Posted in Uncategorized

Take Your Birth Plan and Light it on Fire

I wrote this a year ago and never posted it. There was too much pain and guilt that surrounded it. I hadn’t fully processed it. Today I had a long conversation with a new friend, she had a very similar experience and it gave the chance to process it and the courage to post it.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying don’t have a birth plan. Totally write one out and stick to it if you can. I’m saying that when people tell you to keep an open mind, do it. I didn’t. So many people told me not to be so fixated on what I wanted, but I didn’t listen. You can only control so much of what will happen in a a delivery room.

Almost a month ago, I went into the hospital to be induced. This was the first thing going wrong in my birth plan. Two weeks prior I had gone in for a doctor appointment and my doctor nonchalantly handed me my induction date. We had discussed this earlier in the pregnancy due to chronic hypertension. However, it had never been mentioned again so I figured we were doing it all natural and waiting. Wrong.

The evening I went in I was a bundle of nerves. I had stressed myself out so much. I had read too much about being induced online. I had worked myself up. We checked-in at the hospital and they got us into our labor and delivery room and started prepping me. They checked vitals and everything else. My temperature was hovering around 99 degrees the whole time. Something was off. The lovely nurse who was with me that night then tried putting my IV in and blew up the first vein. Everything was off to a great start. She couldn’t find a vein in my arm so she ended up putting it in the back of my hand which was painful and made it impossible to do anything with my right hand. Carlos and I tried sleeping that night and I waited for the medicine to start my contractions.

They started the next morning after they started me on Pitocin. At first these were fine, a little painful but not bad. I got my new nurse in the morning, the nurse who I needed more than anything that day. She was a sweet older woman. My plan was to go all natural aside from the induced labor. Around 11am, I had my first painful contraction. I thought I was fine, but my heart rate set alarms of. It went up to over 200. My nurse came in and was shocked, she held my hand and asked what scared me. I said I wasn’t sure. That is when we all decided collectively that I was going to do an epidural. Though I wasn’t yet feeling physical pain from contractions, but my body wasn’t handling them well. I needed to do something that would keep myself and my yet to be born son safe.

They sent me my second angel, the first being the nurse. This one was David, the anesthesiologist. He calmed my nerves, explained everything to me. He then assuaged my guilt for getting an epidural. He reminded me that medical improvements have made give birth safer. That an epidural isn’t this evil thing people make it out to be. That if epidurals existed when the cavemen were around, they would have chosen it to. His calm, kind demeanor helped tremendously.

I labored all day. My nurse was determined for me to give birth during her shift, she wanted to be with me. Luca had other plans. Throughout my labor everyone kept saying “He’s sunny side up” and my husband and I kept asking what they meant. They told us he was facing up and we asked what that meant for him or for me and no one would answer. Looking back I’m sure they just didn’t want to stress me out. My doctor came to visit me twice, and during both those times she was absolutely horrible to this sweet nurse who really was taking on quite the motherly role with me. I was frustrated. At the end of that nurses shift she sat with me a long time and the nhanded me off to a sweet younger nurse who was training another nurse too.

Around 10pm I was finally dilated enough and those lovely nurses were doing everything they could to try to get Luca to flip over. At 11pm, the doctor on duty came in. That’s when she dropped the bombshell that we would probably be looking at a c-section. I started sobbing, no one had mentioned this to me before. I had never even had a major surgery. I lost it. The doctor looked at me and said “Why are you upset? Why are you crying?” Immediately I hated her. The nurses weren’t pleased with her either, I could tell. I told the doctor I wanted to keep trying and she said “Well, let me know when you get tired of trying” and left. I tried for a while longer, but felt broken. 30 minutes later this horrible doctor sent in some assistant who said, “She wants to know if she’s done trying yet.” I broke completely. I told those sweet nurses I couldn’t do it anymore. I sobbed until I couldn’t cry anymore.

