Saturday, February 14, 2015

2 1/2 Years

I stopped documenting the last months of my pregnancy with Ella (Baby E was named Ella), but I was busy finishing up school before going on maternity leave. The beginning of 2012 - after 12 weeks of coughing and being sick - put me on 'house rest' due to fears I would develop pneumonia. I didn't, but I had to stop volunteering at the kindergarten and didn't get to walk or exercise outside for a while. Anya continued to develop and grow as only toddlers can. At 37 weeks she ran towards a busy street and I ran (through the snow) towards the road to catch her; I did and I started having mild back contractions which stopped after 24 hours. Baby E was scheduled for a c-section March 26th, the first day of Kevin's spring break. Ella's delivery went well. We had to wait an extra 45 minutes to get my blood in the hospital. I have an antibody present in my blood that makes it necessary that I get blood that will not activate the antibody. I had heartburn because I had not eaten since 10 pm the night before, so the C-section medications made me a little whoozy this time around, with a little tilting of the table I was settled and the surgery went very well with Ella delivered and sent to the nursery for immediate food as her blood sugar was a little low. Kevin went with Ella. I, meanwhile, was dealing with being all cleaned up and stitched up. My previous c-section left a lot of scar tissue that bled a lot and about the time I started feeling much colder and sleepy my doctor did call to make sure the blood was available. I kept myself conscious and was all stitched up and sent out to recovery. I was fine, and am fine, but it was a little scary. Anya took to being a big sister with joy and love. I had to ask for a hug for mommy since all she wanted to do was hold her little sister. Baby E was named Ella (and a few other names) after my grandmothers and Kevin's Aunt. She was (and is) a total cutie pie and has her own distinct personality. After getting email access to talk to the court about Jury Duty (I was excused due to c-section and nursing), Kevin and I got notice from our landlord that she needed to move back in. Early. We went from having a baby to needing to find a new place to live in the course of 7 days. After much discussion and a talk with our bank we decided to look into buying a house. Kevin's job has always been fluctuating so before we decided to purchase we chose to talk with the school district; especially as there were theatre jobs available for Kevin to apply to if he wouldn't have one for the next year. He was told he did and would actually be adding a full class into his schedule so -- off we went house hunting. We found one and our offer was accepted. And then the rug came out from under us. 5 days before the school year ended Kevin was told he would only have a half-time position. We were three weeks from closing on our house. We pulled out and Kevin started trying to find a new job, which was fruitless. We ended up moving in with Kevin's parents. Thank goodness for family. We are, 3 years later, still here. Hopefully, not for much longer as we would rather be financially independent. The last 2 and a half years have been very hard emotionally and financially. There is nothing harder than being financially independent, with a family, income, and a home and having that taken from you in a heartbeat. It is humbling and difficult to find yourself in a situation where medicaid and foodstamps are necessary, and it really makes you appreciate the smaller things in life. We are lucky, we had some family to fall back on, but for all intensive purposes we were homeless and jobless for a year while I was finishing up my master's degree. I finished, I have a job at a school that I have been with for two years. Kevin and I have switched roles a lot and it has made both of us appreciate what the other has done; we have walked in each other's shoes so to speak. Despite having all of these multiple difficulties thrown at us we are stronger as a team than we are separate and though we have fought, disagreed and cried...our marriage is stronger. I love Kevin more now than I did before and I lean on him, and he on me, more than we ever did before. Kevin went back to school and now holds a degree in Marketing. He is still job hunting - the lovely catch 22 in our economy. "You need more experience." - and yet the only way to get more experience is to be hired somewhere. I'm hopeful that will happen soon and we can get our independence back on track. Anya is in Kindergarten and is a bright sunny child with 4 missing teeth (yeah Tooth Fairy!). Ella is a very precocious and stubborn 3 year old. Kevin is a stay at home dad who has a radio show, plays roller hockey on the weekends, has lost 11 pounds on Herbalife (and is now selling Herbalife). I've lost weight from walking and working out and, yes, Herbalife. Slowly, slowly (at a SNAIL's pace), our life is getting into order and I can only hope the next few months will continue to have positive effects on our lives. Sorry for not writing, but sometimes you need the time and space to process all that is happening around you and shame and fear makes you not speak of what you are going through. Dont' be afraid. You are not alone.

Friday, January 20, 2012

So not my year...

