Friday, December 31, 2010

Adios 2010!

You have certainly been an interesting year, you. :) There were times when I thought you'd be the death of me, and other times I thought you were the best year ever. To be truthful, you were just a little too exciting for me. Thank you for our time together, but I am happy to close the doors on 2010. :)

Let's recap, shall we.

January: This year was so busy that honestly I don't remember January. I'm sure I spent it dreading beginning my thesis. I do remember Emerson getting pneumonia, which was terrible. She got over it quickly, but Justin and I had to alternate days off to be with her and it was awful to see her so sick. No bueno.

February: This month is always a doozie. It started off really nicely with a celebration of Justin's birthday. I was quite proud of myself. I took him to a small, local restaurant called "The Boulevard" and arranged to have the chef plan a meal just for him. It was very special. I think my favorite part was that Justin's dad drove us to the restaurant (his parents stayed with Em), so that we could enjoy the adult beverages. It felt like a high school date. :)

We went to Redding the next week to celebrate Justin's dad's birthday, which is right before Valentine's Day. Justin and I attempted to have a romantic evening at home, which resulted in the worst fondue ever. Seriously. It was bad. The next weekend we celebrated my mom's birthday and then February was over. In between all the celebrations, I miraculously stayed on track with my thesis and only gained five pounds.

March: This month was a mixed bag. My thesis was full on kicking my ass at this point, and both Justin and I received lay-off notices, as did many of my friends and family. It sucked. But Justin and I also got to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary by staying in a bed and breakfast in Sac. It was a very special weekend, even though Hillary indulged too much and got heartburn. Boo. Still, we had a wonderful time, and it was fantastic that my sister and her husband volunteered to watch Emerson for us.

Also, in March, we celebrated my nephew Justin's first birthday and spent Easter in Redding. It was a very cold, rainy Spring, but it was nice to have a week off.

April: This month was my make-it-or-break-it month in regards to my thesis. My goal was to finish everything by my birthday, and I mostly made it. My birthday was on a Monday, and I sent my final draft to my professor the Friday after. I felt immensely proud that I had set a schedule and (for the most part) followed it. For obvious reasons, my birthday was not as big a deal as the year before. No trip to Vegas. No big hoop-la. Which was fine. I was just happy to finish my thesis and see the month come to a close.

May: Because my district changed its calendar, May became the last month of school. It didn't really feel like it, especially since it rained on graduation. Despite the cold, wet weather, the end of school came and with it, the end of my time at Valley High School. At the time I wasn't sure if I was leaving Valley. I was still laid off, but it looked likely that I would get my job back. However, I cleaned out my room and said my good-byes. It seemed like my time as a Viking was done.

We celebrated Memorial Day with a huge combo party for Emerson and me. For her, we celebrated her fourth birthday (yes, a little early, but it seemed as good a time as any.) For me, we celebrated my Master's degree. As usual, it was a huge party attended by most of our family members. It was a great time, but it took us about a week to recover. :) Luckily, we didn't have much to do since Justin and I had both finished our school years.

June: This was a very interesting month. I didn't have a job for most of it, so I spent a ton of time preparing job applications, running to Kinko's to scan, and interviewing. It was like a job in and of itself. At the end of the month, we took Emerson and my mom to Disneyland, which was a great trip. Emerson had a wonderful time, and it was so sweet to watch how excited she got to ride Dumbo and meet princesses. It was bittersweet that I had to leave early to interview for vice principal positions, but it turned out okay. The day Justin, my mom, and Em got back (literally the hour they got back), I found out that I got a VP job. It was a very special week for us. :)

July: This month marked the end of my summer vacation, for the most part. I started my work as a vice principal. In addition to that excitement, on July 10th I discovered that I was pregnant. We had been trying since February, so I was very happy, but also very overwhelmed.

August: As it has been for awhile now, August was a very busy month for weddings and babies. We attended my cousin Kate's wedding and our friends Alex and Drew's wedding. Also, my mom and I threw a baby shower for my sister Haley, who was expecting her first child. In the midst of all that party going and throwing, I was beginning my first year as a vice principal. Pregnant. F-U-N.

On August 17th, I received a call (well, three calls and six text messages) that would change everything. My sister's water broke five weeks early and my nephew, Owen, was delivered via c-section that day. It was incredibly hard to not be with her and her husband as much as I wanted to, but they are amazing parents and they pulled through. It was an unbelievable experience.

September: I hesitate to call this a "slow" month, but it really was all about developing a routine at work and home. It took me some time to get used to my new position, and we did travel to the Bay Area to see Owen, Haley, and Craig. But to be honest, the month was a blur. Especially since I spent a lot of it throwing up. :(

October: On the first, my third nephew, Samuel, was born to my sister and brother-in-law, Summer and Ben. This is truly the year of babies because my cousin Ben welcomed a daughter a few weeks later. We spent the month visiting family, and I spent the weekdays trying not to drown at work.

November: This year both Justin and I got a whole week off for Thanksgiving, which I was immensely thankful for. To describe me as exhausted was not adequate. While we were insanely busy, the month went by very quickly.

December: It feels weird to recollect about this month, given that it is just now coming to a close. However, it has been a good month. I have begun my third trimester and now my focus is really on becoming prepared for our new son. I am actually not sad to be finishing winter break because I really just want him to be here. I've said this before, but I am not a patient person and I'm dying to meet him. :) Unfortunately, many not-so-pleasant things need to be accomplished first. Sigh.

For 2011, I hope for many things. I hope for the continued good health of myself and my family. I hope to give birth in March (seriously, people, February is crazy) with a quick and uneventful labor to a healthy (small) baby. I hope that my daughter enjoys her new role as big sister, and I hope that I haven't completely forgotten how to change diapers. :) Most of all, I am so thankful for my kind and wonderful family and friends. While 2010 had its not-so-great moments, at least I always had people to laugh with.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Third Trimester

Last Thursday marked the beginning of my third trimester with my little seahorse. Except now he's not so little, and he's making quite the impression...on my rib cage.

I'm very excited that I'm two-thirds done with this pregnancy. Mainly, I'm dying to meet him. To a lesser extent, I am excited to be almost done with the whole insulin/blood sugar testing stuff. I feel a little guilty saying this because I know that pregnancy is not meant to be easy and that I am incredibly lucky to be pregnant, but still I will be happy when I can stop sticking myself.

Despite my excitement, I am experiencing a constant low level of anxiety. When I realized it was the third trimester already, I began to feel very overwhelmed. First, there's my looming deadline of needing to complete my teacher evaluations. Ugh. Second, there's the non-baby-ready baby room. Big ugh. Third, my last trimester with Emerson was a little more eventful than one would like. I would really like to finish my pregnancy without early contractions, the inevitable cervix checks they lead to, and bed rest.

I'm really trying to make smart choices right now to prepare for going back to work next week. I would love to spend more time with family and friends, but I'm still feeling wiped out, even though I've been on vacation for a week. It's my goal to stay at work as long as I can, so I'm trying to build up my energy stores after a depleting October and November.

The rest of the week looks pretty calm, which is fine by me. I'm hoping to get a hair cut and much needed eyebrow wax (seriously, had them done in JULY!) Other than that, I need to finish my evaluations (I'm really starting to hate that word), and tackle the baby's room. In between all that fun (sigh), I plan to nap excessively.

We just got back yesterday from Redding, and it was a pretty relaxed Christmas. Justin and his family made a delicious Christmas Eve dinner (turkey mole) that was very diabetes friendly, and his sister made sugar-free chocolate whoopee pies. (She is a very special lady.) On Christmas Day, Summer and I took the girls to see Tangled again, and we relaxed at my in-laws, watching movies on their new HUGE t.v. (no Justin, we are not getting a new t.v.) Sunday we went to Summer and Ben's church for my nephew Samuel's name blessing, and then we headed home.

It was great to be with family, especially since this was probably my last trip to Redding before the baby is born. I know March seems far away, but January and February tend to go by very quickly. Plus, sitting in a car for over two hours is no bueno and I'm not even at the end of this thing yet.

So I'm going to park my behind on the couch for the rest of the evening, enjoy my sparkling water, write up another glowing teacher evaluation, and finish it all off with my new foot bath.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Today marks the second day of break and it is a blissful thing. Yes, I have work to do. Yes, the house is a disaster and needs some major attention (especially the spare room that will become the baby's room.)

But still, it's break. It's nine o'clock and the house is silent. Em and Justin are asleep. I'm drinking my one cup of coffee and blogging. Not bad.

Friday, the last day of school, was a bit of a blur. It was a minimum day, and those are interesting. One has to get the same amount of work day, especially if there is a fight, but one just has half the time.

I got home at a reasonable time, and we considered going out for dinner. Unfortunately, my sweat pants won and we stayed in and ordered a pizza.

I was in bed by 8:30.

And slept for 12 hours.

I'd like to blame the pregnancy for that, but I've been known to do that on the night before a break when I'm not pregnant.

Saturday was the definition of relaxed. I got up before everyone, made coffee, and watched a romantic comedy. I haven't done that in ages.

Eventually Justin and Em joined me, and we were pretty much couch bound until noon. We decided to go see Tangled, so I got Em dressed and took a shower. That exertion tuckered me out, so I took a quick nap.

Later that afternoon, we went outside for the first time that day and went and saw the movie. While the movie was clearly not intended for adults or boys (Justin was a little bored), Emerson LOVED it. I don't think she blinked the whole time. I love taking her to movies because she just gets so excited.

After the movie, we went out to dinner and got a little holiday shopping done. Then we were home (and couch) bound for the rest of the evening. I actually made it until 11 before retreating to my bed. Even though I'm a week away from the third trimester, I'm not terribly comfortable at night. My feet hurt constantly, I have terrible heartburn, and last night my ribs were killing me. Good times.

