Wednesday, August 31, 2011

being bored: a thing of the past

as I shared two posts down, I've never really been bored in my life. Like, ever. So being bored was way to foreign of a concept. For journaling purposes, I'm going to record my new life titles here:  (please note: I'm no longer bored. that lasted for like 5 minutes.)

*5-yr-old soccer team coach (please withhold your laughter. And yes, I do believe that a background in ballet will be every beneficial, thank you very much.) (ps- they had NO coach. no one to do it. so I said I would do it. You should call me a hero now. Stop laughing!).

*Librarian. Well, a volunteer in the library at my kids school for a couple hours a week. Heck, If I'm not able to get a full-time job to help pay the bills, I might as well help the librarian cover books, right?!? Karma.

*Substitute preschool teacher. This one comes with a little money! woohoo! Sammy starts preschool next week, something that I can't *actually* afford. Whoopsies. But you know, the kid is dying to go to school. He's watched his siblings go, and he wants to go. How can I refuse? So, the poor preschool director has had to endure not one, not two, but FIVE conversations with me sitting in her office, BEGGING her to call me first. Call me at midnight! Call me at 5am! CALL ME! Call me first! I want to be the perma-sub!!! I'm hoping to cover at least some of this tuition without working at the strip club. I KID, I KID. calm down.

*Student. Yes, I have to complete 30 hours of education every year to remain a homestudy social worker. I have a lot of on-line courses to take between now and January. On those unfortunate days when I'm not subbing, I'll be webinar-ing.

*Stalker. Of my boss. I'll be calling my supervisor every 5 minutes to see if the agency (social work) I contract with has work for me. For a whole 2 months, I've had no work. This is the nature of being a contract worker. But, much like the preschool director, I will annoy the crap out of my poor boss until she gives. me. ALL. THE. WORK. in the area. thankyouverymuch.

*Cook. We're on the tightest budget of all time. You know, for America. Anyway, I'm attempting to come up with creative ways to make pasta/beans-and-rice/water for 7 dinners a week. We're vegetarian most of the week. Got a good recipe (CHEAP) to share with me???

*Tutor. Good Lord, y'all. My kids come home with a ton of homework. So that's what we do every afternoon. Sammy works with play-do while the big kids do their work. I'm proud of them though... they're learning a lot and eager to work hard! Once they're done, we have lots of outside time!

*Ballet mom. Yes, I finally get to put my actually skills to work by helping out in Leah's ballet class when the teacher needs me. This is my favorite :).

Pile all that on top of the normal "housework" stuff (cleaning, laundry, packing lunches, actually taking a shower, grocery shopping, school pick up/drop off, baking cookies (this is important), and exercising), I'm no longer bored. I'm very, very blessed. Despite Zach being super busy, we've successfully handled this first tiny section of our new lives, and we're finding our grooves, as a family and as individuals. I'm proud of all of us. It's a juggle, but it's all good. I'm not worthy to live such a wonderful life. All I can offer is tons of gratitude and a humble "thank you," as well as whatever volunteer time I have left. And cookies. I offer lots of cookies.

Hope you all are having a great week... and peace out August... I hate summer heat! bring on the cold!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

auntie becca :)

Last week, I became an aunt for the first time!

My brother and his wife had a baby girl. I'm completely smitten :). There's something special about having raised my own three babies... and then getting to see a new life come into the world for my brother and sister-in-law. It's like having the best seat in the house... watching their story unfold, knowing how much they love and cherish their daughter, and knowing that while she's not my daughter or son, she's still mine. She's part of my pack... she's my beloved niece! I will do anything for her, forever and ever. I never knew that my aunts and uncles must love me this much, too. I know, that's sounds so silly for a 30-something adult to think. But if my aunts and uncles love me even a fraction of how much I already love my niece... I'm lucky!

In a few short weeks, my other brother and his wife will have their first child, a little girl! I'll have two beautiful nieces to shower with love :). I'm delighted with this new gig of mine... and my kids can't believe they have cousins now! We're celebrating around here! Hope you all have a lovely Monday!
Pete's smitten too... he LOVES babies!
My grandparents (with my brother and sis-in-law) meeting their 8th GREAT grandchild! Seriously... they have 8 GREAT grandchildren... don't they look incredible??? (um, and major props to my sis-in-law for looking perfect right after giving birth. Actually, we all secretly hate her, right??? ;-)
More adoration going on here... Leah is sooo excited to have a GIRL cousin to play with :)
finally getting Sammy to *smile* concerning the new baby... he's been de-throned as the youngest, and couldn't decide if he actually liked this baby... but apparently, he does :)



Friday, August 26, 2011

for the first time ever...

