Saturday, August 8, 2015

FL Blog Hop

Glad that you were able to join us for the third annual Orange Ya' Glad it's a Blog Hop!
I am the

If you have hopped with us in the past, some things will be familiar, and some things will be new!
This year, all of our bloggers are focusing on free tips or ideas that they can share with you to get your school year off to a great start.  Some ideas will have a freebie, others might just be a stand alone concept.  The idea is to try and share things that will solve problems and create a happy and stress free first few weeks!

Let's get started shall we?

We all know that our days overflow into nights during those first few weeks of school. 
Our to-do lists are ever growing and it's easy to feel swamped with everything.
And just when you feel like you're starting to catch your breath- a sweet new face shows up to join your classroom. 

Too many times this has happened to me in the middle of juggling 10 different morning tasks.
Have you been there?
You greet the little person, shack the parent's hand, smile and nod while you're mentally going through your to-do list in your mind and trying not to glance at the clock as you know your morning prep time is precious.

Insert Parent Form Bags!
Fancy name for a not so fancy idea... but one that will save your sanity and your time.
Those first few days of school, your mail box fills up with a million forms.
Transportation, lunch applications, photo release, contact info, code of conduct... the list goes on.
On day three you get a newbie and again on day five.
No more need to scramble.
Grab a few gallon size plastic bags and put a copy of each form inside when you pass them out to your kiddos those first few days.
By the time a new little one joins your class, you can grab a bag and save yourself from spending your specials making sure you're not missing anything!
You're welcome ;)

We will be having an Instagram giveaway again!  
Here's my letter! 


 The letters all work together to give you the name of a type of orange!  
This year is a bit tricky...it's a two word name!  
**Hint: Starting at Mrs. Russell's Room will help you collect the letters in order!** 


Once you've solved the puzzle...take a picture of the answer.  
Post it on instagram and hashtag it with #orangehop2015.  
We love original ideas...so, do something fun with your image!


A winner will be chosen from Instagram!
Grab a piece of paper and start hoppin' along!

Next up, a blogger momma after my beach lovin' heart :)
Teacher by the Beach

Thursday, August 6, 2015

BTS Florida BLOG HOP!

Happy back to school season!
I'm excited to announce a fun Florida-centric blog hop!
I'm joining with some wonderful Florida bloggers to give you some great back to school ideas that will give you all you need to start the year off right!
You can look forward to seeing tips from the following Florida PreK-5 bloggers!




















Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

We {HEART} Teachers Day 2- #TechieTeachers


It's time for day two of our We {HEART} Teachers Event 



and that means more fun stuff for you to win! 


But first, I am sure you are anxious to see if you won one of those 2 TpT Gift Certificates!


and the winners are...





Today's prize is one for the #techieteachers... AND the not so techie teachers ;)




Yeah... you're reading that right! Here's an official run down of this totally awesome prize pack!



IPad Mini 2- Now you can bring technology to your classroom (or just keep it for

yourself, we won't tell! ;)) with your own tablet. The miniature size makes it ideal for smaller hands or stowing away in a purse!





Chevron Stand Case- How cute is this case? Protect your newest accessory with this

easy to find cover! 





$10 Itunes Gift Card- Buy some educational apps, download a few books,

whatever you want! You've got $10 to spend to help fill up your new toy, I mean "educational resource", with new apps! 





Planbook Subscription for you and a friend- Now you and a teammate can enjoy easy planning

for the year! You can check out more on Planbook.com

  

Ready to get your #techieteacher on? Enter the Rafflecopter below! 




I am also excited to share with you that TeachersPayTeachers decided to join in on the Teacher Appreciation week fun!  They are having a site wide sale today and tomorrow as a way to say thank
you for all your hard work this year!


Thank you Deana from Primary Punch for creating this cute graphic! 


So, from May 5th through the 6th ALL our stores will be on sale! Combine that with the coupon

code THANKYOU and you can save up to

28% off your must have resources! 
Grab up some products to get you through the rest of this year or stock up for next year! 
It's all good when there's a sale! 

...And because we know your feet are tired at the end of a long day (and your brain!), we made

it easy to shop! All your favorite stores all in one location- can't beat that?! 


Don't forget to use the coupon code: THANKYOU!



Friday, April 24, 2015

The Here And Now {Our Fertility Story: Part 5}

If you or someone you know is battling fertility, visit www.resolve.org to learn more.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
This is my fertility story.

You can read Part 1 here >> {Part 1: The Call}
You can read Part 2 here>> {Part 2: Be Still.}
You can read Part 3 here >> {Part 3: The Final Test}
You can read Part 4 here>> {Part 4: Overcoming the Odds}


***
I came out on the other side of this battle.
But that doesn't mean it's finished.

It changed me. 
It's my truth.
It's my story to tell.

I look at this sweet face and the sense of gratitude fills my heart.
She's my miracle.

So many readers have sent me emails with their struggles this week.
Many of you asking for updates on where we are now.

