Thursday, May 14, 2015

Alter Your World: Social Media + Education

 This post is part of a promotion of Alter Your World, an Alt Summit project aimed at celebrating actions, big or small, that focus on good in the community.
One area that I don't blog about as frequently is about my role as a public school teacher. Sure, I mention it in passing but it's not the primary area of my little blog. However, as an educator, I have been hugely impacted by the role of social media. When I began graduate school in 2009,  social media was still a small growing area of technology. Blogs were out and prevalent ... Although they certainly looked different... And Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter were nonexistent and/or just beginning. Today there are more online resources for teachers than anywhere else. 

Personally, I rely heavily on social media for my planning and preparation for my first grade classroom. 

I use an online teacher planner called www.planbook.com. I found out about this through various teacher blogs about four years ago. Since then, I have shared this tool with other teachers that I Have worked with.

I regularly read teacher blogs, follow other teachers on Instagram (#teachersfollowteachers), and search for different resources on Pinterest. I utilize the amazing website called Teachers Pay Teachers to find resources and prints less for my classroom. I belong to a closed Facebook group that is specific to my grade level (first grade), where we discuss teaching strategies, struggles, praises, and more. They are my people. 

The use of social media has allowed me to expand my resources, my sounding board, and my strengths as a teacher. I'm amazed each day how I rely on it ...and enjoy how it has shaped who I am as an educator!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mini Capsule Wardrobe

Hey yall!! Hope that everyone is enjoying the beginnings of spring!

One project that I began on my maternity leave is a small mini capsule wardrobe. If you're unfamiliar with those terms, it's basically intentionally planning out your wardrobe so as to create a seamless wardrobe that works with lots of pieces in your closet. It's something that I've been really interested in for quite some time. Some of my favorite online blogs and resources are listed here if you are interested in more information about capsule wardrobes.

I have been mentally playing around with the idea of creating my own capsule wardrobe but had kind of put it off since I have been pregnant for the last nine months. However, Pattern Review and Fabric Mart put together a little contest, "The Wardrobe Contest", and I thought it might be fun to have a starting point on this little journey.
So, one day, I sat down and sorted through my various Pinterest boards, my sewing patterns, and my fabric and created a game plan for my mini wardrobe. Basically, the six week contest challenges you to create "an organized closet where one can pull an outfit together at a moment's notice."

The Wardrobe Contest required the following garments:
4 tops
3 bottoms
2 sewists' choice

All of the garments have to be able to mix and match together - so all of the four tops have to match the three bottoms.

Pattern Review has very specific guidelines as to how to enter the contest, so I will be sure to share my entry with yall when it is finished! In the meantime, I wanted to go ahead and start sharing with yall my mini capsule wardrobe! Stay tuned this week as I share my Capsule Wardrobe process and garments with yall. Take care yall!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Alex: 1 Week

If this first week is any indication, my little guy is going to be one before I blink!! Babies sure grow fast - and this time around, it seems even more quickly! I thought I'd share my little guy's 1 week old pictures!! We didn't weigh him at 1 week - but we were at the doctors office two days later, so we'll use that weight.

Date: April 29th, 2015
Weight: 8 pounds 4 ounces
Height: 19 inches
Sleeping: Mostly 3.5 to 4 hours at a time. At night, he's sleeping from about 11 p.m. to 3:30/4 a.m. and then until about 7:30 a.m. I'm amazed at how he's sleeping so solidly. We have definitely noticed that he sleeps longer when his little tummy is full. He likes to sleep snuggled up on someone's chest. 
Eating: Between 2 and 3 ounces per feeding. He eats in between naps, and is a great burper! He is a noisy eater, which is really funny to listen to. Right now, we are using Avent Natural Bottles with the Level 1 Nipple, designed for newborns. We tried a level 2, for one month olds, and while he did okay with it, we were worried that he was eating too quickly. He also takes the opportunity while he's eating to take care of pooping! It's so nice that he doesn't do that while he's napping. 
Development: Right now, he mostly sleeps, eats, and goes to the bathroom. He is able to lift his head for brief moments, and can already move it from side to side.
Concerns: At his initial checkup with our pediatrician, we found out that Alex has a small hole in his heart. It's a VSD - a Ventricula Septal Defect. It's fairly common in newborns, and usually they close on their own within days of birth. His hasn't closed completely yet, but we are just keeping an eye on it at this point. But, we did have to go get an echo scan of his heart.
Reagan: Still loves being a big sister!! Truly, she has adapted so well to having Alex home with us. First thing she does when she gets home from preschool or when she wakes up is to check on Alex. Anytime we change his diaper, she is right there, wanting to help. She loves to go and get a bottle out of the fridge for us or get his pacifer or blanket. She loves to give him kisses, and likes to 'read' to him. I love seeing how much she loves being a big sister! I'm sure it won't last or be consistent all the time, but it has been a great start for our family of four.
Just for fun, this is Reagan at about 8 pounds on the left and Alex!! I love how they look alike - and I didn't even realize it until I saw my Timehop!
Firsts: This week, Alex got to ride in his daddy's brand new truck. We think he liked it - although he slept through the whole thing.
Favorites: He loves his pacifier! We have been using it after he eats, and it really helps him clear out his mouth of any formula. It also really soothes him when he's going to sleep.
Cuteness: All the time! Seriously - he's plain ol' adorable. I love how he wrinkles his forehead when he's sleeping. He gets these three adorable lines across his forehead, and raises his eyebrows.
A Day in the Life: Right now, life is pretty chill for Alex. He eats breakfasts, snuggles for a while, and then naps for three hours in the morning. Then, he eats again, and is more alert and awake.... usually for about an hour before he falls asleep for a couple of hours. He takes another bottle, and usually falls right asleep after that feeding. Mid-afternoon, he takes another bottle, and has another period where he is more alert, for about an hour or so before falling asleep until about 6:30 or 7. He eats again, and sometimes will stay awake for a half hour or so before sleeping until 10ish, when we feed him and put him down for the night. We have been doing tummy time when he is alert and awake.

