Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"thank Jacob..."

Just as I was wondering if I was doing anything right, if I was teaching Jacob anything at all, I got warm fuzzies tonight. We were driving back from our Families Supporting Adoption meeting tonight and it was late. The meeting went from 7-9, and I had taken the kids since I expected it would only last one hour. I turned around, and talking to Jacob, asked him if he was tired. "Yes." "When we get home, do you want to go to bed?" "Yes." Nathan and I started talking, and then I noticed Jacob talking to himself. Not abnormal. At all. I turned around, and saw him sitting in his car seat, with his arm folded. His head was bowed the Mormon-kid way (chin touching chest, eyes looking as high up as they can see) and I just heard the end of his prayer: "Nank (thank) Mommy. Nank Daddy. Name of Jesus. Christ. Amen!" And when I go to bed tonight, I will be saying a lot of "thanks for Jacobs". He's getting it.

Works for Me Wednesday: Keep in Touch

I take pictures of the boys. Lots and lots of pictures. Nathan and I each have grandparents that like to see those pictures, but they don't have access to computers. Costco Photo Center to the rescue! Costco has the cheapest prices per print (17 cents) that we've found, plus FREE shipping - no matter where the pictures are going, and no matter how many prints you've ordered. It makes it super easy to pick 10 or 15 pictures a month and send them off to grandma - no running to the store, no looking for stamps and no worrying about having appropriate sized envelopes on hand. It works for me! (as a sidenote: it's a lifesaver for me to be able to order or re-order whichever prints I want without ever leaving my home and having them come straight to me. I don't scrapbook, but it sure makes keeping photo albums up-to-date a piece of cake!) Get more great ideas at Shannon's, the Works for Me Wednesday Home!

Monday, May 29, 2006

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I generally hate picking titles for posts. I'm just not witty or conscise enough. Plus, there's so much swirling in my head right now, so I don't know what's actually going to get typed out. I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a successful parent. More precisely, I've been wondering how to make sure I can get through the day not feeling like a failure as a parent at least six times. (what? only six times?) And I've decided I have absolutely no idea at this point how to satisfy myself in that regard. Sure, I could wax philosphical and talk about how my husband thinks that "as long as your kids know they can talk to you about anything, you're successful". Sure, that's probably one mark of a successful parent. But I'm talking about there here. The now. I'm not the fun parent. I'm the parent who lays down the law-and-don't-you-think-for-a-second-that-I'm-joking-when-I-say-do- not-wiggle-in-time-out-buddy. I'm the parent who, when asked to "play trains!" takes the GeoTracks track and builds a circle because that's all my brain is capable of, which is NOT! good! ENOUGH! and then we must screech at the very TOP of our lungs and at the TOP of the sound barrier and bang our head against walls to further demonstrate our displeasure with said circle train track; because if Dad! were here, he would build me something that looked like a roller coaster at Great America and why aren't you dad! I'm the parent who, when asked to "make dinosaur, Mommy!" with the Legos, builds something that makes my almost-2 year old cry because THAT...that - that is NOT a dinosaur, and I will SCREECH again to show you how terrible your un-dinosaur is. I am the parent who, when trying to save that very same almost-two-year-old from running away at a very crowded outdoor festival on Memorial Day, is greeted with more! of the screeching! The very, very loud screeching. And by the way - I will now hit you because I am not allowed to run free! Hit! Screech! Kick! Throw! Head-bang! I am two and will show you ten different ways that I can act two in the next three seconds! Three! I know I am not a complete failure. I am able to turn the television on and find WonderPets and Sesame Street and Wiggles on the Tivo, which makes me very successful as a mother in the eyes of my son. I am able to fetch markers and paper and apple juice when screeched at. I can write a "W" (Jacob's current favorite letter) on the paper with those markers over and over and over again. I can sing some good songs, read some fun books, and I give a good hug when that very rowdy, very lively toddler finally decides to cuddle for a half of a nano-second (usually it's because he's hurt or just plain exhausted). I just want to know that when I'm being fun, he's really caring. I want to know that when I'm laying down the law, just a little bit might be getting through. I want to know that all this caring and working and trying and hoping is going to pay off. And I just don't know. But this I do know: summer is here. Our Memorial Day weekend was fabulous. Sonoma. Train Town (Jacob heaven). Pancake breakfast. Fantastic Monday bbq with incredible friends. An art and kite festival that I look forward to every single year and which never lets me down. Time spent with my three boys. The pink sting of the years first (thankfully light) sunburn. Now for the pedicure I've put off for the past 3 years...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Thanks for the prettty!

