Monday, April 29, 2013

put it down (the net)



Earlier this week, my neighbor was wearing a shirt that said "Put it Down", and had a dog holding an ipod, which I interpreted as my iphone, and his owner holding a bone.  The image struck a chord with me.  

Then Friday, I was driving away with Josey and noticed my smartphone wasn't on the seat next to me- figured I left it on the counter at daycare.  The fact that I went in there with my phone bugged me.  I thought, "Good.  I can leave it over the weekend and have a chance to unplug a little."  Could have turned around and had it in my hand in 3 minutes, but didn't want to.  I drove home, posted something about no phone on my facebook and started dinner, enjoying our new freedom.  About 20 minutes later, unpacking diaper bag, found the phone, took about 30 pictures of the evening and was more distracted throughout the night.  Wah, wah, wah.

I have been getting worse and worse with the cellphone around JJ.  At least she still puts it to her head and says "Hi!".  I need to make a more conscious effort not to be using at it while she's playing.  Usually, I grab it to take a picture of her, then sadly get distracted on it with something else.  We had the BEST day at the park the other day because I didn't have my phone!  

One good trick is to have a place to keep your phone.  Speakers, charger, whatever, keep it there when you're home.  Working on only reading, playing piano, etc. around Josey J, there is plenty of time while she's sleeping to use electronics.  

Also, the Instagraming is too much.  I look at amazing pictures everyday, then I'm distracted by EVERYTHING, thinking, "I should probably take a picture and write something deep or funny or sweet about that.  Then more people will like me."  Eek.  Going to take a break and try to get my picture files under control here.  The unlimited storage thing is dangerous, right?  And what about film and prints?  Disposable cameras?  Dark rooms?  Will ANYONE remember?

One thing that's helping me redirect my internet habits is a program called "Stay Focusd".  It's a Chrome pluggin.  I put websites like Pinterest, Facebook, etc. into the "blocked sites" and choose how long I want to be on those sites all day.  You can't change the settings after you've exceeded your time for the day.  When your time is up, a big screen says: 

Shouldn't you be working?   

Yep!  Now that I've wrapped up a couple posts for the week, I'm going to take a little break.  


mtn mama: cloth diapers





When we found out the great news of our expanding family, we were sleeping on the floor of our bungalow.  Not yet moved in, still enjoying the buzz from a trip to Central America, pondering buying pregnancy tests in bulk rather than one by one by one.  Two lines!  I skipped the test back to our floor den, and we happily snuggled in the excitement of our new life.

During the first few grueling months of my pregnancy, when you're dying to tell everyone but not supposed to, I started thinking up an action plan for our new bebe.  James was working up in Glacier, and I was fuzzy tired here in Missoula, reading Fit Pregnancy in bed, dreaming of running strollers, baby carriers, and cloth diapers.  Daddy Craig's efficiency has taught me to plan ahead, so I started researching.  Having heard the staggering statistics on disposable diapers sitting in landfills for hundreds of years, and knowing the cost of disposables, cloth made sense for us ethically and financially.



I perused the net (almost too much info out there!) and asked a couple of friends using cloth diapers to show me their setups.  We went with FuzziBunz, but G-diapers (available at GFS) are a big hit, too.  If you can swing it, cloth diaper service is available in Missoula, and probably in your area.  I received a couple different cloth diapers as baby gifts, but we decided not to start them until after we returned from her first summer in Glacier.

      If you're trying to choose a brand, here is an overview: 17 of the best cloth diapers around.  

Around 5-months, we snuggled in for Fall, James joined us back in Missoula, and we were ready to get started with cloth.  One day I looked on Craigslist and found not one, but two sets of used FuzziBunz for very reasonable prices.  I visited both nurturing homes and they encouragingly passed on their diapers.  A couple were too stretched out, but for the most part, all usable.  Since then, we've gradually supplemented with a couple extra new diapers from Amazon.



Routine:

Luckily, we've found cloth diapers to be pretty simple!
The key ingredient is a washer and drier which is conveniently located in our kitchen.

We double-stock blue diapers to be "nap diapers" and put her in a disposable for bed (extra absorbency necessary).  Fortunately our daycare is cool with cloth, but it took a few weeks of extra communication and diaper creme at the beginning to get the kinks worked out.  Now we hand them a clean bag of diapers in the morning, they hand it back dirty.