... for the first time ever,
i am...
bored.

bored? yes. My life post-academia was filled with work, and then quickly filled with kids. Leah, then 22 months later... Peter, then 20 months later... Sam. Most of the time I had all three home with me, and then the boys once Leah started Kinder. Pete, as you all have (I'm sure) figured out, is equal to 3 children in terms of his, ahem, spirit. Sam, on the other hand, is equal to about half a kid, because he's calm, sweet, wise... he's a breeze. He was just born with this super laid-back personality. Now that Pete and Leah are both in school from 8-2:30, Sam and I have been hanging out. I have no cases right now, and no real community to speak of yet (still sniffing out churches, no neighbors, etc), house is unpacked and organized, husband off at school with his head buried in cadavers for the next 4 years, and I live out in the country. I can't remember having this much time on my hands. I know, I know... this sounds like heaven to you... it sounded like heaven to me, just a few weeks ago! But now that I have it??? It's weird! Uncomfortable! Unfamiliar! I'm used to running around 1000 miles an hour. Just a few months ago I had 3 part-time jobs. With Sam still at home, no SW job would pay enough to be worth childcare for him, so I'm not going beyond contract work. My friend Alli commanded me to chill out and enjoy it... So I'll try to take that advice. And blog a lot, I guess. and clean. I should clean more. Maybe I'll write a book. Any other ideas?? I'm thinking of taking some sciences next semester at the community college here, so that i can apply to nursing school. Nursing school, you ask? Sure, why not? I love career changes (don't worry, I'm not taking this lightly... I've been thinking about it for two years now. We shall see.) Sam would seriously just sit in the back of the classroom with a coloring book. He's a good one, that sweet boy.

Speaking of Sam, he broke his foot :(. For awhile we thought it was a bad sprain... then confirmation from pediatric ortho... it's broken. Poor dude. He'll wear that little half-cast thing for 2 weeks, then should be fine! kids heal so fast!



In the meantime, I may try to bake up a bunch of my secret recipe cookies and sell them at some local fruit and veggie stands. You know, in an effort to get Americans to by cookies instead of fruits and veggies. I'm a giver!

Off to embrace the boredom... give me some ideas, people! I wish I could do some kind of work from home... hmmm.....

Happy Friday! (and happy "new auntie week" to me! My brother and his wife just had a sweet baby girl, my very first niece!!! soooo excited!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

match made it heaven

Hello internet...
how are you? seriously. How are you? let me know. I want to hear from you and support you (through writing, I guess), in whatever way I can.

We're doing well. Zach's sorta scared, I think. I don't blame him. I mean, dental school is meant to be hard, really hard. Lots of crucial information to learn, in order to serve people physically. The amount of studying and lab work he'll be doing over the next 4 years is staggering. So we're praying and hoping for stamina and energy and confidence to do this. He will work harder than he's ever worked. I will work hard here, to keep things running and keep my kids feeling loved and able to live their lives to the fullest. I want them to remember a joyful mommy, healthy meals, and a secure home. I want them to know how cherished they are and that they are not a burden, not at all. We love them deeply, and daddy is doing this to set a grand example of how to live life... by reaching for the stars and valuing friends and family and god above all else. This is the stuff of life!

Naturally, I get a little worried from time to time, thinking about the breaks I won't get or sadness the kids might feel without daddy around a lot. BUT. I'm constantly meditating over what a PRIVILEGE this is. Zach has not only been blessed with the intelligence to do this, but we also have access to loans to pay for school. No matter how hard things might get, or how hard we have to work, we still live in luxury compared to the rest of the world, and we GET to have access to this kind of education. I'm so proud of Zach and so excited for how this will allow us to serve those in need, both here and around the world. We are so, so lucky to be here, to do this.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll have days of great highs and days of great lows, as we all do. Guess what? I found this little match made it heaven that is so inspiring to me. Wilco (Jeff Tweedy is their lead dude) was a favorite band of mine in high school. And who doesn't love Mavis Staples? So apparently these two are good friends, and Jeff produced her new album and wrote a bunch of the songs. Here's an acoustic preview. This should definitely make you smile :).

happy tuesday!

