Get Your Toes Off Of My Nipple

“Get your toes off of my nipple.”

The weirdest phrase that has ever come out of my mouth… and I have motherhood to thank for it.

Over the weekend Penelope and I have been left completely alone. Bridget was out of town for a Girl Scout event and Brent was at work. This left Penelope and I to our own devices. Which included some much needed bonding since I’ve been working full time.

We snuggled and watched “tarcoons”. We painted pictures and made homemade macaroni and cheese…

1907910_10205098502123019_3209939264272846260_n 10432950_10205098494762835_3861881052851479009_n

We played at the park.

10427330_10205097238571431_8543520572466218711_n 10410603_10205097228771186_2889051585757419090_n

We fed the ducks.


And we made eggnog play dough…


(Here is a link to the Holiday-Scented Play Dough Recipes I used.)

Then things got weird.

Every where I turned her hazel eyes were trained on me.

When I peed- “What you doing?”

When I showered- “Oh I like your boobies!”

Then things started to escalate… at one point a was sucking on a peppermint when she asked, “What you eating? Can I see?”

I opened my mouth to show it to her which provided her the perfect opportunity to shove her chubby little fingers into my mouth where she retrieved the candy and popped it into her own mouth.

Then that strange moment when lines were crossed.

She insisted I get out of the shower to change her diaper because she was poopie. I was dripping wet and my towel slipped out of its tuck and roll position as I leaned over her to clean her up. The creepy toes that managed to make their way to my breast. Then the clinching of the toes and the pinching of the nipple.

That crossed the line. Even moms have boundaries…

“Get your toes off of my nipple!”

“Ohhh, dat your nipple?”

“Yes, don’t touch it.”

“Ohhh, I like your nipple.”

(Nobody told me motherhood would be this weird.)

It’s now nap time and I’m finally able to sit alone and sip on a nice warm cup of Earl Grey while I make preparations for the week ahead. The previous week was spent working late grading 7th grade personal narratives, photo bombing 7th grade selfies and solving 7th grade riddles left under my classroom door.

10003360_10205062724788608_230743749501969832_n 10704151_10205089724383581_3613813916763436939_n

By the time I made my way home in the evenings the sun was sinking behind the mountains.

The lack of sunshine has sent me into hibernation mode. This is the time of year when the most primitive part of my brain says, “You must eat cookies… you need to put your stretchy pants on… don’t move or you’ll burn what needs to be stored for winter.”

This lack of sunshine has led me to the conclusion that I’m just going to have to use that window of time that I have between classes (from 10:00 to 11:30) when I don’t technically get paid to get out and get some fresh air. This is hard for me because I typically use this time to grade papers, plan lessons, answer emails and make copies.

But after reading The Power of Habit, I have learned that habits can form in the blink of an eye. If you don’t create them intentionally they will manifest themselves without your permission. So that’s what I need to do… create a new habit before my old winter habits creep back in.

I’ve done this in several other aspects of my life. My job is less stressful because I wake up at five in the morning and show up an hour ahead of time. It doesn’t feel like more work because it has just become the norm. The house work isn’t has hard because my husband does it for me  because I make a habit of getting it done as quickly as possible. Getting ready in the morning hardly takes any time because I have my routine. Making dinner when I get home isn’t stressful because I just automatically do it. All of these things have made me very efficient.

Making new habits is a step by step process but now the time has come to use this momentum and harness it in my weight loss efforts.

Since this was a sink or swim type of week I didn’t make any conscious effort to lose weight. That being said, I also didn’t go out of my way to buy a “I’m stressed sugar filled latte” or a “feel sorry for me because I work hard hamburger”. I just ate what was planned for dinner and if that dinner didn’t suck I took the left overs for lunch.

It’s a slow, painful process but I’ve noticed that since I’ve started writing this blog I’ve become pickier about what I eat. If I’m going to eat something fattening I make it from scratch because processed stuff gives me the willies.