Each evening, we run a hot load that's just for Josey- diapers, bag, clothes, washcloths.  [Usually we just shake solids into the toilet- if especially messy, let it set longer and shake out right before putting in the wash.  Pretty easy- soon after becoming a parent, you're nearly immune to the grossness.]

We use a hot cycle, laundry detergent, and add baking soda and an extra rinse when needed. Works for us!



Josey is quite comfortable in cloth diapers, our conscience is cleaner, our pocketbook a little lighter (the savings keep growing).  When we move back up to GNP this summer, the routine will take readjusting, especially since we'll be living with several other folks, but think we'll make it work.

Cloth diapers are a consistent effort, but for us, worth it.  Want to try?  Check out the checklist below.  As with everything you try as a new parent, keep it simple.  Be ok with using them sporadically in the beginning and working your way into it.  Sometimes, we skip a day, and that's ok.  Whatever works!


Checklist (besides your diapers):

-washer & drier (you can hang the diapers if you don't have a drier, but it's much simpler with one)

-a basket for storing clean diapers

-any pail or garbage can (for dirty ones at home- in addition to your pail for disposables)

-baking soda
      Here are 75 other extraordinary uses- we buy it at Costco

-a go-bag (this one is perfect)

-good, gentle, natural diaper creme.  We like Booda Butter.  (Thanks, Metta!)

-Persistence and commitment.  You'll be changing diapers a little more frequently to avoid rash, and you have to stay on top of the laundry.  It's a team effort around here!

Optional:
-sprayer attachment (we're fine without it)
-diaper liners (we used some for awhile, but it's easier to skip it)


Good luck!



Sunday, April 28, 2013

r + r = my favorite facewash

The weekend is my time to primp- especially Sundays.  I try to do something from the overall regimine- paint my nails, shave my legs, check in with the overall appearance.  I've never taken much time to worry about it over the week besides what I'm wearing and a little mascara, but it's important to be beautiful, right?  This weekend, I'm catching up with my skin.     

Since becoming a mama, my pores have started to change.  Not sure if it's hormones, age, stress, although most likely, it's lack of sleep, which may just be the norm while I'm working overtime on a couple different things.  When I starting making this facewash a couple months ago, I noticed a nice change in my pores.  I used it up earlier last week and now I'm finally getting around to restocking it.  Here's the easy process:

Simple.


Honey Soda Pore Refiner:

-Small beautiful bowl 

-Scoop baking soda
           Here are 75 other extraordinary uses- we buy it at Costco

-Add honey (start with about a tsp)
           just ran out and are going to try this Montana honey next 

-Stir and add honey slowly until the mixture has a creamy sheen and is smooth to stir.  Transfer to container with lid, set in the shower.  This amount lasts me about two weeks.

-Apply to face every couple days, keep it on while you shampoo and condition.  Rinse, and voila- nicer pores!

Voila!

{If you have a little extra time, I love a variety on this detoxifying homemade treatment with coconut oil and coffee grounds.  Rejuvenating just in time for Spring and shorts!}

PS: stir the facewash with your finger, the honey eventually starts to separate.  xo

Saturday, April 27, 2013

five-minute friday: (for) friends

Welcome to this weekend's edition of "the Friendly News"

In second grade, I started a neighborhood newspaper with my friend John with that opening line.  He and I were super goofy pals, and we (mainly me) had big dreams for the newspaper.  My dad gave an account of a fire in the neighborhood, I did a spotlight on a new girl who had moved in from Montana City, and featured some artwork as well.  Unfortunately, John moved to Billings, so the single, pilot issue of "the Friendly News" stays in my scrapbook and the dream lives on.  


Love.

Last night, our adventurous pals were in town and came over for a BBQ.  So nice to stay outside long after dark hearing about their travels!  Got me really excited about spending summer with them in GNP!




At the top of my to-do list is freshening up my closet for Spring!  One great way is to spruce up your Spring look with scarves you already have.  Check out this fun scarf tutorial for some new ideas that look effortless!    (I want to schedule a Clothing Swap ASAP so we can all have even fresher wardrobes!)  

Apparently this lovely dress is $375.  No way, cheri!