David came back, to give me more stuff for the c-section. Local anesthesia among other things. He talked me through the c-section, calmed me down. Helped Carlos get ready to also go in with me to the surgery, talked us through everything, When we got to the operating room, David still was with us. On my right side, making sure I was ok. Telling me what was happening to my body, I was shaking uncontrollably, I thought I was cold but I guess it was adrenaline from some drug they had given me. At one point the curtain had slipped and I could the operation happening in the reflection of the light fixture above me. It was a lot to witness… luckily David once again saw what had happened and fixed the curtain. Within minutes my son was out, and Carlos was holding him. They brought him to me so I could see him and then they both disappeared while I was sewn up.

My husband said it felt like forever until I was wheeled into the recovery unit. I was finally able to hold my son. It was well after midnight and I was exhausted and starving. The sweet nurses sat with us in the recovery unit.

The next morning, my nurse from the day before, who was stationed in the labor and delivery unit came ot find me. She gave me a hug, she couldn’t help it and I was glad she did. It was mid pandemic, hugs weren’t a thing but she knew what I needed.

We ended up being in the hospital for 6 days because Luca was jaundiced. It was challenging. Every day they told us we couldn’t leave I would cry. I just wanted to go home. Had it not been for the amazing nurses, I don’t know what I would have done.

Giving birth is crazy beautiful, but there are major challenges that I feel are swept under the rug. Should you have a birth plan? Sure. Should you put all your hopes and dreams into that birth plan? Absolutely not.

Luca will be a year in a few days, so soon I will be sharing all the lessons I ave learned about myself in this first year of motherhood 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

I’m here…I’m back.

Hello. Hello, blog. I’m still here.

Sometimes I have to remind myself of that. I’m still here.

This past year has been the best and the hardest year. Actually, the past 18 months have been the most challenging.

On March 10, 2020 I found out I was pregnant. It was such great news. That week was also my last week of my Master’s program and the week before Spring Break. I was so excited and so nervous for what was to come. On March 12th I got a text saying we were going on Spring Break early and for 2 weeks because of Coronavirus. On March 13th I got a text saying our last class for my program would be virtual. On March 15th, we went to brunch for my friend’s birthday. We hugged at the end of the brunch, a group hug in a rebellious act against this COVID-19. By the following week our state had essentially shut down.

No one knew, but my husband and I, that we were pregnant. On that Monday the 16th we had our first doctor’s appointment and ultrasound. It was one of the last ones my husband would get to attend. I would not have a baby shower, I would announce my pregnancy via text message and video chat. I would not see my own mom for months. I would not teach inside my classroom for a full year.

Luckily, I got to have my son, with my husband present. Luckily, I got to spend the first 5 months of my son’s life at home with him while simultaneously teaching. This meant that I now have students who love and are as attached to my son as family because they saw him nearly every day on our video calls.

I missed out on mom groups though and so I was feeling very isolated. Between being in lockdown and the sadness that comes with missing all the pregnancy firsts I started losing myself. I stopped writing. I stopped cooking and baking for pleasure. I just stopped existing as Jessica.

So now, nearly a year after my son was born, I’m trying to find who Jessica is outside of the stresses of teaching and outside of just being mom. Mom is my favorite job title I’ve ever held, but it’s not my identity and grappling with that has been a struggle. I’m looking to bring back the blog to document finding myself again. I think it’s relatable not just to moms but everyone post pandemic (during pandemic? Is it ever going to end?) I have started working on the physical. I’ve lost 17 pounds in the last few months, but I also gained about 45 during pregnancy. I want to feel better. I want to reconnect with my creativity. This is not just for me, though a big part, but so I can be my best self for both my son and my husband who are my whole world.

If you connect with this, give me a follow and come along with me on this journey of self-discovery and getting back to the root of being Jessica.

Posted in baby

Changing Table Face Lift

Between buying a house, moving expenses, and doctor’s visits during pregnancy, budgeting is of the most importance right now. We moved from a 700 sqft. apartment to an 1800 sqft house, so to say it was a bit empty is an understatement. We aren’t willing to break the bank and go even deeper into debt filling a house with furniture if it isn’t a necessity.

