Friday, December 23, 2011

Time Flies....

Wow, I hadn't realized how long it's been since I last updated our family blog.  But who can blame me?  Life just doesn't slow down.  Here's a brief recap of the last 6 months:

We moved to Tacoma in June.
Adam graduated from Fire Academy and started working 48 hour shifts.
I was hired as a 3rd grade teacher with Renton School District.
Our current rental house sold, so now we are packing up and moving to Covington next Friday. 
I'm continuing to work some weekends whenever there is a faceapainting event.

Basically, 2011 has been nuts. 

We will have moved twice.
Adam and I both got new jobs (probationary firefighter and first year teacher... yikes)
I finished my Masters Degree and Adam is in school as part of his job.
Oh, and we had a baby. 
Am I missing any other major life changes?? 

Looking at that list makes my head hurt.  Especially since I didn't add that I've been commuting 1 hour (each way) to work each day.  Thankfully we are moving to an area that cuts my commute by 40 minutes.  That makes me relax a little. 

Merry Christmas for now!  Will update again once we are settled into the new place. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Great News!

I received the most wonderful e-mail last week.  Do you remember in my last post when I told about how I didn't have my Master's Degree?   Well, when I received that news I was crushed, although I couldn't really focus on it because I had so much to get ready for my classroom.  Two weeks went by and I was still really frustrated at the situation, but realized I better get registered for my classes if I wanted to finish it.  A lot of people thought the school should pay for my tuition and let me take the classes on-line, but the e-mail I received was even better.  For those two weeks, I thought for sure I had been swept under the rug and forgotten about. I figured I was just being viewed as a careless student who couldn't read her program requirements correctly.  However, for those two weeks, the Dean had been my advocate -- he completed a detailed investigation, compiled a report, and sent it to Provost (the mucky-mucks), requesting that I have 5 credits added to my record in order to fulfill the requirements of the MIT degree.  And they agreed!!  So I now have my Master's and didn't have to take any classes!  That is such a weight off my shoulders, because now I don't have to take out another loan, or commute to Kirkland, OR be in school during my first year of teaching, AND I will get the bump in salary from Renton School District.  Everything has worked out perfectly and I am just praising God for taking care of me.  I am reminded of every piece of scripture that tell us "good things come to those who wait..." because I have to be honest, I was on the verge of sending one of those "angry-customer-demands-you-make-it-right" type e-mails to the university.  I'm so glad I restrained myself. 

Another reason I am praising God right now is because I have a student who is diagnosed ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder).  This kid is a nightmare.  It makes me feel better to hear other teachers say that he can't be controlled by anybody.  I'm pretty sure Supernanny couldn't even whip this little guy into shape.  He came to school unmedicated on the first day.  I managed to keep myself composed during the day, but once I got in the car to drive home, the flood gates slammed open.  I felt like everything I knew about teaching and classroom management was out the window.  I thought of the other kids in the class and wondered how they would ever make it through the year with the constant distraction of this little boy.  That night I cried some more because I couldn't believe I was already wishing I didn't have to go to work the next day.  All the stress mostly came from this student, but also because this whole week I have been commuting 2 hours a day and working 12 hours a day.  Once you throw in the time it takes to get ready in the morning, sleep a few hours, and make dinner, there's not a lot time to spend with my baby.  That's taking a toll on me, for sure.  I'm ready for some kind of routine to present itself, although I have a feeling I'll be playing catch-up for a few more months still.  Anyway, back to the student.  On the second day, I was ready to just send him to the Resource Room at the first wrong move.  I went out to the playground to get my class, absolutely dreading what the day might have in store for me.  When I saw my class, I noticed the boy's mom standing next to him.  She informed me that he had taken his medication and asked if I would keep an eye on him.  How can I not??  The boy was like a completely different person.  He looked me in the eye, he followed directions, he was able to wait patiently, he got to work right away...  even during the assembly I could tell he was paying attention and information was getting in.  So, my second day of school was much brighter than the first.  The other kids were at ease, and we had fun.  The third day was much the same.  I am glad to say that I am really excited about my class, and I have some really sweet kids.  It was hard for me to see just how blessed I am with these students, when I had somebody so extreme commanding all the attention.  I am sure you'll hear all about the goofy things they say and do throughout the year.  :)

