Saturday, January 30, 2010


Lots of "icks" the past few days...

DH: Rumor-mill at work says their office building might close at the end of next quarter. (April-ish.) He's trying to determine if he should job hunt, or wait it out for definite answers.

School/Work: I had a "training" day yesterday and was able to observe for a half day at KMS, the school I nearly worked at when I transferred schools 2 years ago. (I was hired there before the principal at my current school offered me a job. As no official paperwork had been done yet, I was able to "jump ship" for my current school as soon as the offer was made because I felt great about my former principal during our interview.) Yesterday was a neat experience! The reading department head, Katie, is encouraging me to transfer to their school if they have an opening (she anticipates they will) at the end of this year. LOTS to consider....the kids were great. The behavior issues are MUCH less than at my current school. Like my current school, KMS has an "A" rating. Most importantly, the reading department is tight-knit and works as a team----collaborating ideas, sharing the work load, etc.....all the things I miss from the department at my prior school. The con: None of the reading teachers have their own classroom. 2 share the former band room with small book cases "dividing" the room in half. The other 2 share the former choir room---NO dividers....just all 42 kids in one room with half belonging to Teacher A and the other half to Teacher B. I'm not a fan of not having my own space. I don't mind co-teaching. I love, love, love the inclusion teachers who help in my room each day....I just don't like the 2-classes-in-one-room scenario. But it is definite food for thought---giving up my own classroom to work as part of a team again. Hmmm.

The "ick" is that the 2nd half of the day, I hosted Katie and another local reading person at my school. We toured reading classes. When we observed one of the teachers on my team he was doing things in his classroom that are against the fidelity of the reading program we use. I was especially irritated to see he had his students doing WORD SEARCH puzzles when we were specifically told last year NOT to do word search or cross word puzzles in our classrooms, as they are not rigorous enough learning tools for our students. In addition, he had mobiles made by students that listed adjective synonyms. Out of a ceiling full of mobiles, my colleagues and I could only spot THREE words on the mobiles that were actual vocabulary words from the texts we use in our reading program. WHAT the HECK is this guy doing?? He is totally doing things that are NOT in our curriculum. Now I'm in a bit of a the department head, it is not my role to "tattle" on my peers....however, it is important that my principal be notified of the teachers' off model behaviors. Sighs.

TTC: My biggest "ick" is TTC related.

I am SOOOOO irritated with myself for not starting to use the fertility ovulation monitor my friend loaned me sooner. I tried it last year, but wasn't consistent therefore didn't have accurate results. I was determined with the new year, I'd jump on the band wagon. I was happy with myself for monitoring my cycle so I could discuss it with my OB next month.

Photo from the manual shows what my "high fertility" time should look like. Note the DAY12 in the upper corner.

This manual pic shows "peak fertility" time. Note the DAY15...

This photo shows MY fertility....DAY 16 and still in the "Low fertility" range.

AAAAACK! I'm wondering if I'm ovulating realllly late, or am not ovulating at all. Sighs.

Need to run....Em IS spending the night with Adrian tonight. DH and I again have reservations at the Melting Pot.'s to fondue-ing my worries away. And shaving my legs...because ridiculous as it is I am still hoping that my increased libido (sorry TMI) means I CAN get PG even if the monitor doesn't correlate.

Did I mention it's been an icky couple of days?

2009 Books

Cutting/pasting my 2009 books read list so that I have a record, since I'm deleting the list from my sidebar. :)

2009 Book Challenge (Goal = 75 Books)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Randomness

ICLW: Welcome visitors! I appreciate you stopping by...

Date Night: Stacye (Adrian's Mom) graciously offered to babysit Em for her FIRST EVER overnight with a non-family member, so that DH and I could have a date night tonight. Ooh la la! I made reservations for the Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant we'd been wanting to try. We hadn't decided yet if we were going to go to a movie, or were just going to have some "alone" time at home. Em was excited to sleep at Adrian's house ("He has bunk beds!") Then this morning, we awoke to Murphy's Law of children... Em threw up multiple times and had diarrhea twice today, thus we had to cancel the sleepover. BUMMER! Luckily, she has been feeling better (and has even kept down some Spaghettios.) As I type this, we're in the living room where Em is watching "Up," DH is working on his book, and I read a book and a half today. (I'm on book 5 of L.J. Smith's Nightworld series now.)

