Tuesday, August 30, 2011

No time, you get this

Things are i.n.s.a.n.e. in the Rodgers household.

Mostly because I don't think I really grasped just how many meetings teachers are required to attend. There are even more your first year (although heaven forbid you become Dept Chair b/c you have a crazy # of meetings then). I literally have meetings twice a week. At least. Some at lunch, some afterschool. Today I had two. Tomorrow I have one. Tomorrow is also Back To School Night. Friday I have one. Oh! I forgot, I have two tomorrow since I have one before school AND at lunch.

Now, approx 25% of these meetings are my fault... i.e. I called them. And it's because I'm meeting with counselors/intervention specialists/SPED aids/students to work with those who are falling behind. I know, it's only week 3 (4?) but there are a few students who already need to play catch up. I want that to happen NOW instead of December 1st. So I bring a bit of this on myself.

The rest of the meetings are required but MOST of them are productive. So at least something is being accomplished or I'm discussing events/information that is relevant/directly impacts my teaching practice or my students. So thank goodness for those kinds of meetings... because I've been in useless meetings and they make me want to pull out my hair.

In kid-related news, I have decided that our children are geniuses. GENIUSES. Griffin can point to #s 1-9. He also has about 10 signs and 3 spoken words. And other than the fact that he's still not sleeping through the night and can throw a tantrum which can be seen from space, he's the sweetest boy child I have ever known. I'm totally unbiased.

I'm actually pretty impressed with his number recognition skills. I need to work on letters.

Penelope recites books from memory. Not joking. If she's NOT reading by her 4th birthday I'll be shocked. I wouldn't be surprised if she read much sooner than that. She can't throw a ball (she throws it behind her) but she'll read very early. Since she is my child, no one should be surprised. Bryan might argue that I still cannot throw a ball. (He'd be wrong. I can throw. Just not accurately or with any distance.)

Let's see... what else?

Poe has taken to saying "be careful with my body" when she is being roughhoused (is that a form of that word? Is it a verb or noun? Meh, whatever). It's pretty funny. I've taken to saying it as well, it's a good phrase.

Weaning is going ok. We nurse once a day - usually at 4am. I'm hoping that soon we'll give that one up (because hopefully he'll soon be sleeping at 4am). He's getting better with sleep as long as I'm NOT the one to put him to bed. Stinker.

Daycare is going well, the kids still like Stephanie and she's been teaching them Spanish and phonics. I'm glad it's working out... just one less thing to worry about.

Bryan is still working, the house is good, we're all ok. We had a fever scare last week that landed us in the ER but everyone is better. I turn 30 in 13-ish days (eep!) and will hopefully spend the weekend before my birthday on the beach.

More later. Maybe. Probably. I've been neglecting the blog and haven't been posting as often in some of my forums. I will be giving at least one up, I just don't have the time... and when I do have downtime I really need to spend it sleeping or spending as much time with B and the kids as I can. From what I have heard from many experienced teachers is that you need to find balance or else you burn out quickly. I'd like to retire as a teacher so I need to start pacing myself.

I'll start next week. Next week is better for that. M'kay?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where does the time go?

So we have all survived an entire week of work and daycare. In fact, most of us enjoyed the week and the new routine... Although we would all enjoy it a lot more if Griffin would decided that sleep is a worthwhile endeavor.

I haven't nursed him since 4am this morning, so we'll see. He hasn't asked to nurse yet, but since he prefers to nurse at night I'm expecting a few protests tonight. I have no idea if I will cave or hold firm. At 4am, nothing is certain.

Anyway, a full week has passed - already! Next thing you know it will be Labor Day, then my birthday, then Winter Break, then Spring Break, and then the end of the year. Ohmygoshyouguys the year is almost over!

This year I turn 30, Penelope turns 3, and Griffin will be 2. Bryan will also age, but since he looks perpetually 23 it doesn't matter if I post his age since no one will believe me. (he'll be 38)

So my question is, where does the time go? We celebrate our 4th anniversary this year. FOUR. I know that's nowhere near my parents 31 years, but I feel like we just got married. Now we have two kids and a car payment.