However, we know everything for the baby needs to come first. He will be here in a little over a month, or sooner, and we’ve needed to put any and all extra money into getting the things we need. I was looking for a dresser changing table combination to make organization easier. I found a new one I liked for over $200. I decided to peruse Nextdoor for furniture. I posted an ISO post and listed everything I was looking for. My neighbors certainly delivered. Between cheap dining sets and couches we found quite a bit of items. One of which was a dresser and changing table combo that looked in great condition. It was $50 and a cherry wood color. I wasn’t a fan of the color so I knew I’d want to update it a bit.

My poor husband and father-in-law picked this up for me and apparently it is unbelievably heavy. It’s not our typical Ikea furniture where you can lift it by yourself. Now, I know, some of you all will be mad because it is a lovely dresser, but it isn’t my style. It did have lacquer on it so I knew it would be a challenge. The other fun part was that the drawers wouldn’t come out. We tried everything. So, I had a bonus challenge of painting drawers while still part of the dresser. I was at least able to get the fixtures off so I didn’t have to worry about that.

I did my research and found that Zinsser makes a primer that will stick to surfaces without sanding. So I bought a can and started priming.

Once I finished the nightmare of priming around drawers. I let it dry overnight. You only need to let it dry 2 hours, but I’m pregnant, it was hot and after priming I was exhausted.

I bought a sample of HGTV paint at Lowe’s in Naval. I ended up having to go back and get a second sample to be able to finish. I did 2 coats to make sure that everything was covered.

This dried for about 24 hours as well and then I did a Polycrylic seal. I knew that it was going to have spills and everything else happen to it since it is a changing table so I wanted to protect the paint. I let this cure for about 48 hours before replacing the hardware.

The original plan was to put new knobs on the doors. I had found some space themed pulls I was really excited about. However, they didn’t really fit and I couldn’t find the right screws to make them work. So, I kept the original pulls.

Once everything was together the wonderful men in my life once again had to move this from the garage to upstairs for me. It was terrifying to witness, but they did it! Overall the project cost me about $80 including the dresser which I feel is pretty good since I was going to drop $200 on a changing table dresser that wasn’t nearly as good of quality.

This was my first piece in a long time. Doing it while 7.5 months pregnant was exhausting, but I love every second of it. I had forgotten how much I love working on these types of projects and can’t wait to find some more!

Posted in baby

Preparing for a Baby on a Budget

These past few months have crazy. Last year, we had decided our goal would be to buy a house in 2020. We had also decided that we should start trying for a baby, because we knew it may take awhile. I thought at least a year or more with my PCOS and everything else going on. Well, both ended up coming to fruition this year which was extremely exciting and overwhelming. Both things, however, are very expensive. I will write more about our house buying adventure in another post, but for now let’s talk baby.

Baby Luca will have a room of his own, but not until he is at least 6 months. We have a bedside bassinet to keep him in our room with us until then. So, to save on money and try to keep to a budget we planned out all the big things we absolutely needed for the baby before he arrives. My husband is an accountant and we have a spreadsheet for everything. At first, I will admit, I hated it. Now…I’m a convert and it’s quite satisfying to see numbers balance or find you have extra money or that you’ve saved money!

Our spreadsheet looks like this:

It’s just a rundown of the big ticket items we absolutely need before the baby arrives. This is also including a rough estimate on what we may spend on diapers for the first 3 months and enough clothes to get us through a few months.

Yes, we still have a little bit to go but so far we are staying under budget for a couple of reasons.

1.) Shopping sales and using coupons. Thank goodness for those monthly BuyBuyBaby 20% off coupons. That alone saved me almost $80 on our car seat and stroller! Luckily, we are also about to hit another holiday sale weekend with Labor Day as well. So hopefully, we can grab a few more deals this weekend.

2.)Shop used when you can. When I found out I was pregnant I had a grand plan for the nursery in my head. All new furniture that I picked out online. However, after buying a house and realizing it was bit unrealistic to spend that much on furniture right now. I took to Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace. Nextdoor has been my biggest source of furniture. I found a dresser changing table combination that a woman was selling for $50. It’s in great shape, though there still may be a transformation of it later. Mainly, because I haven’t had a project in awhile. Needless to say, that used purchase saved me about $170 from my original plan.

I know I could easily spend several thousand dollars decorating for and preparing for the baby, but the reality is we need to prioritize and take a more minimalist approach. We need things that will make our lives easier and functional with the baby.

