Monday, September 28, 2015

Josh the (potential) world traveler

Not much new is happening in my life, just more school. But here's what's happening in Josh's world.
A few weeks ago he told me about a school trip he had the opportunity to take. They had a parent meeting about it last week so I went to learn more about it. Basically at the end of the school year, a couple of the teachers are taking a group of kids on an American history tour of the east coast. They're going to fly to Boston, do all the cool stuff there is to do there, then take a bus to New York City, where they'll go to a Broadway play, visit the 9/11 memorial, Statue of Liberty and all that fun stuff, then a couple of days later go to Philadelphia and eventually on to Washington DC. The trip isn't cheap but it's a great opportunity to see some really cool things, so I decided to let him do it. So in June he'll be taking an amazing trip. 

I'm especially excited about this because those were all the places I visited the year I lived in New Jersey when I was 19. It has always been my dream to see NYC, so when I was 19 I spent a year as a nanny in NJ. And while I was there I took every opportunity to travel to all the big cities in reasonable driving distance. So I've wandered through Boston, DC, Philly, and I spent a ton of time NYC. I look back on that year as one of the most memorable of my life. 

So the idea of sending my own kid to see all those places I loved so much is really exciting! He's really excited to go, I think they're going to have a pretty cool adventure. 

And then today he got thrown another possible opportunity! He came home from school today and told me that one of his teachers from last year approached him today and said that she got some information about a trip to France this summer. Basically a student and a teacher apply together as a team and if they get accepted they get a free trip to France to study WWII, specifically Normandy. He would spend two weeks in France attending lectures and different things about WWII with his teacher and then when they get back they have to put together a presentation about what they learned that will be presented twice (I'm not sure where). 

When his teacher saw the info, Josh was the first person she thought of to take, which is kind of awesome. So I told him to go ahead and apply. I have no idea what his chances are of actually getting chosen to go, but they're going to give it a try!

The trick is that the France trip is four days after the American History trip, and it leaves from Washington DC, which is where his American history trip concludes. So what would have to happen is that he would go on the American history trip, they would leave him in Washington DC (we'd work out somewhere safe for him to stay, we know people who know people) and then four days later his teacher would meet him in DC and they would fly to France together for two weeks. So he'd be gone for almost a month this summer. 

Again, I have no idea if the France trip is going to happen, and they won't find out until December if they're accepted, but they're going to give it a shot! Keep your fingers crossed for him, because how amazing does that sound?!!

It so fun to watch him grow and experience new things. It's hard for me as a mom to let him spread his wings sometimes, but it's exciting to see him experience so many new and exciting things. 

I'm always talking to my kids about having an adventure. The year I dropped everything and moved to New Jersey to follow my dream of seeing NYC was life changing for me. I don't know if I would want my kids to drop out of college like I did, but that life experience truly was an education for me. I learned so much that year. So I'm always telling my kids that if life gives you an opportunity for an adventure, you should probably take it.  So I hope Josh ends up going to France this summer and has the adventure of his life. :)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

One week down, six years to go :)

So I have successfully completed my first week of college! Yay me! :)

So far the word I would use to describe my college experience is...slow. This year long program that I'm currently doing is for older students who are returning to school and it's meant to be a reintroduction to college to help get us back up to speed so we can successfully complete a degree program. Which is great, because I haven't been to school for a long time and can use the refresher, but so far it's just moving really slow. It's only two classes this semester and they're very basic. We basically just spent the entire first week going over the syllabus for each class. I'm really excited about this whole college thing and I have time in my schedule for more than two basic classes, so taking the slow route is a little frustrating. It's probably the best thing for me to start slow, I'm just impatient, lol. 

But what I have on my side is an amazing mentor, so I emailed him today and told him that school wasn't moving very fast and a half hour later he sent me a list of books to read that I'll need to study for my career path. He's the best, seriously. So now when I'm bored and finish my homework early, I'm going to get started on some hefty textbooks about psychology and counseling related topics, which will really help me when I get to those classes, plus it's just stuff I find interesting. 

