March 23, 2018

Friday Favorites

1. This is my favorite go-to dinner. Quinoa Pizza Pie. I make it at least once a month, sometimes twice.

2. My mom sent us a box of baby clothes. This is very welcome, as I've bought nothing yet (except a crib...we ordered that on Wednesday). I want to get the nursery organized and planned before I start filling it and hopefully I can start on that next week during my spring break but who knows what will come up (something always comes up). The theme, thus far, is all the puppies and all the foxes.

3. I really enjoy Michael Linsin's books on teaching. This article on how to eliminate stress (in 5 easy steps, no less!) from your teacher life is something I've practiced for years, long before I read the article. Saying "no" is my secret weapon. I never let myself feel guilted into extra activities/duties. It's my upholder/rebel nature, I suppose (I don't know if you can be more than one tendency, but I am whatever the opposite of an obliger is.)

4. THIS ARTICLE ON RAISING ADULTS. OHMYGOSH. If you have children, read it and then go read Amy Carney's blog.

5. Scott came home from a tractor supply/garden store with this chicken. If you read the Bloggess back in the day, you know the story of the big metal chicken. He remembered me telling him the story (and forcing him to read it), so when he saw the metal chicken, he came home with it.

And we are a-l-m-o-s-t to spring break. Whew.

Plans include seeing some friends in Denver, and then heading to Wyoming to start settling in next week. Also, a trip to the vet for heartworm tests. There's always a trip to the vet involved it seems.

March 22, 2018

Stuff and Things 3/22

This is just going to be a list of things without pictures. But, it's what's going through my mind right now:

+The carpet in my classroom is being replaced over spring break. A person less used to upheaval would have a panic attack at the fact that EVERYTHING will be moved around and displaced and un-set-up. I, on the other hand, don't really care. New carpet will be nice for the last two months I'm there.

+I handed in my letter of resignation last week. I wasn't on planning on doing that so early, as after spring break is usually the acceptable time, but my principals have been surveying who's coming back and who's not, so I just got it over with. It was slightly traumatic, as I haven't quit a job since 2014, but it is what it is.

+Last week, I posted that we are having a boy. I've pretty much known this baby was a boy since day one: no morning sickness, craving only salt, etc. We picked a girl's name, just to be safe (so we didn't have to start from scratch), but I honestly couldn't imagine a girl.

You'll also notice that I didn't make you watch a four minute video or scroll through 18 (potentially slow-loading) pictures on the blog post to get to the point of "boy or girl". I'm not one for huge amounts of suspense in this odd category of gender reveals. And I cannot be the only one who will look at the comments on a Facebook or IG post to find out "boy or girl" instead of actually watching the video, right? And, fun fact, our friend told us that knowing a baby's gender is illegal in some parts of his home country (India) because of the prejudice against girls. He has really found it amusing that we can so easily go to a doctor to find out the gender. Which, we didn't do anything special like a 3D or 4D early on. We just waited for the 21 week scan. I, however, do not understand how people don't find out the gender. It would drive me insane to not know what to call the little one or refer to them as for several months.

+I'm pretty much over the people on the east coast complaining about snow. Bloggers aren't doing it; Facebook "friends" are. They seem to be insulted that it's snowing in March? Well, it can snow here until May (we've had two field trips canceled the first week of May, two years in a row, because of snow). Also, you don't live in Florida. You can't be insulted that it's snowing when you live in a climate with true winter. That's legitimately how the world works. I don't know what to tell you. And I'd rather have a bunch of snow than the dry, dusty winter of this year (and we'll no doubt get snow in May anyway).
And don't even get me started on the snow in Alaska that would be ever-present until Memorial Day.

+A few links worth reading...

Can you be addicted to watching The Office? Yes, you can. It's such a comfort. I started the day it premiered when I was in college.

Things people in Alaska get snobby about. These are all absolutely true. After 4 years in Colorado, a lot of the Alaska posts are pretty poignant to me because I remember it all very well.

Dear Friend About to Leave Teaching. This article is full of less-than-helpful platitudes and it says so in the comments. It's more than true that most who leave teaching leave for a reason, not because they feel discouraged. I don't think that anyone should be guilted into staying in a profession because "they are making a difference". I'm sure I am making a difference. But it's my memories of how wonderful teaching can be that have kept me in it for this long, not because I'm hoping to see a pay-off in the future generation. Because I'll never *really* know how everyone turns out.

