Thursday, November 25, 2010


Yesterday morning I woke up with an agenda.  Folks were showing up at 5:00, dinner was planned for 6:00.  It was my first attempt at a turkey, so I was a little, tiny bit nervous.  I knew the bird would be in the oven for most of the afternoon; therefore any pie-making would have to take place first thing in the morning.  Sylvia and I woke up and did our usual morning routine, but when she went down for her nap, I went into super-kitchen-hero, flour-wielding, baking-and-cooking mode.  By the time she woke up, I was rolling out my pie crusts and belting out my Christmas tunes. Sylvain got her out of bed, gave her a bottle, then decided to plop her in the high chair (still in her pajamas, mind you) so she could watch all the action.

She ate a few Cheerios then started watching Mama.  Harry Connick Jr.’s “Let It Snow” was playing on Pandora and I couldn’t help but sing and dance and spill flour all over the place.  Sylvia shrieked excitedly and kicked her footed pajama feet.  Sylvian chuckled and shook his head.  I pulled out all of my old UK acapella group moves (word up, Paws and Listen!) and while I flashed my jazz hands and snapped my fingers, Sylvia squealed with delight!  I stopped for a second to catch my breath, glanced at the gigantic mess I left of the counter, noticed the joyful and wondrous little girl watching it all, and let myself get choked up while I thanked the Lord above for such a glorious morning.  Then I cried a little bit, out of sheer happiness.

This is what it’s all about.  Someday she’ll be too old to care about songs and pie making.  Someday I’ll be too busy to stop and sing.  But today, for just one day and one moment, she and I were a part of the most wonderful holiday tradition.  My mother would be proud, and maybe a little bit sad that she couldn’t be here.  But we thought of her, and all of our family, on this greatest day of Thanksgiving.

 Here are my reasons to be thankful this year:        

On, on U of K! We are right for the fight today!

Have you ever seen a happier baby daddy?

She's a big girl in the bathtub!
 I hope your holiday is a joyous one!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mrs. Fasciotto, NBCT

I worked my pregnant little tail off all year last year to obtain the holy grail of teaching certificates.  I completed four gigantic and wordy portfolio pieces.  Then I took six written assessments to prove that I know my stuff.  After all of that hard work, I boxed it all up and sent it to Texas in the hopes that ten unknown people in ten unknown places across the United States would deem my work worthy enough to be considered "Certified."  Then I resigned myself to wait until November.  Ugh!  NOVEMBER!  It's SO far away!  How will I EVER make it to NOVEMBER???'s what now?  I'm sorry, you say it's NOVEMBER?  Um, well, I'm kind of used to waiting....and....I'm not sure I really wanna know, so......maybe I shouldn't look at those scores.  

That's right, the scores were posted THIS MORNING!  It's already here!  How did that happen???  ACCKKK!!!

Deep breath.......and release.....okay.

Looking back, I know this process taught me more about myself as a teacher than I ever could have hoped, and I improved as a teacher more than I ever could have done on my own.  So, regardless of the outcome, at least I knew I would walk away saying that I'm a better teacher...


It sure would be nice to say I'm a National Board Certified Teacher!  The pay raise wouldn't hurt either.

After a sleepless night, plenty of nail biting, and lots of wishful thinking/praying, I summoned up the nerve to check my scores this morning at school.  Luckily, I've been spending my days in the hallway with another teacher while our student teachers have been "solo-ing," so Mrs. Loper was there when I tried to log onto the website over and over and over and over again.  We finally got sick of all the suspense and I made one of my students stand by my computer to push the button every 10 seconds until the screen changed.  After about five minutes she said, "Mrs. Fasciotto!  It changed!  You're in!"  I ran to the other side of my computer, expecting to see a list of portfolio and assessment scores, looking for the magic number to be higher than 275, but was surprised to see the following message:

Congratulations!  You're a National Board Certified Teacher!

YIIIIPPPPPEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!  I shouted.  My student about hit the floor to take cover when all the other teachers ran out into the hallway and screamed and shouted and jumped and had a little party with me right then and there.  I interrupted my student teacher in the middle of her morning meeting to tell all of my students that for the rest of the day, they must call me, "Mrs. Fasciotto, National Board Certified Teacher."  Then, I took my little trouble-maker around to visit the teachers who read all of my work last year so he could tell them, "My teacher's new name is: Mrs. Fasciotto, National Board Certified Teacher."  On our way to the principal's office, I made him practice about a hundred times, because, you know, he needs to be clear when speaking to the principal.....and I loved hearing it.

My National Board work was my "other baby" last school year.  I finished that sucker just in time to start a family.  Now I can focus on going onward and upward in my teaching career, knowing that I'm working to my FULL potential!  I'm so thankful for the opportunity to improve myself as a teacher!  Hip hip hooraayyyy!!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nursing the Nugget

Tonight I am thankful that I'm able to nurse my Nugget.  I mentioned a while back that I love nursing WAY more than I ever thought I could, and that's still true, but our nursing relationship has changed quite a bit since she was born.  Since I know many, many, many soon-to-be mamas out there, I thought I'd take some time tonight to try and describe the world's greatest feeling.

In the beginning (i.e. the first four months when I was at home), nursing was a no-brainer.  Sylvia latched well, and I loved rocking with her in her room and feeding her whenever she needed it.  Every once in a while I'd venture out into the living room to nurse, when I was feeling feisty, but I've always been content sitting in her room and enjoying that precious space with her...especially when there were other people in our house or other things to do.  Sometimes it felt downright sinful to sneak in there with a hungry baby and close the door.  "Ha ha, world!  You can't get me!  I'm feeding my baby and you can SHOVE IT!"  That was always fun.

Eventually I got up the nerve to nurse her in public.  I love my trusty nursing apron and it really came in handy for the first five months or so.  My Mom was skeptical when I wanted to register for one, but when she and I were shopping at the mall and I sat down on a bench to nurse the nugget, she was convinced - they're another one of those "why didn't I think of it" ideas.  Once I got the hang of it, I was nursing that baby everywhere!  At the restaurants...pretty much everywhere except for church.  I never got up the nerve to nurse my baby in church.

All of the lovey-dovey nursing hoopla took a serious hit when I went back to work.  A working, nursing Mama means PUMPING.  I hate pumping.  It's pretty much the world's most awful thing and I hate it.  Sylvain says I look like a milk-making robot and Mom says I look like a dairy cow.  My coworkers can't figure out why I would lock my classroom door in the middle of the day (gasp!) and one of them actually UNLOCKED it so they could barge in and deliver something.  I had to get very comfortable with "going topless" for twenty minutes a day.  For the first three months of the school year, I was pumping THREE TIMES a day!  Sylvia was sucking down bottles at daycare like it was her job and I felt like I had to keep up with her.  I pumped at planning, I pumped as soon as school let out, and depending on how much she ate that day, there were times where I pumped before I went to bed at night.  Luckily, I had a pretty good stash of frozen milk, so on nights where I was too exhausted to pump, I could grab one of those.  Then, she hit six and a half months old, and everything changed again.

A couple weeks ago, Sylvia decided that she's just too busy to lay in my lap and nurse.  She's been taking bottles so frequently at day care that she wasn't interested in feeding from the boring old breast anymore!  I started supplementing with formula and OH MY GOSH IT WAS THE GREATEST THING EVER!  Suddenly I was freed of the shackles of pumping.  Once Sylvia started taking formula, I could go back to nursing her when we both actually enjoyed it.  I still pump during planning, which isn't too bad at all because I have plenty of time and I can eat or work on the computer while I do it.  When she's really tired or groggy, she has no problem nursing, so currently our schedule looks something like this: I nurse her first thing in the morning when she wakes up.  She eats a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast at day care.  She drinks a bottle of breast milk.  She eats a bowl of rice cereal and veggies.  She drinks two bottles of formula in the afternoons.  She eats rice cereal and veggies at home for dinner, sometimes she has another small bottle of formula if she needs it.  She nurses before bed.  The milk I pump during planning is her first and only bottle of breast milk during the day.

