SOL: South Bronx Classroom Stories

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My first teaching job was at a charter school in the South Bronx. We were almost considered Manhattan, but still far enough up that it was the Bronx. I had never spent too much time in the Bronx outside of Yankee Games and job interviews but here I was teaching 5th grade after student teaching and working as a bartender and a preschool teacher, now I was in the big leagues.

I was so excited and beyond thrilled with being a real teacher in a real school. Now, it had been a year since I had student taught and I had taught in a upper class school, to say honestly, I was not prepared for my experience.

All I can say is thank god for my amazing teaching team. We had 2 ELA teachers, 2 Math teachers and a special ed teacher. We also had an amazing ELA coach who without her, we may not have survived. I was lucky enough that a guy I had met in a class I had taken at a different campus for my college had called me and asked if I was looking for a job, as he was the assistant principal.

Anyway, I wanted to preface the story before I began. I have quite a few stories from this school, but I thought of one today that I wanted to share since it is April & we (teachers) are tired.

So as a new teacher, coming into a new school, to a new class, half way into October, with no curriculum, and a few months pregnant, in the South Bronx…… life is stressful.

In the 1st couple of weeks of school, I lost my voice from screaming so much, and I got extremely sick with a fever. As I am a stubborn person, I clearly never went home, I continued going to work.

I don’t know if you have ever driven in the Bronx or tried to park on the streets in the Bronx, but as you can imagine it being a city, there was always traffic, never any spots, and a ton of busses.

Have you ever been so sick with a fever that the fever might have just taken over your brain and everything is in slow motion or you can’t judge distance?! Well this was the point I was at on a Friday night trying to leave school.

I made the trek to my car 2 miles away and its dark now because we got out of school so late. At this point I know I am super sick. At the point that my head might fall off kind of sick and I had no medicine. Obviously, this is the perfect time to go drive into aggressive traffic and try to make it home.

Well, I didn’t make it far down the street that my school was on when I tried to pass a NYC DOT Bus, but didn’t quite clear the side of the bus. What. The. Heck. Was. That?! 

There went my passenger’s side mirror. Gone. Vanished. I am so sick at this point I don’t even care and I know I can play it off and blame it on the Bronx!

I get home and have to explain to everyone what happened to my mirror. Unforunately, no one buys my story about it just being the Bronx.

I thought this was an appropriate story for this time of year when all teachers are super tired!

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If I had $10,000 to Redesign my House…

I watch too much HGTV. I have an obsession with a lot of the shows that are on there, but I really love any show that goes in and redecorates houses into amazing looking living spaces. After watching many different episodes this weekend of Fixer Upper, I thought it would be really nice to wonder what it would be like to have $10,000 extra dollars to remodel the inside of my kitchen and living room.

My favorite type of design (which is funny because I have none of this) is farmhouse style designs. I have been trying to find some pieces but it’s always so expensive, I usually just stay away from it. But I have been watching these shows on HGTV and Pinterest really is not a big help because they just encourage me to buy things, so I have been thinking bigger and outside of the box.

I started looking into a personal loan so that I could actually make these designs come true. Ever since we bought our house, I have wanted to redesign the inside, but it has always been last on the spending list. But why can’t there be a solution to this? Well, I found the answer. Taking a personal loan can help me turn my house into a dream house.  When you see what I would do, well you might just want to look it up as well!

Now that I have been looking, I honestly cannot decide what I would do… so here are my different options:

If I could redesign my kitchen, this is exactly what it would look like:

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I have a wall between my kitchen and living room, so the first thing that would need to go was the wall. Then this kitchen layout would actually be possible. The floors, the redesign of the cabinets, and that island  ($4k) would put me right around my budget of $10,000.

Now, I know the kitchen costs a lot, but if I chose a different direction, I could do my daughter’s bedroom  for my budget of $10k.

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or another bed built into the wall but a lighter design and we would have to redo the floors with hardwood floors, but it looks amazing. Adding in throw pillows from Joanna’s store would add the perfect touch.

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My last option would be my bathroom. My bathroom is big enough that there can be a few more details added into it to make it an amazing room.

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Adding in the floor, the bath tub, all glass shower and the beautiful cabinets would bring me to my budget.

It’s awesome to dream, but when you are able to make your dreams come true, that changes everything. If you don’t find out what is possible, nothing ever will be. Taking the step to move forward to your dreams is what is needed, especially when spending money and making life decisions. You may not think it is, but remodeling your house is a life decision. I know for certain if I walked into a house that looked like these above pictures, I would put an offer to buy it immediately. I am hoping I can make that same situation happen by remodeling.

 

Picking a Car Seat

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Ever since my daughter has had her car seat turned facing forward because she turned 2 and had super long legs, we have struggled with finding a great car seat. We had a few second hand ones, we bought a few cheaper versions so that my parents could have one too when we went to visit them, but overall, we just never had a good car seat after she grew out of her infant seat.

Shopping around for a car seat is also very hard! There are literally so many choices and who knows which is the best choice?! I didn’t and no one else really did either. After reading reviews, and knowing what I was looking for, the choices became easier.

