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


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


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.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

pros and cons

I'm procrastinating...so in the meantime...I'll do a little pros and cons list of possible future employment opportunities that are staring me in the face, demanding that I find and rewrite my educational philosophy and update my CV.

As I detailed here, not too long ago, I was not very happy with the way that things were handled by the principal of the school I teach at as she decided to move me from teaching 3rd grade to 2nd, at the same time I was very pregnant and planning to miss the first twelve weeks of school.

Being back at school, teaching a new grade level, in another language, with limited resources and limited time to devote to the job, I have become interested in pursuing other options.

And the options are available, if I can get my act together and make a move, rather than simply procrastinating. So here we go with the pros and cons!

Stay at the same school, but loop to 3rd grade with the same bunch of students I have this year:
pros: 1. I know the kids already.
2. I know the curriculum already.
3. I love working with my partner teacher, who will loop with me.

cons: 1. I know the kids already.
2. I lost a lot of respect for my boss at the end of last year, and haven't regained it since returning to work.
3. The work environment is negative -- many teachers don't enjoy working at this school any more
4. 1 to 1 iPad initiative and new expectations that go along with it
5. Short planning period
6. Distance from home (30 min. drive!)

Stay in the same district, but move to a middle school:
pros: 1. New job!
2. Longer planning period
3. Most likely teach the same course multiple times per day (less prep required!)
4. Next door to the Chinese immersion school I'd like Peanut to attend, even though we live out of district
5. Only teaching language, not math and science

cons: 1. More grading
2. the iPads, again
3. Still public school -- lots of kids who aren't interested in taking a foreign language but are in class because it is required
4. New job -- new people, new expectations...
5. Still far from home -- but probably only a 20 min. drive.

Move to "upper school" at the private school I attended:
pros: 1. Elite students...either academically advanced and attending by scholarship, or financially well off
2. Students are more independent based on age
3. Closer to home
4. New job!
5. Peanut could go to private school

cons: 1. I went there as a student and didn't love it
2. High school.
3. Peanut couldn't be in an immersion program
4. Reduction in salary

Clearly, there is a lot to think about.