Oh, Homecoming, how full of angst and excitement and craziness you are for a teenager.
This week has been homecoming week. Which equals crazy dress up days, and daily pep assemblies, and float building, and spirit award-earning, and parade watching, and dance preparing, and hair fixing, and dress buying, and loud cheering. Loud. Loud. Loud. Cheering. At all times. All week.
Our dress up days were a big success this week including nerd day, cartoon day, and cross-gender day. The latter was a bit disturbing, but hysterical. It is fun to see the kids come together and be creative and get noisy for our school. It is fun to see the community get behind our students.
I remember homecoming week vividly. I especially remember my sophomore year. I was selected to be on the court, which in my town mean 3 outfits, a bonfire coronation, a parade, and a fancy formal attire at the game and dance. This was in my "I'd rather be wearing sweatpants" phase of life, so it took gentle reminding that I probably should shave my legs for the events. The part I remember the most though was not that I was on the court, but that I was on the court with my sister. Kali was a Senior candidate. Which meant she could actually be voted queen. Which meant the night of coronation I got to be on the field with her when they crowned her. It was a lot of fun to share that experience with her. And since the dads escort the girls the night of the game, we got to ask our Grandpa to be one of our escorts. Beautiful.
What about you? What do you remember about YOUR homecoming? Was it a big deal at your school? Did people get CRAZY?! Did your town get involved?
GO WOLVERINES!!!!! :-)
Friendship is an amazing yet elusive thing to me. I can't quite pinch it between my thumb and forefinger.
Every day I'm at work, I see students trying to figure it out too. There are definitely people they "want" to be friends with [don't we all have that?], there are people who want to be their friend but they aren't quite sure how to stay away from them [ahem...don't we all have that?], and then there are the laugh-till-our-sides-hurt, be-there-for-you-be-there-for-me, know-everything-about-each-other friends [that I hope we all have at least at some point in our lives].
Here is the deal though: just like my pubescent students, we are changing everyday, all the time. We are supposed to learn how to deal with that ourselves, and ALSO deal with our closest friends changing on us.
I have been very fortunate to have some truly amazing friends in my lifetime. Truly amazing. And I've moved away from nearly all of them. [Which is a horrible idea if any of you are thinking about it].
I have some friendships that grew into comfortable territory over the years, and others that seemed comfortable right from the moment we introduced ourselves. I have some friendships that have changed and become more distant with age, and others that have tasted sweeter as the years have gone by.
Why am I thinking of this today? I think there are several reasons. Brent and I have really been missing some of our close and dear and "lifer" friends recently. I have some students that I see struggle everyday to find someone to talk to. I think of this child in my womb and pray that he or she is compassionate and kind and values friendship. I have thought about how my parents have finally become friends to me [finally...because they were PARENTS for 25 years, and still are, but it's different]. I have thought about small-town vs city friendships, what makes them tick, how people meet and hang out in each place. I have thought about how friends have been supportive and excited for us recently. I have watched friends surround someone in my community who is hurting. I have watched my friendship with my husband grow into something real and authentic and honest.
Friends are such a gift from God. But such a tricky thing to establish, and change with, and grow into and out of.
Thank you all who have been patient enough to be my friend over the years. I do not take it lightly.
First car: I don't even remember what it was [Brent can leave that in the comment section], but was a dull grey, mainly from lack of any color, a 5 speed, and driven until it was parked in the town junk heap.
Second car: A red, VW Passat handed down fro his brother in California and driven back to Missouri. Brent got a ticket in this car because the speedometer didn't work. It overheated multiple times. Eventually something major happened [alternator?] and it was eventually sold/given away.
Third car: Green '97 Grand Am. 5 Speed. Smelled awful, always. Like wet hay. Best car yet. This is what we drove to Louisville in after we were married. Our plan: drive it until it won't go anymore. Mission accomplished. We "sold" it to our mechanic for $200/ parts.
Fourth car: 2004 Hyundai Sonata. Moving. on. up. We love/loved this car. It is/was faithful. Minor issues. Then we tried to drive it to Nashville over labor day and ohmygoodness. It literally fell apart. It has been in the shop for a month now. There are multiple things wrong, one of which may be a factory recall. We are praying this is the case. Waiting. Either way, cheaper than buying a new one.
