Saturday, January 08, 2011

I just read my SIL Heather's blog and she's doing this 52 in 11 project. I read her post and was instantly inspired to do the same! I am pledging to send 52 pieces of mail (probably more with Soldier's Angels) this year. I will send at least one item each week.

I'm already a week behind, so tomorrow I'm going to write two letters and mail them on Monday. I am going to write friends and family, and tell them how much they mean to me. I'm going to send letters to Gus's birth family and tell them how much they mean to us as a family.

I think it'll be fun and rewarding. Won't you join me? Here's the link to get started: 52 Weeks, 52 Letters-- A 2011 Project.

Day 8

Gus and Elphie this morning

Steve getting Gus ready for his bath

Chompin' on his G in the tub

Have you ever stopped to think about tragedies and how for the people involved, it was just an ordinary day, and then something happened out of their control that changed their life/their family's lives forever?

We went grocery shopping today. It's Saturday, and it's something we do every Saturday. We went to Wal-Mart and went up and down the aisles looking for our weekly items and not once did we think we were in danger. Not once did we think anything "bad" or life-altering would happen while we were grocery shopping.

I imagine that the people who were shopping at the Safeway this afternoon in Tuscon were not aware that by doing something as simple as going grocery shopping, they were putting themselves in harm's way. Not only was a federal judge killed, but so was a nine-year-old girl and four others. Some were there for a constituent meeting with AZ Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and others were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. The Congresswoman is in critical condition after being the target of the shooter and being shot in the head.

My mind is absolutely blown by this whole ordeal. What kind of world are we living in where this happens? I can't even imagine what it must have been like to be in that store when this happened. Innocent people there to do their weekly shopping, and apart of something so tragic. To top it off, Sarah Palin's PAC has put a gun target on various Democrats that she's targeting in 2010. Among those listed, happens to be Gabrielle Gifford. Now I'm not saying that Palin directly caused this shooting today, but seriously?? How is this okay? If this was a high schooler doing this, they'd be arrested, so why is it okay for Palin to have any involvement in this? She had a "hit list" and had gun targets on the states of these Congress men and women... and then lookey lookey... some idiot with a gun took her seriously and literally and decided to shoot one of the people on Palin's hit list. OMG!!

I don't know... I'm shocked by the whole thing and just sick by it.

Anyway... off that soapbox for now. Today was a pretty good day. We didn't do much and we were supposed to go to church but I had a massive headache and didn't feel well after we returned from our shopping trip.

Gus has gotten really good at trying to stand up on his own. It's a little scary how quickly he's growing and trying to move!! He went from zero to ninety in a minute! He had some apples and peaches today and didn't hate them... I just think he wasn't really hungry when I tried to feed him. There's always tomorrow...

Until then...

Friday, January 07, 2011

Day 7

Gus at Longhorn Steakhouse

Gus this morning

It's so funny to me how things work out as they're supposed to. So I had my interview this afternoon with Primrose Schools. It was a very positive interview and I really did enjoy talking to the director (Diane), but how I felt when I came out was so different from when I went in.

I wasn't "sure" that I wanted to work. I also wasn't "sure" that I wanted to stay at home. I do miss the classroom and miss being around adults and doing something that I feel so passionate about. However, when we were back in MI waiting to come home, I had a moment of "do I really want to stay at home?" I wasn't 100% about my decision and had even considered not turning in my resignation and trying to see if I could teach and be at home.

When the opportunity to interview came my way, I was confused about how I felt. As I posted yesterday, it was a 50/50 feeling about it. Well... I am not 1000000000% positive about how I feel about working and putting Gus in school.


So there were a few things that I was thinking about before the interview, and there were a lot of unknowns that I had. Here are a few:
  • Most importantly, can I stop in and see Gus during the day on my break/lunch time?
  • Is it worth it financially with the cost of tuition?
  • How much was tuition (it's not listed on their website-- always a bad sign--lol)
  • How long is the work day? How long would I be required to work?
  • What sort of training to they offer?
  • Can I bring a bit of myself to the classroom (frog theme, my own management, etc.)?
  • Can I do Scholastic Book Orders with my students and their parents (I am a teacher advisor)?
  • Do I have to do parent conferences?
  • What is the dress code for staff?
  • What vacation do I get? When is the building closed for vacations?
  • What's the difference between expectations for the toddlers (age 1-2) and pre-K (ages 4-5)?
Okay... so those were some of my questions. I've never taught anything younger than third grade (age 8-9) and wasn't sure of the difference, but knew that there is a HUGE difference between a third graders and a 4 year old. Would I really have the patience to work with such little people?

