Thursday, December 30, 2010


So a couple months ago, Burt's Bees decided to ask their employees if they'd be willing to do Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University Workplace Edition. The deal was, if you signed up for the program and completed it, BB would reinburse you like 90% of the cost. We thought this was an awesome deal and something that interested both of us. Well... the FPU has been sitting in its box for the last few months just collecting dust. I told Steve yesterday that I was ready to begin and turn over a new leaf for the new year.

Today we listened to two of the sixteen one-hour sessions. It was awesome... not only was Dave Ramsey spot-on and so accurate about spending and whatnot, but he was funny and engaging. While we listened, I had the workbook in front of me and was filling in information as the session moved forward. Steve sat and listened and then we'd pause the CD and talk about what we were hearing. It was great!!

I feel really empowered and we're only on the second session! I hope that we can listen to more sessions tomorrow and then get to the budgeting part... that's REALLY where we (mainly I) need help. We don't have credit card debt, but our home, cars, and my student loans are considered debt, and will be things that we focus on paying off through this program. I need something that'll keep my spending in check. I've decided to use cash only... and if there's something I want online, I'll give Steve the cash for it to use to pay off the debt.

When we looked at our finances and decided that it was possible for me to stay home with Gus, I had no idea just how much of a sacrafice it'd be. Before, with two incomes, we were living VERY comfortably and able to buy anything we wanted. That was all BG... now that there's only one income, I've been still spending like there are two... and making it impossible to save anything.

All that's in the past and I'm chalking it up to 2010 and leaving it here. In 2011 it'll be a new leaf with new ideas and new priorities. I'm excited about it.

Today Gus did the most amazing thing EVER!!! He was on the floor laying down... then was in the crawling position, and actually sat up on his own from the floor!!! It was incredible and had I not been there to see it, I wouldn't believe it! He was on his back playing one second, and sitting up unassisted the next. He amazes me with what he's able to do!!

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve and we're going to go over to Wendy and Ryan's and have pizza and munchies and chill with them, and then put the kids to bed and watch Inception (I can't wait to see it). Then we'll welcome the New Year and head to bed! It'll be fun to spend the night hanging with them!! I'd love for my parents to be here like they have for the last two years, but it's not possible this year... so Wendy and Ryan are the next best thing!

Oh... and starting on Saturday, I'll be posting each day (I hope)... we'll see if I can do that. It might be hard, but I'm going to try!!!

Until next time...
>^..^<

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Nice Email

I think most of my readers know about the drama with Gus's adoption while we were in Michigan. We were "stuck" there for two months because of a few problems, but the main problem was paperwork that was incorrectly filled out by Gus's birth father (H). Being a minor, he wasn't exactly accurate on the medical history and family background paperwork, and as a result, he said that he was Native American AND registered to a tribe.

When we went to meet with our attorney, I asked about the medical history and family background information sheets for both of the birth parents, and she gave them to us. Steve grabbed the birth mother's sheet, and I grabbed the birth father's sheet. Just a few seconds after being handed the sheet, I noticed that it said he was Native American and registered to a tribe. I said to our attorney, "Oh... H is Native American?" Immediately, she started to freak out and grabbed the form... then said, "OMG... this is NOT good news."

Basically, if there's a registered tribe member placing a child for adoption, the tribal leader has to give permission. We were told that if there was someone in the tribe who was willing to adopt Gus, that they'd have priority over us.

This scared me more than anything. We weren't sure if this was the case, or if it was a mistake on the part of H. We decided to do what we could to find out the truth.

After meeting H, and his parents (and paternal grandmother) for lunch, Steve nonchalantly asked about there being Native American in their family history. Turned out that there was Native American in the history, but as for them being registered to a tribe... there wasn't anything proving that this was the case.

So Steve set out to see if the birth father's mother (L) would be willing to fill out the paperwork again for him, and to do it as accurately as possible. We then found out that L had found out about the adoption two days after Gus had been placed with us. Apparently H said to her, "Mom... I need to tell you something. C and I kinda had a baby." When L heard this she said, "What do you mean kinda had a baby? Where is the baby? What happened to it?" Then she was told that they placed the baby for adoption and that he was with us. She was hurt and angry, and very upset. She decided that she wanted nothing to do with us and would do nothing to help the adoption. She basically said we could rot for all she cared. She also went on to say that she had rights as the birth grandmother, and would be contacting an attorney about it.

As a result... our attorney had to contact both of the tribes that were listed on the paperwork and had to see if there was any record of the birth father being registered to their tribes. Our attorney decided that it'd be best for her to wait to submit paperwork to the county, because if the judge saw that the birth father was Native American, he'd ask about getting tribal approval, and she didn't have that. She felt that it would only end up with the papers being rejected until there was further information about the Native American issue.

Further complications took place while we were there. We had Gus's baptism and invited both of his birth parents and their families to attend. We were pleasantly surprised when Gus's birth mom (C) and her mom (P) and best friend came, and then the birth father (H), his sister, and his mother (L)came. Gus's birth Great Aunt came with her family too and it was a great occasion.

Prior to the baptism, Steve had talked to L and asked her about filling out the paperwork accurately. She said she'd get to it, but was busy. She also told us about not being happy that we were friends of P (birth mom's mom) and that she was never informed of the pregnancy and adoption plans. Steve told her that we weren't friends of P, and met her for the first time at the hospital. It seemed to make L feel better, but she was still very hurt and angry. She said that she'd fill out the paperwork at the baptism.

Steve brought the paperwork to the church and was prepared to have her fill it out after the sacrament. As soon as L got there, she marched up to me and Steve and said, "I need to speak to the two of you in private. I'm not okay with this whole adoption." I felt like I would throw up. Steve said, "That's fine, but we're going to have to do it after the baptism." L said it was fine and walked away. All I could do is think about what was to come and how it was one thing after another.

The L walked up to P and said she wanted to speak to her. As they walked away, C said to H, "What's wrong with your mom?" Then H said, "She's being a bitch... as usual."

While I wasn't there to hear the conversation, I was told afterword that L basically went off on P and told her that she felt it was ridiculous that she knew about the pregnancy and never told her. She said that they had people in their family that would adopt Gus, and P then said, "It's a done deal L... deal with it."

So... the baptism happens... and there's an ackwardness to the whole thing, that should have been a beautiful event. C's best friend cried through the whole thing and poor Fr. Terry just kept on going. At the end we took pictures and when it was time for the picture of H and his sister and mom, she was in the bathroom crying. It was just really bad.

L tried to leave without filling out papers, and Steve saw her walking to her van... he ran out with the papers and confronted her. His dad was with him (I was inside the church having my own melt-down from stress and uncertainty). L proceeded to tell Steve that she was not going to lie, and she was pissed. She said that she had it in her mind to just take Gus and run off with him and had a car seat in her van for this purpose (TALK ABOUT SCARY). Steve told her, "Well, if you took him, we'd call the sheriff because it'd be kidnapping and we WOULD press charges." YIKES! She said it was nothing personal against us, and she was sure we were nice people, but she had family that would adopt Gus and she wasn't happy with not knowing about it. She was certain that there was something that she could do to get him back from us.

Steve gave her the papers and asked her to consider filling it out and she said she had a tattoo party and would try to get around to it if she had time. She never did. A few days later she really put up the wall and refused our phone calls and the calls of our attorney.

