Thursday, May 21, 2015

the yoga teacher


Have you ever been to a live yoga class?  

I attend a yoga class through the Indian Health Care Center in my community.  This weekly class has been a special gem in my week for the last four years.  I would like to say that I attend on a weekly basis, but I'd be completely lying.  Since Motorcycle entered my world I don't often justify ditching him on a week night after being with a babysitter all day.  When I do carve time to attend, I leave being better than when I arrived. 

I breathe teaching.  It's what I constantly aim to improve during the 9-5 of my life, and it constitutes a great deal of passion for what makes me happy in my life.  Now that I am in more of an administrative school role, I am teaching adults more often than I am teaching students.  With some of our instructional shifts next year, I am going to find myself supporting, facilitating, and teaching how to differentiate learning on an individual basis for each student.  

While in a new balance pose at said yoga class, the instructor gave positive reinforcement and some constructive feedback in a fluid and calm way.  The lady next to me was struggling to get triangle pose with her fingers on the floor.  I was able to do so, and the teacher took the opportunity to extend my learning through having me reach further and twist my core.  That was the first time I noticed differentiated learning in a real world setting.  
A little later in the class our teacher modeled a multi-step pose that is considered difficult.  She modeled the entire pose, and then gave us details on each step while we were able to watch and ask questions.  On the outset of the pose she offered us blocks to use if we desired.  At first I thought I would not need the blocks, but I did indeed use them to gain my balance while holding correct form.  

Aren't yoga blocks like accommodations and differentiation?  I needed the blocks to accomplish the task in a high quality manner.  Because I was given the blocks, I gained mastery.  I wasn't cheating.  I was working really hard.  You could tell by the sweat beading on my face and my shaky legs.  Rather than telling me to do something easier or better yet, ignoring the fact that I was struggling, the teacher offered me blocks in hope that I would utilize it to be successful.   

Some times when I explain differentiation I see blank stares.  Individualizing the instruction to help the learner access the knowledge is key.  If you need a yoga block, your teacher gives you a yoga block.  If you need a side by side model, your teacher models the process, so you can do it!  

Namaste!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

the second birthday festivities

We were lucky enough to have all the Arizona Bratts in town for Callum's little birthday celebration.  

No surprises here.  We went to El Rancho and attempted to have Callum wear the sombrero for the traditional fried ice cream photo.  

On Sunday afternoon we had a family lunch and birthday cake.  We had planned to ride bikes at the train park, but the weather was rainy and cold.  So weird and random.  

Callum got way too many toys from us.  I'm totally against that kind of thing, but Jason likes to live big for birthdays.  









Monday, April 20, 2015

the second birthday

Callum.  

It's funny because we've had only 730 days with this little guy.  However, I can't hardly remember what it was like to not have him around.  

I've learned many things about this little tyke that give me a glimpse into who he will become.  He is a very busy and occupied boy.  Given something to categorize, sort, or figure out, and  he is there.  Given free space or a quiet event, and Callum runs and runs and runs.  He is the kind of boy that goes all out every time.  He runs full speed to get to his room for bed.  


I have learned that he doesn't like to be messy.  He says thank you after every little thing that is done for him.  For example, if you were to change his diaper, he would say, "thank you diaper."  This pattern holds true for everything!  

Callum recently learned how to fold his arms for prayers.  He says bye bye at the end and is not quite ready to try it himself.  

His vocabulary has exploded in the past month.  He learns new words at a rate I can't keep up with.  Gorilla is one of his cuter words right now.  

And then trains.  He is obsessed.  I don't even know where to start.  One night last week Jason heard him playing with trains at 4am!  He has a radar for them around our town.  He knows the roads that border the train tracks and make sure to announce when he sees one. 

His is happily sleeping in his own bed.  I can tell he is well on his way to being potty trained because he constantly talks about where pee and poop go.  

He doesn't have any toys in his new room.  He has a bookshelf with tons and tons of his favorite books.  Often times we listen to him reading himself stories after waking up from a nap.  

