Sitting downstairs

31 01 2008

Music:  Deeper than the Holler by Randy Travis

Tomorrow’s my last day as Liz and Ray’s nanny.


The people asked and I cannot refuse them

23 01 2008

I’ve been finding it hard to organize my thoughts when I consider posting, so eventually I just don’t, but I do want to keep this thing up.  I was reminded the other night by Megan that there are more people who like to keep up with me this way than I sometimes remember.  So I’ll attempt to make some sense of all the things that have been rattling around in my head these days.

First off, some news.  Most of you know, but that’s ok.  I’m moving back to Goshen.  Mike and I have decided it will be best for us to start out married life there.  I applied for a job as an admission counselor at the college.  I still need to get all of my letters of reference in, but other than that I’m just waiting for them to get back to me.  We’re interviewing for a replacement with the kids.  So far we have found one candidate that we like, but are going to do a couple more interviews to give us some options.  I think we’ll probably hire in the next week or so.  At this rate I’ll probably move back in the first few weeks of March sometime.  Possibly the last weekend of February.

I had been struggling with the decision to stay in Evanston vs. going back to Goshen for several months, but two events over Christmas break played a large role in changing my mind.  The first was a game night with a few of Mike and my friends.  The key here is that last phrase- Mike AND my friends- not Mike’s friends, not my friends, but our friends.  We have mutual friends in Goshen, something that would be completely lacking in Evanston.  The second was Christmas eve with my family we went around and talked about something that had happened this last year that was a high point, and all of my sister’s kids mentioned sports that they were involved in, and I realized that I was really sad to be missing out on all of those events.  Being around both our families is a wonderful opportunity.

I’m really excited about the transition and some of the wonderful things that moving to Goshen means in my life.  I auditioned for several shows at New World last weekend including the musical Urinetown which would be a blast to be part of.  I’m really excited about attending Assembly again and plugging back into a small group.  But I’m also so very sad to be leaving the babies and my girlfriends.  I don’t have an really close friends in Goshen.  I have alot of friends there, don’t get me wrong, but none of those relationships hold a candle to what I have with Abby, Becca and Jess.  I will miss them intensely.  I’ve put myself on the fast track to returning to Goshen, but now that it’s actually happening I’m feeling emotionally unprepared for the transition.  Hopefully that changes some as things fall into place with a job and a place to live in Goshen, and as the reality of what’s happening settles in my gut a bit.  Let’s just say I’ve been dealing with alot of anxious energy in the last few days.

Also, I hate waiting for things… like hearing from the college about my application.

Oh and in the last two days I have purchased several things in quantities of 300.  Why does buying stuff for the wedding make me so nervous?


Nothing comes to mind

22 10 2007

I’m not sure why I’ve been so inhibited about writing recently.  There are probably mulitiple reasons, but I’m going to blame it mostly on the weather.  I noticed a dramatic drop in my motivation and general mood as the weather turned cold.  I think it affected alot of people.

But I got a kick in the pants in the form of Abby telling me she was tired of checking my blog and finding it hadn’t changed.  So here I am… why does it feel like I have too much to say and nothing at all to say at the same time?  I think I get self-conscious about being self-absorbed.  Which just leads to more introspection and more self-absorption.  Vicious cycle.

Work has turned challenging.  On one hand I have a tendancy to be bored.  The babes don’t need as much “care” as they used to, but they aren’t into interactive play as much as they will in a few more months.  They like to play on their own with you nearby/ will play with you for a few minutes than wander off, and come back later for a little bit.  On the other hand, we’ve been unable to establish a good schedule for the past several weeks.  It has alot to do with the fact that Liz is now ready for one afternoon nap, but Ray still needs two.  This is a problem of logistics, and I’m still trying to solve it.  It also has to do with trips both of them have taken recently and how that can disrupt their normal routines.  Today has gone pretty well so far, and if the rest of the week could go like this we may be on our way to more stability.  One can only hope.  And then in a few weeks there will be something new causing problems.  It’s sort of inevitable.  I tend to alternate between being very content with my job, and feeling like I need a change.  Often the later is caused by a feeling that I’m not doing my best.  I could do more research into what kinds of stimuli and play are appropriate at this age.  Maybe I’ll set a time to go to the library and do some reading.