There was nothing more that we could do but wait. And wait. And wait some more. Three weeks after Gus was born, Steve had to fly back to NC and left me and Gus. It was heart-wrenching to say goodbye to him and not know when I'd see him again.

In the meantime, the funds for staying in a hotel were running out and I didn't like being there alone. Gus got a cold from being in the dry hotel air, and I took him to the pediatrician's office because he had a bloody nose and was spitting up blood.

I decided to move out of the hotel and into my parent's house. I didn't want to do this, because they didn't have anywhere for us to stay, but they immediately jumped on the idea and were estatic to have us come and stay with them. We ended up staying there for a little more than a month.

The bottom line was that our attorney ended up getting information from the two tribes and found that H was not registered. H's dad ended up stepping up and came and filled out papers with our attorney and she was finally able to submit the paperwork to the county and interstate office in June. It had been more than a month since Gus had been born. When H's dad filled out the paperwork, he said to P, "We just hope that H can be apart of Gus's life too." P went on to say, "I can't speak for Steve and Cathy. What your wife did has caused them a lot of problems and I can't say if they'll want you guys to have anything to do with Gus or not. You'll have to take that up with them."

Back to the original reason for this post. I got an email from L yesterday. In it, she appologized for all the hell that she put us through with the adoption, and said that she was happy to see how well Gus is doing. She follows his blog and watches videos on our family YouTube site and said it means more to her than I could ever know, to see him grow up. She said she was certain that Gus was meant to be with us and she's so happy that he's loved, cared for, and taken care of. She asked if she could send him something and she would understand if it wasn't someting that we were comfortable with. She also asked for our forgiveness and said she was sorry for everything.

When I saw that there was a message from her, I felt sick to my stomach. However, we wanted an open adoption and wanted Gus to be able to grow up and know his birth parents. I feel really lucky that C and H's families are in contact with us and Gus will have the opportunity to grow up knowing not only his birth mother's family, but also his birth father's family.

I replied back to L and told her that I held nothing against her and that I hoped I would never have to experience knowing that Gus had a child and placed it for adoption without me being aware of it. I said that she can send him something anytime she'd like and that we'd be coming back to MI in May or June for his first birthday, and hoped that we'd be able to get together so their family could meet him.

She wrote back a final time and said she was so relieved to hear that we weren't mad at her and didn't hate her. She also said that H and his paternal grandmother haven't spoken since the day at the diner for lunch and that they're both stubborn... and that's what we had to look forward to with Gus. She said she would love for us to get together and maybe Gus coming for a visit could be exactly what was needed for H and his grandma to repair their relationship.

It made me really happy to read her email and to have some resolution from things with L. It's not perfect, and it's something to keep working on, but I am very thankful. I believe that God had a plan and there was a reason for the timing of the whole adoption. Not only did it give me some amazing time with my parents, and give them a chance to REALLY bond with Gus, but we were able to be there when Dave and Heather and the kids came from Arizona. For the first time ever... all of my family was together. We went to dinner to celebrate our being able to come home (July 10th) and it was Scott, Christie, Alex and Lily, Dave, Heather, Eamon, Aine and Benton, my mom and dad, and me, Steve and Gus. Fourteen people all together for dinner and it is one of my most amazing memories. It happened because we were still in Michigan.

So... this is Gus's first Christmas and I am so happy to say that we're continuing to move positively toward building great relationships with his birth parents and their families.

Until next time...
>^..^<

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

MTv's 16 & Pregnant

So I just finished watching the season finale of season three of 16 & Pregnant. Each season there are ten girls that are 16 and pregnant, and the show documents their months of pregnancy leading up to their labor. Then there's about a month or so of life with a baby and being a new mom and a teen. There's always one girl that places her baby for adoption, and in season one it was Catelynn and Tyler, then season two it was a girl who was herself adopted, and then this season it was a girl who placed the baby with her aunt and uncle.

Being an adoptive mom, when I see the adoption episodes, I can't help but get sucked in moreso than I usually do, and I cry. Well, the episode from last night was just as interesting to me, but also was a bit eye-opening for me and I'm so glad I watched it.

For the longest time, I wondered if Gus's birth mom thought about him, or missed him, or had any feelings or thoughts about the adoption. She was so unattached and distant when we went to MI in May to meet her, that I wasn't sure what she was going through or thinking about. After watching the episode last night, I have no doubt that the decision for her to place Gus for adoption was heart-wrenching for her.

There's no way that she carried him inside her, and though it was very late in her pregnancy when she found out that she was pregnant, she still went through the labor pains, and delivered him (without any drugs BTW). She held him in her arms after she birthed him, and she had to find the strength within herself to place him into our arms and care forever.

It just makes me cry when I think about what it must have been like for her to make that decision and to actually go through with it. The most selfless act and yet, she was kind, sweet, and unassuming. She smiled and gave us hugs when she was discharged, and acted like it was all okay with her. Maybe it was, maybe she came to terms with things and realized that in time, the decision was going to be the best for Gus. Whatever was in her mind and heart, all I know is that she's the bravest, most amazing person on this planet. The fact that she was able to think of him and what was going to be best for him, and not get wrapped up in her own hurt, is incredible.

There's nothing I can do or say to ever let her know just how much she means to me. It's kinda stupid to think about things from my own perspective, but, she did give me the greatest gift and one that I can not give myself. I know she didn't place him with us because she wanted to give us the gift of life, but she did, and I am forever in her debt because of it.

I wanted to send her something for Christmas from Gus and Steve wasn't sure about it. We had pictures taken of him a few weeks ago and I ordered a few extra so that we could give them to family and friends. I ordered an extra sheet of wallets so that I could send them to her and let her pass them out as she wanted. I ended up taking Gus's handprint and making an ornament out of Model Magic. Then I gathered up some Burt's Bees and put them in a box, and then I had some of our favorite pictures of Gus printed on Snapfish. I sent them to her and her mom and then I also sent an ornament to her grandma (Gus's birth Great Grandma). Then I sent some pictures from his photo session and some of our favorites to his birth father and his mom. I hope they all enjoy their gifts from Gus.

As we get closer to Christmas, I can't help but think of how blessed I am and how thankful I am for all that I have. Not only am I a mom, but I get to stay at home with Gus and be there for each minute of his life. So many people wish they could be home with their children and they're not able-- I feel exceptionally lucky because he doesn't know a day without being with me.

I am hoping that we are able to add to our family soon. I'm not sure if it'll be adoption through foster or adoption through a friend of a friend kinda thing, but we're hoping to adopt another baby/child in the near future. There was a "possible" prospect just recently (a friend of a friend was pregnant and thinking about adoption, but is probably going to place the baby with family). I'm always praying that the right thing will happen and for peace. I'm already very blessed with Gus and I'm happy with him in my life.

Merry Christmas... I'll post again on Saturday with some pictures of Gus's first Christmas! I can't wait!! We're maybe going to have snow on Saturday, so that'd be a great gift!!
Until next time...
>^..^<

Monday, December 13, 2010


Photo Challenge: Pet Faces
This is my cat Purry Como. He was rescued from the Wake County SPCA here in North Carolina. Purry was rescued from a NC research facility by PETA and was one of 18 cats and 17 dogs that were saved. Purry has a very distinct purr that sounds like a cricket and sounds like he's singing. He's an amazing boy and we love him so very much! He loves being apart of our family and has made himself right at home. This picture was taken December 3rd, 2010 and Purry was just chillin' on the couch.

