Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Exactly why what that teacher is doing in my previous post is so important.   This sickens me.   How can anyone be so callous?   A friend of mine in high school committed suicide the summer between junior and senior year.   Patrick was a football player and a band member.   When we went back to school in the fall, one of the other football players said about Patrick's suicide, "Who cares.   He deserved it."   Disgusting.   Ignorant, callous, repulsive.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What I Want to Do

Yes, a departure from writing about my children.

Last week I went to work for a few hours to show off Charlie for a bit and to touch base with my substitute.   As I sat listening in horror (and quite honestly, a little amusement) at the insanity that my students have created in the last few weeks. I reconfirmed my belief that I belong teaching middle school.   I love the content of what I teach.  I love seeing students grow as writers and readers and some even discover that their passion is reading and/or writing.   What I love the most though, is seeing them change and grow.   7th grade, in my opinion, is one of the worst times in anyone's life.   Being 12 and 13 sucks.   You don't have the freedom you need to exercise the independence you want, but you also can't get away with being the cute little kid who doesn't know any better any more.   You are caught between wanting to engage in the games and hobbies of elementary school but know you will be ridiculed if you do.   You are curious about the things high school kids and adults do, but you can't or shouldn't do those either.   If you're like me, you're almost 6 feet tall and the boys are all 5.  It's just yucky.   But from my perspective, this is what makes these guys so endearing.   They are so awkward and cumbersome and struggling, but they are so open to learning and seeking out new connections.   My friend and former administrator Tina Boogren now has a job in which one of her roles is to observe teachers around the country.   I love this blog she wrote about a middle school classroom.   I get that this teacher may seem cheesy and the activity would not at all appeal to everyone, but when I look at my students and how much they desperately need confirmation that they have amazing attributes others notice, I think it would be incredibly powerful.  This teacher she writes about amazes me that she has set up such a safe culture in her classroom that kids are willing to speak this way about one another.   I want to be able to do this.   I have a new goal for my ELO class.

Thanks, Tina, for letting me share your blog.  Tina's Blog

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Star Student

Cam is Star Student this week.   This means he got to create a poster with his pictures, answer a questionaire about himself, and bring a bag of his favorite books to share with his friends.   This week they are studying music and nature, so he brought some of his favorites like Rock-a-Baby-Band and Boom-Boom Goes the Big Bass Drum.   His favorite two books right now are Big Brother and I'm a Big Brother.   He had zero interest in these books when they were purchased for him months ago, but now... totally different story! See the translation of his answers below. 

My name is:  Cam
 I am 4 years old.
My favorite color is purple.
My favorite food is macaroni.
 My favorite thing to do is Wii.
In my family I have Mom, Dad, Charlie, Cam.

2 Week Appointment

Today we had Charlie's 2 week appointment!   Here are the numbers and a comparison of Cam at the same age:

Charlie at 2 weeks:
Height:  1' 10'' -- 90.5%
Weight:  8lbs 15oz.  -- 56%
Head:  13.78" circumference -- 14.15%

Cameron at 2 weeks:
Height:  1' 9.65" -- 84.85%
Weight:  9lbs 1oz -- 62%
Head:  13.78" circumference -- 14.15%

Crazy that their heads were the same down to the hundredth of an inch! 

Charlie looks great according to the doc!  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Baths, Football, and Jealousy

Charlie seemed to love his "bath" tonight! We didn't get to fully submerge him yet because his circumcision is not yet complete,  but we got him in his little bathtub and poured warm water over most of him while Cam bathed in the big bathtub at his side.  It's the first time I've really seen Cam be jealous.   He started intentionally splashing so Derran and I would get wet while we dealt with Charlie.   He also claimed he had soap in his eyes and "cried" even though he didn't.   While I thought it was a good idea to bathe them at the same time so Charlie could benefit from the steamy warm bathroom, and we could watch Cam at the same time, I've decided we need to keep them separate.  Cam must relish his time playing with one of us as he bathes more than I thought he did.   
Charlie is now covered in Eucerin which will hopefully heal up his super dry skin and newborn rash.   The poor kid has peeling and flaking skin constantly.   Johnson & Johnson's does nothing for him, so we decided to stop being cheap and buy the good stuff.   I hope it helps.   I'm pretty sure we've burned through at least 16 diapers today, so what's another 8 bucks for lotion.  Babies are expensive. 

Aside from the bouts of jealousy, Cam's failure to listen to anything we say the first 5 times we say it, Cam speaking in a voice loud enough that his Uncle Nick can hear every word he says in DC all day long, and Cam's 45 trips to the potty because we allowed him to eat his weight in dried apricots on Saturday, it was a good weekend.  We spent Saturday with friends watching the CU vs CSU game and eating Carey's delicious food, and we spent today hanging out with Brent and my mom watching the Broncos.   Charlie woke up 5 times last night, so it was nice to have a very mellow weekend.   It's the first time since Cam was in a crib that he fell asleep before I left his room tonight, so maybe he didn't perceive the weekend as quite so mellow! 

