Friday, August 19, 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's . . . Back . . . to Work I Go

In January, I happily resigned from my position as a high school English teacher, so I could become a full-time mom.  I have loved every minute of it.  When I announced my intentions, I got a mixed response.  From most, I heard various renditions of, "I'm so happy for you!"  and "You're so lucky."  From others, I got a quizzical, blank stare that seemed to say, "You're going to do what?"  Having the chance to be home with Kaden has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.  It has been so much fun to see him grow and change every day.  When I submitted my resignation, I fully intended to return to teaching (a job I honestly feel I was born to do) at some point in the future.  My idea of the future was WAY in the future.  You know, like when my youngest and last child (yet to be conceived, born, or named) entered middle school.

Then Chad lost his job.

Wow.  We really are still in a recession depression, and it really can affect us.

There's nothing like experiencing the reality of unemployment.

He filled out dozens of job applications, we prayed, and we waited.

And we waited some more.

And we waited some more.

I waited for Heavenly Father to answer our prayers in the perfect package I was envisioning--a great new job for Chad, and uninterrupted stay-at-home-mommy-hood for me.  It turns out, what I really got was a reminder that I'm not in charge, and that sometimes I need a lesson in trust and patience.

I had contacted my former principal immediately after Chad was laid off to see if there was a chance there were any English teaching positions available at my old school.  He had literally filled my former position two days before I called.  I told him to let me know if anything became available, strongly doubting anything would.

In July, while I was visiting my parents in Utah, I got a call from the principal who said a position had unexpectedly come available, and if I wanted it, it was mine.  I cried when I got off the phone, because while I knew it was a great blessing, it wasn't the blessing I had really wanted.  (I know that is a really selfish way to feel, but it's how I felt.)  A lot of prayer, a Priesthood blessing, and a trip to the temple later, I accepted the position with a lot of peace in my heart. 

There are so many small things to be thankful for about this entire situation:
  • I have a degree.  Thank goodness I had a degree!
  • Chad gets to stay home with Kaden, until he finds a new job.
  • Chad is an awesome dad, so I know Kaden's in good hands.
  • I am going back to a job I enjoy. 
  • I get to use a talent I have been given to (hopefully) bless others.
  • I have two honors classes first semester.
  • I am teaching subjects I have taught before, which will help immensely with cutting down lesson planning time.
  • At least I'm off by 3:15, instead of 5:00.
  • I get to work with a department of teachers I love and respect.  
  • I am going back to a school where I already know the ropes.
  • I get my old room back, student-painted ceiling tiles and all.
  • Chad was paid through July and I get paid in August.  We won't have to go a single month without a paycheck.  That is huge.
  • I got to see Kaden reach every major milestone of his first year. (Well, we are still waiting on the blasted first word, but maybe I'll still hear it.)
I'm already in the midst of teacher work days, and I'm getting excited for the year to get started.  One thing that's wonderful about my profession is the reality that every year is a fresh new start, and you can reinvent everything about yourself and your curriculum that you want.  I love that about teaching.  It will probably be an interesting few weeks of transitioning, but I know it will all work out.     

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Kaden's Birthday Shin-Dig

We celebrated Kaden's birthday on Saturday with a small family party.  Included in the family circle were the Hills, who are our dear family friends (I cannot count the number of pedicures Madison gave me while I was pregnant with swollen ankles), and the Howards, the family Kaden adores who also happen to live right across the street from us (the day I move will be a sad day, because I will no longer have Stephanie and her kids to come randomly take Kaden on walks at the exact moment I need a break).  Call me crazy, but the kid was turning one, and I didn't feel like throwing a real party with a bunch of random munchkins tearing up our house.  So instead it was a mostly adult party with a few darling kiddos--Kaden being the youngest by far, and thus the center of attention (a place we all know he hates to be . . . cough . . . cough . . . ).   My biggest fear is that someone's feelings will be hurt over not coming to Kaden's birthday party, so I just want to set the record straight--NOBODY came, it wasn't just you.  Small  family gathering!  Please, please, please don't be offended.  OK?  Good.  Phew!  Got that one out of the way. 

I have wanted to throw a circus party ever since stumbling upon this darling party-scape from the folks here.  I fell in love with the baby blue/red color combo, and knew I had to do something with it.  Chad has been mocking me for months over my Pinterest obsession, particularly over my pinning of birthday party ideas, but it all came in rather handy when it came time to put the party together. The website even had printables to use for the cupcake toppers and invitations. Chad didn't like the idea of a circus theme at all (there must have been some terrifying moment in his past that involved a psychotic clown?), but he neglected to voice his strong disdain for the circus until I had already purchased a lot of the materials for the decorations, so I did it anyway.  It wasn't hugely circus-fied, so I think he was OK with it in the end.    

I made all the decorations, and they turned out rather cute, in my humble opinion.