My little man is such a blessing - I love being his mommy!! I always pictured having a little boy, and he has brought so much joy to our family. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Introducing Alex!

He's here!!!!
I'd like to introduce yall to my little man, Edmund Alexander IV - or Alex!!!
Born on April 22nd, 2015 at 1:36 p.m., weighing in at 8 pounds 1 oz and 18.5 inches long.
We are so in love with this little man. He truly completes our family! Alex is named after his daddy, but we are using his middle name. He and his daddy also share their birthday! That's right - he came on his daddy's birthday!

From the beginning, everything about my little man has been so different than our experience with his big sister. My pregnancy was so much easier, and we made it full term! I was 39 weeks and 2 days when he arrived. I'm so thankful for a 'normal' pregnancy - as my OBGYN joked in the operating, I behaved and followed directions! The day of our c-section, we had a nice leisurely morning with Reagan. We dropped her off at preschool and then headed over to the hospital. We had a scheduled c-section with Alex. Due to the emergency c-section we had with Reagan, I could not go into full labor and medically required another c-section. Truthfully, I was okay with this because I really wasn't looking forward to the whole pushing and major contractions part. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for a couple weeks prior to his birth, and had some regular contractions in the five days prior but nothing full on. We arrived at the hospital at 10:30 - and leisurely walked up to the labor and delivery wing. Because I had pre-registered online (who knew you could do that?), all we had to do was fill out 1 paper and we were escorted to the labor and delivery area. The charge nurse got us mostly ready - did our family background intake and got my IV in. My mom and mother-in-law arrived, and the four of us had plenty of time to relax while they were getting things ready for our 1:00 delivery time.
My OBGYN arrived and came to chat with us for a few minutes, and we also talked with the anesthesiologist and the nurse anesthetist. At about 10 till 1, the staff got Edmund some scrubs so he could be in the operating room, and I WALKED to the operating room. Yup. I was super excited to get to go in on my own two feet. Such a difference from being wheeled in from the ICU. At about 1:00pm, I received my spinal and the staff starting getting things ready. I felt really calm and excited going in to the operating room but as the spinal began, I started getting a little anxious. I must've asked for Edmund four or five times... he's my rock and really calms me down. The nurse anesthetist told me she would go get him, even though it was a little earlier than when they usually go get the daddies. Edmund told me later that she came over to get him, and said that he was needed now...  He came in and I immediately started to calm down some. My OBGYN let me pick the choice of music in the operating room, so we jammed out to country music throughout the delivery. Again, totally different than with Reagan's birth.
I managed to cry throughout the entire delivery. Yup. Such a range of emotions that go through you. My OBGYN and the delivery room staff were fantastic - they kept me informed throughout the entire process without overwhelming me. The nurse anesthetist was the one who talked to primarily throughout the c-section and she was super calming. I held Edmund's hand pretty much the whole time.
At 1:36 p.m., our little man arrived - hollering loudly - to David Lee Murphy's song, "Dust on the Bottle". My doctor held him up over the screen so I could see him and give him a kiss - and then they got him all cleaned up. Edmund went over and got to hold him skin to skin right away - and brought him right back over by me. I got to hold my little boy's hands while Edmund held him. It was .... incredible. There are no words for how I felt at that time. After about 5 minutes or so (maybe a few minutes longer - time seemed to stand still), Edmund and Alex left the operating room so the pediatrician could do Alex's apgar and initial tests, etc. The staff finished up with me, and at precisely 2:00pm, I was wheeled into recovery where Edmund and the grandmas were waiting with Alex. Within minutes, I was snuggling with my little man.
Right off the bat, Alex has been an eating champion. He had his first bottle around 2:15 - and took to it instantly. We were wheeled over to the 'nesting place' - basically, the recovery ward for new mommas and babies right around 3pm. Over the new 48 hours, we both handled our recovery well! The care we received was wonderful - and I loved that we were given the option to go home on Friday since we were both doing so well. From start to finish, we were literally at the hospital almost exactly 48 hours.
Everything felt so relaxed and calm throughout the entire birth. Both Edmund and I commented on how this must be what it's like for most people - and truth be told, I don't know that we would have valued the calmness as much if we had not had such a complicated birth situation with Reagan.

I am so blessed by the birth of my beautiful baby boy - and so thankful for all that my little family has been given.
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