Josey and I will be visit James at his tennis tournament later today (once I get the spare tire on- joy).  We'll go lounge/speed crawl on the grass, say "ball" a million times, play on the slide, and she'll flirt it up with parents and kids.  It's almost time to update her wardrobe, too.  18-mo. choices, here we come!

Speaking of, the slide has replaced the glory of the swing.  I made the mistake of taking her down about 5-10 times in a row last week, and when we had to leave, she started screaming and kicking!  I saw a glimpse of toddler-dom.  The next day on the slide, I told her "last time" on the third.  Then we said/signed, "all done" and we waved "bye" to the folks around.  Happy camper.

Also on the docket: my first trail run of the season.  Feelin' good.



Our Drama department is putting on a play at school this weekend and a bunch of my kids will be involved.  Excited to see them perform and start brainstorming for next year!  Derk, the awesome Drama teacher at FCS, is super motivated and great to collaborate with, and students love him.  Big plans coming up!

Speaking of friends.  The Five-minute Friday prompt this week is "Friends".  I don't know that I have any original eloquence about friends today.

I will say that I'm grateful for all of my unique friends and they help me with my confidence (ha!) and other pursuits, like parenting and cooking.  I love my friends like I love my family!  Always striving to be a good one for all.

Here's a great post about friendship and parenting: The Most Beautiful Education.  It makes me so excited for the future of this Jamily Family!  Josey is a lucky gal.

Thanks, Leslie.


Time to get back to my speed-cleaning so we can get on with our plans!

{Check back for babywearing, cloth diapers, and a honey pore refiner later this weekend} xo


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Going BANANAS!

From A Cup of Jo today.  Love her blog.


In the words of a good friend, "I'm Officially the Mayor of Crazytown."  Desk/classroom looks like a complete disaster zone, gas tank is empty and I didn't take a shower today.  I need more TA's to help my organize all my music and materials!  We're having another BAKE SALE!  ACK!  I had a student get me a Xenergy drink at the gas station today during lunch in desperate measures.  Distracting myself from the never-ending google docs & spreadsheets for a quick post.




When life gives you lemons.... go bananas!  We love bananas for their price, taste, filling-quality, and convenience.  They have quite the interesting history (ask James for more details...or read the book).  I pretty much always have one on my desk or in my purse.  PVC's are a hazard when I'm tired/overextended, and apparently the potassium in bananas helps.



Here is Josey eating a banana whole for the first time.  Pretty much the best thing ever.

::She often exclaims: "Nana, nana!" or just "Nan." Meaning banana and all other yummy food that doesn't fall under the category of "apple"::

Photo via liveearth.org

When I'm low on sleep and needing to emit loads of energy, the most important ingredient for success is water.  Constant!  Next year, I want to get a water cooler for our room.  Craigslist hunt!  Yes.  Water is so very good!

Chasin' waterfalls

Tea is my savior on days like today and tomorrow too!  Earl Grey alt. w/Lemon Ginger Green.  Instant calm.  My tea kettle's handle broke, so it's not as convenient as it once was.  Doesn't this fancy electric tea kettle seem fun?

Keep Calm.  It's one of my many mottos.

Ok.  Back to work!  Pronto!  Thanks for reading my random self-cheerleading.  You really don't have to.  But I want you to & I'm cheering for you too!  Trying to share some good ideas with other busy folks, too.  Go TEAM!  xo

Monday, April 22, 2013

swing work spring

Ah!  Almost May, and this Spring is having some serious mood swings.  

This beautiful, snowy morning I saw beautiful clouds and sun from Hellgate canyon.   Breathing deep, my cold fingers hurriedly pulling snowy chunks from my wipers.

Now I'm sitting on the porch, blue sky, motherly moon looking down from over Pattee Canyon.  Love catching up with the neighbors on nice evenings.  BBQ time is coming up here on Fairview!



Josey turned one this weekend and seems like another baby to me now.  Tonight when I started singing her a little lullaby, she leaned back, locked eyes with mine, and sang "Ahhhhhh".  Then she started winding up and bouncing up and down.  It was a special, fleeting moment before I put her down and she immediately curled up with her giraffe.  Looking forward to so much singing with that girl.  Out like a light, birthdays are tiring.