Since I’ve trained myself to eat cleaner I always think twice before buying that junk. That’s not to say I don’t give in sometimes, but it weighs heavier on my conscience now. This helps when you are an emotional eater because some of the old “feel good” foods don’t feel so good any more.

So now, instead of drinking eggnog as soon as it finds its way into the dairy section of the grocery store, I make a batch of eggnog play dough. You get the same feel good scent without getting fat because it tastes gross…

Don’t ask me how I know that. It just does.

If I want something sweet I have to take the time to make it.

If I want a decadent dinner I have to make that too.

A lot of the time all of that effort will deter me from giving in to my guiltiest cravings. And if it doesn’t it tastes damn good because I put a lot of effort into it :)

Treat Yo Self


I found it! Really and truly this time…

No I’m not talking about The Great Pumpkin. Although, I have found that too… over, and over, and over again. (And I’ve loved every minute of it.)

What I found over the past few weeks is that balance that I am always in a quest for. That allusive thing that only exists in your brain. That perfect in between place where you get shit done, taking care of all of your obligations AND manage to find time to treat yo self.

Ah yeah… I’ve been treating myself real good.

Wait. I didn’t mean… forget it.

What I’m trying to tell you is that I’m happy. Super duper happy. After doing a bit of habit overhauling I finally feel like I’ve got a hold of this whole working mommy thing down without sacrificing the things I need to do for myself in the name of sanity. Here are the things I’ve added back into my life…

1.) Reading! There is nothing better than getting lost in someone else’s story for a change. Once I started my new teaching job I got out of the habit of finding time to read. Then miraculously I got a stomach bug the other weekend. It was awful… but awesome. I was quarantined for an entire day so as soon as the puking subsided I found myself alone… in a hot bath… swimming through the pages of a book. It started out with a book I need to read for an upcoming unit I’m teaching.

Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow


What started out as a chore turned into something enjoyable. I couldn’t stop thinking about it even after I had finished it. I didn’t want it to end. But it did. So I picked up another book to fill the void…

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson


I think this is my new favorite book. I definitely have a new literary hero. The way the characters see the world is like nothing I’ve ever read before. After reading the pages of this book you look up to discover that everything is sprinkled with magic, and you feel like you have been let into a secret club where you are granted the gift of sight for the first time. I was so enamored with it that I couldn’t do anything else in my spare time. I HAD to swallow this book whole.

(You can blame Jandy for my lack of blogging.)

2.) Playing outside. I still haven’t found a consistent workout routine but I have taken the time to go for runs, take my dog for a walk, jump on the trampoline with Penelope and roll around in the leaves outside.


3.) Cooking. I have finally rediscovered my love of cooking. In fact this morning we made pumpkin pancakes from scratch.


Made with whole wheat flour, greek yogurt and pumpkin puree… the left overs will be used to feed the girls as they run out the door during the mid-week rush. The smell alone was worth the effort. Although I was a bit rusty, we almost ended up with pumpkin bricks because I  forgot to add the almond milk.


I also cooked dinner every day this week. I made split pea soup, pan seared pork chops, beans and cornbread… It felt so good to sit at the table as a family and share the food I made for them. Not to mention, I’ve also taken the time to wake up a bit earlier in the mornings so that I can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in the morning before the daily rush. All of the Starbuck’s cups that usually collect in my car have been replaced by mismatched mugs.

I’m also sure to pack a breakfast before I head out the door…


My Go To move is still apples topped with greek yogurt, cinnamon and a bit of brown sugar in a mason jar. I bring a sandwich bag of kashi cereal and sprinkle it on when I’m ready to eat it. All of my students think it’s the coolest thing ever. I would have to agree. Plus, it keeps me full forever.

Speaking of which… I’ve finally lost weight. The more I got pulled into work the higher the weight on the scale crept. I got one pound away from 200 pounds. One pound from the weight I refused to return to! When I weighed myself this morning I weighed in at 194.8. This is still ten pounds more than what I weighed a year ago. Thirty pounds higher than what I weighed when I got married. I feel like I should beat myself up about that for your entertainment purposes but I don’t really feel like it. I’m too satisfied at the moment for self loathing.

