Thursday, June 26, 2008

Our Anniversary

As of this week, we have lived in Elk Grove for one year. We moved last year, right after our daughter's first birthday, from San Jose for work. We could have waited a little longer in the Bay Area, but we were tired of paying a crazy-high rent and we wanted some time before school to get used to our new home.

We had lived in the South Bay for almost ten years, which was really accidental. One day, in January, my husband turned to me and said, "Why are we doing this? Let's move." We would not be able to afford a house there, we weren't sure we'd even want to own in San Jose, and he was in a dead-end job.

So, we picked up and moved to Elk Grove. We chose this area because it was in between both of our parents (mine are still in the bay and his are in Redding), it was close to universities, and it is a rather diverse and interesting place.

This year has had its ups and downs. The transition to high school was little more difficult than I expected and it was impossible for my husband to find work this fall. Eventually, I got used to the high schoolers (or, rather, they got used to me) and my husband starting subbing. We both got into grad school, I held on to my teaching job by my chiny-chin-chin, and today we found out we are approved to move into a house.

Yes, it's a rental. But, still, it's a house. I have lived in apartments for the last decade, and I'm done. Yes, I will miss the complex pool and gym, but I will NOT miss the elephant people who live above me or their stupid cigarette butts raining down on our patio. Yick.

We move this weekend, which I am not thrilled about. But I am excited about having a bigger place, and a garage, and buying a fridge, and all those grown-up things.It's all very exciting.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Em's 2nd Birthday

We celebrated Em's birthday this weekend at a local park. It was rather hot, but we had a nice time. A ton of family came to celebrate with us, and Em even had friends come from her daycare. The party was Dora-themed and Em was so excited about it. She immediately spotted the big Dora balloon and shouted, "Dora, Dora, Dora!" It was adorable.

We had a great time, but it was great to finally get back to the house and the air conditioning. Justin and I put Em to bed at 8:30 and we were down not much later. We were pooped, but happy!

"B" is for b...bum!

Being a mom is typically a very cool, special position to be in. However, there are some indignities associated with motherhood, such as
1. Random medical professionals checking out your cervix during labor
2. Breast feeding in front of strangers
3. Leaking through your shirt at work when students whine
4. Having your two-year-old say "Mommy's going poo-poo!" at Target (I was not, by the way)

Today I discovered another fun reminder of my new, mommy body.

My daughter got a cool toy for her birthday. It's an alphabet magnet set. You pick a letter, put it in the little singing doo-hickey and it says "A says a, every letter makes a sound, and A says a!" It's just annoying enough that it's Em's new favorite toy.

This evening I was bustling around the kitchen, getting Em's dinner ready. I opened the fridge, grabbed too much as usual, and closed the door. As I turned around, my rear pressed the stupid magnet thing and it says, "B says buh, every letter makes a sound and and B says..."

Yeah it's too humiliating to finish. And what's worse is that I did it twice, each time my daughter giggling and saying "Mommy's bum, Mommy's bum!"

And what's even worse is that my husband was just reading this over my shoulder; he laughed and said, "B says...busted!" Yeah, he's hi-larious.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Saving the day (or cake, rather)

Tomorrow we are having a party for our newly two-year old daughter. So tonight, the three of us were rushing around Safeway picking up things for a BBQ.

All was going well...until we got the cake. I picked one out from the case and the guy at the counter wrote "Happy Birthday Emerson" on it. Well, I asked him to write it. What he did it would take my right hand tied behind my back and 7 beers to approximate. It looked awful.

But I'm not a confrontational person. So I rationalized the crappy writing away and took the cake. Well, the doof didn't put the top on tight enough, so when my husband tried to put it in the car, the cake box fell apart. And the cake fell. Face down.

I was near tears so my husband grabbed the cake box and stormed back into the store. He came back 10 minutes later with a new, free, and beautiful cake. He told me that everyone in the store parted like the Red Sea when he came in and that the guy at the cake counter just took the cake back without saying anything.

Now, my husband is also not a confrontational person typically. He had a waiter dump champagne on his head once and he didn't complain. He's about 150 soaking wet, so he must have looked murderous. I guess some guy at the counter said "Help the brother; he looks like he's gonna kill someone."

As far as I'm concerned, he saved the (birth)day and the cake. What more can you ask for than a guy understands the importance of birthday cake.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hey, Who are You?

Today my husband and I had a come-to-Jesus conversation. It wasn't a fight, but things are weird between us and neither of us really know why. I love him; he loves me. He's the best person for me, and we are still committed to each other.

But we aren't happy right now.

