The Joy of Spring Break, teacher style

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Remember that feeling the last day of school before a break, whether it was Christmas break, spring break, Summer break, or even just a long weekend.. . the anticipation of not learning for an entire week, for some students it means a week of relaxation and video games at home, maybe you are at a day care for the week, and yet for other students it means a week of being home a lone and maybe not eating consistently because normally you eat two meals at school 5 days a week.

This has been the biggest shift that as a teacher instead of a student, my students are stressed out by spring break, several have begged to stay here with me at school, ( because clearly I stay at school all week, you know teachers do live in their classrooms), they have asked to come home with me for the week, and one student asked my teammate if he could crawl in her suitcase and head to Chicago with her.

Now the spring break I remember meant either being at my friends house most of the day or remaining quite as a mouse while I often played games by myself, I grew up with a single mother and she worked nights so day times were quite in our house while she slept. but I was always excited about breaks, I always knew I would have more than enough food to snack on endlessly I knew that my mom would always be happy to see me when I woke up, I cannot imagine the stress that my students feel around spring break. To be so young and have to worry about such large things breaks my heart, If I could load you up with a suitcase full of food for the week I would!!

Now back to that anticipation and excitement you used to feel around a break from school, now imagine that now, imagine you were getting a week long break from work built into your year, no vacation days used no consequences  for not showing up, just a week where the entire company took a break, that feeling is infinetly better than the feeling as a child.

This year with grad school and teaching I was not sure I was going to make it to Spring Break, this week has been a major trial to get through, the students are in rare form, either because they are stressed about the break or excited, or a mixture of the two.

But here i am just counting down the hours until I don’t have to teach another thing for 9 days, no more instruction of the LEAP indicators, no more grading papers, I get to relax and then it is the last big push till summer which is full of testing, testing and more testing, so really your final push for instruction is over and now we have to get to Summer, just get to summer!

Whole 30: Week 1 Trials and Celebrations

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What we ate for day 1-6 of the Whole 30, this was made before I read that smoothies were not recommended for breakfast so that was changed and deleted from the following weeks meal plans.

When I checked in on Day 2, I was in solidly in the hangover phase of my Whole30 and was not very happy with it at all. That passed and for days 4 and 5 I was pretty good, I was happy with the meals I was making and didnt really feel like I was missing anything from last week.

Well maybe I was a little bit more in the Kill all things  mode on day 5 than I would like to admit, it was a Friday night and Mr. H and I had made dinner that was delicious and sat down on the couch to watch a movie ( after eating dinner at the table sans electronics to give the meal its due- this has been a difficult shift, I grew up eating my meals in front of the TV, when I was in high school there was a TV in the kitchen/dining room and my mom and I would make dinner and then sit and watch our favorite shows while we ate, and that has carried over into my adult life, Mr. H and I often cook dinners and put on a movie to enjoy) But this night we sat down to watch a movie and nothing could make me happy, I was uncomfortable, I didn’t want to watch that movie, I wanted to go to bed at 8:30 an then complained when he didn’t want to come with me, I was a hot mess. But I did not want to admit that to anyone!

Then Day 6 hit, Day 6 happen to fall both on a weekend, and about three days before was supposed to start my period. And all I could think about for most of the day was  CAKE!  I cannot say for sure if this was a result of the Whole30 or of my uterus rebelilng against me and my health goals as it does every month.I mean I love cake I always have, if you want to meet a sugar addict if there ever was one, look no farther you found her. I never had a problem with my sugar addiction until recently, until I looked at the scale the week before I went wedding dress shopping and realized I had gained 35 pounds since I was in my best friends wedding two years ago. But this Saturday I wanted cake more than anything, I had done pretty good the first 5 days without it, but on Saturday I am used to more laid back day, I am not busy busy busy from the time I eat breakfast till lunch time and normally this is our snacking day, we eat a late breakfast and then a late lunch and munch on something (popcorn, ice cream, croissants from the coffee shop) until a late dinner and a drink. So needless to say Saturday was rough day for me, but I did it!

I got through Saturday without a slip we even ate out on Saturday night, and even though I felt like a d-bag making all the changes to the menu items we did it! Another Si Se Puede moment!