Instead I’m just going to keep making those little changes that have been making me so happy lately. I plan on spending as much time exercising outside while the weather allows it. I want to keep cooking fresh clean food from scratch, and I’m going to continue to allow myself to enjoy the things that make me happy like reading and writing.

In other words I’m just going to keep living and learning…

And treating my self every now and then, yo.

“Sometimes There Are Just Things You Shouldn’t Say Out Loud”

You know how I tend to say inappropriate things on this blog?

Well, that’s because I treat this thing like a night out with friends drinking wine. I say this because many women are wise enough to keep some of their thoughts tucked away until it’s appropriate – like those times when you are in a room full of other woman who have their wine glasses filled to the brim. Only, I don’t need an unusually large glass of wine to share these thoughts. In fact, I’m usually sipping on a cup of coffee while writing these posts fully aware of the words that I am about to spout out.

I write this blog because I need an outlet, without it I feel like my brain is going to explode.  After I write a post I get that same release that you get after having a really awesome conversation with a friend…

If I put it all out there I feel so much better. And whether you acknowledge it or not, many times you have the same thoughts as I do. You’re just smart enough not to vocalize it.

For instance, one time I confessed to my dad that when I was a teenager I wished that I was best friends with Jay Z so that he could give me piggy back rides. In my teenaged mind piggy back rides was the ultimate form of showing outsiders just how much fun you were having. It would be a good time…


My dad did not agree. He just looked at me like I was weirdo and wisely said, “Nina, sometimes there are just things you shouldn’t say out loud.”

Fair enough… message received.

Kind of.

Now if I feel the need to designate a celebrity to give me piggy back rides I just save it for my blog.

…okay, I see it now. It is kind of weird.

You know, that weight loss blog I write? Well, it’s kind of a weight loss blog. Maybe we should actually call it a weight loss struggle blog. Would that be more appropriate?

I’ve been struggling the past few months in a way that I haven’t struggled in a long time.

This summer I was blind sided by emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy. Then I got depressed about the baby they had to remove from my fallopian tube. Then before I was able to fully process anything I got a part time job that is actually a full time job. I had no idea how quickly the working process would take effect. I thought I would have time to prepare myself emotionally and physically for the transition from stay at home mom to working mom.

It didn’t really work out that way.

I had to stay home from our family vacation and was immediately thrown into one of the toughest jobs on the planet… teaching.

I’ve had a few growing pains, sacrifices were made in order to ensure I was doing a good job. Then mommy guilt kicked in full force so more sacrifices were made to ensure that I was able to still fit in quality time with my kids. The number one thing scratched off of the priority list was me. This has become evident by the lack of posting going on.

This blog is a direct reflection of how much time I get to myself.

Without this blog I haven’t had an outlet for the random thoughts that I have throughout the day. These little moments come together to create my perspective on life. Without them I feel a bit empty inside. So let’s just take a moment to enjoy a few of the little moments of my life as of late. Shall we?

1.) The time I walked into work and had my breath taken away by my view of the sun physically pulling the darkness of the night out of the earth. It was a chilly morning but those little wisps of dew floating in the air seemed to represent the promise of a beautiful day on the horizon.


2.) This morning when I went to unlock the door to the computer lab at school. There was something about the way the key fit in the old school door knob that I was instantly reminded of The Never Ending Story. It made me think of the scene where the kid steals the key to the school attic where he hides for the remainder of the day eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and reading a really big book.


I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to do that too!


3.) There was also another morning where I glimpsed out my classroom window just in time to see the sun rise. Yeah, I would have preferred to experience this view from the seat of my cruiser bike while the cool wind rushed through my hair. But there is something to be said for how my classroom was included in my view because even if it is hard work, I do look forward to seeing my students every day. I just love the fact, that as a middle school teacher, I get to witness one of the most awkward moments of my student’s lives. There’s a simple beauty to being a part of their first coming of age. Not to mention the fact that they are hilarious, and make me laugh every single day.