Nathan spent over an hour last night showing me some of the very basics of this HTML stuff. I have this vision in my head for this site, and have been waiting for a long time to get pretty. This, of course, is no where near that vision, but doesn't it just say "summer is here!" to you? And it's much more cheerful than navy blue. Thanks, Nathan! (and Stacy, my sister, for a last minute color consult)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

First Love

One day, I might get the daughter I dream of having. One day, she might ask me about my first love. And I'll giggle a 45 year old womans giggle while I remember being five years old. My daughter and I, we'll lie on our backs on the sweet green grass and watch the clouds and I'll tell her.

It was at this school:
At a playground that looked nothing like this:
I had long, shiny hair. Almost black. Two braids; one coming off each side of my oval head. I remember denim. A skirt. Probably a red top. With a collar. This was 1980, after all. And knee socks. Good grief, there were knee socks. Navy blue shoes that buckled so they could stay on tight as I ran. I ran in circles around that playground chasing Brandon. Brandon Drew. I ran so fast after him I'm surprised my freckles didn't fall off. He was in my class and my idea of the most perfect kindergarten boyfriend ever. He had medium brown hair that was cut just perfect. He could read, he could probably color in the lines. But what grabbed me the most? Oh, the way he could kick a ball. He was the kick ball champ, and I was his five year old love slave. Who he hated. Because he did not want to be chased all around that playground by a dumb girl in a denim skirt with braids flailing out behind her. No. He wanted to play kickball, darn it. And I'll look at the clouds as I tell her my story and I'll smile and be glad I'm not five anymore. I'll be glad those braids are long gone. Be glad the knee socks are history. But I'll miss those freckles, every last one. I'll smile and I'll sigh and I'll roll onto my side and prop myself on my elbow while I look at my daughter and I'll tell her that no matter how many times I thought I was in love, no matter how many times I wanted the boy-of-the-moment to love me back, I'm so thankful none of them panned out. Not one of them could ever come close to comparing to her father. (What? It's not Sunday? No kidding! But it is Thursday afternoon, and both boys are sleeping and the house is quiet. So let's just pretend it's Sunday, m'kay? Thanks.) brought to you by Sunday Scribblings

Fun things to discover on a Thursday morning

1) My drivers license expired on my birthday. Over a month ago. Woo!! Thankfully, I got an appointment at the DMV for tomorrow morning. This appears to be a small miracle, as the last several times I got online appointments, they were several weeks out. Phew. Stay tuned to learn how much in extra overdue fees I'll get to pay. Yeah! 2) We didn't get FBI fingerprinted for our adoption homestudy. Sure, we got checked through the Child Abuse database and the CA state database. Apparently not good enough! FBI fingerprints wouldn't have been needed to finalize in California, but guess what? We're finalizing in Utah! And it's necessary to finalize in Utah! And I can't find people on Google anywhere near where we live that will do the "old fashioned" FBI fingerprints instead of the livescan! Because I'm too cheap to put out yet another ton o' cash for more high tech fingerprints! Any ideas? Anyone?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday

I discovered Shannon's feature a couple weeks ago, and last Wednesday I went through almost every link and got some awesome, helpful, and fun tips! Yesterday I looked at the calendar and actually thought "hey - tomorrow's Wednesday - new tips!!" Oh, the excitement that is my world. I was sure I had nothing to add, but you know what? Once in awhile I do get a bright idea to pass on. So, not like this is going to be a common occurance fo rme to participate, but here goes... My first WFMW: Who doesn't love the Entertainment Book? I only have 2 friends who will admit to not having one...their big excuse is that they don't eat out. We don't use it for food very often (although we have discovered some awesome restaurants we otherwise wouldn't have gone to because of the price by using the books coupons). Our biggest savings from using The Book come from the entertainment section - zoos, museums, bowling, miniature golf, etc. Usually we can use 2 coupons (or just 1 dinner) and have the book paid for, so everything after that is pure savings. Entertainment Book Tip 1: buy it a couple months late. Starting about 2 months after they go on sale, the price starts getting reduced big time. Tip 2: look on craigslist to buy the book - you can buy it for less from organizations using it for fundraising than you can from the website. (and the version at costco is lousy). The BIG TIP: When you've used one coupon and found you just loved the place and would like to go back...trade a coupon you won't use in the book for another coupon for that activity! I found a bunch of people on Craigslist looking for coupons for the wine section or golf section or wanting food coupons we won't use who were more than happy to pass over the zoo and bowling coupons so we could get even more savings. Sweet!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Variety is the spice of life...

...unless you are me and you are writing Josh's birthmom each month with updates. In our agreement that we signed with Josh's birthmom, D, and the agency, we agreed to write one letter each month for six months, and then one letter each year until Josh turns 18. We also agreed to send pictures with each letter. I called the agency today to see if D has requested any of the letters we've sent (we send the letters to the agency, who holds them until they are requested). She hasn't. I hadn't expected that she would. In fact, I'm guessing that all the letters and pictures will sit in that filing cabinet for quite some time, if they're ever even picked up at all. And that's just fine with me. We're keeping our end of the deal and that's all that matters. I had a great suggestion from another friend and adoptive mom, Bek. She suggested that I could write each letter just to Josh, instead of to D, in a journal type format. That's exactly what I've been doing and I think it's worked out just fine. Except. Except...Josh just barely turned 3 months. Yes, he's got much more of a personality every week, but let's face it. He's three months. Not a ton of new stuff happening in Josh-land. I put myself in D's shoes and try to figure out what she'd want to know - how much is he eating, how much does he weigh, does he laugh and talk and smile and like his family or a particular toy or book - that kind of stuff. I get into as many details as I possibly can, but I tell you - it's not always easy! These mommy-bloggers that write pages and pages for their kids birthday each month when the kids are this young...huh? I've even seen moms do it weekly - not just monthly. Whoa. Dear Josh, You eat well. You're fat. You're healthy. You're happy. We love you. The end. Love, Mom and Dad P.S. The adorableness is overwhelming. And those cheeks? Delicious.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

He does not stop - never, no never

Picture this. The brick in the middle of that photo is me. The bricks going around and around that center brick are the tracks Jacob runs around me. All day. All night. He never, ever stops. People don't believe me, but it's absolutely true. He wakes up, starts playing, wakes one of us up to ask for juice or milk, and is off running around the house again. He runs around outside. He runs around inside. He runs up the slide and down the slide and he bounces off furniture. Yesterday we went to the bank to talk to the mortgage guy. Thank goodness it was a casual Friday afternoon and thank goodness there were 3 women working in the fairly empty office who thought Jacob was adorabe. Because they actually loved that he ran circles around their cubicles. In all honesty, he does sometimes stop. Yesterday at lunch he fell asleep eating his PB&J:

Some people should not own dogs

I love dogs. Love. One of the reasons we are excited for a yard is so we can get a dog. I refuse to dress my dog in any type of clothing unnecessary for survival. I refuse to paint the dogs nails, dye the dogs hair (did you see that Super Sweet 16 - you know you watch it - where she dyed her 2 dogs hot pink? Oh, the horror). I kid you not - I have a collection of photos I've taken of dogs that should mercifully be treated like DOGS. Two pictures were added today, and you get a peek. Picture one: what the...? Picture two: Offense #1 - girl carrying dog in a baby front-pack for dog. Offense #2 - dog wearing sunglasses.