I am now officially a week into my Whole30! We went grocery shopping today and still spent more than I would like. . if anyone has any good tips for Whole30 on a budget I would LOVE them! We did the starting in the meat section and working our way out, I think its just that we are cooking at home more and using more meat (we were a fairly boring meat family before mostly turkey and chicken) that it is adding up. It also doesn’t help that Mr. H and I aren’t living together yet,so we can’t buy in bulk or create a pantry of stored food it is like we are starting over every week! Soon this will change. . .in May hopefully and I cannot wait!

I can already tell a difference in the way my clothes fit, today I put on the pants that used to be tight on me, ( pre January when I started loosing weight before the Whole30) the fit well after I started working out and eating more healthy in January, I was down about 11 pounds when I started the whole30 but today they were laughable, they were HUGE,! I felt like I could have curled up inside of them and fit better, or fit a small human in them with me just to make them tight, Mr. H said the butt looked like a saggy diaper, not exactly what you want to hear from your fiancé but hey he meant it in love so YAY for #nonscalevictories!

Well cheers to week 2. . this week I am going to try Salmon for the first time, Mr. H loves it an so I figured now is a good time to branch out and try it so Salmon with coconut cream here we come, don’t worry I am making him try brussel sprouts too!

Today is filled with Sunshine, coffee shops with Kombucha on tap, house hunting and meal prep, who could ask for a better Sunday?

Cheers to all the Whole30 goers out there, Si Se Puede!

❤ Kelsi Rae

Wash and Going Strong!

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From top to bottom, left to right.

1) Sunday, Day 1 hair. I was rocking this hard core

2) Monday, Day 2 It had grown a little bit

3) Wednesday Day 4. What my hair is still down?

4) Friday Day 5; Rocking a puff!

This week was a hair week to end all weeks!

I did a wash and go which I used to be the Queen of in High School, but haven’t rocked since long before I started my transition. But at 14 months post relaxer I thought I would give it a try, and boy am I glad I did. I got more compliments on my hair in this week than I can ever remember.

So many people said, ‘girl I know you love to change your hair but this way is my favorite.” . .What your favorite? This big hair that just grows out of my head is your favorite?

I couldn’t believe it  I had spent so much time so many years trying to hide my natural texture, I can remember living with my best friends in college and even as roommates I think it was months before they saw my hair before it was done. . .and this is when it was relaxed!

So now 14 months into my transition that has shown me more sides of my hair than I have ever known, to hear that people think my natural hair is beautiful is so amazing to me!

I think wash and go’s will become a solid part of my routine, now I just have to remember that I need to moisturize even on the days I don’t want to mess up my hair.

I love the ease of a wash and go, I loved applying my favorite leave ins and a little twisted sister 30 second curl spray throughout the week and being ready to go.

My hair is officially long enough to survive the famous pineapple method!! SCORE!

I love my hair.. and I love my curls, but not going to lie I still REALLY love when I straighten my hair as well  . . some things never change.

❤ Kelsi Rae

Whole30 hangover!

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I am on day 2 of my first whole30. . you read that right, day2. And I feel like shit.

I started looking into the whole30 about two weeks ago and then committed and bought the book, read as much as I could, began working to convince Mr. to do it with me and set to work planning our meals for the next 4 weeks and 2 days.

I love to organize things, plans make me more happy than they ever should. I have been told on many occasions, ” God you are such a Type A.” like that is an insult. . you would not be getting an A on this project if it wasn’t for my plan so you should thank me and not try and use my personality as a put down.

But anyways I started making our plan I scoured the internet through all the resources that whole30.com gave me, I found all the blogs I could handle from, http://meatified.com/ ( my personal favorite, a kindred spirit if you will, she has a full 30 days of meals broken down into breakfast, lunch and dinner) to http://stupideasypaleo.com/category/whole30-2/ ( Also wonderful and such a catchy name) to find the best recipes and plans to tackle the first 30 days of this plan. I found myself becoming more and more excited. . I can do this, I can change my life in thirty days.