I was really nervous about this new routine, but now that we've done it for two weeks I absolutely love it.  I have the best of both worlds!  She'll eat a bottle of ANYTHING and she'll eat any vegetable as long as it's mixed with a little bit of cereal.  I'm sitting in the middle of one of those rare time-frames where everything seems to be working well.  All of my spinning plates are in the air and they haven't shattered on the floor yet.  I'm sure that soon we'll have to change our nursing relationship again, but I'm so thankful that she's still nursing twice a day without any resistance.  I cherish each and every ride in the rocker that we have because I know our days are numbered.  However, now that she's taking formula, Sylvain gets to feed her a lot more often than he used to and he loves it.  So does she.  At the moment, all is right with our nursing world!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My School

Tonight I am thankful for my sweet little elementary school.  During my first year there, I almost threw in the towel, but I'm glad that I picked up the phone and called a friend.  Actually, she was just an acquaintance at the time, but now she's a dear friend; and one of the many reasons I chose to stay at my school and dig in to the hard, yet fulfilling work that it offered.  Now that I'm deep into my third year there, I can truly say that this school feels like home, that I love the kids I work with, that I love the adults I work with even more, and that I'm in the absolute best and right place for me.  I've learned so much at this "new" school, which isn't really new to me anymore, and working there has made me a MUCH better teacher.

In a couple of weeks we'll be having our Thanksgiving Fun Feast and I can't wait to toss the lesson plans aside and laugh and play with the kids who fill my heart every day.  I'll be sure to let them know how much they mean to me and how much hope they give me for the future.  If you only knew the challenges they face, you'd be amazed and impressed at the work they're able to do every day.  Our kids are awesome.  Our staff is awesome.  I'm honored to be a part of it all!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ms. Spradlin

Tonight I am thankful for my student teacher, Ms. Spradlin!  (She won't be Ms. Spradlin for long, though.  Come June she'll be Mrs....Somebody Else)  I've been taking student teachers for a few years now, and after last year I almost threw in the towel and said, "To heck with it!"  They were really starting to be more trouble than they're worth, but then Ms. Spradlin showed up and renewed my faith in young, eager educators!  Once the kids and I figured out how to say her name correctly (she is NOT Ms. Bradley), we all fell madly in love with her.

She's a natural, and a good student teacher makes my job so much easier.  I know that on her solo days, my kids are going to get high quality instruction and I won't have to go back and re-teach the content.  Which means that the month of November is an easy, breezy month for me!  Since I teach reading to my homeroom and science to all three classes, she's already taken over most of my day.  The biggest challenge for a student teacher in fourth grade is delivering the content, and she has done her homework and planned the world's greatest Motion and Design Unit for our kids.  Hooray for good teachers!

She just finished up a two-day solo and next week she starts her week-long five-day solo, so between now and Thanksgiving, I have lots of down time during which I can pull small groups of kids, do some one-on-one assessments, and *gasp* catch up on grading, planning and report cards!  All of this means that I get to leave at a decent time in the afternoon and I don't have to take work home on the weekends, so I get optimal Mama and Nugget time!  God bless GOOD student teachers!

Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to survive without her after December 3rd.....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Let me elaborate...

Last night I rushed into the office to say I was thankful for my husband and my nugget, so tonight I'm cheating by explaining why.  I won't take long.  I just want to take you back to a moment of my day that was not captured by a camera.  It was one of those moments where your brain jumps outside of your body and screams, "Remember this!  Whatever you do, don't ever EVER forget this!!!"  So I better write it down.

We've had such a great weekend just hanging out at home and being together.  It's nice to enjoy some time as a family of three with no other obligations or responsibilities.  Sylvain worked on a lot of grading this weekend, which meant I got to spend some much needed time taking care of the nugget.  She's started sleeping more regularly and today she even took an honest-to-goodness, real, day-time nap!  An hour and 15 minutes!  It was glorious.