I am really hoping that 2012 will decide to play nice sometime soon. At least as far as my health is concerned. In the last 4.5 weeks I have gotten bronchitis, pink eye, a sinus infection, and now am dealing with my daughter who has Fifth Disease. Fifth Disease, for those of you who don't know, is a very mild illness and most people get it. It is a slight fever (if any) and some diarrhea and then a very red "Slap face" rash on face and a lacy or marbled rash on upper body and upper legs. That's it. By the time you notice the rash and realize something might be going on the child (or you) is already past the contagious stage and is on the mend. Thing is -- it is a slight risk for pregnant women. So most pregnant women who are exposed to a child with Fifth Disease get to go in for a blood test (like we don't get enough of those already!!) and see if we have the antibodies. Since 80-90 percent of adults have the antibodies it should be a moot point for me. Here's hoping because I do not want to deal with being under a microscope the rest of my pregnancy because of this. I have things to do! =)

I'm 30 weeks pregnant (whoohoo 7.5 months!), I have 6 more weeks of my masters course in teaching math and science before a blissful 5 month break. So excited about the break. I'm trying desperately to figure out if daycare or a nanny would work better for our newest arrival when I have to go back to school in the fall. I'm almost convinced that I'll do the daycare route and keep the girls at the same location. It just feels like it would be easier than writing separate checks - but I'll see what Kevin (my hubby) says.

So far my tally is 10 for people asking me how far along I am and then asking A) "Are you sure?" B) "Are you having twins?" or C) "Wow, you are really big." -- Funny thing is, I haven't gained nearly the amount of weight that I did with my first daughter. I gained nearly 70 lbs (68.5) with my first daughter. So far I've only gained 30 with this one, and I only have 10 weeks (max) to go. But let's face it - I'm SHORT! There is only so much space for this kid vertically; she has to stick out to have room and that is just the way it is. She is also a big baby - both of mine are. So, if a short woman is having a big baby and a tall woman is having a smaller baby you'd definitely see a difference in their belly-size. And yet people still feel the need to comment, ask, and give inappropriately rude pregnancy advice. Yeah - at least total strangers aren't touching my belly this time. Yet.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


So, I know it has been quite a while....since September I believe, since I have written. Sorry, about that; life just got hectic and in the way. To update I am a full-time Masters student, full-time mom, full-time wife, and very crafty I'm insanely busy. Always.

My husband and I just found out yesterday that we are expecting a baby Girl! Girl number 2! We're very excited, and somewhat surprised since this pregnancy went so differently from our first -- we kind of thought "different pregnancy maybe equals different sex" nope! Just a different, unique, healthy (thank goodness HEALTHY) baby girl. We are thrilled, and we are keeping the name a secret from all of our pressuring family members.

One of the great things about having a second child is using the cute items you had from the first pregnancy that you didn't get a chance to fully appreciate the first time around. Like slings, side-along co-sleepers, nursing tops, and cute outfits!

I do have to say that I have one "I wish I had thought about this the first time around..." item. Strollers. I really wish that I had thought "hmmm, we are planning on having a second child and fairly soon...maybe we should look into a double stroller or a stroller that has a bench in the back (a sit and stand type) so that we can walk with both kids" that we are having our second I am in the situation where I will have a two, almost three, year old who won't want to physically walk as far as I would like to walk and an infant who will need to be pushed in a stroller...which means that I really need a different stroller combination - I cannot push TWO strollers at once -- which means we need to buy a new stroller. Gah! And it isn't as if strollers are cheap! Especially ones that allow for two children.

After much research (much, much research) and asking around I am going to go with the Joovy Caboose Stroller. It is like the sit-and-stand brand strollers in that there is a seat in the front and a bench to stand or sit on (with handles) in the back. HOWEVER, what really sold me is that I can attach the bucket car seat so that the infant faces me and put my older child in the front facing the world and ALL of the padding is removable and WASHABLE! I didn't think of that the first time around...yeah, all of those fun padded strollers have very difficult to wash seats. With this one I can buy (fairly cheaply) replacement seat covers (padded) and all of them are machine washable. What a wonderful concept!! The stroller also has a lot of accessories like UV shades, wind/rain shades, umbrellas for the bench seat....etc. I like the variety and that accessories that often break, tear, need to be washed, get lost, etc are replaceable at any time. It isn't the cheapest stroller (it runs about 300-350), but it isn't the most expensive stroller either (Phil and Ted double jogger - with all the attachments - runs around 900-1000). It has very good ratings, and the tires are rated as one of the best for mobility and traction.

