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!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Postpartum: 4 Months

The difference between 1 month postpartum and 2 months postpartum is huge... But the difference between 1 month postpartum and 4 months postpartum is EPIC. I feel so much more like me again!

I have great news. I am within 7 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight! I gained a total of 55 pounds when I was pregnant, and only 12 came off at the hospital. (To say I was depressed about it is an understatement.) I may still have a few extra pounds, but I really feel comfortable in my skin again! It's pretty cool.

Here is the vulnerability posted out on the interwebs for all to see...

Advice from a 4 month [ostpartum lady to the first time pregnant or newly postpartum women:

1. Time Flies - I know how much it sucks to look in the mirror and see what you think is a tub of goo. Believe me. I felt icky! Terrible and round. Everyone in the world says... It took 9 months, so give yourself at least 9 months.  I couldn't handle that.  Especially at 6 weeks postpartum, but here's the deal: Time flies. Really, it does.  9 months feels like forever, but if you can make it breastfeeding for over 3 months that's when the breastfeeding weight loss really amps up! And if you quit breastfeeding (or pumping) before then, you can get out to the gym a couple times a week.  Your body will bounce back!! 

Those stretch marks will fade (mine are mostly gone already).
The acne will chill out (but it might scar and that's ok).
You are going to smell like milk. 
BUT you are someone's Mom! How freaking cool is that! 

2. Eat Food - Do not starve! I know that sometimes I don't eat too healthy, but I have learned you have to eat.  Sometimes the day gets really busy and I forget a meal.  That just makes me more tired and more cranky.  

3. Talk it Out - Do not let your brain get in the way.... I was constantly thinking my husband was mad at me for about two straight months.  We weren't able to get the us time we were used to, but now that the baby is on a better sleeping routine we can talk again at night.  We have to go through different things, and now, we know to talk about what next.  We realized that it is super important to be on the same page before something happens.  Nothing worse than sticking your foot in your mouth in a room full of people because you don't agree on whether or not to use a bottle warmer... Awkward, lol.

4. Do What's Best - Sometimes people have great ideas... other times they have no clue what's going on.  Don't let anyone make you feel like you aren't doing your very best for you and your family. There are times that people have tried to make me feel guilty for pumping because it takes me away from my family for stretches of time, but I have a healthy baby and I am loosing weight.  Two very important things for the well being of my family.  

5. Pump - If you aren't a breastfeeding momma just tune me out now, but if you are exclusively breastfeeding and open to suggestion here's my two cents.  I say pump and give yourself a break.  I don't mean for every feed, but at least for one a day.  It helps the kiddo get used to a bottle, and it lets someone else feed them.  Most of us don't have the luxury of staying home, so at some point the pump is coming into play for those of us who are sticking with the breast.  I even went to a wedding last week and had a drink!! What, what.. pump and dump was worth it to have a night off!

What's my trick to weight loss.... 
I haven't been able to work out in the last month or so because I have been back at work.  Between working with cheer, being a new mom, being a wife, being a daughter, and exclusively pumping I just haven't found the hours in the day! Pumping takes a lot out of me, and I definitely credit it for helping me drop some of these last pounds.  I would really like to get back to the gym and to tone that belly up!  I still have a bit of separation of the ab muscles, so when I get back to my body being my own I will have to work to recover those a bit. 

It's a difficult thing to eat enough healthy calories for me to support the feeding and working out, so until I give up the pump I think running is on a bit of a pause. It's possible to do both, but I just think it will be way easier when I don't have to wear three sports bras and stress about my schedule as much.

I know I still stress a lot about things, but I am learning to let up... It's always a work in progress!  


