Moments on a Monday and April Goals

It’s hard to believe that it is the end of March {almost} already!  Time has really flown by this month!

Here’s a random of H inside one of his birthday presents…

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It was so chilly today and yesterday.  I totally recycled my church outfit into my Monday work outfit.  Does anybody else do this???

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Leggings and long, warm sweaters = Comfy but not very springy attire!

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I totally rock the “I’m a nine year old” hair-dos all the time.  I once had a student come up to me and say “Mrs. Leatherbury, we’re twins!  Our hair style is the same!”  Now, I teach third grade.  That info makes this statement a little more funny, don’t you think???  😉

My sister came to visit yesterday afternoon due to some work obligations in the area.  It was so nice having her in town, and it makes me a teeny bit nostalgic as I think back to when she was attending college just a hop, skip, and a jump away at Old Dominion.  We did some crafting with H, went for a walk {purely to meet her FitBit goal, I think}, enjoyed some red meat :), and talked a bunch.  So thankful for my sister!  I’d be even more thankful if she’d move closer to us though.  Just saying!  Before her arrival, H and I attended Palm Sunday service at church and got these little treats.

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I’ve attempted Hot Cross Buns in the past {See post here.}  However, these were light, yeast-y roll in nature.  That is a whole different kettle of fish!  Having to have things “rise” and have some type of chemical reaction like you do with yeast breads makes me very nervous!  These were provided by church and hit the spot with coffee a la Wawa picked up by the Mr.

I can happily report the only after school obligations I have this week are an allegedly “brief” grade level meeting on Wednesday followed by a giant peanut butter Easter egg and assorted mini eggs pick up from a local church.  These are some Easter treats for some boys I know who like their sweets.  It feels so good to have a little less on my plate at work and a nice week long spring break waiting in the wings!  To top it off, we are expecting some temps in the low 70s here tomorrow. Hallelujah!  We caught a little sunshine and sand in our shoes this afternoon.

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This was part of the birthday plans.  However, the chilly temps kept the kids from playing in this kiddie pool of sand that had “buried treasure” in it.  H and the Mr. had a good time uncovering bugs, necklaces, play money, etc.  Love this afternoon light and just being outdoors!  Hopefully, our spring break week will have a few warm days in it.

As we look forward to April, I wanted to check in with my March goals…

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I actually did pretty good this month!  I did get a hair cut.  Still growing my bangs out, but I’m loving the longer length.  I had a massage.  Unfortunately, it was ick.  We did visit the Chrysler Art Museum. I honestly haven’t increased my yoga practice.  I have tried to incorporate more stretching into my workouts.  I did the stretches below for runners after my longer run {6.2 miles} yesterday.

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See full info here.  Sequence/Article by Carly Sippel

We’ve been doing pretty good with meaningful Easter activities.  The Resurrection eggs have been great for really having a discussion with H about Easter, Jesus, crosses, palms, donkeys, basically anything related to the holiday.  He has had lots of questions and enjoyed the little book that comes with the eggs.  We also did just some fun stuff like playing with our Easter eggs in the tub, making sun catchers {thanks for your help, Aunt D!}, and dyeing eggs.  I’m looking forward to some more fun stuff this upcoming weekend.

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H and I did the cross – It’s a little tie-dye look!

I’d really like to make these resurrection cookies with Holden one night this week.  We’ll see!  If you’d like to see some more ideas that I collected on Pinterest, just click here to see my “Spring” board.

Here are my goals for April…

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Number 1 may have to wait until more towards the end of the month if this chilly days keep popping up on our local forecast.  Maybe number 4 too…

Do you have any goals in mind for April?

Any fun April Fools Day tricks up your sleeve?