It will be a bit busier of a week.   In fun news, Cam is Star Student this week, so we prepared his poster.   We let him do all of the writing.   I'm not sure this was the best decision as it's pretty much impossible to read, but he was quite proud.  I'll add a picture tomorrow.  I also need to do some serious grading and lesson planning this week.   Two weeks of a babymoon from work has been fantastic, but I'm going to have some serious regrets if I don't get on it, and my sub might hunt me down, too!  :D  

Thursday, September 15, 2011


The kid lost his umbilical stump today.   Ick.   I handed him over to Derran for a second and a little thing fell on the floor.  I stooped down to pick it up and made the discovery.  Ew.   Looks like the kid has an inny, but I think it might be herniated.   It's minor, but it is still raised up a bit.   I'll post a picture when it's a little less goopy.

Lucky Boys

My boys are so lucky.   They have so many people in their lives that adore them.  Three sets of grandparents, aunts and uncles, and close friends that are like family surround them.


Grandma and Grandpa Barrows came out for a visit this weekend to meet Charlie and spend some time with Cam.   They brought Cam two of his new favorite things -- a firefighter water hose pack that he can wear on his back when he's firefighting and, while on a picnic, Larry pulled out a pair of binoculars that Cam fell in love with.   Larry ended up giving them to him.  Grandma and Grandpa seem to know exactly what Cameron will love.   He can't get enough spying things and people in the backyard.   We've been playing a game where I hide his dinosaurs outside, and he has to locate them.  After lots of play time, a little showing off of his baseball skills,  a picnic, and some snuggle time, my parents invited all of us over for a fantastic dinner and more time for the boys to be with their grandparents.   Cam loved the attention from a room full of his favorite people. And of course Charlie got tons of snuggles.   The weekend excellent.  I love seeing the boys with their grandparents and the grandparents with the boys.  

Sunday, September 11, 2011


It was my first year of teaching. I had a 10th grade English class first thing in the morning and Brian Timberland, one of my students who's name I will never forget, told me as he came in to my room, "Ms. Condon, a plane hit the World Trade Center." I assured him that couldn't be right. When he insisted, I said, "Just like a little personal jet or something right?" He kept telling me it was a regular airliner. Our principal came on a few minutes later and confirmed the story. Being a new teacher and lacking confidence to make decisions on my own, I refused to put the tv in the room on. If I could go back, I would change that. I deprived those students of something extraordinarily significant. I really regret that.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Why

I've been meaning to start a blog for a long time now, but I kept putting it off, not sure anyone would really want to read it, nor would I be able to dedicate the time to it necessary to make it worth reading.  I've decided, however, that if nothing else, this blog will serve as a great place to keep stories and experiences with my family, friends, and career in the coming years.  I really regret that I do not have a written record of so many of the experiences I've had in the last years.  I write so many of them on my status or with my FTMs (my online mom group), but I don't have them all in one place nor can I even access some of them.   Please feel free to read, comment, discuss, and provide feedback for me!  

Labor Day 2011

Really an entry for me more than anything, so I'm sorry if it's a little dry and far too long. 

5:15am -- Cameron needs to be tucked back in.   Why at 4 years old the kid needs to be tucked back in at 5:15am, I have no idea, but whatever.   After making my way back to bed just grateful that Cameron was going back to sleep, I felt a twinge of what I thought was intestinal pain.   Great.   Just what I needed after going to bed at 12:30am for the first time in ages and being 39 weeks pregnant.   After laying there for 20 minutes or so, I realized that my "intestinal cramps" seemed to be coming at 7 minute intervals.   Hm... curious.   It didn't take me long to realize that this wasn't the result of Derran's cooking, nor was it Braxton Hicks.  

6:00am -- I woke up Derran to tell him what was going on. 

6:05am -- Derran's snoring.  I start to pack our bags for the hospital.   Yes, you know me, always the procrastinator! 

7:00am -- Cam actually slept in!  He happily climbs in bed with us, and a now awake Derran and I decide to break the news to him.   I tell him, "Cameron, XOXO is coming today!"  His response?  "You mean you're having contractions?   Your tummy is getting really tight and then loose and then tight?"  Uh, apparently someone pays more attention to what we talk about than he lets on.    He immediately busted out in a huge happy cheer!   For the rest of the morning Derran and I debated when we actually needed to leave to go to the hospital.    We consulted with my mom; I checked in with my FTMs (my online mommy group I met when I was pregnant with Cam); and I texted a bazillion people all while timing my contractions with my handy dandy phone app at 5 minutes apart for 1 minute each.  Cameron could not have been sweeter.   When I had hard contractions, Derran would hold my hand, and so would Cam.   Cameron brought me stuffed animals when I seemed to be really in pain.   He wanted to help so badly.  