Well...I'm enjoying every second of mommyhood.
I'm in the here and now.
I don't miss a second to squeeze those cheeks.
Today, I left those papers at work... they can be graded later.
I waited too long to get here.
She's growing too fast and I don't want to miss a second of it!


Feel free to follow us on Instagram and get all the latest baby cuteness and updates delivered right to your phone! Click here

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Overcoming The Odds {Our Infertility Story: Part 4}

If you or someone you know is battling fertility, visit www.resolve.org to learn more.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

This is my fertility story.

You can read Part 1 here >> {Part 1: The Call}
You can read Part 2 here>> {Part 2: Be Still.}
You can read Part 3 here >> {Part 3: The Final Test}


So many times I heard that I was over thinking it or I was putting too much pressure on myself.
Anyone that's fought fertility has probably heard that too.
This is why many of us sit in silence.

People mean well, I'm sure.
But it's just easier to stay silent than explain it all.

My silence had gotten really heavy.

That moment when the tears streamed down my face as I stared at those two pink lines, the year and half of struggles and disappointments boiled over and mixed with feelings of excitement and happiness as it washed over me like a tidal wave.

I was on cloud nine.

I also went to Dollar Tree during my lunch break.
Those tests work too- in case you're wondering.

Three more were positive before I told the hubs. 
I needed to be sure the first few were accurate.
Just in case.



So... I slowed down with blogging.
I left work at work.
And I savored every moment of growing my little miracle baby.



I nested in anticipation.

And the moment that we met our sweet girl is a moment that we had fought for.
Cried for. 
Prayed for.

A moment I'll never forget.

A moment that all the pain, heartache and trial was worth.

I'd do it all again.

I'd fight the fight.

I'd cry the tears.

I'd battle odds.

But I wouldn't be quiet.
I wouldn't feel ashamed.
I wouldn't be alone.

Odds are, a woman in your family or circle of friends has fought the fight. 
Many in silence and embarrassment.
Help them make noise.
Because who does the silence help?

Infertility needs a voice.
Help raise awareness and bring light to their darkness.
WE ARE NOT ALONE.


***

Elianna: Hebrew, meaning: My God has answered. 




Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Final Test {Our Infertility Story Part 3}

If you or someone you know if battling fertility, visit www.resolve.org to learn more.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

This is my fertility story.

You can read Part 1 here >> {Part 1: The Call}
You can read Part 2 here>> {Part 2: Be Still.}

***
It was February of 2014 and we had begun our journey just over a year prior. We began adoption classes through our state foster care program and I had come to peace with the failed infertility treatments. For the first time in months, I felt like I could breathe. I was in control of how we would be growing our family and for this type A girl, that felt good.

We made a final consult with our doctor to let him know that we wouldn't be continuing any further. I was exhausted, my pharmacist knew me by name and our treatments had reeked havoc on our savings account. Our doctor wasn't quite as quick to throw in the towel. Because our case was so interesting to him, he offered to give us one round of Inter-uterine Insemination (IUI) half off if we were willing to give it one last shot.

We decided to try this "Hail Mary".
We knew we only had a 20% chance of success on the high side.
At half-price, it was the only way we could ever afford it and it really would be our last ditch effort.


Before the procedure, I would have to have one more ultrasound to see just how many eggs were viable. Unfortunately, there weren't any eggs on the screen- only a large ovarian cyst the size of a small orange. I was beyond frustrated as I watched the nurse take measurements and explain that the cyst was a side effect of the medications and that treatment would be a month of birth control pills. Her voice sounded like a distant blur as she talked.
Like Charlie Brown's mom.

I cried on that table.
Another set back.
Another disappointment.

I completed the birth control and we waited until March to get the green light for the IUI. I began the month with the regular medications, cycle tracking, daily ultrasounds and then the trigger shot.
I was scheduled to get the IUI procedure near the end of the month.

As I laid there in a little room, staring up at the ceiling tile decorated with fish, I couldn't help but pray that this would be the day that would end one chapter and start a new journey in our lives. The procedure was fairly painless and after 15 minutes, I was walking out hopeful.

I was scheduled to take a pregnancy test 14 days after the IUI.
I waited 17 days, just in case.
It was a Friday afternoon and there was only one pink line.

I was done.
Over. it.

I had thought for sure the IUI was going to work and yet I was staring at a single pink line for what felt like the hundredth time.

For the first time in months, I sat and uncontrollably sobbed. My strength was gone. I tried to explain to hubs how incredibly sad I felt but I couldn't put it into words. I knew that was our last ditch effort and there was this overwhelming sense of incompetence I felt as a women, as a wife. Having a baby was the one thing that only I could bring to our marriage and I had failed. 

That weekend I had plans to do a 5K with a group of girlfriends.