This evening, we went down to the basement to watch some Thursday night TV that we had DVR'd.  Sylvia hasn't spent much time down there, so we layed a blanket over the tile floor, thew down some toys and let her have a good ol' time.  As we were coming back upstairs to get some dinner, Sylvain picked up a bag of marbles.  Simple enough.  No big deal.  UNLESS YOU'RE SEVEN MONTHS OLD!  He started tossing it in the air from hand to hand and the look on Sylvia's face was priceless!  The sound and the bright colors - oh my gosh, it was a TOTAL PARTY for her!  She looked at him like he had just brought down the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai.  He might as well have had a halo of light shining over his head.  I'm sure 75% of her fascination was with the marbles, but I know that at least 25% of it was just pure amazement with her Daddy.

As we were putting her to bed tonight, she was laughing and playing with him like she usually does, but it occured to me that she must think he is the most magical, amazing person on the planet.  I pointed this out to him, and told him that, if he plays his cards right, she will ALWAYS think so.  She will always think her Daddy is magic.  She will always think that he hung the moon and that he did it just for her.  I cannot explain the power he has over her, but I know it's true, because I still feel that way about my Daddy.

Sylvian has a big job to do.  I hope he's up for the task of being the world's greatest man alive.  I couldn't have a picked a better person for the job!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010


I'm thankful for the gift of a weekend!  This is the first time in a long time that we have absolutely no plans.  I get to stay at home with the husband and the nugget and just enjoy being with my itty bitty family, instead of entertaining or visiting our super large family.  After weeks of running around, we need it.  And considering what's coming up in November and December (our calendar in the office looks like the dry-erase marker threw up on it), we need this weekend to prepare for the mad dash for the holidays!  (I'd be lying if I said I haven't been listening to Christmas music already....)

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Weeeeelllll, that didn't take long, did it?  I was three days into my "blog every day" kick when my laptop computer fizzled out on me (i.e. the battery died while I was trying to write in bed and I was way too tired to go write on my husband's computer), so here I sit on day four already a day behind.  But isn't that the way life goes?  Things just wouldn't feel right if I wasn't behind on some aspect, would they?  So here's the post I was planning to write last night, although tonight's version is much less sappy.  Tonight I am thankful for FAMILY!

As many of you already know, most of Sylvain's family lives in France.  Last week, his Dad's family came for a visit to see sweet Sylvia and be here for her baptism.  Daniel (the Dad), Nelly (the Stepmom), and Dorinda (the sister) stayed with us for ten glorious days during which they fell in love with the Nugget (duuhhh), and I fell in love with them all over again.  This would be only the third time I've ever seen them, but it felt like they have been a part of my own family forever (if you don't count that silly little thing we call a language barrier...pish...words are cheap).  The first time I met them was shortly after Sylvain and I were engaged, so they were "my fiancee's family."  The second time was during the summer of 2009, at which point they graduated to "my husband's family."  But THIS time...well, this time they were coming to see us, and we were all united by an incredible undying love for a six-month-old girl, so this time, I couldn't help but refer to them as, "my family."  Because that's what they are and will always be. 

Aunt Dorinda couldn't get enough of the Nugget.  It was nice having our own Nanny around for ten days.  She fed her cereal and veggies at dinner time, she helped me give her a bath at night, and, most importantly, she played with her and loved on her all day long, which meant I was free to do other things like....clean my house?  No, they did that, too.  Cook dinner?  Nope, they cooked AND did the dishes, no matter how hard I protested!  I was fortunate enough to *gasp* sit on the couch for thirty minutes with a glass of wine!  They brought some gooooood wine for this baby mama!  Oh, how I love them.

My father-in-law is EX.ACT.LY like my husband.  Silly.  Dry.  Smart.  He appreciates all the people around him and he especially appreciates a good joke.  Dorinda is also exactly like Sylvain.  They play games, they poke fun, they act like a total brother and sister combo, regardless of the sixteen years and thousands of miles that separate them. And they can't get enough of "Kentucky."  We may have had a little bit to do with that fascination, seeing as how every other t-shirt we wear has UK on it, and every other toy of Sylvia's plays the fight song.  What can I say?  We bleed blue, and now France does, too.

