Saturday, September 25, 2010

weekly update.

As I learned last school year, time flies when 2/3 of the family are in school! I wanted to make sure an log the adventures we do as a family, as sometimes we forget what we've been up too. My mom swears she can't remember the 80's because she was working full-time, raising kids, hauling us to girl/boy scouts, swimming, soccer, football etc. This is my new memory holder. :)

Gage started middle school this year. It was decided that staying at his current school was the best idea.. It runs k-8. He seems to like it. We went to his Back to School night this week and got to meet all his teachers. They all think he is the bees knees and will do great at mainstreaming this year. He's a really smart kiddo for sure, but like any middle schooler can use some work on motivation! ;)

The first week of school went well. We had Gage for two days, and had some fun. He told us all about his class. He has 8 people in his class and it's a mix of 6-8 graders. His old bestie from elementary is in his class, which made him pretty happy. He made a couple of new friends and seemed to be getting along well.

The second week we were back in our regular schedule and it was our long weekend with Gage. The school week seemed to go well. Alan decided to buy Gage a cell phone that way he could check in with us while he was maxing home from Boys and Girls Club, call his mom during the week and be in touch with his friends. It's a big responsibility and we are working with him on how to use it correctly and take care of it. He also got to start back at Boys and Girls Club. He really enjoys going there. They have tons of activities and he gets to socialize with kids outside of school. I think it has helped him a lot having another social avenue. I was gone for the weekend with the girls, but I heard rumors of lots of video game playing, pizza and movie watching with the boys. Some good father/son time indeed!

This week was the third week of school. Wednesday was a favorite, Spaghetti Dinner, at Chateau Du Mongoose. Since we all starting living together even before we got married, I worked really hard to make sure that we got to sit down together for dinner each night. I did this with my family growing up and it was such a good time to catch up and learn about what is going on in everyone's life. After dinner we all just chilled out and enjoyed each other's company. Thursday was the Back to School night at Gage's school. It was so fun to go and meet all his teachers, talk to them about how he is doing in school and let them know we wanted to be involved in his education. He proudly showed us all his artwork hanging on the wall, his desk and his friends. It was a fun night and it was one of those moments I really felt like a mom. Friday night we had a family meeting with the custody evaluator for the custody case we are currently involved in. After that, Gage and I convinced Alan to make us some home made Pad Thai while Gage played Wii. After dinner we introduced Gage to one of our favorite treats, YoCream. It is the most delicious treat where you get to pick your frozen yogurt from a rotating menu of like 8 kinds. Then you get to pick from the 12 dozen different toppings. It is a lovely treat to enjoy on a 70 degree sunny fall evening. After desert we poked around in a few stores. Gage got a new blue t-shirt and turquoise(his favorite color!)hat. This morning we got up and had a pancake breakfast together. Then we headed out to march in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Fundraiser for SARC. We raised $550, and got 2nd place as a community fundraiser! It was great. Kelly, Micheal and Thunderfoot joined us for the march. It was so lovely to participate as a family for something so important.

So now we are rolling into the fourth week of school for the kiddo and I start school Monday. Wish us all here at Chateau Du Mongoose luck! We're going to need it!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

lots in my head, now to just get it out on paper, er the screen

I have been thinking a lot lately about stuff. What it means to be a step parent. What it means to be a step parent when you start parenting without children of your own. The challenges of balancing life, school, relationships and your desires. I just can't seem to get myself motivated to put it down on the screen. It just keeps rolling around in my head, which is often not a good thing. But now that I have it out here for the world to see (or at least the three of you that follow this blog) I have to commit to following up. Bear with me. I see these being conversations with myself, so they may not be that great. A work in progress, if you will. Kinda like me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oh Oregon Employment Department...

I spent 25 minutes on hold this morning waiting to find out about training program that is available for people who have lost their jobs and are enrolled in school full-time. When I finally got through the lady was super helpful, but at the end of the call notified me that my claim had been denied because I was in school. This information differed from what I was told on Friday afternoon at 4:30pm on my last call with the OED. The woman told me not to worry about it, fill out the paperwork and fax it back to her ASAP. I appreciate her sentiment, and for the time being I have enough resources in place not to worry about it, but what if I didn't?

It really made me think again about the importance of the language I use as a social worker. Even with good intentions, I need to be aware of how it can feel like I am dismissing someone's very legitimate concerns, especially if they are in a place of high stress. Perhaps a simple, "that sounds really frustrating, here's what I can help you with..." would have been a better response.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ouch, that hurts...

I finally got through to the Employment Department today, just in time to learn that I would qualify for $116 a week in unemployment assistance. Wow, talk about feeling like I was kicked in the teeth. Had I not taken my most recent job and stayed on unemployment, I would have been bringing home $1,600 after taxes. But instead, I took a part-time job that had "guaranteed funding" until June 2011 and a pay-cut. Let's just say I am kicking myself a bit. What do they say, hind sight is 20/20...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What a lovely end to Summer 2010!

This past weekend was the ending of our very short summer. Fortunately Alan had planned ahead and took Thursday and Friday off. We tried out kayaking for the first time and had a hoot of a time! We are both plotting and scheming how we can afford our own kayaks, but in the mean time, we are planning on renting from Next Adventure. Needless to say I was a little nervous going into this adventure, but our guides Jess and Nick were awesome. Super helpful guys that made the day amazing. As a fat girl I am always a little leery around the sporty folk. I consider myself pretty athletic and outdoorsy, but that can often get lost on others. No problems here. The guys were great at teaching me how to get into my boat with easy, using my core muscles to make paddling easier and just being great guides. I would totally recommend them!

After our kayaking trip we loaded up the car, picked up the kiddo and hit the road to Eugene. Friday morning we were up early and headed to the beach for a long weekend of camping. We joined my parents, one of my best friends Amber and her family, Rich and Louise and Diane and Alan. It was a great group! Amber's oldest son is a year younger than Gage and they get along famously. They spent the weekend running the campsite, sand boarding, swimming, biking, telling stories and just having a good old time.

You know what they say, if you hate to leave, it must have been a good vacation. That was certainly the case for all of us. We hated packing up Sunday morning and heading back to reality. Back to work, school and all the chores awaiting us at home. It was a good weekend though, and our first real camping trip as a family. I think we are all looking forward to our next camping adventure.

PS - I totally got to re-live my childhood and swam across the lake! When I was a little girl and attended summer camp at Camp Cleawox, the big deal was swimming across the lake. I think it was called Knights of the Dunes or something like that. I was pleased to find out that I am still a Knight and made it over and back in under 30 minutes!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Change, will it do me good?

My job ended yesterday. It was fairly abrupt and unexpected, but once I got over the shock I was ok with it. I am able to get unemployment and I have applied for a few jobs that would be interesting and more social work related. I have to admit it is easier this time.

When I was laid off from BAH I was really angry about having to give up on something that I had worked so hard for and was so committed to. I was angry that the "new leadership" was so off base. I was scared about what was going to happen to me and whether or not we would be financially ok loosing so much income. But it all worked out in the end. We were ok, and I ended up being less angry.

This time I have a clearer understanding of it all. I know how to work out a schedule. I know what I need to do to keep myself from going bonkers. I can just relax for a minute and reformulate my game plan. Now that I think about it, I am pretty sure this change will do me good. :)