Hope you had a good start to your week!  A parting thought for you…

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Courtesy of Instagram – Be a nice girl.  🙂

Natalie

An Un-Birthday and Some Sunday Ramblings

Good morning!  I’m up bright and early to finish up some coursework for an online class that I’ve been taking this winter/spring.  24 recertification points are now all mine!  Plus, I get my reimbursement check which feels like “free money,” but it is totally my money.  Yesterday was a big day for us!  We successfully had H’s 3rd birthday un-birthday party.  This was due to a cancellation at the beginning of the month due to a terrible stomach bug.  I’m happy to say it was actually not too stressful and surprisingly fun!  The kids were all well-behaved with the exception of Holden’s decision to hammer the coffee table {good gracious!  He’s mine!}.  We enjoyed Chik-fil-a nuggets, a veggie tray, grapes, animal crackers, cheese crackers, apple slices with yogurt dip, chips/guac/salsa, and ice cream with all the fix-ins!  I highly recommend a Chik-fil-a tray if you’re doing a semi-homemade party.  Delicious, easy, and worth the money.  The end.  Here’s the boy and I before the party.

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I can’t believe he’s three and three weeks!  My big boy growing up so fast!  It was so much fun to talk with the other moms.  I love how being a mom gives that commonality among women that isn’t really possible when we are still trying to pretend life is always glamorous and cool-io.  As on mom said about the terrible twos, “the struggle is real.”  LOL!

This week included National Puppy Day.  Here’s a picture I shared on my Instagram of our Mr. Roscoe P. Coltrane-Leatherbury.

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Isn’t he a handsome fellow?!?!

Although our weather has been kind of ick this week, H, R, and I did manage to play outside for a bit.  We pretended to do different animal walks or swims in the case of the fish!  Here’s me climbing a tree and upsetting the boys who wanted me “come down!”

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Holden pretended to be a tree in this picture.  The pine cone on him is a “bird.”

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Yesterday the Mr. tricked me into getting new shoes!  He totally lied and said that he had prepaid for some new shoes at our local running speciality store.  Then, I get there, and he had not!  I was going to get his credit card number back!  I kept telling myself to run on the shoes I had for a bit longer to really get the maximum use out of them before getting a new pair.  Well, I was already there, so I had to get some new ones.  The Mr.’s plan totally worked!  Here are the ones I got!  I didn’t try on any others and basically told the salesperson “bring out all the colors!  These are the shoes I’m getting.”  I also may have gone too far and told her I’m going to burn my old shoes in hatred.  I’m sure that is the first time she heard that yesterday!

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Link here.

Very excited to try these out!  I’m very much not excited that it is 30 degrees right now here.  Where, oh where, is spring!?!?!

A random side note- I’m loving this gum!  I usually buy minty gum, but this stuff has been a great change up this week.

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I confess that my workouts have been all over the place this past week due to a very had work week.  I’m excited to get back on track this coming week.  One week to go until spring break!!!!

Have a great Sunday!

Natalie

Zipped, Zapped, I’m going to go SPLAT!

What a week!  I’m so happy it’s Hump Day!  This week has been a challenging one for me at work.  Back in 2006, I was trying to decide my career path after graduating with my Bachelor of Arts degree in History.  I tried a very brief job in insurance and decided it wasn’t for me.  I was drawn to the teaching profession and specifically to the world of special education.  I knew I wanted to be active (i.e. not sitting at a desk), have some degree of autonomy, and provide some type of service (you know, make the world a better place!).  I completed my course work for my Master’s of Science in Education, Special Education in 2009, but I was hired provisionally in 2007 under a one-time license that the state of Virginia put into place to deal with special education teacher shortages.  I’m happily fully certified to provide learning disability services in grades K-12.

With all that being said, sometimes I doubt my decision, my path.  Oh.my.goodness.  This week is one of those weeks.  Although my “hours” are from 7:25-2:35 formally, I often find myself doing Internet searches for new ways of teaching this or that, having parent/teacher conferences or IEP meetings, discussing instruction/curriculum with other teachers, participating in training/inservices at the district and school level, or checking/grading/planning/just generally worrying about my students.  Our dinner conversations at home frequently include me rehashing a particular skill that I’m struggling to teach or an issue that I’m worried about as it relates to my students.  I’m no saint.  I wouldn’t even say I’m the most patient person I know.  In fact, I didn’t even think I liked kids until after I had started teaching.  Whoops.  Fortunately, I do like them.  🙂  I like teaching.  Heck, I even like lesson planning.  I’m not even too irritable about the paperwork.

