Monday, December 31, 2012

33 Weeks, a Move, and Mobile

NEJ print by Erin that now hangs in my new room!

The very next day after completing the most stressful experience of my life (the play), I received a phone call. A phone call I've been waiting on for 2 years. The principal at Northeast Jones High School called to say he had an opening in English. They have not hired anyone in English in 4 years, so it was a complete fluke. I even waited an additional year after completing my license just in case someone might retire (I could've started teaching last school year, but I stayed at home with MC for 1 more year because I just KNEW something would open up..... but it didn't).

I have LOVED my drama kids, and I am absolutely devastated to leave them, but I know this is what God wants for my life. MaryCollis (and soon Penn) goes to school out that way, my mom teaches there, and my entire family lives out there which makes it much easier when there's an emergency. I had to think very long and hard about my options, and I didn't have much time. I got the call on Monday, had a meeting on Tuesday, and signed the papers on Wednesday.

I'll be teaching 7th grade Language Arts, which is a tested area.... So I have pretty much spent Christmas break in a state of anxiety. I've had to move my classroom from one side of the county to the other and create new lesson plans, but I've had lots of help from family and my new coworkers. I'm hoping that much like the play this will be a stressful albeit rewarding time.

My new boss invited me to the annual Christmas party, so a couple of weeks ago I squeezed into a dress and went to meet all my new coworkers. Everyone was really nice, and it eased my anxiety about moving to a new place. Later that week I had my first team meeting with the other two 7th grade LA teachers, and I felt immediate relief upon meeting them. They are both so sweet and accommodating.

We had a very productive meeting, and when I arrived to my new classroom the next day there were stacks and stacks of copies on the desk. Karen had made every single copy that I will need for the first week, and I was so overwhelmed that I started to cry right there in an empty classroom all by myself. These ladies don't have to help me at all, but they certainly don't have to go above and beyond like they have. I'm so grateful for them and everyone else who has made this transition such a smooth one.

Mom, Barbara and I went back today to finish decorating, and I think it looks pretty good!

33 weeks with MC; 33 weeks with Penn

In pregnancy news, I am now 33 weeks along. The other day Mom and Barbara were talking and they mentioned that they thought this pregnancy might last forever... since we didn't find out I was pregnant with MC until 14 weeks and we found out at 4 weeks with this one. "But it has really just flown by!" they said. "For who?" I replied. Because by my calculation I have been pregnant since June, a solid 7.5 months, and that is a very, VERY long time to do without full-strength coffee and red wine.

I am now also doing without good sleep, which is something I should get used to I suppose. It's hard to believe that my body can stretch for 7 more weeks... ooooh, but it can. This is when you go from a baby "bump" to looking like a full size blimp. I'm going to try really hard to wait as long as I can for this baby. I had a very pleasant experience with inducing last time, but I think I just want that "Oh my gosh, it's happening!" experience. Why? Who knows. Give me about 4 more weeks, and I'll probably be begging Dr. Weber to schedule an induction.

I believe it was about 36 weeks last time when I thought I can't take this anymore! I thoroughly enjoy being pregnant, and babies are much easier to take care of on the inside than on the outside, but I am ready to sleep on my stomach again and carry MaryCollis up the stairs without having to stop for breaks. Things I'm not ready for? Projectile vomit, 10 diapers a day, formula and diaper costs, bottles taking over the kitchen, and waking up 2-3 times per night. Yikes.

Speaking of MaryCollis, she has said some really funny things lately. When she's doing her "up it high, touch ya toes, now clap it hands" routine, she will say "TOUCH YOUR BROTHER!!" I've told her that's where brother is, so now instead of saying tummy she says brother. I don't even try to correct her... it's too dadgum cute. Also, we were eating at Charlie's Catfish the other night and a huge 350-pound black man walked in wearing a giant belt buckle and an oversized hat and she shouted, "Look, Mama! It's a cowboy!" Chad and I almost never stopped laughing.

