Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Week of Lyds

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Days

One of the major perks of teaching is (obviously) the summers off. Lydia is done with daycare, so she has been at home since June 1st. We were incredibly lucky to score an awesome sitter two mornings a week, and the rest of the time, I have been home with Lydia (other than a long weekend to New York to visit a good friend--man, I have a lot of catch-up blogging to do!) Lydia is loving being at home, and it's been (mostly) nice to have so much time with her.

During the first two weeks of summer (has it only been two weeks?), Lydia has...

played in the sprinkler...

spent time with her BFFs...

developed her sense of humor...

and her stubborn side...

enjoyed hanging with Patty (who sends us photos through the mornings)...

and enjoyed spending time at home.

We are so lucky.

The Great Migration: Installment One

As I'm sure is expected, this whole moving-across-the-country thing is no piece of cake. I searched for jobs for over two months before I got a nibble from the school that ultimately hired me, and now we are on to housing and childcare. Typically, I am the panicker and Robin is more laid-back, preferring to let things organically unfold. Sometimes, I am proved to have the more appropriate reaction, other times, Robin wins out. When it comes to child care, I have been panicking. Because we don't have a house yet (more on that later), I had no idea how to even begin our child care search. Since we're going to be staying with my parents this summer, should I look in Forest Lake in case we need to live there when school starts? Should I look in Brooklyn Park, near my workplace? Until recently, we weren't sure if we were going to live in St. Paul or Minneapolis, so the parameters were huge. I was totally overwhelmed.

Note the past tense. After lots of discussions and research, Robin and I have settled on living in south Minneapolis. Not the best location in regards to my school, but when we combined all the pieces and compared neighborhoods that we were excited about, south Minneapolis seemed to be the one that fit best what we were looking for, so I got going on daycare searches.

I contacted a future coworker, and she hooked me up with some suggestions, and I also began a search through a source given to me by a college friend. Then, on a whim, I checked the school that my cousin sends her daughter, Ella. For some reason, I thought it was in a different location than it actually is, and lo and behold, it isn't too far from the neighborhood where we're looking. Within ten minutes, I called the school and left a message, and contacted my cousin, Melissa, who also put in a call for us. Long story short, we have a daycare, and we are super, super excited. We are excited about the center and their mission (more on that in a future post), excited about the location and that Robin and I will be able to share pick-up and drop-off responsibilities, excited that they have hours that will allow us to have Lydia at home two afternoons a week, one with Robin and one with my parents, excited that we have such strong recommendations from family members, excited that Lydia will be able to see Ella on a regular basis and form a relationship--all of that. I am elated, and a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Yes! Also, let the record show that in this situation, Robin proved to be right. It took all of forty-eight hours to get in touch with the school, talk with them, and secure a spot. I know that several readers are rolling their eyes at our luck, but I wanted to put out there that sometimes, things DO work out.

On the home search front, we are not so sure of anything, but we have some idea of what we're going to do. Our house in Austin has yet to sell, so it's quite probable that we'll rent something in the neighborhood where we're hoping to buy once we get an offer on our Austin home, and I'm feeling more at peace and less anxious. I've even let myself start dreaming of the things that we will be able to do come late summer and fall. While the logistics of moving cross-country are nightmarish, they are necessary to get back to where we want to be, so that helps temper frustration.

And now, scroll up for a Lydia-centric cheery post about our summer days. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


In spring of 2004, Robin and I were boyfriend and girlfriend, living in the Twin Cities. Looking for an adventure and a new place to live after graduation, we headed to Austin, TX--I to attend graduate school and Robin to begin his career. Knowing that we would most likely spend our lives together and wanted to raise a family in the midwest with childhoods very much like our own, we planned to return north in five years. We felt that five years would allow us to give a new place a good run, and we wanted to feel like we were really making the choice to settle down so close to both of our hometowns rather than live there by default.

Seven years later, Austin has become so much more than a place to have fun before we grew roots--it is the place where we got engaged, lived as newlyweds, bought our first home and built our second, where we developed our professional identities, learned that we were pregnant and welcomed our first child. Austin is where we really become "us" and learned how to be a family. For those of you who read Robin's very sweet Mother's Day post, this will not come as a tremendous surprise, but it is with very bittersweet emotions that I announce our plans to relocate to Minnesota this summer.