Friday, May 19, 2006

It's a river, right?

I. Am. Naive. This is what my front door and front fence looked like last night: That first picture? That would be a for sale sign. Next picture? Lock box. All the signs of a house for sale. My brain has all the signs of an owner in denial of a house for sale. The denial exists in my not expecting one offer for at least 3 weeks. The last house in our condo complex took 38 days to sell. I'm not/wasn't even really expecting people to come for showings. They can see one of the management's model's, right? My allergies? Out of CONTROL, people. I just got a 5 day prescription for steroids since I'm on 4 of the highest-powered prescriptions they give, and those 4 prescriptions are not working at all. And since I feel like crap, my house is ok, but far from perfect. But who cares, right? Because it's not like anyone's going to come see this small, 2 bedroom 1150 sq foot place. HA HA FUNNY. I just got a phone call from a realtor. I have 90 minutes to make this place perfect and be scarce. And yet? I sit and type here. Smart, woman, I am. Denial.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

These are the years

These are the years, the gentle years, the soft and sentimental years
    when wee little fingers reach and touch and little eyes gaze with wonder and trust, when you love so tenderly and so so much,
      these are the gentle years.
These are the years, the rainbow years, the quiet, walk-on-tiptoes years,
    the years of laughter and smiles and sighs when both of you watch with misty eyes the tiny bed where a cherub lies,
      these are the rainbow years.
These are the years, the tender years, the blissful, sweet-surrender years,
    when your little treasure from above is the soul and purpose and center of your plans and dreams and dearest love,
      these are the tender years.
- Barbara Burrow I'm thankful for him: And I'm thankful for him: Even/especially when he acts like this: These are the years.