First car: red, 1990, Ford escort. I loved that car. Bought it for $900. The seals around windows and doors were a joke, so living on a gravel road was hazardous for my health. The trunk didn't stay open on its own so I kept a dowel rod in there so I could prop it open when needed. The gas gauge didn't work. It didn't have cruise control. It survived only one Iowa winter when I was in college before we sold it for petty cash.
Second car: blue, 1996, Grand AM. Loved it. The gas gauge worked, it had cruise and automatic windows. I was stylin', folks! We did have to replace the transmission at one point...no big deal, right. One winter on my way home from school the gas pedal kept sticking...I was blazing down the road at 65 MPH and even when flooring the brake pedal it would only slow down to about 40. I freaked out...pulled it over...and turned it off quickly [pretty sure that is the worst possible thing you're supposed to do in that situation. Figured out the issue was an internal thing that had frozen [thank you, sub zero temps], and continued on up the road. Crazy. This is the car that my mom and Beck drove to Louisville when we moved [first stopping and washing off the "Just Married" written in lipstick lest they get strange looks]. This is the car that turned over to 200,000 miles one day while I drove to work. This is the car that had minor trips to the mechanic every year. This is the car that had the check engine light come on in EAST ST LOUIS! And this is the car that we hitched to our moving truck and got back to Missouri in 2010. It was short lived though from that point...it had been doing this "thing" for about a year when I would start it...if I didn't get moving right away it would die and I'd have to start again [probably not normal]. And eventually, one day, it just didn't start again. We sold it for parts to another mechanic....well, sort of: he was actually working on the Hyundai and he said that the cost of repairs was going to be about 300.-- We said, "Hey, what about we just give you this car?!" Fantastic. [A girl that I now coach eventually bought the car from him...but I've never seen her drive it because it's...in the shop! :)]
Third car: The car of my dreams-- a Subaru Outback. However, it is a 2003. So it has had its issues too...but it drives well, handles well, and it only cost us around $800 to get the Air conditioner fixed in it this summer. :) This is the only car in our possession right now. Beautiful. We bought it used from a lovely farm couple in Northern, MO. She was a mail carrier and used that car...and a dog literally BIT the front fender. The teeth marks are visible. The trunk has a funny catch when I have to open it, but other than that...lovely. With heated seats. A dream.
Enter our parents:
When we had our labor day weekend fiasco with our Sonata, my parents put on their flying panties [family joke...Kali can explain] and came to our rescue. They dropped off their vehicle for our use for the rest of the trip. Dad's instructions as we climbed in their car?
"Well, there is a CD stuck in the player so unless you want to listen to 'Nitty Gritty Dirt Band' you're gonna have to listen to the radio, but it doesn't get great reception. When you fill up the gas tank will drop to empty for awhile and the check engine light may possibly come on but it's fine. The lights kind of shake the hood will bounce but other than that it drives great!"
Brent's parents then lovingly lent us their vehicle for a week upon our return. Beck's instructions as we climbed into their car?
"Okay. The check engine light is on but it's fine. Something with a fuel injector? Also, the gas gauge might bottom out every once in awhile but it's okay too so don't worry about that."
We drove away laughing. No wonder we believe in buying, and limping along, used vehicles for as long as they'll cooperate. We don't have a car payment, so the unexpected 200/300 dollars every 5 or 6 months on something that breaks is no big deal. We've clearly grown up with parents who didn't believe in car payments either.
I know there are people from every camp of thought on this one. What is your take? Buy used? By new? By from a dealership? By from individual? What have you found works for you?
And HAPPY HAPPY 2nd Birthday to my sweetness and and little squeeze: Caroline Harper! We love you!
September 19, 2011
Days seemed to c.r.a.w.l by as we waited to share our big news. I was feeling more and more pregnant and was sure everyone knew/could tell. I was super nervous to start school, wondering what getting up at 7 would do to my system. Softball practice proved to be exhausting after a long day in the classroom and I felt drawn to just sit down. How could people not tell a difference? I felt like falling asleep while standing. I ate crackers and munched on SOMETHING constantly. I felt like I was gaining tons of weight [in reality I gained about 3 or 4 pounds]. Every time I looked at someone I just wanted to shout, “THERE IS A BABY GROWING INSIDE OF ME! HAVEN’T YOU NOTICED?!”
But no one seemed to. Not really anyway.
