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.  😉

a peek into my day: June 27, 2012

Since I’m experincing writer’s block on my blog these days, I’ll do another one of these:

FOR TODAY

Outside my window… We’ve been having perfect summer weather, with highs in the mid-80s, clear blue skies, no humidity.  If only it could stay like this all summer!

I am thinking… far too much.  I’m probably over-thinking.  It’s not my best quality.

I am thankful… for this lovely weather, especially at this stage of my pregnancy.  We had some hot days earlier in June, and man, were they HOT!

In the kitchen…  My kitchen is clean!  We’re having company over tonight, but I won’t have to cook too much for it, so hopefully it will stay clean all day.

I am wearing…  my pajamas.  My new pajama shirt is a large Packer t-shirt from KT.  My own t-shirts are now too small, and my husband’s t-shirts are still too big.  So, this shirt works well for bedtime.

I am creating… not much.  Just a new life within me.  😉 I’m trying to create a plan for how to attack this rummage sale that I’d like to have in a week and a half, and I’m not having much luck.  My brain works pretty slowly these days (henceforth the lack of posting on this blog).

I am going…  to take Jujubee to swimming lessons in an hour.  Then I have to go to the grocery store to get a few things for tonight’s supper.

I am wondering… how all the unknowns will resolve in my life (aka. over-thinking).  Sigh.

I am reading…  “The Midwife” by Jennifer Worth.  It’s a memoir of a midwife who worked in the slums of London in the 1950’s.  It’s not so much birth stories as it is stories of people’s lives.  It’s alternately funny and heartwarming and disturbing and heartbreaking and amazing.  Before that I read “Lady’s Hands, Lion’s Heart” by Carol Leonard.  It’s another memoir of a woman who became a midwife in New Hampshire in the 1970’s.  It’s full of birth stories interspersed with how NH became one of the leading states for midwifery standards.  It’s another fascinating and funny and heartwarming and disturbing and heartbreaking book.  I’ve enjoyed both books, even though they’re very different.  Both books are fairly recent publications, so I’m almost certain that both authors are still alive today.

I am hoping…  that my hip feels better today.  I injured it last weekend, but didn’t realize it was injured until Monday.  Yesterday it felt just awful.  I saw my midwife yesterday, and she massaged it a bit, which helped, and I saw my chiropractor yesterday, and he tried to stretch it out a bit although it was too inflamed to be adjusted.  Hopefully the pain will begin to subside today.  I *think* it’s a bit better today, although it’s still stiff and sore.

I am looking forward to…  friends coming over tonight.  Thanks to all the cleaning I did last weekend for the church choir party we hosted last weekend, the house is quite clean!  Time to have company over!  🙂

I am learning…  patience.  Always patience.  And learning not to say everything I think right away.  But I’m also learning that more often than not, I’m not alone in what I think.  But, I can always improve on how I say it.

Around the house…  Lyd is at her art class.  Jujubee is playing with toys on the floor, singing and making up stories.  Pepper the cat is sleeping somewhere after being outside all last night.  JJ is lying in bed, trying to shake the vague feeling of malaise that’s been hounding him the past few days.  I’m on the computer, pondering a shower before I take Jujubee to swimming lessons.

I am pondering…  whether or not I should take a simple job I’ve been offered at school.  Their day care runs all summer long, and they need someone to help out from 7am to 10am every day.  It wouldn’t be a lot of money, but it would essentially be just babysitting.  The biggest problem I see with the job is that I’m not much of a morning person these days, but it would be very easy work, and we could sure use the money.  Hmm.

A favorite quote for today…  “We have juice!  The joy of juice!” said by Jujubee last week at breakfast.  🙂

One of my favorite things…  envelopes in the mail that contain surprise money.  We’ve thankfully had a bunch of those lately.  One was a refund on overpayment on our mortgage escrow, one was a refund on overpayment of property taxes, also connected with our escrow.  One was a random AT&T refund check from over a year ago that they finally sent out.  One was from our medical insurance reimbursing us directly for services rendered for which we’d already paid the provider.  I hope another one surprises us soon.  🙂

A few plans for the rest of the week…  keep trying to get stuff together for the rummage sale.  We have to get rid of some stuff to make room for the new baby.

A peek into my day…  Uh oh.  Plans for the day may have changed.  My husband is showing signs of actually being sick after all…  😦  I hope nobody else gets what he seems to have, especially me!

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!  🙂

things I love about my girls

There are many things I love about my girls, but here are some things that have specifically struck me lately.

