School Continuation

Jason has done a Summer term and a Fall term this year and plans to continue in the Spring with obtaining his BA in MIS (Management of Information Systems). He’s currently going Full-time and handling it well.

Jason I’ve wanted to return to school for a while, but, you know, I keep having babies. ;o) I took a Physics class a few semesters ago which tided me over for a little while since it was crazy hard and I had a newborn at the time. As the kids get older and I get older I yearn to get back to it. A few months ago I applied for a really great job. The job market in Franklin is really bad unless you only need 8$ an hour and/or part-time work, so when a full-time HR position became available I went for it even though half of my paycheck would go to childcare for the time being. It would get my foot in the door and eventually all of the kids would be in school and childcare would go down dramatically. I didn’t get it (they went with someone who had way more experience then I did), but it kicked up the need to either work or go to school that much more.

My AA affords me a better position, but still not anything I want to do or that pays very well. Better than minimum wage, but not much. You need a BA and cross your fingers the job isn’t in Asheville. My AA is in Business Administration. Although I love management, a BA in Business Management will get me a job running a Dollar General around here. I’ve also lived a bit vicariously through Jason’s endeavors up the corporate ladder and the classes don’t seem as interesting to me for that degree. What I LOVED about the business administration was the writing classes. Since I’ve been blogging for over ten years (and journaling for twice that) perhaps I enjoy writing a bit more than management. Another thing I’ve noticed is that I really enjoy Noah’s age right now and what he is learning in school. I almost want to do his homework for him. I can get a BA in English with a concentration in Professional Writing from the local University and would have my BA and might possibly be able to get a job at the Middle or Intermediate school. Either way the prospects would be better for a solid position anywhere. I would most likely go on to get my Masters and teach at the college level, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Lorelei learning letters Lorelei has been practicing her letters and doing “school” too.

This term coming up in the Spring I was unable to find childcare. There is literally only one place for children under two years old and a handful of home daycares, so I will need to wait until Henry turns two in June and can start in the Fall and Lorelei can do Pre-K. I am ok with that, a little disappointed, but I was hesitant to put Henry in childcare so early anyway. Thankfully, there is one class that I can take online at the local community college that will transfer to the University; American Literature. I don’t heart literature so much, so paying less for this class does not bother me one bit. We’ll also get to see what having two college students looks like in our household.

We’re crazy busy already, so maybe taking an online class right now is a good transition. I’m looking forward to it.


School’s Cool

Well, I guess school has officially started in our household. I have Nora’s schedule of learning pretty much planned out and we started the schedule this week. I have to admit that I thought it would be more magical to teach my child. It really just is what it is, her and I sitting down in the mornings and doing some worksheets (holy moly she LOVES worksheets), reading and doing an activity during the afternoon. There are moments of pride as she begins to understand what I am teaching and I also hope that she is enjoying it as well.

This week is pretty much working the schedule and seeing if the schedule works. I am hesitant to say that I am “homeschooling” Nora, but that is pretty much what we are doing and so far it is going well. It isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it is still good. Best case scenario is that she gets to Kindergarten and maybe they think she is ready for first grade. Worst case is she doesn’t learn anything and still struggles a bit next year in Kindergarten. We shall see.

Teaching is not my forte, but I do love learning, so hopefully that love inspires Nora and we both learn more than just what’s on the schedule this year.

We still have our rhythm going and I’ve added things like baking day and nature walks. I’ve also got daily chores for us to complete. We don’t always stick to the plan, but I’m okay with that. Today we made sugar cookies. I really didn’t have a box of something to make (which is easier), so I looked up a recipe for sugar cookies and I actually happened to have all of the ingredients! So, we made them. My biggest struggle (one of many) is impatience. I have to remind myself that she is just a little girl and that she is still learning things like coordination and how to follow directions.