Today looks to be pretty quiet again. The kitchen needs a little TLC and I have some presents to wrap. Also, we will have to venture outside because we have no food. Sigh.

We aren't leaving for Redding until the middle of the week, so I'm hoping to spend some much needed quiet time at home. I will need to head to work, but that's not entirely a bad thing. I know I will feel better when my evaluations are done.

Justin and I are planning on seeing Harry Potter (finally) this week, and finishing up present buying and wrapping. We are keeping things simple this year, partly for financial reasons, partly because we are exhausted.

Well, I can hear Em babbling in her room, so it's probably time to wrap this up and see how she's doing. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Making Lists

I think it is an odd human thing that when the year comes to a close, people feel the need to make lists. Top 50 songs of the year. Top 10 movies of the year. Most popular words (I love that list. It's put out by the OED and it's nerdy fun.)

Maybe it's just an American thing. I don't know. I never leave America (sigh), but this list thing cracks me up every December. And makes me a little sad. When I start watching t.v./listening to the radio, etc. and those top-fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-number-seems-appropriate lists come out, I really feel that the year is over.

This year the sadness seems a little more profound, and I'm not quite sure why. There could be lots of reasons. First, the economy is in the tank and many families don't have much to celebrate. Second, I have huge, looming deadlines and it feels like I will never finish my evaluations. Third, for the first Christmas in recorded history, I will consume zero sugar. (That's a reason to sob in your splenda cocoa, let me tell you.)

But I have noticed that I have less zeal for the top of 2010 lists. It could be that I really felt very disconnected from the outside world this year. Since January my focus has been very self centered. First my masters took a huge amount of my attention, then getting a job, and then the job. Terribly enough, I was so focused this year on what I was doing that when the miners who were trapped were finally rescued, I had no idea what was going on.

I guess my melancholy comes from feeling very disengaged. I have spent so much time in my own head, trying to figure out my own work-and-pregnancy-related problems that I have really pulled away from humanity. It's been kind of lonely, actually.

It seems a little silly that I feel lonely, given that my job includes non-stop interaction with people, I have great supportive friends who actually care about my issues, and I live with a lovely family. However, my interactions at work require much care and they are exhausting. I don't have nearly the time I want to spend with my friends, and I haven't seen my friends from the Bay Area in years. Finally, I have now established permanent residence in Mommy Guilt Land because of how little time I get to spend with Em.

I have five days left of work, which makes me happy but also fills me with great anxiety because of how much I have to do before the 17th. But this weekend I will try my best to focus on the two weeks I have off for winter break. I know it will go too quickly, but I'm actually okay with that. (I did mention the no sugar thing, right?)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

So Thankful

That this week is over. The week after a vacation tends to be doozie-rific, but this one was especially challenging.

First, and a little bit too late, I came to the realization that I am six months pregnant. While I am still in the second trimester, it became very clear that I need to slow down a bit.

It was such a busy week that I don't even remember Monday. It was pretty much a whirl-wind of preparing for an expulsion (boo), writing clerical evaluations (unexpected boo), and helping a teacher return to work after an extended leave (big surprise boo.)

Tuesday was a big day for me. I think there will be certain moments for me as a VP that will allow me to demonstrate whether or not I can really do this job. Tuesday presented that moment in my first extension of suspension meeting. This meeting is a part of the expulsion process. Hearing officers at the district level meet with school administrators and the student and his parents to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to move forward in the expulsion process. It takes an unbelievable amount of work (and paper) to prepare for this meeting, which is entirely necessary given how serious an expulsion is.

My meeting went okay, but of course led to me having to do more work. That's just the nature of my job. I'm never done. At least I can say that I learn something new from every experience. Sometimes the learning is exhausting, however. :) I would like to just know.

After Tuesday, the week was just a bunch of running around trying to finish tasks that I had to put off because of my expulsion issue. It's the end of the term soon, so students and parents are starting to become worried. This translates into panicked phone calls to the vice principal. I talked so much on the phone on Friday that my ear hurt.

This week also provided me the opportunity to work with district staff, which I always enjoy but which also makes me very nervous. I am, and always have been, very aware that my career is a journey. I plan on being in education for many more decades, and it is important to me that I keep my future options open. I am sensitive to the fact that my interactions with district personnel are an important factor in my ability to be promoted to other positions in the future. It's all a little nerve wracking. Luckily I survived with all my parts intact. :)

Today is Saturday (finally), and I am looking forward to some family time. Em popped up at 7:30, but we've had a pretty relaxed morning. We are planning to get a Christmas tree, and I look forward to buying a couple more ornaments and decorating with Emerson. She is very excited about Christmas (which is a gift after her discomfort with Halloween) and we have enjoyed planning for the holidays and singing songs and such. I am concerned that the tree will look a little drag queenish, but I know we will have fun.

I do have to do some work this weekend (of course), but I am not planning on going in. I want to stay home with my family, hang out by the fire, and drink my sugar-free cocoa in peace.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

One Down, Three To Go

Holidays, that is. I hate to admit that I'm counting down the holidays before my baby is born, but I've noticed that I'm doing that.

Thanksgiving week went okay. I got an icky cold over the weekend (still getting over it, but it's not too bad), and I had to head into work on Sunday.

Tuesday we left for my mom's in Concord. It was pretty wet and cold outside, so we spent most of our time inside. Worked for me because I got to spend a lot of time cuddling with my nephew.

Wednesday I made a sugar-free cheese cake with my mom. I've never made a cheese cake before, so it was a little nerve wracking. While I enjoy that cakes/pies are easier than cookies, I do not enjoy that you can't tell how they turned out until actual desert time (very hard to taste test without marring the whole thing.)

That night we went out for Mexican food with my sister and her family. Going out the night before Thanksgiving seems to be a new tradition for us. It's kind of funny that we have a household of food, but nothing to eat for dinner. :)

Thursday, actual Thanksgiving, I had a little diabetes excitement. For some reason, I took the wrong insulin and dosage (not quite sure why; I guess I was distracted), and during breakfast I experienced a very scary low blood sugar: 39. This is the lowest I've ever been, and I think I was on the verge of passing out.

Luckily I caught myself and had some bread and jam. Eventually, I got my sugars under control, but I had to test every half hour. My fingers were smarting by the end of the day.

Thanksgiving dinner was very tasty. Justin barbecued the turkey again this year, which I love. It gives the bird a very smoky flavor and it saves space in the oven. Highly enjoyable. Also enjoyable was my cheesecake. It was a pumpkin cheesecake, so it was strong enough in flavor to mask the Splenda taste. I was a little worried that the crust would be soggy because when I took the foil off the pan, water had seeped in from the water bath. Luckily, the crust was fine.

Friday we hung out with my sister and brother-in-law, taking the kids to the park and going for happy hour. (Well, the other adults enjoyed happy hour drinks; I enjoyed the half-priced nachos. Works for me.) We had a quick leftover dinner at my mom's and headed back home to a freezing house.

Yesterday I holed myself in said house (much warmer after running the heater for awhile) and worked on Advocacy lessons. I got those done, but unfortunately I have to head into work now to take care of some things for tomorrow. Hopefully, I can just head in for a little bit and come home and take a nap.

I keep telling myself that it is only three weeks until our next break, but work has become rather overwhelming. I'm just trying to focus on the task at hand and not let myself be overwhelmed by stress, but it is challenging.

Is it December 17th yet? :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It Was Just a Matter of Time...

Before I got sick. :(

I'm actually a pretty healthy person, gestational diabetes excepted. I haven't had a cold in years, and I tend to have one stomach flu issue per school year and then I'm good.

But this week did me in. The sad part, I knew it was coming and there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it.

For the last month or so, I've been working 12 hour days pretty solid. It hasn't been too bad, but I've worn myself down.

This week started out okay. I actually got out of work early, around 5, to meet Justin and Em for dinner. Tuesday was a long day again though, and then Wednesday was just crazy. All in one day I dealt with my first discipline issue that will go to expulsion and I dealt with a pretty serious fight. Ugh.

Thursday during the day was fine. Just lots of little things to catch up on from the day before. Now that I look back on it, I started to feel sick then. It was a long day because I had the talent show to supervise. Everything went smoothly, but I didn't get home until 8:30.

Friday was a minimum day, which for a teacher is a blessed thing. For an administrator, not so much. I started to feel congested around 9 am, but my day would just not let up. I was straight VP all day, dealing with a lengthy investigation, a wayward kid and his frustrated parent, and assorted other fun things.

I got out of work pretty early and treated myself to a decaf latte from Peets (for some reason their foamy milk is better than everyone else's.) Justin and I picked up Em together and went out to mexican food.

I was in bed by 8, and I've pretty much stayed there so far this weekend. The frustrating thing about being sick while pregnant is that I can't really do the things I normally do. Theraflu is out, and I have to watch how many cough drops I have because of my diabetes.

Today I plan on taking things slow. I do have to head into work for a couple hours, but at least it will be quiet.

I just hope that I am well enough to see my sister and nephew this week when we head down to Concord for Thanksgiving. I will be bummed if I have worn myself out to the point that I can't even enjoy my break.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Very Little to Report

And that is a good thing. :)

This weekend we stayed home and did very little. Actually, we got a head start on the weekend with the Veterans' Day holiday on Thursday.

Thursday I decided to be a good girl and go to work. I typed up an evaluation, and while I felt bummed by working, I did feel good about getting that first one written. One down, twelve to go (and then I have to repeat the process all over again before I go out on leave...ack!)

After working on Thursday for a bit (I swear that nothing is better than a quiet school), I took Em out for frozen yogurt. This of course led to her being a sticky mess and needing a bath. At home, I actually got some scrap-booking done. I haven't done that in ages, so I was a bit rusty. (Though I notice I do a neater job now that I'm not having my customary glass of white wine while scrap-booking. Hee hee.)