Posts in the Postpartum Series:
Exclusively Pumping 
Top 5 Things I Wish I'd Known about Postpartum Recovery: 18 days Postpartum

Moose: 4 Months

How Big?: Baby Moose is just growing and growing!! At his doctor's appointment today he weighed in at 16 pounds and 26 inches.  He is in the 62nd percentile for height, 77th percentile for weight & 87th percentile for head circumference... Call him big dome, lol! I can't believe how big he gets every day.   
Clothing Size?: Well... He is such a big boy that he wears mostly 9 month clothes.  Some things he can pull of a 6 month, and others he is in a 12 month.  He is still wearing the size 2 Huggies Little Snugglers, but I don't think that we are too terribly far off of size 3's!  
What/When is he eating?: OMG... Proud momma moment. 4 months and he is still exclusively getting breast milk. It is sort of awesome! And it is the most challenging thing I think I have ever done.  Pumping is quite a commitment. I have over 2,000 ounces in the deep freezer for him.  I would like to keep pumping until the 6 month mark... that way I know we make it there.  Not sure if we will, but I am being kind to myself these days.  I will do what I can and that will be perfect. 
Sleep?: He sleeps in his own crib, and he sleeps through the night. He is not the best napper.  He likes to see everything.  He hates to think that he might miss something.  He sleeps great at night most of the time. 8:30 to about 6ish.
Movement?: He can roll over. What? There is absolutely no putting him down in anything and not strapping him in! He can almost do a little army crawl thing... not quite yet, but almost. 
Milestones?: First time sleeping on his belly. (Not how we put him down!!) First time in the big boy stroller (and for a good walk with dad!) Now, we take the jogging stroller everywhere because he loves to see out.  First time trying a medium flow bottle ... not a fan yet.  Bouncing in his jumping saucer!
Hardest Moment(s) of the Month: Getting back to work has been a real challenge for us.  I started back to cheer and this past week both of us started back to school for training.  We are now officially back to school.  It's a little bit tough to not hang out with him all day.  We are truly blessed to have Grandma daycare.  Sam's knee has been a real struggle... It is FINALLY getting better, which brings us to...
Best Moment(s) of the Month: Sam's knee is getting better with a new experimental cream.  It makes him break out like crazy all over his knee, but it's helping a ton.  This month we have also gotten to enjoy a family reunion, cheer camp, running, getting into a little bit of a routine.  It's been a crazy summer, but we loved getting to have all the time!
Looking Forward to: ROUTINE. My husband craves a routine, and now, with school starting, we will finally have one again. I am looking forward to football games and seeing my girls cheer each week again.  I also can't wait to get in the swing of things!

Here are some pics from the last month:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Postpartum: Exclusively Pumping

When I started pumping, I was so lost. Everything felt overwhelming... I didn't have a schedule. I didn't know what I really I needed. And I didn't know how to store the milk.  This post is my way of sharing all the insights I've learned while pumping.
Update: If you want to know how things have been since  I started back to work, read the update here.

Latest Pumping Series:

Personal Experience:
Now, I am beyond proud that my son has had only breast milk since he was born. After all the early trouble I had breastfeeding, I didn't think I would make it through the summer, much less be planning out how to continue into the school year. People ask me if I am still breastfeeding, and I answer "yes." However, lots moms in the bf'ing community would disagree with my answer. 

I don't understand why we are so harsh and judgemental of one another. Being a mom is hard enough without us throwing stones. I said I was beyond proud that my son has only had breast milk, but that in no way means that I think my friends' formula fed babies are not getting the best treatment. Those moms are NOT failures. Formula feeding makes some people a better parent. I would ask for a sane momma over a crazy, stressed-out breastfeeding mom any day. 

I get so tired of reading how moms who have committed to 100% breastfeeding are hard on those moms who chose to pump. Some people have circumstances that prevent feeding from the breast, and other just want to pump! It happens. I spent many weeks agonizing over what other people would think, but I am definitely over that!

I am an exclusively pumping mom. 

I didn't mean to get here. I'm not even sure all the time if it's how I want it to go. Admittedly, I do consider trying to convince Moose to nurse at least one time a day, but I just can't bring myself to do it because what we do works for us. That's the most important part about any feeding system. It has to work for you and your family!

I started pumping to get back a little bit of my sanity at 4 or 5 weeks postpartum. It was so nice to let my husband take a feeding, but then somehow things began to shift. It was "easier" to take a bottle for trips in public, so it started becoming part of the leaving the house routine. 

