Saturday Sharing…If You Are Not, You Should!

walmartIf you are a coffee drinker and ever want a treat…You should be drinking Chocolate Glazed Donut Coffee…YUM!

If you are wondering if you sleep good you should try this app!

If you shop at Walmart and you do not using the Savings Catcher feature of their app you SHOULD! Like right now, run and do it. You get paid to shop. It is crazy! All that craziness of ad matching done for you. You do nothing and get rewards back. I have already made 30 dollars since Jan 1.

I love love this calendar app that my guy and I use. We have it connected to each other and # 1 who also has an ios device. It keeps us organized and it sends reminders so we always know who is charge of kiddos or being outta the house. It tells us conflicts.

If you haven’t read The Great Gatsby you should. It has this really cool way of sneaking up on you. It is kinda a slow and boring read. But when combined with all of it separate parts there is an amazing story there. The movie in addition is a great. The current 2013 one with Leo. I am amazed how much I believe the book enhanced the movie and vice versa. If you haven’t read it you should.

I make it a rule to never what the “the big game”. Yes I am married to the world’s biggest football fan so I don’t get so lucky as to not have it on. But I never watch. Not even for the commercials. But finally something has pulled me in. That would be the rumor that Missy Elliot is singing with Katy Perry during halftime. That is the one and only Missy Elliot who has mad skills rapping and mad respect in the rap industry. And mad props and respect from me. (Thanks for the linky loo Nichole).

Don’t know her? Here a little trip….Classic…Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)!

Ahh! I love Missy! So if you haven’t seen it, watch it. And better yet tune into the game and watch half time of Missy and Ms. Katy.

We will be have chicken/beef tacos tomorrow for dinner. We also will add in some nachos and homemade salsa. Haven’t had Ree’s restaurant salsa? Why not? You should.

Finally, that is all I got!

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Want to see what else I am sharing? Go here.

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Less of Me….{Gratefulness}

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Day 5 No Pepsi

Day 18 T25 (Love my Shaun T.) Sweaty mess who really didn’t want to do it today, but put on her big girl work out pants and showed up

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Grateful for friends who keep you accountable

Grateful co-workers who listen to you blab

Grateful for husbands who love you always

Grateful for daughters who keep you motivated

Grateful for students for who though they push you, they only make you better if you let them

Grateful for a body that even when I fall

Lets me get back up and keep trying

Grateful for a brain and a heart that can heal

Grateful for whole hell of a lot.

LOVE ALWAYS WINS!!!

Another pinterest adventure.

Alas, the bug got me. I truly believed that the power of positive thinking, healthy eating, plenty of sleep (and a little grape juice) would save me. But sadly, it didn’t. I willed myself through my day at work till my prep, till I could no longer hang for fear of a puke incident by the one and only Mrs. E. That COULD NOT happen. I will spare any and all details and just tell you I am finally up and around now. I kinda had to force myself to do it. I needed to go to the grocery due to an impending snow storm and oh my three kids who were sure they would starve if momma took to her bed another day.

I am just so very grateful that it was 1) the weekend and 2) it had moved through the others before me. I could be there for the girls due to snow days and I took one extra day off so my guy didn’t have to help. They were all better and we truly thought we were done with it, so I could basically go to bed and die. And die I did.

I am easing very slowly back into food. I went two days without caffeine and lived to tell. Today I did squeak out a small cup of coffee and kinda thinking as long as I keep feeling like this that may be my new regime. YES! No more pepsi. I just can’t even think about it or stomach it at this point. The bug may be a blessing in disguise. I truly wanted to wean myself down to no pop and 1 cup of coffee a day. And by golly that may have happened of its own accord. Wahoo!

But that isn’t the reason for this post. Today I was wanting a comforting but light soup. Kpuff and I frequent Takioka here the Fort and they have this soup that begins  your meal and it is always so amazing, comforting and light. I knew whatever I was having had to be pretty light since it was my first real food. Anyway…Pinterest saved the day yet again.