4.) There was also a particularly exhausting evening when Brent was at the fire station. Bridget was moody from a long day of school and Penelope was on the verge of a torrential melt down from playing too hard at the babysitter’s house. I made an executive decision that night to have a mid-week movie night. It was raining out, so as soon as we walked through the door we put on our warm cozy pajama pants and set to work on making broccoli cheddar soup from scratch together. We also made a batch of stove top popcorn and made the adventurous decision to combine the two. It was Master Chef quality ya’ll.


We spent the remainder of the night snuggling and watching Chicken Little. It was absolute perfection.

5.) That fun Saturday night last weekend spent with my long lost friend and the girls decorating for Halloween, dancing and eating junk food slumber party style.


You see, without having the time to write my blog I also haven’t had the time to just sit back and reflect on all of the little things that make my life so great.

I have also noticed that a few bad habits have started to develop since I started working. They were just a few things I did out of desperation in order to simply make it through another crazy day… and then another… and then another.

Bad habits that I have adopted since I started working.

1. Stopping for a sugary coffee before work.

2. Taking my pants off as soon as I walk through the door in protest of doing anything else productive for the rest of the day.

3. Not cooking fresh home cooked meals but instead opting for processed quick fixes (junk food).

4. I’ve stopped reading for fun.

5. I’ve stopped writing for fun.

6. I’ve stopped riding my bike.

7. I’ve stopped listening to music on a daily basis (probably because I’m not running anymore).

8. I complain a lot more than I used to.

A few good habits that I have adopted since I started working…

1. I skip out on that nightly glass of wine and opting for vanilla sleepy time tea instead.

2. I wake up at 5 in the morning everyday and have accomplished at least two things before my kids wake up and the day starts.

3. … meh, I ran out. (Three just seemed like a good number for a list.)

After weeks of doing the same things in order to survive I quickly realized that life wasn’t going to slow down.  In the mean time, the little things that I did to make it through the day became habits. Bad habits.

Then last Sunday on my weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market/book store I came across this book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.


I can’t honestly say that I’ve had time to finish reading it yet. However, the little bit that I have read has already broadened my horizons with the use of  these little nuggets of wisdom…

“At one point we all consciously decided how much to eat and what to focus on when we got to the office, how often to have a drink or when to go for a jog. Then we stopped making a choice, and the behavior became automatic.”

“When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making.”

This reminded me of an inspirational poster I have hanging in my class room…


It has really caused me to pay attention to all of the little decisions that I make throughout the day.

I’ve been thinking about how to create good habits, not only for myself but also for the kids that I deal with on a daily basis. I can help my kids create habits like cleaning up after themselves and eating healthy. I can help my students create better study habits. I can make my day run seamlessly while simultaneously taking care of all of the necessities of every day life.

All I have to do is consciously make myself eat healthy fresh food,  find the time to exercise, force myself to carve out time to write and reflect. Then… before I know it. It will just become a habit and it won’t feel like a chore anymore. It will just be something that I tend to do. And I’ll feel ten times more awesome.

That being said, here is a list of habits I have decided to consciously adopt this coming week. They aren’t big choices but they will eventually have a positive impact.

1. Drink lots of water.

2. Cook all of my meals and only drink coffee I brewed myself.

3. Take a few minutes to myself every day to focus on me (i.e. reading, writing or playing outside)

***What are some of you habits? If you could change any of them what would they be?***

Something’s Gotta Give

I have come to the unfortunate realization that life is kicking my ass…


I’ve spent one too many mornings waking up worried about all of the things I need to accomplish for my students that I can’t sleep. I’ve gotten everything done but that doesn’t stop more work from coming in. It’s making me delirious… and tired. Very, very tired.

I haven’t had any time to myself, time with my husband or time with my kids and I’ve gotten to a point where I couldn’t handle it anymore. I hit a wall and it just so happened to be while my best friend Emily came for a visit.

