new job

Despite the fact that I’m 35 weeks pregnant (everything is going fine – I’m just HUGE!), I took on a new job recently.  It’s not really a JOB job, but I’m being paid, so it’s essentially a job.

Our church’s school runs a daycare all year long, including the summer, for children enrolled in the school.  That means there are no babies or toddlers, but only school-age children.  There were two sisters who shared daycare responsibility, but one of them got, well, fired at the end of the school year.  It’s a long story, and I don’t know details.  However, she’s no longer here.  The other sister agreed to stay on and bump her hours up to full-time.  (Since the daycare runs 7am to 6pm, there were not enough hours for either of the sisters to get full time.)

The non-fired sister now works 10am to 6pm, which meant that there was an open time slot between 7am and 10am.  The principal and other teachers were taking turns sharing the responsibility for that time slot, but when I mentioned to the principal that I would be possibly interested in helping out, he offered me the morning position for the rest of the summer.  JJ and I talked about it, and we decided that I would do it.

The girls don’t come with me, but if JJ needed to be somewhere in the morning, he could bring them down to the daycare room and they could hang out with me and the other daycare kids.  So, that’s good.  Since the girls tend to sleep in later during the summer anyway, it’s not a huge deal for them that I’m not there when they wake up.

So far, it’s working out well.  I just have to make sure that *I* don’t stay up too late at night, because I need to be to work by 7am.  There is one little boy (who I can’t help feeling kinda sorry for) who always gets dropped off at 7am sharp, so I need to be there.  There’s never been more than six kids at one time, and usually there’s just four or five, so it’s not difficult.

I’ve been teaching the kids lots of games to pass the time.  The little 7am boy and I are playing Uno; he’s not great with his numbers (or with losing!), so it’s a good game for us to play.  I taught the older kids some simple card games, and we’ve also been playing board games, like Monopoly Junior and Hi-Ho Cherry-O and Candyland and Connect Four – stuff like that.  This week I brought the card game Pit from home, and the older kids LOVED that one.  It’s an excuse to be noisy and yell!  Awesome!  They can’t wait until enough kids get here each day to be able to play that game again.  And yesterday I taught some of the older ones the card game King’s Corners, and that went over pretty well, too.

I’m not making a ton of extra money doing this, but it’s something, and right now, we need all the extra somethings we can get.  I’m not teaching my music classes over the summer, and even though I wasn’t teaching much before that, JJ and I do miss the bit of extra money my teaching brought in.  So, having some extra money is helpful, and furthermore, this isn’t difficult work.  There are no diapers to change or toddlers to chase; it’s just a matter of keeping them happy and occupied, playing games, feeding them a snack, and then taking them outside for a while.  It’s not difficult, even for a 35-week pregnant woman.  It’s working out well (except for the occasional tantrum from the 7am boy, but considering he’s here ten hours a day every day, that’s no surprise.  Sigh.  Poor kid.), and the kids are all pretty nice.

And, there’s a computer in the room here, so it gives me a little time for blogging in the morning, too, when the kids are busy with their own games.  😉

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Welcome, June!

It’s June 1, so, per my tradition, I’m listening to the “Carousel” soundtrack, just so I can hear the song “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over.”  What a great soundtrack!  I love so many of the songs, and the end of “Soliloquy” always gives me chills.  I’ll have to put that soundtrack on more frequently this summer, along with the other great musical soundtracks I own.  It’s time the girls start learning some of these songs.

Yes, I can now talk about “this summer!”  Summer is here!  Today is the last day of school for the girls; they’ll be home at noon.  Lyd is off to third grade next year, while Jujubee is going to do Pre-K again next fall.  I’m hoping that third grade – along with a new teacher and a new combination of kids in the classroom – will be a better experience for Lyd.  She’s had a rough time of it some days, and we’re all glad to close the book on second grade.

As far as Jujubee goes, in many ways she’s ready to go on to regular Kindergarten, but JJ and I decided to stick with our original plan of having her do two years of Pre-K.  With her late September birthday, and with California’s weird starting date rules, we were debating.  But, in the end, we’re confident that another year of Pre-K will be best for her.  Her teacher said (and we agree) that giving her another year of Pre-K will give her a good opportunity to develop her leadership skills.  And being a little mini-me in personality, she definitely has those skills!  Plus, there are still a few little things in which she struggles with confidence and/or capability, and another year to really master Pre-K will help her a lot.