PIN49) I made the recipe here and I followed it mostly. I added six cups of chicken broth instead of 4 cups of broth and 2 water. I figured I needed a heartier version since it was my first real food. It definitely tasted hardier. Not bad, just hardier. When I make again (yes I will make again) I will follow directions. Another change I made was I fried the onions in coconut oil and I didn’t submerge them in milk. I am allergic to dairy so I just substituted water. I couldn’t tell a difference. Once I assembled the soup I didn’t add many of the fried onions, I wasn’t sure I could handle fried quite yet. I also added more mushrooms to build my system back up. I knew I needed a heartier soup. It was so amazing. I am so super stoked for it for my lunch tomorrow at school. YUM!!! Here are some pics.

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You cook the veggies till they are soft and take them out

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Remember I added way more mushrooms than it called for. You gotta let them sit and soak up broth. YUM!!!!

And while I ate my soup my family dined on Pin51this.

soup3Yup seriously the last thing I wanted to make, but I did it cause they needed real food. Not daddy cooked food.

And for my final pin, PIN52) I will try and not share actual details but I saw this pin over a year ago and have been doing it for my children and I never force them to drink it if they don’t want to. They love it so it is never an issue. Sometimes we forget or I run out. But knock on wood, it does seem to keep some of this stuff at bay or at the most makes most stomach issues more mild. I will tell you # 1 doesn’t like grape juice and she definitely was one of the sicker ones. I will also tell you that I usually drink it but forgot on Thursday of last week and I woke up Friday feeling off. All of that can be coincidence or in our heads. Who knows. But I will tell you when I read the pin a few years back I researched it because I thought it was crap. It didn’t take me long to discover where it came from. It came from a doctor who deals with stomach issues and he discovered it by coincidence with his own family. There is a ton of people that swear by it. I am about 78% sold on it. I will say it does make it more mild. My biggest warning would be the amount of sugar in it. It is so high in sugar that you must be careful with it.

Alright….I am off. Another gross edition from the E homestead.

I can only tell you what it feels like. {Another ugly moment # 1}

I can’t tell you what it really is
I can only tell you what it feels like
And right now there’s a steel knife, in my windpipe
I can’t breathe, but I still fight, while I can fight

~Eminem

Honestly, since my guy got diagnosed last winter with TN nothing feels just like it is. A cold never feels like a cold. A school function is never a school function. The flu is never just the flu. Add in my own anxieties which I have well under control and I feel like everything we face is an emotional battle for normalcy. I go into every single situation with my exit strategy and plan of attack mapped out clearly in my head. When I don’t I get knocked down. Like gut wrenching punch to the gut and swift kick to the knee knocked over.

these shoulder’s hold up so much, they won’t budge,
i’ll never fall or fold up,
i’m a soldier,
even if my collar bone’s crush or crumble,
I will never stumble…

~Eminem

But I handle it and have been working so very hard at channeling out for myself moments of peace. Time where TN doesn’t rule the roost. Maybe it is making an extravagant dinner or spending much needed time with a friend. It is those moments where I know we all will survive. This was the hand we were dealt. We were dealt it because we could handle it. But that isn’t always pretty. In fact, sometimes it down right ugly. Yesterday it was ugly. Today not much prettier. I am mad. But I have no one to be mad at.

The soul’s escaping, through this hole that is gaping
This world is mine for the taking

So here I go it’s my shot.
Feet, fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that I got

You can do anything you set your mind to

~Eminem

You get knocked down, you get back up. Ironic that I wanted to write and I turned on my 3000 song strong writing play list and it is Eminem song after song? I think not. His lyrics ugly sometimes (inappropriate) at times maybe. But he writes them all. His words. His fighting songs. And for some reason they have always grabbed me deep in my soul. And today it is doing that. He keeps me fighting.