Over Labor Day Brent and I made a quick trip to see Kali and Dan. We sat down for supper and I casually said, “We brought Ellie a little something, and I would like to get her another present but wanted to know what she really needs first. Oh, and if she is patient and waits until about April she’ll have a new baby cousin to play with.” Commence screaming, and smiling, and hugging, and a very confused Caroline. Kali of course said, “I KNEW IT!” [She is the oldest child after all, and they know EVERYTHING]. She loaded me up with maternity clothes and books and loving advice and Metamucil [lovely], and off we went.
When we got back we headed over to my parents. Since their anniversary was at the first of the month we handed them two “anniversary” cards. I told them they couldn’t open them just yet, but rather needed to wait about a month and half and I would tell them which one to open which would reveal the sex of their next grandchild. Commence total shock and amazement. My dad’s face was a mixture of complete surprise and a “For me? You really shouldn’t have” response. Priceless. They were, of course, beyond excited.
Since Brent’s parents share the same anniversary as my parents [I know, it’s super cute, right?], we pulled the same gig on them. There was hugging and surprise and total excitement all around there as well. And then, as in all the other circumstances, a list of questions that needed to be asked. Brent was then able to call all of his siblings too, and as we shared the news our excitement grew more and more as well...which hardly seemed possible.
And then last Wednesday we headed back to the Doctor for a second appointment [at the first a nurse came in, said “Yep, you’re pregnant.” Handed me a ton of information and had me sign several different documents, then sucked me dry of all my blood]. I was more than a little nervous, knowing this was the real deal check-up, heartbeat and all, that would determine my health, the baby’s, and whether or not we could begin calling others and sharing the news further.
And as my doctor [who as you read earlier was a total shot in the dark and is completely wonderful] ran the sonar microphone over my jelly covered belly, Brent and I waited in anticipation. And then...there it was... a little fluttering, a whoosh-whooshing of life. We both sat, smiling like giddy little children. And as my doctor finished up and shared that “everything looks fantastic!” we could hardly contain our excitement.
As we were walking out of the office Brent said, “I’m a little disappointed in our child.” I looked at him, slightly confused by waiting for the punchline. “Well,” he continued, “I mean, I just thought that while he or she had the opportunity to speak from the womb he or she would say, ‘Thank you for giving me life, Daddy,’ or something else profound.” Mmmm hmmm.
And then we began calling and calling and telling and telling until we had told so many that our job became easier. I finally shared with my students last Friday. I put an extra question on their quiz that said, “Write down one boy name and one girl name that you like.” I didn’t quite know how they would respond, thinking they would mainly be indifferent. However, their exuberance and excitement shocked me and made the day really fun.
And now, here I am, sitting on my couch with the top button of my pants unbuttoned because it’s getting slightly uncomfortable, wondering what the next 7 months, 2 years, lifetime, will bring our way. I am so thankful that God is in control. And I am so thankful for this little life developing inside of me.
For the first two installments, scroll down.
August 1, 2011
July has come and gone. I can’t believe such a significant month in my life trickled away so quickly.
Two weeks ago I rolled out of bed at the same time as Brent. This rarely doesn’t happen during the summer. But I wanted him--needed him--there. I dug through the closet where I had placed the pregnancy test back in June, read the instructions, and performed the steps necessary. I snapped the lid on and laid it on the countertop. I looked at the clock. Two minutes crawled by. I glanced back at the test window. There was a definite horizontal line, but I was waiting for that vertical line to cut a perpendicular mark through it to form the plus sign.
The time had come. I held the test up to the light and there it was. Very faint, but there none the less. I showed it to Brent without saying anything. He looked at me and smiled. “I don’t know if that is really a line?”
“Kels, it is. You’re pregnant!”
We hugged [and washed our hands after holding the test, don’t worry]. We smiled. I resisted the urge to call everyone I knew. Then Brent left for work and I crawled back into bed. [There really isn’t much that can keep me from sleeping, I mean, my mom had to wake me up on my wedding day because I just kept sleeping. ]
I had to go to the store that day so I threw a few more pregnancy tests in my cart just to make sure. I waited until the next morning and took another one. This one was even more clear.
I was pregnant. I AM pregnant. It is like I am carrying this tiny little secret around inside of me and I’m about to burst. I went out to lunch with mom the day I took the second test. Of course, baby names came up during the course of our conversation. I wanted to tell her so badly, but Brent and I have decided to wait until after my first doctor’s appointment to tell our family. August 30th seems like forever away.