I'm not sure what happened. Our daughter is older, so we get more time together than we did when she was younger. But I've noticed we don't really spend time together. Em goes to bed and Justin and I watch tv, not talking. Or I go to bed and read.

I'm not sure when or why we stopped talking. He is an interesting person and we have tons in common. I have definitely found myself withdrawing into myself more the past couple months. I've just been so worn out by worry.

Now, I have less to worry about and I feel like I should be happy. I am relieved, but I'm not happy. I feel a huge weight on my shoulders and I am not sure why.

I really hope I can shake this funk soon. I miss my husband and I'm lonely. When I sit across from him at the dinner table, I just can't think of anything to say. And that's no way to be.

Friday, June 13, 2008


And now I can finally exhale...whew, it's been a long couple months.

HR called today and offered me my current position, which I happily accepted. I am so relieved to not have to worry about health care and all that garbage this summer. No waiting anxiously for the phone to ring. It's a great feeling.

And thank you to all of you who wished me well during the past couple of months. It was great to be able to sound off and have people listen and support me during this uncertain time. My husband may have gotten sick of my worrying, but you never did (or at least you were quiet about it.) :)

And now I can enjoy my summer!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

On my Own, Day 2

So today my husband left early again, this time to go camping with a bunch of Boy Scouts. He's excited, but it's not exactly my cup of tea. I like camping and all, but I have a hard enough time keeping myself fed, warm, and out of harm's way. I feel no need to add 10 pre-teens into the mix.

Justin left this morning and Em and I visited with my sister-in-law and my niece. My sister-in-law is ingenious at dealing with the constant battle over toys. I'm not as skilled, but together we managed to keep the girls on speaking terms.

Later we checked out a couple houses for rent in Elk Grove. I wasn't thrilled about either (one had contact paper on the walls in the bathroom and carpet in there too...lovely), but it was good to see what's out there. We will keep looking next week.

I brought Em home around 1, which is her nap. I was expecting a little bit of a battle, but she actually fell asleep very quickly. I should have prepared for summer school, but instead I watched two episode of Sex and the City. Bad girl.

After Em woke up, we went to the bank and Target. I splurged and got her a small vanilla shake from MacDonald's. At least I thought it would be a small; it was huge! Oh well, she only drank a little.

So now Em is playing in her room as I type this up. In a minute I'll pop in a workout DVD and see how she does with that. She did okay with the Pilates yesterday, actually trying out a couple of moves. She did sit on me during the teaser, which is a sucko move anyways.

Tomorrow I need to head to school to get ready for summer school, which starts next week. I'm bringing Em to my meeting, which I am sure is inappropriate, but I don't have anyone to watch her. Besides, if she throws a fit, that should move things along. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On my Own, Day 1

My husband had to travel to Santa Cruz today for the memorial service of one of his former students. It's an absolute tragedy. He taught this particular child for three years, and the young man died last week in a motorcycle accident a week before his high school graduation.

My husband is stoic, but I can see the pain festering inside. I feel horrible for him. So, when my brother in-law invited Justin to a three-day camping trip with Boy Scouts this week, I insisted he go, even though I'd be watching Emy most of the week by myself. I know a camping trip with 10 teenage boys sounds less than pleasant for most people, but my husband will love it. Hopefully, it will restore some of his normally positive view of things.

So today was my first day of all day, one-on-one Em duty in a long time. She's a typically easy-going kid, but she's almost two and learning that "no" is an awfully fun thing to say to Mommy. And that if one doesn't want to do something, one can just flop on the ground and holler. (You still have to do what Mommy wants, but you get to make a fun.)

We woke up bright and early at 6 to say good bye to Daddy. Then we watched Curious George bleary eyed. Afterwards, Em pretended to be a curious monkey, making monkey noises and investigating everything all over the house. Very cute.

We got gussied up. Well, she did. I plucked my angry-caterpillar eyebrows. That was the extent of my gussification. We headed to Java City for coffee, found a free parking spot (YES!), and walked to the shop. While I didn't get to socialize as much as I'd like cause I was running after Em, I was really happy to meet so many cool moms.

Later we napped. Then we dropped off invitations for Em's second birthday coming up at her daycare. We got some stuff for dinner, and headed home. I'm about to do some Pilates. I'm looking forward to my evening home with Em (and So You Think You Can Dance). But my thoughts are with my dear husband driving home.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pain in the Neck!

I'm not being figurative. I have a very literal, very stiff neck that is very annoying.

It started yesterday when I was pushing Em in her stroller back from Subway and a picnic lunch. I thought, oh, no big deal. I'll take some advil.

Well, the first two advil didn't work. Neither did the second two. Last night I slept like dog doo because of it.

