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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stress --> decorating

Many different times in my life, when I have been stressed out, I focus  on decorating.  It’s like I push aside the important things in my life and stress about the way my house looks instead.  I think it’s a coping mechanism.

Anyway, this past week, I was SUPER busy with Creative Memories get togethers (which went AWESOMELY, thank you very much) and I was worried about giving my “final answer” to my superintendent regarding my job for next year.

So what did I do? I perused decorating blogs, visited my old friends at HGTV message boards, and rearranged my living room.






  P1070295P.S. Do you see the turkeys?  There are at least two hidden in the room.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Happiest MIDDLE SCHOOLER on the Block

I've been reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block off and on for a few weeks now. One of the strategies that Dr. Karp suggests is the "Fast Food Rule." Here's how it works: if someone is upset, let them speak first, repeat back their feelings, and they say your piece. It's similar to the employee at the fast food drive through. You order, they repeat your order, THEN they tell you the total price.

So this FFR is meant for toddlers, but I have found that it works well on my husband (shhh...don't tell him!) and now my students!

Here is a typical conversation with one of my students.

Student (in a whiny voice): Ugh. This is hard. I don't want to do it.
Mrs. O (in a stern voice): Well, you have to, so get to work.

But here's how today's conversation went when I used the FFR.

Student (in a whiny voice): Ugh. This is hard. I don't want to do it.
Mrs. O (in an understanding voice): I know it seems hard right now. But I will help you through it and by the end of the assignment, it won't be so hard.
Student (staring at me like I'm an alien before hesitantly answering): Okay.

How easy was that!?!?! And then, the student sat and worked quietly for 40 minutes. FORTY minutes! That's 10 times as long as he normally works quietly!!! I did help with a few problems, but I never had to redirect his attention or deal with any other complaints!

(I have mixed results using it with Adam - he's VERY strong-willed and not easily distracted. So he calms down while I agree with him and then as soon as I try to get him to do whatever it is he won't do, he cries, screams, or kicks again. I think I need to read more of the book, or keep practicing!)

I'm Sparky!

Sparkpeople update:

I used the nutrition tracker for about 3 weeks. The first week, I felt like it was impossible to get my calorie total in the right range. I was consistently 200-400 calories over my goal. But the second and third weeks were SOOOO much easier! I lost 1.5 lbs during week 2 and 3 (3 pounds total) and I felt like I didn't need the nutrition tracker anymore. Smaller portions, healthier meals, and low calorie snacks were becoming the norm for me. So I quit tracking for the last 2 weeks, and have been able to stay on track.

So far, I have lost (drum roll please) 5.5 lbs in the last 4.5 weeks. That is right in the 1-2 lbs/week range that "they" say you should shoot for, and it is enough that I can SEE a difference! My tummy is a LOT flatter, my pants are loose and I love it! It's so motivating to have some success. Now I'm wishing that I did this months ago!

However, I have not been doing a good job of working out - as a matter of fact, it's been a week since my last workout. My next goal is to get back on track with that. I felt so much better when I was exercising daily, even if it was only for a few minutes.

Decisions, decisions...

I'm in the middle of a big decision that could affect my life quite a bit. I am trying to decide whether to stay in my current teaching position or take a part time position.

I like my current position as a 4th-6th grade Title I teacher. I love working with small groups of kids and I get to work with many different kids throughout the day. I love teaching reading, and although I didn't think I would like it, I like teaching math more and more everyday. Of course there are times when I am frustrated - mostly when I am having a hard time getting a concept across to my students, or when I am dealing with scheduling woes.

However, I have been thinking for awhile now that working part time would help me balance life and work a little better. The teacher in me will always want to teach, and I would miss my "kids" if I stayed home full time, but as my home life gets more hectic with kids and farmer and farm, I need more time there to keep from feeling like I'm stretched too thinly.

So I feel like a part time position would be the perfect home/work time balance. But I'm still apprehensive about taking a part time position for several reasons, and I'm afraid to commit to a decision I'm not sure about. I plan on making the decision within a couple of days after more prayer, reflection, and discussions with my husband.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I currently weigh 14 pounds more than I did before my pregnancy. At one point, I only weighed 10 pounds more than my pre-pregnancy weight, but I have since gained a few more pounds. I would like to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight before having another baby, so I joined SparkPeople on Dec. 26th.

From :

Make Healthy Living Fun & Easy With Our Tools, Content & Community

  • Personalized diet & fitness plan
  • Calorie counter, exercise tracker, fitness demonstrations & videos
  • Answers from our dietitians & trainers on message boards
  • Connect with others like you on our active teams
After entering my goal and my timeline, SparkPeople told me how many calories I needed to eat and burn each day to meet my goal. The program starts with a 2 week "Fast Break" focusing on 3 small goals. You get to pick a goal from the Nutrition category, Fitness category and Motivation category.

My Fast Break goals are:
  1. 10 minutes of cardio/day
  2. 2 fruits or vegetables/day
  3. tell one person about my goals/day

So far, these have been pretty easy to keep up. However, I'm having trouble getting within my daily calorie range (1200-1600) and doing enough exercise. If I exercise too late in the evening, it affects my sleep (negatively) so I try to do it in the morning. I've done a 10 minute SparkPeople video on Youtube the last 2 mornings, and I'm going to start walking afterschool with a co-worker so that I can meet my goals.

I hope SparkPeople keeps me motivated and accountable!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

It's been awhile!

It has been awhile since I posted! But my Great Aunt Pat told me a couple of weeks ago that she still checks here from time to time. No pictures today, Aunt Pat, because my external harddrive is broken for the time being, but here's a little update.

Adam will be 18 months old in a couple of weeks. In the last few days, he has started repeating words when we ask him too, which just thrills his mommy. He is VERY even tempered and plays independently a lot, which we love. He absolutely adores tractors, cats, and fruit (foo, foo he says.)

Bart is on his 3rd flock of turkeys now, and getting ready for the 4th. He is incredibly busy all the time right now, which Adam and I hate. :( But he is truly the hardest worker I know, and I appreciate more than I can say. He got an MP3 player for Christmas, and we've had some trouble with it, but it seems to be working now, and he said it made choring fun today! Even with the frigid temps...brrrr.

I am getting ready to go back to school tomorrow. I'm going to do a unit called "Train Your Brain." I got the idea from Nurtureshock. I want to teach them that by working their brains, they can become smarter. I'm going to write a little ditty about how the brain can get smarter, stronger and faster, have them brainstorm activities that would help train their brain, maybe do a little skit about brain training, etc.

There's an update for you, Aunt Pat!