I felt a little crampy at the race and blamed it on my cycle. The weekend came and went, but my cycle hadn't started. By Tuesday, my girlfriends were begging me to take another pregnancy test. I refused to spend more money. I was done. I had come to peace with my final single pink line and we were only 3 weeks away from finishing up our adoption classes.
I needed to move on... I didn't need another pregnancy test.

Wednesday morning, my bestie asked me to come by her classroom before the morning bell. She had bought me a test and was going to make me use it whether I wanted to or not. I rolled my eyes at her and very matter of fact like, informed her that this was a waste of time. I indulged her anyway.

This time... there was a super faint second line.
We Googled it.

I was pregnant.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Be Still. {Our Infertility Story Part 2}


If you or someone you know is battling fertility, visit www.resolve.org to learn more.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!


This is my fertility story.
You can read Part 1 here >> {Part 1: The Call}

***
It was late spring of 2013 and the buzz of classroom placements for the 2013-14 school year were filling the halls around campus. I had looped from 1st to 2nd that year and my principal was entertaining the idea of me looping with my littles to 3rd. I knew I had to tell him why that wasn't an option. I needed to remove stress from my life, not add to it if we were to have any chance of having a baby. 

I had decided to stay in 2nd grade and school wide tentative positions were posted on the work room wall like Broadway callbacks when I noticed an open position at the bottom of the page. 

ART.

Our school hadn't had art on the specials wheel in quite a few years. It caught my attention and I went home that night with a heavy heart as I told hubs about the opening. I loved my team. I mean LOVED my 2nd grade team ya'll. I didn't want to leave them but I knew I needed to step back from the stress of team leader, data meetings, parents, merit pay, educational politics, new curriculum, and all the extras that teachers do day in and day out for their students.
Ya'll know what I mean! 

After nearly a week of conversations and back and forth with my principal, he had agreed to let me start up the art program at our school. After all, painting relaxed me and I could leave work at work for the first time since I had begun teaching. It was perfect and I finished out the year knowing that I had made the right choice.

I was coming out of the classroom so I could focus my energy on starting a family. 

Soon it was summer and there was no baby in sight. Although, the medication had helped me drop about 10 pounds, it was also causing me to lose handfuls of hair on a daily basis. I knew I had to take the good with the bad but I was getting impatient. 

Why weren't we pregnant yet?

More tests followed with each passing month.

They put dye through my Fallopian tubes to check for blockages.

They found and removed a small polyp from my uterus.

They ran mountains of blood work.

Still, no baby.

Fall came and I began teaching art. It was chaotic as any first year position is. I had no idea what I was doing and Pinterest was my go to curriculum. I just wanted to survive the year, get pregnant and go on maternity leave. My priorities and focus had become narrowed and the pressure I put on myself each month was growing. Work was work and life was life and for the first time, I found myself less consumed with school and more consumed with life. 

August brought a new game plan. Our doctor wanted to try an additional medication. A follicle steroid of sorts. The Metformin was working but just not good enough on it's own. So began the date and cycle tracking. I was to take this new medication for the first 3-7 days of my cycle each month. This was going to boost the growth of my follicles so they would mature into eggs that my body could ovulate. In order for the doctor to know if the boost was working, we began monthly "ovary check" ultrasounds where my eggs would be measured and we would go home with a three day window of when that egg would be ready to drop based on it's size. 

We did this each month from August until November. Still no baby. I felt defeated. I found myself begging God to just fix me- to bless us with a baby- to make it all go away. And His whisper back was always the same... Be still, Kimberly. 

Be still.


I was trying.

The next step was to add on monthly at home "trigger shots" to our current course of action. I'm not a fan of needles and hubs is not a fan of administering shots so we decided to really consider how far we wanted to take this journey.

We thought a lot about the next step...

We decided to try the trigger shot to force ovulation. We needed to start daily ultrasounds so they could measure my eggs and improve our timing.
This went on for two months... still not pregnant and the monthly costs were growing quickly.
It had nearly been a year since that first phone call.

A year.
A year of tests.
A year of procedures.
A year of disappointments.
A year of medications.
A year of appointments.
A year of phone calls.

 I remember our doctor giving us an out. We sat across the the desk from him as he explained that most couples throw in the towel after a year of medical intervention but he felt confident that he would figure this out. He was determined to solve the puzzle.

Here I was, 28, taking multiple medications, scheduling daily ultrasounds and getting stuck with a  needle each month only to see that our efforts resulted in only one pink line on a stick. That's when I reached what I thought was "my limit". I remember laying in bed and asking How much longer do we try? I didn't want to give up, but Lord knows I didn't want to keep going either. I was an emotional mess, which I desperately wanted to blame on the medication, but the truth is- the journey was changing me. 

Be still, Kimberly.

That night, laying in bed, we decided that we would do one more round with the trigger shot and if it didn't work we would explore our options with adoption. 

I felt better knowing there was a light at the end of the tunnel and within a few weeks we were scheduled to  begin adoption orientation classes while undergoing what I thought was our last round of infertility treatment. 

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