He has figured out that numbers and letters are special.  When he sees letters he says, "a and o" over and over as if he is pointing and reading.  He can count to two and does it any chance he can with his toys or books.  

I am undeserving of such a good boy.  He's happy and easygoing like his daddy.  

Happy Birthday my precious Callum








Friday, March 27, 2015

the mom decision

Recently I made a big decision.  
The opportunity to climb the career ladder even higher was opened to me.  The same opportunity was opened to me last year.  

Last year I struggled with my decision.  I originally said no and then succumbed to pressure from others to say yes.  After a few days of saying yes, I couldn't live with my decision.  I knew it was the wrong decision by how my heart felt about it.  I was just uneasy in every which way.  I officially pulled my name.  

This year the opportunity came up again about two months ago.  I was professional and thanked them for even considering me.  I told them I would discuss this decision with my family.  I also said that my same reservations from last year were still the reason I didn't think it was right for me right now.  

Fast forward to the present, and I can say that I have no uneasiness about putting my family first.  The main thought I have is that I won't look back in 33 years and be grateful for putting my career first while my kid (and future kids) are little tiny things.  However, I would look back in 33 years and be grateful that I was available and around my kids as much as possible for a working mom.  

The funny thing is that the usual and normal me would not hesitate to take this career jump.  It is where I want to be.  Something changed after having Callum.  I have just a tiny bit more of a grasp on what is truly important in this world.  While my job gives me so much satisfaction, I cannot say that I have true joy from it.  The true joy in my life comes from my family.  

I know that making a sacrifice for family will be a fruitful one.  It means I get to take Callum to the train park after school a bit more.  It means that I get to enjoy June and July with my baby.  

The moral of the story is that cherishing these crucial baby years will be the best decision I could make.  I truly believe I'll be better in my career because of it. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

the big boy bed


This little precious Motorcycle of mine just keeps passing milestones before I can even accept the last one.  

We have been wanting to make the transition to big boy bed for quite some time.  The bouncing and standing in the crib has had me worried for several months now.  Not only that, big independent boys don't belong in little prison cells for beds.  

We were excited to set up his new room and new bedding.  It was all fun and games until we went to put him to bed the first night.  He was nervous and uneasy about going into a new room.  He wasn't the problem though.  I couldn't handle it.  The moment I saw him get a little scared I backed out.  It was as if I was abandoning him to a lonely and scary crib just like I did when he was just a day old.  We let him sleep in the crib one more night so that his mom could adjust to this new milestone.  

I thought it over and realized that it is traumatic all over again just like it was when we left him in his crib the first time and then when we let him cry it out around six months.  The second night came around and the baby whisperer, Jason, dutifully put him to bed.  A few sad sounds and within minutes he was sleeping soundly in his big boy bed.  I was in the living room waiting for him to cry so that I could jump in to cuddle him a bit longer.  

I should have known all along that he would do well.  He's always been a great sleeper.  I have had it easy when it comes to getting this boy the Zs he needs.  We are now five days in, and Callum has effortlessly slept in his big boy bed.  He did fall out once during the night.  Other than that, he is proud of his bed and enjoys showing it off to us when he wakes up.  

And so it is, our 22 month old sleeps in a big boy bed. 




Monday, March 2, 2015

the capture of excitement


 Have you met Motorcycle?  He is filled with happiness and joy.  I am not kidding.  This boy bursts at the seams with excitement and pure amusement at every little good thing in life. 

For example, I captured the world's best excited face as we lit Tete's birthday candles. I can't even.

In another example he removes the pots and pans from our kitchen.  This happens on a daily basis.  He loves it, and I love that it brings him happiness.  












I adore Callum's eagerness to share laughter and communicate.  Below is one of his first experiences with popcorn.  He was able to say the two syllable word after hearing the word only a few times.  On this same day he asked a fellow toddler, "Are you okay?"  He has also started saying thank you after every little thing he does.  


He takes pride and has a willingness to eat his food by himself.  Below is his first experience with red velvet cake. 



I end by noting the volume and curl his hair is starting to take on.  Hello, Jason junior.  I'm totally okay with this. 