Minnesota has always felt like home, and each time I've left over the past seven years, I have felt an almost desperate need for the reassurance that one day, Robin and I and now Lydia would return for good. Each fall when the leaves in Minesota are turning colors and we are still enduring ridiculous heat, each winter when Christmas is coming and I'm pumping gas in short sleeves, I have felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. Robin and I both have missed the culture, the Twin Cities, our friends and family, and even the weather, and this year, we knew a move was right. I began my job search in February, and during a time when so many people are looking for work, I was very fortunate to be offered a teaching position at a school in Brooklyn Park.

While there is so much to look forward to and be happy about, I have found myself overcome with lots of sadness during the past couple weeks as this move becomes more real. We will be leaving behind a lot. Friends that have come to feel like family, family members in Austin that have come to be good friends, coworkers who have been a daily source of laughter, love, and support, and all of Lydia's friends--children that we love dearly and have been privileged to see on a regular basis--kids that we would gladly raise as our own. We have spent the past seven years maintaining long distance friendships, so we know that the relationships we have built here will not vanish, but still, the emotional weight of saying goodbye to an entire community is very real.

Logistically, our house is on the market, we're searching for daycares in Brooklyn Park, and are in the beginning stages of our house search in the Twin Cities. Moving dates are not yet set, especially since it is looking like Robin will have to remain in Austin a bit longer than Lydia and I, and I am currently performing acrobatics as I jump through the hoops of the Minnesota Department of Education. It is a good thing that we intend to stay in Minnesota permanently, because the bureaucracy of becoming certified in a new state is enough to send me over the edge. Along with all of this, we are trying to process the idea of life in an old/new place and dream of what our new life will look like while attempting to relish every last moment in Austin and spend as much time with friends as possible.

There will be lots of updates to come, but for now, I wanted everything to be out in the open--so much is on the horizon.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mothers' Month

That's right, this post is actually not late because I am officially calling May 2011 'Mothers' Month' and I'll tell you why: because Laurie is -- and has always been -- a quiet sort of rock star. She's the kind of rock star you don't always recognize when you're sitting next to them at the coffee shop, but you kind of feel like it must be someone important.

Mothers' Day -- now 3 weeks ago -- was great. We made our second annual trip out to Pedernales Falls State Park. It's about an hour out of town, west into the Hill country. It was one of the first real sticky days of summer (of course, barely into May). The kind when beads of sweat can't find anywhere to go and just linger on your forehead all day. We hiked down to a perfectly Texas setting; shallow water loafing along between huge Cypress roots and shaded rock outcroppings. We sat, got warm, cooled off in the water and sat some more. On the way home Lydia showed us that she could hold up "2" fingers, indicating her age. She was very proud.

Laurie is excellent at capturing the parts of Lydia's childhood that she knows Lydia will herself one day want to see and remember. She so diligently documents the obscure and seemingly unimportant moments from day to day. I make fun of her for it and I know Lydia will make fun of her for it, at first. But the opportunity to look back and see one's childhood in a way that didn't even exist when we were growing up -- in almost flip-book completeness -- will be treasured.

Laurie is great at all the stand-by motherly instinct sort of things -- like knowing that Lydia is in fact sick and needs to go to the doctor even though she's not showing any unique symptoms (ear infection -- Laurie just knew; I argued and was wrong); like never leaving the house without sunscreen, bug repellent, toys and snacks, and a camera bag (see above); like instilling in Lydia a nighttime routine of saying prayers and expressing gratitude for the people in her life (as opposed to my desire to jump on the bed and tell scary stories).

Laurie is also an excellent teacher. I have always told her this and she always believed me somewhere deep down inside. Thanks to Texas test standards, she can no longer argue with me. She has built herself an enviable resume that (and there will be a great deal more on this) has landed her a position in a highly competitive Twin Cities teaching market. She is passionate about her work, successful in her execution, and everyone around her can see it. She is equally loyal and committed to her co-workers and her students as to her best friends. This is not lost on a two-year old. Lydia's perception of emotion -- and even the intensity of those emotions -- is fantastic. Lydia will grow up knowing that her mother is not only passionate about her career, but that her desire to succeed results in tangible, positive change in people's lives; that her mother's career is an important -- even indispensable -- part of civic life. This makes me incredibly proud of her. It will make Lydia proud of her, and it makes her a wonderful and unique role model of a mother.

May Happenings

A family reunion in Wisconsin...

...for Lydia's Great-Grandparents' 70th wedding anniversary;

a day at the splash pad;

and Lydia's new obsession with the spice drawer.