Then I found this post on Whole30.com, talking about EPS, empty plate syndrome, it states that most failures occur because people didn’t have a plan for what they are going to eat, so it is much more convenient to just grab something and go. And in this program when you fail you start from day 1, no cheat days for 30 days. Most people fail because they don’t have a plan. . I love plans, at this point I already had a new evernote notebook filled with breakfasts, lunches, dinners, sides and sauces, broken down by number and linked to weekly meal plans.( If I get it organized enough I will post links to this notebook the recipes have been compiled from all over the web, and I will add a few of my own.)

Lack of a plan, psh I got this. I was so confident going in that day 1 breezed by, just like they said it would.

And now here I am on the Day 2 hangover. . my “last mea weekend” that I had before starting the Whole30 yesterday is coming back to bite me. I crawled out of bed this morning, cursed the sun and everyone that loves it as I drove to school.

I have zero desire to eat the lunch I packed which two days ago when I prepped it sounded delicious for the whole week, I don’t have any idea how I am going to survive my 12 hour work day without my starbucks and chocolate scone. .

But there I was sitting at my breakfast table by myself this morning at 6 am, eating my pre-made breakfast casserole. ( Which is delicious) Planning how to get through today. this whole30 hangover must be a test of will power, and I am going to kick it in the butt,

I am doing the Whole30 just as much to prove to myself that I can as I am to change my eating habits!

It starts now. . Si Se Puede!

Now to wait for day 4 and 5: KILL ALL THINGS! 

Well that should be a fun weekend for Mr. B. and I!

P.s. Prepare yourself for 30 days of whole30 talk, hopefully it will inspire some and annoy others, and help keep me accountable to my goals.

Tips to get through KILL ALL THINGS, and into I just want to take a nap. I am happy to read them all and add them to my plan. .. because if it isn’ clear by now. I love plans.

❤ Kelsi Rae

What is it about 24?

I turned 24 on Tuesday, Tuesday is the least exciting day of the week in my book its not Monday so it doesn’t have any true suckage excitement you have heard everyones weekend stories already, it isn’t Wednesday so we aren’t even halfway through the week, it is just a day you have to get through to get 1/5th closer to Friday.

This is also how I feel about 24. . the least exciting birthday to date.. given Ben did take me on a wonderful Tuesday adventure. But in order to do that we both had to call into work.. which leads me to the real point of this post..

Why does 24 make me feel like such an adult.

It was like magically overnight on Monday, I was supposed to evolve into a fully matured, put together, soon-to-be wife adult. I should have a career and a nice car and stable house and income. I should not be going out on a weeknight, or lets be real any night much past 10 or 11.

Honestly, I fit most of these qualifications anyway, but I have never felt like I was supposed to fit them until now.

I have started cooking myself dinner 3 nights a week, I cannot remember the last time I went out on a weeknight, Even on the weekends you will find me in bed by midnight, a group of friends went out the other night and we were drunk and ready to leave by 10 pm. I would much rather drink a bottle of *cheap* wine or expensive whiskey than any of the nasty drinks I used to drink in college

So why 24, there is no major life event that occurs at 24,

21 – I could start drinking legally, that clearly means I am not going to have my shit together for at least a year.

22 – Graduated college- so I would logically think this is when I should start pulling my shit together, get a real job, move out of my college town. Live without roommates for the first time. Stop going out on the weeknights. .

Let’s look at how that really went down, graduated college moved to Denver . Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 11.45.55 AM

Lived in a tiny studio apartment with one of my college roommates for three months before they moved to Seattle, so halfway Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 11.45.55 AM Then I promptly added a cat, I don’t know if that counts as alone.

No real job to be had, I first worked as a day program staff with adults with disabilities, wonderful summer job but not a career. Then I worked as assistant teacher which lead me to my career.

I can distinctly remember a Tuesday night that I got so drunk I lost my phone, I made Ben walk back to the bar to try and find it. . . when all along I had left in my bed. . so no check there.

23 – No major universal life moments. I guess in theory you should be in year number 2 of your chosen career. I was heading back to college, as a grad student that is. .

24 – Nothing major, however here I am feeling like an adult. So lets look at what I am doing

I will graduate grad school in June. . .

I will start my first official adult job in August

I will become a Mrs. in August. . .

