Sunday, January 25, 2015

The I Can't/Won't Child

One of E's most frustrating personality traits that has come out more and more in the last year or so is an attitude of "I CAN'T" or he WON'T even try.

It comes out the most during new physical activities like skating and swimming lessons.

I get that not everyone wants to try everything, and he's never been the type to jump right into new situations and activities. I don't want to force him to do anything,  but what thing I find particularly frustrating are

1) he gets so excited about new activities beforehand and then breaks down in tears at the first sign of not being able to do it perfectly right off the bat,

2) claiming he can't do something even though he doesn't try (or, even more frustrating, when he CAN do it), and

3) breaking down into tears because he tries to do something new, does it, and then I  (gasp!) cheer him on.

It pushes me to the breaking point every times this happens. It is beyond frustrating to me. Why can't he just TRY? Who cares if he can't do it perfectly right away? Why does everything have to end in tears? Why can't he just have fun trying (sometimes he doesn't and sometimes he loves it and can't wait to go to the next lesson, but it's a crapshoot what his attitude will be like the next time)?

Both DH and I are totally flummoxed by this and don't know what to do. We don't want him to give up on things so easily, but we don't want to force him into things either.

What worries me is that he'll become so afraid to try new things that a) we're going to start thinking twice about signing him up for classes/lessons or buying him new things (like a bike) because we don't want him to give up and essentially waste the time and money, and b) I don't want this attitude to keep him away from so many cool things in life.

Any thoughts or advice from parents who have been there, done that, with this kind of attitude?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Dichotomy of School

I get asked often how school is going and, to be perfectly frank, it's a pretty distinct dichotomy. I go between it being amazing and being defeating.

I LOVE that I'm doing what I need to become a teacher...something I've wanted to do for years. I get shots of joy and happiness even from just realizing that fact. The second placement is coming up in March and I'm really excited about that! I've met a handful of people who I know are "my people" and who I know I will keep in touch with after this whole thing is done. A few of the courses are really enjoyable, and I get a lot out of them - be it resources, or ideas for teaching methods/techniques, or even some "ah-hah" and navel-gazing moments about my own thoughts or opinions of things. Some of the classes aren't that great, but I'm still able to get tidbits here and there that I know I'll put to good use.

On the extreme other hand, I find this school is like a cesspool of negativity. It's like walking into a pit of anger/fear/uncertainty/insecurity all balled into one. I can practically feel the toxicity seep into me slowly as I walk through the door and hallways. There is so much talk about job potential worries, the amount of work (which is really not that much), what's to hate, what's unfair, who's too busy and who's too tired. It can be hard to hear (or be involved) with the same negative conversations day after day and NOT let it rub off or affect me in some way.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Maybe not surprisingly, there are a lot of assignments at teacher's college. Many of them are relevant and practical (such as making lesson plans, unit guides, or rubrics), but the ones I really like are when we get to use new technologies or methods I've never seen.

For example, in our Math class we've had two full classes of student presentations about "cool math" - either math tricks, or neat math websites, online tools, or aps. A similar assignment in our computers class get groups of students to present cool, new-to-us teaching/education technologies.

That being said, one of the assignments I'm really looking forward to this semester is to create an education/teaching blog!

Needless to say, this is right up my alley since I've been writing on this blog since 2008 (6 years? really?!). I've also been thinking of creating a blog just for my teaching journey, and this gives me the perfect reason and opportunity to do just that.

I've started creating and, in all honesty, am probably spending way too much time on it, but I'm excited about it! Not only will I write about my journey as a new math and science teacher, I'll also blog about cool tools, aps, lesson, methods, etc. I come across in hope that it will be a resource for other teachers (both new and experienced).

Once it's up and running and I have some content, I'll share it and link to it from this blog. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hair Evolution

It's been about one year since my first visit to my hair stylist after my stroke. I've had a few appointments since then, including today -- here's how my hair has evolved since it was first shaved for my emergency brain surgery (if you're squeamish, you might not want to look at the first photo or two --- especially the second one).

 Fig. 1: Late October, 2013 (about 2 weeks after my surgery).

Fig. 2: Late December, 2013 (a couple days after my second surgery to put my skull back on)

Fig. 3: Late February, 2014.

