Monday, January 25, 2016

1 Month

Finally got around to making a Project Life page for Lincoln's one month photos. We've been super busy prepping for the Swoon wedding show, but now that it's over I can spend some time cranking out some photos from the last couple of months. And, since Lincoln's still rocking his sleep schedule, I've been able to grab a couple of hours at night to be creative. Trying to embrace that time!

Materials used in this page are from the Project Life Midnight kit and Moments Like These kit, and the Paislee Press All the Stripes photo templates.

Now that Lincoln's approaching three months, it's crazy looking back at these photos and seeing how different he was. I mean, he looks the same, but he's got so much personality now! He smiles all the time and loves having conversations with us now... these photos show pretty much all he did at one month old. At that time he was just starting to follow us with his eyes if we were right in front of him, he'd been using his pacifier for about a week and a half and freaked out when it dropped out of his mouth (which happened a lot), and he still had his "perpetually perturbed" face most of the time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sale Time!

740 × 400

Woohoo! If you're looking for anything fun and engaging for your middle/high school math students, Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing a big ol' sale! It's happening just in time for the second semester to start, and it's for two days only, so make sure you grab up what you need this Wednesday and Thursday.

Along with using my own math products (check out my store here), there are a few TPT stores that I frequently get activities from. Check out their stuff below!

21st Century Math Projects: Wow. Just wow. This guy makes amazing products that have real real-world applications. (You know some of those real-world scenarios in textbooks are seriously not ever going to happen in real life.) And his Person Puzzles are so awesome! See his blog here and TPT store here.

All Things Algebra: She has all the stuff. All of it. Like, full year-long curriculums if that's what you need. My favorite thing I've bought from this store is a Koosh ball game template. Totally worth the money to not have to set that up yourself, and I use it all the time for reviews. My kids have always adored playing koosh games before tests. See her TPT store here.

Aric Thomas and the Amazing Coloring Worksheets: Okay, he's just Aric Thomas, but he should totally change his store name to that. If you're looking for a not-a-worksheet that still gives students plenty of practice problems, and also satisfies their need to color once in awhile (my 8th graders still LOVE coloring) this is where you need to be looking. The coloring part of it serves as a self-check system (awesome), plus these are great when you need something colorful to decorate your walls (doubly awesome). See his TPT store here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

One Little Word: EMBRACE

I came up with my word for this year as I lay trying to fall asleep early the morning of New Year's Day. Up until that time, no words had come to me. I was reflecting on my word for 2015, TODAY, and how I had achieved some of my goals associated with that word. Basically the idea was to stop putting things off for fear of the unknown or just plain being lazy. Things like exercising, eating better, getting stuff done, and (the big one) having a baby. I think I did a pretty good job of sticking with that plan last year. Of course, the whole getting pregnant thing really helped me keep on track with the exercise and eating better. :)

I realized that 2016 will bring a lot of change in my life, so I toyed around with the idea of change being my word this year. I hate change. Always have, probably always will. It gives me lots of anxiety, mostly because I like things to be familiar and comfortable. I so prefer my comfort zone; usually someone or some circumstance has to kick me out of it to get me to make a change on purpose.

And there is a lot of change coming up. First of all, my little teeny baby is going to change into a walking, talking toddler by the end of this year. Each month he'll grow and learn and change a little bit more. He'll keep us on our toes constantly with an ever changing routine and ever changing needs. In his short eight weeks he's already changed his pattern on us so much, we barely have time to get used to the new "normal" before he's moved on to something new. Second, I have no idea what I'll be teaching when fall comes around this year. For now, I'm in my support position, but I imagine I'll be moved back to a math position next year, when I'm not going into the year seven months pregnant. Will it be my old position? Will it be another math position at my campus? Or will I be moved to the high school, where there are tons of options? Change, change, change. Even worse, change that I can't prepare for.