I will move into my first “married” home in June

So I guess all these things feel pretty adult like, and yet I still don’t feel like I live up to an adult. We will see how the year progresses maybe I will evolve into a mature adult.

Maybe  I will be a perfect wife by the time I get married. but Hell probably not, I have never even lived with a guy in any capacity before.. but that is a whole other blog post.

So what is it about 24, why do I feel the need to possibly prematurely age myself now? Is this some unwritten rule that I am not aware of? You hit 24 and you are almost halfway through your 20’s better pull yourself together

❤ Kelsi Rae

Photo Funday!

Today is all about the pictures of my hair. . I love when I have a good hair week and I want to show it off.

So I had two goals since January, not to straighten my hair until after my birthday my birthday was Tuesday and I made that goal. The second goal was to leave a protective style in for all of March. . well that fell quite short. I took it out after a week and a half. But you know 50%! But here is my week in review. . I blow dried my hair with cool air this week for a stretched “large” look as a I call it.

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This is my current love. . my ever growing bun. this time is was too big to fit in the picture. . .

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This is about the point I remembered why I don’t blow dry my hair. . my arms were tired, I was an hour in, my hair was still way to wet. And I wasn’t even half way done.

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And there is the a la “large” hair!

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Then I decided to rock the high school look for awhile! Given in high school my hair was 100% natural and I rarely blowdried my hair, but I rocked an afro puff, before I even knew the name about 90% of my high school career.

This is the hair do that lead to an infant and more recently my grown fiancé trying to nap on my hair.. .

I must say it is very comfortable!

SO that is my week. Even with the living large lifestyle i have had going on I am very happy with it.I love my buns and have been wearing one most days to keep my hair off my shoulders. Now that I am officially arm pit length I am trying to keep my hair up at work as much as possible in order to reach bra strap length by my wedding!

Length retention is the name of the game!

❤ Kelsi Rae

Why I am thankful for today’s TERRIBLE run!

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There is a park about 1 mile from my house, and it is about a mile around.

So my goal is to run 1 mile there, a mile around and a mile home, that is the goal! So far I have made it a mile there and a mile home!

That is at a snails pace and doing intervals of 3 minutes on, 2 minutes off, the way home is all down hill so I do 5 minutes on and 3 minutes off on the way home.

NOT TODAY! Today I was huffing and puffing wheezing about two minutes in. My normal snails pace began to resemble a crawl, but I kept going, even when that toned girl passed me, looking like she was gliding on clouds as she ran by me. I kept going, it felt like we were the part of the same club now!

I kept running! I decided I was going to start running about 3 months ago, I started running inside and ventured outside about 3 weeks ago. With the snow the outside running has been on and off, but lets be honest it terrifies me to be out there on the street where people can see me all red faced and puffy not looking at all like a “runner” in any sense of the word. I keep having to remind myself that I am a runner simply because I am running!

Everyday I have to get up and try again. I have become obsessed with fitgrams, I love fitteachers and mrsfitteacher for inspiration!

So no matter what you are starting, running, eating more healthy, having positive thoughts or something completely unrelated just keep going and remember everyday is a day to start again.

❤ Kelsi Rae

What would Betty Draper Do?

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Think Betty Draper via season 1, the domestic goddess that she was before shit really started hitting the fan.

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Ok so these are all really funny and I love to poke fun at the domesticity that was instilled in the women of the past. But to be honest I love many of the aspects of the domestic goddess like Betty Draper with a few add ons

1) I love to cook dinner, but you better believe you are going to help clean up.

2) I will clean the kitchen. . you can clean the bathroom.

3) I will do the dishes. . .you can dry.

4) And you better believe that I am going to keep my full time job, and still work when we have children.

I love my job and I think a way to maintain is to be fulfilled with yourself in order to bring the best you to a relationship.

5) When those kids are born we will both be waking up at 3 am

6) And hopefully I will never have to start popping Valium like candy!

But this side of me falls under a lot of scrutiny in the modern age. How could I be content taking care of my husband, ensuring that he is fed, clean and has nice clothes to wear. Where is my feminist streak that screams, he is a grown man he can take care of himself?