School/Work: This past week was the last week of 2nd quarter. It's hard to believe the school year is already halfway over! I'm still carrying most of the load for my department, but I've managed to create a grading and lesson planning schedule for myself that has been working thus far. (I've had the last 2 weekends with NO school as long as I don't have a plethora of meetings or conferences, I'm managing to stay ahead of the game.) We had a school-wide faculty meeting yesterday where we were informed that school-wide the majority of students are not showing enough "growth" on district tests, and we are therefore in danger of not having enough academic "gains" when our students take the state FCAT test in February and March.'s difficult to determine what (if any) changes should be made in instruction in order to best meet the students' needs.

TTC: My friend MEB (who kicked IF's butt and is currently PG woot-woot!) loaned me her fertility monitor. Which brings me to a question for my lady friends (Gents, you can skip down to the next "bullet," to avoid TMI girly stuff.) Ladies---I've seen mixed info on this on the Internet and plan to ask my OB about it next month, but wanted some input. What do you consider as "Day 1" of your cycle? Do you count spotting as Day 1, or do you not count until your first day of full bleeding? I've been considering my first day of full bleeding as "Day 1," and am wondering if this is the most accurate or not.

I think that is all the latest here, so I leave you with some Emmaisms:

On states in close proximity:
"I wish Grandma and Grandpa lived in a state that was only like 5 minutes away. I wish we could see them more often." (Me too, Kiddo.) 1/8/10

On sexy vampires:
"Look, it's Mommy's boyfriend! Let's make fun of her favorite guy!" (regarding Robert/Edward and Kristin/Bella's pic from the Twilight soundtrack on DH's iphone.) (Oops...didn't know I'd been so obvious! Giggles.) 1/10/10

On helping others:
Em: "I did a good thing today."
Me: "You did?"
Em: "I found some moneys under my booster seat in Daddy's car and so I put it in my pocket. When I got to school I put the moneys in the thing to help the people in Haiti."
Me: That WAS a really nice thing to do!
(Did I mention, I love my sweet girl?) 1/20/10

And my most recent favorite... On global consumerism:
"I'm trying to find the 'Made in China' tag so I can cut it out of the dress." 1/17/10
(For the record, it turned out the dress was actually made in Sri Lanka...)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Life Updates

Life Updates...

Emma: Her reading skills astound me each day. I LOVE hearing her read stories! It has been wonderful for me to experience firsthand many of the reading components I learned about during my reading-teacher course curriculum. Em's teacher and school use the Beka learning program which teaches phonics. Em constantly "sounds out" words wherever we go. I am a HUGE phonics advocate. Many of my 8th grade students don't have the same skills Emma already has. Due to being taught with the "Whole Language" style (wherein students memorize sight words, rather than learning letter sounds and blend sounds) I have many students who struggle with "word attack" and have NO idea how to break words into syllables or how to determine root words and affixes. It is awesome seeing Emma's early success and witnessing the beauty of phonics in action.

DH: Is currently working on a children's series. He never thought he'd want to write for a young audience, but thus far he has really enjoyed it. I'm thrilled he has been writing so much. Since graduating from college, DH has never had a job that truly used his skills...I'm glad he is putting his "smarts" to good use...and in a way that he finds gratifying.

Work/School: Continues to be cumbersome, but I DID manage to get 3 weeks of lesson plans done last weekend so that I could have this weekend totally OFF. Sweet! DH and I mostly finished turning Em's old room into an office area yesterday. Now DH has a writing nook! :)

I've used the 3-day weekend to get TONS of cleaning and laundry done. You know---all the deep cleaning stuff I should've done during winter break, but spent lots of time in my PJs reading and playing online B.oggle cooking with Emma and her new E.asybake Oven instead.

TTC: The doctor's office called to say they needed to re-schedule my appointment, as the CPN my appointment was scheduled with left their practice at the beginning of the year. I was a little annoyed with having to re-schedule. However, my re-scheduled appointment (on Feb. 16th) is with the head of the practice who is also the awesome OB that delivered Em. (The appointment is for my annual checkup, plus fertility counseling.) I guess at this point, what's another month of waiting?

MLK, Jr. Today Em and I are home from school. I'm babysitting her good buddy, Adrian while his parents are at work. Thank you MLK, Jr. and all the others who contributed toward making multi-racial friendships possible. Em and Adrian have been good buddies since they were less than a year old.

Big smiles...

Adrian on the monkeybars.

Emma's Turn. (Note the shirt I got for her at OU last summer, "I love OHIO this much!"

