Monday, July 25, 2016

Please visit me at my BRAND NEW SHINY BLOG!

I have a GREAT news! My new blog is up and running! Please visit me at Crazy about Kid Lit. I will be posting mostly book-related posts (with a few baby pictures and daily stuff sprinkled about). Not all book posts will be about kid lit (since I do read adult books too!) but the majority of them will be focused on middle grade and picture books that the kids in my class enjoy. I think you would enjoy them too - I will try to mention books that I believe adults would enjoy as well (such as Wonder by RJ Palacio).

I hope you enjoy!

PS: I have not decided what I will do with ALPITC. I will probably continue to update sporadically.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Big blog news!

I have been blogging here at ALPITC since 2008, but the last few years have been extremely slow. I knew I did not want to give up on blogging. I knew how wonderful it could be, but I also realized I had outgrown this corner of the web. In the past 8 years SO MUCH has changed in my life. I switched careers, got married, had a baby, moved countless times and bought a house.

During all of this, I was always a reader. Books never changed. Wherever I went, I carried a book. I always updated my Goodreads account, often way before I would update Facebook or Instagram (however, FB and IG have snuck into my daily life more and more in recent years and I'm horribly addicted). However, my point is, I'm passionate about books, reading and all things literacy. As a fourth grade teacher one of my ultimate goals is to ignite a love reading in my students. Most teachers are readers (not all, but they should be) and have the same goals as I do for "their kids."

This love of reading has naturally led me to the possibility of a book blog. I thought about it, thought about it and thought about it some more ... and now, well, I'm sick of thinking about doing something and ready to just do it!

Hopefully before school starts in late August, I will be launching a blog devoted solely to books and book reviews (ok, and maybe a few baby updates!). My focus will be on "kid lit" and mostly the genre of "middle grade." I find the term "middle grade" a little misleading, but MG typically means upper elementary but not lower elementary or YA. I do plan to review some picture books and YA every so often and probably some adult fiction, too.

I cannot wait to let you all know when it is ready!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Happy 6 months, Elise!

Dear Elise,
How are you already six months old?! Time has flown by and your dad and I have enjoyed every minute!

You are such a "good" baby and so easy going. We have slid you right into our lives without hardly skipping beat, it is almost like you have always been with us!

In the past month you have learned and changed so much! You are currently almost 15 lbs, which is still pretty small, but you are solid. Your weight is in the 23rd percentile. When people ask how old you are, they are consistently surprised because you're still a tiny peanut and you are really strong. You have been standing (with assistance) for months now and this month you began sitting up unassisted! You still need someone behind you or your boppy pillow in case you fall backward. Last week at the library's story time you flopped backward and hit your head. You were NOT a happy camper about that! Mom felt super bad about that.

Speaking of story time, you LOVE going every week. We go every Tuesday and Wednesday at the Des Moines library. If any other local library had baby story times we would be all over that and go everyday, but the DSM library is the only one that accommodates babies! You love seeing your friends and "playing" with the other babies. You LOVE people and are already a very social person. Mom cannot wait to see if you end up with Daddy's infectious people-person personality!

You are a wearing a mix of 3 month and 6 month clothing. The 6 month clothing is a little big and mom tries to shrink them in the dryer before you wear them. The weather right now is really hot and humid, so having some baggy clothing is probably not a bad thing. We try to get out everyday, whether that is for story time, lunch out with mommy's friends or grocery shopping. Either way, you are eagerly along for the ride and do not usually fuss. You are a great napper in the car and have taken many naps in your car seat while to and from various places. This summer together has been amazing!

You love to "talk" and you babble away sometimes. Mom wonders what you are talking about! This month you will try solids for the first time and we are hoping to skip purees. I know you are going to make the call though, and we will see what works for you. You do not have any teeth yet and it does not appear as if any are beginning to poke through, so that might make eating solids that aren't pureed a little difficult, but we will figure it out!

Later this month we are going on a camping trip and mom is really excited about that! I hope you have fun! We are bringing your pack n' play but, Mom hopes you just sleep with us. ;)

Other things you love: your jumperoo, your play mat, anything you can chew on, Zeke and Libby (any dogs and cats, really), you are obbbsesssssed with the turtle that is usually living in mom's classroom, but is home for the summer. You also like any toy that is crinkly. Most recently you have really loved your Sophie giraffe and we try to make sure we always have that nearby.

We cannot wait to see what changes are in store for the next 6 months!!!

We love you so much!