Friday, May 12, 2006

How Josh became a Josh

I was so excited when the 2nd issue of Wondertime Magazine showed up in my mail box yesterday. There's an article about teaching our children to remember more details about events so the past will be more real and meaningful. Part of the article is about telling family stories repeatedly, and using details. I went to bed wondering how many family stories we've lived during the short three years of marriage that would bear repetition. This morning, I saw the Social Security Administration came out with their latest list of popular baby names. Jacob is still number one. Joshua is number three. And I discovered one more story to tell - how Josh named himself. When we started fixing up our adoption paperwork to resubmit that weeked in mid-February (February 17th and 18th, to be exact), baby names were the last thing on our minds. We had to write a Dear Birthparent letter. We had to make phone calls. We had to get all scrapbook-y and create our family photo collage to go in our profile. We had real things to do. Immediate things. Important things. When the phone call came at 6:30 on a dark Sunday morning (February 19th) I barely heard the words. I heard them, but I didn't internalize them. I knew this baby was supposed to be ours, which is why I almost told the caseworker YES! before I even checked with Nathan. I didn't even hear her say the gender of the baby, so at the last minute before hanging up, I asked "wait - is it a girl?" No. It was a boy. A boy we knew really nothing about besides the fact that he was ours, he was three hours old, and he was an entire time zone away from his family. I woke up Nathan, we called the case worker back, and things started to get frantic. Find flights out! Find substitutes for church jobs! Pack! Organize paperwork we didn't think we'd need for at least several more weeks, if not months! Call family members and tell them we just became parents again! What? There are no flights out today? It was a holiday weekend, and we got the only flight out of town the next morning. Back to the paperwork. Verify finances. Call previous social worker for copy of homestudy. Frantic! Busy! Excited! Wait. Calm. Stop. This baby boy, I realized, needed a name. Jacob's name was "decided" on and finalized minutes after the ultrasound that verified he was a boy. I say 'verified' because I had known he was a boy since I was 5 weeks pregnant, even though Nathan couldn't imagine that I could absolutely know without an ultrasound. I say "decided" because I tried to change the name several times late in the pregnancy. Including minutes before the birth. Anyhow, this story is about Josh, and the fact that he was not yet Josh, but instead "the baby". I pulled up that Social Security list and decided that I would write down 10 names for Nathan to either yay or nay. Then we'd think about the list for a bit and decide on a name. Couldn't be that hard, could it? Our working list was, in no particular order: Ethan, Owen, Jonah, Caleb, and Luke. The doctor who had been in the delivery room to help Jacob immediately after his birth was "Dr. Jonah Something". I never remembered his last name, just that I wanted to change Jacob to Jonah, or at least to have a Jonah in the future. Nathan's top choices were Ethan and Owen. We decided that Baby Boy would be known as Owen Lucas. We went to church for just the first hour, and told people that he would be Owen. We told our families that he would be Owen. We went to bed, thankful for baby Owen. The next morning we got to the hospital in Utah about 10:30 am. It was Nathan, Jacob, our case worker from the agency, and myself. Our little family waited in the maternity waiting room while our case worker gathered the bracelets for Nathan and I to wear. The bracelets that matched the baby's and identified us as his parents. About 20 long minutes after we arrived at the hospital, we were permitted to see our new baby. Jacob wasn't allowed in the nursery, so Nathan had to stay with him in the waiting room while our case worker took me back through two sets of double doors. There he was, swaddled up in the white blanket with pink and blue trim, tons of wild hair. Sleeping. I picked him up and sat in the chair next to his bassinett, holding him, rocking him, talking to him. I went to call him by name and tell him that we loved him and it came out like this: "We love you, baby... Baby... Ummmm. Josh? Nope. That wasn't on the list. Wait. Just a second. We picked a name. I know we did. Let me try again." I looked into his closed, sleepy eyes and gave it another go. "Baby...Josh. No!" Again! It happened again! I could not remember the name we picked for this baby! So I figured I'd try another name on the list. After all, we'd liked five names - I'd remember one of them and it would work, right? But how weird that all I could think of was Josh. Before I became pregnant with Jacob, Nathan wanted twin boys - Jacob and Joshua. I always told him they were too close and it was a little too cute for me. Nope. We couldn't pick Joshua. Come on, Julie - think! There were four other names on that list. Just think of one. Look at that baby and think of those names. Joshua. Joshua. Josh. Joshua Lucas. A few minutes later Nathan came back into the room. "We have to talk about his name." "Owen?" "Oooohhh...OWEN. That's right. Well, it was right. But it's not right anymore. His name should be Josh. Joshua Lucas." Nathan was thrilled. He always wanted that Jake/Josh combo. Now he's got it.

Two for Togetherness

Two for Togetherness 2 things you compliment your husband on while in his presence. 1. his brains 2. his helpfulness 2 compliments you make about your spouse to your friends about your spouse. 1. how great he is with our children 2. that our family really is his first priority 2 traits you married him/her for. 1. humor 2. ability to provide 2 Days you charished the most with your husband being together. 1. When we were engaged 2. When we were married 2 Material things you could give your husband if you just inherited a fortune. 1. his own guest house to do a monster model train layout 2. an early retirement - the time to work on the trains! 2 things you would miss the most if she/he left for two weeks. 1. someone to fold the laundry and/or put it away 2. back scratches 2 thoughts that crossed your mind when you first met/saw your spouse. 1. hmmmm...interesting new guy 2. wow - we're really comfortable talking together 2 favorite dates 1. bowling 2. picnic-ing 2 funny odd things you love. 1. the way he can be persnickity about folding clothes 2. how he uses a hair dryer when starting a bbq fire 2 two places you have lived with your spouse. 1. Walnut Creek, CA 2. our current town in CA 2 favorite Vacations 1. our first big camping trip after we were married 2. San Diego

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Our day at a glance...