The more I thought of it, the more I didn't like change as my actual word. Change is going to happen to me this year no matter what I do, but what kind of action can I challenge myself to do with that word? Really, I need to working on accepting the change. So I played around with having accept be my word. Could I accept change as it was thrown my way? Then I realized, I really don't have the luxury of accepting change this year or not. It's going to happen to me one way or another. I could go into it frustrated and sad and anxious... or I could embrace it.

Embrace Change: Embrace feels much better as my word. And I realized it doesn't have to pertain only to change in my life. It can be extended to everything.

Embrace the "Baby Year": This year, the only year my first child will really and truly be a baby, is a perfect year to embrace every little thing. Even the things that drive me crazy. Like a baby that won't go back to sleep after nursing at 3 am, or a fussy baby I'm trying to entertain while simultaneously doing dishes. There's a country song from several years ago, where the chorus starts with, "You're gonna miss this. You're gonna want this back. You're gonna wish these days hadn't flown by so fast." This song is constantly flitting through my head during some of the most annoying parts of having a newborn; thankfully I'm so glad for this change in perspective that helps me embrace the situation immediately. And, of course, there are so many wonderful moments to cherish and hold on to: Lincoln's beautiful smile when he sees me in the morning, his gurgle laugh when I lay him on his changing table, his crazy mouth-wide-open, baby-shark-eating-frenzy when we sit down to nurse. I'm ready to embrace all the moments.

Embrace Relationships: I also really want to focus this year on embracing relationships. Social media has made it really easy to keep tabs on all your friends without actually, you know, talking to them. It gives the illusion of keeping up with everyone, without having to make plans or put out a lot of effort. I'm super guilty of going through Facebook and Instagram (while waiting for Lincoln to fall into a deep enough sleep to put him down for the night), seeing what's going on with everyone, and posting my own stuff so they can do the same. This year, at the very least, I want to intentionally communicate with my people, whether it be through comments on social media, texting right back, or making play dates and other plans. A few weeks ago, two of my best friends moved their family to Texas and it's been really bumming me out. I've know these two since we were in elementary school, and I always pictured my kids growing up with theirs; it really saddens me that now Lincoln is here he won't grow up around their girls. This idea of embracing relationships really spun off from my thinking of ways to keep in close touch with these friends from so far away, how to help Lincoln develop a friendship with their kids even though they will rarely get chances to play together or see each other aside from Skype.

Embrace Fitness: I've got a baby who wants to look at everything, an awesome stroller, and sneakers. I have literally no reason not to go walking all the time. I've also got some baby weight to lose. Enough said.

Embrace Food: I have never been so aware of what I'm eating than now, when I'm literally sharing everything with Lincoln. Since I've been home on maternity leave, I've been able to get back into cooking a lot more, and I really love it. I love planning out meals, getting everything I need from the grocery store, and pulling everything out to make a delicious healthy dinner for us. We've been getting Hello Fresh meals off and on since the beginning of December, and that has been an awesome experience. Fresh food all measured out for me and sent to my door? Yes, please! And I've been learning so many new cooking techniques from their recipes and using their dishes to make something similar but new for us. Anyway, all that to say I'm tired of us eating out so much. We spend way too much money on outside food because we're too lazy to cook, or go to the store, or meal plan ahead of time. This year I really need to focus on taking that time to meal plan, since that's really where it all begins. I hate going to the store and just grabbing things without a plan for them–so much goes to waste in our fridge when we do that. Maybe I should designate a day and time for weekly meal planning so I make sure to get it done.

Embrace (My) Creativity: When I sit down for "me" time, it's usually at my computer to sort through pictures, make some quick edits, and attempt to scrapbook, in the form of Project Life. This is my relaxing time. Sometimes, though, I end up on Pinterest for a little too long, searching for ideas or following some of my favorite scrapbookers to see how they're using white space or brushes or titling their weekly pages, blah, blah, blah. And then Lincoln's awake and my free time's gone. Or I realize it's one a.m. and I'm going to be awakened in three short hours by a hungry baby (who may or may not let me go back to sleep after that). I realize that if I want to get much memory keeping done this year (and of course I do, it's my baby's first year), then I really need to just embrace my own style and get it done.