Fig. 4: Mid-May, 2014 (right after an appointment with my stylist).

Fig. 5: Mid-August, 2014 (shortly after another visit to my stylist)

 Fig. 6: January 6, 2015 (right after a visit to my stylist)

First, how awesome is my stylist? She managed to make my hair look like a million bucks at every awkward stage! She's actually an award-winning hair stylist, and it really makes a world of difference, especially when dealing with such hair issues (I did start seeing her before all this and noticed a HUGE difference between previous stylists - she has a deep understanding of the connection between hair type, face type, personality, and style).

Second, I know it seems a bit vain to be writing about my hair of all things after everything that has happened, but it's amazing how much it affected me throughout this journey. It was hard looking in the mirror and not seeing MYSELF, if that makes sense --- I was just staring at a stroke patient. My stylist gave me ME back, even though my hair wasn't the same as before. She helped me take ownership of it - choosing styles that I wanted, even thought I wasn't so keen on the length. Being able to make the CHOICE instead of it being thrust upon me, really helped me feel more confident.

Never underestimate the worth of a great hair stylist!

Saturday, January 3, 2015


We spent the last week and a bit of 2014 down in Arizona with my family (hence the quiet on the blog), which was a much-needed break from the realities of life here!

C managed to get some sort of killer cold the first day out, and the rest of us ended up getting it to some extent over the holiday. Despite that though, we managed to enjoy the nicer weather, spend some good family time together, and I even got in a round of golf - on Christmas Day even (first time I've been on the course since before I was pregnant with E)!!

2014 was a good year for our family with lots of changes and growth! What about my goals from last year? Here they are and how I did:

1. Get the okay to drive from doctors.
- This was done early in January, but completely official by April (though I drove since I got the initial "okay", because the winter would have been all that worse if I couldn't get around!).

2. Knitting: finish afghan, and choose some new (smaller) projects
- I did finish the afghan in June! I started a sweater for C, did a garland for Christmas, and have just about finished a scarf for E.

3. Begin to learn to play the piano.
- Not even close to an attempt.

4. Decide on next step in my career.
- Done! I am half way through my B.Ed to teach high school!

5. Read at least 1 book per month.
- Just snuck in at 12!

6. Find ways (and time) to exercise.
- I did very well with this one until my first practicum in October, and then it totally fell off the radar. I will be getting back to swimming now that classes are starting again.

7. Find new and fun things to do with the kids.
- We bought a fish tank (and fish) in January, and that held our interest for a while!
- We built a big playset in the backyard
- In the summer we started geocaching, and really like to do it al together!

8. Figure out some storage solutions for our house.
- We got a couple new storage systems for toys/books/games
- I did reorganize some of our closets which has helped
- We bought baskets for the cubby by our front door
- Am using small flower pots in the pantry to store my excess kitchen utensils
- DH refurbished a storage cubby by our side entrance and it looks great (and is functional!)

9. Keep trying new and different recipes
- Didn't keep up with this so much, but have added a few more regular meals to our rotation (sausage pasta, chicken parm)

10. Get Evan fully potty trained by the time he starts school.
- YAY we did this one, and much earlier!

11. Find a way to be an advocate for or work with other stroke survivors
- I did a few local media interviews to share my experience, but haven't done anything specific (though have been looking into it).

12. Take care of myself (specifically in terms of progressing in my recovery).
- Taking care of myself will always be a work in progress, because I tend to drop to the end of my priority list. I know that I need to keep this up because I'm a better person when I'm eating, sleeping, exercising, and have time to relax.

I think I did pretty awesome, so go me!

What about for 2015? Instead of a list, I have chosen a theme: re-evaluation. Basically, just checking in with myself (or ourselves as a family) about how/why/when we are doing things and if any changes need to be made.

Sometimes we find ourselves doing things simply because we have in the past. For example, I've been keeping track of our finances the same way for years, and I think it's time to update with all the technology that's available. Other things that come to mind is what we spend our money on (being more mindful would be good), how we organize our lives/house, and how we spend our time.

On top of these, I have my usual goals in terms of reading (keep up with at least 1 book a month) and knitting (finish C's sweater, learn how to make socks, and take a class).

Looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings on every level for us!

Happy new year to all my wonderful readers and hope that it brings you much joy and happiness!