We spent Thursday through Sunday of last week up in Grand Rapids, preparing for and celebrating the wedding of my wonderful sister-in-law Jill to an equally wonderful man, Jim. We had so much fun spending time with Ben's extended family and many of Jill's friends. Jill was easily the most organized bride I have ever seen, and she never seemed to get even the slightest bit nervous or overwhelmed. She even hosted family and friends for a cookout at her house on Thursday night! Bryn and Shay were the flower girls, and they absolutely loved getting dressed up to be part of Aunt Jill's big day, not to mention hanging out with the very fun bridesmaids. I have tons of wonderful stories and pictures, but here's just a sampling of my favorites:
Look at my big girl! Bryn got her hair done for the very first time. She was incredibly well-behaved, holding still better than most adults would have! She loved feeling so grown-up, and the resulting head of curls made her look so old!
And here's the finished product.... Flower Girl Bryn. Ignore for a second the fact that she has her eyes closed, and just look at how old she seems!
Luckily this one is still clearly a little girl.... Her hair was too short and fine to style, and while she did enjoy getting her nails painted like her big sister, she chewed on her hands so much that most of the polish was off by the end of the night! She also carried her bottle down the aisle with her during the actual wedding. But both girls did very well during the wedding, making it all the way down the aisle and actually scattering flowers as they went.
Lest I lead you to believe that the weekend was all about my kids (well, Bryn thinks it was, but the rest of us know better!), here's the happy couple, the new Mr. and Mrs. Jim and Jill King!
This is just one shot of the reception. I had a hard time keeping Bryn in her seat during dinner, because she couldn't wait to go dance. As soon as the official wedding party dances were over, she was on the dance floor and wouldn't leave! She danced the entire night away, sharing dances with Mommy, Daddy, Nana, Aunt Jill, Uncle Jim, and Shay. She also participated in a line dance, learning the moves as she went along. While the other kids danced with her at the beginning, they eventually got worn out, and for most of the night, she was the only kid on the floor with all of the adults! Wish I had that kind of moves... :) Here she is with her favorite dance partner, the ring bearer, who she is now desperately in love with.
All in all, such a great weekend! Congratulations again to Jill and Jim!
Recently, Bryn's favorite books have been the Berenstein Bears. These were also some of my favorite books growing up, so it has been really fun to revisit them. One of the books we have is The Berenstein Bears and Too Much Pressure, which describes how the Bear family has overscheduled themselves to the extent of becoming the Busiest Creatures in Bear Country, leading to all kinds of stress, nightmares, and emotional breakdowns.
During the few moments that we have actually seen each other this week, though, Ben and I have decided that we are far busier than the Bears. Here are just a few of the things we've had on our plates this week:
* both of us working full-time (side note - I actually really like my job so far!)
* tracking schedules of multiple babysitters to make sure the girls are covered at all times (thankfully, our regular sitter is now back from vacation, so this will not be an issue in future weeks)
* me working on lesson planning and grading at night (with 6 classes of 30 kids each, this can get excessive)
* learning all the policies and procedures of a new school, while hitting the ground running with the first week of classes
* taking Bryn to the doctor for her physical (I only remembered that we had an appointment about 15 minutes after it was supposed to start--thankfully, they still worked us in)
* 3 houseguests for 5 days (all good guys that we only get to see about once a year)
* Ben working all night Thursday and Friday, then all weekend, at GenCon gaming convention (this is in addition to his regular office job)
* mountains of laundry, dishes, and grocery shopping (as one might expect with 3 extra people living here for the week)
* daily migraines for me :(
* packing up bedding, diapers, snacks, toys, etc for our kids so they can be babysat at a friend's house this coming week (the girls are very excited to chase Parker's cats and play with her toys this week!!)
* helping out some friends by feeding and letting out their dog while they attended an out-of-town wedding (again, the girls greatly enjoyed chasing Christopher's cat and playing with this toys during this process)
* helping out another friend with her 5-week-old twins for a morning (sooo cute--and Shay is obsessed with babies, so this was huge fun for her!)
* working in the church nursery during an exceptionally crazy week--2 adults to 30 3-year-olds, at least 5 of whom wouldn't stop crying
* attending our neighbor's 2-year-old's birthday party... the hard part on this was convincing our kids to come home at the end!
* transporting numerous out-of-town gaming friends to and from the airport, the convention, meals, etc.
* transporting all the gear, products, and exhibits for Higher Ground Games, Gorilla Games, and Ninja Magic to and from the convention center, then finding homes for it all in our basement
The list could go on and on, but frankly, I'd rather go to bed than continue typing. :) As you can see, most of these were actually really enjoyable activities (okay, maybe not the grading and the laundry.... but most of the rest!), but yikes, was it a lot to take on in one week! Here's hoping this coming week is calmer.... but all signs point to it being just as busy!
When I left University in June, my plan was to revel in staying at home with my kids this year. And we had a really fantastic summer, full of all kinds of fun activities, and I was looking forward to more of the same in the fall. But apparently my plan was not God's plan.
Last weekend, one of my friends called to let me know about an English position open at her school, Tri West HS. One of their teachrs is having surgery, so it's just for about 6 weeks. I told her that I'd be interested in hearing more. The principal called me on Sunday to set up an interview for 10:00 on Monday. By 12:00 on Monday, I was leaving the building carrying textbooks to start planning my curriculum. In spite of my intense worries, babysitters fell into line more beautifully than I could have dreamed. This was definitely a God Thing (and, I'm hoping, also a Good Thing).
Let me take a second out here to point out that God is definitely teaching (or trying to teach) me to be flexible. I am about the world's most organized person ever. Our family calendar features entries in six different colors, each one indicating whose activity it is. I plan activities for my kids months in advance. I love to have everything in order. Surprises throw me for a loop. So consider the irony of the fact that for the last three years, when August has rolled around, this teacher has not been looking for a job. In fact, I have planned to stay home the last three years. But every August for the last three years, I have received a phone call from some school district, frantically asking me if I'd be willing to start teaching in two weeks or less. In 2007, it was my old stomping grounds of Zionsville, asking me to fill a medical leave for a teacher I had worked with previously. I was 6 months pregnant with Shay at the time, but I did it and really enjoyed it. Last year, University was looking to fill a full-time position. While I did have a lot of great experiences during the course of the school year, it was definitely chaos to get ready to start that quickly. And now there's Tri West. So off I go to work again.
(side note - the links provided there are from the posts I wrote when I first accepted those jobs)
The craziest part of all is that after my Monday interview and hiring, I started work on Thursday. Thursday and Friday were new staff training days. Monday and Tuesday will be faculty days, and the kids come on Wednesday. So I have definitely jumped in very quickly! But I really like all that I've seen of the school so far--the staff is very friendly and dedicated, and the school's vision for their students seems far more in line with my own beliefs than any other school I've been at before.
I'm sure the next few weeks will be rather crazy, but I'll keep you all updated on how things go. :) My job will be done by at least the end of September (if not sooner, depending on how fast the teacher heals from his surgery), and I'm looking forward to a relaxing fall with my kiddos after that!