+And, okay, one picture:

Happy almost-Friday! I have a million and one things to do tonight because I chose to do (literally) nothing every evening this week, so that was a failure. 

March 20, 2018

Mid-March already(?)

+How does one even title weekend posts? This is ^ the best I could come up with.

+The weird part about blogging is that you want to document the happy and the good and interesting. Documenting the mundane is fine too. Documenting the uncertain, to me, is the hardest part of blogging.

+This is mostly the mundane and the uncertain. The farther we get into the school year, the harder Mondays get. Honestly, what's so hard about them is knowing that I have so much to accomplish in the next 8 weeks, professionally and personally, and then it's time for an official PCS to Wyoming and I break down at least once each weekend, just thinking about how much I *want* to do over the next couple of months. I won't bore you with the details but, I swear, I go day-to-day most weeks.

+I will also not lie and say I am very disappointed that I don't have The Bachelor to distract me from the new week's beginning anymore. It was blissful relief this past winter to just lose myself in nothingness on Mondays (and then finish it on Tuesdays because I would literally have to go to bed before the show was over).

+Scott was on spring break last week so he made it his mission to get allthethings done around the property. I'll give him this: he got a lot done.

+He bought a tractor and went to work. Pictures to follow...

+We are trying to sell the Nissan truck on Craigslist (if you know anyone who is interested in Colorado...).

+We are trying to get our house ready to sell. We're also trying to pack everything and get it to Wyoming in phases instead of all at once. This resulted in a major mid-week fail in which a snowstorm in Wyoming closed all the roads to Laramie and Scott just had to turn around and come back with a load of furniture.

+On Thursday, Scott encountered a grassfire on his way home from somewhere (probably Lowe's) and the sheriff wouldn't let him through, so they just watched the "fire tornado" from a safe distance.

+Most fires are caused by artillery training on the army base.

You might say that maybe the army base should stop doing live-fire training during the dry and windy days....however...the army base was here before any houses were. It was Camp Carson during WWII. People just happened to build neighborhoods all around the base. This may not be a problem at other bases, but it's perpetually dry and windy here. (Any fire that would get to us out in the middle of nowhere would be from something stupid like an idiot burning trash or a lightning strike or a cigarette...we're too far from the base for their fires to hit us and if they did, well, Colorado Springs would have bigger problems at that point as everyone else's houses would've already burned down.)

With brigades constantly gearing up for deployments, the artillery practice is going on almost every day (we can hear it at our house) and there's at least one fire every week. But they are literally doing their job and what they are supposed to be doing to keep our country secure, so it's a real dilemma concerning if you can get mad at the base. After all, they were there first and the neighborhoods came later. And the soldiers have to train, fire weather or no fire weather.

Anyway. That was the first half of the weekend. Fire weather causing us to worry and plan and mitigate. Nothing new about that.

Other things...

I did a lot of cleaning, per usual. Some cooking. I really feel like baking cookies, but that seems like a trap I don't need to fall into right now.

This quinoa mango salad was quite good.

And this is how I trick myself into eating vegetables:

I covered this with tomato butter sauce. 

And, I had trouble putting this book down over the weekend. Scott bought me Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser back in November. I started it but didn't get very far because I wasn't in a non-fiction place (or a reading place, to be honest). When I really got into it last week, I realized OF COURSE I LOVE IT. It's a non-fiction account of the Little House books. It has some interesting tidbits I haven't read before (the Ingalls and the Wilders spent all their time, seemingly, running from debt) and their unsettledness makes me feel better about my own life. 

So that was the weekend. I have four more days until spring break and spring break means I will hopefully get a paint some rooms in Wyoming (gray, of course). 
And hey, at least it's Tuesday. Maybe tonight I'll be motivated to have something other than cereal for dinner?

March 16, 2018

It's a.....?!?!?

Jett and Scout are (going to be) thrilled to be getting a brother! (I'm sure of it.)

We found out that this little one is a boy at our anatomy scan last week and it was a relief to know that everything seems fine so far.  It was also nice to complete our registry with boy clothes instead of just gender neutral, but the nursery will be gender neutral-ish anyway with gray walls and some woodland animal-themed accents. That was the plan, boy or girl.

It's been a long and twisty week in these parts (not shocking as we prepare to move and sell a house and Scott has been roadblocked..sometimes literally..on so many projects) and I was legitimately having trouble coming up with something "favorite" to post today. This is a good compromise :)

March 15, 2018

Stuff and Things 3/15

+Jett turned 4 over the weekend.

