Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Take 2

Well. I don't know if all 8 of ya'll stormed the gates of heaven on my behalf all at the same time or what, but I'll have you know, today was 1 bazillion times better than Monday. Hallelujah and amen.

Somehow the exact amount of time this morning seemed longer. With fifteen minutes to spare I was looking around trying to figure out what 5 steps I had forgotten. But everything was done. No one spilled milk. No one got kicked in the head. I even had time to stop for coffee, which no doubt added to the utter goodness of the day. Emily took better naps, and I was able to actually laugh at all the scary Jesus pictures instead of cry. I used the paper cutter, the laminator, and attended a meeting with the facilities director. And then I pinched myself to make sure I hadn't time warped to six years ago.

Speaking of six years ago, I have to confess that I got stuck working on a computer document and I called my friend Mindy, who was my right hand woman at the church, for help. I told her I was aware that she no longer worked for me technically, but surely she knew when she signed up with me, it was for life. And wouldn't you know she solved the problem over a text message. Man. I wish I could afford her services right about now!!! I could also use the sound advice and comic relief that came from two of my other favorite people at my old job, (and now I'm starting to sound like this one pastor we worked with who started every sentence out of his mouth, "Back at my old job..."), the communications guru and his trusty pal graphic designer guy. Look, I realize a monthly newsletter at a preschool should not have me all tied in knots, but I just can't be happy slapping down a bunch of clip-art and calling it a day. Issues. Too bad, though, because clip-art is all I've got.

Have I mentioned I'm going with a monkey theme in my room? I'm a very theme-ish gal. I must say I'm pleased with my choice. All in all, I'm much more up-beat today. Yeah, hang on because my moods swing like the wind! It also didn't hurt that the admin assistant showed up in my room with some chocolate this afternoon. Good to know she possesses mind reading skills. All good admins do!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In The Books

Well. Day 1 is done. My first day back to work in five years and the first time for my kids to be in someone else's care while I worked. It was...kind of nightmarish!!

I really did not expect to be posting bad news about our first day! I really, deep down, suspected that everything would probably be just fine. Oh, ok, it was fine. I mean, everyone survived and there were no true emergencies, but smooth it was not.

I worked long into the night on Sunday getting everything ready to go for Monday morning. I was feeling pretty proud of all of my hard work come daylight on Monday morning, despite the fact that Drew was up before 6:00. And then Drew spilled chocolate milk all over his shirt. You know, the one I laid out the night before? He also knocked Emily down and kicked her in the head (accidentally) with his shoes on. Somehow my minutes were evaporating like I had never experienced. But, we managed to make it in the car on time. I could feel my road rage creeping up as we attempted to get out of Bellevue. (I might not have mentioned this before, but Bellevue, for various reasons I won't go into here, is a complete driving quagmire.) It was about 5 minutes from leaving my house that I realized I had left my work keys at home. Good times.

We managed to be on time, and I finally got the kids' room situated with some toys. This was my responsibility. Not sure why...And then I decided to put Emily down for a nap. So, I fed her some bottle, and laid her down in a strange crib in a strange room. The walls were hung with lots of scary Jesus pictures. It would have been pretty hilarious if, say, I had been watching it on T.V. However, leaving my real, live daughter in there...notsomuch. I took the monitor with me and went back to my meeting. I could feel my emotions lurking right there on the edge. I tried to summon my old working self, who, after working with almost all men, learned to stuff it. When Emily would not go to sleep, I went back in to rock her. I could not deal. My old working self did not have a mommy's heart. She finally settled and I walked back into the room and made my staff meeting debut by blubbering like a complete idiot. It was awesome.

The rest of the day went a little better, but Emily, who is normally everyone's BFF was terrified of everyone. Thank GOODNESS for my sweet Drew. He was so brave and the babysitter said Emily stayed right by his side the whole time. It's a good thing the Lord made so clear "this was the way, walk in it" because otherwise I would've grabbed my kids and run out of there like the place was on fire.

It was an emotional day for me. When we got home I felt like I had been hit by a bus! Luckily, I've had some sleep since then, and I'm feeling much more upbeat today. It seems that Emily got into some sort of dairy product, most likely a snack left on the floor and she feels terrible. Today has been better, though, so maybe when we all head back tomorrow, it won't seem so awful. I am thinking about taking some colorful cloth to cover over Scary Jesus, though. No offense, of course.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Five O'Clock Whistle

Just as I was getting ready to write this post, I realized this will be the second post in a short time about the late afternoon. I guess it goes to show what happens to me around this time everyday.

One day, Drew and I were in the kitchen and I said, "Uh-oh, it's 5 o'clock..." Drew said, "Mommy, what's at 5 o'clock?" I told him that usually everyone starts going bananas at that time. So, he, of course, started squealing and jumping around acting bananas. A couple of days later it was five o'clock and I was just SUPER annoyed with everything. I was considering giving myself a time-out when it hit me. I needed some fun music. And that's how the 5 o'clock dance party was born.