Mike and I have been talking alot recently about where we are going to live after we get married.  The understanding was that he would move up here to Evanston.  We talked for a while about staying in the condo with Becca and all living together, but recently decided that wasn’t a good option.  Mike and I are going to have a difficult enough time adjusting to being in the same place and being married.  We spent the first four months living in the same place.  Since then we’ve been long distance.  We need to help ourselves out as much as possible, and adding another person to the mix would be unfair to ourselves and to them.

The idea of me moving back to Goshen has also arisen of late.  I’ve felt pretty negatively about that idea, although the more I consider the options the more torn I am.  It’s not that I don’t like Goshen, on the contrary, I love it.  It’s the closest thing I have to a home town.  There are things I dearly miss about being in Goshen.  Knowing more people, Assembly, the college, my family, the natural surroundings.  But Goshen is somewhere I want to come back to later in life.  I don’t want to live there now and get sick of it.  I also don’t feel that there will be very many opportunities there for my current career, and I certainly wouldn’t be “worth” as much.  Ideally I’ll be able to do my own childcare and also contribute financially by doing a nanny share with another family.  This may be an option in a place like Goshen, but is far more likely in a city setting.  Of course (hopefully) that won’t be an issue for a number of years yet, but I also don’t want to be moving around alot.  I also would be very sad to leave the life I’ve been building here.  I feel like I’m finally starting to put down some feeler root in this community and to be ripped up in a few months would be not only painful, but disappointing.  But on the other hand, asking Mike to come up here is asking alot as well.  He doesn’t know very many people up here, and he doesn’t have work contacts.  His internship next semester very well could turn into a job opportunity if we were to live in the area.  One way or another one of us is going to be giving up an awful lot.  It still sort of amazes me that he considers it worthwhile.  At this point we’re still planning to be here after June 7th, but with my our minds open to other possibilities should circumstances change enough to warrant another look.

I’ve been having strange dreams recently where Mike is severely injured or in danger of dying.  Can’t my subconscious just leave me alone!

Oh man, Liz just woke up and started crying.  She had only been asleep for 40 minutes.  Not long enough!  For a little bit it didn’t seem like she was going to let me put her back down.  Thank goodness she’s back asleep.

An update of sorts

16 08 2007

I just finished reading “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom.  A short read that’s a bit overly sentimental, but I liked it, and it really is well written.  A reacurring thought as I read it was ‘I bet alot of people turn their noses up at this book’.  But I am no literary snob.  I tend to react to books intuitively instead of analitically.

Anyways, I didn’t bring another book to read, so I thought I’d blog even though I risk waking Liz up with the click and clatter of the keys.  She’s sleeping on the futon next to me.

Hum, where to start.  Work’s going well.  Things have been in pretty constant flux all summer with no two weeks the same.  But this week and the one before I went to Oregon have been the least stressful because I’ve only had the girls while Erini has been taking care of Ray on her own.  I have both girls on a sweet schedule of two naps per day each for at least an hour.  Yes!  Liz is sleeping more than a half an hour at a time!  Those naps also happen at the same time, so I actually get a break although I have to stay upstairs and be vigilant about being quite so as not to wake Liz up.  At least she’s sleeping on a solid surface now instead of in her swing.  But the calmness that I’ve created ends on Monday when Rose’s time with me ends and I get Ray back.  Tomorrow’s my last day with Rose 😦  I’m going to miss her o so much.  It will be interesting to see how I can mesh Liz and Ray’s schedules.  And to see how well they play together.  But at least my summer of too many babies and too many changes will be over.  Hurrah.

We’re still waiting to find out when we can move.  Unfortunately it also sounds like the slight possibility that we’d have condos across from each other isn’t going to pan out, which also means that we’re going to have to wait longer for the second condo.  It also means that we’re going to have to decide who gets the top floor… which is also the group that gets to move in first.  Tricky.  I just want to move already!

Well, the girl’s are waking up, so I guess this is it for now.

10 things to be grateful for.