Posted in Uncategorized

Teaching in the Time of COVID-19

Bitmoji Image

The past few weeks have been a roller coaster. Are we teaching in person? Are we teaching remotely? A combination of the two? For how long? When? I’m pregnant; if I have to self-quarantine before having my baby, can I? Will I lose my job if I want to protect myself and my newborn’s life?

There is nothing in the world I want more than to be able to be in the classroom and give hugs and high-fives. This is not the reality we are living in, though. As I read through the requirements for in-person learning, I cried. Kids can’ t be close to each other; they can’t work with each other; they can’t share materials, etc. It seems scary and sad and not like school.

Luckily, we got the news that we would start the first quarter remote. Again, I’m pregnant, and I was terrified of being in a classroom and getting sick. There is so little known about the effects of COVID on pregnant women and newborns that I didn’t want to risk it. However, what came next were the comments in news stories about my district going remote. Yes, I do try to avoid the comment sections, but sometimes I cannot help myself. This was the most heartbreaking. Hearing that parents thought we weren’t doing our jobs. Some, including some senators in my state, thought they should be getting our pay for doing our jobs. Now, this wasn’t all parents, of course, but these voices were the loudest.

Here is the thing, since the school building closed in March, I’ve worked hard trying to connect with my students and create something they could learn from home. The trick was I had to develop things for students I knew wouldn’t have access to tech and the internet but also supply students who did with additional resources. We all knew that what happened at the end of last school year was not learning; it was survival.

Now, we are entering a new school year, and we know there has to be learning. We cannot let our kids continue without learning. So many teachers, myself included, have continued to work throughout the summer and even more so recently to try to figure out ways we could do this better should we have to be remote. Luckily, my school has put in a lot of money to ensure students can have technology at home to complete online learning. This will be my 7th year teaching at this school. I have always taught in the same classroom, mostly the same material, with a slight change last year. We were not tech-heavy, we barely used technology at the school. So, I am recreating six years’ worth of lessons, mostly from scratch. Last week I worked on a couple of lessons that could be done remotely and were interactive for students. It took roughly 5-7 hours to develop 2- 2 1/2 activities/lessons. This is for one of the grade levels I teach, and this does not include the actual teaching part. So for the parents who think teachers aren’t working right now, we are working incredibly hard. We aren’t sitting and sipping mimosas by a pool right now; I’m not watching shows on Netflix, I’m doing the best I can to provide for my students.
Now I know I can’t speak for all teachers here. I think the majority are working tirelessly, I know some probably are throwing in the towel, but they were doing that long before COVID-19 they just hid it well. I also know that there are a good majority of very supportive parents out there that know we are doing the best we can. It’s a scary, unpredictable time for all of us. It’s not convenient or even possible for some parents to stay home with their children, I get that, and I worry about that. That is a sign of a bigger broken system that wasn’t prepared for a pandemic. It is not a sign that schools are failing.

The best thing we can do in this situation is to try and pause, understand different perspectives, and stop the finger-pointing. That hasn’t helped anyone. We need to take care of each other the best that we can and get through this with grace, love, and patience. This isn’t forever. Teachers choose this career because we love what we do. It isn’t for the summers off; it isn’t for a paycheck, it’s because we love it. This is not where we thought we’d be; it’s not where we want to be. We want to be in the classroom with our kids doing hands-on projects, giving high-fives, and laughing together. But, we need to stay home to protect ourselves, families, and students. Sometimes what we want and need don’t align. Sometimes the things we need or want aren’t what is best for everyone. Occasionally, we have to make tough choices. Yet here we are trying to make the best of a hard situation and hoping that eventually we will be seen and understood.

Stay safe, friends.

Posted in baby

Pregnancy During a Pandemic

The week of March 9th, I was feeling terrible. I was exhausted, and every time I tried to eat, I wanted to throw up. Nothing sounded appealing at all. I had meal prepped a bunch of breakfasts and lunches for me, all plant-based, and I was so excited for them. Then I literally couldn’t eat them. My husband, Carlos, was out of town for work that week. I texted him on Tuesday during my lunch break at work and told him how terrible I felt. He jokingly said, “Well, maybe you’re pregnant!”

