Struggling to Do it All

Some of you might remember my blog titled I Never Wanted to Be a Mom where I talked about my internal struggle with deciding to stay home with Bruce and resign my teaching contract. After having him and being blessed with 5.5 months with him, I knew I could NOT go back into the classroom full time and devote the time and energy my 3rd graders needed and still have the time and energy for my 3 kids at home.

Our 3 loves... Malcolm, Addison, and Bruce

Our 3 loves… Malcolm, Addison, and Bruce

Anyway, what I didn’t mention previously was that before I resigned my contract I had applied for a couple other positions that would take me out of the general education classroom, but have me continue working with small groups of students in a more supporting role.  I thought that that would leave me a little less stressed while still giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do!

I anxiously awaited a phone call to interview for a new position, but it never came before the July 10th deadline to resign. I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed, but I felt God was telling us that even though I was scared to not teach anymore and to stay home full time, it was something He wanted and needed me to do. So on July 7th, I resigned my teaching contract and mentally and emotionally prepared myself to be a full time stay at home mommy.

Goodbye Knowles Elementary... My "home" for 9 years, the place I started my career, and made MANY lifelong friends!

Goodbye Knowles Elementary… My “home” for 9 years, the place I started my career, and made MANY lifelong friends!

On July 17th, while we were on vacation in Pennsylvania, I got a phone call from a principal in our district to interview for a part time intervention specialist job at the new school that was opening up in the fall. What?! Seriously?! This was THE job I so desperately wanted! I prayed and prayed and God said, “Just interview. I will show you what to do from there.” We flew back home on July 19th, my interview was scheduled for July 20th, I was offered the position the very next day, and I had to move all of my belongings out of my old classroom by July 26th! Whew! Talk about a crazy whirlwind of a week!

So, here I am, watching Addison, our 9 year old, play with Bruce knowing that today is the last day I have him all to myself. The last day I will be a stay at home mommy. The last day I will be able to nurse him all day and play and snuggle all day. I know I am beyond blessed to have had the last 24 weeks at home with Bruce; most people only get a third of that, but witnessing Bruce grow from a premature newborn to a little man who is sitting up on his own and rolling over from front to back has been the most rewarding 24 weeks of my life.

I know he is going to LOVE going to “school” and I know I am going to LOVE my new part time job, but I can’t help but feel some sadness as I finish packing his “school” bag for someone else to take care of him instead of me. God bless you working moms! Today, and everyday, I salute you as we struggle to do it all!

Hello Camacho Elementary! I am so excited about this new journey!

Hello Camacho Elementary… The place where I will begin my  new journey!

Can’t Live Without: My Top Five

It was hard for me to narrow it down to just FIVE items I can’t live without! I feel like there’s so many things that I use on a daily basis, but don’t even realize I need! But if I was forced to pick just five, here are my picks!

1. My iPhone

I know, BORING! I think some kind of smartphone would probably be on everybody’s list these days. How on earth would I get through the day without checking Facebook/Instagram approximately 357 times a day?!?! Probably a bit dramatic, but seriously, I love staying connected to everyone so easily! Besides social media, I need my phone to call/text my mom at least once a day and let’s not forget the constant sound of the camera clicking as I take a steady stream of photos of my little boy!

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2. Vera Bradley Diaper Bag

Speaking of Caden, I love love LOVE my diaper bag turned “mommy’s gigantic purse”! As more of Caden’s stuff comes out, more of my stuff goes in. Yes, I may look like Mary Poppins carrying around her huge carpet bag, but I do not care…I love it! It is so nice having everything in one place and easy to get to! I love all of the pockets and of course, the attached diaper changing pad that comes out. Plus, it’s just pretty!

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3. My Pillow

I have used the same pillow since high school and I now cannot sleep without it! It is as flat as can be, but I instantly relax when I lay my head down on it. I sleep with three pillows since this one is basically useless as a pillow but that’s okay. True story…Nate and I were traveling from New Mexico to Colorado to go camping with his family when we were newly dating. Well, about 45 miles out of NM, I realized I had LEFT MY PILLOW in the hotel!! I tried really hard to be a “big girl” about leaving it, since I didn’t want Nate to think I was a weird pillow freak, but he could see the tears welling up in my eyes! He immediately turned around and told his family we’d meet them there; “umm…we have to go back for a pillow.” HA! Thank goodness…I knew he was a keeper! 🙂

In labor with pillow in tow!

In labor with pillow in tow!

4. Water Jug

I HATE drinking water! It is such a chore for me and I don’t find it satisfying at all, but when I was pregnant I knew I needed to be better about my water intake, and then needed to continue getting in the maximum amount of water for nursing. So this water jug (I call her Bertha!) has been perfect! As long as I drink all of the water in Bertha throughout the day, I know I’ve done enough and then some! Yay for Big Bertha!