>^..^<

Saturday, November 27, 2010

HE CRAWLED!!!!

So I can't believe how much Gus is growing! He has been trying to crawl for the past few days, but today he actually put the movements together and moved! I can't believe how proud of him I am! He's such a little trooper and is so determined to do whatever he puts his mind to!

My parents came down last Monday and stayed through Saturday (a week ago today), and then Steve's dad and Sue Ann came down on Wednesday night and left this morning. I cooked two Thanksgiving dinners... the two were identical, but turned out differently. My first turkey was super juicy but not very pretty... and the second one was gorgeous and dry. LOL.

Last night Steve put up our Christmas tree and then today he went outside and put up the Christmas lights! I am really excited for Christmas this year. Last year I was not in the mood for the holidays and it wasn't until February that I actually got into the spirit... then it was too late. So, this year I am ready and excited! I have all that I've ever dreamed of, and I couldn't be happier!

Yesterday, Steve and I went on a date (the first one since August) and we went out to lunch (Bob Evan's) and then went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1. It was soooo good! It was so strange to be out without Gus. There were people in the theater with babies (Gus's age) and it made me mad. I'd never take him to see a movie like HP on the weekend that it was released (super busy) at a prime time (mid-afternoon). We haven't gone to a movie in forever because we haven't been able to get a sitter. Other people should be as considerate... if they can't get a sitter, they shouldn't go to a movie!

On another note... I think about Gus's birth mom a lot. Probably more than is normal (though, I don't know what is normal in a situation like mine). I wonder if she thinks about him, or if she wonders how he's doing. I try to post pictures on his Fb page and to stay current... I blog about him every week with the hopes that it gives her a chance to read about his development. I don't know if it's too painful for her to read, or if she actually reads it and is happy to see how he's doing.

I never got a good read on things with our short time at the hospital with her. She seemed very detached from the whole situation (which is completely understandable), but I wish I knew how she felt. Then again, maybe it's best that I don't know... I think it would upset me if I knew that she regretted her decision, or that she missed him, or that she was having a hard time with things. I can only pray that she's healed and that she enjoys seeing pictures, videos, and reading about him and is happy with how we're doing as his parents.

I absolutely love being Gus's mom. He is the absolute joy of my life and I cannot imagine what my life would be like without him. I really believe that he and I (and Steve) were meant to be together. He's always such a happy baby and laughs, smiles, coos, and squeels with delight and it makes me so happy!! :)

Until next time...
>^..^<

Monday, November 22, 2010

Disappointment

I hate it when there's bad news. I can't go into too much detail, but I had my fingers and toes crossed for something and it isn't going to happen. I know I'm not the only one disappointed, but it still stinks. I guess it wasn't meant to be... and there's something else out there.

On another note, my parents came to visit for the holiday last week. It was wonderful to see them! It had been two months since they were here last and Gus has changed so much! Even as I type this, he's on the floor trying so hard to crawl! He is able to hold himself up with his front arms, and is pulling his knees up at the same time. He obviously doesn't have it down yet, but it's close! So much has changed in just a week!!

Steve's dad and Sue Ann are coming on Wednesday for the holiday and it'll be fun to see them react to Gus and how he's changed since September (when they last saw him). He's been a wiggle-worm lately and very squirmy!!!

While my parents were here we went to Apex and my dad took some pictures of me and Gus. All the pictures that I have are of Steve and Gus, so it's nice to have some of me and him. We also took him to the mall and he got his very first picture with Santa! It is the cutest picture and he drew quite a crowd with his happiness!!


That's it for now...
Until next time...
>^..^<

Monday, November 15, 2010

So it's been a while since I last posted something personal... I've been using this blog mainly for photography. However, I am in the mood to write, so I thought I'd take the time while I actually have a free minute.

My life has changed so much since becoming a mom. Gus has brought so much joy to me that there are days when I think, "Is he really my baby?" I don't think I've completely wrapped my head around it yet and there are times when I feel like I don't know what the heck I'm doing! Someone once said, "Moms are so important because they are the ones who shape who their children become." WOW. That's some powerful stuff! I don't want to do anything that's going to cause harm for Gus and I would lay down my life for him. He's the most important person in my life and I can't imagine my life without him.

I really think he was placed into my life for a reason. He IS the son that I was meant to have. There are times when it's scary to think about the future and I vow to keep telling him about his birth mother and father and that they placed him in our life because they loved him so much. I'm hopeful that in the future Gus will get to know his birth family and will just see them as an extension of himself. I want them to be as important to him as they should be, and I want them to know how thankful we are that they trusted us to become his parents.

My mom and dad are on their way here to visit for the week. I am so excited I can hardly contain my excitement! They haven't seen Gus since September and will be so surprised at how big he is! I've missed them so much. It's funny how growing up, I always took advantage of the time spent together with my family, and now that I'm older, I'd give anything to have time with my brothers and their families and my parents.

I've been really enjoying my camera and feel like I am able to take some really great pictures of Gus that I couldn't do without this camera. I've been posting a lot of the pictures on Gus's blog, but also on Facebook.

Okay... Gus is starting to wake so I should close this for now. I am excited for my parents to get here... only four more hours!!  :)

Until next time...
>^..^<

Friday, October 15, 2010


Fix It Friday #74

I am getting better at playing with Photoshop, although, I still don't get it 100% and there are things I know it can be used for, but I haven't figured out how to do it yet. Anyway, this week's FIF picture let me play a little and have some fun. I hope you like what I did! I'm eager to hear feedback about the different images!!

Here's the starting image:


At first I did just a normal edit...

Then I had some fun...
#1 Funky Edit


#2 Funky Edit

#3 Funky Edit

Last Funky Edit (My favorite)


I don't know what I did for them, other than to play with layers and then I used the lasso tool and cut her out and then I played with the background and did different things with it. Then I added her back into the picture and it looked very cool!!

:)
>^..^<





Friday, October 01, 2010

Yes, it's Friday and I'm back at practicing my photography skills! I asked for a new camera for my birthday, but that's not going to happen this year. I've been borrowing my dad's Pentax, which I love, and have enjoyed using something other than my dinky little point and shoot.

Here's the picture to be edited this week:

Here's the edit that I did:

I'm not the greatest at editing and I don't understand Photoshop completely (it's quite complex), but I think my edit looks pretty good!

To see more edits from this week check out iheartfaces.com!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Here's the weekly FIF fun from http://www.iheartfaces.com/!

The Original Image:

Here's My Edit:
:)
>^..^<

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Week 38: Smirk Photo Challenge

 
 


My son Gus is the absolutely biggest blessing in my life. He just turned four-months-old and has the sweetest little smile. He's been smiling since he was about four days old, but obviously, those were reflective smiles, and not "natural." Those started coming when Gus was about two months or so.


This picture of Gus was taken on September 15th, 2010. He was smiling like a little ham, but then I snapped this one of him just giving me a sweet little smirk. I think it's very cute!