These are the special moments that I enjoy.  I continually-even daily-remember how lucky I am to be his mom.  It's just too good.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

the lost dutchman half marathon win



While I am in shape, I cannot say that I specifically trained for this race. I thought it sounded like a good idea when my sister suggested it.  I know that part of my good race had to do with the fact that the overcast low elevation perfect winter temperature had something to do with it.  The view was beautiful of the Superstition Mountains.  



Personal best in the half marathon distance!!

Mile 1-7:48 pace.  Felt good but wasn't about to be the idiot that overdid it in the first mile.  

Mile 2-5-on a straight fancy neighborhood street.  Easy but boring 5K pace was 7:48

Mile 6-Quite motivating to get to the halfway point.  The out and back concept makes it easy to really be aware of the distance remaining.  starting to find my true pace-7:34 pace

Mile 7-9-started passing quite a bit of people.  The people ahead of me dropped like flies here and there.  I also had an idea in my head of 15 females ahead of me.  I knew I would be able to reel in some of those ladies. I had about a 1/4 of a GU.  Started accepting water at each station-tiny sips.

Mile 10-Go time.  I had it in me to go.  My official races stats above confirm that I got faster and faster as the race went on. 7:31 pace-rocking it and feeling so freaking good

Mile 11-13-got mixed up with 10kers.  That was annoying but made me want to run faster to get away from them!

I would like to take a moment to celebrate my race pace!  7:26.  I'm proud of that commanding pace.  I knew I had it in me.  The first place age group finish confirms this!!  Just wait to see what I do next.  

One of my favorite parts about this race was that I had negative splits across the board. I ave strengths and weaknesses as an athlete and runner.  One of my strengths is honing in on negative split pace.  I don't use fancy watches to gauge my pace.  I feel it out, and I'm usually on the money.  
My least favorite part of the race was that it was on pavement the entire time. We never actually ran through Lost Dutchman State Park.  We were darn close, but it wasn't quite there.  I would say that the course description is deceiving in that regard.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

the grand canyon trip with motorcycle

We took some of our Kiwi relatives to visit one of the natural wonders of the world in our own backyard.  First, we stopped at the Little Colorado River Gorge.  In some ways I love this even more than the Grand Canyon.  We also stopped to by some turquoise jewelry.  There is not a better place to stop for jewelry than on the side of the road in Navajo country.  It was scary to have Callum on the edge.  My fear was definitely heightened for his safety!  

Taking Callum to the Grand Canyon was neat. I was surprised to see that he was interested and even delighted by the sheer beauty of the place.  I could tell he could tell that it was a very special place.  

We have visited the Canyon in winter time on previous occasions.  However, it was an unseasonably warm day this trip.  We loved the sun and temperature.  



























Saturday, January 3, 2015

the one resolution

I am one to be big on resolutions, goal setting, actionable items, and constantly thinking about how to do better and be better.  When I thought about my formal resolution for this year, one thing really stood out to me that will have ramifications in a lot of different areas of my life. 

MAKE DINNER

That's it.  That's my resolution.  Confession-I hate to cook.  I hate to doing mom jobs.  I find no happiness or satisfaction in kitchen things.  Because of this, Jason cooks.  He loves it.  He's good at it.  But he's in nursing school and has zero time for that.  I now have a child that eats people food.  However, he rarely eats food I offer, and I feel somewhat responsible for that because I often eat random things like toast for dinner.  Additionally, it fulfills my need to be fueling healthily for my run.  Furthermore, this will help Jason with his fitness goals.  Lastly, this may be an opportunity to have more family time on crazy week nights where two parents work.  

credit
Basically, I am wanting to cook a variety of meals on weeknights like normal moms do.  I've never done this and am completely intimidated by it.  This coming week will be my first go. 

On the menu we will be having...

Taco Salad 
with homemade salsa, avocado, and turkey meat

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Butternut Squash Soup

Steamed Veggies with Rice and Breaded Talapia

Not bad, right?  