Picture quality is skewed because we were away from the windows and I had to lighten these up. 

And a windblown selfie after a walk. I can't even explain how much I love this dog (mostly because he's so loyal).

+I've been more or less struck down by round ligament pain. I can't believe people don't talk about this more. The spasms, the stretching, the burning, the itchiness: I've really been barely able to function this week. It's honestly why I didn't post on Monday...we had a fine weekend, but it was eclipsed by me being in pain. It messes with my appetite and all productivity goes out the window. In fact, I've gotten nothing done this week because of it. I can barely do my job well at school and then I come home and just sit. Not that sitting helps. I'm doing all the yoga, and all the Pilates, and all the stretching, and all the walking, and taking all the Tylenol, and nothing actually makes it better.
It's really a shame that, now at 22 weeks, I can't call this the easiest pregnancy ever anymore.

+I cried at this for awhile. One of the many reasons we'll never fly with dogs. Other than the fact that United should be strung up and sued (I would sue), we just won't fly with dogs. I think that, when we got Scout almost 5 years ago, we just silently agreed that we'd have a lifestyle change. Dogs stay home or go with us, but they never go with us on an airplane. This is also why we will never voluntarily live "overseas" again, unless it's back to Alaska because you can drive there (and Scott would love nothing more).

+To brighten your almost-Friday:

March 14, 2018

2018 Goal Update

2 1/2 months into the year, I can say that I've not *quite* been on track with these goals I set. And they're pretty low-bar to begin with. Here's the original post, but I'll copy/paste the details for the sake of recapping thus far.

1. See one new movie each month.

Sure. I half-watched parts of Allied as I graded papers and Scott watched it on Amazon. But I thought it was dumb and wasn't invested.
I did go to see Game Night in February and it was good. Also, I watched The Girl on the Train on Hulu, but it was also in February, so does that count? I suppose it can as long as I see 12 new-to-me movies in 2018.

2. Write one in-depth book review each month.

I did this in January, but not in February. 1 out of 2. 

3. Really dig in to writing about teaching.

I have actually been doing this! Here's everything tagged Teaching and Teacher Stuff and I'm attempting to get something up every few weeks. 

The interesting thing is that I know not everyone is interested in this and not everyone reads them and probably skims over them in blog-readers the same way I skim over most link-up/reintroduction posts. But this is a huge part of my life, so I want to have it documented to go back to later. This is one of those "this is for me, not for you" blog post topics. 

4. Try making macarons.

No. I actually don't anticipate this happening soon, if at all. With a move, a baby, and alllll the things that go with those two things, I don't think baking will be my outlet in 2018. 

When I originally wrote these goals, I knew we'd have some big changes coming with a move, trying to sell the Colorado house, etc. To set some shorter-term goals, I would say that I'd love to get a couple of rooms painted in Wyoming over the next few weeks and I'd like to get a lot of things packed up in Colorado so they are ready to move to Wyoming.

March 13, 2018

February Books 2018

I am a serial did-not-finisher (DNF) when it comes to books. I will try almost any book because I know I don't have to love it. My DNF issue presents in the way of me WANTING to like a book, so I will attempt to push through, even if I dislike it a little bit or am bored by it or never want to read it. I know that when I never want to read the book, it's time to quit. I will not be interested in a book if I can't feign an interest.

I read two great (or, at least really good) fiction books in February and then I wanted more fiction, but I wanted it for free. I didn't want to actually buy books because I hate spending money on books. I'm on the library wait list for a few books I suspect I'll like, but this weekend I listened to a book (Overdrive is an amAzing app) and then I'm in the middle of another hardcover. Both non-fiction.

This was what I officially finished in February, though.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn A

I went back to Audible at a discounted rate for the next couple of months and I thought this might be a good time to try to get back into audiobooks. I have the time to listen right now, so I might as well.
This was a good story. I suspected the first twist pretty early on but kept at it. I did not see the second twist coming because it seemed pretty layered into the story. This was hard to turn off.
If you'd like a mystery or suspenseful story, this is for you.