In hindsight, it is absolutely not easier to pump and take a bottle!! What it really meant was that someone else could feed the baby, and that I could be away from him for periods of time. Even as I found myself "free" from the baby's feeding demands, I was still trapped by the pump. Now, I find that I miss being the one he relies on and all the snuggle time. 

But... I have found many positives in pumping. As the end of my summer looms and the beginning of school is right around the corner, I am grateful that I've been pumping for a couple of reasons. 

1. I have quite a freezer supply, so I don't have to stress about what milk he's getting tomorrow. 
2. I can pump pretty efficiently these days. 

It's amazing how quickly you can learn all the little tricks about something. 

What I use for pumping:
Like I said in the beginning, I had no idea what I needed in order to pump. I have the Medela Pump in Style Advanced. This is what I keep with me in my pump bag.

Ten things I keep in my pump bag 
1. Disposable Nursing Pads - These are Tommee Tippee, but I also like the Lanisoh brand too.  I really prefer my Medela reusable cotton ones, but I say you have to keep extras on you!! (Learned my lesson on that)
2. Batteries - My pump has the option to run on batteries when I don't have access to a plug. This makes car pumping (Yep.. I said car pumping) possible.  You can also get the car adapter for most pumps, but I like having the batteries because you never know when you're going to have to pump in a closet.
3. Baby Blanket - This number looks like it labels nothing, but it's the striped blankie in the background.  I really like to use the Aden + Anais swaddle blankets because they are breathable.
4. Medela Quick Clean Wipes - When you are on the go and your pump parts need to be cleaned... I also keep mine in my cooler on the go.  It's the same principle as keeping them in the fridge so that they don't have to be cleaned as often.
5. Terry Cloth Burp Rag - I like these rather than washcloths because they are longer.  I can drape it across my knee, disconnect my parts, and lay them down on this rag.
6. Chip Clip - Ok this may be the oddest thing in my bag. When I started pumping at 4 weeks postpartum, I was about 20 pounds heavier than I am now.  The hands-free bra I bought was a large.  Now, it is too big, and I am too cheap to buy a new one.  This allows my to clip it as tight as I need.  This is great since my weight is still all over the place.
7. Hands-Free Bra - Worth every single penny.  I use this thing all day! I bought the Medela one, but I would think that any of them would be ok.
8. Manual Pump - I keep my Medela Harmony with me everywhere.  If you are going to commit to pumping, you have to commit to pump on the go. I try like crazy to have my backpack ready to pump on the go, but sometimes things happen... (like forgetting your flanges, happens too often). This little baby is a lifesaver.  If you are still nursing, this thing is awesome too because it means you can pump and feed with greater ease.
9. Lanolin - There is nothing worse than a crack or a blister... :( I don't use this every time I pump, but I keep it with me always.
10. Ziploc Bag - There's always a purpose for a ziploc. :)

How I store milk:
My bottles and flanges live in the fridge (or my cooler bag) during the day, so that they don't have to constantly be washed.  I have a piece of Tupperware in the fridge for this purpose. It also holds bags of frozen milk that are in the defrosting stage. 

I then transfer them to a flat plastic lid that I keep in the freezer so they will lay flat. (I double stack so lots can be freezing at once.) I keep them in the fridge freezer until I have 60 ounces, at which point I transfer them to a gallon size bag. That all goes out to the chest freezer. When I put some out there, I grab the oldest gallon bag of milk and bring it in to the inside freezer. I move one or two individual bags at a time into the fridge. It's basically a constant wheel of milk moving. I currently have over 1,800 ounces in the deep freezer, so I try to keep it as organized as possible.