Until next time...
>^..^<

Friday, September 10, 2010

So I've started playing with photography and trying to get better at taking pictures and editing them to make them look great. I've got Gus as an amazing subject, so I've been looking for ways to capture his image in different ways. My friend Katie uses a site called iheartfaces for practicing and editing. I'm going to give this a try... I took an image that they provided and I edited it. I hope you like it!

Here's the original image:


Here's my edit using Photoshop:


I'd love to hear feedback about what you think!!
>^..^<

Thursday, September 02, 2010

So I was in Gus's nursery this morning feeding him, and I had this random thought. It's so surreal that we actually have a baby! I wanted to be a mom for so long, and went each month praying that we'd get pregnant... only to be devistated each month. We literally went to a baseball game as two parentless people, and fifteen hours later we were holding our son. Our lives were changed forever for the better.


Sometimes I look at Gus and I can't believe that he's real. I can't imagine my life without him and it's like God created him just for us. Gus's birthmother is just an amazing person. She is so strong and was so determined to give him the absolute best life possible, and without hesitation she chose us for him. I can never thank her enough and can never express how much he means to me. I think adoption is an amazing thing and has just really deepened my faith.


Gus is so amazing. I am deeply in love and one little smile from him is all it takes for me to completely melt. He is funny and has started to develop quite the personality. He and I have conversations and he laughs and smiles. The best is when I'm feeding him and he stops eating just to smile and then he makes this super-sweet coo... he's perfection.


My parents are coming down for a visit TOMORROW!!! I cannot wait to see them!! It's been almost two long months. While I was there, I couldn't wait to come home to NC and be with Steve and have Gus here in our house with the things we bought/received for him. As soon as I got here, I longed for home and to be with my parents and brothers and their families. It's so hard to be here without any family... it's absolutely heart-wrenching.


I was actually thinking about family when my niece Lily turned one. It broke my heart that we couldn't be there for her first birthday. Dave and Heather and the kids were in town and able to be there for the party and event, and of course my parents were there. While I appreciated the pictures and video that my dad took for me, it made me very sad to be so far away from everyone. Then I was thinking about when Gus turns one. Who will be here for his big birthday? It made me sad because I don't know if anyone but us will be here.


So here's an announcement for all family reading this... Gus will be one on May 11th. It's a Wednesday. We'll be having his first birthday party on the 14th (a Saturday)... put it in your planners/calendars and mark it so you can make a trip to NC to celebrate with us!!! Let's plan on 1:00 and we'll have a BBQ with it.  :)


Until next time...
>^..^<

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Where to start? Let's see... Aimee and Matt and the boys came for their visit and while they were here we headed to the beach. It was awesome for Gus to stick his baby feet into the Atlantic Ocean for the very first time, although he wasn't too happy about it. We also went to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher and Aimee's boys enjoyed it. Aimee's oldest son especially liked the sharks and was so excited to see the shark exhibit. :)

I recently joined the MOMS Club of Fuquay-Holly Springs- Willow Springs. I went to a meet-n-greet back on August 11th and it was nice. I met three members and another woman that was new to the group. Then this past Tuesday I went to my second event, a lunch at Moe's and met more people. I decided to join and now I've been getting emails welcoming us to the group and they've given us an updated calendar and I also get the newsletter. I like that there are other babies in this group and Gus will get to meet other little ones and we can do play dates.

My parents are hopefully coming for a visit for Labor Day and I hope they're able to come because Gus hasn't seen them since July 11th! It'll almost be two months since he saw them and they need to be reunited!

I'm still loving staying at home with Gus. I don't miss teaching (yet)... and I don't miss the drama that comes from working in a school. My business has been doing well (www.steveandcat.net/c4) and I've done pretty well this summer season with bringing in some extra money. I've been really busy and have had a lot of orders to complete. Right now I've got one left to do, but it's a BIG order. I could definitely get used to having this be my only job-- I just hope my business takes off more and more!

Until next time...
>^..^<

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

So I've been a stay-at-home-mom for almost a whole month and so far it's been amazing!

I am so blessed to have a husband that is so caring and thoughtful. Steve comes home and sits with Gus and will change him and feed him. On the weekends I get to sleep in while Steve gets up and feeds and changes him at the 5:30/6:30 time.

I've been making dinner every night and thankfully we found out about http://www.e-mealz.com/ from Aimee and we've been using e-Mealz each night. I've loved cooking dinner and trying new things, and Steve has loved having a home-cooked meal! We haven't been out to dinner since Friday, July 23rd!! To go 11 days without eating out... that's a new Walker record!!

Yesterday we went to Burt's Bees for our very first baby shower. It was so nice of Steve's co-workers to throw us a shower. They went together and bought us some gifts, including gift cards to Amazon and Babies-R-Us. It was nice for Steve to get to "show off" Gus and for the co-workers to see Steve as a daddy.

Gus slept in his room last night for the first time and he did so well! I think I want to buy a video monitor just for some self-assurance, but it was an amazing night! He went to sleep just as he would in our room. I think he might have slept better because he didn't hear us. I'm excited that we made the transition now, so that he just knows that that's where he sleeps. I don't want to have to deal with the separation when he's older and doesn't understand why he has to leave our room. I think it's healthy for all of us, and he still knows he's loved, and it gives Steve and I some "us" time and more sound sleep.

Gus laughed for the first time last Thursday and it was incredible!! I captured it on video, but he hasn't done it since. I try to make him laugh, but I guess I'm just not funny enough yet. He does smile all the time at me, and looks like he's beaming with joy, which just makes me melt. I absolutely love being a mother!!

My best friend Aimee is coming to visit tomorrow with her husband Matt and two little boys and I can't wait! They're leaving tonight and driving through the night and should be here between 10am-12pm tomorrow. They're going to be super tired... so I'm not sure how much fun tomorrow will be, but on Thursday, we're going to the beach! We're going to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher and then we're going to the beach for a bit. It's supposed to be 99 degrees on Thursday, so the beach should be a nice treat!

Okay... that's about it for me for now. I'm sure I'll write again. Oh! I almost forgot! I was featured in an AP article and it was awesome!! I got an email from Ray Bean, author of Sweet Farts, and then he passed on my name and info to the author of the AP article. So then she contacted me and asked me for some information. Then... just this week I got an email from another author named Artie Bennett, and he asked me to read and review his book "The Butt Book". He said he'd send me a copy and then asked if I'd read it and review it on my teaching blog and my website!

Until next time...
>^..^<

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Well... we're home!! I cannot even begin to express how happy and elated I was to get home! On the flip side, I was so very sad to leave Michigan and say goodbye to my parents and brothers and their families. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my parents and allowing them to be apart of Gus's first two months of life.

I was able to see so many good friends that I never get to see when Steve and I come up for a visit. We usually only have three days or so, and I always reserve that very special time for family and my wonderful friend Aimee and her family. That's usually all we have time for, and then it's time to either head home, or head to Indiana to visit Steve's side of our family.

We got home on Sunday, July 11th, which also happened to be Gus's two-month birthday. It's hard to think that it took two months to get home. I would not have ever thought it'd be two LONG weeks. I think being away from Steve made it even more difficult.