Here’s an interesting job description for special education teachers that I found on this website:

Job Description for Special Education Teacher, Preschool, Kindergarten, or Elementary School

A person applying for a position as a special education teacher for preschool, kindergarten or elementary grades will be expected to go above and beyond the responsibilities of teachers who work with children who don’t have special needs or learning disabilities. Special education teachers work with children who can have any combination of emotional, physical or mental challenges that require a higher level of training than teachers who work with children who don’t have these struggles. Because of the challenges involved with teaching these students, a higher level of communication skills, compassion and patience is expected of both the teachers and the parents of special needs children. A special education teacher will be required to provide more individualized attention to students due to the variety of circumstances that are unique to each child in a special education classroom.

Working as a teacher with younger children who have special needs is an important responsibility. As with all children, the development of learning in the earlier stages of a child’s education will play a large role in shaping the child’s life as a teen and as an adult. Being able to assess the needs and create achievable and positive goals for each individual child requires a high degree of awareness and understanding. A special education teacher will have to adapt to situations quickly and defuse conflicts and trauma on a frequent basis. It’s also more than likely that sensitivity to emotions will be necessary for this job.

Sometimes, this job just wipes me out.  Today is one of those days.  I’m completely zapped of “get-up-and-go!”  I hate it too.  I hate feeling like I want to just be an amoeba.  Truthfully, it’s beautiful here this afternoon, and I can’t drag my tail back out  of the house to enjoy a few bits of time outside.  If you know a teacher or even a special education teacher, be a little extra nice to them.  I know every job has its challenges, but no one (except a heart doctor) deals with other people’s hearts.  I am blessed to work with the hearts and souls of many people, their children, every single day.  It can take every bit of what I learned in school and every bit of my heart/brain/feet and then ask for it again tomorrow.  A kind word goes along way.  Unfortunately, a yucky word does too.

Here’s a few funnies for a lighter note…

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I don’t mean to seem ungrateful here.  Just a some “food for thought!”  If you’re a teacher, hang in there!  Only about 9ish weeks to go until summer break/rejuvenation period!  Spring break in a week and two days (but whose counting!??!?) for me!

#keepcalmandkeepteaching

Natalie

Hippity hoppity, Easter’s on its way!

Hi there!  Gosh, there’s nothing like a Monday to take the “spring” out of your step!  5AM came mighty fast today!  I actually was sleeping so well that I didn’t hear the Mr.’s alarm go off at 4:40 today.  You could say we’re early risers…and you’d be right!  Here’s our Sunday recap…

dyed some Easter eggs

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enjoyed lots of yummy food

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did an at-home workout

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I’m thankful for the stopwatch on my iPhone!  How did people do intervals before this little handy dandy invention!?!?!

We also took a bath with our Easter eggs and hunted for them in bubbles.  I mean, what else would you do with a surplus supply of Easter eggs???

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Today involved a lot of paperwork, list checking, and teacherly stuff.  H and I enjoyed a little walk-about with Roscoe the Great this afternoon.  H told me, “Mama, it’s chilly!”  Yes, {with sadness} I agreed.  We also got a nice little surprise package by our door from the Easter Bunny disguised as Poppy.  Thanks Moochie and Poppy!  Books=the best!  Especially when it’s a little monkey name George!  We also started our “Resurrection Eggs” today with the first egg.  H was thrilled to see the donkey figurine inside, and we read the page in the little book that corresponds to the first egg/blue egg.  I love that it makes almost a countdown/Advent-like calendar for Easter.

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Link to Resurrection Eggs Here

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This week is shaping up to be a mighty busy one!  Three meetings in three days!  Friday will bring lots of party prep as we get ready for H’s birthday party – take 2 on Saturday.  Of course, it will rain and be chilly on his big day, but sprinkles, animal crackers, and markers are bound to make it fun right???