Love, Mom and Dad

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Daily thoughts to share

I am not doing a very good job at blogging, huh? My average is once a week so far. this summer So, here I am. For the week. ;)

Last week I mentioned how I wanted to cut down on mindless scrolling through Facebook/Snapchat/Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads (seriously, I am an addict). I wish I could say I did a good job at cutting down, but I did not. I was pretty much the same. One thing I did decide to do though was turn each moment where I wanted to post something on Facebook (with the exception of photos of Elise) I would make a note of the thought in my phone and save it for a blog post. How fun is that?! I love sharing on Facebook and other social media sites and you could probably classify me as an "oversharer." I kind of hate that I am that way. I have friends that NEVER post online but I know they are there, lurking, everyday. Sometimes I wish I could be more that way. I'm not sure why I enjoy sharing so much. I'm not an attention hog in person at all. I suppose I like to share my thoughts and start conversation online. However, in person I am a terrible conversationalist! I think it is because I need more time to gather my thoughts and form thoughtful sentences and contributions to the conversation.

Anyway, here are the notes that I took - notes that I considered putting online and then stopped myself in an effort to stop oversharing. I'll just overshare here! I mean, that's what my personal blog is for, right?!

  • That moment when you finish a book and you immediately look up the author on Facebook to see if they are coming to a bookstore near you and to also message them gushing about their book. Yes, that is me. 
  • I hate when people use my name in the middle of a sentence. Example: "Yes, Amber, I saw that yesterday on the news." I am sure it is not meant to sound condescending, but it does to me. 
  • Cold brew? I don't get it. Is there really a difference? I'm clearly not a coffee aficionado. 
  • Parent alone is EXHAUSTING. Today (Tuesday) at Rhyme Time I mentioned to a friend that I was exhausted and didn't understand why. Her daughter is about 7 months older than mine and she mentioned that it is really hard to parent alone. It just slowly wears you out! So true. Thank God my husband gets home Saturday. 
  • I resisted a cookie, a free cookie, at a local business this week. Small win!
  • June isn't even over yet and I'm already getting depressed at how quickly summer is spinning by. Slow. Down. Please. 
See? All of those things I wanted to share.

Do you overshare, lurk online or fall somewhere in between? Do you wish you were different, like I do?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Week 1 summer report

Hello! More than a week of summer is already over, and is it bad that I already feel like it is going way too fast?! I am trying hard to savor every  minute. In my last post I said I wanted to focus on reading, exercising and time with Elise. If I had to grade myself on how I've been doing, here is how it would end up (I am a teacher, after all!)

Time with Elise: A+
Last week we went to our first Rhyme Time at one of my favorite branches of the Des Moines Public Library, we went mall walking and took a long walk on Monday with some shorter walks every other day. The weather is already steaming up quite a bit so I'm planning on putting on Elise's swimsuit on her for the first time and taking her to a splash pad so she can get acclimated with the water. I would like to take her to the pool sometime too but I do not want to do that by myself. I'm sure her dad would want to see this first, so we will probably wait for a weekend to do that! I am LOVING my time with her and feel so fortunate that I get a little glimpse into the life of a SAHM in the summers.
Elise with her good friend O at the library's rhyme time! O is a little over a year old and Elise is 5 months.

Reading: C-
I've been trying to pick up a book during the small bits of time I come upon (or the large bits of time!) but I always find myself distracted by laundry, dishes, tv or mindlessly scrolling on my phone. The mindlessly scrolling on my phone is the main time sucker and has been a habit I've been trying to break for years now. I think one of these days I am going to do an experiment. Every time I want to pick up my phone throughout the day and I do not have a real purpose (calling or texting someone, looking up valid information), I will instead pick up a book and read. Then I will compare how much I read that day to the day before. I am sure I will be sick over how much reading I could get done if I broke the habit of mindless scrolling!

Exercise: C
I've been dressing the part and talking the talk, but not really walking the walk yet. It's taking a little time to get back into the swing of things, but I'm making baby steps. I've been walking most days, but it has been so hot! I feel terrible strapping Elise into her stroller (which is still the carseat!) when it is 90+ degrees outside. I am sure I'm more uncomfortable than she is, but I still feel bad when I see her cheeks redden from heat and she gets that sticky, sweaty feeling on her skin. This weekend I think she will go to the gym's daycare for the first time while I go to Zumba, which is a huge stepping stone for us. I hope she likes it.
I messed with this picture SO MUCH but still I could not get the picture to insert right side up.

There you have it, my summer report card so far. This week we have a few fun things planned. Lunch with some teacher friends, a meeting with our daycare lady and some crafts for Father's Day! I'll try to check back in later this week. :)

Monday, June 6, 2016

ALPITC's big summer return!