Today, the Fasciottos had to leave.  It was extremely sad.  No one cried (expect for me, and not until after I dropped off Sylvia and started driving to work), but everyone had a heavy heart this morning.  The last time we left France, the distance between father and son really hit me.  This time, I saw the distance between grandparents and a grandchild.  Daniel woke up early to say goodbye to Sylvain before he left for work.  I was getting bottles ready in the kitchen and I noticed that Daniel stood in the doorway and watched Sylvain pull out of the driveway and drive down the street.  It broke my heart.  Then, Nelly and Dorinda woke up to say goodbye to me and the Nugget as we left for day care.  Dorinda held her a little more tightly this morning, and Nelly said to me in her broken English, "Thank you for the joy with Sylvia.  I don't think she remember us."  It broke my heart again.  I promised Nelly that, even if Sylvia doesn't recognize them the next time she sees them, she will certainly MISS them when they're gone.  I'm not looking forward to tomorrow morning when she realizes that they're not here anymore.  I know she'll be looking for them.

Lucky for us, we have lots of other family to love that are a little closer to home.  We get to see Sylvain's mom often, and my parents and siblings live right here in KY, although, according to them, it's not close enough.  I thank God every day for a big, loving, *close* family.  I can't wait to see Sylvia grow up - half French, half Kentuckian - in the world's most wonderful group of people.  What a lucky little girl!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


We have a lot of fun around here, and for that, I must thank my husband.  Tonight I am thankful for the gift of laughter.  I was sitting with the Nugget on the couch earlier today and I asked Sylvain to open up the ottoman/toy chest to find her new teether.  He lifted the lid and I said, "Hey!  You could put on a little puppet show behind there!"  So, he grabbed a few stuffed animals and popped them up for Sylvia to see. 

He did his little show in French, of course, which made me think of the old fashioned puppet shows that you always see in movies.  You know, the ones where there's a dunce hitting an old lady in a scarf and the whole thing is performed in a park in Paris?  And the audience is filled with little boys in striped shirts and girls in pigtails and bows just giggling away!  That's the kind of show we had here this afternoon.  Except instead of boys and girls giggling, all we had was one, little, sweet Sylvia gut-laughing like I have never seen her laugh before.  I have no idea what his characters were saying, but there was a lot of rough-housing between the lamb and the rabbit, and then the KY Wildcat was called in, and I heard the word "spaghetti" over and over....your guess is as good as mine, but the Nugget LOVED it!  

As I sat there with a giggling girl on my lap, watching his little story, I started laughing so hard myself that I almost cried.  I almost cried out of sheer gratitude for that sweet moment.  I really don't see how life can get any better than this!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Being a Mom

Today is November 1, the first day of National Blog Posting Month.  Now, I'm not sure, but when I check their link, it looks like every month is National Blog Posting Month and you just pick the month in which you want to try to post every day.  Laura and I did it last November, and I think November makes for a great Blog Posting Month because it's time to really start thinking about all the things for which I am thankful.  I told Laura earlier today that there's no way I'd be able to do it this year, because I barely make it to the computer for a weekly post anymore, much less a daily one, but then I thought about it all day long and remembered how nice it was to sit down each evening and reflect on all of my blessings.  So here we go!  I'm going to give it a shot, but I won't make any promises.  I'll be brief (or as brief as I can be *wink wink*) and I'll be sincere.  Tonight, I am thankful for...

Being a Mom.

As I was putting Sylvia to bed tonight, I stopped for a second after getting up out of my chair.  I swayed back and forth before putting her in her crib and I looked up on the wall to see my shadow swaying over the tree we put up last year.  I looked at my silhouette, with the Nugget's little head on my shoulder, and remembered that this is exactly where I've always wanted to be.  I remembered that at this time last year, and for many years before, this has been exactly my dream.  And to see it there, up on the wall, in a faint outline, right before my eyes, made it very clear that no matter how difficult this may be, or how incredibly I might mess up, I'll always have this moment.  The one where I know without a shadow of a doubt that being a mother is the greatest job in the world.  So tonight, while the out-of-town guests are downstairs and the washing machine is filling up and the bottles need to be washed, I decided to sit down and give thanks for my biggest blessing.  Motherhood.