I hadn’t seen her in two years and was beyond excited. However, this excitement didn’t keep me from falling asleep at the airport when I went to pick her up. Her flight was delayed so I sat down next to strangers to people watch. The next thing I knew I was jerking awake fully aware that people were people watching me. She made fun of me when she walked up to me and I didn’t even see her because I was staring into space.

I was so frustrated all weekend because I couldn’t muster up the energy to celebrate her being in town like I wanted to! I had faked having energy one too many days and I was all dried up.

So I did what any rational grown woman does when she’s frustrated. I cried.

And she did what any good friend would do. She told me to take a nap.

Later that night we sat down at my kitchen table with a glass of wine and tried to figure out a schedule so that I could manage to fit everything in my life that I needed to fit in. She was the perfect person to have around at a time like this. She thrives on planning things and meeting nearly impossible deadlines. In fact, she’s so good at it that she’s made a living out of it. She’s the cofounder of Austin’s first Television Fesitval, ATX so she knows all about handling stress. And posing for magazine spreads apparently…


(While she was here she failed to mention that she was being featured in a magazine. She’s the one on the left.)

Anyway, getting back to the point, she told me that her trick is to plan her day in thirty minute increments. But first we had to make lists, because she loves lists. We did it together and made the following lists:

Priorities: Family time, Me time, Brent and me time, exercise, eating healthy, reading, writing

Must Do’s: Grade a million papers a day, plan lessons, laundry, clean house, grocery shopping, meetings, checking emails,

Here is a glimpse of the daily schedule that we came up with together:

5:00-wake up

5:15 to 5:45- Grade, plan, drink coffee

5:45 to 6:30- Get ready for the day/Get Penelope ready

6:45- Drop Penelope off

7:00 to 8:00- Grade papers, answer emails and plan lessons

8:00 to 10:00- Teach at school 1/pack everything up for other school

10:30 to 11:00- Go for a walk/go to meetings

11:00 to 12:00- Grade papers, answer emails and plan lessons

12:00 to 3:00- Teach at school 2

3:00 to 4:00- Meetings/after school help for kids

4:00 to 5:00- Grade papers, answer emails and plan lessons

5:00 to 7:30- Family time (Cook dinner, deal with tantrums, sing songs, do laundry, run errands, walk the dog, etc.)

7:30 to 8:00- Penelope time (bath, stories, songs)

8:00 to 9:00- Get stuff ready for next day, hang out with Bridget

9:00 to 10:00- Get ready for bed/read/actually have a conversation with my husband

10:00- Go to sleep

Now that I think about it… it actually makes me more exhausted typing it out. I don’t even know if this will work because I have a 2 year old wildcard who rarely does what is planned. For instance, as I sit here trying to type this blog post out at 8:45 at night she is screaming her head off in her room refusing to sleep.

Wait… now she’s howling like a wolf. Or is it a ghost? There’s just no telling with that kid.

I thought I could go grocery shopping today and get some meal planning taken care of but this about sums up how that went…


We came home nearly empty handed and ended up eating Peanut butter toast for dinner instead.

I’ll look back at this and smile one day, right?

Everything is pretty exhausting but it’s not all bad. Here is a list of things that make up for the chaos…

1. The fact that my husband is a much better housewife than I am. When I get home the house is clean and he has some form of dinner planned out and ready to cook.

2. At night when I’m dog tired Bridget will just curl up in bed with me and read a book while I pass out after drinking a cup of sleepy time tea.

3. Penelope who constantly tells me she loves me and lets me know how much she likes that “sunshine song” I sing to her.

4. Friends who sit at my kitchen table and help me try to formulate some sort of survival plan.

5. Other friends who are willing to wake up before the crack of dawn so that I can go for a walk and talk while the sun rises.