We spent our last day/night in Michigan by going to dinner to celebrate our ability to go home. It was bittersweet. For the first time in I can't remember how many years, both of my brothers were at my parent's house with their families. It was the five of us with our spouses and kids. Something I always dreamed of being apart of... and it happened. Dave is the oldest and was there with his three kids, Scott is the middle child and was there with his two kids, and then I'm the baby and was there with Gus. 3,2,1...

My parents were excited, but my mom was beyond happy. She's wanted a picture of her kids and their kids for so long... and had the delay with the adoption not happened, she wouldn't have had us all be there together.

So we left Michigan at 6am and arrived at home at 6:30pm. Steve was worried that it'd take up to 20 hours to get home with Gus... due to frequent stops. However, Gus did an amazing job and slept the whole way! He'd wake up and be smiley and happy and then he'd go back to sleep. He enjoys the car and we're so very lucky for this!

When we got home and moved all our stuff inside, it was time for bed. I took Gus to the nursery and changed him on the changing table. Then we sat in his glider and I rocked him while I fed him. I had an overwhelming surge of emotions come over me as I was feeding him. I had sat in that room so many times and prayed that we'd get a baby soon and be able to start our family. There I was, rocking my baby while he fed. I had wanted to come home so much, and there I was. It was a moment of realizing that all of my dreams and prayers had been answered and come true.

So now we're home and Steve took yesterday off. It was stressful... and it'll take some getting used to (on his part) since he's been away from us and not had to worry about anything for weeks. Having Gus is so amazing, but also so challenging. We feel like we can't get anything done because we're always having to tend to his needs. I will say that today (first day as a stay-at-home mom) has been great.

I think it'll just take some time to adapt. I'm excited to be a SAHM and raise Gus. I feel so blessed that we're able to do this and I'm able to be here for all the moments. I never knew what I didn't know about parenting... but it's been wonderful thus far and I can't remember my life before Gus. Strange to write that... it so quickly has become a life I don't really remember, and one that I don't really miss.

My business is starting to pick up (it's the summer and a busy time of year), so I'm stressed about how to manage Gus and get my orders completed. We'll see...

Until next time!!
Cat

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One week from today is my last day of school. I am slated to be back to school for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, but we still have not heard anything from the lawyer. It's been two weeks and a day since the paperwork was filed with Macomb County and the Michigan Interstate Compact office.

As soon as we hear something we can go home. It's going on four weeks since I last saw Steve and I miss him terribly. Gus and I moved to my parent's house from the hotel about three weeks ago. Gus got a cold and after taking him to the doctor, she said the hotel air was probably drying out his nasal passage and it'd be better for him to be here with my parents. It's been an adjustment-- I'm glad to be around them and spend time with them, but I miss the space of the hotel, and the privacy. I can't complain though because it's saving us a lot of money and my parents get to be around Gus each day and watch him grow and develop.

I was stressing about work and my dad and I went to dinner last night and we were talking about it. He basically told me that unless I can control it, there's no point in stressing about it. He's totally right, and I have decided to just let go and let things happen as they're going to happen. There have been a lot of rumors about me at work and it bothers me, but there is nothing I can do about it.

Gus is doing great! He's a very cute little man and I love spending time with him. Lately he's been very snuggly and wanting to cuddle to fall asleep on me. It's very sweet! He actually rolled over from his tummy to his back last week, and I got it on the Flip, but he hasn't done it since. It's a good thing I had the camera!! He's starting to practice his smile and is a very laid-back and happy baby. I can't wait to bring him home to NC for Steve to bond with him and see how much he's changed!!

I joined a group called http://www.e-mealz.com/ and I am so excited to get home and start using it! Basically it sends me a week's worth of recipies and then also the shopping list for all the meals. It'll make things so much easier for me and Steve!! I'm hoping that I can either have Steve watch Gus while I make dinner, or make a bunch of the meals earlier in the week and freeze them to just grab as needed during the week.

I have REALLY gotten into World Cup soccer while I've been here. It's absolutely awesome! My dad and I watched the very intense USA/Algeria game this morning and it was awesome! USA won the match (and their group) into the stoppage time... it was so incredible to watch!

Alright... enough for now. I hope the next time I blog it'll be from home!!
Until next time...
>^..^<

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

How things can change in just a little bit of time!

My track out went well, we went and saw Wicked and absolutely loved it! It's my favorite musical now!!

We went up north to visit my family from April 30th-May 5th and then we went to Indiana from the 5th-8th. While we were in MI my cousin Jessica called me to tell me that she worked with someone who had a niece that was 16 and pregnant. Then she told me that the 16 year-old had decided that she wanted to place her child for adoption, Jessica told them about us and directed them to our CAS profile, and they decided that they wanted us to adopt the baby. The birth mom was due on May 28th, and while we were up in MI and IN we looked into attorneys and whatnot because CAS doesn't do out of state adoptions.

Well... long story short (you can read the longer version on the Walker Blog), we were back in MI to meet our baby Gus. It's been a roller-coaster because his adoption hasn't been anything like I had expected. I have to keep my guard up because nothing is certain yet, and he could be taken back at any time.

We've been here in MI for three weeks today, and nothing has been filed. No interstate compact, and no custody termination has happened. The mail reason is that the birth father's mother was not aware of the pregnancy and wasn't made aware of the adoption until two days after Gus was born. She was very upset that she didn't know about anything. The birth father filled out his medical background form and said he was a registered Native American. With that, our attorney has to look into it as much as possible, because if he is in fact part NA, we'll have to go to the tribal leader and get permission for us to adopt Gus.

The paternal birth grandma has the paperwork and was going to fill it out again correctly, because she said the birth father messed up on the paperwork. So, we've been waiting three weeks for her to fill out the papers and she hasn't complied. Then last week she was going to fill it out and take it to her attorney... well, she never did, and apparently she told the attorney that when the form comes to terminate custody (the birth father is 17 and so he'll sign and his parent will also sign), she is refusing to sign it.

At this point I just want to go home. I've been living in a hotel for three weeks and have been away from home since April 30th. Steve had to fly home on Sunday and it only made it more difficult to be here. Now I'm here with just Gus and there's no end in sight for us to go home.

I'll post more later, but I just needed to write. I don't know how anyone can be a single parent-- this is the hardest thing that I've ever done. I wish I didn't love sleep as much as I do. I think the lack of sleep is the most difficult adjustment. And it's even worse without Steve here because at least we could switch on and off for feedings and changes... now it's just me.

Ahhhh... I need a nap.

