Sunday, July 29, 2012

Good Summer Things

One of the best things about this summer is that the little girls have been able to enjoy several activities sponsored either by our church or a neighboring church that we attended for a brief time after moving to our new home. They both went to vacation Bible school (VBS) earlier this summer, and it made my heart happy to hear them singing the songs they learned and repeating the verses they'd discussed. VBS was a staple of my childhood summers. I loved the crafts, meeting new kids, learning more about the Bible, and I'm so thankful to live in the U.S. again, where my children can take part in the tradition.

This past week, Eliza got to participate in our church's Sports Camp. It's a one-week program (just 3 hours each day), where the kids get to be outside and active (soccer, cheer, football, etc.) and work with a camp counselor to connect their activities to specific Bible themes or passages. This year, the theme was Going for the Gold, and it emphasized the importance of the ultimate reward of our relationship with God: heaven. I don't talk about heaven much with my kids. They understand it simply as a place where people they love go after death. I let them imagine what they will and explain that I don't really know with certainty what heaven is like. Regardless of what my kids choose to believe when they are adults, linking the values we believe in to a larger foundation of faith is important to us as parents. We're talking about simple concepts here, folks: Don't steal, lie, cheat, kill. Respect and obey your parents. Help others. Be thankful to God and turn to Him in prayer. Having an environment that reinforces those lessons is something the girls (at least Eliza, who's almost 6) seem to appreciate and enjoy. Seeing their joy is what makes my heart happy, and that's something I really need more of these days.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Good News, Bad News

The good news is that I got the job!! Beginning this fall, I will be a Part-Time Lecturer in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at a branch of New England State University. I only have T/Th open in my teaching schedule right now, so I can only teach one course in the new department, but this will change in the spring. For the fall term, I'll be teaching a special topics course, one that I get to build from the ground up, and they're looking for me to continue doing more of this in the future. I learned quite a bit from the interview last week, and it looks like the department has a good deal of administrative support. This is a great opportunity for the present, but an even more amazing job because of the potential it offers for the future. If things go very well, and I am patient and can prove myself indispensable, successful in the classroom, a team player, and effective at securing additional financial support for work the department does, this spot could turn into a full-time--if not a tenure-track--position. I'm grateful and excited about this new direction, and even more thrilled that it will allow (also require) us to move to 5-day/week childcare! Yay for the chance to work every day!!

The bad news is that I have uterine (endometrial) polyps. Almost two weeks ago, I noticed some spotting after Hubby and I had sex, and when light bleeding continued the next morning, I just thought it must be my period starting a bit earlier than usual. During church, I noticed that I needed to rush to the bathroom to attend to...ahem, some lady business. Not only was the bleeding heavy, but I passed a clot so large (bigger than a golf ball) that it felt like I was delivering something (-0- chance of pregnancy). The bleeding and clot passing continued for the next 48 hours, with me going through the heaviest tampon and pad they make every 60-75 minutes, sometimes bleeding through both and my clothes. I was left to pretty much lay in bed, sometimes not even having the energy to go up and down the stairs. I saw my doctor on Thursday, and she ordered some blood work, then my ultrasound was yesterday. The radiologist has not given the official results, but the U/S technician was able to show me at least one polyp and measure it.

The usual treatment, according to my doctor, is a D&C. I've never had one of these, but I know they're relatively common. This, however, doesn't make me feel any better. It still requires general anaesthesia, a half day in the hospital, and extensive cramping. I just feel like this is one more thing added to a very long and growing list of shit--medical or otherwise--that I have to worry about and deal with. I'm supposed to build a brand new course from scratch, prep for a course I've never taught before, stay home with the girls each day (except Tuesday), figure out when I'll have back surgery, help out with our church's vacation Bible school in a couple weeks, get Eliza ready for kindergarten, take a one-week trip to Home State to visit both my mom *and* my biological dad (in neighboring state), etc., etc. I'm just overwhelmed with everything, and I feel like I have absolutely zero time to get anything accomplished. One day, the semester will begin, and I'll be expected to have all my shit together, and I just don't know how that's going to happen.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I'm Here...Barely

One day, when I have childcare again, I promise I'll have more time to write in this space. God knows it would be cathartic. But with me staying home with the girls 4 days a week, I'm not about to use any of my 1 work day to blog, and I'm so exhausted in the evenings that I can barely keep my eyes open.
So, what's been happening?

Well, my disc is still herniated, and the neurologist is certain that it's pinching my sciatic nerve, which is the reason for the weakness and numbness in my right leg and why I've lost my Achilles reflex and much of the reflex in my knee. After an EMG to map the nerves next week, I will consult with a neurosurgeon to plan and schedule a microdiscectomy. This is often done on an outpatient basis and requires much less downtime. I'm thankful to finally have some answers and a plan in place!

We took a vacation to Ocean City, NJ for the 4th of July week, and it was pretty good. We enjoyed the beach every day with the girls, but it wasn't quite the same without Hannah, who is in Home State for the summer, visiting grandparents and her (biological) father. We enjoyed a really nice dinner out with Hubby's parents to celebrate my birthday, and the girls got to see their cousins. We have, however, decided that we won't be making that trip in the future. This is due to several reasons. First, we live near beaches that are much closer than the 6-8 hours it takes to drive to Ocean City. Second, we don't always get to most of Hubby's family when we're at the shore. Third, there's no reason to visit somewhere that requires us to rent a house for a week; we just don't have that kind of money to spend every year. Since it seems that nobody in Hubby's family has any intention or desire to drive or fly to visit us, the burden falls to us to travel to his home state if we want our children to be able to spend time with their cousins. Since these cousins are the only ones they have (my brother isn't married, doesn't have kids), and our girls LOVE their cousins, we feel that it's important to just bite the bullet and make the drive (about 6 hours) to Hubby's parents' house once a year.

My mother and I have only spoken once since she left in mid-June. Other than sending me a few text messages to ask questions regarding Hannah, the only time she's contacted me was to wish me a happy birthday. I'm flying to Home State on Friday to see Hannah, and I will *not* be staying at my parent's house. This is a first, and she has yet to ask why...probably because she thinks I'm still pissed at her, but that's actually not the reason. I'm not angry with her anymore; I just think she's a tiny bit f*#king crazy, and until she can realize that her behavior at my home was inappropriate at best--mean and hurtful in actuality--I really don't want to be around her any more than I have to be. For the first time in my life, I'm not questioning myself here and wondering what I did wrong or how I was selfish. This is really not about me; this is about her and whatever chip she has on her shoulder. I don't know what it is or why she feels like she can speak to me the way she does, but I'm not going to tolerate it any longer.

Oh, some good job news. Last week I applied for a part-time lecturer position in the Women's and Gender Studies Program at a branch of Large New England State School, and yesterday I got a phone interview request! The program is impressive, and the school has a longstanding practice of moving part-timers up to full-time positions and making joint appointments, both of which make this a great place for me to get my foot in the door. Interview is tomorrow, so send prayers and good vibes this way.