I may have been somewhat silent on the blog lately, but that is certainly not because there hasn't been anything to say. In fact, just the opposite--so much has been happening that I haven't had time to sit down and write about it all!
We spent last week on vacation in Michigan and visiting with various family members. We left on Friday afternoon and were able to do visits with Ben's parents, grandmothers, sister, and aunt and uncle on the way up and the way back. We then arrived at Portage Point Inn in Onekama, Michigan, and spent several wonderful, relaxing days with my dad's side of the family.
In a completely unprecedented vacation manuever, Bryn actually slept well! This made the whole trip so much more enjoyable for us all, as we did not have to function under severe sleep deprivation. We sat on the beach every morning. Bryn loved playing in the sand this year, and her favorite passtime involved scooping up shovels full of sand and dumping them into the water of Portage Lake. She could do this for hours on end. Usually following lunch, we'd do lunch outside, then naps, then more time playing outside, then dinner, playing in the room, and bedtime. My family graciously volunteered to babysit the girls several times, so Ben and I were able to sneak in several beach walks and even a dinner by ourselves one night. The weather was gorgeous, in the 70s every day, sunny but cool enough that even I was willing to sit out on the beach, and I even managed to get a tiny bit of color.
We got back late Saturday night and barely had time to get unpacked before my sister Kristin arrived on Sunday (she had gone back to Peoria after vacation, then here the next day) with a carload of all her earthly possessions to move in with us. She is happily settled into her newly-painted yellow room upstairs as I write this. She will be living with us for some undefined amount of time while she looks for a marketing job in Indianapolis. It's wonderful to have her here, and the girls love having "Aunt Tiffin" (as Bryn calls her) around to be their constant playmate.
As for today, Monday's craziness has held Ben returning to work after a week off, and then flying off to Connecticut for a conference for work. Yes, that's right, back in the office for 8 hours, then jetting off to the East coast. He'll only be gone for about 24 hours though. We also took in Dagny for a much-overdue haircut today, and we got her hair shaved so short that you can actually see skin on her stomach and legs. She looks gorgeous, very sleek, and seems to be far happier outside. As for us, we are far happier that we don't have to vacuum up her incessant shedding 2 to 3 times a day.
Although all of that sounds like more than enough activity to keep our entire family reeling, I have not yet touched upon the biggest change of all. While this has been in the works for a few weeks now, I have avoided saying anything on the blog, as I didn't want to jinx myself. About three weeks ago, my friend Alicia called me up with the news that her school was going to have an English opening this year. The former teacher had just resigned due to her husband being transferred out of town. As most of you know, I have long struggled with the idea of whether to go back to work or not, but this job was simply too exciting to ignore. It is at University High School, which is this crazy private school--"crazy" being a positive thing in this case. :) There are only 200 kids at the school, with a staff of only 32 teachers (which is actually smaller than the size of the English department alone in my first job at Carmel HS).
While there are many, many very cool things about this school, my favorite is that every student is paired with a teacher who serves as their mentor throughout high school. They meet with this teacher for 45 minutes every other week. The school is all about nurturing the whole person and forming close relationships between staff and students. This is what I have always wanted to do as a teacher, what I tried to do at Zionsville HS, but is somewhat frowned upon in the world of public education.
University HS has only been open for 8 years, and I have been highly intrigued by it for that entire time. I actually interviewed there right out of college and was offered a position then, but I had already accepted the job at Zionsville by the time I got the callback. I have pretty much been kicking myself since then for not taking it, especially as I have heard all of Alicia's stories about how much she loves her job.
Anyway, to shorten this lengthy story, Alicia convinced me to send in a resume for this new opening, which I did, and I got an interview. I then spent the two weeks prior to the interview in deep agony over whether I really wanted to go back to work or not, what it would be like to not be with my beautiful girls all day every day, if teaching was still what I wanted to do. As I agonized, things slowly became clear. I love my girls. I love being with them. But I also love teaching. And teenagers. And having something of my own to invest in outside the home. The more I talked about teaching to others, the more excited I got, and the more I realized how much I have missed that part of myself.
At any rate, I interviewed on Friday and received a call a few short hours later offering me the job. We were actually in the car at the time, just having left for vacation. I accepted, and I am now officially the newest English teacher (there are only three of us total) at University High School in Carmel. I will be teaching three sections of freshmen, one Brit Lit class for seniors, and one senior AP class.
So immediately after getting a new job, and committing to returning to work full-time for the first time in two years, we headed off for a week-long vacation. Now that we are back, it's time for me to swing into high gear. I went up to school today, sort of learned my way around, and started to get the feel for the school. I will be going back several times this week to learn the computer system (all the teachers and students have laptops), figure out curriculum, and move my stuff into the classroom that I will be sharing with Alicia. Teacher days start on Monday (yes, six days from now), and students start the Monday after that. Unbelievable! Things are moving so fast that I can hardly keep my head on straight. I am incredibly blessed that my friend Amanda has volunteered to babysit my girls until I can find permanent full-time care for them, so at least that worry is not as pressing as it could be.
In summary, our lives are sheer chaos at this point, with many more changes ahead for our family. The coming month also holds GenCon for Ben (which also means many houseguests for us) and the start of preschool for Bryn. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as well all adjust!