I'll tell ya, it was a little tough to get Drew to come around to my idea. He's not exactly known for "letting loose". It took finding just the right music. I found it. Turns out the kid is a big fan of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Yep, give him a little "Bad Moon Rising" or "Traveling Band" and he is raring to go. Poppy would be so proud. Most of his dance moves look suspiciously like Superhero punches, but he's very impressed with himself. He tells me regularly that he's a better dancer than me. Wow. Don't kill the dream son, ok?

Emily loves the dance party. She's pretty much got one move that involves waving her arm back and forth, but she is faithful to do her part anytime music comes on.

It's just the mental break I need and just the energy buster Drew needs. While he's a classic rock guy for now, I'm working hard to bring him around to embracing Will Smith with me. Gettin' Jiggy Wid It...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Shock and Awe

Yesterday I took Drew to the dentist for the very first time. I know, I know. I'm around 8 months late for this visit. I have no good excuses. Oh, I have excuses, just none of them are good! Mostly I was terrified that he would go completely ballistic, and frankly, I was skeered. But, it was on my "get to it before school starts" list, so we did it.

I lucked into a fantastic pediatric dental office. And, by the way, where was the pediatric dental office when I was a kid??? I digress. They have a great website and I got all the info I needed before we even went. One thing I read on the website is that they really prefer for the kids to go back on their own, without a parent. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhttttttttttttt. Sure, I thought. We'll give that a whirl, and I promise you'll be begging me to come back with you. I didn't mention this little fact to Drew. I am learning more and more everyday about what things to prepare him for and what things to spring on him last minute. It's a delicate balance.

We got to the office, checked in, and Drew explored the waiting room. After we were there a few minutes I casually mentioned that the dentist likes for kids to go back without their mommies. "You won't go with me?" he said. "No, I don't think so." And he said, "Ok, mommy." Uh-huh. Right. I was sure the bravado would fade as soon as they called his name.

The hygenist came out, called his name, he gave me a hug and kiss, walked towards the door, turned around for another hug and kiss (yep, here we go, I thought...) and then...and THEN...he just walked right back there. I sat in my chair paralyzed with shock. And awe. And then, I almost started sobbing at the grown-up-edness of it all. Are you kidding me???? A little bit later they came to get me and sat me in the consultation room. Drew came bopping towards me with a prize bag and a balloon. Um, did I mention the sobbing???

He had a perfect check-up and when the dentist said, "Keep up the good work" I almost laughed in his face. Good work. Snort. Luck is what it is.

Add to this stellar dental visit the fact that Drew has decided he does like the shower after all, washes his hair on his own, and then declares, "I can dry off and put my pajamas on by myself," well, it's all just a bit much for old ma.

Monday, August 16, 2010

RIP, ibook

Sad. So sad. If I had music on my blog it would be playing a funeral dirge just now. The ibook is broken and we have entered the land of "costs more to replace the part than the whole thing is worth." Sad. I've been to this land many times before, but it usually involves a car.

We haven't quite figured out what to do just yet, so for now, Big Dan and I are arm wrestling for computer time. Why he would ever be brave enough to arm wrestle me is such a mystery. So, I may be a little scarce around here for a while. And pictures? Fugedaboudit. You know it will take me a solid six months to figure out how to get them loaded on a WHOLE NEW COMPUTER.

In the meantime, we are T-minus one week away from starting school. It will be a "soft start" since I will have a week and a half of training. We could definitely use your prayers! Drew is already a nervous wreck. And there is lots to be done! It's going to be crazy (crazier!) around here for a while. Add to that the fact that we have entered the late-August-slide-to-holiday-madness and you can pretty much guarantee that by the end of December I'll be propped up in a corner mumbling to myself. And maybe drooling. At least we have plenty of bibs lying around...

Friday, August 13, 2010

For the Love

Well, I made it a few days without causing significant damage to anything around here, but never fear, I've done it again. This time I have royally messed up my computer. I am utterly sick about it. Yesterday Big Dan called me up to say, "Would it help if I came home early so you could get some work done in your classroom?" A THOUSAND TIMES, YES!! So, I headed to school to work for a few hours and took my computer with me so I could have some musical accompaniment. On the return trip my giant bag was filled with books I needed to review, and my computer was on top. And then. I had to stop abruptly, and the bag fell into the floor. And then. When I turned on my computer the whole right side of the screen was, well, not quite right. As in, a big blank white space that was sort of flashing.

I have a slight attachment to my computer and I was having a slight drama-fest over it and Big Dan just started laughing at me. He did point out that I have had the computer for quite a while. WHICH IS PRECISELY THE POINT. We're tight, the iBook and I. We have chemistry. We jive. And now I've perhaps fatally wounded him.