Embrace Frugality: This one was an afterthought, but definitely an important one this year. We spent a lot last year getting ready for Lincoln, and our budget for this year had to be expanded to cover his insurance (ugh) and a few other things we haven't had to account for in years past. So we're really wanting to stick to our budget this year and not make any impulse purchases. One area in particular we always struggle with is our grocery budget. We blow that thing out of the water every month. Enter extreme couponing! I've been exploring the "couponing for beginners" articles that are rampant on Pinterest, and I'm pretty excited to start trying some stuff to save us money. (This excitement might stem from the fact that my days are currently spent nursing, sleeping, and trying to entertain a two-month-old, so a focused trip to the grocery store sounds fabulous.)

Speaking of couponing, there's this amazing app that helps you match sales with coupons to get the best bang for your buck. So glad I waited to get into couponing until technology was ready to do all the work for me.

Aaaaand there's probably a bunch of other things I can be embracing, that will come to me throughout the year. But I think this is a good start. :)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Moving to the Crib: Days Three, Four, and Five

We skipped the attempt on Day 3. I think Chris was too afraid of a repeat of the night before to try to put Lincoln down in his crib, so he just let him fall asleep in his swing and stayed there for awhile until Chris brought him to his bassinet in our room.

But Day Four was awesome! Link went down after a couple attempts, slept through the night again, woke up for his morning snack around 5am (he went down late), then came to bed with us to finish out the morning. We had some conversation and smiles, then he fell asleep again and let us sleep in.

Day Five (last night) was the best. We're starting to get our bedtime routine down now. I fed him, put him in a new diaper, got him in some fresh pjs, Chris swaddled him up good, and we topped him up with as much as he would take from the bottle. I put him in the swing, thinking we'd just let him fall asleep there over the next hour. He was out in two minutes, around 9pm. After ten minutes, I took him to his crib, expecting him to wake up pretty quickly. Didn't hear from him again until 4am. And after he had his little snack, he fell right back asleep, slept through the re-swaddle, and settled back down again until around 8:30. Huge success for all of us.

He just went down again for Day Six. We gave him a bath tonight and I think that made him extra sleepy and cozy, because he didn't even stay awake for his top-up from the bottle. Hoping that doesn't mean he'll be up again in two hours, hungry for more. Guess we'll see. Tonight's also different because he wasn't completely asleep when I put him down. He started looking around again on the way from the swing to the crib, and had wide open eyes when I laid him down, but it's been half an hour now and not a peep on the monitor.

I know this is super boring for anyone who's not Chris or me. But I'm finding during these first few months of Lincoln's life that I'm not writing things down nearly as much as I thought I'd be. If I don't write it here, it's not getting written.

So sometimes there will be three posts in a row about Lincoln's sleep habits. Hopefully there will be more interesting posts as he continues to get more interesting each day. And of course there's always cloth diapers to talk about!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Moving to the Crib: Day Two

Well, day two was a fail. I went to bed early, so Chris worked on putting the little monkey down tonight. He made three attempts, but Link woke up within ten minutes every time and started screaming. Chris finally put him in the bassinet around 1am. Link woke me up at 4 to nurse, and I realized he had a crazy stuffed up nose. I'm really hoping that was the reason he kept waking up all night.

In other news, I got to try out the NoseFrida for the first time. After watching some youtube videos, I fully expected to wind up with a screaming child a second after doing it. Instead, my little weirdo broke out in a huge grin. No idea how that could have been a nice experience, or if was just that stuffed up that the relief was immediate, but his face just lit up. Crazy little monkey.

Here's to getting him (nose snot free) to sleep in the crib again tonight!

Chris, Lincoln, and Jack working hard as "bedtime" approaches.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Moving to the Crib: Day One

Chris and I decided before Link was born that we would have him in our room, in a bassinet by our bed, for the first two months, and then transition him to his own room and crib. And of course we knew in the back of our minds that it might not be up to us–Lincoln might decide to do whatever he wanted. Whenever he wanted, and however he wanted.