I continued to feel like garbage all day. When I got home, I remembered that the ovulation tests I bought came with one pregnancy test and decided to check, just for fun. It was immediately positive; I didn’t even have to wait the full time the box suggested. I still didn’t believe it. With my PCOS and coming off of birth control, I convinced myself it would probably take a year or more if it were going to happen at all.

I talked to my husband that night, and he thought I was also joking with him! We agreed I should take another one. So the next day, on my way home from work, I bought one of the digital ones, surely those were more trustworthy. Again, it immediately said, “pregnant.” I took another one, just in case. Yup, positive! I was so excited and so scared all at the same time.

That night I got a text from work saying that due to COVID-19 precautions, we would be closing immediately and would have an extended Spring Break. Little did I know that we would not be returning for the rest of the year. Not only did I find out I was pregnant, but I also learned that COVID-19 was becoming a big problem. That was a little overwhelming to deal with all at once.

I had a doctor’s appointment the following Monday, and everything was okay. I was seven weeks pregnant, and the doctor’s office was pretty much normal, aside from asking me whether I had been sick or not.

The following weeks got a little crazier with the entire state shutting down and trying to navigate remote teaching for the first time. Though it was more crisis management than teaching, it was still challenging. We were quarantined. I knew nothing about how to be pregnant; I wasn’t with my students at school; I wasn’t seeing any people outside my husband. It was challenging.

There was a loss of normalcy from all sides. I couldn’t fill my time with the gym or friends. I wasn’t sure what my relationships with my friends would even look like outside of quarantine. I wouldn’t be going to happy hours; I would be the pregnant friend and then the friend with a baby. I was so excited and grateful for the baby, but I knew life was going to be different, and I needed to figure out who I was post-quarantine and post-pregnancy. People don’t talk about that often. It’s hard not to be filled with emotions, not only because of the raging hormones, but it’s a massive shift from not being a mom to being a mom. I’ve had 32 years of my life not being a mom, that’s a long time! Not only that, but enormous pressure to grow a human and not mess up. At least that’s what I’m always worried about.

Pregnancy has been a challenge for me. I can’t say whether it is because of the isolation of COVID or not, but it has been challenging. We try to go for walks every day to get outside and get exercise. I did get to see my friends for video chats, and then I finally got to see them in person for a gender reveal with them. I got to see my mom too a couple of times, which helped.

It still has felt bizarre. I haven’t been in the school for months, hell my entire pregnancy, so most of my co-workers will probably be quite surprised when I show up 6-7 months pregnant. What I cannot wait for is to meet my son finally. I also cannot wait for this pandemic to pass, but that one might take a little longer.

It has been a strange and wonderful few months with layers of emotion. We have a lot more amazing things ahead, which I will write about later. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and trying their best to be sane!

Posted in Social Justice

Being a Better Ally

I had planned for another post to go up yesterday and decided against it. It didn’t feel right with everything happening right now. The racial injustice in our country has always been there, but now those of us who don’t experience it on a daily basis are watching it with our own eyes play out almost daily.

So instead, I’m going to put out a list of resources for white allies to help educate yourself on the best ways to support people of color and to advocate for anti-racism in America. As a teacher, educating and providing resources is my superpower. However, despite all the work I’ve personally been doing to educate myself, I will not pretend I am an expert, so I want to direct you to more knowledgable people.

It is important to remember that it is not the job of people of color to educate us and tell us what they need us to do. We need to educate ourselves and figure out the best ways to be allies and use our privilege to elevate oppressed voices and stories.

1.) Sign this petition for George Floyd here:Sign petition

2.) Here are some articles I have gathered from multiple sources to start your education:

Frances E. Kendall, How to Be an Ally if You Are a Person with Privilege

Peggy McIntosh, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations

 Ali Michael Org, 10 Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books For Racism and Sexism,

Allan Johnson, Excerpt from Privilege: Power and Difference

Margaret Biser, I used to lead tours on a plantation.  You wouldn’t believe the questions I got about slavery.