So school is a bit slow, but I'm finding ways to stay busy and it's all good. What I have learned from one week of school is that I'm really excited about school! I really had no idea if I was going to love it, hate it, find it easy, find it hard, etc. But so far I just find myself wanting more. I'm ready and focused, which is good. When I get an assignment I get it done quickly and wish there was more to do. So I guess that bodes well for next year when I'll be taking a full load of classes and there will be plenty to do! I'm ready for it and I have time in my day to focus on it, so I think it's going to be good once I really get going. 

In other news, Clarissa lost her first tooth the other day! She has had a loose tooth for months. I've  been telling her to keep wiggling it and get it out, but I think she's been a bit nervous about her tooth coming out. It's always a bit weird the first time. She thought it was going to hurt. So she's kind of been protecting that tooth and eating carefully so it doesn't wiggle too much. So much so that her adult tooth had started growing behind it! That thing needed to come out. So a couple of nights ago I was tucking her in bed and I asked if I could look at her tooth. When I wiggled it, I could tell that it was barely hanging on. I told her to just reach in there and pull it out, so she did and it just popped right out! She was SO excited! She ran around the house and showed everyone, we made a video about it to send to my mom in Malaysia, it was a major event, lol. Now she's got another one right next to it that is probably also going to come out soon. She's growing up so fast! Losing baby teeth is another one of those milestones that remind me that my babies aren't babies anymore! It's bittersweet, but so cute to see how excited she is about it. 

So that's the news from our house. Things are good, we're keeping busy and life is just plugging along! 

Monday, September 14, 2015

First day of school!!

Well, it finally arrived, today was my first day of college!

We have spent the past few weeks organizing, decluttering and cleaning our house from top to bottom and getting ready for me to start this new journey. I made a great study space in the den, complete with a new super comfortable office chair and motivational posters for the wall that I designed.

I planned for my first day of school to also be the first day our new cleaning lady came to clean the house. After all the decluttering and organizing we've done, the house was ready to be deep cleaned, and having someone else do it while I focused on school was really awesome.

So I got the kids off to school this morning, got the cleaning lady set (it's ridiculous calling her the cleaning lady. The cleaning lady is my good friend Karen, lol. She's starting a cleaning business and she's the best house cleaner EVER.) and I got myself settled into the den to start my first day of school.

I was super nervous this morning for some reason! All I had to do was go in my den and do work online, but I had butterflies in my stomach like I was headed off to middle school and was worried no one would sit by me at lunch. I've just been waiting for this day for so long and it feels like such a major new chapter in my life that it just started to freak me out a bit this morning!

But it turned out to actually be kind of fun. I've never taken an online class before and had absolutely no idea what to expect. It took me a bit to get used to the layout of the website and it's such a different way to take a class that it is going to take some getting used to. But once I kind of got the hang of it, i enjoyed it.

I'm taking two classes. The first one is a life skills class and the second one is religion class. Today's work for both classes was basically just going over the syllabus and introducing ourselves on the class message boards. But I did have to take notes on the syllabus and take a quiz for both classes. It wasn't a big deal, but I haven't taken a school test in over 20 years, so I was nervous! I got 100% on both quizzes. Yay me! I texted Josh at school to tell him I was an A student. It was sort of fun for the tables to turn for a minute, lol. I'm always their school cheerleader. This time he got to be mine.

It's only two classes this semester, and part of me is chomping at the bit for more, but part of me sees the wisdom in starting slow. I need to ease into this. After I do this slower paced year long program for returning students, I'll be taking a full load of classes next year and every year after that until I'm done. This year will get me into the habit of going to school again and get me used to studying and doing assignments and taking tests, and next year when I start a full class load, it won't be as overwhelming and I'll have a better chance of being able to keep up and stick with it. So for me I think it's the best way to do it, I'm just kind of impatient for this year to pass so I can start choosing my own classes and working at a faster pace. Now that I'm in this, I'm REALLY in it! I'm ready to go.

So by the end of the afternoon, I had finished my class work, aced my quizzes and my good friend Karen the awesome house cleaner had finished deep cleaning my house, and I was feeling awesome. My house feels amazing, I feel super accomplished and this has really been a great day.