I guess we are who we are
Headlights shining in the dark night, I drive on

Oh even if there’s songs to sing
My children will carry me

~Eminem

So yep we are alright. It isn’t always pretty dealing with chronic illness. I am not even the one that has it. I just live with it. New meds mean new side effects. Weaning off meds mean return of old side effects. And the three month wait till we decide the next step. Another end? Another beginning? Who knows. I just pray our path is peaceful and that God leads us to the right answers and the safest ones.

em

Eminem says it much better than me usually.

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Ugly moments are true moments. Moments where the world expects beauty to make them feel better. But life isn’t always beautiful, and it isn’t always about others. Sometimes you gotta get ugly to get to the beauty. You gotta find your faith and love and plow through it to get to the other side. 

New Doctor and new plan

2015/01/img_0325.jpg With a house full of pukey kids this week it provided both my guy and I with the appropriate amount of distraction as we built up to his appointment today. It didn’t really even bother me until I was sitting in the doctors office waiting for an appointment for number three.

I realized in that moment I sat in the same seat I sat in last year crying outside of our family doctors office. My guy next to me. We were both desperate. Desperate for answers and help. Those are the moments I often forget. Probably one of our weakest together. But also strongest.

As my memory jogged I got a butterfly in my stomach. I hurriedly checked my phone and baby girl #3 reminded me I just did it. Finally he text and let me know he was still in appointment. I made my way into office with her and she always asks for the run down on my guy and his latest. She again reassured me that he is working with some of the best doctors in the US and by far the best in Indiana. I breathed.

Finally I was able to talk with him. He seems comfortable with the new doctor and this new doctor is very familiar and comfortable working right along side Dr. Cohen. But like most neurologist (totally generalizing here) they want their plan and their method to start from scratch.

So he will wean off his current meds and then slowly add in a small dose of tegretol. This process will take threeish months and then we re-evaluate. He has worked with many post op MVD patients and said that is completely common for the the nerve to still be healing.

I won’t lie sometimes that feels like the canned answer and the thing you tell everyone who has a pain that you don’t understand. Not much explanation on it being bilateral and the occipital neuralgia we expected because it is just sometimes a part of this.

Therefore, a new beginning. I am glad for it because I would never want to rush back into surgery. We are committed to exploring all non-surgical options first. And when I saw we I mean him, I and his doctors. So it is a sit and wait and see what happens kind of situation. That way we know we have exhausted the safest routes before surgery is on the table again.

He does sound hopeful and that makes me so glad. Some of that may have been attributed to the fact that Mike Ditka announced yesterday he is holding an event at Arlington Park for trigeminal neuralgia. If you know my guy you know why this is a big deal for him. Not necessarily a huge Ditka fan, but football.

In three months he goes back and they reevaluate. If meds providing relief enough then he finds dosage that will work for him and his liver. If not then confer with Cohen and go from there.

Yea my guy and I are sitting there waiting again. We are a little less desperate and fearful. But still very much together and looking for the options.

From where I sit: Taking research a bit further…

20120802-141021.jpgI have been in public education for five years and I feel the constant need to analyze data almost daily. I know that sometimes data is a naughty word in education. However, I don’t always believe it to be so. I have worked in a few different fields. I started working at Dominos Pizza as a teenager and I worked with data there. At 16, I started as as a neighborhood knocker. We went to neighborhoods that had high order yields when we left coupons on their doors. We also analyzed orders and how often they came in and when they came in. That is using data and no one really poo poos that. It is good business.

I then worked for my dad in his business. He used data there to determine the amount of time it took me to clean an apartment or clean up a common area of an apartment complex. If we took too long he had to make changes or if we went too quick he had to check quality. Again, that was good business.

