Monday, November 05, 2012

Coming Up for Air

Holy Moly!  I really hate that this is another "Oh, wow, life has been crazy busy post", but really, that about sums it up.  To spare us all the gory details I won't even bother trying to catch up on all that has gone on over the past several months.  Suffice it to say, everything is good and in the grand scheme of things we have no real complaints,  though I just seem to have lost any time management skills that I may have ever had.

It also seems that I brought home a very unwanted souvenir from our Alaska trip last June.  While we were out on one of our fun little outings we met with a little surprise.  You see, we were going to hike out to a glacier and all was fine and well in the beginning as we walked along a gravel covered path.  Pretty soon snow began to cover the trail, and pretty soon we were stomping though snow.  Except for Andrew, who wanted no part of it.  So, we took turns carrying him because we really wanted to keep going with everyone  Eventually we just all gave up because there was too much snow and we turned back around.  At one point my foot went down through the snow up to my knee.  While still moving forward I turned kind of funny in an attempt to keep from dropping Andrew.  And did a number on my knee

Here we are 4 months later, and I'm still gimping around in pain.  A couple of weeks ago I finally went to the doctor about it and had some x-rays taken.  The suspicion is that I have a torn meniscus.  What exactly that means, I have no idea.  I see the ortho dr later this week.

In the meantime, we are heading into my favorite time of year . . . NO, not the holidays!  Rather, the time of year when our temperatures finally get down where I like them!  Yippee!  We also have a 3 day weekend coming up and I'm looking forward to a change of scenery and getting out of town for a little day trip.  That'll give me a fun post to share with you!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

One Last Hurrah

Even though it isn't even August yet, it is still the end of summer for us.  As such, we made one last trip to California before school begins.  Ok, that's not really why we went, but the end result is the same.  We decided to make the trip because my good friend, Melanie, was going to have a big birthday, so her sweet hubby planned a surprise party for her.  Couldn't miss that!  Then, two days later, my sweet Andy Pants would be celebrating his 4th birthday.  Yes, already!  Where oh where has the time gone?

When we go to California we usually stay with Brian's parents in Anaheim.  This time was no exception.  We arranged a small family party and Andy did has part by helping his Nonnie clean the patio furniture.

Yes, doesn't everyone change into full swimming gear before cleaning outdoor furniture?

Here's my sweet friend, Melanie, at her surprise.  While the actual party didn't surprise her, she was surprised by the details and many of the people who were there, including us.  Yippee!

On Andy's birthday morning we went to Disney's California Adventure and visited the new Cars Land.  My boy was a big fan of Mater and liked Mater's Tractor Pull.  So did Brian.

Brian wasn't nearly as impressed on the caterpillar ride as Andy was.
However, the Disney Jr Stage Show was a huge hit with both of them.

We hopped across the way into Disneyland, and Andy plopped himself down right in the middle of everything to peruse the map.

This boy was so excited to get his Happy Birthday button, and so proud, but so confused when random people would wish him a happy birthday.  He couldn't understand how they knew!

Andy's huge request of the day was to "wide the wockets", which he did.

After lunch at home and a little rest time Andy's cousins, auntie, and uncle arrived and it was time for birthday cake.

These kids totally crack me up!

Brian and I rounded out the day with a date night, then in the morning we loaded up the car and came on home.  Now it's time to get back into the swing of being back to work, and Mr. Andy Pants just started preschool today!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Alaska Vacation

What a crazy couple of weeks, ok, month, it has been!  School let out on June 6th and I had a couple of days to do the things that had been on my "to do" list for a while and get us ready for vacation.  We were heading to Alaska, where Brian's sister and family lives.  We've been back in Arizona since June 24th, but between having to attend work conferences for a week and the holiday and such this is the first I've had a chance to share about our trip.

We have been to Alaska before, but the last time we were there we had just found out about Andrew.  Understandably, we were quite preoccupied while we were there and the trip was pretty much a blur, and things got even blurrier after we returned home because so many things happened so fast.  Anyhow, this trip was very different because things were much more relaxed.  We didn't do as many things, choosing instead to just relax and hang out with family.  Below you will see some of the highlights of our trip in pictures and captions.

Our view of Mt. McKinley (the tallest peak on the continent) as we prepared to land in Anchorage around midnight.

At the Alaska Zoo Andrew gave a demonstration of how snow owls fly.

Our only bear sighting was at the zoo.

Andrew and his cousin, Kaiden, hamming it up.
Just me and my sweet, though grumpy, boy.

Having fun with blue icees.  Gross.
Brian caught a 70 pound halibut.  Guess what's for dinner?

Family hike to see a glacier.

Hey, this is really fun!

All of a sudden the trail, and everything else, was covered in snow.  Some hike!


Andrew wanted to know if the water was cold, so Uncle Eric offered to help him find out.

Another day, another hike, this time to a waterfall.

This is why it is important to stay on the trail.  It's a long way down!

I have no idea why we all settled on stripes this day.

Grumpy boy hanging out in front of a beautiful background.

Us, enjoying the view.

Examining the rocks at the mine.

An old mining camp.

I guess this part is even older.

