Thursday, November 24, 2016

Life is a tough and wonderful balancing act...

It's been a bit too long since I last wrote. I believe it was in August, but I know it was before school started. Life has been quite busy the last few months with school and Gage. A lot has happened since August, but it's been so hard to sit down and make this a priority. Like anything in life, we have to decide what's important to us and that my friends is the tough part. My family has always been the top priority for me, physical health has always been another (although it's been very difficult to be consistent recently). Learning and being educated has always been very important to me. Education changed a bit during pregnancy, but I still became educated on the process. Parenthood is a constant learning process as is being a new teacher. I have always worked, and while I've always put a lot of effort into my work and given it my all, none of it compares to teaching full time. Once I became a parent (and for me that was once I found out I was pregnant), my whole life was consumed in taking care of the little peanut that grew inside me and now grows rapidly earth side. So now that life has become more hectic than it ever has been (which says a lot for anyone who's known me for more than 2 years) I am constantly in a mental conflict with myself. Always trying to prioritize responsibilities, along with necessities and desires, life becomes a tough balancing act.
Breaks and weekends are always a good time to get in check with myself and remember what's important. In the past breaks meant staying up late, sleeping in, spending a lot of time with friends, working on semester projects and/or finals, and sometimes visiting family outside the area. This go around however break means more time with John and Gage, some work for my classroom, working on an article for one of my old professors, getting over a cold (blah), being lazy whenever possible, and maybe a slight chance of sleeping in. This break has really made me realize how hard of a time I have just chilling out and forgetting about stuff. It doesn't help that I got sick the first day and haven't been able to relax or do the stuff I wanted to, like swim, sleep, and read. I did however, get to spend many hours watching "Planet Earth" and "Human Earth" two shows that we really enjoy and hadn't watched in forever since we don't like to have TV on much with Gage. We also got to swim once during the day, instead of at night, so Gage lasted longer. I've even found the time to meditate a few times, but not every day like I want. Other than that though I've been trying to find the motivation to work on school work so that I'm not planning day to day, write, and exercise.

The other day my friend who's in the same situation as me (but has a few more years teaching experience), said it perfectly "You have to not want to be perfect. You can never be prepared enough. Teaching is an 80 hour a week job, if you want to be caught up. Don't strive for that. Your baby is only a baby once." Hmmm "don't try to be perfect"..."don't strive for that...". Now you have to understand, I have ALWAYS wanted to be a teacher and I have spent many hours preparing to, not only be one, but be a great one. Not to mention for 10 years of my adult life (and the entire time I was in college) having children was out of the realm of possibilities, therefore it was not on my radar. I had plenty of room to dream about my future classroom and think about how awesome I was going to make it and all of it's possibilities. It was what I spent most of my time thinking about, right up until I found out that I was pregnant. It's difficult for me to finally be a teacher and not be able to put tons of time into my classroom like I feel I should be. However I recognize that my son will only be a baby for a short time and that he needs to be my number 1 priority. I often feel guilty that I'm not more set up at school or performing as well as I should, but then I remind myself that my classroom will always be my classroom, I'm still learning a lot, and I have to set a work/life balance. A lot easier said than done, but important to do.  One day when Gage is an adult, I want him to feel like family always came first. I have been blessed with an awesome job close to home, and the best caseload I've ever been a part of. I couldn't ask for a better time to have a little one at home.

Gage is such an amazing little boy who continues to amaze me. His enthusiasm for life and to experience everything there is to be, inspires us to be better people who look at all of life's positive attributes. He wakes up every morning with this incredible zest to take on the day. He's so positive with a huge smile and bright eyes. Neither of us know where he gets his "morning person" from, but he's always happy then. I figure it's because he's so excited about what's to come. He's been crawling for almost two months now, which has only given him more zest for life. He loves being mobile and being able to explore everything around him. It makes our life a bit more hectic, but exciting nonetheless. He doesn't seem to be slowing down whatsoever. As soon as he figured out crawling, he discovered his strength and started pulling himself up on everything. He stood the other day without any support for about 2 seconds. He's so motivated to be big and do everything those around him do. He loves to watch bigger kids when we're at the pool and seems amazed by their abilities. His drive keeps him progressing. He goes under water comfortably, blows bubbles, intentionally places his whole face in the water, kicks when we say kick, moves his arms in a crawl, and recently started floating for a second or two. He LOVES playing in the tubes and analyzing all the pool equipment. Teaching Gage to swim was one of the things I was looking most forward to and it one of the best times he and I have together every week.