Thursday evening was book club at my friend Janet's. We hung outside around her fire pit and chatted about Fastfood Nation. I will admit that I didn't read the whole thing, but it was fun to hang out with friends. Next month is my turn to host, so that should be interesting.

Justin had the day off on Friday (not cool Elk Grove Unified, not cool.) At first I was super jealous that he got to take Em to preschool and hang out with her, but it turned out to be kind of a rough day for the two of them. I think eventually it worked out, and they had a nice day at the park afterwards. Lately, it has just become very apparent that being four is tough. Poor Em.

Yesterday was the definition of relaxed. We headed to the store for provisions, but that was basically it for the day. Justin made a tasty pork loin for dinner and I made a sugar-free pumpkin pie. I was able to get some reading and scrap-booking in, not to mention several episodes of Weeds.

Today I got up early to check my blood sugar and work on teacher evaluations. I am going to try to finish one up before I head out for lunch with some friends. While I feel a little guilty for going out today, I do think it's important that I maintain my social ties. My new job can be really lonely, and I feel the need to stock up on girl time before the baby is born.

Okay, okay, blogging break done. Time to get back to work.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's a Boy...and other things

On November 3rd, we had our big ultrasound. It actually almost didn't happen, as I received a phone call at 7 pm on Monday saying it was canceled. After throwing a hissy fit (not proud of myself about that), I got another appointment for the same day.

So, I left work early on Wednesday to pick up Em and meet Justin at South-Sac Kaiser, which is where I will most likely give birth. (If I was the planning ahead type, I probably would have tried to figure out where labor and delivery is in that place. Nope, I like to live dangerously.)

After waiting awhile with a bladder that was ready to explode, I finally got ushered into the ultrasound room and the tech got to work. I was a little bummed that she didn't let Justin in until later. She told me that Emerson would distract her. Oh, okay.

Eventually Justin did get to come in, but unfortunately I had already been told that I am having a little boy. I was still in shock when he came in. Not sure why I was surprised to be having a boy. I'm thinking maybe it's because I already have a girl and that's what I'm used to.

Back to the ultrasound. Everything looks great. Our boy is doing just fine and he is a wiggler. That annoyed the technician to no end (I thought it was pretty cute myself.) And they gave me a new due date...again. This one, March 19th, was closer to my original guess. It doesn't really matter, as I expect to go early. If I don't great; if I do, I'm prepared.

After the appointment, we did the obligatory tell everyone on Facebook. Of course, most people thought I was having a boy. (This annoys me a bit because I hate being told anything...seriously, I got issues.)

This past weekend we headed to Redding for my niece's birthday, and it was exciting to be able to talk about our future son with my family. I looked at both my nephews and marveled at the fact that I would have a son of my own soon.

I have a long way to go before I am ready to have a newborn again. There are lots of things to buy, a room to get ready, etc. But my biggest concern: learning how to change diapers without getting pissed on. Yup, that's me. :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Adios Octobre!

As a teacher, there are two months that I tend to not enjoy--October and March. It's not that they are necessarily BAD months; they're just loooong. No holidays. Lots of work. Kids start to see the results of their actions...or non actions.

When we moved to Elk Grove, I was happy to discover that our Spring vacation moved according to Easter. In Milpitas, our Spring vacation was always the third week of April. It was nice that it was predictable, but it made for a very long March.

Now this year, I don't need to be as concerned about March, as I will be giving birth then. Babies are wonderful distractions. :) And there's the added benefit of me not being at work. Good deal.

I had concerns about October. It is with considerable surprise that I have discovered that October is over. Where did it go?

First, our nephew Samuel was born and we spent a weekend in Redding. Then we enjoyed the pleasant weather with a trip to the zoo with my father and Em. The next weekend we had our friend Jerome over. He's from France, but somehow we are able to see him every six months or so.

Last weekend my mom came over for dinner and we went out for Sunday breakfast. This weekend, which is sadly almost over, we headed to the Bay Area on Friday. That night we stayed with my mom. Saturday we headed over to my sister's for some baby Owen time. After a couple hours of catching up, we caravanned to my dad's in Hayward for dinner.

Yesterday, we watched some World Series (I swear I will never see a game in which the Giants win...), and we had a diabetes-friendly and low-sodium dinner (low sugar for me; low salt for my grandma.) It was a really nice time to catch up, and I especially enjoyed dressing up Em and Owen in their Halloween costumes (Em is Ariel and Owen is a hamburger.) We have cute kids.

Now, I know that it sounds like we did a lot, but it was all at a very relaxed pace. I'm actually ending this month feeling pretty good. Work has had its lows (check out my last post), but I've ended the month feeling more competent than I did at the beginning. That's something.

Also, we are about to head into November, which has both Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving week. Now, Veteran's Day is on a Thursday, which is weird, but a day off is a day off. Plus, both Justin and I get a week off for Thanksgiving.

We do have some traveling in our near future. Next weekend is our niece Elizabeth's birthday, and we will be heading for my mom's for Thanksgiving.

I'm not sure how energetic and enthusiastic I will feel as we head into the winter holidays. And I'm sure I will tire soon of my diabetic diet. (Though I did just make an apple sauce cake with Splenda and it's not horrible.)

I'm trying to not adopt an attitude of just making it through these holidays. I do want to enjoy myself, and my time off. But it is weird that food is not a major focus for me. My goal is to turn my attention to working on crafts and projects with Em. She has become such a big girl recently, and she loves baking and decorating.

Well, I think Justin and Em have finished their pumpkin carving. It's about time to change Em into her costume and take my little mermaid out for her first trick-or-treating.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I Knew It Would Happen Eventually...

Crying at work that is.


Now, let's be clear. I commemorate most big issues (and many small ones) with crying. It's a tradition between my sister and I--cry first, think later.

I cry when I'm mad, sad, and glad. I cry at sappy commercials and love songs.

It is why I will never wear mascara on my lower lashes.

But lately, my work has been the biggest causer of tears. Which frustrates me to no end.

Here's why:
1. I knew how hard this job was.
2. I really, really, really wanted this job.
3. I like the fantasy I've built of myself in my own head as a badass.

I don't want my work to make me cry. Mostly, I feel this way because I don't want my job to win. I tend to view everything as a battle of wills. This is why Tai Chi has never appealed to me. I don't want to move the wind gently from the mountain. I want to blow the effer down.

Charming, huh?

Anyhow, work has been taxing. First, I can't get anything done. District lectures me about how I'm supposed to do things. My boss has very clear and high expectations. The two set of expectations are not often compatible. Second, I work mostly with seventh grade parents. The majority of them are wonderful. They may not be happy when I call them, but they are willing to work with me.

Then there are the others. Those who tell me I hate children. That I just want to make an example of their child. That I don't know what I'm doing.

While it may be true that I don't know what I'm doing, I do know one thing very well--kids. I know what they need to be successful in school and beyond. I know that they need limits and clear expectations.

I also know what they don't need. They don't need to be told by their parents that their vice principal hates them. They don't need to be told that their punching of a child was okay because he did it first. They don't need to be told to fear me.

The thing is, none of this is a surprise. I guess that's why I feel like I shouldn't be sad or stressed or worried about whether or not I'm doing my job well.

Still I can't wait to get this year behind me. I know that gaining experience is important, but this would be a delightful time for a movie montage.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Season Of Babies

When I was growing up, I had a lot of cousins around my age. I kind of took it for granted. While I only have one sister, I always felt a part of a larger family because of my three cousins on my mom's side and my six cousins on my dad's side.

So when it was my turn to start having babies, I hoped that my child would have a lot of cousins too. Justin had a different attitude about it because he didn't grow up around his cousins. His family is constructed more around his immediate family and close friends of the family.

Since Em wasn't planned, I wasn't sure if she would have a cousin around her age. Luckily, my sister-in-law and her husband decided to have a child around the same time we did. Voila! Emerson and Elizabeth!

It was just the two girls for awhile, and then my sister-in-law became pregnant with her second, Justin. Three kids certainly made things more interesting, but Justin was a really easy baby.

Then, this year things got wacky.

Really wacky.

First my sister announced she was pregnant in January.

Then my cousin Ben announced his wife was pregnant.

Then in March, Justin's sister surprised us with the announcement of their third pregnancy.


Justin and I were planning on becoming pregnant before all the baby madness, and in July we discovered that we would be adding to the fun.

So now it's October, and there are three new beautiful babies in our world: Owen Davis Blythe (my sister's little, chunky wonderful boy), Samuel James Shettell (Summer and Ben's delightful new son), and finally Andrea Katherine Harrell (my cousins Ben and Carrie's little girl.)

Additionally I have lots of friends with babies; my best friend from college, a couple people from high school, a friend from work, a friend of Justin's. Seriously, I'm expecting a bump up in the economy with all the new purchases of baby stuff.

Now, I am not by nature a very patient person (to those of you reading, no eye rolling or snorting, thank you very much), but all these new babies are making me a wee bit impatient. I am trying to enjoy my second and last pregnancy (so help me god, this better be the last time.) But I would really like to meet my baby too.

I am dying of curiosity. What will he/she be like? Will we have another blue-eyed wonder? Will he/she be dark like me and Justin? So curious...

At least I will hopefully be able to find out the gender soon. November 3rd is the big ultrasound date. Hopefully our little one behaves and shows us its little bits. I really can't decide if I think it's a boy or girl. Most of the time I think it's a boy, which I admit makes me a little nervous. But that's just because I have a girl, I am a girl, and I know how to deal.

For now, I wait. I focus on taking care of my self and trying to manage my stressful new job and family life. Luckily there are lots of cute babies to play with as I wait. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

My New Rollercoaster

As all my close friends and family know (well, to be honest, I think I told the whole dang world), I discovered I had gestational diabetes during my first pregnancy. This discovery turned into a very time-consuming issue late in my pregnancy.