15 08 2007

Stephanie sits down at her computer lounges on the couch with her laptop overheating in her lap. She checks her e-mail checks to see if she has a new e-mail from Mike even though she know she doesn’t. She gets an IM from a guyfriend from college which leads her to reminiscing about a blog her college friends started 4 years ago, and reading those early entries. She tries to find songs to suggest to her friend who’s getting married in a month for background music during the reception. Than, because she promised herself she’d jump back on the horse she checks her WP account which she hasn’t touched in months.


Last night my beautiful roommate Abby, in an attempt to encourage me out of my current worry/stress induced slump, told me 10 things that I should be thankful for. And as she said, they are not in order because that would take too much brain power. (It was midnight and I hadn’t been able to sleep) So here goes.

1) Mike. I have a wonderful young man who is in love with me and who’ll be home in LESS THAN A WEEK. In Abby’s words, less is a beautiful word to be able to put in front of week.

2) My job. I have a great job that I enjoy with bosses that value me and that pays me more than adequately.

3) A roof over my head, and the knowledge that I’d never have to do without one.

4) A family that although is somewhat non-traditional is always there for one another.

5) I have my physical health.

6) 3 fabulous roommates who love and support me.

7) I have intelligence and reason. Or at least Abby says I do ;).

8 ) I have scars, both physical and emotional that show that I’m a survivor and that is a cause for hope.

9) I have a cat and cats are cute.

10) I can dance. I have something in my life that can bring me great joy.

So what are your ten? Seriously, if you read this, no matter how you happened this way, I encourage you to comment with then things you are grateful for in your life. What fun!

Goshen for the weekend

30 06 2007

I’m doing laundry the “old fashioned” way, one load at a time.  No I’m not doing it by hand, but it’s weird having to switch loads so much and spend a whole day doing laundry.  Also my stupid cat must have slept in my hamper because everything is still covered in cat hair even after it comes out of the drier.

My post almost started “Home for the weekend”, almost.  But Goshen isn’t home.  Evanston is.  Or wait.  Where is home?  If “home is where the heart” is, Guatamala might be the strongest contender.  But then there’s my family (mostly in Goshen) and my flatmates (right now, all over the globe).  Honestly, home is such a vague notion for me.  It has been since we left this area in 5th grade.  One of my strongest desires is not to struggle with what to call home.  I want to feel settled in one place, with my strongest ties in that place.

I love coming to Goshen, but it’s always a struggle making time for everyone and having the right priorities.  It’s not quite as hard when Mike’s not here, because there’s not the draw to spend all my time with him, but it’s still difficult.  I want to spend plenty of time with my family, but there are alot of friends to see as well.  My parent, my two nieces, and my baby nephew went to the zoo today.  I really wish I had gone with them.  But I didn’t and instead got my laundry done, had lunch with a friend and hit up the 50% off sale at Goodwill for some silverware for when Becca and I move into our condo (Abby owns all the silverware).

Work is stressful.  But it’s getting better and Erini is working out really well.  It’s so nice having someone I’m comfortable with and who I know isn’t going to flake out on me.  I was dreading the summer with the other woman we had hired because she was tiresome to be around all day for a variety of reason, and I’m so thankful she quite.  I’m not usually so turned off by a person, so I was surprised/concerned about my response to her.  But she’s gone, and for the most part I’m just not worrying about it. The really interesting thing was that the girls didn’t like her either (especially Liz) which I just chalked up to her being a stranger, but they’ve taken to Erini alot better.

Ray (my new little boy) is growing on my quite a bit.  At first I was skeptical about having a boy to work with since I’d been with the girls for so long, but I think mostly I was reacting to the idea of learning to know any new baby.  I’m going to miss Rose so very much.  She’s my little sweetheart.  I hope to visit her in Seattle sometime next year when I go out to see some of my friends, but I realize she probably won’t remember me!  More than likely she will never really remember who I am.  I find that very strange, since I’ll never forget her, and she means so much to me.  It makes me sad.

Abby (Oregon friend who’s getting married) changed her date to the 14th!  So I’m going to Oregon twice in a month’s time.  And Mike’s going with me 😀  Grrr.. but it’s expensive even for a short weekend trip.  Sigh.  I get to go try on bride’s maid’s dresses tomorrow though so that’s exciting.

Alright I think I’m done with random updates.