Her Pre-K class this year was unusual: of the 12 kids in the class, 7 of the kids had fall birthdays like Jujubee.  All of them except for Jujubee are moving on to Kindergarten, although of those kids with fall birthdays, I know one boy’s parents are planning to have him do two years of regular Kindergarten, and two other girls’ parents are considering doing the same thing, too.  We’re the only set of parents with a fall birthday child who is having that child do two years of Pre-K.  But, it will be good, because Pre-K is a half-day program, so Jujubee will have time to spend in the afternoons with me and the new baby.  I want her to have that opportunity to help me one-on-one with the baby.  Plus, a whole day of Kindergarten would be a lot for her to handle physically.  Like me, she needs extra sleep, so having an easy afternoon will be good for her.  I might try to start teaching her to read on my own this summer.  She already has the basics down.

I hope we have a good summer.  We don’t have a lot of things officially planned, but I have a lot of hopes for things we can do on an unofficial level.  One thing I would like is to get the girls practice in doing more chores around the house.  I’d like Lyd to start washing a few dishes by hand, sweeping the kitchen, and other basic household tasks like that.  Jujubee also can take on more simple chores as well.  I think it’s time.  We aren’t traveling much, due to finances and my ginormous belly, but we’ll see if we can do some exploring around the Sacramento area.  There is also possibilities of taking day trips back to the Bay Area to do things there.

We’ll just have to see how the summer goes.  In the midst of all this, I’m going to be getting larger all the time until the new little boy arrives.  I’m already pretty large and uncomfortable, so I imagine I won’t want to be doing too much over this summer.  The girls will be coming along to my midwife visits now that summer is here, so that will be a good experience for all of us girls to share.  Luckily the girls don’t mind hanging out at home with their toys (they’ve been crazy about their Barbies for the past few months, and it shows no signs of letting up), and we have a nice backyard for them to play in.  I also bought a giant inflatable pool for the backyard, too, so we’ll have that option, too.

It occurred to me this morning that this is my last months of having only daughters.  We’ll have to do lots of girly things and enjoy our time together as “just us girls.”  The three of us are quite attached to each other, so we should be able to have a lot of fun on our own this summer.  🙂  And it will be VERY nice to be out of the school routine!  JJ and I will be glad to have a break from getting kids up and off to school in the morning.  We all need a break from that routine.

Welcome, summer!  🙂

bits and pieces

Tonight, it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that:

  1. The weather has gotten cooler lately, but it still warms up to 80 degrees most days.  We now turn the heater on for a little while in the morning and the a/c on for a little while in the late afternoon.
  2. With the weather cooling down, I’m beginning to enjoy cooking more.  I much prefer to cook when the weather is cooler than when the weather is warmer.  I like making soups and stews and putting 9×13 pans of dishes into the oven.
  3. Even though the weather is a bit cooler, it’s still dry.  That has thrown me off lately.  I didn’t drink enough water over the past few days, so I ended up with a wicked dehydration headache yesterday.  Today I’ve tried to be much better at downing 12 ounce glasses of (room temperature) water every so often during the day, and I feel much better.  This climate is just different.
  4. There are SO many activities happening and opportunities to do stuff at our new church and school.  It’s a bit overwhelming at times.  And it wears us out.
  5. Jujubee was pretty worn out after the weekend, and today she finally fell asleep during her afternoon rest time.  Unfortunately, she (and I) are paying for it now.  It’s 9:30 pm, she’s been in bed since 8pm, and she’s been out of bed twice for various reasons, mainly because she can’t fall asleep.  Poor girl.  I guess one nap is too many, but zero nap is not enough.
  6. I get to play single mom for a week starting tomorrow.  Overall, I’m okay with this reality.
  7. I plan to make myself a pie while I play single mom.  I’ve had a hankering for a pie.  I think it will be a peach-raspberry pie.
  8. I started walking again this week.  Somehow, I had completely fallen off the wagon as far as exercising goes; I hadn’t gone walking in over two weeks.  I could tell, as my mood and energy levels were all off.  But now, after a few days of walking (and after drinking enough water), I’m feeling better again.
  9. JJ and I ordered blinds/shades for our entire house last week.  We’ve been living with absolutely no window coverings for almost 4 months.  It cost a bit of money, but it’s done, and that’s good.  L0we’s offered a flat installation fee whether you had 3 window treatments installed or 12.  So, we decided to do the whole shebang in one fell swoop.  We reasoned that when we re-sell the house someday, we’ll make the money back.  We’re putting cord-free cellular shades in the bedrooms, faux-wood blinds in the dining room, family room, and the small living room window, and vertical blinds over the patio door.  The kitchen is not getting blinds, because the two kitchen windows face a large fence full of natural greenery, which acts like its own shade.  However, I did buy some old-fashioned curtains to put in the windows, and I love them!  You can see what they look like here.
  10. JJ and I are beginning to meet in the middle on our house.  When we first bought the house, JJ could only see the things he liked about the house, while I could only see the things I didn’t like.  As time has gone on, we are both seeing more of what the other did or did not like about the house, and occasionlly JJ is even using the phrase “when we sell the house.”  I, on the other hand, am less eager to move again than I was when we moved in.  However, the house is still a rather tight, compact fit, so it would be nice to have a place with more room.  But, most days, we’re happy with our house, so that’s good.