A lot of people have been asking if we've figured out child care yet, and the answer is no.  Well, partly no.  One of my close friends, Kristen Hunter, is taking Calvin on those morning where I have to leave before Adam gets home from work. I love leaving him with her, although I always want to stay and visit.  :)  As for the almost 12 hour days, we had a friend who asked around at her church for any stay-at-home-moms looking for some extra income, and she found one.  When I talked to the woman, I could already tell it wasn't going to work out because 1) She had to take her kids to activities in the early evening and I needed to be able to leave Calvin until 5 or 6 some days and 2) She asked if we could pay her more.  The other person we found was a lady who runs a day care out of her home.  She was recommended to me by another teacher in my building, who also took her kids there.  We interviewed the lady, saw her home (which is only 10 minutes from my school!), and loved her right away.   She was even willing to take Calvin despite our crazy schedule without charging us a minimum amount of days.  However, she had another person interested who might have wanted full-time care.  She said she would call us Tuesday, before leaving for her 2 week visit to India, but I didn't hear from her.  So we have no idea if she is available, and I won't know until the day before we need somebody to watch Calvin for a full day.  It's kind of hard to find people to watch a baby from 7am-6pm.  Based on God's work in my life lately, I'm sure it will all work out.  :)

That's all for now! 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Family Pictures in the Park (8.13.2011)






























We are so incredibly blessed

If I believe that God works for the good of those who love Him, and that He's a God who delights in giving us the desires of our hearts, why am I always so amazed when he blesses me?  I shouldn't be surprised! Yet here I am, again in awe of God's timing and favor. 

Basically, 2011 has been the year for the Lindners.  We had our first child, we moved to Tacoma, Adam was hired as a Fire Fighter with the Kent Fire Department, I finished my Masters Degree (or so I thought... but that's a story for later...), and I was hired as a 3rd grade teacher with the Renton School District.    Yesterday Adam pretty much summed it up.  He said, "Do you realize that it's a Friday morning,  I don't have to go back on shift for 4 days, and I'm helping you set up your classroom, while I watch our son?"  What a difference a year makes.  We are humbled by the way God's plan works out.  How it ALWAYS works out. 

I consider myself very fortunate to have landed this position as a 3rd grade teacher.  It's not very often a school district hires a first year teacher at a time like this.   We still aren't sure what we're going to do with Calvin, but we have a close friend who is willing to watch him during the day for the month of September.  We are hoping that will give us some time to find more permanent child care.  We haven't found any daycares that take an infant on a part-time basis (we would only need care 6-8 days a month), so we're praying to find something soon. 

On the not-so-positive side, we are dealing with a major issue from Northwest University.  I graduated from there with my BA in Elementary Education in 2010, and last year enrolled in the MIT Program. I "graduated" in May, but received an e-mail on Thursday from the secretary asking if I had taken the additional five credits needed for my MIT degree through another school because they needed an official transcript in order to award the degree. In no documentation were these five credits ever listed, nor were they ever discussed in my private or group advising sessions with the Dean. It was not until 3 months after graduation that these credits were brought to my attention. After all the work I did to finish my thesis before Calvin was born, I still sit here with no degree.  The secretary apologized for assuming I knew about the credits and for not following through. I understand that people mess up, but this was much bigger than a “Woops, my bad.”  This is a life altering mistake that has been made, and my salary is now decreased by thousands of dollars because of their oversight.  And teachers don't make a lot to begin with!  As of right now, there is nothing I can do except take the pay cut and finish my classes at some point.  Even though we cannot even begin to describe to you how disappointed, frustrated, and sickened we are by Northwest University, we are praying God will turn this into a positive.

Moving on.   The house we are renting has been sold.  Well, it's pending sale right now.  It looks like they are negotiating prices and so forth, and it will be a few months before this actually affects us.  We are praying that the buyers will continue to the rent the house to us until Adam's probationary year is up in March.  At that time, we might buy, but we're not sure since my teaching contract is only for 1 year.  We thought we'd like to live near the Kent/Renton area for a shorter commute, but who knows if I'll even be working in that area this time next year! 

Anywhoo, I think that's all for now.   Here are some cuties of Calvin for your viewing pleasure.
 
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Video: Spinnin' and Jumpin'

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Video: Happy or Sad? We can't tell!

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Video: Calvin Stuck

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In the swing of things...

It's been a while since I've posted anything!  Let's see... what has happened since our last visit?