Jujubee – I love when she sings to herself as she plays.  She makes up her own songs; sometimes I recognize the tune, sometimes I don’t.  But she loves to sing and play, and I love hearing her sing.  She knows that I like hearing her sing, too.  Sometimes I will tell her how much I like hearing her sing, so then at other times when she’s singing, she’ll stop and say, “You like it when I sing, don’t you, Momma?”  And I always say Yes.  🙂

Right now she’s outside riding her bike (with newly-inflated tires) around on our back cemented area, singing and pedaling away.  She just stopped by the back patio door, grinned at me, opened the door and said, “Do you like to hear me sing?”  I smiled and replied, “Yes, I do.”

I also love how much she loves to ride her bike.  She will ride around the cemented back patio behind our house for half an hour at a time – or more!  She and Lyd have taken to biking and scootering together in the backyard after supper.  The air starts to cool off a bit around that time, so they can work off a bit of energy before going to bed.  They make a lot of happy noise, and sometimes I wonder what the neighbors think, but *I* like to hear the noises of happy children.  🙂

Lyd – I love how she trusts me.  She’s having some problems in school right now, and I am SO pleased that she trusts me enough to cry out her stories to me.  At times like this, I feel like she and I will get through the hormonally-charged teenage years just fine.  She and I are very different personality-wise, but we’re very close.  Over the years, as I’ve gotten to know her better and watched her change and grow, I like to think that I’m nuturing her to become the person she is meant to be, rather than molding her completely into MY version of how she should be.  She will never be a mini-me in her personality, and hopefully I’m parenting her in a way that will allow her own unique personality to grow and flourish.  Of course, I am trying to teach her right and wrong as well as various life skills, but I’m trying to help in the way that’s best for her.  I think I’m doing okay.

Thankfully, she loves and trusts me, which I am SO grateful for.

I love both of my girls.  I really love being a Momma to girls.  I still wonder what it will be like to have a son, and I wonder if it can possibly be as rewarding for me as it is to parent daughters.  I truly would have been happy to have all daughters.  But, I firmly believe that God sends the right baby at the right time.  So, I’m sure that our new baby boy will be a good fit for our family, and we’ll all love that new boy very much.

a snapshot of my life on May 9, 2012

FOR TODAY

Outside my window… I see my backyard: I see our flowering mulberry tree full of mulberries, blue cloudless skies, lots of greenery in the backyard, some of it wanted, much of it unwanted.  But it’s very lush and green!

I am thinking… practical thoughts on the surface, heavy thoughts deep down.

I am thankful… for sunshine and for air conditioning, for a modern house, for a a love-filled home.

In the kitchen… I’m cooking chicken bones, neck, heart, and liver, as well as celery, onions, garlic, parsley to make stock.

I am wearing… comfortable materinity capri pants in vertical stripes of pink, red, blue, green and orange, and a white shirt with the word “baby” written in rhinestones.  I’m dressed up today!

I am creating… a chart with all the potential options for summer classes for the girls at our local Park & Rec departments, trying to decide what to sign them up for this summer in an effort to get the most bang for our limited buck.

I am going… to teach Jujubee’s music class later this morning.  Very fun.  🙂

I am wondering… if we should buy a small above-ground pool for the summer.  There’s one at Target that I’m considering.  I’m not sure if it would be worth the money and energy, but I’m not sure if we’ll make it through the summer here without a pool!

I am reading… I recently started “The Secret Life of Bees,” but the other night I read through a good chunk of “Anne of Green Gables.”  I hadn’t picked that one up in years.

I am hoping… that situations improve at work for someone I love.

I am looking forward to… school being out for the summer.  The girls and I are ready to be done with the daily school grind!  Only 17 more days!

I am learning …  patience and trust.

Around the house… the bathrooms need to be cleaned, and the kitchen floor could stand to be mopped.

I am pondering… how best to begin the girls’ clothes-sorting project.  I have to pack away the girls’ clothes that are too small and bring out the clothes that will fit Jujubee this summer.  I’ve been procrastinating on it for a long time.

A favorite quote for today… Today is not forever.

One of my favorite things… is listening to Jujubee chatter away to me and/or sing as she plays.

A few plans for the rest of the week: There will be some extra music classes in Jujubee’s class to prepare for our little part in the Spring Musical on Friday night.

A peek into my day… teach Jujubee’s class, bring her home for lunch, go out to the Hallmark store at the mall to buy Mother’s Day cards for my mom and mother-in-law, and mail them off along with the cards/creations that Lyd and Jujubee made.  Perhaps also write a long-overdue letter to a friend.