Like I said, the interview went well. Diane was awesome and easy to talk to. I do think I'm EXTREMELY over-qualified as far as my education. She said only a few of her staff members have their BS and none had a Masters. But here's the thing... the entire thing, ALL OF IT was about Gus. What was the absolute best thing for him? And I told her that... this whole process had to be about him and we were doing this together. If it wasn't going to be good for him, it wasn't going to happen.

Here's what I found out from my 45 minute interview:
  • I kick ass when interviewing. I honestly know my shit and have no problem conveying what I need to get across and can do so while painting myself as positively as possible.
  • I am not someone to ever work in the "business world." When I am ready to go back to work... it will be in a school.
  • Primrose would be charging me $1300 a month for Gus to attend their infant program.
  • As a staff member I'd receive a 20% discount (making my total $1,040 a month)
  • Being as educated as I am, I'd earn between $12 and $14 an hour and be expected to work 40+ hours a week.
  • The week between Christmas and New Year's is a paid week off for all staff. This is the ONLY week of vacation.
  • I'd get five sick/personal days for the year.
  • I would be expected to wear a uniform (Primrose polo with khakis and tennis shoes-- jeans on Friday only).
  • I would be expected to work evenings occasionally and any weekend events (parades, parties to promote the school, etc.).
  • I would be expected to do a DAILY progress report for each child in my care, as well as write a weekly and monthly newsletter, AND do parent conferences as needed.
  • I would be expected to give assessments for the pre-k children (if I did pre-k) and would be measured by my growth from pre and post assessments.
  • Primrose would pay 50% of MY (and only my) health insurance.
  • I would NOT be allowed to bring in a classroom theme of my own (everything is uniform there), and I'd be expected to follow the Primrose management and curriculum for my teaching.
  • I would NOT be allowed to stop in and see Gus during the day, as it would "disrupt his learning."

Seriously... you're effing kidding me, right? Who in their right mind would look at any of the above and say, "I'm absolutely excited about this job!"?? I do NOT have to work... and even if I did, I would NOT look at those requirements and then the $12-$14 per hour pay and be excited about the offer. NO WAY JOSE!!!

So, I walked in the door not sure about how I felt about staying at home, and thought it'd maybe be a good opportunity for both myself, and Gus, and then walked out SO SOLID on my decision to stay home with him. I am NOT willing to lose one minute of one day of time with him, for something that's not worth it at all. No amount of money is worth losing time with him that CANNOT be gained back.

I had to wonder why this opportunity came my way in the first place, and then I realized it was so that I could be at peace with my decision to be a SAHM with him. I thought about him the whole time I was there, and then couldn't wait to get home and see him. It would be AGONY to be in the same building as him and not be able to see him.

Diane asked me, "What would you do if you were on your break, and you came to the office and saw that I had Gus and he was crying?" I said, "I'd come over and get him and see what's going on." Then she said, "What if it just got worse and you had to go back to your own class and continue teaching. Could you do that?" I said, "No, I don't think I could just leave him." Then she asked, "What would you do if while walking past his classroom, you looked in and saw him crying and upset, but you were with your kids? What would you do?" I said, "I honestly don't know. My first job is being his mom and I can't just throw that away." That was the answer that she wasn't looking for, but the one that sealed the deal for me.

So, I am at peace. I am head over heels in love with my beautiful baby boy and will be so happy to just be his mom for the next five years. When it's time for him to go to school and for me to go back to work... I will be heading back to WCPSS where I can teach 3rd, 4th, or 5th graders, and actually feel like I know what I'm doing!!

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Day 6

My sweet boy this morning in his crib

He's so happy in the morning!

Well this has felt like the longest day E.V.E.R.!!! Maybe it's because Gus went to bed earlier than usual last night, and then was up and ready to go by 8 this morning. I don't know... but I am exhausted and sooooo ready for bed.

I've got an interview tomorrow for a possible new job. I'm so torn because on one hand I'm excited for the possibility and opportunity for me (and Gus), and then on the other hand, I'm not really feeling like working just yet.

