Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Notes on a Crazy Month

You guys, this month! This month has been intense. These past two weeks have been insane. So much has happened in these past two weeks that I kind of feel like it's been a lifetime. Basically, my brain is so full it's going to explode. I've had to compartmentalize all the different parts of my life and assign times to think about these different parts, because when I try to think about all the different parts together, it's just too much for my brain to hold at once and I just feel the thoughts overflow and slip away. It has been a busy, busy few weeks.

So, I don't really have anything coherent to say here, but I thought it might be nice or cathartic or something to journal a bit, share some snapshots of all the busy parts that have been going on, and just let you know what's been on my mind. This might be a bit random, but oh well.

1. The Solar Eclipse We happen to live just a few minutes south of the zone of totality, but as luck would have it, I was assigned to teach my very first college class at exactly 1:00 PM on that very Monday. And while it might be excusable for a student to miss the first day of class, under no circumstances can an instructor (especially a bottom-of-the-totem-pole first year GTA instructor) miss the first day of class. So I was super disappointed to find myself on campus in Lawrence that day, with the possibility of only seeing 99.3% totality (so close! yet so far away!). Then, in an even more disappointing turn of events, it was so overcast I didn't even get to see any part of the eclipse! I quickly took roll as soon as class started, then ushered my students outside for the apex (which was supposed to happen around 1:07 PM for us), and we all stood around with our glasses in our hands wondering where the sun was even supposed to be behind the clouds. It did get dark, but with all the clouds it kind of just felt like the darkness of a summer thunderstorm. Super disappointing.

My husband, on the other hand, had a much more exciting experience. He checked our oldest son out of school and headed north with his family. Their first location got totally rained out, so they found themselves wandering some country back roads chasing the sun. They managed to find a hilltop right on the mid-line and jump out of the car just seconds before totality, and despite some light clouds they saw the whole thing, and had a very exciting story to tell. I'm so jealous I couldn't be with them. I told my husband that I don't care where we are in seven years, I am going to see the next eclipse!

2. I Started School! My PhD program started with a week-long orientation, eight hours every day. While this was an incredibly useful crash course in how to teach the classes I'm teaching this semester, it was GREULING. I came home exhausted every day with nothing but hours of homework ahead of me. But the biggest headache of that week was figuring out childcare. Being away from a baby you are nursing for eight hours a day is logistically (not to mention emotionally) taxing. I had to pull out the old breast pump (detestable thing) and find private corners to pump during our lunch break, and even still I noticed a decline in my milk production over the course of the week (perhaps it was the stress?). On top of that, my baby developed a serious addiction to formula and bottle feeding, and is now showing some cheeky attitude when I try to breastfeed. As much as I dislike breastfeeding, I hate paying for formula even more, so I'm fighting her on this, but it feels like a losing battle. I might be weaning earlier than anticipated, which I'm both happy and depressed about. But baby girl's newfound love of formula has in no way dampened her enthusiasm for that 4 AM feeding she still won't drop (at least not permanently, she occasionally sleeps through it, raising feelings of false hope in me that come crashing down a few days later when she decides nope! Party at 4 AM is just too much fun). And no, I do NOT offer her a bottle at that feeding. Baby girls who insist on waking their mothers up at that time of day do not get rewarded with sugary fake beverages in synthetic plastic bottles. If I dry up, well then, she'll just have to deal with it.

3. My Baby Started Kindergarten! My oldest baby started kindergarten that same week as orientation (another logistical headache), but thankfully his transition was just about as smooth as can be. I was not one of those weepy mothers (except for the part about how I MISSED BEING THERE), because I'm actually kind of excited to have kids old enough for school. And he's loved it so far, even though I don't think it's quite living up to his expectations about what school was going to be like. We've probably been watching a little too much Magic School Bus recently, because he asked me last week when his class was going to go on a field trip, and why weren't they learning about all the animals in the ocean, because that's what he thought he was going to learn about at school. Hmmmm. It really is unfair to expect a public ed teacher to live up to Ms. Frizzle.

4. I Saw Hamilton! In Chicago! So, months and months and months ago, my husband and I decided that we needed to see Hamilton, and we were just going to make it happen no matter what. So we hopped online and bought the cheapest tickets we could find at the earliest possible date, which happened to be... last weekend. Then everything else in our life happened (getting into grad school, moving, etc.), and when I realized our weekend trip to Chicago was going to be right after the first full week of school, I just about cancelled (because, can you say most exhausting week of the year?). But I'm so glad we didn't cancel, because despite being exhausted and stressed, that trip was AMAZING and totally, completely worth it. It was so fun to be back in our old stomping grounds (and kind of sad we haven't been back more often in the four years since we left), seeing what's changed about the city (taxes on shopping bags!) and what's stayed the same. The weather was gorgeous, the company fabulous, and we had the best time. It's been a while since we've had a trip without kids, and I'm already itching for another one (preferably after the baby is actually weaned, so the hated old breast pump doesn't have to come along). Also, seeing Hamilton live was really, really super fabulous. I have lots of thoughts about the whole thing, but I'll spare you that since I'm already rambling on here longer than anyone really cares about.

5. Hurricane Harvey As much fun as we had in Chicago, guys, my heart is breaking for Houston right now. My Instagram and Facebook feeds have just been a mess with all the devastating images my friends are posting. Thankfully most of our friends have stayed dry and been okay, but a few of our friends did get flooded, and some more evacuated or were out of town and don't know when/how to get back. There's a part of me that is grateful we weren't there through it, but another part of me wishes we still lived there so we could help and serve. It's hard to watch something like this happen to people and places we know and love, and feel so helpless. We're certainly praying and donating and doing what we can from afar, but my goodness, what a week!

Okay, I've got to get back to doing some real work now. Life is just very, very full right now, and while I'm trying to get a good routine going so I can figure out some more regular time to fit in blogging, the truth is that I can't even figure out how to fit grocery shopping into our new weekly routine (I tried running to Aldi the other night only to find they close at 8 PM, not helpful!). So posts might be few and far between, but I'm not giving up yet! If I've learned anything, it's that this space provides me with a little bit of sanity and writing here makes me feel like I still have some "me" time, so I'll fight for it.

How's your back-to-school transition going so far?


  1. Holy smokes! Talk about a crazy-pants last couple of weeks for you!

    Bummer about the eclipse, esp. since you were so close. At least you tried so that your students couldn't resent you for it!

    If I lived closer to KC, I would totally offer to do your grocery shopping for you since I love grocery shopping, ha ha (I'm weird like that). I'm sure as you get more and more used to this new life of being a full-time student AND mom/wife, things will get a little bit easier. Until then, hang in there!

    1. Wait, you love grocery shopping? I didn't know that was a thing you could love (I'm so confused, what exactly is there to love about it?). I wish you lived closer too and would do it for me. I've contemplated those delivery services, but it's just too expensive to justify. However, my husband has been in charge of it recently, and he does not do a great job of sticking to the list, so either way, our grocery bill is going up. Ugh. How do working moms do it!?