Speaking of weddings, I can officially fit into my little black dress from our wedding. It doesn't fit quite the same, but I can zip it. hooray! I don't think I can quite fit into the wedding dress though, I still need to lose 5ish more pounds. I'm 2 lbs away from having lost 40lbs since G's birth so I'm feeling pretty good about that. I could probably be doing better if I'd excise once in awhile. I think a few of us SHS staff are going to get together once a week for yoga, so that will help. It will also be nice to do something just for me and to cultivate some deeper friendships out here.

Speaking of work, I should head to bed so I can attempt as much sleep as Griffin will allow before work tomorrow. But before I sign off, here are some pictures of our trip to the aquarium this weekend.

And then one more of Sissy since I didn't get a ton of her at the aquarium

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How you know...

So, how do you know when your toddler has seen "The Little Mermaid" too many times?

When you're out to eat and the first thing she does upon sitting down at the table is exclaim "Look Mommy, a dinglehopper!" and the proceed to comb her hair with a fork.

Also overheard today:

"Hi, my name is Penelope and that is my mommy Jessica and I am two. What's your name?"


"Mama, you're big and daddy is big but Bubby is little. (pause) And I'm little too"

Ok, so how did YOU wean?

Last night was awful.

Griffin nursed to sleep at 8; woke up at 9:30 and nursed; woke up at 12:30 and I tried rubbing his back, rocking, singing, shhh'ing... it seemed to work at first, his eyes were still closed and he settled back down for a moment. But then? Then it was terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad. He screamed and flailed about like a child possessed. *sigh* Bryan took him at that point and gave him a bottle. He had a few ounces and eventually fell asleep. Then he was up AGAIN at 4:00, 5:30, and finally at 7:15.

I nursed him each subsequent waking for about 20 minutes - not like it helped since he woke up each time cranky, whiny, and on the verge of screaming. Which is what he's been like every night for the past.... 16 months?

If I would have nursed him during the Abyss (as I have taken to calling it) he would have fallen asleep, but he would have stayed attached for anywhere from 20-40 minutes in order to stay asleep. This is not ok. He is not an infant anymore and I cannot sleep while he nurses.

So if we're counting, that means that Bryan and I got less than 6 hours of sleep and no stretch longer than 2.5 hours.

The whole situation pretty much sucks.

And B and I are very much looking forward to next week when we'll be in Sacramento and my parents will have the kids for a night.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


That is one daunting title, isn't it?

For the past few days, Bryan and I have been tossing around the idea of weaning Griffin. I've been thinking about it for a few weeks, but not seriously... and I think it's time to get serious. Griffin's sleep is terrible. It's not getting any better and I am at the limit of my ability to cope. I can no longer afford to sleep in until 7 or 8 after a difficult night, I'm up at 5:30 and go to bed at 10. I need him to sleep.

Also? He's become a bit of a monster. Tantrum throwing, banshee screaming, balled fists, crocodile tears, hyperventilation.... all when I leave his sight or when I tell him that it's not the time to nurse (since we don't nurse on demand anymore).

I know some of this tantrum throwing can be attributed to recent changes - the move, daycare, etc. And I know some of this tantrum throwing can be attributed to the age. Tantrums are pretty common when children can't express themselves fully - heck, I see it in high school when teens don't have the language/vocabulary to adequately express their emotions/opinions. They don't throw tantrums, but they certainly act out and get defiant and angry.

Anyway, G turns into a different, less pleasant, child when I'm around.

Common denominator in all of these areas? Nursing.

And so I think it is time. I'm just not quite sure how to go about it. Cold turkey? Slow decrease?

Although perhaps Griffin will make the decision for me, tonight he only asked to nurse once and didn't nurse to sleep. I don't think that's ever happened before. So perhaps, perhaps, this process will be relatively painless for everyone involved. Perhaps.

But I'm not going to hold my breath.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


This weekend was truly wonderful - for a lot of reasons, mostly though it was because we were able to spend so much time together as a family. Last weekend we were still so busy unpacking, the weekend before was the move, and prior to that I was working at HLC at least day each weekend so we only had one day during the weekend to be all together. Bryan's been swamped too, so he's been spending as much time as possible working. This weekend, while he and I both did a little bit of work (him more than me), we spent a lot of time doing fun (and free!) family activities.