My Schedule:
I have established a pumping routine, and at almost four months postpartum I am still pumping 7 times a day (most days) for 15-25 minutes depending on what time is available. Occasionally my schedule gets wrecked, but I try very, very hard to keep to it as much as possible. For me I have found that consistency is key. I had a different pumping schedule earlier in the summer, but I changed it around to make it more similar to the times I would have in the fall. I will still have to adjust it a bit, but currently: 

Pump 1: 4am
Pump 2: 8am
Pump 3: 11am
Pump 4: 2 pm
Pump 5: 5 pm
Pump 6: 8 pm
Pump 7: 10 pm

My goal is to push pump 5 to a little later and get rid of the sixth pump completely. I would like to crunch down to pumping 4 times a day, but I'm not sure how it would effect my supply. 

That's the other thing about pumping: supply.

That word is constantly used when it comes to pumpers. There is always concern about is this normal? How much should I get? How much will the baby eat? How can I increase my supply? And so on. 

I am personally very blessed by my oversupply. It does make me more attached to my pump than some other people, but I love that I make more than he needs each day and that I am able to freeze so much. I make around 60 ounces a day. I have read, though, that it is perfectly normal to only get an ounce or so with each pumping time. I guess it really does vary from woman to woman.

How I do it...
I drink a ton of water (but that's the norm for me). 
I drink Gatorade. 
I don't stress about the milk. 

To read about my updated schedule read the newest pumping post here.

My concerns with pumping are how to cut out a session. I have only managed to do this once when I got rid of the absolute middle of the night pump. I did that by sleeping as long as I could and waking to pump when I just couldn't stand it anymore. After a week, the 4am routine was established. I also worry about how to quit when I am ready. I would really like to keep it up throughout the fall (with football and cheer I'm not sure how that will work exactly), but my goal is to make it to December. 

Moose man will be 7 months at the end of November, and I should have two months or so in storage for him. That would put him drinking mommas milk until about 9 months I think. I find that to be both realistic and awesome!!! 

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night running my hands across my chest because I am certain I have fallen asleep all hooked up. (I never really have.) And I hear the phantom whoosh-whoosh of the pump in my head most of the day. It's a life and honestly it's much harder than I imagined. I am grateful that Moose is able to get my milk, but I never realized the sacrifices it would take on my part.

In 2014, I will really get back to running.
I will leave the house with only my purse in hand. I will sleep on my stomach. I will sleep for more than 5 and a half hours in a row. I will not wash bottles every single morning. I will not worry if my shirt is pumping friendly, and I might even wear a dress!

Happy pumping to all!

- Pumping at Work? Read my post about that here.

- Ready to Quit Pumping? Find out how I gave up my pumping days here.

- Breastfeeding the second time? I have had my second baby and am working to breastfeed (instead of exclusively pump) this time around. Read my post that gives tips for making it work the second time around.

Other Postpartum Posts:

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pinterest: Classroom Chair, Glitter and Leopards and Zebras, Oh My!

I have been wanting a teacher chair for my classroom for sometime now, but I have a very small room and all those awesome rockers or giant comfty chairs just won't work.  After many trips this summer to our local Salvation Army store for potential projects, I found this piece for just under $20! I didn't get a picture before my hubby started sanding, but this is pretty much right after we got the chair home. 

If you look on the tailgate of the truck, you will see there is a sander, a glass of water, and in the corner the baby monitor! Haha... The only way we ever get anything done is during nap times.  We had some left over blue spray paint from other projects, so my hubby sprayed the top of the chair.  We also had a can of primer, so I tackled painting the legs primer white. 

It's Texas, and it's hot!!! So, alas the chair came inside for the next part of the project.  Initially, I wasn't certain what I would do on all the legs, but finally I decided to zebra stripe two of the legs.  There was talk of possible polka dots or even chevron on the other two... but I ended up deciding to stick with a theme.  The blue took about three coats.. whew.  That part took forever!


I had to have some leopard on my chair.  Since the seat was flat it was the perfect choice.  I free-handed my leopard spots after watching a tutorial on YouTube and practicing on some sticky notes.  I stenciled them on with pencil, and then went back and colored over them with a paint pen.  

I painted a striped of silver glitter on the edge and hubby clear coated her... Voila! A crazy, beautiful, blue classroom chair.  Believe me it's not perfect, so don't look too close.  It will definitely suffice for my purpose. Happy crafting!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Our Life: Crazy Busy End of Summer Happenings

If you keep up with the blog, you'll remember that on Monday of the week before Sam was supposed to have surgery on his nose.  Key words: supposed to.  