The job is at a brand new pre-school opening here in HS. It's literally at the front of our development and would be less than a five minute drive. I could (and probably will) walk to work most days.

Anyway, the positions that they're hiring for are for a toddler teacher and a pre-k teacher. I have zero background in both LOL. The website had a link for more information and I contacted the school and said I was interested and would need to put Gus in their school if I were to work there. I got an email back from the director and she asked me for my phone number so she could call me.

Today she called. Prior to her calling, I sent her my resume and when she called she was VERY excited to talk to me and wanted me to come in as soon as possible for an interview. I go tomorrow. She assumed I would only be interested in the pre-K position due to my upper elementary background, but was delighted when I said I was open to both.

Now... this whole thing is completely and totally dependent on Gus. The cost to enroll him would have to be reduced or at least affordable with me working there. I'd have to be able to see him when I wanted. We'll see... I'm not sure of the salary or how much the tuition is. My hopes are (if it works out) that because I work there too, they are extra nice to him. :)  I don't think they have anything part-time... so it'd have to be a good deal for me to take it. I love being home with him and don't want to miss a thing.

At the same time... our budget is so extremely tight... it'd be so nice to have some extra money. I have the option of not working still... so as I've said again and agian, what's meant to be will be. I have put my faith in God that what is supposed to happen will.

All that being said... I'll definitely post tomorrow about how it went and what I think about the situation. I have a 2pm interview.

Tomorrow our cleaning lady Suzanne comes to clean. It's been over a month since she was last here to clean and the house is a MESS. I love when she comes to clean, but HATE it at the same time. Since Ryan is home on Fridays, I can't go to Wendy's and hang out with her. Maybe I'll see if Suzanne has another day open for cleaning and I can at least leave while she's here. Otherwise, I end up sitting downstairs while she cleans up here, and then I come up here when she's cleaning down there. Weird.

Okay... I'm tired and about to head to bed. More tomorrow...
Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Day 5

Today was a lot of fun! It started out with Gus sleeping all the way through the night (YAY) and then we got dressed and headed out with Wendy and the girls to drop K off at pre-school. Then we headed to Amie's house for a Triangle Mommie's breakfast playdate. There were so many moms there with their little ones it was fantastic! Grace was there with Kristen so Gus had a little buddy to play with.

We stayed at Amie's until a little after noon and just laughed and had a great time. There are some weird-os in the group and I just gave Wendy a few looks and she knew exactly what I was thinking.

After the playdate we headed back out to get K from pre-school and then went to Wendy's for lunch. I think we did well with our budgets (Wendy is on a budget too) and then we came back here for some REAL fun. We organized, cleaned, sorted, and beautified my pantry, refrigerator, and lazy-susan. It was exhausting, but so worth the time and energy. I could not have done with without Wendy and her vision (LOL).

Tonight I made this baked pasta supreme dinner from e-Mealz and it was WONDERFUL!!! So yummy!!

We put Gus to bed at seven tonight because he was super tired from our busy day with friends. I hope tomorrow is more calm and back to our usual routine. I'm babysitting the girls tomorrow and then Friday, Kristen and I are taking Gus and Grace to Greensboro for the Bodies Revealed exhibit (I can't wait)!!

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Open Adoption Roundtable #22

Open Adoption Roundtable #22

"How will you be proactive in the area of open adoption in 2011?"

What a great question! I am hoping that 2011 will be just as good to us as 2010 was. I think we have a great relationship with Gus's birth family. We were so thankful that they wanted an open adoption, and while it would have been easy for us to just make it closed for our own feelings and insecurities, we knew it was best to have as open of an adoption as possible.

I think the thing that made me really become 100% pro-open adoption was when my twin brother and his fiance had their baby in August of 2009. My sweet, sweet niece Lily is such a joy to my life and brings me so much happiness. My brother and his fiance are not married and don't know when they will get married. We had not started the adoption process when she was born, but it was soon after our October 2009 trip to the mitten, and meeting her for the first time, that we actually came to terms with things and decided to really pursue adoption.

When we first thought about adoption, I wasn't sure if I wanted open. I was okay with semi-open, and wasn't sure about closed. Once Lily entered my life, I saw things differently.

I had a fear that my twin and his finace would break up and then I'd never get to see Lily again (not that my soon-to-be SIL would do that). It just hurt to think about the possibility of never knowing her and seeing her grow up, and her never to know me and Steve as her aunt and uncle. God did it hurt to imagine it.