Post idea taken from: http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

goodbye, one more time

This past Sunday, my husband and girls and I had an unusual opportunity that most pastors in our church body do not get.  We had the opportunity to attend the installation service of the pastor who is replacing my husband at his former congregation.  Since we live in California, where Lutheran churches are few and far between, and since we only moved two hours away, it was not out of the ordinary for us to attend this installation service.  In fact, pastors from churches further away than ours also attended the service, Even with all of that, it still was a bit of an unusual situation.

But, unusual-ness notwithstanding, we went.

One of the other pastors from our current congregation rode along with us.  He’d never been to our former church before, so it was all a new experience for him.  We had a lovely drive over, and we took the Bay Bridge to get onto the Peninsula, which always makes for a scenic trip.  It was enjoyable for us to point out familiar landmarks to him as we got closer and closer.

One thing we did NOT want to do by attending this service was to draw attention away from the new pastor.  It’s his church now, and we were only in attendance due to our unusually close proximity (for this area).  I think we managed to achieve that.  Still it was hard not to get teary eyed when my husband, the former pastor of that church, took his turn at laying his hands on the head of the new pastor of the church in blessing.  I wasn’t the only one taking a few (flash-less!) pictures when that moment came, and I don’t think I was the only one who got a bit choked up as I heard my husband’s blessing for the new pastor.

But it was such a treat to see the members of our former congregation again!  One of the sopranos in their small church choir was ill, so when I was asked to fill in with the church choir, I happily agreed.  (Thankfully, one song was just a hymn melody, and the other song was one I had sung at WELStock last summer.)  I’m very noticeably pregnant, so it was fun to have opportunity to share with people that the new baby will be a boy, and it was fun to catch up again.  My line for the day was, “What a happy day for this church!”  And it truly was a happy day.

I strongly suspect that I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for our former congregation, as will my husband.  We loved that church, and we loved the people there.  In so many ways, they truly did feel like family to us.  I don’t know if our current, much larger congregation will ever feel as much like “home” to us as our former congregation did.  I asked one of the other pastors in attendance how long it took his wife for her to feel home when he took a call to his current, much larger congregation.  He replied that he didn’t know if it has ever felt like home to her, and I’m pretty sure they’ve been at their congregation at least five years if not more.  So, perhaps for me, too, it will never be the same Here as it was There, and I’ll have to be okay with that.

After the service and the dinner, there was a party up at the parsonage, our old house, now the home of the new pastor and his family.  It was interesting to see the changes that had been made: the new paint colors, the new kitchen floor (that was LONG overdue!), the familiar and unfamiliar places in the house.  It was nice to share with the new pastor’s wife some of the quirks about the house, and how we made the best of those quirks – or even found them useful!  All in all, it was a real treat to be back.

Lyd and I left the party for a bit in the evening to head across the street to the home of one of my best friends in the area.  It was so wonderful to see her and her family again, and after a lovely but too-short visit, Lyd and I regretfully headed back to walk the dark quiet street we had walked so many, many times before, this time with a bag of baby boy clothes slung over my back.  After we got back, I got the girls changed into their pajamas for the two-hour car ride back home, and off we went, back to our new home.

One day last week, as JJ and I contemplated the upcoming emotion of this trip, JJ said to me that he almost didn’t want to go.  When I asked why, he replied that it would be the final act of our leaving that church.  Now not only are we gone, we are replaced.  It’s the last small step in finally severing our ties to that congregation.

But at this installation, I realized that we will never be able to sever fully our ties to our former congregation.  I don’t know if any pastor ever can do that with a congregation he serves!  As JJ and I have said many times, we grew up there.  Those people hold a dear, dear place in our hearts, and I don’t think any other congregation will ever, CAN ever be as dear to us as our first congregation.  Add to that the fact that they’re only two hours away and that very likely opportunities for us to see those people WILL come up in the future – and all of it adds up to the fact that we’ll never totally leave.

But, hopefully we have left our former congregation fully enough so that the new pastor and his family are free to make their own memories there, and that the congregation will regard the new pastor as their pastor, rather than continue to view my husband as their pastor.  I’m pretty sure that will happen, and I think the transition will go well.  We certainly will do all we can to stay out of the new pastor’s way and let him fully take the reins himself.

