Saturday, November 16, 2013

To Do: Blog. Check.

Blogging hasn’t exactly been high on my priority list over the past few months.  I’ve thought about it plenty of times, but naps always seem to win my time.  The start to our third school year in Alaska has been a hectic one, with B teaching full time this year (in addition to all of his previous time fillers,) and me working on cooking our bun in the oven.  I can't say we were necessarily busier, because my once over flowing, impossible to complete To-Do List dwindled down pathetically to the following tasks:

  •   Stay awake between my pre and post school naps.
  •   Don’t barf in front of my first or second (or third, fourth, or fifth) block classes.
  •   Perfect the art of relieving bouts of morning sickness en route to school. (I'll spare you the visual, but Bering Strait winds make it impossibly difficult and unattractive.) 
  •   Eat foods other than the color beige.

Miraculously, after about 18 weeks of being a scary, sleepy, underachieving version of myself, I’ve overcome a few obstacles and moved onto more ambitious feats such as:
  • Extending my bedtime…to a more adult appropriate 8:00, and limiting under-desk naps to once a day
  • Pretending not to succumb to the brilliant, constantly beckoning advertising schemes of Zulily and Gilt.
  • Browsing Pinterest for our nonexistent nursery.
  • Rationing my Nutella intake because it takes so damn long to order more.

So I haven’t done much blogging, but I have been super busy growing a little human. B has been even busier keeping me rational, and dealing extremely well with shenanigans such as my pre-20-week- ultrasound panic attack, during which I was completely convinced of two things. I knew for sure that either a) my uterus was going to be empty, or b) the baby was going to be missing something crucial, like a head. As usual, B was right, and our baby boy is perfectly fine..he even already resembles his handsome dad.  He’s got some crazy long limbs and our midwife said he was big for 20 weeks, so he must have really enjoyed those potatoes, Honeycomb cereal, and all things beige I fed him for four months.

You may have guessed by now that this means we’re planning our move back to a world where we’ll need things like a car seat and our own cell phones.  For now, we’re taking it all in and trying to enjoy and find humor in the things we won’t be experiencing in subsequent pregnancies… like keeping a sleeping bag in my bottom desk drawer, and worrying about whether or not riding a 4-wheeler to work over a bumpy island road is somehow detrimental to the baby’s development.

My next task of the day? Trying to talk myself out of buying the adorable, uber expensive, Patagonia baby snowsuit. My current thought process is if you can’t justify buying one when you live on an island in the Bering Sea, then when will it ever be ok? Our Alaska adventure may be winding down, but we’ll have a pretty cool souvenir to bring back home with us. And depending on my willpower in the next 20 minutes, he’ll potentially be sporting some pretty rad snow gear.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Calm Before the (Metaphorical) Storm

In a week from today I'll be married to my best friend! My last name will change, I'll board a flight to Thailand, and I'll (possibly) consider myself a grown up.  But I have to get through this week first.

I'm not sure I can count how many times I've heard, "You're so calm for someone who is planning a wedding," or "you're probably super stressed right now, huh?"  I find myself casually repeating things like "It will all come together," and "I've got a little time."

It could be that I'm just super chill and unstressed and I'm enjoying every minute. Or it could be that I'm in complete denial.

If there are stages of emotion in wedding planning, then I am definitely in the active avoidance phase.  (I mean I'm often does that happen?)  All of a sudden I can't focus on anything unless all of my homework is done; I am super concerned about missing Bruins games; and I can't wait to go on my next run.  I hate(d?) running. If we're speaking metaphorically, we can probably find some sort of underlying "running from wedding planning" theme here, but I'm pretty much just psyched that I don't cringe every time B suggests a sporting event or a jog.

I'm not completely avoiding all things wedding. My bachelorette was awesome. Amazing. I seriously have the best friends anyone could possibly have. I check the weather for next Saturday at least every hour. Because worrying about things I have zero control over is super helpful.

