Saturday, July 1, 2017


Yesterday was the last day of my contract as principal of an elementary school.  For the first time in my adult life I am officially not employed anywhere.

I have received some sort of a paycheck since I was 14 years old.  Even though I intend to earn an income in the coming months I will be self-employed.  No supervisor.  No co-workers.  No formal paycheck.  Weird.

I think what also makes it strange is that my last official day at work was not meant to be.  It was the Friday before spring break and I fully expected to come back for at least a few days after that break. So it's kind of like I got cut off mid-sentence.  I did take Isabella to school on field day and got to see everyone, but it was a quick spin around campus and it certainly wasn't work.

What's even more weird is that the back to school ads are bound to start any day now (I mean it IS July so why wouldn't they), and I will not be having a first day of school.  I mean I will start my classes again so I guess that counts but for the last 16 years (and for most of the last 30+ years) I have had a first day of school in the K-12 world and this year I will not.  Weird.

And the adjustment period continues...

Friday, June 30, 2017

Family Fun

My family takes an annual trip to the beach in June, but this year with the baby they came to visit us instead.  My out of town family rented a house on the lake.  Monday was the only day we were all together as a group and took a boat ride (turns out my husband is an excellent "driver" of boats!) and then played a game back at the lake house.  After that there were schedules to contend with:  my husband and brother's work schedules, my teenage niece and nephew's sleep schedule (noon wake up) and Isabella's nap/bedtime schedule (naps were ok out and about, but had to be home by 8 for bed and frankly she started getting cranky around 6).  So while it was a different type of vacation then we have experienced in the past it was wonderful being able to see my family without leaving town.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Adjustment Period

I was going to title this post "Identity Crisis", but that felt a bit more dramatic than how I actual feel so I went with adjustment period instead.

After 6.5 loooong years in the making I am getting to do exactly what I set out to do:  I am a mom who is blessed with the opportunity to stay at home with her child (with a general game plan for still contributing to the family finances and finish my doctorate).

The first month, despite the ups and downs of being a new mom, I was perfectly content to stay very close to home and begin to traverse this new role of being a mom and to be honest that is all I had the time and energy to focus on.  The second month, while still grappling to find my bearings as a new mom, was fraught with health issues (mine, Isabella's and J.T.'s) so again all of my time, energy and thoughts were spoken for.  However, as we have begun moving into month three, many of the health and brand new mom hiccups are subsiding and I am beginning to focus more on what lies ahead in the big rather than simply putting one foot in front of the other for the day to day stuff...and it feels...well...weird...

Adjustment #1--It's a small world after all
My world has become so very small.  For my whole adult life I have (whether I should have or not) been focused on the needs/wants/concerns of dozens (as a teacher) and hundreds (as a principal) people most of the days of the year.  These needs/wants/concerns filled most of my work days and thoughts and I needed the rest of time time to unwind from it all.

Now for the first time I am only focused on the needs/wants/concerns of two people.  Going from hundreds to two is strangely overwhelming in that I seem to have taken the energy that was once given to lots and lots of needs/wants/concerns and am now pumping that same level of energy into my tiny family.  Um, yeah, that's not going to work in the long run as both J.T. and my mom have begun to gently point out that I am essentially making mountains out of mole hills.  They are not wrong, but how do I reprogram this part of myself? 

Adjustment #2--Work/Life Balance
Since about my third year of teaching I began to try to have work/life balance.  As an educator this has always been a real challenge (ask any teacher you know and they will tell you the struggle is real!).  Over the last five years or so I have been pretty successful in working my 50 or so hour work week and then leaving it behind (for the most part) once I left campus.

Well now I have a new challenge in that my new work IS my life.  TGIF no longer means the same thing because Saturdays and Sundays strongly resemble Mondays-Fridays.  Do I get days "off"?  Though I suspect some would argue as a mom who is home I am always off, it definitely feels like the concept of "free time" is nearly a distant memory as any time I am not directly caring for my child (which is only when she is sleeping) I am working on my house, finances, health, future endeavors, etc.    This blog is one of my few personal outlets and it seems I only get to it about once a week and crank out multiple posts that have been lingering around my brain for days but I couldn't get to (though I should probably have used this time to try to sleep considering I got less than four hours of sleep last night!).

Also there is no physical boundary as I now work and live in the same space and there is no beginning or end to my workday (as evidenced by being awoken by my tiny boss every hour past midnight last night!).  I am getting 100% what I asked for, but what is a work/life balance supposed to look like when you are a mom who works/stays home?

Adjustment #3--Into the great wide open
As a teacher and even as a principal I have experienced summer breaks.  Once upon a time I used to work during my summer breaks but for about the last 10 years I have taken my summers off (be it 10 weeks as a teacher or 4 weeks as a principal), so a part of me feels like I am currently on summer break.  The catch that causes me to nearly break out in hives when I think about it?  In the past there was a return date, schedule, and game plan when my summer break ended, but now the return date/schedule/game plan for my new wage earning work life falls 100% on my shoulders and for now is almost totally wide open.