Until next time!
>^..^<

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Goooood morning!!!
     I made it to my track out!! WHOO HOOO!!! I am so excited to have three weeks of vacation! My last track out wasn't three weeks (it was shorter) so it's awesome to have three long weeks. I have a lot to do this track out, but it's going to be wonderful.
     Today Steve and I are going to the DPAC to see Wicked. We're meeting two of Steve's friends (mine too) Pam and Tim for lunch at Tyler's Taproom before the show. They have season tickets too and we just found out last night. HA! I'm excited to see Wicked-- I read 3/5 of the book and just couldn't get into it, so I'm hoping the play will be easier to enjoy.
     Last night we went to dinner at The Pit (my favorite) with Jen, Rebekah, Kim, and her husband Dave. It was a lot of fun and very enjoyable. There was definitely a lot of laughter coming from our table.
     I've been doing more things with my Scholastic Teacher Advisor role. I received my first book to read and review. It was called Umbrella Summer and was about a little girl who was afraid of doing anything because it might kill her. She had an abnormal fear of death because her twelve-year-old brother had recently been hit in the chest with a hockey puck and while in the hospital, they discovered he had a rare heart condition, which then caused his death.
     Anyway, I have been doing a few surveys for them and have really enjoyed the things they've asked me to do.
     I've been working on a very special project for my students. Every year I make them each a very special gift for the last day of school. It takes me all year to make it and endless hours, and I've been collecting items for one portion of the project. Over this track out, I have to start pulling it all together, and getting it ready to give to them.
     We found out last week that our EOGs are now a week sooner than expected. Now we're giving the EOGs June 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. I have not even finished teaching the curriculum, and now I'm expected to start preparing them for the test. I hate EOGs. Parents don't understand that I teach each objective a little at a time, then come back and do them some more. Their child is graded based on just focusing on one or two objectives. The EOGs measure their knowledge and understanding of the concepts for the ENTIRE year.
     Each year (it never fails) there's a child (or two) who don't pass and the parents flip out and want to know why their child can get 3s on their report card, but fail the EOGs. It's because they practice and practice and then are assessed in class... then we move to the next objective. This repeats all year. The EOGs are all the concepts jammed into one test and that's a lot of information!!
     Anyway, I'm hoping that my kids do well. I have a few that I know probably won't pass, but we'll see.
     No news on the adoption front. I'm just trying to not think about it too much. I check the website often and we've been moved to the second page because they added another couple. I've been checking the blog as well and there haven't been any babies posted for over a month. So, maybe it's a dry-spell.
     I'm just hoping that someone wants to meet us. I think we're great people, but it's so scary to put yourself out there and be at the mercy of others. I like to be in control of my destiny and this whole process has changed all of that. I'm learning to let go and be more open and really focus on what God wants for us. It's been hard... and I pray each day for patience and that God will help us find the right baby. Please keep us in your prayers!!

Until next time...
>^..^<

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Prepare yourselves... I am in a mood and will probably piss a lot of people off.  :)

I want to start by saying that I am aware of the fact that I am not a pregnant woman, and have never experienced what it is like to be pregnant. However, what I've heard/read/seen lately makes me feel that I need to express my true feelings about this very issue.

Steve and I have been trying to conceive for years. Not days... weeks...months... but literally YEARS. That's a long time to pray and cry and pray and cry and ask what is wrong with me that I can't get pregnant. So, it's a bit of a touchy subject for me anyway.

I have many friends who were all right there with me as someone having fertility issues. Seriously... I won't name names, but I have two friends that I work with, and they both were experiencing the agony of not being able to get pregnant. Then there are my friends... okay, I'm going to count the number of friends that I have who have had the problem of getting pregnant. There are five. YES I said FIVE.

Guess what folks? Of all the seven... ALL OF THEM are now pregnant or just had a baby. ALL OF THEM. I honestly do not have ANYONE that I can say is in the same boat as me. So whatever... that's not my rant (today).

My rant is this. I absolutely HATE and I will say it again, HATE when my friends, who struggled through infertility as I have, who are now pregnant (let me remind you again that they are PREGNANT) bitch and complain about being pregnant. If I hear one more of them bitch about "Only X more months and I'm done with this..." I am going to scream.

I want to go off on them and say, "DO YOU NOT REMEMBER HOW YOU LONGED TO BE PREGNANT??? HAVE YOUR FORGOTTEN WHAT IT'S LIKE TO WISH TO GET PREGNANT AND KNOW THAT YOU'RE ABLE TO BRING A LIFE INTO THIS WORLD????" Yes, I am writing in all caps for a reason.

It blows my mind when I read blogs and Facebook updates about how miserable these friends are. I can't handle the bitching (in person) about how they can't wait to get the baby out and be done with all the pregnancy drama. Really? Are you kidding me?

Bitch to other friends... complain to someone else... but please be mindful that you're bitching and complaining to someone who would do just about anything, give just about anything, and aches at the inability to get pregnant. It's heart-wrenching for me to listen to all these people (who were in my shoes) complain about the miracle that they have inside of them.

Now, I said it at the beginning, I have never been pregnant. Maybe there's something that happens that really does make it a pain in the ass to be pregnant. I'll give you that, but please don't share your bitterness with someone who can't get pregnant. It's insulting and cruel.

While we are moving forward with our lives, and we're the process of adopting an infant, I still long for the day when I could have the joy of being pregnant. It's a long shot, and maybe I'll be that "one friend" who despite all effort, couldn't get pregnant. Which in reality, all the other seven friends apparently are not infertile are they? Not if they're pregnant now or just had a baby!

So to the pregnant women out there... please be mindful of your bitching and complaing and be thankful that you were able to get pregnant and that the person you're bitching to, would gladly trade places with you!!

I'm done... (for now). And if I offended anyone, now you know how it feels.

>^..^<

Monday, March 29, 2010

We are going to meet with Doris at CAS on Thursday!!! That means that we'll be on the waiting list and one step closer to Tadpole Walker! I am so excited I can't even express it!

The other day I was watching 16 and Pregnant (on MTv) and the girl decided to give her baby up for adoption. It was so hard to watch and I boo-hooed at the end when she said goodbye to the baby. It was interesting to see her meet with the adoptive family and see that they were just as nervous as she was. It made me think about how nervous Steve and I will be when we get a call (if we get a call).

I am in the fourth quarter of the year at school. This year has really gone by fast! I only have three more weeks for my last track out of this year! I'm still trying to decide if we should go to Michigan or not. Once we get a baby we'll be going to Michigan for the Baptism, but if we don't get a baby right away... that's more time without seeing my family and I miss them!!

Anyway, I'll post again once we meet with Doris!!
Until next time...
>^..^<

Sunday, March 07, 2010

So... I took the day off on Tuesday because I wasn't feeling well, and I was exhausted from my trip to New York City. I'm glad that I had the extra time to really focus on my lesson plan that I had to write (and teach) for the county team on Thursday.

I decided to do a writing lesson. I had been wanting to do a lesson on character development, and figured that this is as good a time as any! Jen came over on Wednesday night for Steve to work on her new netbook and to work on her laptop, and while she was here, she helped me tweek my lesson plan and really get it to a place where I was comfortable.

We ended up going to a new restaurant in Holly Springs (an up-scale Italian place) called Il Forno. I had lobster ravioli and while it was good, it over highly overpriced ($20) and didn't come with salad ($9). So... after dinner we came back to our place, worked on my lesson a bit more and then Jen went home.

Thursday morning I was a wreck. I was totally nervous because the team of five was coming at 1:00.  I made each team member a copy of my lesson plan and all the handouts that I was going to use (the email said just one copy was needed). Jen had suggested that I change my recess to before lunch, then come back from lunch and do read aloud so that they'd be calmer before the team arrived. I'm so glad that she suggested this because they showed up at 12:50 (my recess is usually 12:30-1:00).

So they arrived ten minutes early... and Azizi in the office called to let me know (thank God for her because she always gives a "heads up" about stuff like that). I prepared my kids slightly, but since I wasn't supposed to be observed until 1:00, I assumed that they were going to come and talk to me for the first ten minutes and then start the observation at 1:00. I was wrong.