We had hot dogs, watermelon, cantaloupe, chips and dip, and cupcakes to eat, while we watched the darling video Chad made to document Kaden's first year of life.  (Luckily I watched it ahead of time, so I could cry then, and not while all of the party guests watched my mascara smear.)  And as if Kaden isn't great enough, he added background music from the one and only Ray LaMontagne.  Love.  (As an aside, if you are ever having a rough day, type Ray LaMontagne into Pandora and turn up the volume.  Seriously.  Just trust me on this one.  His voice will heal your soul.)  In the meantime, Blogger is not letting me put the file directly into my blog but feel free to watch Kaden's birthday video here:

After we finished watching Kaden toddle across the big screen in his diaper, he opened all of his gifts, which resulted in some SERIOUS spoilage.  He received so many fun new toys, books, and clothes.  In addition, he received some slightly less new toys that I have been collecting over the last several months from yard sales, consignment sales, and the like.  Call me cheap, but he's not going to know the difference, so why buy all new toys for the kid?  While he opened all of his presents, Kaden's cousin, Mackenzie, Skyped with us from Denver, which was really cute. 

After presents, it was time to sing "Happy Birthday" to Mr. Kaden Cub.

Then he got to delve into that funfetti cupcake--probably the highlight of the entire birthday experience for him.

Our guests went on their merry little way with boxes of homemade caramel corn I made the night before. (And I didn't even swear when I dropped half a bottle of vanilla all over my khaki shorts in the process . . . a birthday miracle, folks!)

Later, after recuperating from his fiesta by taking a snooze, Kadester sported his seersucker trousers and snazzy red tie for an impromptu photo shoot with his birthday balloons:

The day before his party, Kaden had his twelve month checkup.

He weighed in at 21 pounds, 2.5 ounces -- 25th percentile. (Wow.  That was a shocker.  Guess we can't call him chubster anymore!  Chad and I were both shocked to find out he's underweight, considering he spends most of the day eating.)  He measured 31 1/4 inches -- 89th percentile. (Definitely long and lean.)  His head circumference was 47 centimeters--69th percentile.

At one year old, Kaden . . .
  • Has decided he's too cool for crawling.  He walks everywhere now (like a little Frankenstein--very rigid movement), and when he falls down, he stands right back up and keeps going.

  • Can give kisses, if he's in the mood.  He will also turn his cheek to let you give him a kiss.

  • Has a very refined palette.  For example, I grilled some egg plant for dinner one night and he gobbled it right up.  Reheated the next day?  Not so much.  Same with edamame. Master Reese likes his cuisine freshly prepared. He also likes food to be seasoned.  If it's too bland, he's not interested. 

  • Still nurses once a day before going to bed, and is pretty unhappy about us trying to give him whole milk.  He's self-weaned down to one feeding a day like a champ, and I'm pretty sure he's not going to keep nursing at all much longer.  He just doesn't like the whole milk at all.  We are working on it, though.  The doctor said no more apple juice until he'll start drinking the milk.

  • Sticks his tongue out all the time, especially when he's focused on something.  (Apparently this is a Reese trait.  All of them do it!) 

  • Likes to imitate Mommy and Daddy.  Chad and I clean his dad's office a few times a week, and Kaden has started to go with us sometimes in the umbrella stroller.  Last time we were there, he got out and wanted to help Chad clean the windows.  It was really cute to watch.  (Of course, Chad then had to re-clean the windows, since Kaden had covered them in new fingerprints while trying to help.)

  • Tries to share his food with anyone who might be beside him while he's eating. 

  • Babbles a lot.

  • Has started whining to get what he wants.  The doctor also told us to work on this by ignoring him when he whines or cries, and giving lots of positive reinforcement when he "talks."  Probably easier said than done, but we are trying. 

  • Is still sleeping great. (Dare we write this?)  He usually goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 and wakes up between 7:30 and 8:00 the next morning. 

  • Is in love with his stuffed giraffe, Tip Top.  Kaden's Gram (my Grandma Joy) sent him Tip Top when he was in utero.  He has self-selected Tip Top as his favorite stuffed animal.  He has to sleep with him, and frequently totes him around all day.  In the morning when he gets up, Tip Top has to come watch him eat breakfast.  It would be unheard of to leave him in the crib.  Here's a picture of Kaden with Tip Top from his balloon photo shoot:

And just for fun, here are some pictures of me and Chad when we were close to Kaden's age.  I am constantly hearing that Kaden is a clone of his daddy, and while he does favor him a great deal, I think there's more of me in there than people give me credit for. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The First Year

Dear Kaden,

The first time I really held you, swaddled in my arms, both of us wrapped in the quiet dark of a hospital room, I marveled that just a few hours before I had never met you.  I watched your dark eyes watching mine, while your tiny fist wrapped around my finger, and I thanked my Heavenly Father for sending you to me. 

 It's hard to believe that a year has passed.  That you--the tiny, swaddled bundle I once snuggled to sleep in my arms-- can now giggle and crawl, babble and walk.

 Watching you grow this year has been the greatest joy of my life.  With each new thing you learn my heart soars and cries--soars because I am so proud of you--cries because I hate that you are growing up so fast.  Thanks for being my little boy, Kaden Cub.  Happy Birthday!  I love you.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...