Sometimes Lorelei is sleeping and sometimes she is awake, so the question of when to do “school” is one we are still figuring out. She has started crawling all over the place and has pretty much out grown the bumbo, so I’m not sure what things like baking will look like when that happens, but we’ll figure that out too. It seems like life is changing week to week. This week Lorelei is waking up for a few hours in the middle of the night to play or scream, so I am extra tired. That makes getting things done a little more difficult since my brain doesn’t seem to work very well throughout the day. *yawn* I’m still not very good at unorganized play, so Nora and I play a lot of card games. She doesn’t seem to mind and has come up with a few of her own games too. Something that is glaringly obvious when you are following a schedule, is that you have to be home in order to get these things done…yet another thing I am trying to work on. Is this school thing for Nora or for me?


First Day

Yesterday was Noah’s first day of 2nd grade and my first day of being home with just Nora and Lorelei. We dropped him off at 745a (school starts at 8a) to give him time to get to his classroom and then since we were already out, I took the girls to the park.

image Now who has crazy hair? lol

image First time in a park swing!

I needed some things from the grocery store and then I accidentally left them (paid for!) at the store, so I had to go back! I decided to try a new recipe of Pink Lemonade Cupcakes, so while we were there I grabbed what we needed to make them. I let Nora watch a movie and then we made the cupcakes which DID NOT turn out. I don’t know what I did wrong! I hate that! …not a good day.

Noah got home at 4pm. Holy Moly that is an hour after school lets out! He loves his school, he loves his teacher, he likes staying late because he gets to help the teacher after school sharpen pencils and stuff. I hope it lasts! lol

I had a realization yesterday evening. That beautiful fantasy of homeschooling, Waldorf, thisyearisgonnabegreat, so completely wrong. My child is used to school. She is already bored and it was just the first day! Summers with Noah home is great, they play all day together, we do fun things like go swimming. Nora at home alone is not the same. She’s been in daycare since she was one. She already did a year of prepping for Kindergarten. I simply cannot compare. I cannot turn back time, which is what it would take. I also realized that I could prob do one or two activities with her a day, but more than that is not me and she needs more than that.

It makes me so angry that she can’t start school, when she is CLEARLY ready. I read all about how waiting is great and she’ll be older and I won’t regret it, but I think that is crap. That is for kids who already stay home and another year ain’t no big deal. Suffice it to say we are looking into another Pre-K program. The budget has been cut for the county programs (and we really don’t want her there anyway), but there is two other options in town. One is more of a school and less of a daycare. She would not be able to go full-time, but even two days a week would be good.

I’m trying so hard not to feel like a failure, but I’m pretty good at sizing up situations quickly and this will not work. Although, I do have to admit that she may just have to suffer at home. It is frustrating to not have seen myself and Nora more clearly, to not have been able to see the difference between what I want and who I am, but I see it now. Hopefully it can be rectified before any damage is done.


New Year, New Routine

Today was the first day back to school for the kiddos. Because I had school, last semester Nora had been staying full days at her school, but now that I’m done I’ll be picking her up at lunchtime everyday. Noah will now be riding the bus home instead of me picking him up from school, so I only need walk down the driveway to meet his bus, again…everyday. Ah, the life of a stay-at-home-mom.

The most significant changes will be giving Nora lunch at home and also a nap (so strange). I haven’t put a child down for a nap in probably 2 years. Nora was a little sad to come home early, she loves her friends, but it will save us about $250 a month in childcare. Woot!

I’ve been looking at jobs and school for the fall for myself. Most likely I will need to go back to work come summertime or at least by the time school starts again in the fall. I still would like to continue my education (if only part-time) and have been considering majors. Although my degree will get me a job making a decent wage it will definitely not be something I’ll want to do forever. Ideally, getting a job at Florida Southern, for instance, and both Jason and I being able to go to school for free would be best. Florida Southern has an excellent Business program. :o)

Although I enjoy my children immensely and will be sad to return to work, I have a feeling it will be a necessity both financially and for my sanity. We’ll see how things go over the next few months. Right now, I am happily nesting. Tonight was spent cleaning out the cupboards in the kitchen. We have finally, compromisingly (ha!) fuzed our collection of pots and pans, serving ware and utensils to where it all fits nicely in the cupboards and is actually usable! This makes me incredibly happy and Jason incredibly frustrated, although I think hope that he enjoys the finished product.