You think maybe some kid companies should offer to let me test and try their stuff? Because I have a lot of cool baby items that I have mentioned over the last couple of years! This is one of them!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Toronto and home to....a broken sewer pipe???

Yes, it has been a couple weeks since I posted. I am, however, doing remarkably better on keeping up to date than I have been in the last 6 months. So bear with me! =) I'm taking advantage of my daughter playing alone in her room to write a little blog post; especially since I have had requests. Traveling with a two year old is not NEARLY as much fun as traveling with a 4 month old who just wants to be fed, played with a little, and who then goes back to sleep. Two year olds want to run everywhere, touch everything, and say hello to everyone! Luckily we didn't have to spend a ton of time in airports. She did FABULOUSLY on the airplane though. She fell asleep before take-off and woke up 10 minutes before we landed. She loved the bumps and kept going 'wee' and giggling. The flight home wasn't as coordinated but she still did very well-- that is until the couple in front of us (traveling with a 7 week old) started nursing and their child's foot came through the seat and my daughter just wanted to touch it and say hi to the baby... the couple wasn't thrilled about it and requested that 'our daughter not touch, bounce, or bother them so that their child could get a proper latch and nurse properly'...

Now, those of you who have read my blog on traveling know that I travelled A LOT with my daughter when she was still nursing. Mind you, I didn't get on a plane with her until she and I were pretty competent about nursing. This couple and their child hadn't gotten it down yet and were still very nervous about nursing in public. I understood their request for my daughter, but I wish that they had been more aware of the fact that their child's foot was sticking back into our seat and making it very difficult for her to NOT touch it. I also hope, for their sake, that they get used to nursing in public because if you can't relax enough to 'let down' the nursing isn't going to be very successful anyway.

When we returned home we had a few days of down time, friends came for dinner, and then on Tuesday we had the 2nd sewer back up into our house. This is the 2nd time in 3 weeks; so there were calls to the landlady, calls to the plumber, and one dug up street and SEVERELY broken sewer pipe later we can now do laundry, take showers, and flush the toilet without worrying about having sewage all over the floor. Downside is that we are still waiting to get our carpets professionally cleaned out of all the gunk so as not to create a mold-friendly environment. If our landlady doesn't figure it out soon I will be crashing in Denver with Anya until it is resolved.

As far as pregnancy goes I'm just about 11 weeks, and thrilled to be almost out of the first trimester. I'm still queasy on a fairly regular basis, but I haven't puked since the airport. Food is still sometimes not my friend, but at other times is perfectly acceptable.

weight - According to the Dr scale I've gained about 3-4 lbs (I usually lose/gain 1-3 lbs daily anyway, so this isn't too bad all in all.

cravings - None really. Chinese sounds good most of the time, and fresh fruit and vegetables sound good all of the time (except bell peppers).

stuff that makes me queazy - Pirate Booty, Red Bell peppers, bell peppers, too much acidic food.

clothes - Mostly still fitting into all of my shirts (except a couple) and starting to not fit into all of my pants. I'm now in the button with a rubberband stage.

energy - I am a little more tired, but not incredibly so. Today I am because I think I am coming down with a cold -- that or our carpet is molding already and I'm getting sick from that.

DUE DATE -- We are OFFICIALLY due April 1st (no, not kidding/fooling), but since it is very likely that this child will also be a C-section we will probably be welcoming our bundle in late March instead.

Boy/Girl -- as we are only almost 3 months we do not know. We will find out the sex, but we won't be telling the name. Haha!

Baby E - boy or girl

Have a lovely update. If you didn't want to know...don't read it! =)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

the "blehs"

So, I am truly trying to keep up with blogging this time around so there is some documentation of this pregnancy, as well as allowing certain friends to live vicariously through me. =-) They know who they are. I'm fairly frustrated because I keep hoping I will feel well enough to exercise and I keep feeling icky just about the time my daughter heads for a nap when I would have the TIME to do the extra workout (other than walking which I do at least once a day). I also have to finish up some homework and frankly just feel 'bleh' every time I think about it. Perhaps that is my inner-self just not wanting to do it, but still it NEEDS to be done. Bleh. =)

A related 'bleh' is that, at 8 and a half weeks (we think, ultrasound is Monday) I'm already starting to show. Now, I have heard that the second pregnancy results in an earlier 'pop' and I can say that is true; at least for me. Food is so weird. One day spaghetti just sounds great and I'll eat a ton of it. The next day I can't stand the sight of the leftovers. So far it has just been a merry-go-round like that. I really, REALLY wanted roasted chicken the other night, so we had it for dinner and I couldn't stand the sight or smell the next day. So. Much. Fun. NOT! Leftovers, it seems, are not destined to be in my future.