One of our three moose sightings, and no, it wasn't at the zoo.

Brian and I got to have a date night and we went on the Ghost Tour of downtown Anchorage.  This picture was taken at about 10:00 pm.

So, that about wraps up our trip.  I don't have pictures of the boys doing karaoke, our numerous "bear hunts", our trips to Costco, playing at the park, or any of the other things we did.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Pure Genius

Whether you believe in co-sleeping or not (and we don't) kids will find a way into their parent's bed.  About once a week Andy will try to weasel his way in.  While I love him dearly, nobody sleeps well when all of us, including the dog, are sharing the space.  Typically Andy will wander in sometime during the middle of the night.  Sometimes I wake up for it, sometimes not, but after he goes back to sleep Brian will take him back to bed. Lately he has been asking to sleep with us, not even wanting to go to sleep in his room.  He pulls out all the stops too.  I know that most parents deal with this issue, so we certainly aren't unique, however, I just might be a genius in how I handled it.

Last night I was heading to bed early, and he was still fighting bedtime and had taken up residence in my bed with me and Molly.  Brian was done reasoning with him and headed for his office.  I turned out the light and decided not to fight it either.  Then, amazingly enough, an absolutely brilliant idea popped into my head.  I began to purposely snore; really, super annoying loud, fake snoring.  After about 4 snores, all while trying to keep from laughing, I heard Andy get out of bed and stomp out of my bedroom.  I heard him stop in the office to complain to Brian about my snoring, then off to bed he went, and where he stayed for the rest of the night.

See?  Pure genius!  So, if you, too, suffer from an over-crowded bed, you may want to give this a try.  You just might thank me in the morning!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Minefield

Mother's Day used to be so very simple; but that was a long time ago.  For a few years it was just plain hard.  Now, it is wonderful, though a little complicated.  Let me explain.

Up until I got married Mother's Day was quite straightforward, and I never gave it much thought.  Of course, I thought of my own mom and grandmothers.  I'd spend time with my mom and there was always a thoughtfully chosen card and gift.  It was all very simple then, and I never would have imagined that such a holiday could become complicated.

A year after we were married Mother's Day started to get hard.  Really hard.  We still had our mothers and grandmothers to honor and celebrate, but there was sadness and feeling sorry for myself because I wasn't yet a mother.  In addition to feeling sad and sorry, I also felt really selfish for pouting about it when, in fact, I still had my mom.  Each year Mother's Day became more difficult.  Partly this was because each year I had hope that by the next year I would surely be a mother.  But, it never worked out.  One particularly difficult year I was finally pregnant as Mother's Day approached.  Believe me, there was lots of celebrating going on!  We flew my grandmother out for a visit, my brother and niece were coming out, and we were planning a big Mother's Day party at our house.  Days before Mother's Day I had surgery for a missed miscarriage.  And the houseguests and party still went on.

2009 brought genuine happiness as I was able to finally celebrate my first Mother's Day.  But that is when it started to get complicated.  Frankly, it still is a bit complicated, and I suspect it may always be so.  We are still fortunate to be able to celebrate and honor our own mother's, and now I have my sweet boy who got me into the club.  Here's where it starts to get complicated, and it's for a number of reasons.  I still have so many friends waiting to become mothers, who struggle with the hope that it will ever happen.  My heart remembers this time, and I feel their pain.  It's complicated because I also think of Andrew's birth mother.  My greatest joy is also a loss for her.  She is so happy that she was able to bring us such joy and happiness, but I suspect there is likely some sadness there as well.  My heart also aches for those who have lost their babies far too soon.  This must be the most difficult day of the year for them, as if each day isn't already the most difficult.

So this is why Mother's Day feels like a minefield to me.  I'm so blissfully happy to be part of the club; but truly, not a day goes by that I'm not blissfully happy to be Andrew's mom, so I guess I don't really need a special holiday for it.  I think of  my friends still waiting, and of those who have had their babies taken from them too soon, and I don't want to cause any of them more pain.  I remember what it is like to feel left behind.  It's a feeling that will never leave me and that I will never forget.  But it all makes me hug and kiss and cuddle on my boy even more.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Love, Hope and Faith Lives!

I truly didn't intend to take an extended absence, but I also didn't intend to be completely overwhelmed by school and my new mentor position. I won't even attempt to catch everybody up on what has been going on. Well, not that anyone even comes around these parts anymore!

Instead, I'll start with last week.

Last week was Infertility Awareness Week. In my typical fashion, I managed to find a unique way to observe the week. I had surgery that permanently ended what little fertility I may have still had. See? Unique. And not elective, I might add.

The only bright side has been having two weeks off of work to recover, and I have about a week to go. Since I am completely incapable of just sitting around and doing nothing, I've had grand ideas of things I would accomplish. And since I'm being totally honest, I haven't accomplished anything. Well, except for updating this blog a little bit.

OK, so now that the initial dusting off of this blog has been tackled, I'll be back with more later!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Open Adoption Ponderings

In about a week we will be celebrating my favorite holiday of the year, Family Day. If you've been reading my blog for a while then you might remember that this is my own little made up holiday that marks the date in 2008 that Andrew's adoption was finalized. We celebrate by doing something together, and having a special cake, of course!