I’ve read a lot of “new year” blog posts and fb status updates about how good/bad last year was and how good/bad this year will be. This past year for us was a mishmash and had both really great moments and some not so much. This year I think will bring about a change in perspective for the Carpenter-Greb family; along with full realizations of our values as well as new hopes and dreams as the others are laid to rest. Or we may go quietly insane once the new member of the household makes her entrance. :o)

As I prepare to give birth and get used to the new routine and then yet another routine once the baby arrives I will try to enjoy each phase with the knowledge that it will never be exactly like this again. The next thing I’m looking forward to is my baby shower and the resulting visit of my good friend Misty. I just might burst with happiness.


The Countdown Begins

Just 6 more weeks of school left! I can’t tell you how much I look forward to being able to concentrate on the baby. I love school, and will definitely miss it, but I look forward to putting her room together and possibly a baby book like Nora’s.

I was at a Memorial for a dear friend of the family this week and she mentioned on our way out about a baby shower! The only thing is it will most likely be close to Christmas since I’m due in February. It will be so fun though! It’s nice to be thought of. :o) We went this past weekend to visit family in NC. I will post pics soon, the leaves were amazing. The kids did well on our road trip occupying themselves for 12 hours in the car, there and back. I told Jason that we need to get an early Christmas present for them before we head back, a dvd player for the car! lol

I did as well as expected on my midterms, but not as well as I would have liked on my math midterm. It’s worth 40% of my overall grade, so I know that I will atleast pass, “C’s get degrees, C’s get degrees…”

I’ll make up for it in my other classes, not science mind you, but speech and art. Anyway, Halloween is this weekend and then a couple weeks after is my favorite holiday Thanksgiving. :o) I keep hearing people listening to Christmas music already, but I like to fully enjoy each holiday as it comes. We’ve got a witch and a Clone Wars Stormtrooper this year for Halloween. I’m trying to convince Jason to be the guy from the Old Spice commercial, “look at your man, now look at me, now back at your man, now back at me…I am on a horse.”

You can see it here. You can see Grover’s version here.


Back to School

Dark and rainy. That’s how the past few days have been. It’s 10:30am and I need the lamp on in order to write this.

Noah started 1st grade on Monday. I was so worried because he really did not enjoy Kindergarten and was nervous about going back, but he loves it! I’m hoping he continues to love it. The teacher (I am finding) makes the difference. Nora is now in VPK learning her letters. She is in Ms. Wanda’s class with the big kids. I can’t believe that next year they will both be riding the bus to school in the morning. Just imagining it freaks me out a little. Nora is serious about her studies and I can tell that education is clearly becoming a value in our home.

I started school on Tuesday. What I was most worried about was eating! They don’t have a cafeteria type thing at Plant City, so I had to bring my lunch and snacks. I started at 1pm and was distracted by 2pm with thoughts of my Nekot crackers sitting in my backpack. By 2:30pm I had eaten almost all of the food (quite a lot) I had brought with me. I have classes until 9pm! I had to go home and eat and grab some change for the vending machines in order to make it through.

Up first was Public Speaking. I have already taken a one credit speech class, so I have a bit of an advantage, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less nervous. I thought we’d have 2 minutes to introduce ourselves, but instead we were given two topics to choose from; summer and friend. Yes, we had to give a speech on the first day. I chose summer and spoke about how fabulous (puking is the best!) my summer was, thus killing two birds with one stone; yes I’m pregnant and fulfilling the acceptable speech requirement for the day. I have to say, I think I did pretty good. The teacher is amazing, she is extremely positive and encouraging, I wish I had had her for english II.

Next was Nutrition and Drugs, my non-science-major science class. This teacher is a little different. Still a nice teacher, but a little strange. He is from New York with a thick accent (“fahget aboudit”) and calls dumb kids Mcfly, a reference to Back to the Future. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot and I get to do a 1500 word research paper on any topic I choose within Nutrition and Drugs. I’m going to do mine on thyroid dysfunction. Exciting right? lol We have lab right after lecture on Tuesday evenings, but I didn’t get to do my Twilight reference with the microscopes since it was just a safety briefing. “prophase”. lol Maybe next week.