I NEEDED this. I needed a new chapter, I needed a change. I don't think I even realized how much I needed it until I was sitting there doing my class work today. It felt so good to be doing something new, using my brain, feeling like I'm working towards a personal goal. I've felt stagnant and restless lately and it was time for me to shake things up.

So that's where I'm at. My house is spotless, day one of school was a success and I'm feeling pretty good about life. I can't guarantee it's going to last, but for now I'm just going to sit back and enjoy it. :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Content is the best way to describe how I've been feeling lately. I feel like the last few years have just been a whirlwind of change and adjustments and we've been so busy and things have been kind of chaotic. I've been feeling kind of unsettled for a while. I feel like in the past couple of years I've been treading water with everything. Trying and failing to keep my house organized, the kids schedules on track, our finances in order, trying to make my health a priority, keep everyone on schedule and happy, it's exhausting sometimes being a mom. I'm not just in charge of my own wellbeing, but I feel like I've got the wellbeing of everyone in the house on my shoulders and sometimes it's a lot to juggle.

 But lately I feel like I've reached a place of things falling into line. Everything seems to have improved recently. We're getting our house in order, I'm so excited about going back to school, the kids are getting settled at school, Shawn is finally getting settled into his job as manager of the pharmacy, which has been a lot of stress on him this year, and I feel like the chaos is settling down a bit.

Deciding to go back to school has been a big part of that for me. I feel like I spend a lot of time watching everyone else in my family change and grow and experience new things, and I'm just always here, doing the same old stuff, being the one who keeps everyone else moving. And, don't get me wrong, I'm glad that I can fill that role for my family. I'm the family therapist. I'm the one everyone goes to when they have a problem and I help them work through it and keep things on track, and I watch everyone leave the house in the morning and go out into the world and I make sure they're all functioning and have what they need to succeed, and then I pretty much just wait for everyone to come home so I can do it all over again. Last year when everyone else was moving up to new schools, new jobs, new everything, nothing was new for me. And I was happy for my family and excited for all their new experiences, but it frustrated me just a bit. It really made me start thinking about the fact that rarely is anything new for me. I'm the calm in everyone else's storm, and I'm glad for that because my family needs me to fill that role and I WANT to fill that role.

But it just really got me thinking about what else I might want for me. I guess maybe I felt change in the air for me. Going back to school is what I need for me. And I'm really glad that I can go to school from home so that I can continue to be here for my family, because that's obviously still important to me, but I'm really excited for a new adventure for me. I'm ready for personal change.

School doesn't start for me for two more weeks (I wish it would hurry up!!) but it's been perfect timing because that gives me a few weeks to continue to get my house in order before it starts. We've really been focusing on organization and purging things we don't need lately. We did the kitchen this past weekend. We cleaned and organized the pantry, cleaned out the freezer, threw out a ton of stuff that had expired or gotten lost in the back of a cupboard that I forgot we even had, and it feels great in there now. Everything is organized, restocked and ready for me to easily make meals even when I get busy with school.

And we made another decision that I feel kind of guilty about, but at the same time not, we're going to be having someone come in to do some of the cleaning. Once the house is organized and I start school, I really want it to stay nice, and I'm worried about how I'm going to juggle everything, especially starting next year when I'll be taking a full load of classes every semester. A friend of mine is starting a cleaning business, and we decided that it just makes sense to have someone come in a few times a month to take some of the stress off. I feel a little guilty about that as a stay at home mom, but I'm also kind of thrilled with the idea. I can do school, the house will stay clean, and we'll hopefully manage to stay organized and on track while I'm less available during the day.

So as I was working on more organizing projects this morning, content was the word that kept coming to mind. I feel content. I feel good about the changes that are happening in my life. I've felt conflicted about a lot of things in the last few years, and lately I just see a lot of those worries and concerns just falling into place and solving themselves. I feel like I'm on a good path and I'm happy.

And maybe in a month I'm going to be a frazzled mess and wondering what I got myself into, but at this moment, today, I feel content. And it feels nice. :)