6. Students who thank me for holding them hostage during their lunch hour because they have assignments missing in my grade book. “Thanks for caring so much Mrs. Chapman.” Seriously, what 13 year old says that? Weirdos ;)

Okay I feel better now. Thanks for that.

I think we should skip the part where I weighed myself and weighed in at 199.6 pounds. Too late.

Somethings gotta give ya’ll and lets hope it’s not the seam in my pants. Yikes!

There’s a Dolphin in My Room!


I feel like I’m getting my balance back ya’ll!

It’s been a long time coming. The past two weeks I’ve worked 12 hour days while battling the cold from hell. I also managed to share that cold with my entire family. This nasty cold seemed to result in some strange behavior at our house. During nap time Penelope ended up having a conversation with a dolphin in her room. She was super snotty and beyond tired so Brent was sure she would sleep well. This was until he heard her screaming in her room.

“Get. Out…. Get out NOW!!!”

Brent walked in to check on her and found her looking in the corner. Brent asked her who she was talking to and she said, “Dolphin.”

“Why are you yelling at dolphin?”

“He told me to listen… and I said, Get. Out… Get out NOW!!!” The last part was said in a shrill scream.

She seriously doesn’t like it when people tell her what to do. I’m pretty sure this frustration was meant to be aimed at Brent and I because we are constantly telling her she needs to listen. When she yells at us she gets put into time out, but when she yells at a weird dolphin in her room we laugh. It’s a win, win situation if you think about it. You get out all of your frustrations AND you get the attention you were seeking.

I should try this tactic in my classroom.

Having a mutant cold at the beginning of your first year of teaching could very well kill a person. One night during the week I felt so miserable that I couldn’t sleep. Finally at midnight I gave up trying and busted out the laptop. I planned and graded until 2:30 and was up at 5:30 the next morning.

Each evening when I got home from work I felt like I was going to collapse, but I missed the girls so much that I always looked forward to bedtime when I got to read stories and bath time when I got to play with bubbles. Except for one particularly rough night…


That night someone pooped in the bathtub before she could get her hair washed and then while it was getting cleaned up proceeded to run around the house naked with a towel on her head screaming “I’m Batman! I fly to the moon!”

It was me…

Just kidding.

But it very well could have been if I just so happened to drink as much wine as I was tempted to drink that particular night. I was on day two of Brent being at work and was at my whits end. Poop in the tub was the thing that almost through me over the edge.

For the past two weeks I’ve been waiting for this darn cold to go away so that I could have the energy to do everything I needed to do during the evenings. I hardly cook anymore, I’m too tired and Penelope is too crazy when I get home. Last weekend I couldn’t take it anymore I was convinced that the only thing that could ease my aching throat was some old fashioned chicken noodle soup. Real soup. Not the canned kind.

I didn’t have a recipe but I had a garden full of goodies so I went outside, picked some carrots and herbs and set to work in the kitchen…


Doesn’t the carrot on the left look like it’s saying, “No! Don’t eat me!”?

I sauteed some veggies, reduced some wine, poached some chicken and ended up making the best soup I’ve ever had. While I was out in my garden I was wading through mounds and mounds of rotting apples from my apple tree. I kept feeling bad for the apples that never got eaten. So I decided to pick a few…


It was the first fall like day of the season, a perfect day to make apple crisp with the girls…


Slowly as the week progressed things started to get better. I caught up with my “to do” list for work and I was finally beginning to feel like myself again. This meant more energy to frolic outside during the evenings with the girls. We went on bike rides and hung out in the garden some more. Penelope was super excited to see that the pumpkins in our pumpkin patch were ready to be plucked.


She played with them for the rest of the evening because they were her “best friends”. She even invited them to come inside to watch a movie and eat some popcorn. They politely declined.


But that didn’t stop her from cuddling with them until the sun went down.

This weekend I feel like I’m finally back to my self. I’ve been looking up healthy recipes, planning which days I plan on running and getting super excited about Fall. Balancing the whole work life thing is harder than I thought it would be but I’m pretty sure, with practice, things are going to be great!