Hello, hello!

Today is the first reaaallll day of my summer vacation and I am trying to start it off "right" by doing ALLTHETHINGS - which include blogging. :)

I am still so unsure of where this blog is going and I still feel as if I have outgrown it, but until I think of a new blog name, this is where I will stay. One thing I do know though is, I want a focus on babies, books and a little teaching stuff (mainly book-related. Ha!)

In the mean time, this post is ...  mostly book-related. As I have contemplated what I want to do with my short 11 weeks off there here are a just few things that pop into my head immediately.
  • Reading. All. The. Books. Baby books, kids chapter books, middle grade books, adult guilty-pleasure books. I just want to get my reading mojo back.
  • Time with Elise. Obviously she is my first priority and spending time with her during the summer is one of the main reasons I went into education. I knew I would be a mom someday and I predicted teaching would be a great "mom job." I was mostly right, but damn, the school years can be rough. 
  • Exercise. Just like my reading mojo, my exercise mojo is about gone. (How many times can I say "mojo" in one post?!) We have big plans to go on daily walks and I am making my big return to Zumba. I'm ready to wear my pre-baby clothes ASAP. 
So, I thought I would update you on what I'm reading right now.

I've been slogging my way through Kate DiCamillo's (author of Because of Winn-Dixie)  newest middle grade novel, Raymie Nightingale. I am about halfway through and I am loving the main character, Raymie. She is thoughtful and funny, but I'm still waiting for the plot to pick up. I fear my students would put this down too soon (they are only fourth grade) but older students would have the reading stamina and patience to make it to the plot's climax.

The second book I'm reading is the ultimate beach read. The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews. The only thing missing from my experience is the beach! I might have to sit outside in the hammock and read this one with a fruity drink nearby. ;)
The Weekenders is about Riley Griggs, housewife in the idyllic setting of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Her beach house is being foreclosed and her husband has disappeared. She tries to put everything together and even more secrets emerge among her friends and family. So far, the book is reminding me of Elin Hilderbrand's The Silver Girl, which I loved!

Well, that is all I have today! Elise and I are going to head out for a walk and after that we have some grocery shopping to do (I am so excited to get it done on a slow Monday rather than a bustling Saturday or Sunday!)

What are your plans for the summer and what are you reading right now? Does your reading tastes change to more "beach" reads in the summer like mine?

Monday, February 29, 2016

Coffee Date

I love when my blogger friends post Coffee Date posts. You know, the ones where they write what we would talk about if we could go out for coffee together, so that is what you get from me today. :)

If we were having coffee today ... I would probably tell you that I have been drinking an insane amount of coffee since having Elise. Well, I guess calling it an insane amount is a bit dramatic, but my coffee consumption has definitely increased, which makes sense, since my sleep pattern is sleep 2-3 hours, wake up for 30 minutes to an hour and repeat. Coffee is needed.  I have also began a very bad habit of grabbing a "fancy" coffee while out and about with Elise, which I am sure will disappear once I go back to work. I firmly believe spending money on coffee at a coffee shop is a splurge and not an everyday necessity.

If we were having coffee today ... I would probably mention that a week from today I will be back at work and my maternity leave will be over. I pray that we all have a smooth transition. We are very lucky and Elise will be able to stay at home and family will be watching her until I am home for the summer, but it is still hard. The only silver lining to going back to work, is that means we are that much closer to summer. When I get out for summer break she will be just a few days shy of 5 months old, and I know she will be at a very fun stage!

If we were having coffee today ... We would probably talk about how the Oscars. Did you watch? I watched while grading papers and playing monopoly with my husband (he kicked my butt). Oh, and yeah, I'm working on keeping up with grading while I'm out. Sad, right? Sad, but in the long run, it will pay off later. Anyway, the Oscars. I'm so glad that Leo won! His speech was spot on. Loved it.

If we were having coffee today ... While on the subject of tv, I would probably mention a few shows I'm obsessed with. While on leave, I have been binge watching Scandal and am on the current season. I've been binging so much, that I will probably be caught up to the most current episode this week! Do you watch? We also started watching Fuller House - with the rest of the US, I'm sure! It felt like everyone was binge watching Fuller House on Friday night!

If we were having coffee today ... We might talk about working out. Last week I had my 6 week post partum follow-up appointment and was cleared for exercise. That means I have to get back out there. I would love to start going to Zumba again on the week nights, but it just doesn't work well with my schedule. I will probably start running again and then maybe go to Zumba Saturday mornings. I've got to do something though, because the number on the scale is not a friendly number.

If we were having coffee, what would you chat about? What's going on in your life?