They walked in and I immediately felt like I could throw up. I shook each of their hands and said hello. I asked if they wanted to talk to me before the lesson and the captain (the AP at Enloe HS) said that we could talk after.

So they asked where they should sit, and they decided to spread out around my room. This made me even more nervous! They were in the back, the sides, and the front of my room, and no matter where I looked, I had one of them in my eye-sight.

One of my boys was cleaning out his desk (we thought we had ten more minutes) and so I asked him to put his stuff away and then I got started. I started right around 12:55 or so.

I get about twenty minutes into my lesson and I see them all stand up and start to walk around. I actually felt a bit relieved that they were up and checking out what my kids were doing, but instead, they headed towards the door. I said, "You're not leaving are you?" The captain said, "Yes, it's just a snapshot." So then I said, "But you didn't even get to see the fun part of the lesson!!" They all chuckled and said thank you to me and then they left.

I literally stood at the front of the room in shock. I told my kids to keep working, which they did, but I was in disbelief that I had made this hour long lesson, only for them to see 25 minutes of it. All I could think of was, "SERIOUSLY??" So I checked my email from the captain and sure enough, it says, "We will be in your classroom from 1:00-2:00." Then I started to panic a little. What if they hated me and that's why they left? Then I realized that they never even talked to me!

I kept watching the front doors to see when they were leaving, but they didn't leave, and then 10 more minutes passed and they still hadn't left yet. Where were they??? After about 25 minutes, I saw them leave through the front doors and then I let out a big sigh to my kids. I had finished my lesson and they loved it, but no one was there to see it but me.

I told them to put their writing away and that we were going outside (I needed time to just think and unwind). As I was lining my kids up to go outside, my principal came to my door with a little blue gift bag and handed it to me. She said, "I thought you could use this." Then she asked how it went and I told her that they only stayed for 25 minutes. She said that she felt that was a good sign. She said they usually give an hour so that if they need to see a transition, or need to see more, they have the time blocked for it. (She was on a county team for TOY before).

Then as I was walking my kids out, I said that they didn't talk to me and didn't ask me any questions, and I thought they hated me. She said, she felt it was quite the opposite. She said they came down to the office for a bit and were talking to her. (INTERESTING) She said that she knew three of the five people, and is good friends with the one. She said she's sure it went well.

So then... I go outside, she had given me a Mt. Dew and big bag of Cheetos (very sweet since I was too nervous to eat lunch). I talked to another teacher outside and she said she'd guess that they liked me too if they didn't stay the whole time. She said that you don't need any more than 25 minutes to know if someone has "it" or not. We'll see I guess!

On Friday, I saw our guidance counselor in the hall and she asked how it went and I told her that it was a short visit. She told me that she had an appointment with our principal at 1:15 and when she went to talk to her, she was in the conference room. She said there was a lot of laughing, and it didn't sound like a serious meeting, which she had an appointment so there shouldn't have been a meeting. Then she came back, and my principal was walking the five county people to the door. My GC knew the one guy and said hello and then asked him what he was doing at my school. He told her that he was there to observe one of our teachers (me) and she said, "Oh... Cathy is a great teacher!" He then said, "Yes, we really enjoyed meeting her, and loved her classroom." She said that they were all saying how nice I was and that they really enjoyed their time in my room.

So... the last bit of interesting news about this is that I was reading back through my emails (I sent the captain a thank you email) and noticed that the county teams have until March 26th to finish their observations. The fact that they did mine on March 4th maybe says something too. Who knows.

I won't know anything until April. They county has a reception for the Top 24 (Semi-Finalists) and then they announce the finalists (Top 12) at the reception. Then between April whatever (when they do the reception) to May 15th they do individual interviews with the Top 12 and that's how they determine the Teacher of the Year. They announce the Teacher of the Year at the TOY Banquet in May. Everyone who is a TOY is invited and then they make the big announcement there.

Today I'm going to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D with some of my 4th graders. I'm excited to see it and hope that it's a good movie!! Then I have to write my newsletter for the week. We're taking Ned to Craig's for a bit so he can meet Craig's dog because Craig said he'd be willing to take Ned next weekend when we go to Charlotte for the workshop.

Still no news on the adoption front. It's been three weeks since the home study was done... and we're just waiting on them to tell us to come see them. I hate having to wait on other people...

Until next time...
>^..^<

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Okay... so I am back from my amazing trip to New York! I'm going to try and blog about each day to the best of my ability. First, I wanted to say that my visit with Ann Marie and Megan was great! They were both very sweet and my kids enjoyed having them in our room! The staff was so excited to get Mama Mia's for lunch and it was delicious!!

So, Steve took me to the airport Thursday morning. My flight was slated to leave at 12:25 and arrive at 3:00. A girl named Lisa from Panama City Beach, FL and I had been emailing and she was coming into LaGuardia at 2:00 and said she'd be willing to wait for me and we could take a cab to the hotel together. Well, that didn't happen.

I got to the airport at 11:15 and got through security without any issues. I decided to grab lunch (a blt roll-up, chips, and a drink) right by my gate. I checked out the arrivals/departures board and noticed that EVERY flight after mine was cancelled going into LaGuardia. So I sat and waited for my boarding time (12:00) and the flight that was supposed to leave before mine was still sitting there. So my flight got backed up. I didn't end up leaving RDU until 2:30.

So once we were about to land at LGA our flight attendant tells us that we're going to have to circle until we're allowed to land. This happens for an hour. It's like 4:30 when the captain comes on and says that we're not going to land at LGA because the airport has just closed indefinitely. I paniced. He said we'd be landing in either JFK or Harrisburg. Now... I'm not sure where JFK is located, but I do know that Harrisburg is in PA and PA is not NY!!

So about 20 minutes pass and he comes back on and says that we're about to land in JFK. At least that's in NY. We land without any issues and I find out that JFK is only 8 miles from LGA. I contact Lisa via text and tell her that I won't be coming into LGA and tell her to leave without me.

I get my bags and then head out for a cab. The line was HUGE. I get in line and I'm like the 10th person in line and this guy comes up to where I'm standing and tells everyone in line from me back, that there are no cabs available and that we should find other forms of transportation to get to our destination. Again... more freaking out. I called Lisa and she didn't know what to say/do for me, but I needed someone to know what was happening. Then I called Carol and she said she could possibly get me a car, but she wasn't sure.

Right at that time, the same guy that made the cab announcement comes up to me and asks where I'm going. I said SoHo and he asked if I'd be willing to share a cab with someone. It's a lady and she looks safe. So she and I get into the cab and head to her hotel. After small talk in the cab, I discover that she's from Holly Springs! Small world.

I arrive at the hotel at 7:00... and the group was supposed to meet for dinner at 6:30. They ended up waiting for me (which was very nice). I texted Lisa and told her that I was going to drop off my bags and head down to meet them.

We ended up going to dinner at this place called Jekyl and Hyde. You should for sure check the link and see what the place is all about-- it was awesome. I can only say it was like a Rainforest Cafe with a haunted house theme instead of a rainforest.

Dinner was enjoyable and there were seven of us that made it out. I had french onion soup and a quesadilla that was okay. It was very expensive ($35) but I didn't mind too much because Scholastic was paying for it.  ;)

Friday morning I got up and ready and had to meet Carol downstairs by 8am. I got to meet everyone else (there were 14 of us) and then we walked to the Scholastic offices. It was about a mile away. It wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for the snow that we had to trek through.

