Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Year....

Wow, re-reading my last post from....two years ago...what an interesting way to start off the year! And to think I had remembered this space, this online journal of sorts, to come by and set some intentions for 2018.

Here we are, finally with the last few boxes unpacked from the move in November 2015, with the family collage pictures finally hung up the staircase, with three children instead of only two....

My, how life has changed!  And also, my how life has stayed the same!

I find myself looking forward to getting back into routines in 2018.  The beginning of this school year has seen lots of transitions in my family: new baby in October, public school (pre-K) for peanut, half day preschool for miss middle, retirement for my dad (coming up in...7 more days?), a new baby for my sister, a visit from the Chilean grandparents ending tomorrow....Some of these, handled gracefully, and some of them, not so much.

Peanut has been struggling with following directions and being kind and respectful at school.  I worry that I have pushed her too fast, my extremely social child, who loves to be with her peers and is agitated when we stay at the house all day, to spend her days at school, one of the youngest of her class.  But being out of the house during the week is all she has ever known, my firstborn, who started day care and never stopped, since I was working....but perhaps last years teachers were right, and she would benefit from being the oldest in her class instead of the youngest? As we look for solutions to the behavior problems she is presenting in the pre-K classroom, I'm tempted to find her a spot at miss middle's half day program, pull her home with me, spend more time with just her....but I also know that creating another set of upheaval and transition is not the answer!  And it would mess up everyone else, too -- it would take away miss middle's bit of time with just me and baby, it wouldn't actually create any new time for Peanut to be with just me.  And one of the big draws of the new school this year is that half of the school day is taught in Spanish, which helps Peanut improve her ability to speak with her grandparents.

Miss middle is just that -- trying to find her place in the family, in the middle of being a baby and big girl.  She's almost potty trained, but wants her nuggles.  It helps her to have time with just me before school, especially if baby brother is napping.  She is testing all the limits, making sure that we are paying attention to her.  She is thriving.

And baby boy...what a sweet baby boy.  He coos, he smiles, he sleeps, he grows.  The third baby grows so much faster than the first.  Almost three months old already, and probably weighs the same as the first at her 1 year birthday. Peanut and miss middle love that baby boy fiercely, but also want to make sure that they are still loved, too.  I constantly ask myself how long it will take for them to realize that my love for each of them has only grown, even though my time to spend with each individually has diminished?  They may be grownups before they understand, with families of their own, but until then I will continue to do my best. And when I don't, to apologize and try to be better in the future.

This transition to a family of three also came with the hard decision to stay home from work, for the year, or maybe for indefinitely.  The idea of trying to get three small people to their three different schools/daycares and me to my school while also not sleeping through the night and trying to make time to pump and also trying to pay for all three of their schools was....not appealing.  And a losing proposition -- I would have had to pay to go to work.  Though I am now losing years of experience in the classroom, preventing salary increases, etc., the out of pocket costs of me working this year, both financial and mental were too expensive.  So I started the school year with a few hours of time to myself in the house each day, and now spend those hours focused on the baby (instead of all three lovely children).

The grandparents (and tio Wardo) have been here for two weeks, for the holidays, getting to know the girls again and to snuggle the baby.  It has simultaneously been lovely to have extra hands and stressful to constantly have the house full.  I am enough of an introvert and set enough in my rhythms that though I will miss them, I am ready to have my space back for me, and my time.  I'm also ready for my husband to stop burning the candle at both ends...up with the children early, up with the family until late...

And so, I begin this year with some intentions.  My monthly goal this year is to invite someone to do something together: a fallen-out-of touch with friend to supper once a quarter, and to cultivate friendships with two other lovely ladies who have children close to the ages of mine by inviting them to do something together at least once a quarter.  Stay-at-home life has some wonderful rhythms and freedoms, but also has some lonely and too-quiet moments.  I'd like to be intentional about cultivating friendships and opening my home to friends more often.  I've found in the past that setting a monthly goal that is concrete and measurable can help me stick to the intention of what I want to accomplish; I wanted to be more physically fit, so I committed to run a paid race (mostly 5ks) each month, to keep me training all year long; I wanted to spend more time relaxing, so I committed to a trip to the beach once a month.  The year we moved into this house, we committed to invite someone (anyone!) to dinner at least once a month, and it was fun trying to figure out who else we could invite....but the friendships started back up and then fizzled, due to many different circumstances, and I'm ready to try it again, but with the intention of it not just being anyone! who comes to join us, but to be the same people over and over again, working hard on the many necessary contact hours to concrete a friendship, and hopefully to cultivate family friendships -- not just friends for me, but also for my husband, and for my children, too.

Happy 2018!

Monday, September 28, 2015

moving?

And so it goes.