I plan to do some Math today. It’s an online class, but I’m so hoping it won’t be as bad as the other online classes I have taken. The teacher seems to be really nice. Can you tell that I like nice teachers? I write the nasty bitches mean emails and I just don’t think I have the energy this semester. One skill I’ll have to cultivate is quick naps in my car on the break I have between classes or covert naps in the library perhaps?

I’m excited, I’m exhausted, I’m starving. That about sums up what this semester will probably be like. :o)


Responsibilities

Most likely it has to do with the fact that a monster inside me takes over when I’m hungry or the fact that children are manipulative sociopaths for most of the day with expressions of love reserved for when I’ve given them something they wanted (whether it is deserved or not). I also think that children at a certain age need more to do than simple activities to keep them occupied or entertained. These are the reasons that I do not especially love staying home with my children. I can do it. I’m perfectly capable of filling a day with projects and cleaning and outings and what not, taking the little nuggets of knowledge I learn along the way all the while my brain is screaming “feed me!”. I don’t think a good nonfiction book once in a while will cut it. I still need and want to be in school. Things might possibly change when the kids go back to school in a couple of weeks and when the baby arrives in February all those great mommy hormones will take over and I’ll be blinded by lack of sleep and loving the little one, but eventually, I know, I will want to be back in school learning and once that is complete applying that knowledge.

I appreciate those moms who find such blessing in staying home everyday with their children. I appreciate those moms reading Radical Homemakers and yearning to live on a farm and work the land all day long. I plan to live vicariously through those moms because I KNOW that ain’t the plan for me and my life. I think I get to have my cake and eat it too, because I have a husband who will bust his butt to allow me to stay home for a short while and supports my growth at school as well. I only hope I am returning the favor.

These days both sexes have a lot of choices that they didn’t have 50 or 60 years ago. I don’t think any one choice is the right choice. I think what works best in the home is what works best for the entire family. Not any one person’s “job” is more important than the other.

Right now my job is to grow a baby, take care of the kids and try to do as much as I can at home (which, sadly, isn’t very much and varies daily). It has been a rainy week, so I decided to take the kids to Funtasia this afternoon. They absolutely loved it. I looked around at the plethora of moms and kids and remembered what it was like to bring Noah here when he was just walking. Nora will turn 4 years old in about a month, so the memories of holding and caring for an infant or even a toddler are very fuzzy. It was nice to see all these little babies at various stages and try to remember what it was like. I know I enjoyed it very much staying home with my babies. It was very hard to go back to work too soon after they were born. I’m grateful that Jason and I agree about raising the kids and that most likely I’ll get to stay home for a while with the baby. I guess that’s all I can take away from these seasons; gratefulness for our time together and our time apart.


Self Management

Last evening was my last class of the semester. It was pretty easy; just an oral presentation. I think I have decided to get my A.A. in Mass Communications this Fall and my A.S. in Office Management the following semester. I’m very close to obtaining both of these degrees which will keep my options open for my B.A. and will also give me some credibility when applying for a job in the meantime.

The job situation right now is pretty dismal and my flexibility is limited for work hours, so I decided to talk with Troy, the Store Manager at Starbucks about working for him. I really respect him as a manager and during the course of our conversation felt that coming back to Starbucks would allow me to learn a lot and flex my management muscles.

As I was talking with him about becoming a shift manager and beyond, I got to ask him a few questions and really glean from his experiences thus far. I am looking forward to learning more, but realize this may be a slow process. I was worried that working for Starbucks again would shove me back into a time period and person that I no longer want to be, but during our conversation and from the experience of the classes I’ve taken, I realize that I am different and more importantly, have a better support system. It will be up to me to continue on this journey, but I feel confident that I will shine during this experience, although I still have a lot to learn.