While we were in town, I stopped at our favorite grocery store to pick up some marinated tri-tip steaks to bring back to our new home with us in a cooler.  At the store, I also bought a bottle of wine to give to the new pastor and his family as a housewarming gift.  JJ and I presented it to them and told them, “May you be as happy in this house as we were.”

And we meant it.

catching up, again

Seriously?  It’s been over a month since I wrote on this blog?  To those faithful readers who keep waiting for me to say something profound – or to at least say something! – I apologize.  I do mean to write.  I just, well … sigh.

This has been a difficult month in many ways.  My pregnancy is not going as comfortably as my previous two pregnancies have, and I’m having a difficult time with that.  Dear reader, nothing is wrong, there’s nothing for you to worry about; it’s just that being pregnant at 35 is not as easy on my body as it was when I was pregnant at 26 and 30.  I keep waiting for it to get better, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.  Nothing is particularly bad, it’s just not as magical or as much fun to be pregnant this time around as it was my last two times.

Accomplishing tasks now takes more energy than it used to, too.  At the end of the day, I usually only feel up to watching HGTV or an episode of “Friends” on DVD.  I’m not usually up to pouring out my soul on the internet.  Or sometimes JJ and I will start talking.  He’s a busy man, that husband of mine.  He’s just as busy as he was at our former church, if not more busy.  Thankfully, he’s still willing to share events of his day with me, and he doesn’t mind – and even seems to appreciate! – hearing my thoughts on those events.  That’s a blessing.

My girls are doing well.  They are ridiculously excited about the new baby.  It’s really heartwarming to see, and it is by far the best part of this pregnancy experience.  Jujubee in particular is SO excited to become a big sister!  She’s going to be wonderful at it, I can already tell.  Both girls are being so patient with waiting.  They’ve known almost from the start that I was pregnant, and nine months is a REALLY long time in a little kid’s world!  But they’re doing SO well at the waiting.  They’ve both gotten to feel the baby kick over the past week, so that’s been an exciting development for them.

I suppose I’m a little lonely here.  I miss my friends from our former home, and I still feel like the new kid in school as far as our church goes.  I’ve got a few good friends, and I’m thankful for that.  I have good friends who were long-distance at our former home, and they’re still long-distance now, so in that regard, nothing has changed.  But, I do feel like I’m a little more on my own here than I was at our old house.  I liked living on campus; I was always close to whatever action was going on.  Now I live off-campus, and while it has good things about it, it IS a different experience.

In all actuality, I probably need more to do so that I will get more done.  I have difficulty getting done the things I need to get done, so it seems counter-intuitive for me to say that I need more to do.  But I think I am one of those people who get more done when I have more to do.  However, that’s impossible for me right now.  I get tired so easily and need so much rest, plus I’m having a baby in four months, so adding more to my schedule now is highly unwise.  Oh, well.  This stage of life won’t last forever, right?

But I am so incredibly blessed with two wonderful daughters and a very understanding husband.  Over the past months, I’ve begun to appreciate (more than I perhaps have in our entire twelve years of marriage) how JJ’s and my differences actually work to make us a stronger couple.  We are different in so many ways, and there was a time when that was really difficult for me.  But thankfully, I’m now learning to appreciate how that actually works in our favor.  We really are a good team, and I’m happiest when we’re able to do things together and be in sync with each other.  I really do like having him as my husband, and that’s a blessing to be able to say that after being together for twelve years.

Ironically, right now I’m in the midst of a five-day stint as a single mom.  JJ is in Michigan consulting for a School of Worship Enrichment weekend.  Since I handle the vast majority of the day-to-day running of the house, I hardly notice he’s gone in that regard.  But I miss conversing with him, and the girls miss having him around, too.  Still, it’s not a bad change of pace to just be completely on my own.  My anxiety has kicked in a bit, but overall I’m fine and sort of enjoying the time on my own.

I really do mean to write more frequently on this blog, especially to write about the girls.  This blog is, after all, my “baby book” of sorts for my girls.  They are both so charming right now, and I love them more than ever.  I am so grateful to have my girls; they are truly gifts from God.

Speaking of girls, our new baby is going to be … a boy!  Wow.  I’m still getting used to that.  I understand girls, and I adore my girls, and I can’t help but wonder if I will love a boy as much as I love my girls.  I guess we’ll find out.  But, as I always say, God sends the right baby at the right time, so I guess God thinks that this baby is the right baby for us, summer timing and all.  And I’m sure I’ll grow to love this boy baby just as much as I love my girls, even if I can’t quite see now how that will be.  God always sends the right baby at the right time, right?  😉