Then I worked at flower shop where I did all the accounts payable and receivable and that whole job was data. Who has paid their flower bills, who did not? When do most orders come in and from who? And what wire service do you use most? Or what credit card service do you use? Can we get certain things cheaper? I then carried a similar position with Delta Faucet eventually moving into customer service where I was responsible to handle point of purchase printed materials so I analyzed orders and shipments and usage there too. It is just good business.

The one thing that is different in my job now is that we are dealing in humans. We are placing data on humans which sometimes gives the false idea of manufacturing and this idea that we are manufacturing a learner and doer. And yes in a sense we are. But humans are so very complex that really that data is only a snap shot in time and in the next minute it can change. I see it daily and by the minute.

But what is important here is that I get my students who are almost considered adults to do something with the data they retrieve. A lot of my job is about teaching kids how to say the things they want to say. That may be in writing a research paper, a literary paper, a speech or a presentation. For so long that has meant finding statistics and and plopping them in a paper and citing it and then trying to explain it.

Well in my classes this semester I have taken it a step further. I chose to do this because you have too! Students can longer be prepared for college and/or jobs and just give someone an answer they found on google. That doesn’t work. They need to see rhetoric as more than a commercial or  putting words out into the universe. They need to understand why they are and how they are.

infographic

I have chosen to do that this year with infographics. I rolled it out with my student publications kids first because it is a smaller section of kids and I have a bit more freedom with the curriculum. The first part of our unit focused on what an infographic is and rhetorically analyzing so very many infographics. They loved the visual rhetoric and analyzing it. They truly became experts on the visual aspects of what appeals in an infographic, but in turn they also became experts at looking at the sources (or lack there of with some) from the creators of the infographics.

From there they had to do some sort of research on whatever they wanted. It had to be both primary and secondary research on their topic and then create an infographic containing their information. Essentially, they had to put words into action. Their critiques above assisted in creating amazing infographics. They were achieving something that they had no idea. They were not only analyzing data, but they finding their own data and doing their own primary research and thereby becoming the experts on their topics. The project was such a success that I know I want to carry it over into my other classes.

I know some people dog this generation of students with being lazy and I truly don’t believe that to be true. I think they are innovators and want to and can see more than the generations before them. For an analogy, they understand the research paper, but see it as 2 dimensional. They don’t just want that 2D version of research anymore. They want to see the 3D version.

Yes data is bad sometimes. I would never argue that when dealing with the real lives of students who bring all sorts of stuff to my classroom. But they also need to understand that data has a value. They just need to be shown that it is just a number. It is a point in time and represents that time and not them.

Whoops.

Duh

So I reminded my guy this AM the year anniversary passed. He says, “Ummm. I am sorry. It didn’t. I stood there for a minute and was like, “huh?” He says, that was the date I went to see the surgeon and booked my surgery. I still stood there baffled for a minute. Then I was like, “Okay”.

I still feel like it was that day but I know he is right now. So I guess my post, “A year ago, I lived through the unimaginable” needs to be re-posted next week. But I am not gonna. Fast forward a week. My feelings are still the same.

A year ago I lived through the unimaginable.

Most of this post will be about the pictures and the moments. But come on, it is me. I have to say something. A year ago I sat next to my husband and held his hand and trusted about four surgeons and four anesthesiologist to take care of him and fix him the best they could. I had false assumptions about that day, as did my guy. But we were also realistic, we knew there was no quick fix. Alas there is not. The irony is not lost on me that my house is in the turmoil of a nasty stomach virus that has struck my guy too today. Today of all days.

A year ago at almost this exact same moment I fought with a lady who told me my husband was too sick to see me. This was after she was just in his ICU room seeing him. Needless to say I fought. I was not going to let some hospital liaison whose primarily goal is to ensure intensive care patients families are cared for see my husband and tell me he was too sick to see me and not her.