Unfortunately, the diabetes did not go away when I had my daughter. I had heard it would. But nope, I was not so lucky. Eventually I was diagnosed pre-diabetic. Eventually I shed that status after shedding 45 pounds.

So this next pregnancy, I was prepared. I knew what I was heading into. (Doesn't make it any less annoying, but I least I was prepared to be annoyed.)

So when my doctor asked me to do the glucose test 30 weeks before she normally would--not surprised.

When I failed it--not a shocker.

When I was "asked" to do the second, three-hour glucose test--pissed but expecting it.

When they put me on the diabetic diet and gave me a glucose meter and made me call a nurse every week--no big deal.

When the diet failed--I had no tears.

When my new doctor gave me the "it's time for insulin talk," I had steeled my resolve.

So now I'm on insulin. It has its ups...and its downs, and that is the exact problem with it. The first day I was excited. I had NEVER see a fasting blood sugar so low. I was excited and relieved.

But then, at school, in a classroom, while dealing with a difficult situation, I hit a blood sugar low. I have heard people describe themselves as hypoglycemic, but I had NO idea how terrible it feels. I was dripping sweat and shaking and my school secretary said I had dark circle under my eyes.


Aft 15 grams of cards, I felt much better. Called my doctor, revised the plan, and moved on.

Until Sunday/Monday early morning. Last night I woke up at 12 am in a complete sweat. It took me a while to come to my senses and get up. When I finally got up and tested myself my sugars were 55...very low.

I'll admit that I was scared to go back to bed. My fear is what if I don't wake up. No one will really answer that question. So comforting.

So my doctor has revised my plan again. And tonight I have to wait until 11 to take my insulin (a full two hours after I am typically in bed) and I have to check at two. AWESOME.

But I'll do it. But really, March can't come soon enough. :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Welcome to the World Baby Owen

To say that the last month has been a whirlwind of emotion is an understatement. On August 16th, my nephew Owen Davis Blythe was born. Five weeks early. The entire experience brought my priorities into laser focus.

The weekend before Owen was born was my sister Haley's shower. It was also the weekend before the school year again. I'm a little ashamed to admit how "busy" and "overwhelmed" I felt. The shower went great, Haley looked beautiful, and in the end there was very little to worry about.

Two days into the school year, I received a call (well 6 to be exact) that brought everything to a screeching halt: Haley's water broke and she was going into an emergency C-section. Within 30 minutes, Justin, Emerson, and I were heading down to Concord in separate cars, fast food dinners in hand.

We arrived in time at the hospital to see Haley and Craig before she went into surgery. It was terrible to see my sister so scared, but I knew she was relieved that Craig was still in town. He had been scheduled to go to Maryland the next day.

I stayed at the hospital and waited for little Owen to be introduced to the world. A little after 9:30, he was born at 6 pounds, 12 ounces, 18 inches. Before I headed to my mom's at almost 2 am, we got to see our new little boy. Amazingly, he was bigger than Emerson, who was born three weeks after him but was only 5 pounds 10 ounces.

For the past three weeks, Owen has been in the NICU while the doctors try to assess his health and needs. We were able to visit once, and it was amazing how much bigger he is now just a few weeks after he was born. Hopefully, he will be able to go home soon.

For me this experience has had a strong impact. First, my younger sister is incredibly special to me, and to see her struggle through this experience has been immensely painful. Second, I am fully aware how lucky I am that Emerson was healthy. My gestational diabetes could have put her at great risk. To be honest, this pregnancy didn't feel real (well, the puking did) until the last few weeks. I feel lucky again that I am pregnant, and I will admit I feel a bit scared. Having a child is a foundation-shaking experience.

My sister, brother-in-law, and new nephew have a uncertain road in front of them. However, they are strong and full of love for their new boy. He is truly a miracle.

Welcome, Owen Davis Blythe to this wacky world! We love you.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A List

Things I didn't think I'd care about before I became a Vice Principal:

1. How to turn off a fire alarm

2. What color paper I printed things on

3. The width of a girl's tank top strap

4. Wasp nests

5. The sleeping patterns of bats

6. The calendar

7. Getting to work before 7

8. Ironing my clothes and doing my make up every day

9. "I heart boobies" bracelets

10. Finding dot matrix paper

Welcome to my week. It went pretty well, but I have a weird job. :)

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Now, I have never been accused of being the world's most mature person. I think fart jokes are hilarious. I giggle anytime I hear someone say any word that even sounds like penis. And I've been known to throw a temper tantrum (or 50) a 31 year old.

However, when it comes to work, I try to be different. I have my moments, but in general, I view my work as an educator to be very important. I felt this way especially at my former school where the kids were so needy. At that school, every success was a step to closing the achievement gap. My passion will remain focused at my new school, which is high-achieving. However, I believe fully that teachers have a sacred duty to do their best for kids. All kids. School is my church.

Given that I feel this strongly about what I do, I have very little (read no) patience for yahoos who waste my time with petty crap. I get especially irked when people can't get over things. Yes, sometimes things suck, but if there is no solution, MOVE ON.

As a teacher, I could hide from these people (the ones who have been complaining about the same things for thirty years) in the relative peace of my class room. Yes, there were children in there, but they didn't bug me as much.

Some of you may be asking, "well, why did you become admin silly girl?" I became admin so that I could create a school. Tall order, huh? Until I get to the point that I am ready to be a principal, I am going to have to work in the trenches as a vp. And deal with all kinds of silly things, like I dealt with on Friday.

I can't go into a lot of details, but I can say that I work with a group of people who appear to think the rules don't apply to them. And now I'm responsible for enforcing those rules. Unfortunately, my big stick is more of a sponge sword than anything else. But I am very aware that all at my new school are looking to see how legitimate of a leader I am.

No pressure.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Things I've Never Done Before

I hesitate to think of this last week as my first as a vice principal (mostly because I dealt with few teachers, encountered no children, and left work most days by 1.) However, this week did bring with it some really new experiences.

So here's a list of all the things I did this week that I've never done before:

1. Wore full make-up and fancy work clothes for an entire week in July.

2. Introduced myself (thousands of times) as Vice Principal.

3. Got keys to my very own office (not cubicle or class room.)

4. Interviewed potential teachers for a math position.

5. Checked (well, attempted) references for a potential teacher.

Good stuff.

Now, the not so good stuff. Sometime this week I will need to call five people and tell them that they aren't getting a job at our school. Sigh. I will get to tell one person that she is...if I ever get a hold of her references.

Tomorrow starts another week. What I love most about this job is that I have no idea what is coming. Very exciting (and yes, terrifying), but it is so different than how I have felt as a teacher.

Again, good stuff.

Friday, July 16, 2010

On Our Own

This week was my last meeting-free week this summer, but I actually had a bunch to do. To make things even more interesting, Justin had an AVID training all week, so it was just me and Emerson. I felt bad for the little girl because some of the things I had to do this week were straight boring.

Monday we ran a bunch of errands: a preschool tour, Kinko's to print Haley's baby shower invitations, and Trader Joe's. Then we hung out at home, where we had a little lunch, Em "rested", and I worked on my Advocacy lessons. Things were going fine until I tried to print. No ink. No paper. Sigh. Eventually, after Justin got home with supplies, I tried again, but our printer wouldn't work. I was so beat and ready to just have it done, so I went to Kinko's (yup, second time in one day, for those keeping score.) It was expensive but done.

Tuesday started out real boring for Em, but she was a good girl (mostly.) I had to meet my soon-to-be former principal at Valley to sign off on the Advocacy curriculum. We chatted a bit and Em kept herself occupied by drawing on the white board. After getting approval, we head to the district office to budget and then print services. Advocacy done (kinda, I'm meeting someone from Valley next week to discuss how to implement the program.) That afternoon we met Justin in downtown Sac for lunch, which was very fun. I was pretty bushed after that. However, I had to go home and cut paper for my sister's baby shower invitations.

Wednesday, I worked on the invitations, and in the afternoon took Em to hang out with our friends Janet and Clementine. It was nice to hang out, but I'm pretty low energy right now, so I don't know how much fun I was. Em seemed to enjoy herself.

Thursday was all about baby shower invites and cleaning up. Justin's parents were stopping by after a trip to Vegas, and Jerome, our longtime French friend, was also going to be in town. Luckily, before they came, I got the invitations done and addressed. We had a nice dinner and home.

So I enjoyed spending four days with my daughter this week on our own, but it was nice to have back-up again on Friday. I'm just so tired lately that it's hard for me to do a lot on my own with her. We went to the mall on Friday for some shopping, and I never would have survived that without Justin and Jerome.

Next week is my slow return to work "normal." I'm going to start Em back in daycare to get her back on a regular schedule, but we'll go slowly. I should be able to get her there at 8 or so and pick her up pretty early. She always gets so tired when she's back in daycare, so I thought a slower transition would be better. We'll see...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

One Secret Revealed

Ta-da! I am a vice principal.

Now, I've know this since June 25th, but my district likes to increase the tension as much as possible, so I wasn't allowed to say anything until the board approved me. Of course, I said it to some non-work-related people, but was tough.

I am very excited. It still doesn't feel real. I keep expecting a call: "Um, Hillary, we're sorry, but we made a mistake...Oops." I'm not sure when it will feel real. Maybe the meetings will help.

Oh, the meetings. Oh, the meetings.

Yes, I knew they were coming. I knew being a vice principal was not just about telling people what to do. But still. The meetings are terrible. The only thing to come out of a meeting--another meeting.

Don't get my wrong. I like to work hard. In fact, I am pretty much nonstop while at work. (At home is entirely another thing.) But I've come to the realization that "working hard" as a v.p. is wildly different than as a teacher.

As a teacher there is a simple formula for work: I teach, they learn, I figure out how much they actually learned (usually through painful essay reading), and we repeat until we are completely exhausted. And then there are the bells, the wonderful bells.

