Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lord, I feel like a slacker

As I look back here, I realize my last post was February 11, and all I can say is I have no excuse for my procrastinating ways! My apologies, as always.

As I sit here Jarod has just informed me that Natalie used water colors to paint her own face in the therapy room. Maria is pecking away at the piano keyboard jamming to some melody of her own creation. And Jarod is busy telling Natalie that she's naughty.

So, see? Even though it's been 10 months, some things never change.

But some things do change. Here's the summary of the past months:

I graduated from Lakeland College with my masters degree in counseling back in August 2009. I underwent one interview and was told that while my interview was perfect, the principal prefers someone she can control who is less strong minded. Whatever. And because the district closed a couple of schools, my interview at North was canceled because a displaced counselor took the open position. That decidedly ende my attempts to attain new employment before the beginning of the school year. I'm back at North teaching freshman English and Pre-college English for seniors. I'm enjoying myself, I relish being back with good friends, and I'm hopeful about a future in counseling down the road.

Mostly though, I'm enjoying being able to just be a mom and wife again. I forgot how much I missed out on during grad school, and just being home to keep the house clean (a losing battle to be sure), or to read stories, help with homework, chat with the therapists, it all seems like a luxury I forgot I had. I'm grateful for the gift of time.

Chris continues to work at the Affinity Clinic on Koeller, though is bored by the work. He's used to full hospital sized labs and medical technology work, and a clinic is definitely a slower pace that focuses a lot on phlebotomy and basic testing which is less his style. He accepted a second position at St. Nicholas Hospital of Sheboygan and is finding that although he doesn't like having to be gone from home more, it helps him enjoy a position with more of the work he enjoys doing. For now, he's staying put, and make consider other jobs down the road. Who wants to rock the boat in this economy?

Jarod and Natalie are now in school together at Carl Traeger. Jarod has moved on to 3rd grade and spends his entire day in the regular classroom doing grade level work. He has a few friends, and has mastered the playground monkey bars--something of which he is very proud! He excels in Science, Art, and Social studies. He continues to work hard at Math and Literacy. We are extremely proud of him, like any other mom and dad would be!

Natalie is also at Traeger in kindergarten, and likes riding the bus every day with her big brother (who reminds her she cannot pur her head on him and sleep on the bus). Natalie often talks about a boy named Max in her class ("I love Max, he's my boy"), and gets along well with classmates, spending the entire day in the classroom. She struggles with behaviors sometimes, but the teacher keeps a hula hoop around that tends to be a great motivator for her to behave. She reads extremely well, and looks forward to school as well as therapy. Natalie continues with full time therapy in addition to full time school. Her day is fully booked and she drops off to sleep easily each night. But the development we've seen is absolutely wonderful. it's rewarding to see what a funny and sweet little girl she is becoming.

And then there is our Maria. A first grader at Washington Elementary, Maria is known by her teachers, I am told, as the most compassionate student they've had in a long time. Maria is the first one to help a student who has fallen, clean up when there's a spill, say "good job!" when someone has done something well. She is always smiling, and her teachers adore her dimples the most! She is also very bright. Recently her teacher told me that first graders need to be reading at a level 10 by end of first semester, and Maria is currently at level 20. She also scored an advanced in singing for music class. Yes, that's MY baby! She is completely proficient on her report card, which is a testament to her enthusiasm for school and ability to follow rules and work hard. She loves playing with friends, playing games on the computer, and gives some of the best hugs you could hope for in the world.

Other news is that Jarod finally got over his fear of dogs this summer, and underwent his interview with Canine Companions for Independence to receive a skilled companion animal. Jarod made it through the interview with flying colors, and we are thrilled for him! He won't get a dog yet for another year at least as the waiting list is long, but we are already preparing for the trip we'll make to Ohio when that day comes.

As life can be filled with many joys, so, too, come the sorrows. Only a week ago we celebrated the funeral service for Henry Morgan Anderson, the beloved 3 year old son of our dear friends, Sarah and Darrin Anderson. While no anwers are yet available to explain this tragedy to the family, I admire the courage they've shown in beginning to slow, tedious, painful journey toward healing. I ask that you pause a moment to not only pray for Henry and the Anderson family, but also to give thanks for the many blessings the rest of us take for granted in every day life. It should never take a tragey like this to remind us how blessed we are, and yet that's often how it works. I know I thank God every day, in the midst of the natural fervor of my busy life, for the beautiful family with which I've been abundantly blessed. May I never, never forget how lucky I am, and may I never take one moment with them for granted.

And as Thanksgiving draws closer, know too, dear friends, how grateful I am for all of you. It is the nature of life these days to become distracted with many things, but know that I am thinking of you, grateful for the role you play in my life, and the opportunity to serve as a friend to you as well. Just one more proof there is a God, dear friends. The beauty of human relationships and connections is the best evidence there is.

God bless, be well.


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