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo A

Heather was kind enough to mail me a copy of this that she had already read because I couldn't find it at my library. It's the first in a series and my library has other books in the series but not this one.
I really enjoyed it. It moved quickly. It didn't lag or drag like a lot of other mystery series I've found (i.e. Louise Penny). I am looking forward to tracking down the rest of the books (I'm thinking I'll visit the UW library again when I go to Wyoming for my spring break). It's pretty graphic, but in a way that, I think, lends to the story. If you like police dramas, this is worth a try. I gave it to my coworker to read. I LOVE it when books can just get passed from person to person with no expectations. It just seems like that's what a book's job should be. (Thank you, Heather!)

In Due Time by Caroline Harries
This is a devotional, but I'm going to count it because I finally finished it this past month. I bought it as soon as it came out in the fall of 2016, because I'd been following the author's blog. The devotional is one of the best I've found (and written by a blogger, really, so there's that to don't need to be some sort of proselytizing professional to reach people), and I've been jumping around through it over the last several months. I took a systematic approach of working through it in January and I will say that if you're waiting for something, anything, this is a good one.

Linking up with Jana and Steph!

What was the best book you've read in February?

Are you a DNF'er or someone who must-finish-a-book??

March 9, 2018

Arie is *officially* the worst: After the Final Rose

Honestly, I knew this was coming, so I don't really have much to say about Arie, Becca, and Lauren. This is more just general commentary I came across during the last few days.

1. This picture of Emily Maynard side-by-side with Lauren B. 

2. Every recorded word Lauren B. has said to Arie, up until the finale.  A snapshot:

3. When Sean Lowe won't endorse it or make a joke about it, it's bad.

4. I haven't been a fan of Kelly Ripa in years (something about her...), but I appreciate her commentary and using her platform to put Arie on the spot. This is her grilling him. 


6. I liked seeing some of Becca's guys at the end.

Honestly, I think we're onto better things now. I don't know that Becca is ready to be engaged twice in 8 months, but I think she can find someone great and I think she dodged a huge bullet when it came to Arie.

I'm seriously considering going unspoiled for this Bachelorette season. Thoughts on that? I'm just so used to reading/listening to Reality Steve. (It's sad that this is an actual decision that I spend time contemplating.)

Something that's also a little sad: my plans today include some parent-teacher conferences and then going to buy the dog a birthday cake.

March 8, 2018

How we found out we were pregnant + first trimester recap

I'm 21 weeks at this point and we've had our anatomy scan and it seems quite official now... and I figure it might be worthwhile to post about what the first trimester was like for me at this point. 

Spoiler alert about the first trimester: I've had an easy go of it. 

+We found out I was pregnant the week of Thanksgiving and the only symptom I had was an achiness in my abdomen. I remembered that the embryologist I met with last year had told me that the achiness you feel from the effects of IVF injections (it's like a swelling feeling) is the same as what you feel during the first trimester.

That was the only reason I took a test to begin with and I bought it at the Laramie Wal-Mart (a sentence I never thought I'd type). While I expected it to be positive (because I felt like there'd be something seriously wrong with how I was feeling if it wasn't positive), I didn't expect it to result in an actual pregnancy because nothing in my medical history told me this would be easy to come by.

We were in shock because we had been told this would never happen for us. That's why we did IVF last year. When IVF didn't work, we assumed we just would focus on other things for now and then this just...happened. It was 4 1/2 years of not being able to get pregnant. Completely unexpected. The clarity you can get in one moment proves that, quite literally, God can do anything he wants whenever he wants. I'd never had a positive pregnancy test, ever. And I've taken a lot of pregnancy tests.

After another test at the hospital on base, they confirmed it and then I had an appointment with an ultrasound at the very end of November. I was going day to day at this point, never really expecting to make it to the next week. Each day felt different.

+Morning sickness hasn't existed for me. I had exactly two days where I felt unexplained dizziness and it was awful, but most people seem to know they're pregnant when they feel sick. I never had that clue, and was 6 weeks along before I even took a test. A lot of women seem to count on it as a reassurance of being pregnant in the first trimester, so I just had to rely on the fact that they told me I was pregnant, so I must be.

+The only true food aversion I came across was veggie burgers. There were a lot of things I just didn't want to eat, though. Candy lost all of its appeal. Vegetables were completely out the window and meat wasn't happening. Fruit is something I would force myself to eat, but I didn't really want it either. It was basically all carbs, all the time. Toast, bagels, chips, pop-tarts (that craving lasted two days), crackers, etc. I also went through a pretty intense hashbrown phase.