It's no surprise that Gage is drawn to anything and everything mechanical. He loves to play with the bath faucet, rope, chords, and the vacuum. He's very interested in activities that John is doing. He loves to watch him build the fire, cut wood, and work on projects. He also loves to watch us brush our teeth and laughs at us. Gage has 4 teeth so far and fortunately likes it when we brush them. I imagine as he gets older, he'll be pulling apart our toothbrushes to figure out how they work and helping us brush ours. He loves to share his goodies and help us with everything. If there's a project going on you can pretty much guarantee that Gage will be around to help and take it all in.

The one thing that Gage loves more than analyzing materials is food. He LOVES to eat and wants to try everything we eat. Sometimes we try to be sneaky or distract him, but nothing gets passed Gage. Nothing! There is no concern for Gage's senses. He can smell, see, hear, and feel everything. If we're eating, Gage must be eating too. He is still primarily nursed, but getting introduced to more and more table foods. When he eats it's pretty cute because, like everything else in life, he is very enthusiastic and gets SO excited! We can't decide if he or Mili likes food more. Fortunately he loves bananas, carrots, avocados, and crackers so that tends to buy us some time when we're eating. Most of his solids still comes from purees, but he's starting to have a lot of fun with fresh regular food. He's such a good little sharer. He likes to take a bite of his carrot or cracker and let us or, yes, his puppies have some too. It's amazing he does that, because we don't share our food with him often since most of it isn't appropriate for him. It's been hard to stick to home made and healthier meals, because we're still not fully settled in our new home but we're working on that.

For as much as Gage eats, he's surprisingly only 20 pounds. Everyone, including the doctor, thought he was bigger but unfortunately he's short like his mother. He's very healthy however, and developing really well so there's nothing else we could ask for. We were recently very pleased to find a good doctor who we like and who respects our decisions. That's one less thing to worry about. 

John is doing well in school. He's also ready for the semester to end. He's signed up for classes next semester and has been admitted into the business education program. He's putting together his graduate application and should be accepted by February. He's looking forward to studying business and math education, as well as, being on the same schedule as me. He continues to enjoy hunting on the property, working on the ranch and building projects.  He's such an amazing dad and father figure for our Gage. I can just see the connection in their eyes. Gage loves his daddy so much and the two of them have so much fun together. I'm so grateful that he has the time to stay home with Gage some days and is able to bond with Gage during this critical time. Money can be precious, but time with family is priceless.
I continue to build my classroom and find my place at school. I work with some great people and have wonderful students. We have a lot of fun together and now that most of my IEP's are done for the year, I'm able to put more time into class activities and teaching. I'm starting to have a lot of fun adding extra activities and developing the environment I strive for. I continue to get caught up on Pinterest and overwhelmed with things that I think should be easy, but reminders to be patient with myself keep me steady. I'm still working on setting my work/life boundaries and setting little rules for myself, but mediation and consistent reflection are helping me.

The animals are doing great. They love the ranch and being able to roam free. They all do so well with Gage and tolerate his pulling, climbing, and grabbing. He loves them so much and their relationship shines through every time they play. 
I'm sure there's a million more things I could talk about and update you on, but I think I've gone on long enough. We're looking forward to Friday when we're taking Gage on a Christmas cruise on Coeur D'Alene lake with fireworks and lights. Hopefully it'll snow instead of rain. We hope you have all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families. We are all so blessed to live in this great nation and are grateful for the many people who sacrifice for our blessings. May your lives be as blessed as ours. Have a wonderful Holiday Season!  

Love the Klein's