For the past decade, my life has existed in hour-long chunks. Now I am unsure what to do with myself. I am very worried that time management will be an issue. Yes, there are bells at my middle school, but they don't totally apply to me.

Wait, that's exciting.

Did I mention I get a walkie-talkie? :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Keeping Secrets

I have two really big secrets. It sucks.

One I can reveal next week, so stayed tuned. I have kept this one for over two weeks and I'm DYING.

The other is not really mine to tell. So I will wait.

Now, I am terrible at keeping secrets. I hate it. They eat me from the inside. So it's been an interesting experiment to see what a self-described-secret-destroyer does when she's the one with secrets.

My coping mechanism? Telling key people who I know can keep their mouths shut. They're not very happy with me, but then I am able to prevent myself from exploding.

And to be honest, the best part of secret having? The telling, of course. It's actually kind of fun to do a slow reveal. That way I can experience the joy over and over again. Very cool.

So, more to be revealed. Soon.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Return to Healthy Choices

It has been a whirlwind couple of months (scratch couple...a whirlwind six months.) Because of this, my focus on health and exercise has taken a back burner. During the school year, I was able to eat okay because of my schedule. Exercise really stopped happening around March.

To be honest, I probably wasn't eating enough and I know I wasn't getting enough vegetables and fresh items (I was the queen of Lean Cuisine.) Restricting my diet is a slippery slope for me because of my past eating issues.

So when summer started, I was not in a comfortable place with food, and some raging bad habits had resurfaced, like not eating enough during the week, and eating too much on the weekend. No balance.

This week I attempted to strike a balance. I ate well, making sure to eat fresh fruit and vegetables. I had a glass or two of wine most nights. And I exercised four times this week (Jillian Michaels = ouch.)

So today when I weighed myself and discovered I hadn't really lost any weight since I last weighed in two weeks ago, I felt fine about it. Honestly, I had probably gained weight while on vacation, but I didn't weigh myself last week to find out.

I'm heading into Fourth of July weekend with the plan of relaxing, having fun, splurging a bit, but still making sure I make choices I can be proud of.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Our 2010 Family Vacation

For the first time since Justin and I went to Canada with his parents in 2005, we actually took a vacation this summer. Not a trip to Redding or a short weekend in Vegas or Humboldt or anything holiday related. Nope, this was an honest-to-god, real vacation.

Yup, we went to Disneyland.

When Justin first suggested it this Spring, I thought he was crazy. (This is my typical reaction to his ideas sadly.) He used to take his students there every year, and he loved it. (20 8th graders for a week...see why I doubt his sanity?)

But we looked into it, and eventually I got on board the Disneyland-crazy train. The trip was not that expensive. I mean, we didn't go on the cheap. We stayed at the resort and got tickets for four days. But again, it has been FIVE years since we had a vacation. And this summer was going to be the best time for a vacation. Em is four. We don't have another little one. And neither Justin or I are working summer school. Plus, my mom agreed to go.

So we booked the trip and waited impatiently for the end of the school year, the end of my master's program, etc. Right before our vacation something wonderful/awful/strange happened. I got not one, but two vice principal interviews. Right.Smack.Dab.In.The.Middle.Of.Our.Vacation. Of course.

After a few tears (alright, a lot of tears) and whining about it being "not fair", Justin helped me grow a pair and get over myself. I asked if I could have a phone interview for high school, which was granted, and I arranged to fly in for middle school. Problem solved.

On Monday, we left at the butt-crack of dawn and drove from Elk Grove to Anaheim in six hours. (By we, I mean my husband drove. I sat in the back and watched Cars and Barbie Musketeers. I feel I contributed.)

We arrived at Disneyland at 2, and after some hotel-room debacles, we headed out to lunch (STARVING), and the park. I have to admit, that first day was pretty magical. I wasn't sure how Em would do on rides (we had a slightly traumatic experience on a fish ride at Funderland.) But Em loves rides, especially carousels and Dumbo. That girl could not get enough of Dumbo. Adorable. We went on It's a Small World, which brought back positive childhood memories of my first trip to Disneyland. And that night, Justin and I got to go out for drinks. Sweet!

Tuesday was my one full day, so we made the most of it. We took in the tea cups, Alice in Wonderland, Pirates of the Caribbean (well, mom and Justin did that one...Em not so much), and Winnie the Pooh. We headed back to the hotel for some pool time (Pro--poolside drinks. Awesome. Con--15 minute pool shut down cuz some kid pooped in the pool. Not awesome.) After pizza, we headed back to the park for Dumbo (told ya she loved it.) Em was pretty done at that point. So my mom and I went on Space Mountain and Pirates.

Wednesday was a weird day. It started with my phone interview for high school vice principal, which was a pretty awful experience. I felt very rambling and it was weird not knowing who the 12 people were in the room. Ugh. (I was later told that I did better than I thought I did, but that is another post.) Afterward, with my heart still thumping, we headed to California Adventure. We had made reservations for a princess lunch at Ariel's Grotto. Totally worth it. Em was enraptured. It was very adorable.

Wednesday afternoon I left for Sacramento, and Justin, my mom, and Em stayed for one more day in DL while I took care of some interview business (again, a story for another day.)

Now we are home and returning back to normal. It was a wonderful trip, but the best part of all was how much Em loved it. She had a great time, and it brings tears to my eyes to realize how grown up she is. We had a very special time with our little girl.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Update on the Crazy

So here's some updates on things:

I got my period last Thursday. So I'm starting to get closer to being almost regular. I still don't think I'm ovulating, but I have no actual science to back it up. Anyhoo, my period kicked my ass but at least it came. Whew!

We began the second week of swim classes with no tears (from Em or Mommy). Actually, there were tears when Em had to get out of the pool. It's cute to see her have so much fun. She's not much of a listen-to-the-teacher kinda gal, so we have things to work on.

On the job front, I have scheduled two job interviews next week. Yes, this is the week of our Disneyland trip (OF COURSE), but I was able to get one on the phone. The other one (the one I think I have a chance of getting) I will fly up for the one on Thursday. It is all very exciting news. Now I have to practice. And practice...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Very Strange Week

This week started okay, but it turned out to be very dramatic and significant. I am left feeling more than shell-shocked.

On Sunday, Justin's parents stopped by as they headed home to Redding from Visalia. We had a lovely evening, eating hamburgers and relaxing. They put Em to bed so we could watch a movie.

During the movie I got a text from a teacher at my high school. She told me that a student of mine had been shot and killed at a graduation party. I am not overstating it when I say that my heart broke.

D'andre was the first student I've lost, and it has shaken me to the core. I cannot believe that he is gone. I taught him my first year at Valley and he was a god-send to me. He was funny, kind, and, unlike most of his peers, not interested in pissing me off. Yes, he was hot-headed at times. But he matured a lot over the past three years, so it was terribly shocking to hear that he died in such a violent way.

In the midst of all of this, I had an interview to get ready for. D'andre's death strengthened my resolve. Not to sound corny, but we really don't know how much time we have left. So I'm not interested in spending it all crying and wringing my hands. I gots things to do.

So I interviewed for an admin position at Cosumnes Oaks High School. I thought I did well; I know my answers were solid, but my voice shook in a couple places. That was the kiss of death. For some reason, appearing nervous during an interview in my district means everything. Part of me (the bitter part mostly) finds this really annoying. Do they really expect one to not be nervous?! None of the people interviewing had a ton of experience, so if a person is super confident doesn't that reveal a bit of arrogance? Cuz that's what we want--more arrogant admin.

As you can probably deduce, I did not get the job. But the director I spoke to on the phone said she was sending my name forward for vice principal interviews. This was very exciting news. Last year I couldn't even get invited to the dang party, and now this. It's all very lovely.

Of course, there is one potential, huge snag. A friend of mine, who may also be invited to the show, told me that the vp interviews will be June 23rd and 24th, right smack dab in the middle of our Disneyland vacation. Ugh.

I am hoping she is wrong, or that something changes in the next two weeks, but I find that unlikely. Again, ugh.

So, as I finish up this last crazy emotional week, I am repeating a few key ideas so that I don't go completely bonkers and starting banging my head into the wall:

1. Unlike the dozens of people who are saying awful things about D'andre's murder online, I really knew him. And I was lucky to.
2. My students the last three years, including D'andre, have taught me not to apologize for myself and what I want.
3. There are these things called airplanes, so if necessary, I can fly up for an interview and fly back. Annoying yes, but possible.
4. I got very positive attention during my interview. I am in the right place, and I am doing the right things.

So, yes, my inner mantras are a bit long-winded, but that's how crazy my mind is right now. I need some serious talking to. That's today's plan. :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I=annoyed as heck right now. And it is all my body's fault. (Yes, odd, I know that I disassociate myself with my own body, but whatever.)

May 7th, finally, I got my period after being off the pill since March. It was the first time I ever remember being happy about getting my period.

So, I noted the time, and moved on.

Well, it's after June 7th. Not pregnant. Meaning my body is still not "regular."

This is very frustrating. Yes, I know it can take up to a year for things to get regular, but I am not known for my patience.

So, I repeat myself: ARGH.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I'm on Vacation?

Cuz it sure didn't feel like it! For a four-day week that was supposed to begin summer vacation for me, it was quite a doozy.

Actual Memorial Day was nice. Justin's parents were here, and we went out to lunch. Later, a couple friends came over to help us with left overs. It was much less frantic than the rest of the weekend (we had a HUGE party for my graduation and Em's birthday.)

Tuesday wasn't shabby either. I got a massage. I'm using up this coupon for a salon in our neighborhood that Justin got me for Valentine's Day. So far I've had a facial (surprisingly nice), manicure (underwhelming), and Tuesday was the massage. It was very nice, but I am always mystified that people would go into a profession in which they are required to touch people.