Holy shit, being an ally isn’t about me!, Voices of WOC & Allies  

Levana Saxon, Allyship and Accountability Glossary

Ryan Struyk, Blacks and whites see racism in the US very very differently

Matthew Hughey & W. Carson Byrd Born that Way: Scientific Racism is Creeping Back Into Our Thinking

NPR: Michael Martin, Fear of the Black Man, How Racial Bias Impacts Crime/Labor

Ernest Owens, 10 Messages of Wisdom We Need to Give Black Youth Right Now

Alexis Madrigal, The Racist Housing Policy that Made your Neighborhood

Goyette and Scheller, 15 Charts that Prove We’re Far From Post Racial

Julie Turkowicz, A ‘Historic Moment’ for Native Americans

Nicholas Kristof, When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Parts 1-7

Joy Sewing, Marrianne Williamson Asked White People To Apologize. She Got It Right

Tara Bahrampour, They Considered Themselves White, But DNA Tests Told a More Complicated Story

Ibram X Kendi, Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?

3.) Here are some books on race and white privilege that are recommended (Links are to Amazon but please consider purchasing local is possible):
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
 by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Olu

Trigger Warning with Killer MikeThe New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It  by Shelly Tochluk

The Emperor Has No Clothes: Teaching About Race And Racism To People Who Don’t Want To Know by Tema Jon Okun

4.)There are a lot of great social justice documentaries out there. Two of my favorite dealing with race are:

The 13th- Netflix

The Innocence Files- Netflix (This one is not directly about race, but it is a huge theme throughout and eyeopening/heartbreaking in some episodes)

Again, while I have done a lot of work in this area, I am by no means an expert and would love to hear what other resources you would suggest. Leave a comment or send me a message. The reality is we all have some work to do, and this is just a small starting point.

Posted in Health, Self-Care

2020 the Year That Is [Fill in the Blank]

It’s been roughly 500 days since I’ve seen another person I’m kidding, but it’s almost the end of May, and in my brain, time doesn’t really mean anything anymore. Unless you count the fact that I track my shipments from all the random shit I’ve ordered online recently, then I know what day it is if a package is coming for me.

For much of this time, I kept thinking I’ll get back to writing. That has yet to happen until this very moment. Like many people, when this quarantine initially happened, I was not in a good headspace. I was craving human connection. I’m an introvert, but I wanted my people. I desperately wanted/needed to see my students and couldn’t. It was hard. Yet here we are at the end of May, and I feel like I’m adapting. Maybe even getting my creative flow back. It’s been a while.

The past two years I’ve done a lot. It was overwhelming, and I times I know I lost part of myself but was also recreating part of myself. I was swamped learning new things that I didn’t have time to connect to old things I love, like writing or creating new things. This wasn’t necessarily bad; my master’s degree taught me a lot about education and how to make the education system better. It also taught me a lot about reflecting on who I am as a person and educator and how I can take that self-reflection and create a more equitable education system for my students. This takes up a lot of emotional and mental space, though. I also feel like I went through a strange mourning period for the parts I was losing. Not that changing my mindset about education or equity is a bad thing, but my old ways of thinking had been a part of me for so long I really had to sit with them and let the old ways go correctly. I had to figure out who I was now.

The week of the last class of my master’s degree was supposed to be March 14th. We ended up moving the class online as this was the same week the Coronavirus really started making headlines in the U.S. That was also the week my school closed and decided to go on “extended Spring Break” for two weeks. We closed before I got to say a proper goodbye to my students. We had one more day of school left before Spring Break, and we canceled that day. This was also the same week I found out I was pregnant. To say that week was the biggest roller coaster of emotions would be an understatement.

Needless to say, as many of us, I have been in the midst of a lot of conflicting emotions. I’m grateful for so much, anxious, happy, and very sad all at the same time. So here I am 17 weeks pregnant (growing a human during a pandemic, wtf?), technically on summer break with no more grad school, finally finding my stride with this social distancing thing, and trying to figure out who I am again. I hope to start writing more and figuring out the direction of my blog.

This year has been a blessing and a curse, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next for me.