We went to Mobile to see my Dad's side of the family yesterday, and she was pretty good for not having a nap. She sang "Jingle Bells" about a million times, carried Lydia's rubix cube everywhere she went, made Lamby talk on the phone and fell in love with the Little People nativity set Aunt Amy gave her.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

We didn't get out of school until December 21, so I have been on my feet in the kitchen for 4-6 hours per day since Friday. I spent Saturday preparing 15 pans of homemade cinnamon rolls. It is a nightmare but so worth it. Those canned rolls are hard to stomach after you have these little babies.

After a nice church service that morning, the rest of Sunday was spent prepping for Christmas Eve dinner: shrimp and wild rice, green bean bundles and a special spice cake with buttermilk icing. Sunday night Chad, Will, Andrew and I had Mi Casita takeout and watched a movie. They all drank wine, and I treated myself to an extra large piece of cake. :)

Christmas Eve morning I made pancakes and bacon for Will, Ash, Andrew and Chad. We talked and laughed until about 11, then everybody set out for last-minute errands.

That evening we went with Mom and Dad, as always, to the candlelight service. It was a struggle to get MaryCollis out of the house as she didn't want to wear the dress with "Santa's deer" or the pink bow that matched it. We let her pick her own bow and shoes and shot out the door. She was VERY talkative, as always, and solicited lots of "What a precious little girl"s. 

After I finished cooking the meal, we all sat down at my dining room table for the first time. Everybody got seconds and complimented the chef. Mom and Dad quickly said goodbye, and the boys retired to the den while Ash and I cleaned. Andrew found Moneyball on TV, and it turned out to be pretty good. I watched it until the end and then went to put out Santa.

I went very light on Christmas this year because I know it will be the last time for about 25 years that I'll be able to. I went to bed and slept fairly well for the first time in weeks, but I couldn't sleep past 6:45. I scooted downstairs to put on a large pot of coffee, bake the cinnamon rolls and cook the bacon before everyone arrived. Call me crazy, but there's just something peaceful about drinking your morning coffee while the rest of the house is asleep.

Chad brought MC down just as Mom, Dad, Barb and Andrew walked in the door at 8:00. We ate breakfast at the dining table (used twice now!), then MaryCollis announced that she was ready to look at the presents. She walked into the formal living room, said "new books!", then headed to the den to color the same coloring book she's been coloring since September.

We tried luring her back in ("Look! A Yo Gabba Gabba DVD!"), but it didn't work. She sat in the den coloring for an hour by herself while we opened gifts. I probably have the only child in America that doesn't care anything about Christmas. For the record, she received clothes, books, DVDs, lots of shoes, a suitcase for trips to Gamma's and an art easel. She eventually made her way to the foyer, where she posted up with a pack of post-in notes and a crayon.

I think they must stretch with them at school because all Christmas day she DEMANDED we "up it high" or "touch our toes." Chad said she's the only two-year-old that could hold an entire room of adults up without using a weapon.

"Up it high, Daddy!"

"Up it high, Gamma!"

I'm always disappointed by the lack of photos I take, so we attempted to get a family photo. It worked about as well as last time. On the first try we were looking but MC wasn't....

On the second try she asked me to "up it high" and then got distracted by the post-it note in my hand.

On the third try MaryCollis was looking but we weren't.

Then we paused to give kisses, and we never really got back to it after that. Ah well.

My dad got lots of outdoor gear that he can wear in the woods, Mom got the Downton Abbey cookbook and Barb got new oven mits (MC picked them out). I got old man pajamas, hot pink skinny jeans (that will serve as motivation until probably July), a jewelry box with some gold bangles, an old-fashioned alarm clock, a wine decanter (7 more weeks!!!), a Tiffany & Co. gift card, and my favorite gift..... a new printer! Chad got pajamas, a framed MSU print and book, Band of Brothers, the Phillip Phillips CD, a fireplace set with log holder, some really nice maroon dress socks, a couple of button-up shirts, and his favorite gift..... a Lowe's gift card. We also got money from Mom, Dad and Barbara, which is always nice.