The first appearance of the blow up pool this year. The first time I passed out this year (couldn't find the bike pump). Jacob's got a thing for wearing "mommy's shoes!" Trains. It's always trains.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

When the daddy's away...

Remember this post? Me neither. Just kidding. We're doing great. Especially since I discovered sparkpeople.com, which I'm hooked on. We're eating vegetables like scurvied pirates and things are going great...when Nathan's home. And when he's away on business, we eat ice cream for dinner. Seriously. Listen, people. It was 88 today. It's hot, ok? But mostly, now that the dad's gone I have a better chance of stealing the "fun parent" title since Nathan's not here to defend. Just for the record, we also went to the Farmers Market today. Bought some of the sweetest organges I've ever tasted, cherries, new potatoes and snap peas. We also got down and boogied to the mariachi band. Except for Josh, who just sat there and looked adorable, which he does oh so very well. Apparently he's not quite into that boogy thing yet.

Monday, May 08, 2006

overheard at our house this weekend

"No, Jacob. Mommy can't hold you right now. She's playing with power tools."

2X4, meet Julie. Julie, 2X4.

I came home from church yesterday frustrated, again, with the place we've chosen to move. I go through the week neutral about moving to Utah. Then I'm happy with the idea. Once in awhile, I even get excited. Those mountains? Beautiful. All of the outdoors things there will be to do as a family? Fantastic! The family-oriented community? Great place to raise kids. And the seasons - Utah has four! I tell people we're moving to Utah, and 75% of the time - or more - I get a response like "Oh my goodness, WHY would you do THAT?" And many times, these are people from church, who one might expect to be a little more supportive. And many times, I'll leave church or these people and I'll feel frustrated and sad about our decision all over again. After church yesterday I came home and suggested we pray about it - one more time. Maybe we'd get an answer that it would be ok to move to Colorado this time. Nathan just looked at me. So I suggested that maybe we could ask for Oregon this time - we hadn't prayed about moving to Oregon before. I explained to Nathan the predicament I was in and started working my way away from the opinions of other people and trying to be excited again. Just two hours after we got home from church, I went back to practice for choir. The song we just started working on? I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go.

1. It may not be on the mountain height Or over the stormy sea, It may not be at the battle’s front My Lord will have need of me. But if, by a still, small voice he calls To paths that I do not know, I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine: I’ll go where you want me to go.

[Chorus] I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, Over mountain or plain or sea; I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord; I’ll be what you want me to be.

2. Perhaps today there are loving words Which Jesus would have me speak; There may be now in the paths of sin Some wand’rer whom I should seek. O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide, Tho dark and rugged the way, My voice shall echo the message sweet: I’ll say what you want me to say.

3. There’s surely somewhere a lowly place In earth’s harvest fields so wide Where I may labor through life’s short day For Jesus, the Crucified. So trusting my all to thy tender care, And knowing thou lovest me, I’ll do thy will with a heart sincere: I’ll be what you want me to be.

Text: Mary Brown, 1856–1918

Music: Carrie E. Rounsefell, 1861–1930

Knowing thou lovest me, I'll be what you want me to be. I'll answer, Dear Lord, with my hand in thine. I'll go where you want me to go. Even if it's to Utah. Even better, I'm not just working on having a good attitude about our move now - I'm embracing our move. The Lord would never ask our family to do anything that would be detremental to us, or family, or our future. There's a world of opportunity and promise and hope waiting for us in Utah. I'm excited to find out what's there.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