Friday, August 19, 2011

holi crapoli

sorry, that's the only Italian I know.
It means "holy crap."
don't worry, not in a bad way. just in a "this week has been completely insane" way.
This week is almost over, and yes, I need a beer, plus a bottle of wine or five.

Adjusting!!! It's hard, but good. Deep down in my soul, I LOVE transition, because ultimately it means growth. My husband is overwhelmed and nervous about the semester to come, but also KNOWS he can do this and was meant to do this, and thus comes confidence in conquering this dream. Isn't that what life is about? Sure, it's hard and painful to challenge ourselves, but the sweat and tears lead to a deeper understanding of life, of relationships, of God, of what we're capable of. Adults... we can get to this acceptance point in our thought process.

MY biggest challenge at the moment is helping my daughter understand this, in a 7-year-old kind of way. Which is tough. So while Zach is being stretched academically, I'm being stretched (like a long, long rubber band) in my mothering. My sweet daughter is having a hard time. To be expected, of course. The hard part for me is the unpredictability of when exactly she'll explode (never imagined it would be in the aisle of a drug store) and what will set her off (???). Her personality is intense and deep, and she's hyper-aware of her surroundings and therefore extremely sensitive to any slight change in her life. GOOD qualities, I tell her. She is wonderfully and mysteriously made! We do need to learn different ways of coping with sadness and frustration and anger concerning our move. It's okay to feel these things, but not okay to rage and tantrum. Today, we've had a very good day. We're using some of our new coping skills and looking into new techniques. We're thankful for a new day!!!

I am, at times, disappointed in myself for not having ever-deep wells of patience and love. I'm prone getting angry if she doesn't calm down after a few warnings. I need to use different techniques myself, to help the whole situation. So, I'm learning too, adjusting, and hopefully growing into a BETTER mom. I need to improve every day. These kids deserve my best, and I fear I haven't been giving it to them. sigh. growth.

spending time in the evening light calms us all and relieves our fears...



Happy weekend everyone!
In other news, I may have just agreed to be Pete's soccer coach, even though I've never played soccer... stay tuned...


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

home sweet home

okay friends....
first of all, thanks for your encouragement regarding my last post! Zach starts school in ONE DAY so I'm trying not to freak out over here, easier said than done, but eh, there are worse things in life. Frankly, I'm glad to get him out on his own for awhile. Dude's driving me nuts (except his cooking dinner. that i will miss. I'm not so talented in that area...)!

Here's a little peak at our house. This is why we chose to live way out in the country... Space! lots of space. Sure beats the 2-bedroom married student housing that is way more expensive than our big 'ol country rental!

Dining room:

Living room (we have a big 8x10 shag area rug now, thanks to the Lowe's gift card we found is Zach's wallet... love it when that happens!):


Kitchen:


Sammy presenting his and Pete's messy room!
Leah's room:
I don't have a pic of our room yet... not much to show, just a bed and dressers crammed in a small space. But it's cozy and we love it!

We were so blessed to know about this house and to have the opportunity to call it our home for a few years at least. The kids love it and feel comfortable, which makes me happy!

tata for now... happy tuesday to you all... :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

ready. set. go.

alrighty.

sorry it's been a few days sans blogging. Phew. lots to do, stuff that is usually what happens when you move to a new town and your kids start school, all within a matter of one week. This blog won't have pictures... maybe in a few days i'll post pics of the house all moved in and set up. Would you like that? Lemme know.

for now, i present to you, my stream of consciousness.

things so far are going really, really well. i confess that i had a moment of sadness on saturday morning when i realized i felt a little lonely. it's funny, because our dear, dear friends live right up the road from us, plus their entire extended family is here, so feeling lonely is sorta lame since we've been hangin' out with them ALL the time. so i was confused by my own feelings... i had to really reflect on where the loneliness was coming from. then i realized i was grieving my old routine, not necessarily disliking my new one. you follow? basically, we've plunked ourselves into brand new communities, and i'm impatient and want it to feel all friendly and fun immediately. which is impossible. i haven't really connected with anyone at the gym or at my kids' new school, and i realized i miss those old relationships, the casual, everyday people i saw at the Y or at my daughter's old school, or at my favorite coffee shop or at our totally funky, granola, intellectual, small, quirky church. those were my people, my community. we traveled for a month and then moved here, so i haven't seen any of those regulars for 2 months now. and it just hit me... that's the past, and i can grieve that. but it's time to find my new community, my new every day normal.