Crossing together...

I've enjoyed spending the day with them. Conversations between 5 year olds...SO precious! Let freedom ring!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One Year

Tomorrow (1/13) is the one year anniversary of when I learned I was having a miscarriage...

I'm not sure where I expected to "be" in the emotional sense. In many regards, I've moved on with my life. Yet, in many other ways my desire for another child repeatedly brings me back to the fact that I miscarried my last pregnancy. Harsh, but true.

Generally I think I'm over the emotional pain associated with my loss. Meaning, I don't have feelings of grief or "why did I lose my baby?" However, I still have much longing. I still experience moments of intense jealousy when I see babies...or sometimes even just baby-related items.

Fortunately, my "bump envy" over seeing (or hearing about) pregnant women seems to have mostly subsided. And though I may have a quick glimmer of "Damn! I can't believe ANOTHER friend is pregnant and I'm not," I do feel truly happy for my friends and family who are expecting.

Part of my self-inflicted time crunch for wanting another child is that in 4 months I'll be 35. While I in no way consider 35 "old," I know it comes with a whole new set of risks for a baby's health. Not to mention increased risk of another miscarriage. GULP!

The rational side of me acknowledges that my mother and both grandmothers had children when they were over 35. In fact, my Dad's mother literally had FOUR children in FIVE years, and the first child (my Dad) was born when she was 36.

My rationale also acknowledges that my maternal grandmother and my mother had their children with very large age gaps. (My Mom and her twin brother were born 17 years younger than their oldest brother, 15 years younger than their next brother, and 6 years younger than their sister. Talk about having kids at home for 20+!) (In my family my older sis is 8 years older than me, and I'm 4 1/2 years older than my younger sis.)

To my knowledge, neither grandmother had any complications with their pregnancies. (Though I still find it fascinating that my grandmother didn't know she was pregnant with twins until the day my Mom and her brother were delivered. What a surprise!)

My Mom suffered at least one miscarriage between the birth of my older sister and I. I don't know of any miscarriage history with either of my grandmothers.

Dad's Mom was 41 with the delivery of her last child. Mom's Mom was 37 with her last delivery---the twins. And my Mom was 36 with the birth of my younger sister. Looking at my family 2 grandmothers and a mom who between them birthed 12 children.... it makes me wondered if my genes are pre-destined to have a child in my late 30's. Am I being illogical?

An interesting fact found on the March of Dimes website: 1 in 5 women in the U.S. has her FIRST child after age 35.

I am not anti-fertility treatments. I just know that my family history has shown on both sides of my family that children were eventually conceived WITHOUT fertility aides. Combining this with my worry of the expense (I have MUCH Mama guilt over the thought of blowing our future larger-house-fund and/or Emma's college fund on fertility treatments. It's sooooo hard considering spending money on a "maybe." If only there were a 100% guarantee, I wouldn't fret so much.) This is why I've avoided the "fertility" doc for so long. Because the reality is...if my OB refers me to a fertility specialist, beyond testing to find out why we're not getting pregnant...I don't know how far I want to pursue things. I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous when you take into account I want another child. But it's what I'm feeling, so I'm putting it in writing. Are you getting the sense of whirlwind emotions I'm experiencing?

I won't even go into the Mama-guilt of "Emma should be enough." I pray that she never, EVER thinks she isn't. One day I will explain to her that so much of my longing for another child is because sibling relationships are so important to me. The fact that I want a sibling FOR Emma, is much of why I want a baby added to our family.

So, today is like many others. I sometimes think, "What if?" What if I hadn't miscarried the baby...I'd have a 4 month-old infant right now. Em would have a sibling. Would the longing in my heart go away? I force myself to move on. To not dwell nor feel sorry for myself. But I continue my dream of wanting another child.

And though my heart feels like time is ticking away, my mind wonders if I just need to hang on a bit longer...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Randomness

Cool Blog Events: Two cool events hosted by fellow bloggers, which I recently signed up for and encourage you to join if you're interested:
1st--Sock It To Me Week hosted by Kym at I'm a Smart One. This awesome event connects bloggers from around the world who purchase a pair of socks to mail one another as a form of support/love/friendship/blog sisterhood, etc. I missed out last time and am stoked to be on board this go-around! (Check Kym's blog out...she explains the story behind Sock It To Me better than I can, so I'm not even going to attempt it.)
2nd--Kristin at Dragondreamer's Lair is hosting a book challenge for 2010. Go over to challenge yourself---how many books do you think you can read this year? (I'm excited to meet my goal for 2010, as I fell short by 5 books last year. I'm also excited because I haven't been counting books under 100 that the page minimum is 50 pages, I know some of the chapter books I've been reading with Em at bedtime will count. Sweet!) I'll keep an ongoing "Books Read" list on my side bar as I did last year.