So any suggestions to ease the pain of a stiff neck (now moving into my shoulder and back) would be greatly appreciated. FYI, don't recommend my husband my husband giving me a massage. It's the ONE thing he CANNOT do.


Friday, June 6, 2008

And that's all, Folks!

Today I entered my grades, tidied my class room, and thanked the few colleagues who were still around for being so kind to me during my first year. Today I finished my first year teaching high school.

Here's my year, by the numbers:

* Started at 155 students, grew to 160, shrank back down to 149
* Sent out over 40 progress reports first semester for failing students, failed less than 10 today
* Met two kindred spirits, made three friends, found one possible foe amongst my fellow teachers
* Found at least three students in each class I will remember forever, discovered one student who is my "mini-me"
* Had two students tell me they were pregnant
* Had four students tell me their parents lost their homes
* Had countless students tell me they would never want my job
* Had one student tell me I've convinced her to become a teacher
* Cried twice in front of my department head
* Cried too many times to count in my car on the way home
* Got two lay-off notices
* Got two job offers
* Hugged 10 students on their way out of the class room
* Had 15 students drop by after finals to hug me on my way out of the class room

I started teaching over seven years ago, wanting to be a high school teacher. I became a middle school teacher because at 22 I felt too young to teach students who could be 18. It was a huge decision for me to move to high school, and while this year has had it's ups and downs, it has been a huge gift to me. I've remembered a couple things:

1. I did not become a teacher to teach rich kids
2. Books are cool!
3. Talking about college is super fun
4. Workplaces are basically the same everywhere you go...there will be awesome people; there will be not so awesome people
5. What I teach is not as important as who I teach
6. It is always better to laugh than cry (or yell)
7. Nothing is more intoxicating than hope

Few professions give people such a chance to reflect. What I like about teaching is that every year I get to wrap things up and start over. It really is the best job.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It's Only Wednesday?!?

This week so far has been a whirlwind, to put it lightly.

Sunday we got home from helping my sister move around 4. As I'm checking my email and looking forward to running and relaxing that evening, we get a phone call. I hear my husband say, "See you in a couple minutes." What! See who?

Well, it happened to be my sister-in-law, her husband, and their daughter. They were in town and wanted to see if we wanted to have dinner. There went the running.

We went to dinner at the Spaghetti Factory, which isn't great food, but it's relatively cheap and pretty kid friendly. (Though they got rid of the paper menus and hiked up the prices two bucks, whatever.)

Monday was my last regular day of school before finals, so it was hectic. Then, I had a retirement party in Galt for my department head. Anyone else, I would have smiled and said no thank you. A party on a Monday evening? You've got to be kidding. But this woman has been lovely to me, so I made the exception. My husband met our family again in Rancho Cordova for dinner.

Tuesday was actually pretty cool. My school got out for graduation at 10:30. It's not required that staff attend, which I found very odd, so I opted not to go. I don't teach seniors and truth be told, graduations are not exactly thrilling, even when they are yours. So I picked up my daughter and met my sister-in-law and niece for a trip to the Sac Zoo. It was really cool cause the animals were pretty lively, especially the tigers. We met our husbands at the Chicago Fire pizza place on J street for dinner.

So it's been three days in a row of eating out and getting Em to bed around 9:30. I haven't run or worked out since Thursday of last week. I'm really looking forward to getting some exercise, eating at home, and watching So You Think You Can Dance? tonight.

If the phone rings, I'm not answering it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Best Trick Ever!

Get asked to help move someone, then bring your two-year-old. The only thing you'll be moving is your rear end to keep up with her!

My sister and her husband moved from their first apartment together to a cute little upgrade across town. They are the most amazingly organized couple I've met, so it was really easy to move them. Maybe my expectations are just low. The last two times I've moved I've been 8 months pregnant or chasing after a 1-year-old who just figured out how to crawl. Moving hasn't been easy for awhile.

So we headed down to Pleasant Hill on Saturday. They had already packed and moved the small things. We only needed to help them move their furniture. Two trips and we were done. Not so bad!

And I don't actually recommend bringing a small child, but there was no one else to watch her. I'm not the best help when it comes to moving furniture. I can handle small things, but I'm 5'2" and my sister lived on the second floor. I'm more of a liability than anything else. I kept Em out of the way and was everyone's fetcher.

It was a pleasant weekend, but it reminded my husband and I of how we have to move and how there is so much up in the air right now. We can find a place in Elk Grove, but if I take the job in North Highlands, it's too much of a drive. If we live in Sac, we need to give up our day care lady, unless I end up getting offered a job back in Elk Grove.

I want to go hide my head under a pillow. But at least I'm not sore from moving. :)