+We had a second appointment right before Christmas that Scott was also able to go to, and they found the heartbeat with the doppler. The midwife said that was a very good sign because once you can hear it, it's pretty strong and they like to find it that way, instead of with a sonogram, if they can. That was at 10 weeks. (Side note: did you know that too many sonograms are actually bad for the baby? I had looked all this up and it turns out that's why they really just schedule a big one for 20ish weeks.) Also, they gave me the option of a doctor or a midwife and said I was low-risk (ha ha ha) but I could have an OB if I wanted. We really liked the midwife, so I stuck with her.

All of my bloodwork was fine and they even did a glucose test extra early and ran a kidney function test, all because of my history with PCOS. I kept asking if I was high-risk and they kept insisting that I was not: trouble getting pregnant and trouble staying pregnant are apparently very different things to obstetricians. Though you can have both issues, one does not guarantee the other.

+We drove home for Christmas when I was 10 weeks and drove back to Colorado when I was 12 weeks along. We had planned this trip before we knew I was pregnant and I knew that still attempting it would be dependent on whether or not I felt okay. Oddly enough, I felt better traveling and moving from house to house and hotel to hotel than I did when I was going to work each day in December so that's something with deeper meaning to be considered. It messed with my sleep schedule (I could not, FOR THE LIFE OF ME, get a good night's sleep during those two weeks) and my exercise routine, but I was very aware that most people can't exercise during the first trimester anyway because they feel sick, so it was nothing I couldn't get back to once I returned home.

+Most of the first trimester was a mental mind warp for me. I never expected this. I expected IVF to work last summer and I expected to have a baby in Colorado in April 2018. When that didn't happen, I expected to not have a baby at this point and we'd move onto other things (like another puppy...those plans have been pushed ahead a year now). Instead, we will have a baby this summer, in Laramie (which will likely be an insurance/Tricare nightmare), while trying to sell this Colorado house, and will have moved away from my friends in Colorado and any support system that we have here. We will move to our next duty station with a 6 or 7 or 8 month old, depending on what/when those orders say.

Have I missed anything? 
-More than one cup of coffee. I realllly miss over-caffeinating myself. It's obvious that this has been my crutch for years now.
-Ab workouts.
-My clothes fitting (Since we're moving this summer, I packed up everything I know I won't wear until next fall,'s just better to get all that out of my way when getting dressed for work is somewhat challenging as is, because I've basically been trying to disguise this since December.)
-Also, candy. I don't want it. One day, I "forced" myself to eat some SPKs and they tasted awful. I end up with horrible headaches and usually a stomachache at some point after eating candy or too much sugar..for awhile, it was like candy literally had no flavor; it was just "sweet"... even candy bars. So sometimes I'll have ice cream or something for dessert, but most nights there's no dessert at all. Which is completely unlike me.
-Meat? I want nothing to do with it. I wish I did because it'd be easier and I wouldn't have to bother with iron supplements then. I can get chicken at restaurants or as take-out but I can't actually remember the last time I had red meat.

These are second trimester photos because in the first trimester you just look and feel like you ate too much.

March 7, 2018

Currently (a link-up): March 2018

Planning...on going back to Friday Favorites (and gratefulness) now that The Bachelor is over and The Bachelorette doesn't start for a few months. My thoughts on the finale(s) are many, but that's coming up on Friday. 

Seeing...these shoes that look like something I might want to wear this spring/summer. Thoughts?

Also, I really like these:

Making....some variation of this sheet pan dinner every other week or so. I usually do chicken sausage, a sweet potato, red potatoes, and chickpeas. Sometimes green beans, but I've noticed I buy green beans and then don't use them before they start to go bad so I've stopped buying them. Also, broccoli has given me nothing but heartburn for the last few months so I just stopped trying with that. 

Pretending...We're not moving, having a baby, trying to sell a house, and somehow I also need to pack up my entire classroom and get all the boxes home...all within the next 3-4 months. This is such the definition of unsettled and I try not to think about it. We also have to get a storage unit, sell one or two vehicles, and start deciding what furniture we want to sell (we have some extra couches, etc). And I need to paint some rooms in this new house because yellow walls are a deal-breaker and no one (out of Scott and our dogs) seems to take this yellow-wall-problem seriously, so I'll have to do it myself. 

Wearing...I did order this shirt (it's on sale) in two colors and it was a great purchase. I recommend it. I'd size down.

Linking up with Anne!