Wednesday is when things got wonky. First, I had an application due for a job in Elk Grove. We had no ink, so I had to rush over to Kinko's, then over to the district office to turn it in, then to my old school to pick up a letter of rec for another position. In the meantime, I was trying to get Em ready for a short trip to the Bay Area.

The rest of Wednesday was nice. Em and I saw Shrek 3 with my mom, went out to dinner, and got some frozen yogurt.

Thursday I dropped off Em at my cousin Beth's because I was going to visit my old school and participate in an end-of-the-year activity they do with their 8th graders. It was great to see everyone, and I needed a reminder what middle schoolers are like, considering that I am aiming for a middle school admin job.

It was a good day, but it was a lot of driving. First, an hour to Milpitas, then an hour back. Then, after a very eventful, not so awesome dinner at Mimi's, Em and I head back to Sac, so that was another hour or so in the car. I was done.

But Friday I needed to not be done. I needed to be focused. Friday was a big day; I had three admin applications due yesterday. The typical application requires a resume, credential copy, three letters of rec, and a letter of intent. I have been an applying machine, so I had everything ready but the letters of intent.


I hate writing letters of intent.

Some might tell you that they are not important, but I don't think I would agree. This year I have applied for 8 admin positions. For four of them, I've used a pretty generic letter of intent. And got zero response. So I decided to take a different tack. For these letters, I included research and specific comments about the district/school. It was a good idea, but it was a long process. Yesterday, I worked on my applications from 7 to three. Like a work day.

But at least my "work day" ended with a call saying I have a job interview in Elk Grove.


Dang it! Now I have to get a suit. There goes my Saturday. Well, it's a happy problem. :)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Well, Some Lady is Singing Somewhere...

Because my current "adventure" at Valley High School is over. I taught my last class on Wednesday and cleaned out my class room on Friday. I still have to turn in my keys, and I have a couple little things to manage over the next couple of weeks. Not to mention all the letters of recommendation I will need to pick up...ugh.

Several weeks ago, I was beyond distraught. It was very hard for me not to cry if the topic of my lay-off came up. And I was angrier than all get out. I'm pretty sure I started manufacturing venom.

Then, about two weeks ago, something strange happened. I stopped caring so much about losing my job. I'm not sure what it was: being super happy about my graduation, applying to a ton of admin jobs, staying up too late watching the Lost series finale, etc. But all of sudden, the tears stopped. (And most of the venom too.)

I had lots of "tear" tests this weeks, but so far my cheeks have remained dry. First, my first class I taught at Valley graduated. I went to graduation, which I haven't done before. It was actually really cool, and it was awesome to see the kids so happy, but nope, no tears.

Then, I said good-bye to all my classes. I cleaned out my room. I had the "final" lunch with my friends. I even found out who is teaching Honors English 10 next year. Through it all, I remained smiling. And it wasn't a fake smile. I told my kids that everything will work out, and amazingly enough, I believe it.

Don't get me wrong, I still have panicky moments. And I'm sure that if I don't get interviews out of my applications that I will be UNHAPPY. (Watch out for venom below.) But I actually experienced a thrill of excitement a few moments ago when I realized that the whole summer is mine. Well, Emerson's, and Justin's, and mine, but you get the idea.

So, here's to the end. I may go back, but I kinda don't think so. It's been a good, sometimes rocky, three years. I know that I am a stronger person and teacher for having worked at Valley. It was hard to leave my safe haven of Milpitas, but I'm really happy I stuck through the difficult times. I have been a very lucky teacher.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

This year my career has been all about opposites. 40 things due in one day; the next week, relative calm. No admin jobs posted; then in two days, six jobs posted. Ack! I'm the little yo-yo that could this year.

This end-of-spectrum effect is especially true with my teaching schedule. On one end, I teach the supposedly most skilled students of the 10th grade--English 10 Honors. On the other end, I teach the so-called "intervention" 9th graders. One would think that both groups of students are polar opposites. Yes, that way mostly true. Except for one aspect.

Both groups think everyone wants to hear their opinions all the effing time.

These opinions, on a range of scintillating topics such as the teacher's clothing choices and every single assignment given to them, are issued at lightening speed with each individual student shouting their view simultaneously.


The 9th graders opinions tend to center on things they don't understand. Truly, they mean to ask questions; they just don't realize it. The honors kids actually bug me more because they don't know what they don't know. In other words, they've grown too big for their britches.

I have found myself giving my standard lecture about opinions to both groups REPEATEDLY. Version 1 (the kinder, Ms Harrell had plenty of coffee rendition) goes along like: "After spending 31 years on this lovely planet of ours, I have come to the conclusion that only one person wishes to hear my opinion." Insert pregnant pause here as my students still have no idea where this is going. "Me. Yup, I'm the only one. And you will find this is true for you too, I imagine." Version 2 (the Ms Harrell has answered the same question literally 55 times) is much shorter: "Opinions are like butt-holes; everyone has one." Enough said.

Recently, I have found me giving myself the same talking too. As I am sure everyone within shouting distance is aware, I have lost my job. Yes, it is because of no fault of my own. Yes, I have experienced a tough break.

However, my opinions are best kept to myself, as 90% of what I want to say about this situation is bitter and mean. MEAN.

So, in order to avoid being one of those haggish English teachers I hate, I am going to keep my mouth closed as much as possible. This will be a tall order, as I love to hear myself talk and my anger has whittled my sarcasm to a razor's edge.

However, if this truly is going to be my last teaching job for a while, if I truly am not going to be able to be an influence on children in the near future, I better make sure that the influence I currently have is positive.


So I here I sit, with my mouth closed. Yup, those are my teeth you hear gritting together...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

It's hard to believe that it's been a year already since last Mother's Day. The days go by quickly. I think I'm in a reflective mood because last year's Mother's Day was so different from this weekend.

Firstly, last year we were rather home bound because I had class the day before, my last class for the semester. I was pretty exhausted and ready to have a break. That night Justin and I celebrated with mango-chipotle margaritas, a choice I paid for the next day. Tasty, but ouchy.

Secondly, the weather was gorgeous last year, so we took a picnic to William Land Park in Sacramento. Justin got a bunch of salads and made some sandwiches. It was very pleasant. Then I went home and took a nap.

This year Mother's Day has quite the wintry feel to it. The day started out blustery and it's actually been raining quite a bit. Justin, Em, and I headed to Old Sac for lunch and fudge. Mmmmmm, fudge. We're back home now, and Justin is making stew. I'm looking forward to some scrap booking, reading, and maybe even a nap. (Somethings stay the same.)

The biggest difference is that my sister is a mommy-to-be, which adds a new, fun element to the day. It is very exciting to think of her having a son. We saw her, and my mom, yesterday, and she seems so happy. Fingers crossed that the weather stays mild for her.

So Happy Mother's Day to all the mommies out there! Have a lovely, if albeit chilly, day.

Friday, April 30, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Yes, you can imagine where this is going. The thing is, I am not a huge fan of lemonade, in either the literal or metaphorical sense. I would like to think of myself as a positive person, but when it comes down to it, I am a worry-wart big time.

Right now, however, I am trying to make an effort to focus on the positive. This is for several reasons. One, I know that things are not as bad as they look; I just tend to focus so fully on the negative that I can't see the positive. Two, I do have really exciting things happening now and I'd hate to spoil them.

So, here's my lemons:

Lemon 1--The Job Situation

I don't have a job next year. I have tenure. However, this is the first time that it really looks like I won't be offered a job back until summer, potentially until August. If that is the case, I will need to clean out my room, pack things up, and say good-bye to the school I've worked at for three years. Yes, it has not been an easy three years, and I am okay with moving on, but I hate not knowing where I will move on.

My Attempt at Lemonade:

I keep telling my kids (and myself) that I am a free agent. I am well-educated and experienced. There will be something next year. I hate the idea of interviewing for an English position; I thought at this point I'd be focusing on admin jobs. But my husband did get his job back, so that's a decrease in our stress level. COBRA is being partially subsidized, so that's another issue resolved.

Lemon 2--The Baby Situation

I wanted to get pregnant last year, but Justin and I decided to wait until he was done with his first year teaching and I had finished my masters. So I was very excited this winter when Justin told me he was ready to start trying. In March I went off the pill, all ready to go. Then I talked to my doctor, and she told me it can take up to six months just to get your period after the pill. So it's been a month and a half. I have a ways to wait. I hate waiting. My body feels like dog doo and I am getting anxious waiting for any sign of a period.

My attempt at Lemonade:

This is really not a good time for being pregnant. I know that. I know that if I were to get pregnant now, I would be angry because the job situation would be taking away from the experience. On an intellectual level, I know my stress about being unable to conceive is unfounded. Also, I do want to be available for my sister this summer as she prepares for her first kid. Me throwing up every five seconds might hamper that effort.

Part of my need to focus on reality is that I just finished my masters. This is something I've always wanted to do, and I actually did it. There were moments that I thought I couldn't, but I finished the dang thing. I really don't want anything to take away from my happiness at finishing the program.

So here I am, ready to take a big gulp of lemonade. Sigh...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Feeling Da Funk

Two months ago, I went off the pill and became one of those "Actively Trying" people (as labeled by the BabyCenter website; sidenote--if you want to read wacky, go to that site. My goodness.)

At first I was excited to plan for our next child, especially since the first was a surprise. I read up on ovulation since I had forgotten everything I learned in 7th grade science. It was a little embarrassing to not know anything about my own body, but luckily the wonderful internet quickly reminded me of all the particulars. Oh, the internet.

Again, at first I was excited. And then I remembered, oh right, I am NOT patient. Planning anything stresses me out. Delayed gratification is not my thing. Not so fun.

