Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wowza! 2 months...really?!

I think the title of this blog says it best!! I can't believe I have let over 2 months slip by without blogging! Its not that I haven't had anything to say, its just that usually I come up with my most brilliant or philosophical ideas when I am away from the computer; in the car, at work, laying in bed trying to fall asleep...you get the idea. That and life has just gotten busier and busier for me lately.

So I suppose the most fitting thing to do would be to just update on life in general. Forget the philosophical thoughts and brilliant ideas for now. (I can hear you all letting out a huge sigh of relief!)

For starters, I have found a part-time job. Well, more accurately, the job found me. My aunt and uncle own a restaurant, and asked me to train as a pastry chef. At first, I'm not going to lie, I was reluctant. I have worked with family before, and think family relationships are overall more harmonious when one (or two) of them isn't your boss. Plus, I don't like the headache of trying to juggle my kids around, shuffle them off to new people and places, or the guilt of leaving them. (Yes, I have issues.) But I finally agreed to give it a test-run - my aunt can be VERY persistent! - and I have fallen in love with it!!

I only work 2 mornings a week, unless the head pastry chef is gone, so its a job that works into my life. However, that isn't to say I still haven't had my challenging moments of trying to figure out where my kiddos are going to go! Now that the "big kids" are back in school, my aunt watches the baby, and picks Joy up from school, when I work. Not being very well "trained" with kids, especially babies, this has been a learning experience for my kids and their aunt, too, so that has been an unexpected bonus blessing in all this. I value family very highly, and am glad that this job "forces" them to spend time together and bond. Besides, my aunt is super fun, and takes them out to lunch, to the beach... Its much better than staying home or running errands with boring ol' mom, I'm sure!

I have always loved to cook and bake, but always assumed that the pressure of having to do it for a job would kill that passion. WRONG! If anything, it has just heightened my love for it. Although, I have to admit, I definitely have many insecure moments, when I think, "How can I possibly meet their (the head pastry chefs', my aunt and uncles', the restaurant's reputations') standards?" I am trying to learn what I can and soak it up like a sponge, but I often feel like a fish out of water, and like maybe they are having too much faith in me. Which is flattering, but at the same time, I don't want to let them down. Its a lot of self-inflicted pressure!

Oh, so what am I doing at the restaurant, you may ask? I am baking breads and desserts. Most of what I make are menu items so they are becoming more rote all the time, but certain items change daily, so I have to be creative. We have our Italian Bread we make everyday, but we also run a "special" bread everyday, too. Usually, I make the wheat bread, then just throw something tasty in it; Italian herbs, roasted garlic, fresh rosemary, parmesan cheese, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives...or any combo therein. But that was getting old, so I have found another recipe I use on occasion too. We also have a Creme Brulee Du Jour, so I have to make a new type of creme brulee daily. We like to keep vanilla bean on-hand, but its been fun to try new flavors out; honey, coconut, pumpkin spice, huckleberry... We also have a nightly dessert special. Usually, I can just skate by on whatever Nancy (the head pastry chef) has made the day before, but now and then I have to make something. That has to be the most nerve-wracking part of the job!! I have been there 2 months, made 4 specials, one was a total flop, one was a huge hit, and the others were mediocre. Call me a perfectionist, but mediocre just doesn't cut it. Not at Newman's, not for family, and not for myself. And certainly not for $8-$10 a plate! So I am working on it, learning, and trying not to feel too horribly out of my league.

Alright, enough about that. In other news...

The "big kids" are back in school. Joy is in kindergarten, which I just can't believe! She is just still so itty-bitty, I just can't believe she is in kindergarten already. But she is so smart and everyone loves her so much; the teachers, aides, principal, and her classmates.

Seth is in second grade. The transition into a new school has been somewhat hard on him socially. Yet one more way he is like me, it is hard for him to make new friends. He has good social skills, but for some reason, people don't naturally gravitate toward him the way people do toward Joy. (Much like myself and my sister when we were younger...the oldest and middle children.) Also, since his classmates have all been together for 2 years already, they have their built-in friendships, and its hard to expect second graders to think outside the box. He knows some kids, and they like him, he just gets really bothered when they choose other friends over him. I am hoping things improve for him. In time, I think they will. Academically he is doing great though!! He is one smart, creative kid!!

As a mom though, aside from Seth's challenges adjusting, I am loving the school, and feel so blessed and fortunate that we had the opportunity to switch them. I have nothing bad to say about the school where Seth went before, he learned a lot, but it was a different feel. Outside doors - aside from the door to the office - were locked while school was in session. I know this was for safety, which I can appreciate, but I always felt like I wasn't welcome there during school hours. And when I would offer to help or volunteer, I often felt like my help wasn't wanted. I felt shut out of my kids' educations, which I didn't like. Since both my parents worked, I vowed to myself before I even had kids, that I would be very involved in their schools. So I felt like I was letting myself and my kids down by not being able to be a part of their school experience. And as far as discussing an issue with the principal, forget it. I just never felt like he was very personable. He has done some GREAT things for the school - do not get me wrong on that! - but I never felt a whole lot of compassion, on a personal level, coming from him. At the school the kids are at now, I feel welcome and valued. It has been 2 weeks, and the teachers, secretary, and principal all know me and which kids are mine anytime I walk in the building. There are no locks on the doors. I feel liked, trusted, and valued, as a person, a parent, and a part of my kids' schooling. Joy's teacher has asked me to be a weekly volunteer, and I am an alternate in Seth's class. The principal knows me, and after just 2 weeks, I felt comfortable enough with her to discuss a touchy subject and get her insight. To feel that comfortable with a person after 2 weeks....she has a gift, a way about her. The whole school is just so kind and supportive, and has a real community feel to it, which is what I grew up with and wanted so desperately for my kids. Institutions are fine, but not for us.

Aside from school, news on the kids....

Joy is taking tumbling again this year. She is SO into it!!! She tumbles anywhere and everywhere and really has a personal drive to learn more. If she sticks with it, I know she is going to be great!

Seth is taking guitar lessons. Its slow-going, and we are in the process of finding him a new teacher, but its finally starting to click and he really likes it. He has taken an interest in basketball recently, too, and we are trying to find him a hoop. (So if anyone local is reading this and knows of one, let us know!) And he will most likely play t-ball again in the spring.

Skye isn't walking yet, and still doesn't have much of a vocabulary, but she's getting there. She absolutely LOVES books!! And she likes farm animals and their noises. (She tries to moo with her mouth shut. Its hilarious!) At 14 months, she is still nursing, with no immediate end in sight. But its good for her, and we love it, so I don't have a problem with that, especially after all the bumps in the road we have had off and on with nursing (mastitis, teeth....its been interesting). She is napping and sleeping through the night GREAT now!! As much as I love(d) co-sleeping, none of us were sleeping well with her in the bed, so about 5 months ago, we moved her into her crib in Joy's room, and she has adjusted very well.

Hmm....well, I think that's it. This blog has taken about an hour out of my otherwise very unproductive day, so its time to wrap up and go do laundry and dishes. Fuuun. :P

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