No word on the co-op, although we’re supposed to go to a co-op meeting on the 9th so that people can meet us if they want.  the 9th also happens to be the half-way mark for Mike’s trip.  Can’t come fast enough.

Not obligated

18 06 2007

Now that I’ve released myself from feeling like I should blog, I really want to.  So maybe that last post was a lie.  Also things have calmed down in my life a bit (sort of).  Things that have been happening recently:

I started working with all three babies.  We hired a woman to help me, but she quite suddenly this weekend after just 4 day.  That was stressful.  But my friend Erini agreed today to fill in for the rest of the summer.  Thankyou so much Erini!  You’re a gem.

We’ve pretty much been accepted for the coop that we’re trying to get into, so now it’s just a process of waiting for two of the units to open up (only one needs to open up for us to move since Abby’s gone and we can squeeze 3 women into one condo for a little while).  This could happen any time.  But there’s complications with the one that’s supposed to be opening up soonest.  The woman who lives there is having trouble getting into her new condo.  So it could be next week or it could be in two months.  I’m bad at this sort of unknown waiting.  Grrrr…

Also, a friend of mine from H.S. (also named Abby) just got engaged and is planning on getting married in Oregon sometime in September.  She asked me to be a bride’s maid 🙂  She was going to be one of my bride’s maids, which reminds me, I STILL have her bride’s maid’s dress in my closet at my parent’s house… I’ll have to remember to take it this summer.  Any ways, the complication is that she and her fiance set the date for September 29, the exact same day that I’m supposed to be in my friend Fallon’s wedding!  Abby and Edder (short for Edwardo I think… hum, should probably know this) are considering changing the date of their wedding.  I’m not the only reason, but I’m part of it.  How amazing is that!

Their engagement got me thinking about Mike and I (big surprise there right), but for good reason.  Abby and I told each other about our perspective new relationships in the same phone conversation just over a year ago.  She and Edder have been dating just over a month less than Mike and I.  It’s been interesting to watch both of the relationships grow and compare notes.  I’m a bit jealous of Abby that she’s reached this stage, one that I definitely want to be at, but at the same time, I’m really grateful for the fact that Mike and I need to take things slower.  We’re not at the same place in our lives, he’s still in school, and most of our relationship has developed from a distance.  I’m glad we can’t move as quickly as Abby and Edder could because it would be too fast for me.  I’d be dealing with alot more fear.

A group of interns has come to Reba (our local church) to learn about intentional community.  It’s been fun to start getting to know some of them.  Three of the guys live in the apartment above us and they invited our apartment (unfortunately Abby and Jess couldn’t come due to the fact that they were hopping the pond and spending two weeks in England) to dinner on Friday.  They served Becca and me an amazing meal of Indian curry, eggplant stirfry, and a milk and rice pudding with saffron in it!  Pretty impressive given the fact that they hadn’t had any food in their apartment the day before.

A summer’s break

14 06 2007

I’ve been away.  Did you all miss me?  (my voice echoes through an empty hall, hello?… anyone there?….. silence)… oh, well, ok.  I guess I’ve been away for a long time.

Lots of changes going on in my life… sort of.  Eh.  It’s a long story, and really, I just don’t have the energy for this right now.  So I’m probably going to be gone most of the summer.  I’m giving myself a break from the blogging world.  I’ll probably lurk around on blogs that I love, cause I just can’t stay away.  Work has become more demanding (an extra baby and another caregiver who I’m technically in charge of even though she’s almost twice my age) and I’m finding the need to focus more outwardly (I’m taking a ceramics class, and there are a bunch of other things I want to do this summer)  So I might post occassionally during the summer, or not… I’ll probably be back in the fall.

I’ll miss you all 🙂

Interview IV

9 05 2007

First of all I want to say it’s really hard to be satisfied with these answers because the questions were so amazing and thought provoking!  Thankyou so much for the challenge Mel.