Two days after we found out I left for a cruise to Alaska. I went with my good friend, Micah, and struggled through NINE whole days of not telling her. I fought sea sickness and now am struggling to regain my land-legs...or maybe I’m just dizzy and nauseas because I’m pregnant? I’m not sure. However, I took another test when I got home, just because I needed to see those two lines again.
And I do know this: I am tired. I am a bit emotional. And I am extremely happy. I couldn’t stop smiling while I made the appointment with my doctor today.
I don’t have an official due date, but by my calculations I will most likely have the baby around the first of April. Wow, are our lives about to change!
If you missed part one of "babyblag" click here.
June 17th, 2011
I wasn’t pregnant then. Exactly three months ago. Nor am I now, to my knowledge. I saved that document I typed back in March in my panicked state and, thinking I would one day blog about some of these thoughts, saved it as “BabyBlog.” However, thanks to my unsure emotions I somehow typed “Babyblag.” I think it may stick.
March seems like an eternity ago. I actually never ended up taking that pregnancy test. After Brent walked in the door I talked with him...he calm, me still trying to figure out a way to move December to some other spot on the calendar. :) And we decided to save the test. To wait it out. To give a little more time. And sure enough, a week later I discovered I wasn’t pregnant the natural way. Lovely.
The funny thing though? I distinctly felt disappointed.
So I scheduled a lovely gynecologist visit. Lovely. And I went off birth control. Officially. Off. Done.
We both wanted to make sure things were “good to go,” so we didn’t want to officially start trying until I got the green light from my doctor. Only therein was the rub. “My” doctor. Remember that I moved semi-recently? Well, I never found a doctor. And now I was finding it impossible to get one to see me. The doctor a friend recommended could see me in August. How nice of her. NEXT! I let the receptionist, who chatted with me until we realized I will have her son in class next year, recommend someone. Lisa it was. She could see me at the end of May. Thank you, Lisa, that is a little more reasonable.
So until May, Brent and I continued to pretend we “weren’t quite ready” for this huge step, even though both of us had been since we said “I do.” Then, in the pouring rain after the bell rang on the last day of school, I drove to her office...will spare you the details...and got the green light--if I renewed my Tetnus shot. Whatever. I was almost there.
Then we went on vacation. Then I struggled to find the number for the right health department. Then they wouldn’t be in until “the next day.” Then I got stabbed in my right arm with the needle. Then people asked why I got the shot. Then I lied and said “because it now covers whooping cough” [which it does, fun fact], and that “my doctor said it would be good for me to be covered since I’m around kids all the time at my job.” This would be better than the awkward, “Well, we’re going to start trying to procreate,” moment. Then Brent was like, “Woah, Kels, quick thinking on that one.” Then I was like, “Yeah. I rock.” Then, well...we stopped trying to NOT procreate. “Be fruitful and multiply,” became our motto.
But not seriously. Not yet. The game face will come out next month. July. Like planned. To create my perfect Springtime baby. Lord willing. I know He ultimately is in control. I know He looks at me and giggles at my mere mortal plans. But I know He holds our future child in His arms and I am thrilled beyond measure to meet the little booger.
So until this “babyblag” gets too exciting...there is the back story.
And that pregnancy test Brent ran to the store to get to calm my nerves? It is nestled away in our bathroom closet...waiting for its big debut.
I promise you that I won't ONLY blog about the baby [actually I have a post brewing about broken vehicles], but I do have a few things written that I can put up here now. I started writing my thoughts back in March, and about every month or so I jotted a few more thoughts down.
March 17, 2011
Brent just went to the store to buy me a pregnancy test.
Pause for shock to set in.
I don’t know if I’m pregnant [well, duh, hence the pregnancy test run...literally, he ran to the store]. We aren’t trying and I’m still on birth control. But I was sick about 2 weeks ago. So sick, in fact, that I started taking antibiotics. I know that this often makes birth control ineffective...so we waited like three days until after I’d stopped taking the meds. Three days is enough right?
So right now, I just don’t know. Some weird things have happened and I just want to know for sure.
