Sunday, May 24, 2009


Over the past couple of years while our country has slipped deeper and deeper into economic turmoil, I have at least been able to take comfort and lean on the fact that no matter how bad it gets, our country, including the town in which I live, will always need teachers. Still true, but...well...apparently just not as many.

No, this blog post isn't about me losing my job. The good thing about working for a school district for 8 years is that it puts you far enough up the ladder so that you don't get cut during a 'reduction in force'. I have learned that it does not, however, save you from the effects of a 'reduction in force'.

Fast-forward to last Friday, May 22nd. That was the day that we all knew that the specifics of the much anticipated budget cuts would be announced. In other words, we would know what positions, what programs, and sadly what people were slated to be cut. My stomach was in knots all week long. In knots because I feared for some of my friends and co-workers. Never once (until Friday) did I consider the possibility that my own position was in jeopardy. I guess 7 years at a school in the same position can give you a false sense of security. And did.

So you know where this is going. At the end of the day on Friday I walked into a meeting with 4 of my colleagues. When I saw that there were only 4 of us, I knew what was up. I knew that I wasn't just shifting grade levels. I was being transferred to a different school. Not quite how I thought my Friday was going to go.

That was a tough day. At first I was in shock, almost numb to any emotion...although it was impossible not to cry some when my friends, the people I've worked with for the last 7 years, rallied around me. We all stood there in the hall together. In shock. That night the shock gave way to sadness, as the realization began to sink in. The realization that I am leaving the people who have been like my second family all these years. They're not just people I work with, they're my friends. Good friends. The people who were with me during 2 pregnancies, 2 births, and those ever so fun, ever so challenging early childhood years. They were there when Grayson was born, and they've been there this year as I've gushed with pride over my now school-aged boy. Therein lies my reason to be sad. Your friends are (or should be) people who you enjoy seeing and spending time with. And leaving Newby just means that I will see those friends much less.

But now that I've had a couple of days to think and process, I'm also a little excited. This coming from a person who typically does not like change. But I know too much now. 7 years ago I might have thought (and did think) that it was the end of the world to be involuntarily transferred. But really, as I later found out, it was just God's plan unfolding. What felt horribly wrong at first turned out to be incredibly right. Meeting a new friend--one of my best--and falling into the most ideal job share/childcare trade arrangement that was the envy of many, MANY throughout the district...I was blessed beyond what I ever could have imagined.

But I also know that's how God's plans work. You don't always see the good in them until much later in the journey. And that makes me think about the person who I am replacing. Because I am replacing someone. A first year teacher. A really, really GOOD first year teacher. And I remember that year all too well. When you get your first job at your first school, you can't help but think that's where your teaching career is going to play out. That your first classroom is going to be your only classroom. (Sounds silly to say that now that I'm 11 years into my "career", but I remember thinking that when I got my first job. I guess that's why I was SO devastated when I got a pink slip 2 years later. Sigh.) So that part will never feel good.

But other parts I'm really looking forward to! If you know me well at all, then you know that I LOVE getting my classroom ready at the beginning of each school-year. In fact, it almost (in a sick kind of way) pains me to see my students actually touch and use things on the first day! Ha! Ha! All of that is just to say that it will be fun to set up a new space. And get to know a new administrator. And hopefully make new friends and be inspired by their teaching. It can't be so bad, right?

I know though, too, that there are tough days up ahead. And stressful days. The end of the school-year is busy enough, but to add sorting, packing, and moving on top of that? Ugh. And no matter how okay I think I am with all of this, emotions will surface over the next 3 weeks when I'm at school and in the environment that I'll be leaving, with the people who I like and admire so much. But thru it all I just have to remember that some day, at some point in my journey that is life, I'm going to look back and see that there was a reason for May 22nd. A good reason.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

6th Birthday (in pictures)

A new bike from Mom and Dad.

Trying out said new bike at 6:45 in the morning. Truly.

6 birthday donuts for breakfast. Because who cares about good nutrition on your birthday?!

Sweet siblings.

Surprise! I got to visit G's classroom for the first time all year. It was another little girl's birthday, too. 6 years ago her mom and I wheeled past each other in the birthing center. I was post-op and she was just checking in. 2 sweet babes resulted.

2 cookies and an ice cream sundae cup. To go with the 6 donuts from earlier.

It's probably thanks to Isaac that Grayson has survived kindergarten (and pre-school)! Our boy is not so much of an independent spirit yet. He's more of a 'lean on the shoulders of others' kind of kid. He's lucky to have such a good friend and classmate in Isaac!

Using the force...

Celebrating at Red Robin.

That would be a cherry in his hand. The cherry from the top of his ice cream sundae. Yes, the 2nd ice cream sundae of the day. (And he may or may not have indulged in a little 'mile high mud pie' after that.)

My soccer cake creation. I am happy to report that absolutely no tears, curse words, or knife wielding resulted. This year.

Soccer bowling--employing the throwing technique. Go, Isaac!

Soccer bowling--employing the kicking technique. Nice work, James!
Soccer pinata--with a twist. The kids kicked at it instead of swinging at it. Very fun, indeed!

Nice form, Josh!

"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you..."


G was happy, happy in the presence of his best friends, lots of Legos, and many other cool toys!

And this is what you get when you ask 2 buddies to pose for a nice birthday picture...

I should have known. Silly me.