We decided to go forth with a car seat that she could use now going into age 3 and then, when we had a 2nd child, this car seat starts at 5lbs and goes to 85lbs and comes with adjustments for infants. Perfect for our scenario. The Pria 85 Max has many great features.
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Even before putting the car seat in the car, I had to see if Hailey thought it was comfortable. She loved it so much she had us put it in the car. She was also very excited about the cup holder. I was also very excited as well. Do you know how many times I have to reach back there to get whatever it is that she is finished eating or drinking?!

One of my least favorite things about putting a car seat into the car is anchoring it into the seat. I always break my nails, I start to sweat, and then I get very frustrated! Well with the Pria 85 Max, I was able to do it without any of those things happening. They have a red clamp that is easy to release and clip onto the hooks under the seat. This is a mommy win.

Another mommy win is the magnetic chest clip that is super easy to open and close, and after a few tries, opening it with one hand to get Hailey out of the car. At first I struggled because I was pressing really hard since the other car seats I had needed extreme force, but not this car seat buckle. This buckle, I was actually pressing too hard! Once I figured that out, it was like a dream and I know how much time this will save me without struggling to unstrap and strap her in.

The Pria 85 Max is very easily adjustable so you can move the straps up and down based on tightness. So as Hailey gets bigger, the straps can adjust to her. I had an older version of a car seat at my mom’s house that you phyiscally had to move the straps in the back of the seat when she got bigger. I am not a car seat expert and I had no idea if I had done it correctly or not, it just seemed super dangerous and I was not a fan. This carseat has none of that nonsense and even my parents, who have a hard time tightening the straps, can get it done easily. Grandparent win!

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to car seats, my daughter is gross. She is always finding some food in there that she had eaten or she spills her juice, her yogurt, her pop tart, her breakfast… You name it ? She has spilled it! But she only spills it in her car seat. Go figure! Now, with the car seat that we had, it was nearly impossible to take that seat out of my car and put it back in, so anything that had to relate to taking it out, I avoided! The Pria 85 Max does not make you take the seat out to clean the fabric and it is machine washable (none of that hand washing business) and it is dryer safe. I have yet to have her throw up in the car seat, (knock on wood!) but if she did, the last thing you would want to worry about would how do you take a car seat out covered without getting it all over the car!? This would help mom’s out in so many ways.

Lastly, another selling point is that it has a safer side impact protection with Air Protect: Advanced air cushion system. It would protect her head if we were to be hit by another car. This makes me feel good about putting her in a car seat like this. I love anything that tells me my daughter will be safer in their product. But you know how sometimes a product will tell  you something is safe, yet you are never able to see how it is actually safe? Well that is not the case with this car seat. You can visually see the head rest that will help protect your child.

I stick with the quote I have been saying since I have found all of these wonderful products and am wishing I would have found them when I first had Hailey! If you are looking for a car seat to add to your registry, this is it!

SOL: Reggae, Bob Marley & Jamaica

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There was a time in my life during college where I lived in an apartment with my best friend & we lived next to a girl & her boyfriend who was from Zambia. They introduced me to Steel Pulse, Bob Marley, Collie Buddz and all other reggae. I became slightly obsessed.

Just the peacefulness of reggae and the mellow beats, I loved it. Steel Pulse was and is still my favorite band. We used to go see them in concerts like every year that they came to NYC. Being in NYC, it gave me many opportunities to see different concerts and bands. I was so lucky.

For my birthday in 2012 my friends and I decided to go to Jamaica. It was one of the best trips ever. We made many friends and we partied hard.

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We didn’t stay in the all inclusive resorts and everyone said that we were crazy to stay on the strip because it was a dangerous place to be. Obviously, we were young and dumb and had no fear.jam 2

Therefore, we stayed on the strip and stayed out to all hours of the night, met some people and did whatever we could to enjoy the island.

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We went in March and it was extremely hot, which was amazing because it was snowing back home.

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The best part of the Caribbean is that the water is so blue. Not only is it blue, but the sand on the bottom of the water is white and you can see everything on the ground so no little critters can get you. The water also extremely warm, even at night, very warm! So amazing.

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A fun restaurant we went to was the Jamaican bob sledding restaurant. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of it, but it was awesome. Obviously we had to take this picture. I think we drank starting early in the morning to late, late at night. Good times!

jam 6This was the main strip in Montego Bay – not a bad little town. Really nice to visit and I honestly wouldn’t recommend just staying in the all inclusive. We had so much fun roaming the streets and meeting people. But then again, it is not a trip for everything – not so much a location for families, I guess unless you do the all inclusive.

Jamaica was a place for a girls trip. I enjoyed the trip with my girls. I would love, love, love to go back with them.

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Beautiful Jamaica.

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To end my Jamaica remembrance with my tattoo quote that was part of a Bob Marley song that was the quote of my college/after college life time: “ONE GOOD THING ABOUT MUSIC, WHEN IT HITS YOU FEEL NO PAIN!”

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