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Cool Gear EZ Freeze Water Bottle

5. DVR & NFL Sunday Ticket

Nate and I LOVE to watch our TV shows. Once Caden goes down for bed (around 7:30p), we get cozy on the couch and catch up on our favorites. We love Walking Dead, Master Chef, Better Call Saul, Bates Motel, and yes, even The Bachelor/Bachelorette…the list goes on! If we didn’t have our DVR, we’d be missing all the good stuff! Not to mention, the ongoing build up of Bubble Guppies, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, & Daniel Tiger episodes we’ve got going on (ya, ya Caden watches t.v. every now and then, so what!). We also LOVE football! Every Sunday (or Monday or Thursday) is dedicated to football at our house come football season! My family are huge Steeler fans! Every game day, they all come over (with snacks!) so we can all watch the game together. We love being the “Sunday Ticket house” so everyone comes to us! I’m excited for Caden to grow up loving family football days too!

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Back to School: Avoid Germs Naturally

I gotta say these Lysol commercials regarding back to school germs are infuriating! They show images of moms spraying down their kid’s backpacks with Lysol, teachers spraying down shelves of toys with Lysol and using Lysol to clean the house when kids get home?! Um…no! This year if you’d like to avoid the germs that follow kids home, there’s a few NONTOXIC, non-cancer causing steps you can take. 

First, I need to address the toxins in Lysol, bleach, and hand sanitizer:

  • Lysol
    • Contains ingredients linked to:
    – developmental effects like ADHD and autism
    – endocrine effects like obesity, infertility, Crohn’s
    – respiratory effects like asthma
  • Hand Sanitizer
    • Causes intoxication by soaking in to the bloodstream
    • Contains Isopropyl alcohol, a neurotoxin
    • Fragrances (pthalates) are endocrine disruptors, which have been theorized to be the cause of the feminizing of young boys and have been linked to infertility as well. Fragrances have a toxicity rating of 8, with ten being the highest toxicity
    • Bleach is a dioxin/chloride, also a known carcinogen

As a teacher I NEVER made my kids use hand sanitizer. In fact, if they did use it, I typically asked them to go wash their hands right away and I confiscated any hand sanitizer with a fragrance that was used in my classroom. This was frowned upon by peers, but I just thought, “I’ll be damned if I get cancer from being a teacher simply because of hand sanitizer and lysol”. 

6 years ago, wow

6 years ago, wow

So, what can you do to avoid viruses and sickly germs this year?

1) Stop Germs at the Door

  • Have kids leave their shoes at the door
  • Change their clothes right away
  • Wash their hands the moment they get home from school and use nontoxic brands like The Honest Co. or Meyers soaps.

2) Teach your child about the dangers of hand sanitizers and wipes from school and tell them to wash their hands instead. Tell them to wash their hands:

  • After riding the bus, before entering the classroom
  • Before lunch and after recess
  • After using the bathroom
  • After playing games where handholding may have been required
  • Always after coughing or sneezing

3) Create your own disinfectant

  • Mix hot water, vinegar, vodka, and an essential oil
  • Store in a spray bottle or glass container and wipe down doorknobs, countertops, and toilets

4) Wash your child’s backpack every week and/or every other week and wash plastic toys in the dishwasher if you think they’ve been exposed to germs from kids at school

5) Remember that mild childhood sicknesses are GOOD for your child as they help build stronger immune systems for later in life. Allow your child to be exposed to common household germs, dirt, and daily grime.

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Recipe: Fish Tacos

My husband is an avid fisherman and recently came back from a fishing tournament with a TON of redfish and speckled trout! We always have a stockpile of fish he’s caught in our freezer! One of my favorite meals Frank makes is fish tacos and I had to beg him to let me share his secret recipe with y’all! No, not really, but he is the model for this blog! Hope you enjoy!

Fish Tacos

Serves 4 people (2 tacos each)

Ingredients:

4 large fish filets – We are using speckled trout.

4 tbsp Gordon’s Grub Rub

1 ½ tbsp butter

8 corn tortillas – We love HEB’s Mixla Corn & Flour Blend

Mango Pico de Gallo – Gotta love HEB brand!

Angel Hair Cole Slaw

Honey Lime Vinaigrette

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Cut filets into ½ inch wide strips and generously cover both sides of the filets with the Grub Rub. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Frank likes to use a cast iron skillet, because it holds the heat and cooks evenly.

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Carefully lay the strips of fish into the hot buttered pan. Cook them until the seasoning caramelizes before flipping them to cook on the other side. This usually takes 3-4 minutes per side. Once the fish is fully cooked, take it out of the skillet and place it on a plate.

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Warm the tortillas in the still hot skillet for 30 seconds per side and place on your plate.

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Now it’s time to make your taco! The amount of filling you put in your taco is completely up to you! We always make our tacos the same exact way. Tortilla, fish, pico, cole slaw, and then a drizzle of honey lime vinaigrette.
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Easy peasy and oh so delish! Enjoy!

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