Well damn right he can, and he has been taking care of himself for 7 years after he moved out of his parents before I came along. He is more than capable of taking care of all of these things on his own. (I do have to admit that his apartment is full of dishes, and it smells like a man cave most of the time, but he is surviving just fine without me) But what is a better way to show him that I love and value him than by doing these simple things that I have been doing for myself anyway.

And what right is it of anyone else to tell me that, this action is antiquated or anti-feminist?

But this is exactly what happened yesterday. A colleague of mine is in the process of getting a divorce, a younger man that we work with asked us both why we choose to get married as opposed to simply living together. And she went into a diatribe about how she got married because of societal norms and how marriage sucks the all of your personality as you try and conform to social norms.

While this may be true for her, to say that this is the case is all marriages places another stereotype on them. A marriage is a union between two people those two people have to know each other and value what they bring to the relationship, a marriage does not have to look like mine, or eerily similar to the women of the 50’s. A marriage has to look like two people working together to get through life. They are communicating and working as a team in order to succeed. That team can take on many different looks but each person has to feel valued in the team.

It is time to stop stating that I am anti-feminist because I happily sing while I cook and wash the dishes for my future husband. But it is also time for people to stop feeling like a marriage has to look any certain way.  A marriage is as unique as the two people in it.

I have never been happier than I am when I can come home to make dinner before Ben gets home, my friend Shannon’s goal for next year is to get home in enough time to freshen up before her husband gets home, and my colleague that is getting a divorce needs to find a man that as she put it “lets her be the hippy that she is.”

In the end even Betty Draper started looking out for herself.

So remember don’t forget to be yourself and when in doubt, What would Betty Draper Do?

❤ Kelsi Rae

Hello March, please be damn beautiful!

February has been especially hellish for me! Denver has had record breaking snowfall and I hate the cold! I have been finishing the third quarter of my grad program and it seems to be especially terrible! Last week I had 4 papers due in 4 days. It is also hiring season for the public schools for next year! Luckily I was able to get a job quickly but to add insult to injury from everything else now everyone else gets upset because they have not secured a job for next year yet! So please please God le March be beautiful!

It is March, which means my birthday is in 6 days, I will be 24 years old! What is exciting about 24? I can’t think of a damn thing, except that I have landed my dream job and that I am getting married! These all seem like very adult things to be excited about don’t they?

Well welcome to March, I decided to do a protective style for March, my hair has been whispering at me to big chop or mini big chop, and I just can’t get myself to do it so away the hair went. I went with box braids for this month! They are medium length I like them well enough I hope that will be able to keep them in until the beginning of April, I plan to take them down and reevaluate cutting my hair over spring break, which is the first week of April!

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I ended up cutting some of the length off of the ends because they were just too heavy, now they are choppy and uneven and I think I like it even better that way.

Yesterday, one of my students was having a rough day with behavior! By rough I mean I had to pick him up from the office for group time, he was crying and had apparently pushed another student. This particular student happens to just own my heart! He is one of the 5 black boys at are school and he is one of the 3 that are continually fighting off the Affective Needs center ( which serves students with severe emotional disabilities) There is a high disproportionally to the number of black boys in these programs and I am doing everything I can to make sure this student is not wrongly labeled.

So yesterday he enters my group and asks to look up George Washington, Beethoven, Mozart, Abraham Lincoln and finally George Washington Carver. Now the first 4 I could understand, all fairly well known names in history. But George Washington Carver stumped me. why did my 3rd grade student even know his name, let alone want to look him up. So together we started dong some research, and we cam across this image

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Where there is no vision there is no hope. Now this was a big statement for this student, but we broke it down into student friendly language. We made a deal that whenever he was having a rough day, he would remember to look towards the future, have vision for himself, and that would bring him hope to change whatever is happening. I printed out the image and hung it above my desk. Whenever he is having a hard time he can come in and remember to have hope!

We had to check back in with the principle after group, when she asked him how he was going to turn around his day he turned to her and said, “No Vision, No Hope.”

I don’t think I have ever been more proud!

This is why he owns my heart.

So I had to remind myself, that even though February has been especially hellish, March is here, and spring is coming! I have to look to Mr. Carver and remember. “No Vision, No Hope.”

❤ Kelsi Rae