Every time I log onto Pinterest, I browse the wedding pins. But instead of searching for a pre-wedding quick fix diet/workout plan like a normal bride..I just scroll through as I munch on some pizza and sip on a beer.  I'm not sure how many brides'-to-be diets consist of pizza and beer, but I've pretty much become a Bertucci's regular since we've been home.  I purchased everything I need for a juice cleanse this week, but it somehow all got pushed to the back of the fridge. Not intentionally of course.  I even had a minor, wedding-stress-related break down. But after about 30 seconds of tears and a glass of wine, I was over it.

Not to worry.  I tried on my dress today and we're good to go for  next week.  I attended my trial appointment for my hair, (after postponing it a time or two,) and I got all of my vaccinations you need for traveling to a developing country.

So hopefully everything on my to-do list (that I can't remember where I put) gets done.  I'll start my juice cleanse tomorrow; I'll sort through the insane number of wedding related boxes that have taken over my parents' house; and I'll maybe wrap my head around the fact that my wedding is next weekend.

Keep your fingers crossed for good weather and maybe send me some productivity vibes!

Friday, March 8, 2013

"The space between the tears we cry, is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more"

The dream sheet that I had been dreading found it's way into my mailbox in late January.  The seemingly simple piece of paper threw me into what would become a two-month long meltdown by asking me to simply select a box with my intentions for next year.  Would I be returning to Savoonga? Would I like to transfer within the district?  Did I intend to resign at the expiration of my contract?

The moment I saw the dream sheet in my mailbox, I got a knot in my stomach. When Joe lightheartedly (and I think unsuspectingly,) asked me five minutes later if I knew of anyone not coming back next year, I thought I might lose my lunch. When I finally mustered up the courage to talk to my principal two weeks later, I had officially stopped sleeping regularly at night.

I was advised to state that we'd be returning, so that I'd get a contract and another month to decide.

What I thought: Buy some more time. Awesome. Perfect solution.
What actually happened: I bought myself an extra month of torture: anxiety, endless second-guessing, and way too many sleepless nights.

We weren't coming back.  We had booked our [one way] flights home.  We updated our resumes and applied for jobs.  I even had a few phone interviews! I printed out the resignation form from the district website.  My daily (seemingly healthy yet potentially destructive) habit was obsessive, late-night, craigslist scouring for available apartments that allowed dogs. We shipped boxes back to the East coast.

The contract sat on my desk staring at me for three solid weeks.  I did everything in my power to avoid looking at it.  I even put it in the closet for a while.  The knot in my stomach grew as I closed in on the last thing on my "TO-DO Before Spring Break" list.  Brendan and I must have had the same conversation about 700 times.  "Are we doing the right thing?"  "Yeah, we'll find jobs.  And we'll be able to have a beer at the end of the day!"

The anxiety finally ceased this week when we made our final decision: accepting the contract and returning for another year in Savoonga. 

In the end, it wasn't about the little things we miss like being able to go out to dinner, order takeout/have a drink at the end of a long day, or even so much about finding jobs for next year.  It came down to the reasons we came here in the first place: wanting to make sure we were making the most of our Alaskan adventure, and making progress with the kids.  We moved here to make an investment in our future. It's given us the opportunity to develop our personal and professional goals, and has taught us so much about ourselves and about each other.  

So thank you, Gaetano for asking us if we were really sure if we wanted our Alaskan adventure to be over.  And thank you, Rachel for reminding us that happiness is a choice--something we need to keep reminding ourselves of. Thank you, everyone who has listened to our ups and downs, has lent us hands packing and shoulders to cry on, and for not hating us when we changed our minds again and again.  And again.

Of course we miss our family, friends and life we left behind.  We think of you every single day, and your support keeps us going!  Mom kicking cancer's butt again this year helped us to keep things in perspective and reminded us not to quit.  We're still looking forward to the move home; we just postponed it a little bit! Our goal for the next year is to embrace each day, the good ones along with the challenges.  We're laughing about the insane amount of snow covering our house, and trying not to feel too claustrophobic about it.  As always, our door is open (even though you might have to dig to open it) to anyone adventurous enough to visit!

Keep your fingers crossed for us that the weather cooperates and we make it off the island for Spring Break, and that we get a chance to celebrate the continuation of our adventure!