And here’s the deal: We already decided we would start trying in July-ish. That would produce my perfect Spring-time baby...I like to call it, the teacher plan. But it’s MARCH. Right now it is march and if my calculations are correct that would mean nine months from now is December. December?! No offense Mom, but I’ve NEVER wanted to have a baby in December. Several reasons: it’s cold and I won’t be able to take baby outside for a LONG time; Christmas-- people are so busy and it just wouldn’t be ideal; birthdays of the future would always coincide with the big gift giving month and I don’t want my baby to be cheated out of presents :)
But I do want a baby. More and more lately we’ve just looked at each other when we see a family pushing a stroller. We want to start our family.
It’s just that the plan was JULY. It’s MARCH.
I always figured that when I got pregnant I would pray over my desires and hopes and see them grow into fruition. And although I have prayed for my future children, I haven’t prayed specifically yet. Because it is March. Not July. But maybe this is God’s way of telling me that He’s in control anyway? That it is humorous that I even thought I could plan such a thing?
So as I sit here waiting...fielding texts and a phone call from Brent to figure out where “they” are...my mind is rushing with a million thoughts. What do I want the test to say? Honestly at this point I will be happy either way.
But in JULY...oh in July I will pray for that little plus sign.
So right now, while Brent lurks around Dollar General waiting for students of mine to go home, I sit and type this to calm my mind. [And to keep my mind off of the fact that I really have to go to the bathroom...because I hear that that is involved in this step of the “knowing” process and I don’t want to wait any longer.]
If I had to say definitively at this point, I would say I am not pregnant. I have thought I was before, several times. And I never have been. But I am still peering out the window, waiting for that wonderful husband of mine to come bounding back down the street, a little more than I ever have before.
And here he is....
- Eat deli meat without heating it.
- Run a marathon.
- Drink alcohol...or my actual drink of choice-- coffee [at least in excess]
- Go more than 2 hours without using the bathroom.
- Wear my bikini.
Things I can no longer do?
- Keep it a secret any longer!
I am 13 weeks pregnant with a due date of March 28th. We found out about as soon as a couple can find these things out. And we are so...so...excited. Since this is our first we wanted to wait a little while to confirm everything was on track and healthy before we spilled the beans. We heard the heartbeat on Wednesday [wow wow wow], and now we feel a little more okay to shout it from the rooftops!
Hopefully I'll now blog a little more frequently. I haven't written lately for a few reasons: 1) the beginning of the school year IS always crazy, pregnant or not. 2) I haven't exactly felt like spending my free time at the computer...rather, I've felt the need to s.l.e.e.p. 3) I was afraid I wouldn't be able to contain myself and something would SLIP.
I really have felt pretty good, all things considered. Which I thank the Lord for! Those of you that know me well know that I don't do sick/puke very well [as in...NOT WELL AT ALL!], so this is something I've prayed fervently for since considering pregnancy. And the Lord has been faithful. I have had some nauseous days/moments, but they usually have come in the evening and so I just go to bed. I found that keeping something in my stomach at all times helps, so I have been munching munching munching for 2 1/2 months. Brent has, as always, been unselfishly patient and kind to me during this time [and I may have had a few minor mood swing moments which did not deserve patience or kindness :)].
Brent and I feel incredibly blessed and unbelievably excited. We're also thankful we have so many wonderful friends and family to share in this journey with us. We will find out the sex in a little less than 8 weeks. Any guesses?
Also... I started jotting some thoughts down in a word document awhile ago...I wrote about 4 entries. It is titled "BabyBlag" which will make sense once you read it. I will post those in a little bit.
HERE WE GO.....!!!!!
Brent and I have just been be-bopping around. We've had softball tournaments several weekends. We went to Nashville over Labor Day and met our new and wonderful niece Ellie [someday I'll put up pictures!]. Last weekend we drove to Topeka for a wedding of one of Brent's college friends. Since school started I haven't had a weekend "off." Maybe this weekend I will and I will put up a legit blog post? Only time will tell.
School is going great. I have a wonderful bunch of students this year and we are enjoying ourselves. After four years I finally feel like I'm getting the hang of this thing!
Softball is going...not as great. I'll leave it at that because it's been a frustrating season so far and the girls are going to turn it around soon...I just know it :)
Brent is running another 1/2 marathon in a month. I am not.
Alright, I'm going to send this into cyberspace now so you all know I'm still here [if there are any of you that still check this after a month of absence! Yikes!].