12:30pm -- We finally make the decision that we need to go the hospital.  Little did we know we were 12 hours premature.

2:30pm -- By the time we feed Cam, drop him at Grandma and Grandpa Condon's, hit Taco Bell for my last meal, and stop at Babies R Us for the take home outfit we still hadn't purchased, it was already 2:30, and my contractions were still 5 minutes apart for a 1 minute each.  I was getting tired, but I knew I had a long way to go still.  They weren't getting much more intense, and they weren't getting closer together, but I still thought that I met the 5-1-1 criteria at this point.  

3:00pm -- We arrive at St. Jo's L&D triage.   The nurse took my information and put us on the monitors in the room.   She already seemed skeptical.   I was clearly having contractions.   XOXO's heart rate accelerated with each one which is a sign that he had a lot of stamina left.   After an internal check, it was determined that while I am indeed in labor, my progression is exactly ZERO.  I was sent home.  In a way, I can't blame them.   What's the point in keeping me there if I'm not actually progressing?   This way, at least I'd be able to be home.   Hell, perhaps it kept my hospital bill down.   She told me to go to my 10am appointment in the morning where we would likely discuss induction.   Great.   I had to deal with 5 minute apart contractions for another 19 hours AT LEAST?  So with instructions not to come back until my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and twice as strong, I left the hospital feeling defeated and exhausted.

4:00 -- 10:00 The rest of the evening went as a typical Monday night would.   We picked up Cam, played, had dinner, played some more, and put him to bed all the while I contracted every 5 minutes and tried not to cuss or cry in front of my son. 

10:00pmish -- I snuggled in to bed with extra towels, just in case, and my phone to continue tracking my contractions -- still, 5 minutes apart 1 minute each.  Derran started in the on snoring and I tried to focus on the news.  

10:45pm -- I had a massive contraction that last 2 full minutes and concluded with the sensation of something popping.  After lying there another minute, it dawned on me that perhaps is was my water breaking.  I got out of bed, and sure enough... water with every contraction. 

11:25pm -- By this point, we'd re-packed what we'd unpacked and woke Cam who was very giddy and out of it -- he said to me in the car, "Fat Baby Mommy (his nickname for me for the last few months... charming, eh?), you are having BIG contractions!" and giggled away!   We dropped him at my parents with my contractions now 3 minutes apart and fiercely strong.   We made our way to St. Jo's the LONG WAY for fear that Taste of Colorado was still in the clean up stages.   I tracked my contractions on my phone app just to keep my mind busy, and did what I could not to completely panic.   By the time we were 5 minutes from the hospital, I literally could not speak any more.   Too... much... pain.   The fatigue of having contracted for 19 hours had sunk in and these contractions were so much worse. 

12:01am -- We made it to St. Jo's triage.   I had to go to the bathroom extremely bad.   The nurse looked at me and realized I was in bad shape.   She warned me not to push.   At this point it had not even dawned on me that perhaps my urge to go to the bathroom was actually XOXO trying to make his escape!   After hobbling to a room, they tested me to make sure what I thought was my water breaking really was, and sure enough... without asking me any other questions, I was wheeled out the door and towards the elevator for L&D.   We flew past Tim in the waiting room, and he and Derran took one elevator, and I took the other with the nurse.   The nurse told me the baby was REALLY close.   I still didn't know how close; I just knew I wanted the epidural and I wanted it NOW! 

12:21am -- We got up to L&D.   There were 3 people in the room.   Not even a minute later, the room filled with at least 6-8 nurses and doctors.   I begged for the epidural.   A nurse checked me and couldn't decide if what she was feeling was that I was still not dilated at all (HOLY CRAP, REALLY? I COULD BE IN THIS MUCH PAIN AND NOT BE DILATED AT ALL?) or if it was the head of the baby.   Thankfully, the doctor checked next, and instantly knew it was XOXO's head, right there, ready to go.   I suddenly knew I needed to push.   The urge was too strong to resist.  I was extraordinarily belligerent with the nurses.   They kept telling me to hold my legs up.   They kept telling me to push.   I'm pretty sure I dropped more f-bombs than I heard all last year combined in my Period 8.  Finally, one of the nurses pulled out her Mommy Voice on me... "Colleen!   You are going to do this.   You are going to do it NOW.   With the next contraction, you are going to push that baby out."  I finally calmed down enough to focus.   The doctor told me she could already see his hair.   I'm pretty sure I hadn't even pushed yet. 

12:31am -- Three pushes and three minutes after I finally focused only 30 minutes after we arrived at St. Jo's,  Charlie Joseph was gasping for his first breath of air at 8 pounds 2 oz and 19 inches.