So back to the beginning, I went off the pill. A week later I had what I thought was a period. Okay. I tried to plan off of that. 14 days exactly after the first day of my period, I felt the pains I've always associated with ovulation. Okay. Good. I calculated my next period to be around April 22nd. Good deal.

Well, it's April 26th. No period, and no cause to celebrate. The four pregnancy tests I've taken this week have said "Not pregnant" in bold and, I think, rather judgemental, words. (Again, I = NOT PATIENT.)

Earlier this week, I thought I felt my period coming and I have certainly had what my husband would call killer PMS (not to my face of course because he would die.) But no period.

So I called Kaiser today to schedule an appointment. It's been almost two years since my last OBGYN visit, so it seemed prudent any ways to make sure the plumbing is all good and ready to go. First appointment--May 26th. Yeah, a freaking month away. Nice.

Now begins the time when I have a stern talking-to with myself. I'll just stop drinking. I'll relax (ha!), try to get more exercise, enjoy my new freedom from school, and BREATHE. Everything will work out. (And repeat 90,000 times.)

So that's where I am at. Planning is sooooo fun. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Recent Pictures

It's been a while since I posted some pictures of us and our ever growing extended family.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

El Fin

As of Friday, I have completed my master's project. I sent in one little thing to my professor, and that was it.

Well, kinda.

The head of the department needs to read it, and then give my professor the thumbs up, and in turn my professor will give me the green light to get my project printed.

I'm sure that is going to be F-U-N.

But happily I have made it this far. At the beginning of the semester, I thought all of this would never happen.

Here are a few things I discovered about finishing my Masters:

1. iTunes genius is possibly the best musical invention ever. You pick a song and it develops a play list just for you. Awesome.

2. It is possible to have a splitting headache so bad that you need to close one eye and still type.

3. Summaries are always boring.

4. Microsoft is a fickle b. One day it solves all your problems, the next weird crap happens that defies all explanation.

5. I have the best family (this isn't actually a new discovery, more of a big, fat, wonderful reminder.)

6. As with most educational pursuits, it is possible to bore the heck out of yourself and everyone around you. Don't believe me, just watch the eye rolls when you start a sentence with "My thesis..."

7. I can get anything done if I think I can save myself money. (Another semester??? Ha!)

8. I really miss exercise.

9. I really miss being outside.

10. Despite all my whining, higher education isn't a complete waste of time. I do feel proud. Exhausted but proud.

Well, now I am off to enjoy the rest of my weekend.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

It's April?!? When did that happen?!?

For me, two months are never-ending. I blame it on teaching, but October and March can be deadly. My dad laughs because those are the only two months in which I have no holidays. Yes, teachers do have really good breaks. But trust me, we need them.

So October this year was really long. In fact, all of semester one was really long. But after winter break, semester two is going by quickly. This was the fastest March of my teaching career.

There are a couple reasons for this. One, my spring break was the last week of March. (This is a good thing now, but April could get long with no breaks.) Two, my thesis is due in April. Well, a rough draft is due.

In fact, it's due in 12 days.


But panic aside, I'm doing well. I've written all four chapters. I'm working on the last major part. My professor sent me back a copy of my chapters. I'm scared to look at it, but he didn't say anything in his message that caused me panic.

And, when my energy lags, I keep telling myself: less than two months until school is over. Less.Than.Two.Months. It's insane how close to the end we are. And lovely. :)

Now, I just hope my husband and I get our lay-off notices rescinded before May 15...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Final March

March is finally coming to a close. Actually, the month is going quite quickly. I'm not sure if this is because I have a huge project due soon, or if nine years of teaching has built up my tolerance. Either way, I'm feeling rather at ease.

Yes, my project is due for my master's thesis very soon. Yes, I have a ton of work to do before that. But I know pretty much everything I need to do to finish. I see myself being exhausted, but I can visualize myself actually finishing my masters. It's pretty dang exciting.

I can't believe that it's been over two years since I applied to the admin credential program. It was a rather random choice of mine, actually. In typical Hillary fashion, I got tired of waiting for my husband to make a decision so I just made one of my own. Yes, it was rather hasty, but I felt the urge to change. I'm not sure if it was because of my discomfort at being in a new district, but I felt the need to prove myself.

The past two years have been extreme. First, my classes were intense. Within the first month, I regretted my choice. But then I survived. But my classes, and Justin's, took a huge toll on our lives and budget. We will literally be paying for this choice of mine for years. Ouch.

However, I will be the first person in my generation, on my mom's side, to earn a master's degree. It's a big deal, and I feel really good about it. Especially as I get closer to May.

This week I didn't get a ton done on my project, but that needs to change this upcoming week. It's Spring break and I need to spend the majority of it finishing my project. My self-imposed date to turn in my final draft to my professor is April 16th.

Time to stop blogging; time to start writing. :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Marching to the Beat

Of my own, cranky, tired drum. This week actually included quite a bit of personal, quiet time. On one level, it was wonderful; on another, it was frustrating that I did not get more work done.

This week at school we had the Ca High School Exit Exam on Tuesday and Wednesday. We gave the test to our 10th graders in the morning, so from 8 to 11 both days I had my class room all to myself. It was beautiful. I did not clean my desk off as I had planned, but I did do a bunch of planning and other stuff. It was really nice.

Also, I drove to Sac state twice this week to work on my thesis, so I got lots of time in the car to listen to the news. It wasn't terribly productive, but I got to chat with people from my credential program. That was nice.

In general, I have been hiding out in my room a lot. It's really depressing at work, partly because of all the surprise pink slips. People are really bummed out and unhappy. Also, we found out this week that a former student was killed very close to our campus. I did not know the young man, but it is horrible anytime a young person's life is lost in such a tragic, senseless way. Furthermore, I have a feeling that the situation is not resolved. Lying low seems like a good idea.

In terms of my thesis, work is progressing. The next couple weeks will be very intense, but I am moving along nicely. I hope to get some work done this weekend because we are actually staying in town for the first time in six weeks. This work week involves some time consuming things, like Open House and a union meeting, but it should be pretty straight forward. Then I have Spring break.

I can't believe that March is more than half over; it feels like we just started the month. But I am happy with how productive I've been despite how tired I am. Yes, I wish I was eating better. Yes, I wish I remember what it felt like to exercise. But I am comforted to know that this "march" will soon be over.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Marching One By One...

Hurrah! Hurrah!

This week I did feel like a little ant. Every accomplishment was a HUGE mountain to climb. I felt ready to be overwhelmed by a giant flood or avalanche at any minute. And it was one long march.

Last Saturday, my dad came over and made pizzas with Em. Justin and I went to see Alice In Wonderland in 3-D, which made me feel old and silly. Nothing like putting 3-D glasses over your own glasses to make you feel like a dork. But it was a good movie.

On Sunday, we drove to Williams to drop Em off with her grandparents. Our daycare provider was on vacation last week, so Em got to spend a week with her cousins and my sister-in-law. While I hated being without her, I am so glad that she was able to have a great time.

I worked on Advocacy lessons on the laptop all the way up to Williams and all the way back. Then, I worked for another 3 hours or so at home while Justin slept off a nasty cold he's had for weeks. But I was able to finish my last Advocacy lessons for the year.

We went out to dinner at a cheap Chinese place (not so good, btw), and that started three days of poor culinary choices. We went out to dinner both Monday and Tuesday nights, but luckily we were able to go to restaurants that we like but that Emerson does not--sushi and a Mexican bistro with skeleton paintings on the walls. By Wednesday, I was sure I had gained five pounds and not written a lick of my thesis.

Wednesday and Thursday Justin kept me focused on writing. It was very annoying (especially when he threatened to shut off the internet), but I was able to go from 22 pages to 33.

Friday started out well, but then I got a surprise. Even though I'm a tenured teacher in my district and the district is not eliminating Eng positions, I got a pink slip. I was expecting it a little, but I had really hoped it wouldn't come.

After the pink slip bombshell, I was ready to leave for Redding to see Em. We stayed the night at Justin's and then headed home. Lucky Justin had to chaperone a dance last night. While I was bummed for him, I was happy that for the first time in six weeks, I was at home on a Saturday night. Em and I had a girls' evening. We made pesto pasta and watched a Barbie Mermaid movie. It was a good deal.

Today I hope to get some work done on my thesis. Later today, Em and I have a birthday party at Build-A-Bear.

This little ant needs to march herself to the shower.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

March Forth

So I shared a really stupid joke with my kids the other day on March 4th. I told them it was the only day of the year that is a verbal phrase--March forth! Very lame.

However, it's a suitable battle cry for where I am now. February (also known as the month of No Calories Left Behind) is finally over. Yes, all the celebrations (Justin's b-day, my father-in-law's, my mom's, and our anniversary) are fun, but now they are over. March is finally here.

I'm not religious, but March does take on a rather Lent-ish feel. It's the month where I start to get my focus back. I march forth. Slowly, but surely I work my way to the end of the school year. I'm always pretty exhausted right now, so it's all about incremental accomplishments. Step by step.

Here are my upcoming steps:

1. Turn in my last set of Advocacy lessons for the year (Thank Gawd!)
2. Rescue my poor desk at work from its paper infection (Oh, yes, I totally want to each HONORS English--idiot.)
3. Finish my literature review for my thesis and put an end to research once and for all (I'm sure this is an untrue statement, but it feels good to lie to myself.)

Observant readers will notice no goals for diet or exercise. I will try to exercise (this week was a stunning failure...only an hour for the whole week), but I need to be honest with myself. My thesis is a HUGE time suck, and it's really easy to beat myself up over not exercising enough. That will just have to wait.

So, here we go. One step (however begrudgingly) at a time.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Progress 3

This was my first five-day week in awhile. I wasn't thrilled about that, but I actually got some stuff done, which was good. Not everything I should have, of course.