Lucky for us, Lincoln has been a super easy baby (from the end of the first week on). He's our first, so we're really going off what we've seen of our friends babies, and what we hear from our friends who are currently in the newborn stage, too. From what we've seen/heard/read, Lincoln's pretty easy to please. He's been sleeping a good 6-8 hours each night for a couple weeks now. Before that, he had a great routine of going down around 5pm, waking up around 9 for Chris to give him a bottle (while I slept), waking again at midnight for feeding, and then sleeping through till around 5 or 6. After that he wouldn't go back down in his bassinet, so I'd bring him to bed with us and he'd fall back asleep  quickly with his hands over his head.

He started skipping waking up for the 9pm feeding, then started pushing his "bedtime" back later and later, and then stopped waking up for the midnight one, too. And now he's gotten into the habit of sleeping 9pm-5am-ish, and sleeping with us in our bed from around 6:30 (yes, he takes that long to eat and get back down most of the time) until whenever he decides he's ready to get up for the day.

So we decided last night to try to bite the bullet a week early and see if we could get Link to sleep in his own in the crib. We had not, unfortunately, completely set up the baby monitor and Angel Care unit. It was a funny few moments of silently trying to get the video going (we're using an app called Cloud Baby Monitor with an old iPhone of Chris') and figuring out the settings on the Angel Care. But he slept through our blundering, and through the crazy squeaking door, and through all subsequent squeaks as we checked on him during the night. Little man slept his normal eight hours! After his early morning feeding, he was a little hyped from all that good sleep and came back to bed with us for some cuddles. He was the most talkative, smiley little thing! A good night's sleep really makes his little personality come out.

The first night was a success... we'll see if we can keep it going!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

I'm probably jinxing myself...

Lincoln has been an awesome sleeper in his little seven weeks of life. Seriously, we got a great baby when it comes to the sleeping thing. (I really hope I'm not jinxing myself here.)

Generally Lincoln sleeps through the night (10pm-ish to 4am-ish) every night, then goes back down again until anywhere between 7 and 9. He was rocking this around 3/4 weeks old.  Sometimes after that early morning feeding he doesn't go back in his bed easily, but we've found that letting him stay in bed with us for those last few hours is really calming for him. I'll shove my pillow way up and the blankets way down and make a big empty space for him. He throws his arms up over his head and sleeps great like that.

The caveat to the good night-sleep is that his day time sleep isn't as great. So it's definitely been harder to get anything done. Link likes to be entertained when he's awake, and unfortunately sitting in his swing is not entertaining enough for him anymore.

Today, though, his sleep was amazing! Well, it was a bit rough at the start– Lincoln woke up, and stayed up, a little bit too early for me. Chris ended up taking him for awhile so I could catch up on the missed sleep. Man, I love that guy.

Chris got Link back to sleep around 10:30, and then the kid slept until around 3! We got so much done while he was conked out on the bed. I think he sleeps better in our bed because it smells like us... we’ll have to remember that later on for daytime naps.

Once he woke up and was fed, we brought him into the nursery with us, where Chris was putting up the pictures on the wall (yes, we still hadn’t done that) and I was stuffing the pocket diapers.

He did fine just watching us from the floor for awhile, then when he started getting fussy we put him on his stomach for some tummy time. Usually he stretches out his neck and stares around, but this time he laid his head right down on the carpet and went right to sleep! We’re thinking he takes after us and will be a stomach sleeper. Too bad we can’t put him to sleep on his stomach for a long while– he was out so easily!

We’d been planning to go the drive-in to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Chris decided tonight was the night. We stopped for Little Caesar’s pizza and dollar drinks from McD’s, then got a primo front row spot at the drive-in. Again, Link did great! He actually appeared to watch the movie with us for the first half, then fell asleep after eating toward the end of the movie.

I was worried all the sleep during the day meant he wouldn't fall asleep easily at night. We made sure he got plenty of extra milk, got him all cozy in his pjs and swaddlers, and I walked him up and down the hall while playing one of his lullaby/worship CD's on my phone. The kid was out in five minutes.

Now, please God, let him stay asleep for the rest of the night!