I stopped looking at houses, but my sister, who is engaged and preparing for some big life changes, including moving, has not.  And since she has not stopped looking online at houses (and in real life), neither has my mama.  And since my mama saw a house she liked a lot, just a few blocks down the street from my current house, and bigger than what my sister will want, and an awful lot like the size house my family might want to move into....well...she sent me a link to the house online on Saturday last week.  And on Sunday, our agent took us to see it.  And she met me there again, with my mama, on Monday morning.  And all day after that on Monday, we emailed paperwork back and forth to my husband and I made phone calls to lenders and things like that.  And Monday night, the sellers countered.  Monday night, we accepted their counter offer.  Tuesday and Wednesday were full of scheduling appointments and making phone calls.  Thursday we met in person with a lender.  Friday was the HVAC inspection.  Saturday we moved a whole bunch of boxes out of our attic into my bedroom at my mama's house.  We'll pack up a bunch more boxes of stuff this afternoon to move out, too.  And while sweet hubby is at work on Monday, I'll continue packing up boxes of the stuff we don't actually use everyday to send off to visit my mama's house while we try to get ours on the market.  And Tuesday this week will be the home inspection and termite inspection....and after that....well, a couple weeks later we will close and have a new house to move into.  A new-to-us house, that is, since it is not actually a new house.

And I find myself in the middle of this whirlwind asking myself what the heck happened to my resolve that we are in the right place, living within our means, in a cozy, sweet, home that encourages and requires together-time, and how much I value that....and in the hurry of "this house is lovely, meets our desires, and will move fast at this asking price" I somehow forgot that I had decided I didn't want to move.

Is it terrible that I googled "how to back out of a house contract" earlier today?  Does it mean I really don't want to move?  I know that the sellers received better offers after they had already accepted ours....if we truly want to back out, I am certain they will be able to quickly sell the house and actually get more for it than what we would be paying.

It is hard to know whether the unease I feel about this new purchase is simply anxiety due to the speed of the decision or whether it is unease because it isn't truly the right purchase for us to make right now.

My husband REALLY wants to move.  Over the past year, as we have been looking at different houses, he has been ready and willing to put an offer on many, where I have dragged my feet or decided that this feature or that feature really would bother me long term, and therefore I would rather stay where we already are.

And also, the values....small home, small payments, family life, ability to afford more experiences together, ability to afford better schools, living with less, having more to give....and I feel like I've allowed myself to throw my values out the window, to a certain degree.

So here I am....both imagining where each piece of furniture we own will go in the new house and also trying to figure out if I can get out of buying this new home....

We spent the evening removing boxes of baby clothes and winter clothes from the attic, sending them on a visit to my mama's house, in part of an attempt to create the illusion of lots of space in this little house.  We removed all of our pictures and most of our personal things from the walls -- the family photo when peanut was 3 months old, now an empty space.  Wedding pictures from the dining room wall, now an empty space.  Collages of sweet hubby and me in our years before babies, packed away, and empty spaces.  Entire shelves on the bookcases are empty, frames packed into boxes for no one knows exactly how long, this home becoming a big, empty, messy shell of the place we have enjoyed so much life.

I simultaneously want to undo the progress, putting all of it back in place, the way it has come to be home, and want to rush through and finish the purchase and be settled, once more, in a welcoming space.

I am apprehensive.  I am nervous, and anxious, and doubting.  I am trusting that if this is truly the right house, at the right time, in the right place, that the remaining steps in the home buying process will be quick(ish) and easy, falling into place without much effort on my part.  And I am praying, very selfishly, that if this is not the right house, that it be very, very apparent through something majorly wrong discovered in tomorrow's home inspection and termite inspection.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

tough decisions

With the arrival of baby number 2, our house is officially at capacity.  Maybe beyond capacity.

Sweet hubby and I are sharing our bedroom with the new little one, and peanut still has her own room, for the time being, although in a month or so, we expect that to change as baby 2 moves in with her.

We have been searching, on and off, for the past many months for a different house to live in, and I keep coming back to some tough decisions about what I value and why I value it and how I can live out those values, all related to a new house.

Our current home is small.  It is in a lovely old neighborhood less than five minutes away from my parents' house.  At present, my sister also lives in this neighborhood, although that will likely change when she gets married in January.  There is a park within walking distance in our neighborhood, and the public schools we are zoned for are okay but not great.  This house is considered "in town," meaning that it is very centrally located, and there is shopping, dining, downtown, etc. with a five to ten minute drive.  By living so close to my parents, we are able to plan spontaneously, and my parents are able to spend ample time with their granddaughters.  My mom, in particular, is a big help to me, either picking up from daycare (or sometimes dropping off) or babysitting or dropping off something I forgot at the store (since my brain doesn't function properly with a newborn in the house).  Our house is small.  It forces us to spend time together as a family on a regular basis, sharing all of the moments from after school/work until bedtime.  We don't watch TV with the girls in the room, so as long as they are awake, we are able to interact with them.  Our house is small.  There isn't a dedicated space to leave messy for sewing or other projects.  The kitchen would be more functional with more counter space and cabinets.  Our house is small.  There isn't much space, but everything has a place, and you can tell when things are not in their place.  It doesn't take much time to clean the house, because it is small.  Our house is small.  It gets crowded very quickly when people come to stay with us, for a weekend or for a longer visit. Our house is small -- we have to share our bedrooms.