But before I get into the weekend (with pictures!) I wanted to talk about daycare. Friday was the kids' first day in daycare and it went really, really well. Stephanie said they were great and Poe had such a good time that she didn't want to leave. She actually asked me twice this weekend to go play at Stephanie's house, so I think daycare is a hit. I'm sure both kids will have days when they don't want to go, but we've found a good fit I think. This week will be their full week in daycare and I don't really foresee any problems. So that's nice.

On to the weekend!

Friday night after picking the kids up we headed back to campus for the Freshman mixer. I saw a lot of my students, met a parent, and the kids got to play with some other teacher/admin toddlers. My principal has a daughter a month younger than Poe (and a baby boy that's due any day) and the activities director has a daughter the same age as the principal's daughter. The girls seemed to have a really good time together. Penelope was wearing her Princess crown, so one of the little girls kept calling her Princess... as in "hey Princess! Come here Princess!" So cute.

Saturday G and I woke up early and took a mommy/son trip to Seaside for teacher appreciation day at Staples. It was nice to spend some time with him one on one and I think he enjoyed it as well. Afterward B and I talked about the beach or the Aquarium, but decided to get a small start on the backyard. Our backyard is basically an L shaped dirt run. Not super wide, but not super narrow. Semi divided in two. All dirt.

Since we live in the "salad bowl" I decided that I'd really like to start a garden. We're not planning on being in this place for years, but I know almost nothing about gardening and so am considering this my starter garden. When we own a place out here a few years down the line then my experiences with this garden will help me design my permanent garden.

So we picked a spot and got to digging. The plot will end up being 13' x 6' - so not huge, but decent sized. We got rid of all the top soil (like my handy dandy gardening for dummies website suggested) and did a bit of tilling. It took a little while to get the soil removed so we didn't till it all. We'll probably rent a small roto tiller in a couple of weeks and get the rest done. We're also considering putting sod on one side of the yard so we have a place to come out and sit/play, but I don't want to get too ambitious.

After lunch and naps we unpacked the office (finally). We also did an early dinner/bath so we could all watch a movie together downstairs. It was a nice homebody day. At one point Bryan took Penny for a bike ride and I took Griffin and the dog for a walk, but in general we stayed at home and just enjoyed being together.

Sunday we were more ambitious. The beach topped our list, followed by shopping, lunch, naps, a bike ride to the grocery store, dinner, the park, and finally baths and bed. Here's some beach pictures.

Ok, so this picture has to be explained... Griffin was digging trenches with his head. Yes, you read that right. I have no idea why. I have some video, will upload it later

So yeah, we had fun. Penelope was all about running up and down the beach. She ran with Harley and I for awhile and then ran for a long stretch with Bryan and Harley - that child loves to run. She also loves the beach, who can blame her?

Griffin and I buried each others feet and I made sand castles that he knocked over. He was all about immersing himself in the sand.

Neither child was brave enough to put their toes in the ocean :) I was! And Harley, of course, she loves the beach more than all of us combined.

I wish I had more pictures of the park, but we were too busy having fun. The kids spent some time in the swings, I swung... we played tag as a family, we climbed on the playground equipment. The park itself is small, but I LOVE having a park less than 2 blocks away. The library is also super close, less than a block. And I bike to school, it's only 1.5 blocks away. Love.

We did some light grocery shopping as well, just enough to fit in the back of the bike trailer. It is wonderful that I can take the kids to the grocery store on my bike. It is amazing that I can go days without getting into a car.

I do wish our daycare provider lived a little closer so I could ride my bike, but alas she does not. She's on the other side of town and while I could technically ride my bike, parts of that ride are just not safe for cyclists. Oh well. Even with that daily ride, we haven't had to put gas in the car since 8/5, which is a record for us.

Tomorrow starts the first full week of school and I feel ready. I still have some planning to do for the week and a few copies to make in the morning, but I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle my 6th period... I thought 6th period last year was an anomaly of energetic and... challenging kids, but apparently that's just 6th period. My group this year is a level up from last year's group (and I mean a level up in challenge). Things should get even more interesting when they shuffle schedules around after this next round of placement testing (long story). But I'm ready for them. Bring it on LAD B!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


So, Tina Fey named her new baby girl Penelope.