While I'm talking books, I highly recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. My sister Laurel sent me this book for Christmas, as she had read it and loved it. The novel takes place just after WWII. The entire book is a series of letters. Part 1 includes letters from a published author, Juliet to/from her editor, to/from her best friend, and to/from a man she is dating. Mid-way through part one, Juliet begins to receive letters from a man who lives on Guernsey Island (located in the English Chanel between England and France.) The man had purchased a book which had formerly belonged to Juliet. He wrote to her requesting further information about the book and its author. After learning that Juliet is an author herself, the man and members of his book club end up having further letter correspondence with Juliet. I don't want to ruin plot details for those who might read this, so I won't say much about Part 2 other than Juliet ends up finding a plot for her next book from a source she didn't quite expect. I've always enjoyed reading about WWII. (Nazism---I just don't understand how people could treat others so hideously. I'm intrigued by their horrid and despicable behavior.) This book offered a neat perspective because it occurred right after the war, which enabled the reader to get to know Juliet and the other characters via their descriptions of what had happened to them during the war. I feel like I'm not doing the book justice....I really, really enjoyed it. Would rate it a 9 out of 10.

DH's Good News: DH had his first "agent query!" An agent asked for the ENTIRE draft of DH's novel. The agent is to read it and respond within 6 weeks as to if she is interested in pursuing the publishing process or not. WAAAAY exciting! Meanwhile, DH has more than one other novel that he is penning away at. DH told me this afternoon, "It's like the floodgates have opened and 10 years of ideas are coming out." I'm thrilled for him and hope he has success with a publisher this year! :)

Questions Answered: Answering some recent questions from the wonderful commenters on my blog...
--Mrs. Gamgee asked if I've read the Percy Jackson or Suzanne Collins books.
--I received the Percy Jackson series for Christmas and read (and loved) the first one! I'm waiting to read anything else because I borrowed a stack of books from a co-worker before winter break which I'm plugging away at so I can return them to her. But I've heard great things about Suzanne Collins. And I can't wait to finish the Percy Jackson series---I liked it nearly as much as Harry Potter!
--I'm currently reading L.J. Smith's Nightworld series. (These are the books I borrowed.) Good so far, though I'm nearing the end of the 3rd book and thus far the first 3 have had almost identical endings which I find annoying. And I continue to be amazed at how much of the Twilight series I love and adore seems to be taken from this author. (Book 2 of this series had a werewolf and vampire fighting over the same girl. Sound familiar?)
--Danifred asked about the Suzy's Zoo characters which I love, and which adorn the wallpaper border in Em's old room. YES! Boof is the name of the bear, Witzy is the duck, Patches is the giraffe, Lulla is the bunny, Tickle is the ladybug, Zoom-Zoom is the grasshopper. (The cute elephant, Ellie Funt and the adorable turtles Teeter & Totter weren't included in the nursery set we purchased years ago.)
--Fishsticks & Fireflies asked about my follow-up OB appointment last summer. Basically DH and I were given the "go ahead" to keep ttc. I'm hoping to have more news soon, as I go to the gyno again within the month to try and determine our"next steps." The one year anniversary of my miscarriage is this week (Weds. 1/13,) and as I haven't gotten a BFP again, we're trying to determine where to go from here...
--Mai asked if I read any books in 2009 that I recommend for reading. MANY!
--2 recent reads that I really enjoyed include The Shack by William P. Young. A book about a man who meets God at a cabin in the woods. He is trying to come to terms with the abduction (and assumed death) of his young daughter. Really neat food for thought. And I LOVED the author's non-typical descriptions of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
--I also loved Stoneheart by Charlie Fletcher. This book was about a boy who is able to see statues, gargoyles, etc in their "true" alive form. It is the first in a trilogy and one of these days I'll get to reading the other 2, as I really enjoyed this read.
--I also highly recommend the Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (a modern re-telling of the classic Peter Pan story)(I got the 4th book in the series for Christmas and can't wait to sink into it!) , the Among the Hidden series by Margaret Peterson Haddix (a cool series about a government that doesn't allow families to have more than 2 children---the series is about illegal 3rd children. I thought it was neat because each of the 7 books in the series had a different main character,) and the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray (a cool trilogy about girls at a finishing school in the late 1800's...some of the girls end up having "powers" they never dreamed of. I'm intentionally being vague...)

