Wednesday, October 13, 2010

a day at the farm

Goats, sheep, wallabies, bunnies, a camel, zebra, elephant, pony....

Apples, pumpkins, cider, donuts.

Friends. Fall sunlight. Time together.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

our life these days. (6 posts in 1)

an overwhelming September...
The new fall routine hit us hard.

Maya, our pre-schooler, now has early morning places to be...dressed, fed, and off to school by 8 AM on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays. Last year on all our early mornings (there were only 2)...we used to just carry the sleepy girls out to the car...all bundled up in their pajamas...and head to Grandma's house. The new weekday morning routine requires a lot more preparation and early rising every day.

My new school schedule was another hard adjustment. Three long full days of teaching approximately two hundred students daily, ranging in age from six to eighteen was a drastic change from last year's two mornings a week.
By week 2, both Sophie and I were pretty sick...allergies and asthma mostly. Her Albuterol and my Nyquil got us through some miserable sleepless nights together. She could hardly breathe, my voice was gone, and my headaches never seemed to go away.
Even if I'd been healthy, the planning and preparation of being a new teacher (again) was slightly unnerving at first (and will probably be again...especially in December...and May). There was so much paper-work, information gathering, communication, question asking,...on top of meetings, new colleagues, new and unknown expectations, hundreds of new names, curriculum planning, daily lesson planning for a completely new kind of teaching experience...on top of the older routines of my other school's curriculum planning/adjusting, daily lesson planning, communication...etc.
Mostly though, the new routine brought new worry, guilt, anguish, fear, regret...over the separation from my girls, their adjustment (and mine) to the new routines and more time apart. I felt like I was drowning in it all for a while. And I wasn't positive that I would surface before June. Honestly, I've been surviving only because of Ryan, and the fact the we live in (incredibly de-pendent) community with our parents and siblings, and some really good friends.

But by the end of September, my perspective was a little less cluttered...(unlike my house)...and the girls seem to be delighted to spend a little more time with their Grandmas, my students have made the teaching fun and rewarding, I have a classroom stocked with almost 40 little violins that make my new second graders smile every time they open their magical cases, the planning seems to be working, and I'm finally feeling more settled, grateful, excited, hopeful, at peace about all that is new this year.

two new family traditions forged this month...
The Cherokee for breakfast. We had forgotten. Though we used to be Saturday morning 'regulars' when we lived on Forest Hills, we sort-of abandoned the place once we had Maya. But we wandered through town last weekend and ended up there. We've already returned once, and this time we were wise enough to order a bit less food.

Hoffmaster State Park...and hiking in the cold. A few times now, after a quick dinner, we've escaped to the wooded dunes to catch some wind and golden sunlight on Lake Michigan. We also used our State Park sticker for a spontaneous late-night visit to Uncle Daniel, Isaac, and Will's campsite for s'mores.

alone time with Sophia...
While Maya floats from Pre-school to AWANA and back to Pre-school during the week, Sophie has enjoyed some rare individual attention. She doesn't stop thinking...or talking...or moving. Ever. And her spinning, hilarious thoughts make my life a LOT more fun.

a new family experience...
Instant Netflix...on our new TV. A significant viewing difference from our tiny laptop screen. But...I'm not sure how I feel about 'high definition.' Generally, I love the intensity, the clarity, the beauty of the picture. But, everything looks too...real? Like some of the magic is gone, and the actors just seem like actors. The lighting seems strange and artificial, I can tell how much make-up they are wearing, and even if they have cellulite. It almost looks like incredibly high-quality home video. I suppose I'll get used to it. But I'm not convinced.

a broken camera...
Our digital camera has been struggling for about a year now... and it finally gave up about a month ago. Maybe its demise has caused my lack of inspiration here. I do love to post pictures, and having none, my posts are few. My phone has been the only photo-documentation devise lately...and those pictures usually end up on facebook.

treasured weekends...
The weeks now seem to fly by in a stressful, exhausting frenzy. So Friday feels like a new blessing each time it arrives. Our first October weekend was spent mostly at home, working and playing. Ryan's been running wires in the basement, the girls have had fun playing with us and with each other..and have pulled out every toy, book, and puzzle they own (and put some of them away), and I've almost conquered the laundry folding...and re-organizing of new sizes and seasons of girls' clothes. Clothes are laid out for the early morning...and most of the lesson plans for the week are ready. And there is still Monday to enjoy..mostly at home.

...As I write this, the weekend has officially ended, and I must sleep. It seems I don't have the time to contemplate, or breathe, or blog very often. Hopefully, October will allow for more settled routines and more time to reflect.