I am of two minds about this news.

1. I love that name! Great minds think alike!

2. *&%$@#$%^! Now everyone and their sister will name their daughters Penelope. I purposefully chose names for my children that were uncommon. Names that I loved and we're not on the top 100 list of baby names the FIVE years prior to their birth. I am one of 1,000,000,000,000 Jessica's and while the name itself is fine, I hated being one of the 2 or 3 Jessica's in my class. I was always Jessica B. It sucked. The upside was no one every misspelled or mispronounced my name, but it wasn't until adulthood that I can to appreciate this small upside.

Penelope is a wonderful name. It's beautiful, it has a great literary history, it's historical. It was also #946 on the list of 1,000 in 2001, #359 in 2008 (when Poe was born), and #200 last year. &$#!#$^%#@.

At least, if she's one of a dozen Penelope's at her school, she'll probably be the only Penny Lane.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day One: Check

I survived day 1.

And it actually went pretty well. There were some pitchy spots, but nothing went wrong and by the third class I had my rhythm down and was much more comfortable and had a lot more fun. The kids did too, the first day is always a combination of fear and boredom for a lot of students - especially Freshmen. And I have A LOT of Freshman.

I haven't decided if this means our Principal likes me or hates me ;)

Moving around wasn't fun, but it worked as well as it could have. I have a few things to add to my rolling cart to make things a bit easier and it helps that the teachers I share classrooms with are all great to work with. We all teach 9th grade English at some point in our days, so we're working on closely pacing our classrooms and using similar materials so that we can maximize our time and energy (among other things). Our school is really big on PLCs (professional learning communities) and I am embracing the collaboration. It's great to have common pacing and curriculum guides so that we're a more cohesive department and all of our students needs are met. I was lucky enough to have worked at a PLC based school for my student teaching as well. In fact, my mentor teachers at ML are so super collaborative that they've offered to share materials with me even though I'm not on their site. They are teh awesome.

So yes, day one is complete.

Day two and day three are going to be pretty standard across the board and (unfortunately) not very exciting. Procedures need to be explained and mandatory testing needs to be done so we can get it out of the way and move on to the fun stuff. Next week should be much more exciting for the students - and for myself - as I get to delve into the short stories and start teaching lessons with GRR & CM (Gradual Release of Responsibility and Constructing Meaning). I'll get fully trained in both this year, but I've gotten the teaser training and some plans. It's pretty great stuff - google it if you want to know more.

I'll try and post more about each specific class later... but I have some organizational stuff to do and I'd love to get to bed before 10. Even though this is a short school week, it's a busy one!

Oh, and the kids start daycare on Friday - next week we're full time, but our first day is Friday. We were lucky enough to find a home daycare run by someone I really, really like. I got a great vibe from her and I think the kids will do well. Her set-up isn't ideal (apartment complex) but Bryan, the kids, and I all liked her, she's bilingual (which I LOVE), and the kids will interact with children their own age and a bit older. It's not set up like a preschool, but that will come eventually. Poe will actually be in preschool next year so that will be another fun hunt.

I do want to write a post on weaning since I'm thinking about starting that process. I have some seriously conflicting feelings that all seem to depend on which way the wind is blowing. Seriously. I love breastfeeding, but this weaning business sucks.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The First Day of School

Is tomorrow. Although if you're reading this on Facebook then it already happened since FB doesn't usually update the blog feature quickly. Anyway. For me, as I type this, the first day of school is tomorrow.

My mom asked me if I was excited. I don't know if that's the right word. Overwhelmed isn't the right word either. My Principal is excited. I know a few teachers who are overwhelmed and one who is slightly terrified.

Me? I feel... purposeful. I'm a good teacher, one day I'd like to be a great teacher. I work at it, I adjust, I get feedback, I am flexible, I am organized, I apparently love the comma. I have been presented with a challenge that has been complicated by sharing three rooms instead of just having one classroom. But I've done that before, so it's not like I can't handle the logistics.

I can do this. I'm just ready.