Posted in Humor, Self-Care

Confession: Glorified Sticker Charts Still Motivate Me

I don’t know how to put this any other way. I am a 32-year old woman, and I am still motivated by sticker charts and marble jars.

Everyone remembers when they were in elementary school, there was always a sticker chart or a marble jar to help motivate students to act like civilized human beings/not drive their teacher crazy. In the end, there would be some kind of prize. Hell, I still use that system in my classroom for my students. For some kids, it works; for others, they couldn’t care less about the damn marble jar.

Here’s the thing…that method still works for me.

Once I had a friend ask me what the purpose of a Fitbit was. “Why do you need to track your steps and exercise? If you know you’re working out, why does it matter? What do you even do with that information?”

The purpose is to motivate people like me who like to see a physical goal written down and then visually achieved. For example, Fitbit and Apple. I have since moved from Fitbit to Apple Watch (thanks to Santa Carlos), and let me tell you, closing the rings is my only objective throughout the day. I will do some crazy shit to make sure those rings get closed every single day. Is there a prize at the end? Nope, but the circles are whole, and that’s all that matters to my Type A mind. Right now, it’s almost noon, and two of my rings are already closed…I’m pretty thrilled with life right now. It doesn’t take much.


It’s not even just fitness. One of my goals is to meditate every day for at least 10 minutes. I use the Calm app and guess what they have a calendar and put a little blue dot on the day if you meditate that day using the app. I love it when my calendar is full of little blue dots.


Even when I’m working, I’ll make a list for myself. The goal to finish the things on it before the end of plan time. Seeing those little stars or checkmarks, I give myself really lights me up.

I think we should bring back more sticker charts. Stickers for making it into work, stickers for getting out of bed, stickers for going to the gym instead of happy hour. Think I can get everyone on a sticker chart bandwagon? Probably not…but I’ll still try.

So in this season of making resolutions (and probably breaking them), get yourself a sticker chart and see if that motivates you.

Posted in Self-Care

Releasing 2019


Credit: Darrah O’ Connor


It’s that time of year where most of us lament about how hard this past year was. Real talk: That drives me nuts. Every year the same people post about what a shitty year 2019, 2018, 2017, etc. was. To say an entire year sucked and that there were no lessons in that year seems like a cop-out. It’s easy to complain and find the bad in the whole year and just blame the year and walk away. So very easy.

For me, this year was extremely challenging. However, that was a lot of great things that came out of it. I cannot describe 2019 as terrible or a “dumpster fire” that everyone seems to be attaching to it.  I struggled a lot this year with work and trying to decide what is next for me in my career, I struggled with working full-time, coaching volleyball, and going to school full-time all while planning a wedding. There were tears and emotional breaks, but overall the reality is that I had a job, I had the opportunity to work on my master’s, I coached some really amazing girls, and I got to marry my best friend.

Yes, there were tears, but so many great things came out of it. Best of all I did it, I made it through the year and accomplished a lot.

On Saturday night, I listened to the Yoga Girl podcast. Her latest podcast is an intention setting ceremony for 2020. It takes about 2 hours, more if you have a lot to write, but I highly recommend it. It was a grounding experience and let me reflect on 2019 and, more importantly, set my intention for 2020.

I know that this year I did not take care of myself as much as I should. I was burning the candle at both ends, 90% of 2019. I was mindlessly eating, not working out as much as I know I need and want, was overly absorbed in mindless scrolling on my phone, watched a lot of mindless TV. So my intention for this year is to live more mindfully. Listening to my body, listening to my heart, and doing what is best for my whole self. Recognizing when I’m eating something if it is out of boredom or if it is something that will indeed have a lasting impact on my wellbeing. Acknowledging that I’m picking up my phone and scrolling to avoid things and distract myself instead of picking it up and calling someone I am thinking about.  Understand why and where I’m spending money and if it is necessary.

I need to hit pause and think about my actions and words, both on myself and the people around me.

I need and want to be more mindful in 2020 in every aspect of my life. So with that, I’m releasing 2019 and thanking the year for all the lessons and am welcoming 2020 and all it has in store!

I’d love to hear your intentions for 2020! Send me a message or comment below!