Today he doesn’t look all that different. He hates being sick. Well who doesn’t, but I mean he seriously hates it. Like avoids it at all costs and sleeps through it like an old pro. Many years with him and I have seen him like this very few times. That isn’t too say he is so sick. In comparison this is nothing compared to what he has gone through. It was my fear though. A fear of him having to throw up with his TN. His facial pain is triggered by the weird things, so throwing up, that was a no brainer. Thankfully, his stubborness is keeping the sickies at bay or asleep. 🙂

Now our story in pictures.

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This is probably the hardest picture for me to look at; I hate it

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Look at the aging and the progression. And look how far we have come in a year and how far we have not. It is a very weird place. But a good place. But a bad place. Ha! You get the picture. I am so grateful for every single day with him even with the pain. He is always constantly worried about me despite feeling horrible. The true definition of chivalrous. I am one lucky momma. Now back to my laundry. Eww! Happy 1 year anniversary of your MVD. I am grateful life is better.

I was at it again.

I am telling you a huge part of making sure I have some time to myself is cooking for my family. I love this because I get to feed my family food I make which I believe ties a family together and carries on a legacy of memories. I cook things my mother in law makes, as well as, recipes from my family. My girls all the sudden want those things and will hopefully eventually cook them for their family. I try and make them more healthy if they need it and I can. This recipe was no different.

Several times with my co-workers I have eaten at a local restaurant, Rack and Helen’s, which is bar type foods and Mexican. Everything I have ever had was amazing, but the best thing I feel like they do is their red sauce or enchilada sauce. So much so I have begun a journey to recreate a healthier version at home. Last night was my first attempt and it was good. It was not mind blowing but it was amazing when all the components were placed together.

As I was cooking in the kitchen this funny thing happens. I turn on music and my girls and I dance and sing stupidly but it is so much fun! Again another awesome memory we are making. But as I was cooking my sous chef was beside me making cheesecake. As in making it where I didn’t have to help. The one thing I did assist on was getting a bowl because she is short you know! But it was amazing by the way!

PIN48) I got the recipe from here and then per usual I tweaked it to make it work for us. I replaced the vegetable oil for coconut oil. I also exchanged the vegetable stock/chicken stock for beef stock low sodium. I feel like this second exchange may have been where the first error occurred. The second would have been I may have reduced it too much. It was pretty thick. I followed the time but mine was markedly thick.

My review would be that when I placed the sauce into my actual wet burrito recipe it worked. But I had to incorporate the fresh ingredients of tomatoes and lettuce to cut through the strong and intense flavor of the sauce. It wasn’t horrible by itself, it just was beefy (to use a weird adjective). If I made again I would probably follow her. I was just thinking I was using it for wet burritos why not beef stock? It was rich in a savory manner if that makes sense.

I have heard several accounts of making an amazing red sauce/enchilada sauce from a can of enchilada sauce of your choice and a jar of beef gravy. Initially to me, this seems to easy and I was hesitant of trying it. But now I can see how this may have the consistency I am looking for. I would just like to decrease sodium because both are high in those products.

I could also continue to tweak the one I tried. I am not sure I would definitely eat it again and switch the beef back to chicken or veggie stock. My wet burrito was amazing and super pretty (can’t you see it?), so it isn’t like it was torture. I just know I needed to add lettuce and tomato to kinda cut through the richness of the sauce.

I apologize for how bad the pictures are because I had to use my cell. My camera was dead. But you get the idea.

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Definitely a try again recipe. Just not Rack and Helen’s red sauce which is A-U-H-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Eye on the prize, GIRL!

Two years ago I sat in an auditeria with a room full of about 1000 other teachers and education support staff. A new school year had just begun and we had our annual professional development meeting in our district. Unsure of what we would see that day I sat eagerly waiting for the 3 o’clock end of the day because that was a treat for my usual 5 o’clock end time. But as our speaker was introduced my attitude changed. Standing in front of us was, Principal Kafele, a speaker that I had no idea would affect my own teaching for the following years to come.