1. In answer to Flutter’s question about the most important thing about you, you replied, “when I was 9 my parents and I moved to Zambia.” Wow! What are some of your best or most vivid memories of that time and place?
There are so many!  Like the time that my dad killed a spitting cobra that almost attacked my mom by throwing a hammer at it and hitting it in the head.  Or the way the world looks at night when there’s no artificial light for kilometers and kilometers in all directions.  Or going swimming on horseback and learning to jump at the tiny British expatriate school that I attended for a few months.  Or the first time I saw the mist and heard the roar of Victoria Falls.  Or being charged by a rino when my dad drove too close.  Or when a couple of my friends were almost run over by a runaway ox and cart at the little play set by my house.  Or my mom crying because we were told by the mission board back home that we had to leave the country in two weeks (this was later retracted, but we had originally planed to stay for 3 years and only stayed for 2)  Some time I should do a series of stories from those two years.  That would be good blogging fodder.

2. In your post to the person who found you through the broken engagement search, you said this: “I had to relearn to value myself as an individual,” and you also said this: “I made strong commitments to myself about maintaining my self worth and independence.” How do you feel you are doing with these self-affirming actions these days? Has a new relationship posed any challenges for you in still making sure to meet those goals for yourself?

It’s a daily struggle.  I think these are areas that will take continued growth and attention for the rest of my life.  But I’ve made huge strides.  Granted I had a long way to travel to even reach a healthy place, but it feels good to be able to look back and see how far I’ve come.  It’s not really something you can quantify, but I value and like myself much more than I used to.

Dating Mike has been a struggle in a lot of ways.  I have to fight the urge to rely on him for my self worth.  I have to fight the urge to plan my life around him.  Luckily, he doesn’t allow me to depend on him too much, and he has a way of being supportive while encouraging me to be the strongest person I can.  It’s hard road though because it’s a fight against my natural inclinations.
3. As a nanny, what’s the most important goal (besides “keep the child alive”)that you keep in mind, both at the start of each day and at the start of each new job?

That’s such a hard question for me because I’m a novice nanny.  I feel like I’ve been through a trial by fire the past 10 months.  I’ve had two different jobs with very different situations.  Nothing in my past or education has given me the insight or preparation for this career.  So until now I haven’t really had the luxury of having clear goals at the start of a job.  I’m still a little wet behind the ears, but now I would say the goal with each child is to guide them in becoming independent, joyful, articulate, socially and emotionally mature people.  To provide them with the challenges that will help them to grow at a leave where they are able to succeed.  This of course is easier said than done.  Just because a child has the capabilities necessary to tie their shoes doesn’t mean that they have the focus to complete the task or that it’s going to be easy for you to have the patience to wait for them to complete it.  It’s also my goal to find ways to make the family’s life easier.  Oh, and to give the kids as much love as possible.  That’s the easy part.

Day to day I try and keep them on a schedule of sorts.  It’s hard with babies, but everyone’s happier if there’s structure to the day.  I try to take them out every day, weather permitting.  I try and think of new things the girls can learn, whether that’s how to put the blocks in the bucket or how to not chew on books.

4. Just in the posts I’ve browsed, you mention singing, dancing, salsa lessons, “wheel throwing lessons,” whatever those are, fiddle lessons… do you think you will be a perennial student? In other words, do you agree with the notion that a person should continue to learn something new throughout their lives? Do you plan on doing so?

I definitely think I’ll be a student most of my life.  There are so many things I want to learn and be able to do.  I love the creative outlet of art, music and dance classes.  If I had more money and more energy I’d be involved in a lot more classes.  I am hoping to do some “wheel throwing lessons” this summer.  Wheel throwing is a part of ceramics and is how most hand made pottery is formed.

5. You said last summer, “I just want to feel like something I do really touches someone.” This isn’t a question, it’s a statement: I have really enjoyed reading your blog; it has touched me. While our lifepaths are not extremely similar, I can hear echoes of my own heart from before I settled into the life I have now in your words. I do hope you keep going; your honesty and freshness are very neat to read.

20 Heroes episodes in one week

5 05 2007

I just fell in love with the show Heroes in exactly a week. Mike “made” me watch the first episode while we were in Canada, and it all went down hill from there. Needless to say much of my free time has been spent in front of my computer. Which is not a new phenomena, only instead of writing and reading blogs I’ve been watching episode after episode. So I have alot of writing and reading to catch up on. Coming soon:

more interview

stuff about my trip

posting on my nanny blog (Liz is crawling!)