That simple thought changed my views on adoption. Because the birth mom has family and they deserve to know their grandchild, niece, nephew, cousin, and more importantly, child.

I don't think I have the right to deny Gus's birth family from knowing him and being enveloped in the joy that he brings. His little being is so special and full of love. Who am I to deny anyone the right to be apart of that. And of all the people who deserve to know him and be just as captured and mesmorized by his persona, it's his birth family.

I feel that the more connected to his birth family that he is, the better he will be as a child, and adult. I know he will always be adopted, and he will always have that battle to face, but I hope through open communication, and an open adoption, he will know that his birth parents loved him so very much, and continue to love him. He has an extended birth family that loves him very much and they deserve to be apart of his life too, and we make them a priority.

This year, 2011, will be the year that Gus turns one. We will go to the mitten in May or June and he will see his birth parents for the first time since May 12th, and they will be amazed at how much he's grown and changed. They will smile, and laugh, and maybe even cry when they see just how beautiful he is, and how much joy he brings. And I will smile, laugh, and cry because they have shared this little person with me, and brought him into my heart. They have given me the greatest gift on the planet, and I have had the honor and priviledge of being in his world for every day of his life.

I do not ever take him for granted and I know just how amazing he is. The fact that I am a mom is a miracle and I know that Gus was put on this earth to be my baby, and to have so many people love him.

2011 will be a wonderful year for open adoption and very productive!!
Day 4

Okay so this whole blogging everyday thing isn't quite as bad as I thought. I just have a hard time during the day to find a minute where I can come on and blog, so I've been doing it at night, but by then I'm exhausted and just ready for bed.

Anyway... today was a fun day. Gus slept until around 9ish and then we went downstairs and I got him dressed for the day and made him a bottle. He was a little cranky before the bottle, but was a very happy little man once his belly was full. I took these pictures before we left this morning...

We had our monthly MOMS Club meeting today and then we went to Moe's after. The meeting was full of people, so it was a nice turn out. Then after lunch we ran to the post office to send Jessica (my cousin and Gus's God Mother) a package and then hit the Teeter (Harris Teeter is a grocery store down here) for some stuff for tomorrow's Triangle Mommie's breakfast playdate. I'm making my hashbrown casserole that's deeeeelicious!!

Then Wendy and the girls stayed for a bit and we hung out. I'm so glad that I have Wendy to spend each day with. I can't even imagine what it'd be like to stay at home with Gus and not have her company. She makes me laugh and is my absolute best friend. In short, I ♥ her!
Gus and Wendy

Don't forget to check out Gus's blog, as today is Tuesday and it's when I blog about his week!! I'm going to go and do that now...

Until tomorrow!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Day 3

So this evening went better than last night did. Holy smokes was it bad last night! Gus was cranky ALL DAY but then we got to right before seven and he was a beast, so Steve took him upstairs to go to bed. Well, Mr. Gustafer Gustafson was not having any of it! He cried and SCREAMED his little head off (I think if he were talking, he'd be hoarse due to the amount of screaming he did). So after twenty-five minutes or so, I came up to releive Steve, and then we gave him some Motrin for the teething. Well... he didn't care who was coming to rescue him, he cried and screamed just as loud (if not louder) with me!

So... this went on until about 8:20 and then Steve brought him into our room and we snuggled on the bed (the three of us) and he was finally happy. I think the Motrin had finally kicked in. We were so scared to try bedtime, but fortunately he went down pretty quickly. Unfortunately, it was well after nine by the time he went to bed.

This caused for Gus to sleep until about nine this morning (which was fine by me)! We had a pretty good day... he was happy most of the day and when he started to get cranky, it was because he was tired. He took two good naps and was so cute in his bath tonight.

After his bath we cuddled on our bed and then we took him to his room for lotioning and swaddling. Here's a picture from cuddle time on the bed:

It's been a long day... here's to hoping that he actually sleeps through the night and has a good day tomorrow!! I'll be posting on his blog tomorrow too since it's Tuesday. Be sure to check back here to see what I wrote and his blog as well!

Until next time...
Photo Challenge: Best Face of 2010
This week, has a great photo challenge. It's the best face of 2010! Of course, I think Gus is the cutest face of 2010, so I am entering his mug for this week's contest! Enjoy!

