1. New Year's eve... Isabella has her first dentist appointment. (At this dentist, they take a first visit photo.)
She did well for the most part, but she questioned every single little thing that the hygienist did. The appointment took a really long time and Isabella was all over the place. The hygienist said that this was a first: she conducted her exam with Isabella standing up part of the time, sitting down some, and sort of chasing her around. The dentist said all looks well, but her upper teeth are pushing out a little bit because of the pacifier that she uses at nap / at bedtime and we need to wean her off of it.
We're a step ahead of him. We were waiting 'til all of our travels were done & were going to start tackling this on New Year's Day.
2. Later that evening, we went to the square for the first annual "Square Drop" / NYE party. We did not stick around 'til the drop - as it was too late with the kiddos - but we heard it was memorable (not in a good way). We walked up, checked out the scene, played glow-in-the-dark putt-putt, and walked home waaaay before midnight.
3. On New Year's Day - we made a resolution for Isabella / with Isabella (just like we did with Mercer 5 years ago) to give up her pacifier. Just like we did for Mercer.... we gave her the option of throwing her pacifiers away in exchange for a big present. Well, of course she took the present! (A Doc McStuffins medical kit - backpack, tools, and prescription pad that actually helps her to learn her letters.)
When Mercer exchanged the paci for a present.... he asked for the paci a couple of times. We told him it was gone and he seemed OK with it / moved on. Isabella on the other hand, has not been OK with this "exchange." The first several days - she cried loudly and begged for her paci. She even rummaged through the trash several times! At daycare, she rummaged through her box of personal items 'cause there used to be a loose paci in there every now and then. She is smart and STRONG WILLED and she was determined to find a way around the deal she had made with us~
For a couple of weeks at daycare and at home she announced she did not need a paci because she was a big girl. But - whew - she DID sleep much better with it! Eventually she stopped asking about it or even talking about it, but unfortunately her sleep patterns have been messed up. It's been 3 weeks so far and she's still not sleeping through the night consistently. We've definitely regressed in that area. It's been tough on us and tough on her. Hoping that she starts sleeping through the night again. That's been the hardest part of all of this... sleep patterns~ ugh!
4. Into the new year, I spent a ton of time wrapping up lessons and organizing materials for the school where I had been teaching part-time for 1 1/2 years. (JFCA) I took a full-time teaching job was handing over the baton to another who was to take my place. It was actually hard to let go. I felt horrible leaving the students in the middle of the school year, but seriously felt like the opportunity to go to this other school -- one that I have been interested in Mercer attending -- was something I needed to try. My school administrator was awesome. She encouraged me to take the other job and felt that God opened this door for me / my family... and that He would provide another teacher to take my place. Shortly after the new year, she was correct! The man who was taking my place - an engineer who was interested in teaching a year ago was not able to make that transition in his career until the exact time that I was transitioning to another school. It really is pretty amazing how that worked out!
The first 2 weeks of the year was spent transitioning and even co-teaching a little to say goodbye to the students and usher in the new teacher. He did well with the students and I felt at peace leaving that job. There was only one day of "down-time" between my last day of teaching at one school and hanging out at the new school cleaning out my room and meeting with the other Upper School team members.
I'm in over my head (much like I was 1 1/2 years ago when I started teaching 8th grade Physical Science (Chemistry & Physics). I have 3 8th grade Physical Science classes at my new school, but I also have 1 10th grade Chemistry class. 1 9th grade Biology class. and 1 7th grade Life Science class. I feel comfortable with Chemistry and Physical Science, but the other two.... I'm very nervous about!!!
Each teacher is also required to teach an elective 3 days a week. I'm doing an Intro to Architecture class. I know the material, but it's still another "prep" to do most days. YIKES.
Isabella will start going to daycare with me there February 1st. We can save a great deal of money each month to have her go with me.... and... she's with me in the same building every day. We'll have to start getting up earlier each day to get to school on time, but it may save some time in the long run not having to pick up kids at multiple places.
The plan is eventually for Mercer to start going to the school there either in the fall or maybe jump in a little before the school year starts in the summer in lieu of camps? (it's a year-round school. I'll have 11 weeks off total each year. Every month or two, the kids and I will get a week or two off.)
5. On my first official day of work, I was driving in and all of the emergency lights on my dash lit up. I pulled over and flipped through the manual which encouraged me to take my car to the dealer immediately. I had just taken it in for a tire rotation & oil change that very weekend and was ensured all was well. So - they told me to come after work / they'd check it out. I stopped off and had it hooked up to a machine that tells you what the error code is: wow - it was the hybrid battery. The "big" one! I was already dealing with a lack of control (Multi-functional Display Unit had gone out 6 months ago and we couldn't fix with a refurbished model).... so... this was the 2nd major component to go - but not one I could live without. So, we had to act fast and get rid of the 11+ year old car. I traded it in on a newer (2014) Prius. Same thing I've been driving and am comfortable with. I guess I'll have to wait on that "dream" car -- a convertible. Oh well. I have more reliable wheels & that's important -- especially seeing that one or both of the kids will be making the 35 minute trek each way with me.
The earlier part of the day -- my actual first day of work -- started out nicely: helping make up bags filled with toiletries and hand-made scarves to hand out to neighboring residents in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
The school where I'm working is kind of crazy (so far in my first week). I'm sure I'll have more to post about it later. I'm just getting up-to-speed. But - have to admit - what a nice way to ring in my first official day: serving others.
Fingers crossed the rest of the year will be as rewarding!!
6. We had our first snow of the year. It was pretty light (and thankfully happened Friday evening / Saturday - so no one was stuck on the road).
But we were able to scrape some snow off of cars, basket ball goal base, and a few other flat objects in order to make several dozen snowballs. It was fun for a very short time. The snow made us snuggle up with a fire in the fireplace, however, which was a nice change.
7. Mercer also started something new in Cub Scouts that he's never done: Pinewood Derby. It's been pretty cool to see him and Todd work on building a car together. We'll post pics of that on the next blog post, as they're a week away from the actual event where all of the boys race their cars. Should be exciting!!
And - some things that aren't new, but still took place......
We held our annual Soup Night. (15 years since we started it!) Things have changed a bit over the years since bringing Isabella into our home.... when she was in her first month here (Jan 2013), a friend hosted a soup night for us instead of us hosting one. Then, when we started it back up in Jan 2014 - we had "co-hosts" helping with purchase and prep of ingredients. In 2015, we cut it back to 2 soup nights instead of 4. We did the same thing this year, but we also hosted a "private" one in honor of a friend who we used to work with. So - we had 3 this year. Even though it's changing, it's still nice to gather with old friends over a bowl of soup~
The little boy in the photo that Isabella is hugging is a little miracle. He's a year older than she is. He is much smaller than she is because he was born way too early - he was a little over 1 lb when he was born. When he's not cringing from being hugged by our precocious little girl, he has the BEST smile.
Our visits with him are spaced apart too much / we don't get to see his beaming parents or beautiful smile as much as we'd like. But - when we do, he is a reminder that life is frail and life is precious.
Into the new year, Mercer wrapped up his basketball season. He did pretty well -- picking up more skills than from the previous year. The thing that was nice that the coach said: each player was able to score this season (unlike players on the other teams).... and he got compliments from other coaches on how well the boys listened to and responded to instruction. Our boys ALMOST went undefeated.
They lost 1 game the whole season.... only by 1 point. Overall, it was pretty good!
Happy New Year to you and yours.....