well. it's about to get all kinds of REAL up in here, because Z starts school on wednesday. that's right. this wednesday. so here we go. this is REALLY happening... this dream we had, this goal we've been working so hard to reach... is upon us! so i'm embracing the present and thanking God for this blessed time in our lives. i want to focus on where i live right now, and not look back. i want to love well the people i encounter here every day. i want to be a light in this community, even if i don't quite fit in. (this doesn't mean i'm better or worse... it just means i'm not "country" if you know what i mean :). but i really do LOVE it here :). i'm praying that i can be a good mama to my babies, even if i'm feeling lonely on a particular day. i'm praying that i can be a good friend to all i encounter, even if i'm different politically or religiously or culturally. i'm praying that i relish this time of extreme budgeting and stress over money, and then laugh at my stress and trust that it'll all work out, even if i have to scrub a few extra toilets to make ends meet. i'm believing and claiming that this is where we're meant to be, no matter how hard it may get. it'll be hard to carry on with this attitude without Zach at home with me every day, but i can do this.

i do believe the universe gave me a little gift for turning my attitude around on saturday. i decided that sulking wasn't going to do any good, and that night my bff dragged my butt to a little hippie town 10 minutes down the street from our house. this little bubble of love opened my eyes to how much this area has to offer, and how there are like-minded people all around me. i just have to know where to find them :).

we will spend the next few weeks (months?) exploring churches and signing up for soccer and dance classes and packing lunches and doing laundry and counting how much loan money we have left. zach will attempt to absorb the most information he's ever been drenched with, in order to be the best doctor of dental surgery in the history of the universe. it will be thrilling and exhausting and fun.

we will love it... but i'm not sure if i'll ever be able to sincerely say "go tarheels." :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

first day of school

Yesterday we had the first day of school... Sammy insisted on being in the picture... (cute), but wouldn't look.

Then Pete refused to stand up. It was his first day of Kindergarten! He was a total champ... strutted in like he owned the place. It's easier when everyone is new to the school. Leah had a harder time. She's one of only two new kids. New town, new school, a history of anxiety = hard day for my sweet girl, which = a hard afternoon/evening for her mama (trying to calm fears, talk her down, reassure her, etc, etc). Some emotional exhaustion has settled in, but it was to be expected. Not a shock. But still hard. I know she'll do just fine!

Nothing a little fishing after school can't help...
This is what they caught. I personally think this is disgusting. GROSS. ew.
Are we officially country-bumpkins? (Is that a derogatory term? my apologies if it is. Couldn't think of a better phrase).
Well, off to pick up the big kids. Sam starts in a few weeks. Here's hoping that Leah had a better day...

Friday, August 5, 2011

home.

We made it!
Finally... sigh, there are so many quirks and hiccups involved with moving, as most of you have experienced, I'm sure. My whole body is aching from moving us in. We had the awesome help of my sisters Hannah and Annie, and Zach's "brother" Brian made the move survivable. We're finally feeling settled. Not having internet was hard for a few days... it's my way of feeling "connected" and less lonely through this transition. But, not having internet also forced me to work my booty off getting stuff done! (actually, I wish I really could work my booty off... time to stop the sugar intake!) Everything unpacked, organized, put away, hung up, etc etc... it's starting to look really good! The kids are dealing with this in their own ways... Leah is acting like a mouthy teenager and crying every 15 minutes (grrrrr), Pete is louder than ever and repeatedly throws his body against walls to burn off his nervous energy, and Sammy curls up in his bed and stares at the ceiling. Having such different reactions is hard to manage, but we've taken many unpacking breaks to snuggle on the couch. LOTS of snuggle time helps tremendously! We've also hiked on the property and done a LOT of fishing... Pete and Leah have both caught sunfish and large mouth bass (I think I'm correct here... my fish knowledge is extremely limited :).

Anyway, lots more to do here, including shopping for school supplies, but here are a couple pics of the kids enjoying breakfast on our front porch... check out that view!!!




So, here we are. About to start with school for the kids AND for Zach. I'm not gonna lie... this is pretty scary for me. I'm good with the home schedule and getting the kids all ready, but it's the unknown of how busy Zach will be. I know I can do this, but I'm hoping to keep the whole family happy, healthy, and stress-free (or at least reduced :).

Can't wait to share our journey here with you... Happy weekend!!!