Keeping in trend with the craziness that my husband brings to all things medical, he hurt his knee about a week before the surgery was scheduled.  He couldn't take any anti-inflammatory medications because of their concerns about blood loss... So over the course of the week his knee just kept hurting and hurting, but we pushed through and we went into have his nose fixed inside and out as well as his tonsils removed.  

Cue Monday morning pictures:

I  thought these were the last pictures of his crooked nose I would be taking... WRONG.  Not ten minutes after being checked in the admission nurse was back to us telling us that the surgery was being rescheduled.  After planning for over a week (buying pudding, arranging for baby care, washing sheets, setting up the spare room for myself to sleep in...), they were just rescheduling us!  The doctor came in and said his apologies.  There had been a scheduling error, and they didn't have the correct staff to do the procedure.  Arg! 

He told us they would try to get us in Wednesday afternoon.  Now, Sam with a painful knee and a sour disposition had to decide what to do. His in home nurse (aka ME) was starting work Thursday, and he was supposed to have someone with him for the first 48 hours.  We knew we could get other help, but things just weren't working out.  We are BIG believers in God's plans, and with the pain in his knee we knew that it was just time to cancel the whole crazy mess.  The nose ordeal made me feel like this:

Surgery cancelled. Cue Sam taking a mess ton of ibuprofen.  The knee continued to get worse and worse by Wednesday morning we knew it was time to head to the doctor's office yet again. This time to get Sam's knee looked at.  Here is Sambo in pain at the knee docs.


After an X-ray, a cortisone shot, and a pair of crutches, we were sent home with instructions to rest the knee, ice the knee and see if it felt any better in 24 hours. It didn't, so Sam went and had an MRI Friday while I was at cheerleading practice.  Then, we waited.... And enjoyed some very low key time with the most handsome of Mooses.

Poor Sam was in so much pain over the weekend that he missed out on the family reunion, but Moose and I went! Little Moose was the hit of the party, and everyone was so overjoyed to meet him.  He and I go to splish splash in the pool.  And of course they are the only pictures I remembered to ask anyone to take.  He is one cool looking little dude! Everyone was surprised he wore his sunglasses.  I just told them, he loves to be outside and hates to squint... guess it works out.

Little man is finally learning to play with toys, and he has fallen in love with a Moose named Mortimer.  Mortimer has big ears to chew on, noise making hooves, and rings for a tail that make him easy to hold onto. We love this fun colored moose toy!!!

Our crazy sports loving family, enjoyed some dinner with my folks on Sunday.  We laughed at how we were all decked out in our random sports gear.  Sam in his Raider shirt. Me in my Cowboys jersey. Moose rooting for the Dodgers on the road win record.  It's really amazing that I wear anything other than school clothes or sports clothes. 

Now that I am officially back to work, it's go time.  My cheerleaders had camp this week.  We didn't go away this year because sweet baby Moose is still so little, but they learned a lot and worked their butts off! It's going to be an awesome year with them.  I can't wait to compete with this group and to see them on the field for games.  Check out all my cool coaching swag:

We went back to the doctor's for Sam's MRI results yesterday morning.  Turns out Sam has a fluid adema built up in the knee where a piece of connective tissue tore? I am not super medical savvy, but they gave him some cream to help with the swelling and fluid.  If it doesn't go down in 6-8 weeks, they will put a needle in a drain the fluid. Ew. Worst case they go in and drain in and cut out the torn piece of tissue that is aggravating the whole knee.  Seems fun?! or not. 

Just glad to have an answer for my busted up hubby! 

We are on a few days break from cheer, so I'm trying to soak up as much end of summer leisure/family time as possible.  My workouts have been a little nonexistent lately, but all the extra baby cuddles are worth it.  I am still continuing to loose some pounds, so I am content. Once we have a routine down, I will definitely be back at it!  

Lots of Love,
The Rileys