What happened was he began to speak and I began to feel as if it were just he and I in the room. Very rarely had I heard someone speak about teaching the way I felt about teaching. His focus is primarily working with students who fall into the gap. The gap as defined by society that tries to foretell a students success based mostly on the factors they have no control over. He believes in all his soul and purpose that this lies within a students attitude from those factors and he works with educators and parents to help them understand the impact they could have on students attitudes.

After two years of teaching at the university level I found myself drawn to these students. Students who struggled to look in the mirror and see anything. Students who didn’t believe they could be anything, but I knew somewhere someway they had found their way to my classroom therefore they had some fire somewhere. I just tried to ignite it.  For me I saw the opportunity to teach at an early college and I took it because I knew the EC model worked primarily with students like this.

After teaching in this setting for a few years I recognized my school doesn’t necessarily fit that model, but I did realize that most schools do now EC, traditional high school, middle school, college and elementary. Our youth are hurting and being left behind for a myriad of political and personal reasons that have nothing to do with me.

So there on that early fall day I found myself connecting with another human who understood my passion and reignited my own fire in finding my purpose in education. For some they could say they always knew they wanted to be a teacher and I admire that. I believe in some ways that was my dream too. But my dream was different. It was about seeking out students who didn’t see their greatness and pushing them in front of those mirrors. He said, “You must see them for more than they are right now. You have to see the future they cannot.” And I do.

Sometimes my students call me mom and that is great, but that is NOT what I am seeking. I am NOT seeking to be a favorite or the coolest teacher. I want none of that. I want that push and pull relationship that is a constant. A constant that they can count on.  That means I hold them to high moral and academic standing no matter where they are from. That means when they fall short I remind them and support them through the consequences and I will always rejoice in the good.

Three years into this setting and I can tell you I know my students. I know every single one of them. I make it my mission to know them and remind them of their futures. And sometimes that means I am not their favorite because I call them on the tough stuff. I call them on not being their best. But they need it because more than anything they need to know their greatness.

Sometimes this means I go home broken hearted because they are teenagers and they do make mistakes. And sometimes they get mad at me because I do say, “Hey, you aren’t being the best you.” But they also know they always have me in their corner reminding them they can and will do it. They see me live it in my own life. A sign in my room right next to my desk is a published article by a Phd prof I had. He gave me a copy before it went to print. I wrote in sharpie marker to myself, “Eye on the prize GIRL!” I did this for the exact same reason I teach the way I do.

Life is too easy to get caught up in the crap. The crap can be defined however you want and we all got it. But most of the time the crap weighs you don’t and keeps you from your intended path. They know I get it because I have lived it. I am transparent about that. My own life I could apply it right now. I live it. Passion for  where you have been, passion for where you are going, passion for where you are and passion for where you are headed.

In my last five years teaching I have bargained with myself that if I ever lose that I will switch careers. When I start seeing my kids as less than who I believe they can be I can’t teach. I run the risk of ruining who they are and who they could become and I don’t have the right. I will never ever have that right and that is why I respect this profession so much. I recognized the impact I have on the faces I see every day.

I can’t and shouldn’t bend them to my will and my beliefs. I should instead encourage them to find their own in the ways I have. Find their dreams. Speak their dreams and make their dreams happen. And should worst ever come to worst they have a place to come to remind them failure is an option and sometimes it happens. That place is me. I have been that place and will continue to be that place.

I recognize that this passion of mine sometimes takes me past my contract hours, sometimes creates an emotional connection that I sometimes take home. As the years pass I get better at compartmentalizing it or I sulk for a day and find a way to move on past it. But this is a career I love. A career that does not feel like going to work. A career that allows me to work with content that I admire and love and with people who I feel the same about.

If you are a teacher or a parent even and you are looking for someone to ignite a fire in you I cannot recommend more highly this youtube clip by Principal Kafele. He has a great series in Messages to your son, Messages to you parents and messages to you educators.

Rita Pierson also provides a similar message to educators and her rhetoric is amazing.