Here’s my workouts for the week:

Monday – walk/rest

Tuesday – 5.5 mile run outside/stretch (AM) weight routine at home (PM)

Wednesday – light yoga AM/stretch/ walk the doggie PM

Thursday – gym workout AM (15 minutes elliptical/15 min stair climber ->I may pass out at this part of the workout!/30 minutes weights)

Friday – OFF (We will be in full on shop, decorate, get food ready for the par-tay on Saturday.)

Hope you had a good Monday!  It’s all downhill from here!  😉

Natalie

Sunday Fun Day

Hi there!  What a great weekend it has been/continues to be!  We had such a good time yesterday, and today has been fun too. If you recall, we’ve had a few illness-filled weekends.  This one feels like an actual reprieve from the work week instead of a different type of “work.”  The Mr. and I watched The Best of Me last night on DVD.  It’s a Nicholas Sparks novel, so you can just imagine the plot of this one.  Very good sentiment and heart-touching.  However, I think the Mr. is lobbying for a break from the “touchy feely” movie that I’ve been picking lately!  We rose and shone early this morning to attend the 8AM service at church.  H was a pretty good little dude and captured a few of the older ladies’ hearts.  😉  After church, we got to go on a walk together and do some yard work.  The Mr. purchased and planted two dogwoods and a redbud.  He’s way into it.  Me…not so much!  I did help a little with cleaning up some dead vines and just plain junky plant material in our yard.  Holden had a blast finding two new “homes” for worms that popped up and just generally getting into mischief with pliers, rakes, and fertilizer.  I think we pretty much blew his mind when we told him that the fertilizer was essentially “poop!”  Then, Roscoe ate it, and well…there you go!  Lots of opportunity for questions/conversations!  Here are a few pictures from my Teacher of the Year reception (including the wristlet corsage that I wore!  I felt very prom-ish!).

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Truthfully, I get really uncomfortable at “things” like this.  This is my nervous/frightening face.

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#bathroomselfie

Another interesting pic from the weekend – the Mr.’s hunting gear laundry day!

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He certainly likes his gear/accessories!  If he was a girl, I swear he would have a million shoes and bags!

I hope you’re having a terrific weekend!  It’s amazing how simply being well and having some sunshine can be so appreciated in the spring after the winter season!

A thought for all the moms out there who are struggling with decisions, big and small!

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Image Courtesy of Traci Michele – Found at Pinterest.com

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Image from Pinterest

Natalie

Running Fever

I have had a crazy week!  More illnesses (H again!), some daycare behaviors that sure do upset this teacher/mommy, a Teacher of the Year reception that made for a late night, personal let-downs, and just plain busy-ness at work!  However, I’ve also gotten more into work again which is good.  Sometimes just acting more excited about work really results in being more excited.  Sidenote:  I’m excusing Friday from this comment as I was a stressed, busy mess!  The Mr. also knocked it out of the park on Tuesday when he picked up a sickly little man, stayed home with him, AND thoroughly cleaned the house, did laundry, and just generally was an awesome Mr. Mom.  This enabled us to have a “free” Saturday.  We enjoyed a very long trail walk at First Landing State Park and some grocery shopping together.  Together is always more fun even though the Mr. always wants to buy lots of meats and snacks!

In other news…

I’m not sure if it is due to this weekend’s Shamrock running madness in Virginia Beach or all the runners/races on my Instagram feed, but I feel like all I’m seeing, hearing, and reading about is spring running!  I did not run the Shamrock Towne Bank 8K this year due to a icky attitude and some icky winter weather.  HOWEVER, I’m really, really, really happy that it is officially spring and nicer weather.  I started increasing my mileage again (such a fair-weather runner!) using the treadmill at the gym and a handful of outside runs.  I’m up to about 6 miles for long runs.  Weekdays, I did a 5K run on Tuesday and then a 5K run on Thursday that was broken down into 400 meter runs varying speeds between 7, 8, and 10 mph speeds.  Holy goodness!  That 10 will get you!  I was a dripping, hot mess both mornings.  I mean, you know you’re warmed up if you put the window down on the way home, and the temps are still in the 30s/40s at that time of day!  I desperately need new running shoes, and I’m planning to make this purchase at the next paycheck.  It is just too ridiculous!  I’ve got one shoe that is ate up based on the way I run (turing my foot out in some odd way) plus the chewed up tongue on one shoe that I will NEVER forgive my sister’s dog for doing.  Honestly, my shoes suck.  I should have never switched brands!  I’m pretty sure I’ve lamented my choice on here about a dozen times.  Can’t wait to get another pair of Brooks!  Here is some fun pictures I found on Pinterest this afternoon…

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I love a good quote!  Off to do a long, outside run in my almost-reached-their-expiration-date shoes!  Have a great Saturday!