Well, except for my seating charts... and definite textbook check-out days for LAD B... and emergency sub plans... and Monday warm-ups... and...

But tomorrow? Yeah, I got this.

So I'm ready. Prepared. Focused.

Excited? Not really. I'm not unexcited. I think, perhaps, in order to get to the emotion of excited you have to be able to have all the details in place or be able to ignore or gloss over the details - which is difficult for me to do. So I don't really get excited very often, I just get busy organizing or planning.

Speaking of which, I need to organize my briefcase & pack my lunch so I have less to do in the morning. Since the remote hook-up to the student database is currently glitchy on my end, I need to get in early and mess with my seating charts... and double check to make sure my copies are in my box. And and and...

Being a teacher is a lot like being a mom. You're never really done.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My seahorse

We all know that seahorse daddies do all the baby-gestating work. And while Bryan wasn't able to actually gestate and birth our wonderful children, he is an incredibly involved father. Compared to a significant number of daddies in the US, Bryan is pretty sea horse-eque.

And now, he is literally a sea horse daddy.

Best moment at the Aquarium that day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, August 1, 2011

A little bit about the move

We have moved. We have (mostly) unpacked. We are exhausted.

The move itself went well thanks to family and friends who came out to help us load up the truck and clean up (and unload too). Shout outs to Bryan's grandparents who generously let us use their trailer, my parents for keeping the kids out from underfoot, my brother for being excellent manual labor, and Lee, Adam, Michael, and Jenny for coming out and braving the heat to help us load up. You are all wonderfully awesome and we are eternally grateful.

...goodbye North Highlands...

...hello Salinas!

As you can see we are not quite fully unpacked and we have also decided that now is a great time to introduce our youngest to manual labor.

Today was my first day of new teacher "training" which had both very useful and rather boring parts. It was mostly very useful. I'll be in various trainings until Friday, which we have off, and then start in service workdays next week and will start school on Wednesday.

I finally have my schedule and I have two preps, 3 periods of freshman English and 2 periods of ELD (English language development). I'm both excited and nervous. What I am NOT excited about is having 3 classrooms. It is an unfortunate reality that there are just not enough classrooms and so a few of us teachers have to share. S for my first two periods I'm on the move (the classrooms are across the hallway from each other) and them I'm upstairs in one classroom for my last three periods. Not bad, but not ideal. Maybe next year I'll get a room of my own, for now I'm happy to have a job in my field less than a year after getting my credential.

More later, I hope. The kids are asleep (and made the transition beautifully) and I should take advantage of it and go to sleep as well. Have to be up at 6 now!

PS, I get three weeks for Winter Break. Suh-weet.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Popular Posts

Penelope's Growth

6 years: 50 inches, 47 lbs
5 years: 48 inches, 42 lbs
4 years: 43.5 inches, 41.0 lbs
28 months: 39 inches, 33.1 lbs
26 months: 38.5 inches, 32.1 lbs
21 months: 37 inches, 31.8 lbs
18 months: 35 inches, 30 lbs
15 months: 34.25 inches, 28.8 lbs
12 months: 32 inches, 27.1 lbs
9 months: 30.5 inches, 25.1 lbs
6 months: 29 inches, 21.2 lbs
4 months: 28.5 inches, 17.13 lbs
2 months: 24.75 inches, 12.12 lbs
At birth: 20.75 inches, 7.15 lbs

Griffin's Growth

5 years - 3 feet 11.25 inches (47.25 inches), 51 lbs
3 years - 3 feet 5.25 inches, 40lbs
18 months - 34.5 inches, 27.13lbs
12 months - 32 inches, 26.5lbs*
10 months - 31.75 inches, 23.4 lbs
7 months - 29.25 inches, 21.4 lbs
5 months - 28.5 inches, 17.9 lbs*
4 months - 28 inches, 15.5 lbs
3 months - 27 inches, 13.10 lbs
2 months - 25.125 inches, ?? lbs
1 month - 24 inches, 10.13 lbs
At birth - 22.5 inches, 9.1 lbs
*with diaper

Izzy's Growth

2 months: 23.25 inches, 10.8 lbs
At Birth: 22 inches, 8.11 lbs

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