a typical pastor’s wife

I’ve been a pastor’s wife for eleven years now.  I’ve heard lots of stories from other pastors’ wives about their good and bad pastor’s-wife-experiences, and I’ve experienced a few stories of my own.  However, on the whole, my experience so far has been very, very good.  I haven’t been able to share in many of the complaints of other pastors’ wives, especially the often-heard complaint about their pastor-husbands being gone so much of the time.

For the past ten years, my husband was the pastor of a small church, and it was a unique situation.  We lived on the church property, and because our congregation was so spread out (and because rush hour traffic was always SO bad), there weren’t a lot of nightly meetings that my husband was involved in.  There were only a small number of committees, and while the downside of that was that much of those things had to be done solo by my husband on his own, the upside is that he didn’t have to go to frequent meetings.  If I needed something from him at almost any time of day, he was 30 feet out my back door, or sometimes he was working on his computer in our house.  He was readily available to me (perhaps TOO available!), but we usually had each other around.  He worked a lot in the evenings, but if I needed him or just wanted to talk for a while, he was close by.

Now, we don’t live on the church property; we live in a residential neighborhood just under a mile from church.  It’s a big church, and while he’s not involved on every committee or board (of which there are plenty!), he’s actively involved in more committees than he was at our old church.  There are more meetings, and most of those meetings are at night.  There’s also a Monday night service every week, and he’s involved in that service almost half of the time.  Part of my husband’s role at this new church is to be the choir director (which he is VERY excited about!), but that’s another weekly night gone.  (And I can’t be in choir.  The kids need to be in bed between 7:30 and 8:00, and I don’t have a babysitter.  :()  Tonight he’s at a meeting for something.  There’s a lot more meetings at this church.

So, now he’s gone more, and he’s unavailable more.  Now I HAVE to be sure supper is on time, because there are meetings he has to go to.  Life is just different here.  However, honestly, this life is more what I always expected my life as a pastor’s wife would be.  But I had ten years of a very different, very laid-back pastor’s-wife-life, and I got pretty used to it.  Now I’m home alone in the evenings after my kids are put to bed, and JJ isn’t close by to talk to.

This life may be that of a typical pastor’s wife, but this new life is going to take some getting used to.

looking forward to a warmer climate

The process of moving has not particularly enjoyable, but I must say that I’m enjoying living in a warmer climate.  Summer days in the mid-90’s with a dry heat are perfect for my body.

The San Francisco Bay Area is unquestionably beautiful with a wonderful mild climate.  On an average day, one can expect to hit 60 degrees either as a high or as a low.  Obviously there are exceptional days, but on average, those are the kind of temperatures one can expect.  In winter, it rarely gets true storms, it even more rarely gets snow, and it gets freezing temperatures about once or twice a winter for a night or two.  In summer, it rarely gets true storms, it never gets rain, and it gets temperatures over 90 degrees only for a few days each summer.  It rarely has thunderstorms, and except for a few notable exceptions (knock on wood), the earthquakes are pretty minor.

But it does get cold on the Peninsula, cold and damp.  Being close to the ocean is pretty neat, but the damp air goes with that close proximity.  Apparently with my particular body type, I am more prone to feeling the cold than other people.  And I got cold!  For example, on a sunny 60 degrees outside, it would be typical for me to be wearing two pairs of yoga pants, shirt, sweatshirt, and hoodie, and two pairs of socks to feel just right.

In the past few months, when I tell people where I was moving to, they almost always said, “It’s going to be SOOO hot there!”  And I always replied, “Excellent!  I’m looking forward to it!”  Now that I’m here, I’m still enjoying it.  We have air conditioning in our new house, and we do have to use it, because the house would get just too hot otherwise, but we keep it set around 75 or 76 degrees, so that the house doesn’t get too cold.  And, it’s so nice to go outside and be warm.  I’m finally wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts now!  And sandals!  It’s lovely.

In the Sunday Sacramento Bee (newspaper), there was a neat article talking about the lovely Delta Breeze that always cools the whole Sacramento area down in the evenings.  The author spent some of his growing up years in the town where we lived, and he also tried to live in San Francisco.  It’s interesting to read his story and realize that it’s a lot like my own.

It feels so good to live in a warm climate again.  It’s one of the best parts of our move.

Hello!