She's sick again, too, which has been the usual since we started daycare.  I wrote about her coughing, etc. here at the beginning of our Boulder trip.  Turns out it was an ear infection (which my Grandma told me before we left.  Listen to your elders!)  James has taken her to the Doc twice now, we didn't know the first antibiotics were supposed to be refrigerated.  Hoping these ear infections don't stick around, I know a lot of babes have to get new tubes in, etc.  Maybe this summer will be a nice break from the other babes and she'll be sickness-free for awhile.

Trying to get into the Spring of things...or the swing of Spring?  It's staying lighter later.  Told myself I would run today from the second I got up, but I've felt so lazy today!  Let's use the morning snow as an excuse.  Or not wanting to change my clothes.  Looking forward to having a my clothes-storage in my own room in just five short months!

starting to dream about living here in just two months!

Mulling over the Double Dip.  A double... double dip?  More on that soon, I think.  For now, I'll work on going for a hike tomorrow and pay more attention to my eating aka show some restraint for the endless fatiguing carbs that continue to obstruct my path.


Mt. Sentinel from the West

More self-motivation for work tomorrow (jumpin' this week and it feels good):
(via pinterest)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

choir chatter: conviction (week 13)


Conviction is a word I've heard often throughout my music studies.

"Play with more CON-VICTION!"

I guess technically that means better articulation and diction.  Syllable stress and stuff.  It's a term I haven't considered much as a teacher, to be honest.  I suppose it also means singing like one voice, connecting with the music.  

My combined choirs performed together twice on Friday- first in the Missoula Manor, a retirement home, and then for their District Festival adjudication. I am so proud of their hard work and dedication!  Their adjudicator, who is the choir director at Gonzaga University, was pumped about their performance.  He mostly worked with them on their lyrical piece, "The Pasture", did some cool physical stuff to get a better crescendo, gave them some exciting compliments.  They had a great time belting out 80's rock hits coming home (which they knew, word-for-word), and I wrote the passage above before bed.

The past week was hard, my students are registering for 2013-4 classes, and some of my stronger kids were talking about dropping choir.  Why?  It's hard not to take something like that personally and impossible not to respond.

They are lacking conviction, commitment. How do I change that?  Have more of it, to start.

Planning.  Better, more efficient rehearsals.  Less talk, more sing.  Marry movement to sound, isolate difficult passages better, plan and execute more complete warm ups, memorize music as part of the process.  Listen and respond.

Listening to Pandora again, and "After the Storm" by Mumford and Sons comes on, his voice full of conviction, but he breathes during words, and oop, there's the lightbulb.  I want to listen to it with my students!  I implemented notebooks in my classroom at the beginning of this year, and they are amazing teaching and learning tools for music!  Will share more of those lessons as I weed through this year's plans over the summer and into next year.

{For this Spring, I'll be posting frequently in this category- filed under "Choir Chatter", and they will be fluid with edits, links, changes, etc.  Using this site to organize my teaching thoughts and materials (Entertain my other writing escapades as a young mama, too).  Again, if you don't want to read choir stuff, skip it, no problem.  I don't want to lose cool readers because I'm posting work stuff too.  This site will grow organically and become better organized over the next year as I keep posting frequently...xo}

It's Week 13 at school.  Week 20 is the last week, graduation and 8th grade commencement.
End of Week 18, we leave for Seattle!  Here we go!

Goals for Week:
-Use Pandora on the Promethean board to start and end class.  (Get up from my desk and chat about music with my kids.  Yay!)
-Get in the hall ONCE a day!
-District Wrap-up, appointments with kids who made State.
-Plug Talent Show, All-State, TA positions
-Focusing on teaching our new Spring music with conviction.
-Continue Sight-reading.
-Give more to my Middle School students.
-Choose music for graduation & promotion.
-Keep using planning board.
-Seattle to-do's: roster, bus, finalize rep decisions, hotels & shows, coffee stuff.

High School Notebook Week 13

Listening Notebook for Week



Isn't this video just adorable?  Love.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

five-minute friday: jump

This is a sweet duo I discovered through my Elizabeth Mitchell Pandora, which is now titled "Josey's Jams".  I love my Pandora stations!  It's so nice to "like" a song and hear it intermittently, discover new artists, and not have to choose music.  Just started a new station, Bon Iver + St. Vincent.  I know my mood will take it somewhere else over the next while of listening, liking, scrolling ahead.