I have also been tossing around a future idea about opening my own business. This wouldn’t happen anytime soon, but I am slowly but surely gathering the information and experience I would need to sustain such an idea. For the past two years I have learned so much about myself, who I am and what I value. The most important fact being- this is my life. What I decide to do with it is up to me. I now have a partner to consider, but ultimately our responsibility is to help each other along the way.

So. This summer will be spent, working, knitting, traveling and missing my kids. Funny, how the summers seem to be lazy for Floridians and crazy-hectic for other states. Bring on the heat!


The Beginning and the End

E very semester is the same. I start out excited, ready to tackle my new classes, but by midway I am so ready for it to be over with. Then, when I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I get motivated again and finish up the semester with good grades and a sigh of relief. That’s where I am now. I see the end. I am motivated (maybe even a little scared that I won’t get it all done) and ready for it to be over. I have about two weeks to go!

I will not be taking Summer classes this year. Hopefully I will be working and not bored out of my mind with the kids gone. I’m glad to see my classes end, but I love learning and know I will be excited to start the Fall semester and finish my degree.

Jason and I have been talking about when to start having babies. It’s a really big decision even though we already have Noah and Nora. The few people I have talked to (people with a lot of life experience) say that I shouldn’t wait for the “perfect” time to have kids. I can tell you that from my experience too. Life is out of our control and the perfect time could turn into the worst time within a month of being pregnant. There are things that I would like… I would like to be pregnant during the winter months. I would like to have the kids be close in age. I would like to be done having kids and finish my B.A. degree before starting my career. There is one major thing that I would also like… I would like for Jason’s business to be a little more established. Once we are pregnant, not only does life get way more expensive, but you can’t be as sacrificial as you once were. I don’t want our family to become a burden that breaks the cart if you know what I mean.

I think I may be a little traumatized from my last two pregnancies. I loved being pregnant, but Patrick and I lived with people, moved to Pennsylvania, lived with more people, couldn’t afford anything, lived with more people and even though I know that things will be more stable with Jason, I don’t want this next pregnancy to be a huge upheaval to our lives. I think that’s what I’m afraid of. As much as I talk about it being “no big thing”, deep down I know that babies are life changing; every time. It is supposed to be life changing in a good way though. We haven’t made any decisions yet, but I am excited to start this new chapter in our lives. Not so excited about pushing out a 10 pound baby, but I’ll think about that at another time. :o)


Registration

A fter two days of continuously trying to register online, I finally got through today. I am set up for 14 credit hours this Fall which will complete my degree. Thank God.

In Business Communications we are learning about resumes and letters of application. The jobs selection for me is dismal. I will certainly obtain a summer job, but who knows after that because of my limited selection of classes. By the end of the year, I will have a general education degree in mass Communications and will most likely end up being a receptionist somewhere and wanting to claw my eyes out daily from boredom. I will continue on with my education and get my B.A. in Mass Comm, but will that be enough? I think not. Although I plan to raise some babies in the meantime, I think some intentional thought and writing will be needed in order to get a job in that field. Sigh. At this point I can only see the big picture and time will reveal the details of the specific area of Mass Comm I hope to work in and I feel like my “I just want to write” mantra will wear a bit thin come baby number four. Sorry for the pessimism…

I have been wondering about this economic downturn and the resulting job situation. It is obviously very difficult financially for business owners who have been in business awhile (even those household names like Starbucks and Gap who have closed a few stores already), but I wonder about those who are looking for a specific type of work and not finding it. How many of those individuals think to themselves, what if I started my own business? This crazy time of infinite possibilities for work schedules, with people working in different offices, cities, or countries all for the same business may give people deciding to start their own business infinite ways to do just that. I marvel at the fact that you don’t even have to own a physical piece of hardware anymore to have your own server. You don’t have to have a phone line to have a “landline” and you definitely don’t have to have an office to have your own business. While I don’t exactly enjoy this time of survival, I think that good things are coming and I’m not just talking about things turning around for the economy. A change in perception, a paradigm shift if you will, is happening in this country and I for one am learning to like it.