So here is my dilemma: Andy still doesn't have any idea that he was adopted, or at least he doesn't realize that he might have a clue. We sure haven't had any formal discussions with him. I mean, he sees pictures of his birth mom and him in the hospital, and of the two of them during visits, and we use her name, but he doesn't understand who she is. Actually, he doesn't have a clue that babies come from mommies. He's never spent any time around anyone pregnant, and if he has he hasn't noticed.

I guess I haven't gotten to the worry part yet. I'm worried that by the time Andy does begin to wonder about things it will be really upsetting to him. I've always wanted his knowledge about his adoption to be seemless and just something that he has always known, and not something that he just finds out one day. On the other hand, I don't want to give him too much information too soon either.

Maybe this year for Family Day I should break out a story book about adoption that we have. Any other ideas?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Heaven Help Me

One quarter down, three to go. It isn't with happiness that I say this, but rather dread. It's been a helluva time, these last 9 weeks. What it comes down to is that I simply don't enjoy working 12 hours each school day, plus going in on the weekends. This really isn't how I want to live my life. It isn't good for me or for my family. I can't even say that the money is worth it, because it really isn't. Teacher salaries in Arizona are particularly pathetic.

Let me share a bit of the back story. Last spring I decided to apply for an additional position at my school as a mentor teacher. Well, I got it, however, it came with a grade level change, up to fourth grade. That change did not make me happy, in fact, it caused many tears. However, I felt backed in to a corner so I went along with it. Let's just say that now I have an even clearer idea of why nobody ever wants to work with this particular team.

My stresses this last quarter have come not from my new position as a mentor teacher, but from having to be a 4th grade teacher. Learning a new curriculum takes tons of time. I'm chronically short on time. Learning to deal with a new team, or at least this new team, is a royal pain in my ass and I feel my blood pressure rise each time one team member begins to speak.

I've clearly made it know to my principal that it was really lousy, and totally mean, to give a new grade level assignment on top of the mentor job responsibilities. In response she tells me that I'm doing a great job. Well, that doesn't make it any easier or better, and in fact, tells me that I need to do a crappier job so that I won't have to do this again next year!

So, now that I'm well into the second week of fall break I feel like I can finally begin to think about what to do. First of all, I need to set some time limits here. I cannot continue to work 12 hour days plus at least a full day on the weekend. I'm going just need to leave school at 4:30 four days a week. No more staying until 5:50 and then dragging work home. There will be lots of things that likely just won't get done this quarter. At this point I'm ok with that.

I've also decided to go back on my anti-anxiety medication. I went off of it during the summer, and hoped to be able to keep things in check with physical exercise and relaxation exercises. Sadly, this just hasn't happened on it's own, and I haven't been able to make it happen. So, though it doesn't make me happy, I think the best thing is that I go back on it. I'm so wound up that I am incapable of relaxing. I can always go off of it next summer and hope that next school year I'm in a better situation. Hey, maybe once the medication kicks in I just won't care about all that doesn't get done!

In the meantime I'm going to try to enjoy my last days of of fall break. I'm taking Andy today to get his picture taken in his Halloween costume!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

Yup, that would be me! Only I do know when I'll be back, and that will be Tuesday evening. Until then, Brian and Andy will be on their own, with some help from Brian's dad, who is visiting for a few days.

Wish them luck, and I'll share more when I return from my super secret mission!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's Only Been a Week . . .

But, it's been a long week! The level of overwhelmedness (I know, not even a word, but it fits) I'm experiencing right now is even more than I experienced when I returned to teaching when Andy was 8 weeks old.
The trouble is that I was assigned to a new grade level, including a new classroom, this year. So, I'm in fourth grade now and wouldn't you know that in all the years that I've been teaching, including student teaching and all of my field work, I've never actually been in a fourth grade classroom. I guess on it's own this would be tolerable.
However, I also have a new position this year as a mentor teacher for fourth and fifth grade. This past summer I attended two different three day conferences and a couple of meetings, plus my school year started early. On it's own this new position would be pretty tolerable too.
Then there is the matter of having a new team to learn to work with. Part of the problem here is that the other two team members are incapable of working together. They pretty much admit it, too. So now I am the Switzerland of fourth grade. I suppose that on it's own this would be pretty tolerable as well.
What's the trouble then? Well, it has all come together like the Perfect Storm. I'm beyond busy and truly didn't know it was possible to be this far behind after only the first week of school. A lot of what I need to do involves just having time to sit down and process things. Hasn't happened, despite my best efforts.
We'll see how things go this week. I will be out of my classroom on Monday and Friday due to my new mentoring position so I've spent the weekend working on my sub folder and sub plans. Good times. Then, I'll have a sub the following Monday and Tuesday because I'm heading out of town on Saturday to handle a family situation.
Don't worry, there are a couple of bright spots. For one, I have an excellent class. I was fortunate to loop up with about 18 of my students from last year. Also, Brian has really stepped up and has been doing the majority of the cooking and laundry.
So, um, meet me back here on Friday when I've got a cold drink in my hand and we'll see how things went!