My shoes

Lots of things are genetic: hair color, height, skin tone, even foot size. But the passion for shopping for shoes to cover those feet? Most certainly genetic, if my family is any indication. My genetic shoe-shopping marker can be traced to my maternal grandmother. She was passionate about shoe shopping to an addictive point. We lived in Los Angeles and she in San Francisco. She would visit often - many two or three day trips each year. When I remember her visits, I remember stopping at shoe stores all over town. She liked all kinds of shoes in any color you can imagine. I remember her with more dress shoes than anyone needed - unless you needed them in every color. Flat shoes, sandals, slip ons - you name it, she wore it. After Grandma fell some years ago, she had to start wearing a brace on one leg and inserts in her shoes. With those, many shoes in her beloved collection could no longer be worn. She not only lost wearing all those shoes, she lost the ability to shop for any kind of shoe she wanted. I'd never seen her be sad or wistful while shoe shopping before. Then, she got to the point of always having to wear one tennis shoe to have her brace fit right. Could there have been much worse for her? Getting dressed up super fancy on a cruise with one dress shoe and one tennis shoe? No. Way. Grandma died one year ago this month. May 26th, actually. After her funeral, my mom, sister and went shopping. What better way would there be to celebrate grandma? Oh, right - by buying a pair of shoes. So we did. All three of us have a pair of these shoes: Mine are blue, Mom's and Stacy's are pink. Watermelon, to be more specific. Grandma would be proud. See other Sunday Scribblings here.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

food for thought

I eat my breakfast in front of the computer every morning with the news in the background , checking e-mail and getting in my fun computer time before kids and chores and errands and other things call to me. The last read for today was the best. Smartmama was talking about her thankfulness to the feminist movement because it opened a world of choices to her. In her words:

I am a woman, a smart woman, I don't want another woman to speak for me. I have a voice, my own voice. The press may not quote me, like Linda Hirschman, so my voice may not be as loud- many whispers can create a great sound--I am one woman just as she is, of equal importance, with a voice as unrelenting, as strong and as valid- Don't pity me, don't trouble yourself that society has done me wrong, don't fear I may never escape this domestic drudgery and become enlightened--This life, as a mother, as a mother who stays home, is my choice. I walked away from a tenure track college teaching job because I wanted to. I wanted to experience motherhood without distraction. Homemaking is not drudgery, paid work is not bliss. I am still the same girl who grew up knowing she could do anything she wanted--And guess what- world is still on a silver platter before her and she is still choosing all the greatest delicacies of life to enjoy.
I *needed* that today. Here's a deep dark secret: I chose to quit my masters degree program when I was two classes away from finishing. Two classes. I put in thousands upon thousands of hours working and studying and writing and thousands of dollars in tuition, and I chose to walk away when I was thisclose to being done. I caught slack from all kinds of people - family, co-workers, friends, and most of all, my cohorts from graduate school. Admit what you're thinking - it's pretty lame to quit that far in, isn't it? (for the record, I did get some extra teaching credentials out of it, just not the masters degree) Super lame when my goals and track were not only to be a teacher to students and a reading specialist to children who had difficulties reading (which I got to do for one year), but also to teach college. I was working with two of my undergrad professors on writing a book. So one could look at all that and say I gave up too much. But it was so clear to me at the time - I was in a new place with life and getting ready to start a family and I knew I was going to pursuse a new career as a mom. It was my choice and one I've re-thought from time to time. It became pretty obvious the only good the piece of paper saying I had graduated would do me is to allow me to say "I have a graduate degree". And what good is that for? To impress myself? Other people? I already have the knowledge I gained from the experience and lessons of grad school, and that will never go away. As we're getting ready to leave CA, I realized that my option to finish my degree, should I have chosen, will no longer be an option. And I've had to really think about the decision I made and wonder if it was the right one. It's caused me a few minutes of pause and anxiety. Now, however, I'm peaceful with my choice and where my life is now and where my life is going. I love my life. Being a teacher is no longer my defining role, as it once was - and while it was a harder transition to make than I anticipated it would be, how lucky I am for that! Primarily I am a wife and a mother and am passionate about my roles and grateful for my life. I am so blessed.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What we'll miss about CA, an incomplete list