This is my absolute favorite picture of Gus. It was taken last month and captures so much joy and happiness! This was taken with my Canon EOS Rebel XS and while I am just a beginner, I think it looks great!
A Sad Day

So you know it's a bad sign when you wake up and see text messages and voice mails and missed calls from family members. As soon as I saw that Dave texted at 2am and then Scott called at 7am and my mom called... I knew what had happened. My Uncle Bill, my mom's little brother, had passed away.

My Uncle Bill lived in Tuscon, Arizona and was married to my Aunt Marcia. He always lived away from us, but growing up, he was my most favorite uncle. He was awesome. His sense of humor was incredible and he was always so nice to us kids. His visits were always looked forward to, and full of laughter. All of my memories of him are positive and happy.

He was a K9 officer and loved animals. He had birds, cats, dogs, and even a tortoise at one time!! He and my Aunt Marcia had a little girl, Sarah, but she passed away at birth. He was always happy and smiling, and had a dry, sarcastic wit.

When my ex-husband and I were going through the time just before divorcing, we had taken a trip to Arizona to visit Dave. While we were there, my Uncle Bill and Aunt Marcia came to Dave and Heather's for a visit. I remember him asking me if I was okay, and that I seemed sad. He was the first person, other than my own immediate family, that I told about our problems and that I was afraid that my marriage was over. He told me that there are only so many things that one person can control, and as hard as it was, I needed to realize that whatever decisions my ex-husband made, there was nothing I did to cause it or could do to stop it.

My Uncle Bill was always really proud of me. When I got my first 4.0 in college, I sent him and my Aunt Marcia a copy of my grade report. They put it on their fridge.

I am so sad that he's gone, but I am happy that he's not suffering anymore and is in a place with his baby girl Sarah, my Grandma Burney, and Aunt Karen. He had been suffering for the last year, and while in pain the whole time, he tried to stay strong. I sent cards, but never called. I don't regret it... I didn't want him to feel like all of a sudden people who never called him suddenly cared about him. So instead, I sent cards. I figured it wasn't too out of the ordinary since I sent cards and letters before he was sick.

I worry about my mom. She always had a "weird" relationship with my Uncle and while I can't relate to their upbringing, I do have brothers and can't even imagine if one of them had passed away this morning. Siblings are special and while we don't pick them, they are put into our lives for a reason. I pray that my mom and Aunt Margie both find peace and are able to remember the great memories of their brother.

Here are some pictures of my wonderful Uncle Bill:
Uncle Bill as a little boy

As a teen

With my Grandma Burney

With my Aunt Marcia

After serving in Vietnam with his dog

With Dave's son Eamon

I just got off the phone with both of my brothers. They are such great guys and I am so lucky to have such a great relatioship with them both. Scott called to see how I was doing, and we talked for a bit, and while I was on the phone with him, Dave had called. I just talked to Dave and he and his family are on their way to Tuscon to be there with my Aunt Marcia. I'm glad to know that she'll at least have Dave there with her. Dave said that they have a lot of friends there, so that makes me feel a little better as well.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Day 2

One of Those Days
Today seems like it's been the longest day EVER! I woke up and felt a little "off" and then made some cinnamon rolls for breakfast for us. They were really good and a nice treat.

Pretty much the rest of the entire day has consisted of the never-ending Bengals game... I will be SO happy when football season is over! I feel like that's all we do on Sunday... watch football ALL DAY LONG. It's fine when I'm in the mood for it, but Steve gets so pissed when the damn Bengals lose (which happens EVERY WEEK)... so there's no joy.

Gus has been VERY fussy all day today which doesn't help things. I'm ready for Steve to go back to work and for us to have our normal routine back. Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays and have loved having him here with us, but Gus and I have a routine, and Steve most definitly has a routine, and the meshing of these two very different routines has been interesting. :)

Anyway, tomorrow we're supposed to go to Chick-Fil-A for a free breakfast sandwich and playdate. Then Tuesday there's a MOMS Club meeting and lunch event. Wednesday is a Triangle Mommies breakfast playdate and then Friday I'm going to the Bodies Revealed exhibit in Greensboro with a new mom friend that I met (Grace is four days younger than Gus).

I hear some drama downstairs so I should go. I'll post again tomorrow!
Until next time...