I'm borrowing from my friend Brittany, pregnancy symptoms:

weight - oh who knows. I don't own a scale and frankly I don't want to know.

cravings - um, let's not talk about food right now okay?

stuff that makes me queazy - see above, and this lovely heat wave we are having. Yeah, that makes me feel awesome.

clothes - are feeling a little tight and some of the pants and shirts have been relegated to the top shelf storage container. Otherwise I am in my early maternity and mostly still fitting (aka larger) pants.

energy - I'm a little more tired, but nothing extreme. I still have energy to go on walks, play catch with my daughter (fetch is more like it) and chase cats out of my yard.

Have a lovely update. If you didn't want to know...don't read it! =)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Oops we did it again!"

Okay, so it wasn't really an "oops", we planned it, but we ARE still having another baby. Hooray, baby number 2, Baby E, will be arriving sometime in late March or early April of 2012. And this begins what I hope will be a continuing blog of my pregnancy with Baby E, as well as motherhood with a toddler, a new job for my husband, a move across town, and finishing up my masters program. Yep, I'm a busy girl! Although, many have just said I'm flat out crazy.

So, let's play a little catch-up to my scattered life as I haven't posted in a while. Since I left off my husband had lost his job with one school district and after applying to many other jobs (some in his degree field and some not) he has landed another theatre teaching position in the same town, but farther East and farther North. HOORAY JOB!!! This, however, necessitated a move across town in the middle of the summer. We are now renting a 3 bedroom house with a backyard (HOORAH!!!) and a garage. We have been enjoying living in a bit more space and allowing our daughter (who is now 2, what a scary scary thought) out into the backyard. We're hoping that next year we might actually have grass in the yard, but she seems to be enjoying the mud all the same.

Our daughter, now two, is making us wish quite often that we had t-shirts that said "she's two. get off my back" so that when she starts throwing a tantrum in public we wouldn't have to endure the glares, condescending glances, and unwanted advice. Oh, you didn't think the unwanted advice ended when the baby was born did you?? Oh no! Definitely not! Potty training is moving right along, but it still isn't fast enough for me. Still, she runs over to the potty when she has to go....the problem is sometimes she 'goes' just so she can play in the bathroom. Binky removal is also in the works....we should have gotten rid of it at 9 months, now it is a HUGE comfort item and although she has been sleeping at night without it, we can't get her to calm down for naps without it. Very frustrating.

So, the move happened right about the time we were planning our next little bundle of joy and, just like last time, we got lucky on the first try. This time, however, I am actually having pregnancy symptoms; unlike last time when I felt great, but tired, the whole way through the pregnancy. Nope. This time food is NOT my friend and I have been having a much more 'gaggy' feeling first trimester. My "favorite" moment (so far) was when my daughter came up with her hands covered in Pirate Booty, a yummy cheeto alternative, grabbed my glass of juice and took a sip. When I later took a sip all I could smell was booty and well....the rest follows. So, food isn't my friend this time around. Maybe that means I won't gain so much weight??? We'll see.

So far I am 7-8 weeks in and I haven't gained any weight. I can still wear all of my pre-pregnancy clothes, although some of the 'tighter' ones make my stomach feel a little queasy. My WONDERFUL friend sent me all of her maternity clothes (plus all of mine that I had sent her) and so I do not feel as if I need to do much, if any, maternity wear shopping. Yeah! My daughter has kind of gotten the idea that mommy is having a baby, but she hasn't quite gotten the idea that she needs to stop jumping on me. Anyone have an older brother she can borrow for a while to jump on and tackle??

I think I might post my 10 moving tips for moving (in general) and moving with children. I think we have now moved 6 times in 5 years. Yeah. And I no longer wonder why people think I'm military.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President, First Lady Obama, and other Administrators of Public Education in America,

I recently sent an e-mail message to the White House, but I found it hard to say everything I wanted to say in 2500 characters, so I am also writing a letter. My husband is an educator in the public school system in America. I am an aspiring educator, and we are both facing some of the most difficult and trying times in American Education. I have wanted to write this letter for a long time, and I have finally gotten the courage to do so. I am scared for the education of this country. I do not see the long term benefits of so many educational cuts. Especially since it means more of the Nation’s educators and students are going to be the ones suffering.