Wish me luck. In my world, this is a more challenging undertaking than running a marathon.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

the long ride home

In summary, our trip was full to the brim with fun, sun, laughter, sunshine, family, and Christmas.  I left New Zealand feeling like I did everything and had the time that we had hoped for.  There was a bit of family drama, all three of us succumbed to a terrible flu, the sun wasn't always as warm as I'd liked, and we endured many hiccups in the world of airports.  All in all, we fulfilled our New Zealand sickness and both agreed that we were ready to come back to our home.  

The plane ride back was not as smooth as we had assumed it would be.  Remember on the way over how Fiji Airways let us use a bassinet?  Remember how we were seated in the bulkhead-aka dream seats on an international flight?  We figured the same seats would be assigned to us for the way back to LAX.  As a matter of fact, I asked the counter agent in Auckland if we were seated in the bulkhead...the answer was yes.  I smiled and said thanks for the great service!  Contrary to her response, we were stunned to board the plane and find that seats 28 E and F were actually the middle two seats in the row of 4 in the middle of the plane!  In other words, we were seated in the absolute worst seats possible for an international flight (WITH A LAP TODDLER).  After begging the flight attendants and being told there was nothing they could do, we gave up and took our seats.  I had visions of Callum squirming non-stop and me being unable to get out of my seat because we were trapped on both sides with random dudes.  

Well, it was a bit of that.  From Auckland to Fiji Callum was super wiggly.  We were seated in the bulkhead for this flight, so there was no harm done.  We had a long layover in Fiji, so we decided to get out of the airport and see some things.  It was extremely HOT and humid-big surprise.  We didn't venture far for fear of sweating through our clothes and not having any thing to change into.  We all bought popsicles and laid on the grass and stared up at the palm trees for a good while.  Eventually, we wandered around the airport and managed to get dinner.  We met this super annoying American that did nothing but say rude things about everything we would say.  It made me less excited to come home.  

As we boarded our flight to Los Angeles from Nadi, that is when we discovered the seats of death.  Like I said, we took our seats and had to figure out how to entertain Callum and keep him happy all within a very small personal space.  When they served dinner we had to balance tray tables and food with Callum kicking.  That was fun.  

At some point after the in-flight meal, he finally just fell asleep on me.  I knew it was a good sleep because he had a bit of a snore going.  His body was on me and his legs hung out onto Jason's legs.  The flight from Fiji to California is only 9hr 45min as compared to the usual 12 hours that it is for a direct flight from New Zealand.  I kid you not.  From the time he fell asleep until they turned on the cabin lights for breakfast somewhere close to California, Callum slept!  I am so proud of him.  There was one little moment where we cried in the night, but it was inconsequential.  

The big problem was that Jason and I could not get out of our seats without being the annoying people that wake people up on international flights or at the expense of waking Callum up.  I did not get up even once.  Do you know how bad this is for your health?  Again, I was extremely disappointed that we were told it was a bulkhead seating assignment only to find that it wasn't.  Not cool at all Fiji Airways.  We are disappointed.  

We landed in LAX to find a chaos of Americans taking domestic flights.  How annoying is LAX for domestic flights?  After enduring a line that snaked outside of the terminal and far outside, we checked in to find that it was too early.  Uhhhh.  

After finally finally getting through the check-in process we got crappy airport food and found a quiet corner in the terminal.  Our only goal was to get Callum a sizable nap, so we could clock out until the next flight.  It worked.  He slept like a charm. Jason watched movies, and I read my new book.  

The flight to Phoenix was great.  It was practically empty, and Callum got to stretch out on his own seat.  For the first time in my life, I was extremely excited to get home to my own house.  Is it because I'm a mom now or just old?  Either way, both Jason and I took comfort in pulling up to our snow covered driveway even though we had just been in summer paradise.  

For the record, being in New Zealand reminded us how much that country means to us.  We intend to move back because I cannot accept our kids not understanding what it means to be Kiwi.  That whole thing is a chapter for another time in our story.  

For now, we soak up and enjoy every little precious minute we get here with Kiwi family or there in the motherland.