I'm all consumed with the move. Two nights ago the things that I would miss about here were swirling around my head so quickly that I couldn't sleep for hours (and usually, I'm asleep within 30 seconds of my head hitting the pillow). So last night after dinner, Nathan and I made a list of the things we'll miss about being here. For a list of 56 things, it sure didn't take long. Ideally, I'd like to create a list one year after we move to Utah of everything we like/love about being there - one item on that list for each item on this list. But I don't know if that's likely to happen - it's taken us years to discover and fall in love with some of the things on this last, so I can't expect to love my new home (did I really just call Utah my new home?) overnight. But I'll try. In no particular order (we'll add to the list when things come up): (note: this list isn't meant to be a "we're so devestated we're leaving these things behind", but a celebration of things we've been blessed to discover, live and experience while we've been here) *Panera *Trader Joes (please don't be the 101st person to tell me that Wild Oats will fill the void) *Monterey (we got engaged on the beach here, and go back several times a year) *Carmel *Cambria *San Diego *the water - bay/ocean *Golden Gate Bridge *Golden Gate Park *San Francisco *SF Zoo (the African Savannah exhibit is awesome) *the Ferry Building in SF *China Town *real Dim Sum *Sausalito *Napa Valley *our county's trail system (canals, hills and mountains - biking, hiking, etc - we're insanely close to so many trail heads) *East Bay Regional Parks (the variety, the quantity, the quality) *Mt. Diablo (especially that view from the top!) *the amount of open space we're surrounded by *Half Price Books *Berkeley *Rockridge *The walking-ness of my neighborhood (within 1.5 miles I've got 3 grocery stores, a library, 2 post offices, and many, many other shops and parks) *spring green hills (that are still green in May! It's like they did it just for us.) *perfect weather 10+ of 12 months/year *diversity *being the minority (I'll probably have a whole other post about that in the future) *being close to family *Bishop Creek *Mammoth *Devils Postpile *The Sierra Range (happy, steve?) *trains (added, of course, by Nathan) *the variety of geographical and topographical features so close *my children won't be another generation of Califonians *Farmers Markets (especially the one on Thursday nights May-Oct where there's live music and families bringing picnics and eating ethnic food and buying fresh flowers and strawberries - the one where I learned how to breastfeed in public and Jacob learned to stand) *Fleet Week/Blue Angels *Major League Baseball *BART *Baja Fresh *In-n-Out *the variety of museums *variety and amount of cultural stuff (like Chinese New Year Festival) *San Diego! *SD Zoo *Walnut Creek *Broadway Plaza *Santa Monica (the pier, 3rd Street) *Santa Barbara *Highway 1 *the day and weekend trips we have taken, and even more - the ones we had planned on taking but probably won't get the chance *our county library system

Day off!

I wish it was a real day off, but it will just be the next best thing, I suppose. I'm sick of house stuff, and I'm sick - these allergies are just kicking my butt. You'd have no clue I spend as much money on stupid meds as I do each month to still have this amount of snot come out of my body. And the eyes? Massaging them with sandpaper has occured to me many times in the past two weeks. I'm sitting here this morning looking at our DI pile waiting to be shipped off and the pile of laundry I still have to hang and the patio that needs to be cleared out and cleaned off and thinking about our van that's in the dealership getting the sliding door and air conditioning fixed and - guess what? I'm not in the mood! Life through these allergy filled eyes is blurry, so I'm taking the day off. We're pushing back the date that we're putting the house up by almost a week. Nathan will be out of town next week and the idea of showing my house to possibly strange strangers with just myself and my 2 children in the house feels slightly more vulnerable than I'd like to be for now. So I'm not feeling rushed. Today is for reading, napping and swimming at our friends house. Just as a day off should be. EDIT: Could today be turning out more magnificently? I don't think so. Highlights include perfect weather, giving myself a pedicure, a great workout, singing and dancing with Jacob to Lionel Ritchie music blasting from the computer, coloring with Jacob, getting some of my book read (funny how reading 7 pages of scriptures is a chore but it's a piece of cake to fly through 50 pages of a novel), and even doing some voluntary cleaning/organizing. In an hour or so the boys and I will grab Nathan after work and head over to Martinez for a picnic and some fun.