Thesis: I did okay this week, but not great. In fact, I need to do some serious work this weekend. I tried to work on Sunday, but I felt wiped out, so mostly I just napped. Monday and Wednesday I did well. Thursday and Friday--not so much. Well, I'm planning on getting at least two hours done today and most of tomorrow afternoon. We'll see...

Work: I feel like all I did during my prep was grade and there is still a pile as big as Ripley on my desk. So sad. Also, I need to get my Advocacy lessons done; they're planned, just not printed out. Sigh. The one bright-ish spot is that I'm probably not getting laid off, but there is a distinct possibility that I could have to move schools. I am so fine with that. New=good.

Family: Thursday was our anniversary, but we didn't do much. We're celebrating it tonight. We did have dinner at BJ's, which started out well. The evening ended quickly, however, because Em FREAKED out over a necklace. Nice. My sister and brother in law are coming over later today to watch Em and Justin and I are staying tonight in Sac. He's planned everything, so it should be really nice.

Social Life: Text messaging your friends does not count as a social life.

Health/Exercise: Still didn't learn from the Thursday thing. Exercised Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday. Totally not as much as I wanted to, but I re-lost the two pounds I gained last week. March should be better...

See ya next week!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Progress 2

Another week has passed, and I am that much closer to my thesis deadline.

Thesis: Actually got a lot done over the weekend. Organized my research and wrote five pages, bringing my total to 20 pages for chapter two. Met with my professor, who said I'm doing a good job. Have done "nothing" else since.

Work: I am seriously considering taking my class room phone off the hook. The dang thing rings every period and there is always a difficult question to answer on the other line. I really don't know how I have become the answer to people's problems. But there I am. Ugh. Had an important meeting on Friday that could potentially lead to an admin job, so of course my weird skin thing popped up again. AWESOME.

Family: Heading to Concord today for my mom's birthday. Our anniversary is this week. Still no plans. The idea of booking a hotel room simply for napping seems intriguing.

Social Life: I did get to go out with a friend from work for dinner before our basketball duty last night. Does that count?

Health/Exercise: Started out strong on the exercise this week, but then peetered out. Don't think leaving exercise til Thursday is a wise idea. Gained two pounds. I blame the fon-don't from Valentine's. In fact, I blame my face for that too. It's a good scapegoat.

Alright, I need to get going. See ya next week.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Valentines' Haiku

When fondue becomes a fon-don't:

Fondue tonight, yes?
Clumpy, stinky mess, alas
Must take a shower

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Since I am now working on my master's thesis (SIGH), I think the blogging will have to be more short and sweet, to the point. (Again, SIGH).

So here's my progress this week:

Thesis: Since Sunday, worked almost 7 hours on it. Wrote a super rough draft of chapter 1 (haven't heard back from advisor...ugh.) Still researching for chapter 2 and have much more to do on that front. The research is actually the fun part.

Work: My student teacher got a sub job at my school. Awesome for her. A bummer for her slacker master teacher. Now I get my freshman back. Fantastic. I have a ton of crap to do at work (grading, Advocacy lessons, etc.) None of it is enjoyable. I am a big baby.

Family: Emerson and Justin are both in full recovery from their illness, and things at home are back to normal. Normal=crazy busy. February is a wacko month with Justin's b-day, his dad's b-day, my mom's b-day, and our anniversary. By the time we finish it, we are fatter and poor.

Social Life: Ha! Check with me in March.

Health/Exercise: I didn't do so awesome on the exercise front this week, but I did lose two pounds. And then I had a chocolate covered strawberry for breakfast. Whoops.

Thanks for listening. See you in a week.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Finally! I Surprised my Husband!

I mean, other than the time I told him I was pregnant. But that surprise was kinda his fault anyways. :)

But this time I surprised him in a totally fun way that will not lead to me being fat and horrible for nine months. And I am quite proud of myself.

My husband and I have been together for nine years, and his birthday has always been an issue between us. First, he always lies and says he doesn't want anything. For the first five years I believed him. I've stopped doing that.

Second, he tells me what he wants for his birthday and he is very specific. He is one of those people who know what they want and have really good taste. I am not, so when he buys me presents, I am always surprised because I would never buy what he gets me for myself. Many times he buys his own present, like this Christmas when he got hiking boots. Sigh.

Third, he can always guess what I am doing. I am going to attribute this to his powers of observation and not my complete lack of guile. Works for me.

This year I decided I would do the following:

1. Not listen to his lies about not wanting to do anything
2. Plan an event, not a present
3. Keep my dang mouth shut

And hey, my plan worked!

A friend of ours had told me about a restaurant in Elk Grove, The Boulevard Bistro. It's a really cute little place that has been converted from a house in old Elk Grove. Justin and I had actually checked out their menu, but we had done it so long ago that I knew it was a safe pick.

I called up the restaurant and explained that my husband really loves food and that I would love to surprise him with a wonderful meal. (I did not explain also that if I tried to make that wonderful meal myself that I would just stress him out.)

I spoke with the chef and he put together a fixed priced menu just for Justin and I. I thought when they first offered the idea that it would just be whatever they had planned for that evening. Nope, it went way beyond that. The chef asked me what Justin liked in the ways of meat, preparation, and wine. Then he developed a menu all around that.

The three intervening weeks were a bit torturous for me. I kept almost letting the cat out of the bag, especially when Justin would goad me. I left red herrings everywhere, so that by the time we got to his birthday, he thought we were going to a steak house in Sac.

Justin's parents came over to watch Em, and Justin's dad dropped us off at the restaurant. It felt a bit like a high school date, but I knew that we would both have a lot of wine. I thought it was a safe bet.

When we got to the restaurant, Justin was very surprised by the menu, and we were very please by it when in started to roll out. The chef came out and introduced himself: he is the chef and owner and takes much pride in the food he prepares.

We begun the meal with champagne and a ravioli appetizer. Then, we had sea bass and asparagus. I think I liked the fish better than Justin, but we were both huge fans of the blood-orange cream sauce. Then we had a salad with micro greens and fried goat cheese. At first, I felt I goofed in not telling the chef that Justin doesn't like goat cheese, but he actually liked the salad.

Then we hit the jack pot--duck two ways: confit and foie gras. It was to die for. I'm still thinking about it. The meal concluded with steak, perfectly cooked, and a delicious chocolate torte and cheesecake. It was quite an experience.

All in all I was very pleased with my endeavor to surprise Justin. February is such a busy month for us that I wanted to make sure he felt special and paid attention to. I think I accomplished my goal. :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

One Weird, Long Week

Most Fridays I am beyond thrilled that the week is over. This is especially true since I've stopped having classes on Saturdays. But this week takes the cake. It has truly been one of the longest weeks I've experienced this school year.

It started out okay. On Sunday we had family over for a friend's birthday party the night before. Em seemed to not be feeling well, which concerned me, but it seemed like normal kid over excitement. She woke up with a little fever; again, not terribly worrisome because she and I get fevers over nothing. We're hot. :)

We went to breakfast, which was good, but loud and tiring. We came back home and Emerson really didn't seem okay. She took a nap, which is always weird. I wasn't hugely concerned because we had Monday off. I thought that would be plenty of time for her to get over whatever bug she had.

Monday went by and it became very apparent that I was not going to be able to go to work on Tuesday. Emerson's fever never went away and she started to get a terrible cough. So I started in on the preparations for missing a day of work. Called my student teacher, got a sub, and emailed my plans. I also was desperately hoping my desk wasn't a total disaster.

It was a good call to have Em skip day care; she woke up with a 102.5 fever. She spent most of the day watching cartoons, coughing, and being really out of it. I gave Kaiser a call just to be on the safe side, and they set up a phone appointment for the next day because they thought she just had a bad cold.

Tuesday afternoon was a bit hectic. I took Em to school because I had to teach my 8th period. I wasn't sure how much I'd be out this week, and it's important to get a certain number of hours in with my kids. Also, I had to dress up for a board meeting that night. Those of us who finished our admin credential were recognized by the board. It was a nice, positive evening, but it was also a LONG evening. I got home at 8:30 completely wiped out.

I decided to stay home with Emerson again on Wednesday, and in hind sight it might have been better for Justin to do so. He had a rough day. The power went out at his school, his principal dealt with it poorly, and it was so chaotic that Justin ended up with his cell phone stolen. Sigh.

Emerson was getting no better on Wednesday, so I had to become pushy with Kaiser. One nurse I spoke to was particularly condescending; I kept telling her that something seemed wrong, but she kept telling me to wait for my phone appointment with Em's doctor. So I did. As soon as I spoke with the doctor on the phone and explained Em's symptoms, she had me come in.

The actual doctor's visit was quite exhausting for both Em and me. We had to wait for the doctor, go to the x-ray, and come back upstairs for the doctor. Emerson was in the worst mood and really wiped out. I found out why once we went back upstairs. She has pneumonia. Ugh.

I felt vindicated because I was right, but I also felt terrible for my baby girl. I was very hopeful that the antibiotics would help. Of course, a prescription meant one more trip down stairs to the pharmacy. The line there is always super long, and to add insult to injury, I was forced to listen to one of the most inane teenage conversations.

Thursday Justin stayed with Emerson and I made an appearance at work. Luckily, I have really good kids and a great student teacher, so they had been fine without me. The day was filled with both professional disappointment and potential. I got a letter from Lodi Unified saying that I did not get an interview for an assistant principal position. But at the same time, I had heard a few weeks back about a potential position at a local high school. It was (and is a remote) possibility, but I jumped on the opportunity and cold emailed the principal. Luckily, my gamble worked and the opportunity is becoming more solid. Again, it's not a sure bet, but I feel like I'm moving in the right direction.

Today I am home with Em. We slept in, which was greatly needed by both of us. I think she's pretty bored, but I'm running out of ideas of how to entertain a kid who shouldn't be running around. I put her down for a nap. I need to clean up the house a bit. Oh, and maybe change out of my PJ's. Just maybe...