There is a tiny glimmer of hope. Uncle Jon is a Mac genius. And what, with all his free time just now with school starting back, I'm sure he can't wait to work on my decrepit iBook. Wonder if there's any chance I made $1300 at the consignment sale??

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Food, Angst.

A few months ago I finally got around to watching the "Food, Inc." documentary. I have to hand it to the makers of this movie. It scared the pants off me. And then it ticked me off. And then I was scared again. And then ticked. I think you can see where this is going.

In case you haven't subjected yourself to this particular brand of mental/emotional torture, let me enlighten you. It is basically a discussion of the mainstream food industry in America, its' corruption and ultimately the danger to we, the consumers. Sounds relaxing, huh?

Well, not being one to only know a little about a subject (some might call it obsessive...) I promptly checked out two of Michael Pollan's books from the library. He's one of the fellows behind this movie. To say I read these books would be a slight overstatement. Skimmed is more like it. Skimmed and cursed. One of his books discusses the fact that the "organic" industry has now become more mainstream and in so doing has lost its' soul. More or less. Did I mention that I'm ticked?

Here's why I'm all wadded up over this. When you're just a plain, little ol' mom trying to raise healthy children you take for granted that you can trust certain things. Well, guess what? You can't. Not only does the mainstream media drive home the point that children today are OBESE and UNHEALTHY and this will be the first generation to DIE YOUNGER THAN THEIR PARENTS, but those on the other side are constantly driving their left-wing agenda as well. Seriously, can we leave politics out of this? I'm sure Michael Pollan is a swell guy, but I think he is just as guilty as the big food corporations. GASP! How could I say such a thing??? Well, because, he uses scare tactics to drive his agenda. Is he right about some things? Yes, very important things. But, I think he compromises his integrity by tying politics to his "cause". Not to mention how unrealistic his advice is for most normal people. And by normal I mean folks who don't make a bajillion dollars writing scary books or making scary movies. Real people who need to use coupons (or food stamps) to buy groceries. Real people who don't own goats/chickens/cows or have neighbors who do. Moms who can barely keep up with normal household chores and cannot even grow cucumbers in a container on the deck, much less feed her family with organically grown vegetables (from homemade compost, of course.)

And let's not even discuss the government's role in all this disgusting scandal. Republicans and Democrats have made super shady decisions in this area. Luckily, I lost my shine towards the government a long time ago. Nothing they choose to do or ignore really surprises me at this point. Bitter much??

So. What have I done? After talking myself down from the ledge (Again. Remember I'm the queen of self pep-talks) I decided to implement my changes slowly. I had to decide what matters most to me and make baby steps to reach my food goals. And yes, I'm aware this all points toward some sort of psychosis. I never promised sanity around here people! And, because I pretend you care, I'll share with you what I've decided.

First, it matters to me the environment animals are in when they become my food (or give my food in the case of dairy cows). Look, at the risk of sounding awful, it's not so much that I *care* about the animals. I'm not a bleeding heart about animals and I think it's perfectly appropriate to eat them and their products. But the things these animals are enduring are not NATURAL. It isn't how God intended at all. And the neglect is beginning to show and the ramifications are effecting real families. It takes some digging to find out about this aspect of your meal. As I mentioned, the organic market is a big corporation now. Luckily, there are lots of folks out there more ticked off than me, so there are an abundance of websites that rate companies according to several factors. Just as an FYI, the Whole Foods brand of milk (365) scores very well and is reasonably priced. And they make string cheese, too.

Second, I am working on becoming a high fructose corn syrup free zone. I watched another documentary (obsessed *cough*) called "King Corn" and this one I really loved. These two random guys made it and they are much more laid back in their message. I'll even forgive them for interviewing Michael Pollan! ANYWAY. The point is corn is everywhere. And perhaps the little ad campaign is right, that in moderation HFCS (handy abbreviation...) is ok. But, good luck with that, because it's in everything we eat almost. So, did I go through and throw out everything I have that contains HFCS? Nope. A) I'm cheap, and B) That's so wasteful. As things run out I replace it with something HFCS free. The choices are many these days. Companies are getting the message for sure.

Third, I'm buying local produce this summer and loving it. I would picket in a line that said, "Save the little farmers!" I've got just enough hippie blood in me to make the poster and have it ready!

Last, I'm tiptoeing slowly towards finding a local meat source. Grass fed beef, free range chickens, pigs who aren't fed other animals. You know. Wholesome. I have a good lead on a farm about 40 minutes from here. I've yet to make the trip, but it's on the (ever-growing) list.

There you have it. I would not call my self crunchy, but I'm maybe moving out of the soggy category. Baby steps. Oh, and I will never, ever give up Chik-Fil-A. So, if you know something...don't tell me!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Over the weekend I was on a retreat for my new job. Some other time I'll catch you up on how utterly bizarre it was to be on a work retreat for the first time in around 7 years. Bizarre, I say.