Natalie

A bit of grossness and Monday’s meals and movement

Good Morning!  I’m so excited it’s Monday.  Write that statement down quick.  This weekend was a mixed bag, and I can truthfully say “TGIM.”  Yesterday, H and I were at church for the contemporary family service.  As soon as the music started up at nine o’clock on the dot, H said, “My tummy hurts.”  I pick up kid.  He puts his head on my chest.  Then…the vomit begins.  I felt terrible for him, but I also had a nice pity party for myself too {as I carried vomiting child to the closest bathroom…puking all the way, mind you}.  A very nice lady/angel appeared in the bathroom after a few panicky moments when I was thinking “what to do?  what to do?”  She helped us clean up as best we could and prepare to exit the yucky scene.  I’m so thankful for her help!  It was stinky duty too.

We spent the rest of the day at home and canceled our play date.  It seems that Holden is allergic to any socialization.  Recall his canceled birthday party from last weekend????  Holden did NOT get sick any more yesterday which I am very grateful for.  I, however, did feel sick most the morning, but I think this was due to the fact that I was WEARING his Saturday night dinner and Sunday breakfast for about a half hour until I could get home to shower.  The day didn’t improve too too much though.  I tried to be productive and make a batch of key lime bars for the Mr.’s charity bake sale.  They turned out overcooked.  I was turing into an emotional meltdown mess.  The Mr. was out of the loop for all this fun as he was on the Shore.  Good choice for this particular day!

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Yes, I gave up.  The Mr. brought home the sanity saver aka Tollhouse cookies that he baked up for the charity bake sale tomorrow at his work. P.S.  Apparently, we are very polite to one another via text message.  Hmmm…not so sure about in person sometimes, but hey, got to find the positive!

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Baked goods…

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The lovely boxes that I went in a billion stores to find for my bars to fit in that will now carry the cookies.

Anywho….!  On to something less ick!   Here are some things I plan to fix for dinners this week…

Asparagus, Red Beans, and Rice

Salmon, Kale, and Roasted Red Potatoes

Marinated Grilled Chicken, Green Beans, and Sweet Potatoes

English Muffin Mini-Pizzas, Corn, and Salad

Egg Salad Sandwiches, Salad, and Pretzels/Popcorn {P.S. Our newish love is air-popped popcorn!  Minimal salt and no oil is better than you think.  Very satisfying chewy snack!}

I very much want to try a new, healthy dessert recipe this week.  Not sure if that is going to happen as I have a very busy week ahead {meetings upon meetings, reschedule play date, Teacher of the Year reception, library visit with H}.  Plus, a lot of healthy recipes call for UNSWEETENED coconut flakes.  This does not exist at my local grocery stores.  Or else I can’t find it!  I need a Whole Foods trip to pick up a small supply.  Here are two drool worthy recipes from The Fitnessista…

Black Forest Paleo Brownies

Raw Brownie Cheesecake Raspberry Bars

Don’t they sound/look amazing?!?!?

As far as movement is concerned, here is my schedule for the week…

Monday – Beautiful weather is predicted!  Jog to park with H in stroller to play and jog back {2 miles total}. Stretch.

Tuesday – Weights & 3 mile treadmill run

Wednesday – OFF/stretch

Thursday  – Elliptical or some other alternate cardio & weights

Friday – 30 min. yoga DVD

Saturday – 5 or 6 mile run and weights {possibly putting those off until Sunday}

I hope your Monday is lovely!  With temps in the 70s here and sunshine, I’m not sure how mine can’t be great!

Natalie