Yes, plenty of bright red faces and sweaty heads but a fun time, nonetheless.
Happy 6th Birthday, G!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Who knew...

that the folks at Disney would want us to visit their "park" again so soon???

But really, you entice me with free air travel (thanks to air miles), a 50% off hotel rate, 5-for-3 park hopper tickets, plus some free dining thanks to, and what's a girl supposed to do? Really now.

So yes, as awful as it sounds (to some people) that my 6 year-old has already been to the "happiest place on earth" 4 times, the truth is that we, thanks in part to my savvy bargain hunting, are able to do almost a week at Disneyland for no more than what many other family vacations would cost. (Okay, okay, Hawaii was still a tad bit out of our price range this summer.) And we love it. Well, 3 of us LOVE it, and 1 of us falls into the "if it makes my kids (and wife) happy, then it makes me happy" category. Hee hee. We'll call it a strong likeness for the mouse, falling just short of love.

The kids of course are very excited, especially since we missed out on the April trip with our friends. Sadly, the timing of that trip was bad for us, in terms of having (or not having) any paid vacation time left. April is like Dave's December at work--paid vacation hours don't start re-accumulating until May. Go figure. (And I just won't mention (although I will) that I have been holding onto a personal day of leave all year to be able to attend Grayson's end-of-year kindergarten field trip, only to find out this week that HIS field trip is the same day as MY kindergarten field trip!!! Ggrrr.)

But come June 22nd, we will kick off summer vacation (and yes, summer vacation will JUST be starting...darn snow days!) with a trip to the Land. Can't wait!

Happy Birthday, Grayson!

6 years ago today, right about now, my baby was experiencing his first hour of life on the outside. Trust me, the kid wanted to stay IN! I carried him for 42 weeks without 1. single. contraction. Until of course the day--May 15th--when the doctors FINALLY felt sorry enough for me (being 12 days past my due date) and hooked me up to the drugs. And, um, yeah, I quickly learned that contractions--no matter how wimpy mine apparently were--were not for me! So fast-forward 13 hours, 37 minutes and viola! I became a big fan of c-sections. Big fan.

But that fact aside, I honestly can't believe that my first-born is 6 years old today. 6! What we ever did without him in our lives is a distant memory almost too hard to recall. And that's okay with me. Because now, being his mom and Molly's too--this is the season of my life that I want to remember. Yet sometimes it seems like it's passing by all too quickly. G is not a baby or a toddler or a pre-schooler anymore. He's a boy. A boy who picks out his own clothes, rides his bike without training wheels, and walks by himself into the school building every morning. I used to think those kinds of things--no matter how small or trivial--seemed so far off. But those days are here. Whether I'm ready for them or not. But God's plan for Grayson is perfect. As always. Moms never get left out of God's plans. Because while I've got this boy who is ready and wanting to outstretch his wings a little more each the end of the day, he always comes back to his mama. And for now anyway (and maybe always, if I'm lucky) I still maintain 'rock star status' in his life. He is just as big of a fan of me as I am of him. And that, I hope, will never change...even when everything changes, as it will.

For now though, we get to enjoy our funny, smart, sensitive, kind, compassionate, goofy, shy 6 year-old, knowing full well that he is perfect in every way God created him. Perfect for us. And I'm glad that we get to share him with all of you! (Because we think he's pretty special.) Happy Birthday, Pal! We love you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Mostest There Ever Was

That's how much I love Molly (and Grayson, for that matter). It's our little game we play every night at bedtime. EVERY night. And it never changes.

Molly: "I love you, Mommy."
Me: "I love you, Molly."
Molly: "I love you, Mommy."
Me: "I love you more."
Molly: "No, I love YOU more."
Me: "Well I love you the most."
Molly: "No, I love YOU the most."
Me: "Well I love you the mostest there ever was."
Molly: "No, I love YOU the mostest there ever was!"

It's always the same. Just one of those silly little things that has become habit. But it's something that I look forward to at the end of each day. And something I will miss dearly one of these nights when my girl finally forgets about the "mostest there ever was" game. Poof. Just like that. Kind of like the lullaby trio that I used to sing Grayson. Again, EVERY night. But then one night, I just stopped. Maybe because one night he seemed older. Old enough to not need his mom to sing him to sleep anymore. It's a good reminder of how long I've been on this journey--being a mom. I know, I know...6 years is nothing. But actually, 6 years is 2,190 days. And that IS a lot. 2,190 days worth of hugs, kisses, and tears to wipe. Teachable moments and lessons learned. Laughing, crying, and everything in between. I'm 6 years in, and while that may still be considered just the start of my journey, I'm so lucky to already have enough memories to fill up volumes, not just chapters or pages.

Grayson and Molly, I love being your mom. I love to be in the midst of your playing, as your imaginations run wild, but I also love to stand back and watch you from a distance. Because when I do, my heart is full, and I am reminded just how much better--more complete--my life is with the 2 of you in it. Complete joy.

Thanks to my little family for a wonderful Mother's Day. It was perfect. Fun activities to do with my kids. First, an early morning breakfast at Wildwood Cafe. Yum. Then off to Lowe's to buy flowers, which we planted together. And finally, before the day was over, we headed to the theater to watch Monsters vs. Aliens.

Um, yes, I do look like death warmed over. No shower at this point.

Our planted creation.

Photo courtesy of Grayson.

Guess who this photo is courtesy of? Although, to her credit, isn't that an actual technique? Snapping shots at an angle??? Hmmm...