After opening presents, I set up camp in the kitchen to prepare for lunch. I had done a lot of prep work, so it didn't take long. When it was ready, we loaded up the car and headed to Will and Ashley's. We had a great lunch then gathered in the front room, where MaryCollis commanded everyone's attention.

"Up it high, guys! Now touch ya toes! Touch ya legsss! Yayyyyy!"

She missed her nap, so she was pretty tired after leading exercise class. She laid on the floor with a coloring book and stayed there until we left.

Ashley got me Toms, and I got her Toms. Chad got Will pajama pants, and Will got Chad a gift card. Andrew gave us some nice Egyptian cotton sheets, and we gave him some nice Scotch and a Patagonia jacket. MaryCollis got a precious owl purse, and Penn got the most adorable hat you've ever seen. When the torrential rain let up, we scooted out the door and headed home to spend a very uneventful Christmas night.

This Christmas was the very first one that wasn't held at my parents' house. The first Christmas that I didn't sleep upstairs in my room and walk down to find what Santa had left (yes, we did that until last year). I was sad not to have Santa this year... not because I didn't get anything but because that meant that a tradition had died. I'm excited to start new traditions, and I love having things at my house, but despite having the same menu and the same guest list, it somehow didn't feel like Christmas at all.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

MC Update

MaryCollis is 100% little girl. I'll catch myself saying "the baby," but the sad fact is she is not a baby anymore. She is an imaginative, tenderhearted, precious angel who loves to pretend.

Watching the parade

The best photo we've gotten in over a year. MC is talking, Chad is looking away, and I look like death.

MC with Doc

She "cooks" snacks and serves us tea party style on coasters. She puts her dolls in time out. She likes to read and always starts with "once upon a time" and finishes with "the end."

Coloring with Gamma

Eating brownies in bed. She insisted on the spoon.

She has been sick this week with a mild ear infection, upper respiratory infection, etc. The first 2 days she was the SWEETEST thing... she would just lay on us and cuddle. It was great. But now she's feeling much better and is back to her wild ways!

Sick with 103 fever.

She is very tall but pretty small otherwise. All of her 2T pants are getting too short but they are huge in the waist. It's a problem I wish I had. She hasn't been measured since her 2 year checkup but I'd say she is 37 inches, and we found out when she was sick that she weighs 27 pounds.

Holding her "special rock" (soap)

I have mostly enjoyed the 2s, and it's hard to believe that in 8-9 weeks we will have to start over with a new baby! I feel so far removed from the infant days, though I know I'm not really... I don't know how in the world people with potty-trained seemingly grown children start over. Dawn, I'm talkin' to you! In some respects it's great to have the extra help that an older sibling can provide, but it must be so difficult to have to go back to diapers and bottles. I guess it doesn't matter how long it's been... it's still going to be a major adjustment!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

I survived my first play as director. Many long, hard hours of work and preparation paid off with 5 fantastic performances by my lovies. I'm so proud of them!

Ole Chaz even came to see it!

Victoria Weber, one of my seniors

Victoria and Haven

Seniors Hunter, Victoria, Karly and Haven... I'm so sad they're moving away!!

My left and right hands, Tabitha and Blake. Wow, I look huge in this photo.

We were so tired after our last performance Saturday night that I let them go home on the condition that they would return at 1PM the next day to strike the set. And they did! We had everything cleaned and put away by 2:30, then we went to Mi Casita to celebrate. Afterward I took all 40 of them to my house for Dirty Santa, homemade hot chocolate and several very intense rounds of Catchphrase.

Words can't describe how much I love this picture.

We had so much fun and laughed until it drove Chad crazy. We kept getting louder and louder, so he took off with MC and Lauren and didn't come back for 2 hours. I think laughter is the sign of a great party, don't you?

This was one of the most stressful experiences of my life (being a first-year pregnant teacher who takes classes on Saturdays didn't help), but it was so rewarding. I inherited a bank account with less than $200 in it, and while I haven't seen the final numbers I believe we now have well over $7,000. Success!


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