I'll leave my 2009 book list up for a little while----take a look. If you'd like further details or recommendations, I'd be glad to oblige. As you can see, I love "talking" books! :)

I think I've addressed the most recent comment-questions. If not, drop me a line again and I'll be glad to get back to you. I <3 you, Blog Readers!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Nothing too new around here, so thought it was time to share the latest Emmaisms I've been recording...

On Fashion:
While at my parents' house for Thanksgiving, my Dad was helping Emma with a Barbie doll. Upon seeing the Barbie's typical non-practical attire, my Dad said, "Barbie better be careful, or she's going to fall on her keister." After we all chuckled, my sister asked Emma if she knew what Grandpa meant. Emma replied that "Yes. Grandpa means Barbie is going to fall on her high heels." (Butt...footwear...whatever! Lol.)

On potatoes:
NO idea what prompted this, but as Em and I were grocery shopping during winter break, our cashier was chuckling at something the bagger boy said. Em looked at the cashier and said, "Why are you laughing, I'm not a potato?" (Ummm. Weird.) 12/19/09

On Heights:
A few weeks ago, Em was talking with my sister Laurel on the phone. Emma said,
"Are you afraid of heights? I'm not!" She then promptly fell off the furniture she'd been climbing on and got a large bruise on her leg. (Is this height karma?)

On Santa:
As we were driving around looking at Christmas lights a few days after Christmas, Emma said from the backseat, "Mommy, do you know how I know that Santa is real? Cuz' I've seen him! Duh!" (How could I argue with that?) 12/27/09

On Broadway Lyrics: Emma and I were driving along singing to the "Don't Rain On My Parade" song as sung on the Glee CD Soundtrack I received for Christmas. The first stanza is:
Don't tell me not to live, just sit and putter,
Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter.
Don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade.
After singing this, Em started laughing. She said, "Mommy, that is SO silly. If the sun was butter it WOULD be raining on us!" She found this idea hilarious.

On Disney Quotes:
We cracked up, when Emma told us that Woody (the cowboy toy from Toy Story) says, "There's a stink in my boot!" (Woody actually says, "There's a snake in my boot," but we think Em's line is more logical and humorous.) 1/2/10

Hope everyone's year has gotten off to a good start...and that you're discovering some fun -isms of your own. ;)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year

Dear Venus, Aphrodite, Astarte, Inanna and any other goddesses of fertility who want to help me out,

I spent New Year's day completing the move. Emma is completely moved out of her old bedroom. Surely you remember the one? The one with a baby Suzy's Zoo wallpaper border, infant decor, and glider rocking chair? Remember the matching crib set---the cute little "Witzy" duck which drew me to the adorable decorating theme? (Don't worry---it's still stored out in the garage with the dismantled crib!)

The room is mostly empty now. (I'm not counting our filled bookshelves, nor DH's RockBand drum set...) If you would be so kind as to help us create an occupant for the room I would be much obliged!

As 2010 begins, I am ready for change. Today I changed my blog i.d. from "A Mom in Jacksonville, FL" to "Alana." As this blog has turned into my outlet and a medium to express my emotions, I figure my i.d might as well match my title, right?? (And though I love Em to pieces, she isn't the only focus of my writing.)

My goals for 2010:

1. Read 75 books.
(I only read 70 last year...missed my '09 goal by 5. Drat! Though as the majority of books I read were 350+ pages, I'm not going to be too down on myself...)

2. Yell less. (It kills me when I keep my cool all day long with 8th grade punks, only to come home and yell at Emma for something trivial. My goal is to control my temper and to remember WHO really matters!)

3. Exercise. At this time, I'm not going to set a specific "pounds lost" or "minutes per day" goal. I will commit to 45 minutes a minimum of 3 times per week. (I'm hoping it will be more than that, but am trying to be realistic.) (And again---Em's new bike has helped! When she asks to go outside, I walk/jog with her as she bike rides.)

4. Baby. Did I mention I'd like to have another child? (Before Emma graduates from high school and before I retire if at all possible...)

Yes, I'm ready for change. Please bring it!