Walking into the building was incredible. There were signs everywhere welcoming the 2010-2011 Scholastic Teacher Advisors. I felt like a rock-star. When we made it upstairs, we hung up our coats and then headed into this big conference room with one wall that was all windows. I found my seat and headed out to get breakfast. We were all given red fleece jackets that say "2010-2011 Scholastic Teacher Advisor" on it. I also had a really nice bag that was filled with a TON of swag (a clock, a blanket, books, and a $50 gift card to the Scholastic Book Store).

There was a slide show with each person's pictures and it was awesome to see where everyone came from. They started the meeting and the CEO and President were in there as well as all the VPs and other editors. It was very intimidating for me. I didn't say anything for about an hour... and then once they asked me what I though, I opened up and kept on talking.

We spent all morning talking and then we had lunch, and then spent the rest of the afternoon talking. We took a group picture with the CEO and it's a cute picture. Then we walked to a place called Hundred Acres for dinner. It was sooooo good. I sat at a table with Ann Marie and then more Scholastic VIPs sat there and so did Lisa, Kristin and this other girl.

Our table had a blast. We were laughing and having so much fun. I think we had the most fun! I had steak for dinner and it was absolutely delicious. We walked back to the hotel and decided to just go to bed because we had to be up early for our appearance on the CBS Early Show!

I got up early on Saturday and we headed for the CBS studios. We waited outside for a bit and then came into the lobby. I made a sign for my kids and then when it was time to go out, there were several others who had made signs as well. I wasn't right in the middle, but I was on tv!! Steve recorded it for me!!

We got to the Scholastic offices around 9:00 and then we had breakfast and had some discussions on the actual website for parents and teachers. We were escorted upstairs to the lab and we were able to play on the new site and give all kinds of feedback. Then we went back downstairs and shared our thoughts with everyone.

We talked a little more about the future of the company and then that was it. We went upstairs for lunch and then we were free to explore NYC! We had to be at the hotel by 5:15 for dinner, but other than that, we were on our own for fun.

Lisa, Kristin, Jon and I decided to pair up and do a "Food Network Tour" of NY. We ended up going to Gray's Papaya and enjoyed a hotdog. We took the subway and then we took the bus to Dylan's Candy Bar and met a CRAZY lady on the bus there. She said she'd show us where it was, and when it was time to get off the bus, she was nice. But... while we were walking she kept saying how we were too young and too pretty to be eating crap like candy bars. Then she said that we needed to be better models for our students and went on lecturing us... she was extremely rude in my opinion. She looked like Vincent Schiavelli and as soon as I realized this, I started laughing hysterically. I told Jon and he started laughing too... well she assumed we were laughing at her comments about not eating candy and she said, "We'll see who's laughing in a few years." Whatever that was supposed to mean.

Anyway, after Dylan's, we took the subway to Prince street thinking that we'd be close to Donut Plant, but we were really far off. So we took a cab to the last stop on the tour. It was really good!! I had wanted Gray's Papaya, Lisa wanted Dylan's Candy Bar, and Jon wanted Donut Plant so we were all really happy.

We were running late so we called Carol and just met her at the restaurant. We had dinner at Carmine's and it was pretty good. There was a LOT of food!! After dinner we walked to the theater and enjoyed the view of Times Square and then arrived at Circle in the Square to see The Miracle Worker. It was awesome... I was sitting in the very front row and loved it!

After the theater, we went back to the hotel, said our goodbyes to everyone and then Jon, Kristin, Lisa, and I went to the bar and stayed out until 3am laughing and having fun. I had to be up early... but it was worth it.

Lisa and I met at 7:30 on Sunday morning and shared a cab to LaGuardia. I got home at 12:00 and was so glad to see Steve! We went to Five Guys for lunch and then I took a nap. 

I went to school Monday and found out that I have made it to the semi-finals for Wake County Teacher of the Year! The team that will be observing me is coming to watch me teach a lesson on Thursday at 1:00. I am nervous, but have no expectations. I figure I have a 50-50 shot at being chosen for the top 12. I'd love to make the top 12, but don't think I'll be picked for the teacher of the year because my neighbor (literally... she lives next door) is the current teacher of the year and she teaches 4th grade too. I don't think it'll happen, but we'll see.

Thanks for reading!!
Until later...
>^..^<

PS- We finsihed the home study, Walt sent us the finished report and now we're just waiting to be called to go see Doris!!  

Saturday, February 06, 2010

My track out is almost over and I ask myself, "Where has the time gone?" I can't complain too much though, it's been a wonderful break. It feels like I've been away from my kids for months... not just a few weeks.

We had our second home study meeting Tuesday and it went very well. Walt (our case manager) met with Steve first and then with me. In all it lasted about an hour. I think because we did such an outstanding job on our paperwork, he really didn't have much to ask us. I have to think that we're the exception and not the rule when it comes to the amount of information and details provided in our autobiographies. I guess it paid off to put so much time and effort into them! Walt said that he thinks we're a delightful couple and that we're very transparent. He feels that who we are is seen very clearly and we're not putting up a front about who we are. It's quite a compliment and means a lot.

In my last posting I mentioned that I had applied and interviewed with Scholastic for their Teacher Advisory Board. Well, I didn't think I was picked because last Saturday I still had not heard from them. So on a whim on Sunday, I checked my school email and to my surprise, there was an email from Carol congratulating me on being selected! I am one of fifteen teachers across the United States that was selected! I will be working with two women from Scholastic (Ann Marie and Megan) and they represent the Arrow Book Club. That's the club that I'll be working with as a fourth grade teacher.

I booked my flight to New York City and I'll be leaving on the 25th and will arrive at LaGuardia airport. I'll be staying at the SoHo Grand hotel and it's already booked and paid for by Scholastic. The entire trip is paid for by them!

So, I decided to contact Carol and let her know about the adoption and basically leave it up to her if she wanted me to stay on as an advisor, or give someone else the spot. I don't know when we'll be matched, and don't know when I'll be leaving work. I don't want to take the position and then leave teaching and leave Scholastic high and dry. So I sent her a long email explaining everything and she wrote back right away and asked if she and I could talk. So she called me and told me that she actually adopted her daughter 23 years ago and completely understood where I was coming from. She was very appreciative of my being open and honest and said it spoke highly of my character. She said she didn't think the adoption process would impact my ability to fulfill my commitment to Scholastic and she asked me to stay on board! I am so excited now!

I got an email from Ann Marie and she'll be coming to NC to visit my classroom on the 18th! She and Megan will be coming all day and will be there to take pictures and see what a typical day looks like for me. They're sending a package of books before they arrive and they want me to wait to open it until they're there. My kids are going to be so excited! They're also providing lunch for the entire OG staff! I think it's wonderful!!

So I sent an email to everyone else that's on the Advisor Team and we've been exchanging emails and contact information. We're all staying at the same hotel and none of the Scholastic events start until Friday, so a bunch of us will be meeting up for dinner on Thursday. It should be fun and I'm getting more and more excited!!

I haven't heard anything about Teacher of the Year yet. Who knows... I'll keep you updated if I hear anything.

Until next time...
>^..^<