We've moved into our new rental house in Tacoma (the one I posted pictures of a while ago).
Adam has started the EMT portion of post-academy (so he's home every night now!)
I've been applying for classroom jobs, and substitute jobs.
I finished my Masters Degree!
We started attended a new church.  Soma Community in Tacoma. 

It's been a whirlwind, but I feel like we're finally getting settled into a routine.  Calvin is growing like a weed, and he makes us laugh every day.  We love where we live right now because we get to see friends and family more often. 

I have been asked what my plans are for the fall.  Do I teach, or do I stay home with Calvin?  At first I really wanted to stay home with him and just live on a VERY tight budget, but unfortunately, we just can't do that.  Not with those student loans looming overhead.  I hear people talk about staying home with their baby and doing whatever it takes to make that happen, but not everybody has that option. I think perhaps I'm sensitive about going back to work because I already feel like I haven't been able to give Calvin what's best for him.  Right from the beginning, I wasn't able to breastfeed.  For the first 3 weeks after he was born, I had something called "Rusty Pipe Syndrome."  Basically, I had blood in my milk.  And it wasn't just a little bit.  One time I pumped straight blood.  And then my milk just never really came in.  I tried putting him at my breast to stimulate the milk supply, I tried using a syringe to deposit milk into his mouth while he was at my breast, I tried just pumping after every bottle feeding, I tried fenugreek supplements, and I tried prescription medication. Even that didn't work. After six weeks, I gave up.  I was heartbroken about it because I never expected that would happen to me.  I just assumed everything would develop normally.  Oh well.  I got over it.  So now being able to stay home with him has just been another thing I can't give him.  

So the "plan" is either 1) I get a full-time teaching job.  This would be fantastic because then I can pay off all of my student loans in less than 2 years OR save up for a good size downpayment on a house.  If I get my own classroom, Adam will have Calvin on days he's not working and we will either put Calvin in daycare for the other days, or pray that we find some friends and family who are willing to watch him on days Adam has to work. The nice thing is that Adam works 2 days and then has 4 days off.  2) I continue substitute teaching. This would give me the flexibility to only accept jobs on days that Adam is home with Calvin.  That way I can be a part-time stay-at-home-mom.  The downside to this is that I remember last year I was lucky if I found 3 jobs a week.  So the pay would not be as good.  And I don't really like substitute teaching.   So I am at peace with whatever situation arises, and praying God's will be done.  He knows what best for our family. 

As for our little grunion, Calvin, as of 4 weeks ago, was in the 90th percentile for weight, 60th percentile for height, and 75th percentile for head size.  He's now using both hands to grab for toys, and he likes to put his hands in his mouth. He reaches for my face when I'm talking to him, and for the book when I'm reading to him.  If I ever need to calm him down, I just give him his fleece blanket and a pacifier.  He uses his wrists to push the pacifier back into his mouth if it falls out, and he LOVES to put the blanket over his face. :)  What a weirdie.  He lifts his head and chest while on his tummy, and likes to sit on our laps while looking out at what's going on.  He doesn't need anybody to support his head anymore so we've put him in a "Bumbo" a few times, but he doesn't quite have the neck muscles to sit up on his own.  That noggin of his is just so heavy!  :) 

Calvin rarely cries, and if he does it's just because he's fighting a nap.  He sleeps very well through the night.  He'll sleep a 6 hour stretch and then a 3 hour stretch, so I get lots of sleep. Happy momma.
Calvin smiles ALL THE TIME now, and while he hasn't given us a solid giggle, he will smile and squeal.  That's a good enough laugh for me.  :)   He coos and tries to talk to us a lot.  Lately he has been saying "ooh oooh oooh" over, and over, and over again.  Yes Calvin, that noise is in fact coming from you. 

Well, that's all for now.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers:
1) That Adam would continue to be a successful firefighter throughout his probationary year
2) That we would know without a doubt what path to take regarding my teaching situation
3) That the house we are living in would not sell until March, when Adam's probationary year is over
4) That we would continue to grow in the Lord, He would show us the areas we need to work on, and we'd find community in our new church. 
5) For Calvin to be happy and healthy. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Adam's Graduation

On Friday, May 27th, Adam graduated from Bates Technical College with his Firefighter I certification.  He will finish his Firefighter II certification on June 9th. 

Adam received the Chief's Company Award. I was a proud wifey!! And I had the privilege of pinning his badge on him in front of everybody!