, so I have been scouring teaching pins.  Lesson planning at the beginning of the school year with a four month old can be a little bit scary, but I think I stumbled onto something AWESOME!

Sketchnotes are all the rage in tech land.  (BUT It's crazy hard to find examples that aren't done by insane artists or about conference type things.) Being a high school English teacher, I see that not all students are bullet and list note-takers.  This year I wanted to provide more options for notes, instead of just showing the same PowerPoint over and over.  That used to be tech savvy and hip... now the kids are bored of it! So I took last year's version of the notes and voila, I transformed them!

This is my teacher version of the notes we took today.  


These are the pre-reading notes that we discuss before reading "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson.  They are fairly short notes (3 literary terms and 3 "buzz words"), so I thought they would be ideal to try this new strategy with.

I began the lesson by showing the students some google image examples of sketch notes. I explained to them that sketchnotes were just a technique in lieu of traditional note-taking.  I allowed those linear thinkers to take notes in traditional bullets. 
 
I drew the sections on the board for them and actually sketched the notes out along with them.  (I modeled them this time, and I think I will the next couple of times I use this technique.) Eventually, I think my sophomores could do this without my guidance (and my terrible art skills). 

We took these notes in our interactive notebooks (composition books). 

Below is an actual student copy.  I think it was a successful day of notes! 
 
Our notes covered:
Irony: dramatic, situational, and verbal
Symbolism
Tone
Buzz words: tradition, community, lottery

PS Yes, I used Buffy as an example of situational irony!

Tell me, have you used this technique before? Would you be willing to try it in class?


Friday, August 30, 2013

Teaching: Back to School Ideas for the first week

Welcome back to school y'all! I cannot believe the first week is already done. I am still frantically trying to learn about 130 student names #secondaryprobz!

This is my second year to teach sophomore English. Last year was my official  first year of teaching (after teaching half a year of 7th grade English it was a cake walk!) I am really excited about some of the new things I'm trying in my room this year.

This new bulletin board is probably my favorite thing... Here is what it looked like for the first day of school. The picture isn't super, but it basically says if blank had twitter.  I will fill it in with different people, authors, or things we are studying.  For the first day I had, if our mascots had a twitter. Then, I made up goofy hashtags for them. (#yourmascotsuitsmells) I used sentence strips and had our librarians laminate them.  I used dry erase markers to write my different hashtags. 


I already updated it from their Root Words List for the week. One of their roots is "derm," so I wrote a a hashtag that said #mileyshowedtoomuchepidermis Many of my students noticed the board and got a kick out of it! I can't wait to keep updating it this year! 

The first day of school can be a little bit scary, so I always introduce myself to the students.  I want them to see where I come from.  I tried this last year and improved upon it this time around.  I used all different shirts from periods in my life (high school, college, runs, wedding, and baby pjs) to tell them all about me.  
Then, I had them create a t-shirt out of construction paper to describe themselves. I didn't give them a template or any very strict rules.  It is really cool to see who wants to use scissors, who wants to make a tank top, and that type of stuff! I hung a clothesline from the Dollar Store around the room and had the students hang their shirts on the line.

I really love how my personal area turned out this year.  I have a chair to sit in and teach from the back of the room, when I have to use the computer.  (So that I can control the mouse and all that without sitting behind my desk) I also reoriented my desk to create an "L". It keeps the students from coming behind the desk now, since I have almost a counter for them.  I stapled fabric right to the wall behind my desk since there was no bulletin board there.  I am using thumb tacks to hang things on it! Works for me...

This year I am trying some different things. Including dipping my toes in the "interactive notebook pool."  I will try to get some more pictures of what's happening in Mrs. Riley's class to show off my new improved systems management for the year. :) 

Good Luck to all!