Greetings!  I have returned to the world of blogging, awash with stories to tell of my very out-of-the-ordinary summer. 🙂

After three weeks in Wisconsin and Minnesota, we have returned safely home to our new house in the greater Sacramento area.  There are still lots of boxes to unpack and plenty of things to do, but we’re back home.  It is SO nice for all of us to be sleeping on our own mattresses again!  JJ and I especially love our mattress.  Despite all the stress that occured in the days preceeding our move, once we actually go to our new house, I started sleeping a lot better.  I don’t know what it is about this house, but I sleep SO well here.  I dream like crazy, which I think is a good sign that my brain is finally having a chance to clear out all of the junk that’s been piling up.  And, for two months now, I haven’t felt the need to take any kind of herbal or homeopathic sleep aid.  I’m sleeping on my own, and I’m so glad.

Speaking of sleeping, one thing I’ve discovered that I like about my new house is that at certain times of the moon’s cycle, I can see the moon shining in through my bedroom window.  I have always loved the feeling of having the moon shine down on me when I sleep.  In our old house, when JJ was particularly snore-y, I would escape to the bed in the guest bedroom.  That bed was located under a window that faced southerly, so I would often open the blinds and enjoy the moon shining down on me as I went to sleep.  For some reason, I love the moon, and I’m delighted to find that my new bedroom has a lovely moon view.

The girls are sleeping well here at home, too.  They chose to share a bedroom in our new house, and as Jujubee graduated to a regular bed this spring, we had to buy a twin mattress for her.  We bought her a brand-new mattress; with her breathing problems, we didn’t want to buy a used mattress that we didn’t know where it had been.  We got her a super-comfy plush mattress at our local Sleep Train, and I’m so glad we did.  However, Lyd became a little envious with the arrival of her little sister’s new mattress, so she managed to convince her little sister that they should take turns sleeping on the new mattress.  🙂  Luckily, Jujubee is pretty accomodating, so they’re both happy.

And, I’m pleased to report that my girls are sleeping in a bedroom painted pink and purple!  At long last, I finally made good on my promise to give the girls a girly room.  My adopted sister, AM, and I painted the room pink and purple back in early July.  The north/south walls are purple, and the east/west walls are pink.  It was a bit tricky, but it turned out really cute.  The girls love it, and their white wicker headboards and furniture look great.  Too bad the carpeting is the same beigey-brown that’s in all of the bedrooms, but their girly flowery throw rug helps make it less bland.

Our poor cat, Pepper, was left alone in the house for the three weeks we were gone, with nothing except a non-cat lover coming over once a day to give her food and water and change the litter box.  I was a bit afraid that Pepper would be mad at us for leaving her alone for so long, but she seems to be absolutely delighted that we’re home.  She is more affectionate than she was before, wanting to sit on our laps all the time and following us around like a puppy dog.  This morning, I woke up to find her sleeping at the bottom of JJ’s and my bed, next to my ankle.  She’s so glad we’re back!

I have more things to talk about, big and small, and I am happy to be returning to blogging again.  I decided to change up my blog’s look a bit; it was time for a change.  I won’t be blogging every day, but I plan to post things at least three times a week.  We’ll see how it goes.  Life is pretty different here; I’m not sure how it will all work out or what my place will be in our new church.  For now, I don’t have a job.  My plans for the fall are to get the house organized; we’ll see what the Lord has in store for me after that.

I hope you had a good summer, too!

park and shop

Now that the cheapest gas in the Bay Area is $4.07/gallon, we’re trying to conserve our gas as much as possible.  One way of doing that is to combine trips as much as possible.  So, when I’m out and about, I try to think to myself, “What else can I possibly get done on this trip?”  And when I’m at home planning my trip out, I try to think about what order I want to hit my stops in to make sure to get as much bang out of my trip as possible.

It reminds me of a board game I used to play when I was a kid, called “Park and Shop.”  The board was a grid of blocks of a downtown area, filled with stores and shops.  Each player was given some cards, and each card had on it one place you had to go.  The object was to finish your errands with as few moves as possible and be the first one to return home.

I feel like the price of gas has really forced shopping to be like “Park and Shop.”  Even our house hunting trips are affected by the price of gas.  We considered driving the 2+ hours last Saturday to go look at a house that had just come up on the market, but in the end we decided not to.  Part of our decision was that we couldn’t justify spending that kind of money on gas just to look at one house.  We’re planning to go house hunting again early next week, and we hoped to see that house then, but I just learned today that it’s already off the market.  Oh, well.  I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

Anyway, gas is expensive, especially here in northern California, and it sounds like it’s likely to go higher before it goes lower.  So, conserving gas is something that I suspect we’re all going to get good at in the next weeks and months!