Well, my friends.  It is time.  Time for me to Jump.  I want mo MO MORE.

"Then Jump.  For my love."

Actually.... I'm going to dive.  It's going to feel crisp and clean and easy because I'm a flipping fish.

It's what I was born to do.  Music can fill me up.

Yeah yeah yeah jump!

I'm the girl who stands on the rock of a half-hour, stalling. Counting, stepping back, talking about jumping.  Once I take the plunge, I'll go over and over again.  Go Emily!

I'm on the rock in my teaching. I have so many ideas & so much knowledge, but I keep stalling.  I get distracted by this or that instead of just doing it.  Be that choir teacher, be that role model, the one who makes anything possible.  The one you want to be!  This week, you are jumping and not looking back.  No excuses.

Just do it.  John Combs gave me some great words today about excellence.

Why would you live your life any other way?  If you're changing a tire, you better get those lug notes on their good.

Might as well jump.




Everything with excellence.

Always.  
No excuses.  

We are 
what we repeatedly 
do.    

Take a leap.  

For Five-Minute Friday.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Josey J is ONE today!

Our little JJ, Josephine, Josey bean, Jo J, Squirmy Lou turns ONE today!  



Celebrate good times, come ON!  I am so excited for this little firecracker.  She has so much spunk and life- a genuine chatterbox with a warm chuckle, tuneful singing, and those blue eyes!

This past year has been a journey for James and I, growing stronger in starting our family.

 

He was an incredible aid, never leaving my side.  Squeezing hands, watching, as our baby came into the world.  I knew she'd be a Daddy's girl (how could you not with him?)  We had settled on Josephine as our girl's name, but when she was born, I picked James as her middle.  Josephine James- star quality, right?



Bringing her home to the bungalow was the best part of her birth for me.  Those first couple weeks were a crazy jumble of emotions, so much snuggling, figuring out her tongue-tie, sleeping with her, forgetting about everything else.  Her first summer was spent chillin' in Missoula and exploring the Many Glacier Valley.






I love hiking the trails with Josephine.  Those days, she'd squeeze my fingers and put them in her mouth.  She'd chat and sleep and I had time to clear my head and sing songs, usually some variation on a  "Hey Bear Hey Moose" and "Josey Bean, Josey Bean, prettiest girl in the whole wide world."  She made new friends, met lots of family.  All in all, it was a great summer.








She grew, and we came home to a busy school year, we found a wonderful nanny, and eventually daycare and got settled into life in Missoula.  Each day, I fill with excitement in carpool anticipating those precious after-school hours.  This year has been full of milestones to write in her baby book, but most importantly, a deepening love.






I think I'm getting this motherhood thing.  It's a thing, you know.  Of course it took me awhile.  You have 9 months with your growing, moving basketball, then you live it.  You alter your priorities, your outlook changes, you find yourself over and over again.  I look forward to that process of finding myself throughout my entire life.  Finding the YOU from your past, remembering joys and ideas and growing again.  I'm excited to rediscover my childhood and see the world through new eyes with James.  Straight-up grateful for that opportunity.





Earlier this week, after we returned from a much-needed hike with Autumn, I fed Josey some coconut quinoi and spinach with a silver spoon.  Every couple bites, I handed it over and she played it on her tray, grinning like a banshee.  We laughed.  What a joy- the silver spoon!  Not the same green, yellow, or purple plastic spoon, bling that sounded and looked way better.  Her excitement is contagious!




With her early excitement about standing and moving, I thought she'd be walking around this time.  She's pretty much protesting about now, would rather crawl with her stealth speed.  She's weaning herself from a bottle just like she did the boob.  Miss independent has never been one to lay around and snuggle.  The nursing difficulties, juggling a nap schedule, waking in the middle of the night (aside from a little teething- knock, knock) long gone. Now she's full of enthusiastic "HIiii"'s , squeals, and kisses.  Babymoon?  Let's do it again!  My blood buzzes as I scroll through this year's pictures, reliving it.  Amaze.







Josephine means "God will add".  Josephine James adds so much to our lives.  She is pure joy.  Happy Birthday, baby girl.  We got a long way to go!




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