I will continue to be a full time student in the fall, so that date in August is concrete.  It has also been my plan that I would begin earning money again in August.  I have begun advertising my home child care services and have met with two moms who each need part time care come August/September. While this is a good start, it only fills 4-6 (one mom is still trying to decide whether she wants one day or two) of the 10 slots I need filled each week to hit my magic budgeting number.   I am continuing to find new ways to get the word out and it is still very early.  Also I continue to look at other sources of income (for instance online teaching), so feel confident that the magic number will somehow be reached.  However,  the fact that I do not know with certainty what I will be doing day to day come August is more than a little unnerving.  That same part of me that lets me know things are all going to work out the way they are supposed to is as confident as ever, but the tiny nagging voice that appears from time to time that asks "what if it doesn't?" seems to be a bit louder these can I make him shut up?!?!?

Some food for thought as I let the above sink in:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

2 Month Appointment

Starting with the positives:

This little girl is sleeping 5/6 hour stretches (followed by a 2/3 hour stretch) most nights of the week-yay!  J.T. will continue to do Saturday nights, but after this week the TA will no longer come to do a weekly overnight (though last night I somehow slept through her 2:30 feeding and woke up at 4:30 with equal parts panic and relief at having gotten 6 solid hours of sleep!).  She is at the 89th percentile for height, 86th for her big ole head and 78th for weight.  She got her 2 month shots (thankfully two were oral, which left "only" one injection per leg).  The doctor declared her strong and overall healthy.

I say overall because we are still dealing with eating aversions most likely due to the reflux not being completely under control.  The pedi is changing her meds to Nexium so hopefully that will lead to long term relief.  She is still eating (though mostly when drowsy) and is gaining weight, but I just can't stand her still being in pain when she eats:(.

We have also entered camp colic.  My child defies logic in that when she sleeps well at night she is more cranky during the day and when she is up more often at night she is more pleasant during the day.  Apparently when you compound this with the fact that she needs white noise and/or paci and swaddling to calm down, she is not able to "self-sooth" when there is no actual issue AND that one of her parents had colic (not it!) this all adds up to a colicky baby.  The good news is that I handle things better when there is a reason for them (even a vague one like colic-though I draw the line at the too vague "unexplained" infertility-but I digress).  The even better news is that she is likely to grow out of it by 4 months so we are in the 6 week home stretch.  The bad news is that I kept telling J.T. it wasn't colic because she doesn't cry in long stretches (rather it's lots of crying over the course of the day), so I was wrong and he was right and I could have had my reason before today...darn Dr. Google!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Return to Land of Crickets

You may recall that in September we were given a 9 month freeze from our adoption professional I have nicknamed Land of Crickets Adoption.  Take our 2 year without-a-peep-wait, multiply it by the two other couples we know who are signed up with them who are/were in an identical boat, and add to it the numerous NC couples who just seem to wait (as determined by stalking the company website), they continue to deserve this name.

We were supposed to be ready to roll with the final 6 months of our contract (for which we had to fight!) on June 1, but not surprisingly given how the spring turned out that didn't happen.  I should note that we were not the only ones to have been lagging; however, we had a good excuse.  Their only excuse in incompetence.  Below you will find an email I sent to them summarizing our interactions over the last two weeks and, as you can see by my pointed questions, they are as wonderful as ever (insert eye roll!).

Good afternoon~

My delayed response is the result of having to take time to process our interaction.  Below you will find my understanding of what has transpired over the last week and a half, the answers to the questions you posed over voicemail and a few questions we have:

1.  I updated our website on Monday, May, 29 in an effort to begin to prepare for our re-activitation in June.
2.  I received an email response from K on Tuesday, May 30, letting us know when our hold is officially removed she would review our website.  
3.  I follow up on Friday, June 2 via email having not heard anything from K.
4.  You called me on Monday, June 5 ready to accept our payment of $250 for a termination date that you understood to be June 12.  Can you help us understand why your organization would accept $250 for less than 7 days of reactivation? You noted that you would willing to take our file to the "review board".
5.  I explained that we had received notification from you in the fall that the "review board" had already granted us a 6 month extension to which you seemed to have no knowledge.  We ended the call so you could "look in to it" and I could find the documentation I knew I had.
6.  I forwarded the email that had been sent in October stating the "review board" had granted us an additional 6 months on our contract.
7.  You call back leaving a message stating you had also found this information in our file (Can you help us understand why it hadn't been there when you initially called?) and asking for our daughter's name and DOB.  Her name is Isabella Grace and her DOB is 4/13.
8.  You note that once you have our check for $250 K will be able to continue her work with us.  The check was mailed today.  Can you help us understand why $250 is needed in addition to the kajillion dollars we paid two years ago?
8.  You then send this letter for us to sign and return (which we will do by the end of the week via scanning and email).  Can you help us understand why the letter was not sent in October when the extension was granted?

Thank you in advance for helping us better understand this process.  Given the monetary, time, and emotional investment we have in your organization we are finding it critical to fully understand all of its components.

As per usual her answers were vague and trite, though interestingly she failed to respond to the question in #4.

So we are still working on finishing our updated homestudy, profile, and video.  It will be closer to July 1 that we will be ready to roll.  Which I am sure they will point out when they are unable to match us by the end of November and want to terminate our contract.

So either God has in His plans for us to have Irish twins (or whatever you call siblings even closer or in age) OR in the event they terminate the contract without a match He wants me to help others see these adoption "professionals" for who they truly are.  Stay tuned...I am as interested in finding out how this turns out as anyone!