Budget cuts from the Federal and State Government levels come in the form of shortened school years, shortened school days, teacher cuts, teacher salary cuts, administrative support staff cuts, larger classroom sizes, academic program cuts, and others. I hear all the time from people who have NEVER taught in a classroom that teachers make too much money as it is. That they have summers off so, they shouldn’t complain about a smaller salary. That they are basically glorified babysitters and don’t do their jobs of educating our children.

Education in America has changed, and is facing more changes in the future. The knowledge that teachers are required and obligated to impart to students has changed and grown in scope and capacity. It is no longer the reading, writing, and arithmetic era. Now teachers are expected to teach empathy and good citizenship as well as subjects like math, writing, reading, science, social studies, politics, and history. Many teachers also face the challenge alone, without the support of the parents or community, and sometimes with little support from an administration; all the while dealing with accusations of inadequacy. Is it any surprise that teachers are disheartened after only a few years of teaching and give up what, to them, may seem an impossible task?

How can teachers teach without being allowed all the tools necessary? Standardized testing should be one measure of how a student is doing, but it shouldn’t be the only one. What happened to observing a student’s progressive growth as a way of measuring if they are learning? What happened to allowing teachers to teach in this country? Standardizing curricula across the country so that students of the same grade level are learning the same things is a good idea. Standardizing curricula to the point where you are telling every teacher what to teach at what time and how they should be teaching it is making the teachers into slot machines of verbal knowledge. There is very little wiggle room for differentiated instruction in this method, but it is expected of the teachers. There is little wiggle room for teachers to bring in art, music, or any other ‘out of the box’ methods that help to engage their students, but engagement is expected. Again, how can teachers teach without being allowed to use the tools and methods necessary to reach this new population of students?

Some people have suggested running schools like businesses. Maybe you’ve heard of this idea too. Have you heard of the Blueberry concept? The idea is this, if a business makes blueberry muffins they are going to try to find the best blueberries they can to use in their muffins. Students are like the blueberries, except that educators have to teach every one of them, whether they are perfect or not, and at the end of the day the product is not something we can sell for profit. Educators product are the students that graduate, and hopefully are educated, well-rounded, citizens. This (shortened) story I just mentioned is not my own; it was told to me by my mother in law, who received a blueberry muffin one day with the story on a note.

Obesity is a growing problem in the United States, and so I can understand why there might be many arguments against what I am about to propose. Extra-curricular athletic programs cost a lot of money, and a good way for school districts and states to save money to be better able to educate the students would be to cut the athletic programs. Most other countries in the world do not offer sports as part of the public education package. Colorado’s budget has projected a cut of 300 million dollars. District athletic programs usually run about 200-300 million dollars; for each district. If every district across the nation either cut money from the athletic budget or cut the athletic programs altogether there would be some money left to save teachers jobs. There would be money left over for building maintenance and for improving technology in schools. There would be money to help keep some of the academic programs. After all, education is why students are in school; not athletics. It would be a very unpopular idea. In the words of my professor, “those are fighting words,” I don’t care. I will say it. I would rather have my children have a great education and pay for them to be in athletic programs of their choice.

I did not go into the field of education to make a lot of money. No teacher does. Some go to teach for a few years so that they will qualify to be a school administrator, who does make more money, but most teachers go into education because they feel they need to. I wanted to go into education to reach out to a new generation and show them the wonderful world that education can open up to them. I especially wanted this for my own children. Now I am afraid that by the time I finish school there will not be a job for me, or if there is I will be teaching an elementary classroom with 50-60 kids crammed into a room meant to hold no more than 30. I am worried that my husband, who teaches high school Theatre and English, will not have a job in the near future because of proposed cuts. I worry that I will not be able to provide for my daughter the education that both my husband and I were able to enjoy.

I hope that this letter is read, but I do not expect it will be. I wanted a chance for my voice to be heard, and the only way to do that is to write and hope that someone will read it and understand where I am coming from; even if they don’t agree. I would love a response, but again I do not expect that I will get one. I suspect this letter will get lost in the millions of letters that reach the White House every day, and read by someone opening mail to check for security threats. Still, on the slim chance that it will be read I will send the letter; it will make me feel better to have at least spoken out.

Thank you for listening to my concerns and opinions. I hope, if nothing else that this will allow a glimpse into the life of struggling educators.