We've been looking at houses with more bedrooms.  Houses with enough space to set up a craft and sewing room, or for sweet hubby to set up a workshop outside, or both.  Houses with enough bedrooms to only share when we have visitors staying with us.  Houses with an extra living room.  And while all of those things seem like they would be nice, I'm not satisfied.  I can't seem to find one that I like well enough to move from where we are now.

All of them come with some sort of caveat. One lovely house costs more than we can afford, or another is zoned for public schools that are less than okay.  One lovely house means we will still be near my parents, but another with nicer schools is not.  Paying more for that lovely house over there means we will have less available financially to bring sweet hubby's family here to visit us, so that newer, bigger house will be emptier more of the time.  Moving out of town for that lovely house with the really good schools means losing the assistance of my parents on a sporadic basis.  Moving into any of these houses means that my two girls would have their own rooms.

And at this very point in time, I'm not sure that I value losing the things I love so much about this home in favor of more space.

I don't want to buy a house for when we have visitors.
I don't want to buy a house only because of the type of school my girls could attend.
I don't want to buy a house that removes me from the excellent relationship we have with my family.
I don't want to buy a house that takes away the family time I value so highly.

I think I just don't want to buy a new house.




Tuesday, April 21, 2015

pink things....

Life is getting pinker and pinker....

As we approach the arrival of baby girl number 2 in July!

So far things have been going well with pregnancy number 2, and baby is growing as expected, although I have my suspicions that just like baby number 1, this one will be on the smaller side of average.

This school year has been such a different experience compared to the previous five years, and in so many incredibly good ways, too. I have definitely found a more supportive work environment that is much more family friendly than my previous school.  The actual responsibilities of my position are manageable and in general, I am able to accomplish them during the time I am scheduled to be at work.  The number of students I interact with on a daily basis is manageable, and I'm looking forward to continuing to teach many of the same students over the next few years.  The parental support is actually helpful, with most parents following through with their offers for assistance and placing responsibility on their students. And the support of the other teachers and administration is amazing, too.  The few times I've needed assistance, either with situations with students or situations with my health or that of my family, the other teachers and administrators have willingly offered assistance, even covering classes and other duties.  It is such a relief to work in a place that recognizes that sometimes children get sick, and doctors appointments have to happen during the workday, and that there are two sides to every story.

Though I'm not thrilled to consider leaving another baby in the day care nursery when she is three months old, if I have to be working somewhere (and I do), I am glad that somewhere can be a place as accommodating, encouraging, and pleasant as where I am now.  And when I think about how I wasn't even planning to look for a new job last spring....I am so very, very thankful that God placed the right hints and people and events in my path at the exact right times.

So baby number 2 has acquired a few pink things of her own, that she will not share with her big sister.  My favorite is probably the little bitty shirt that says "wee sister", bought in Edinburgh on my first trip away from baby 1 over spring break.  Wee sister kept me company on the plane rides and many long afternoon walks, and big sister read books with me by phone each evening before her bedtime.  It was the perfect time for a vacation -- big sister stayed home with daddy while I met up with a good friend and visited some other family friends and explored some places that were new to me and revisited some old favorites and attended my former roommate's wedding....and all of it made sweeter knowing that in the next 12 months or so after new baby is born, it will be very difficult for me to travel by myself.




Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pink!!!

This sweet baby of mine....

she's pretty pink for Halloween.


Her Grandmary loves flamingos, so we surprised her at the fall festival with her very own little flamingo.

I made the costume -- I told myself over and over not to be a perfectionist -- because if anyone looks closely, they will see a lot of shortcuts!

My sweet girl even kept the flamingo hat on without complaining or pulling at it.


Monday, August 4, 2014

waiting....

I'm waiting a few more minutes, then will have to make a phone call.  I hate talking on the phone, but I need a few answers....

I'll be starting my new job soon, soon, and must respond to a parent email about the textbook she needs to purchase for her daughter.  I didn't choose the textbook, and it turns out that it is ridiculously expensive. The parent wants to know whether she can buy it used, or must purchase it new with an access code to the textbook's website.  So I must call, and talk to the veteran teacher, who doesn't like to respond to questions via email, to find out how closely I am expected to follow the book and use the online resources, then respond to the parent about whether we will be using all of the fancy audio and video resources online or not.

I'm on the fence about it -- following the textbook and using all of the resources is much less personally interesting for students.  On the other hand, it sure does make planning easier for me if all I need to do is get the students started using the online resources and monitor their progress....

I think being a better teacher will win out, although I do think it would be nice to be able to use the fancy technology features and at least somewhat follow the textbook features online.  I mean...all of the other parents are paying for that, aren't they?

In other worlds, life lately has been nice, mostly relaxing, and passing by all too quickly.  My little peanut is fast approaching her 1st birthday, and I am having a hard time wrapping my head around how big she's getting!  She is trying to walk, calls for "mama" and "papa", loves to swim at the beach, and charms all of her admirers. Being a mom has been, so far, a very fun experience.  Even the hard days are balanced out by the good days, and her laugh!  Oh, her laugh is worth millions, to me.

This is a bittersweet time of year -- the beginning of school, once more, and therefore the end of long lazy days of snuggles followed by swimsuits...I am excited by the prospects of this new job, but sad, sad, sad to be left with little time each day with my little one.