Today, though, I want to tell you about one of the other new teachers at the school. Her name is Cricket (a nickname that she has fully adopted as her name. So fitting) and she is 70 years old. When she told the group her age, I said, out loud "Stop it!" I would have NEVER guessed that she was 70 years old. She is beautiful!

Each new person was asked to share some of their story and her story is so amazing. I didn't ask her if I could share it with you, but I feel most certain she wouldn't mind! She's just that way. She was married to a Presbyterian minister for 41 years. Two years ago, he passed away. You should hear her talk about him. She talks about having a true knight in shining armor. But not in a way that seems to overcompensate for some other reality. She truly feels that way about him. BUT, she is not stuck in her grief. Speaking of his passing comes so naturally, and she never makes you feel like you shouldn't ask about it.

And then, she talks about the rest of her life. All the things she plans to do and all the ways she plans to serve the Lord until she takes her last breath. Just this summer she went parasailing with her 10 year old grandson. She has promised her granddaughter a hot air balloon ride as soon as she's tall enough to see over the basket. While we were down on the dock over the weekend she saw people riding on a tube behind a boat. Once we explained what was going on, she said, "Do you think if I flagged them down, they'd let me try that??" I feel certain that they would have! She is spunky and hilarious and one of the kindest souls I've ever met. And, she's hoping the Lord will call her to minister to Native Americans sometime soon!

She will be working for the first time in her life. Teaching the older toddlers at the school and she is very excited to work on teaching them the 23rd Psalm.

I am trying to figure out just how to spend as much time with her as possible. I can only hope that I will have as much passion for life and the Lord as she does when I am 70. I plan to call her to mind every time I feel tired. At 33!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

10 months!

Emily is 10 months old!! Didn't I just do one of these? Yikes!

Emily, at 10 months:

*You have lots of new tricks. The biggest one of the bunch is that you are pulling to stand! When I got home from my girls' trip, this is what I found:

We had to lower your mattress right quick, before you decided to jump out!

Your other favorite place to stand up is in the bathtub.

(This picture. I DIE!)

You are still learning to get back down. When you forget how, you give out a big ol' yell! You are still pretty scared to move your feet, but you are getting the idea that there just might be another way to get around.

*You have added clapping and dancing to your repertoire. You have a little stage fright though. If I catch you dancing and say anything about it, you laugh and then stop! You will not really perform any of your tricks for anyone else.

*You can make the sounds for a dog and a lion. And, to your credit, you think every animal (besides a lion) says "Ruff ruff", which comes out of you "unh, unh". At least you have the concept that they are animals!

*You really like Elmo. We are watching a bunch of Sesame Street because it sort of bridges the gap. It's a show that you and Drew enjoy.

*You are eating like a champ, have lots of foods that you can tolerate, and you love to drink from a straw. We are working on 10 straight weeks of no puking! Woo hoo! Dairy is our last horizon, but based on a bad call by mom and a little test, we are still a ways from conquering that one!

*It is getting more and more difficult to take your picture in the big, brown chair! Here are some shots from our photo shoot the other day:

Em, you are so easy-going! Even when you aren't feeling good, as long as you're up and about, no one would ever know. You are such a big snuggler and you love to give love. You are a major Daddy's girl! You flirt with him like none other!! Daddy and I (and Drew) love you so, so much. Your sweet self makes my day-everyday!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Happy August!

Can you believe it is August 1st?? August has been looming large in my own mind for several weeks now. For some reason, August 1 was my deadline for various and sundry projects that I felt compelled to finish. It's like I'm nesting! (NOT pregnant...) it's the weirdest thing. And the only thing I can say is that it must be the push of school coming up. I guess somewhere in my subconscious I think I'm never going to get to work around the house again. Whatever it is, I sort of hope the momentum keeps going. I'm going to need it!

I worked in my classroom for around five hours yesterday. FIVE HOURS. And you would never know it. Sigh. Much to be done, but it was a good head start. They are replacing my floors starting on Tuesday, so another week is down the tubes. I did find a giant cabinet in my room full of books! Woo! I can't wait to dig through them.

I carted off a bunch of stuff to a consignment sale today. I waited outside for an hour. Outside. Where it's sweltering. I'll let you know if it was worth it!

Got the garage door fixed. That Chad, he's a good one. I told him I knew we probably needed to replace the door, but it wasn't exactly on the short list. He said, "Hey, I understand. We'll keep this thing going as long as we can." And that's why I love him.

Big Dan has worked his guts out to help me out this weekend (Holla, Big Dan!) I am currently hiding in my room. Just to give my ears a rest. I don't think Drew has stopped talking for around 3 weeks straight!