Change is in the air!

There’s a lot of changes going on at the pleasantly poor house. Most notably, we are getting a home of our own again. We’re renting for now, not buying.  We’re not ready quite ready to buy again yet. We just got the key to our new place today, and are officially moving in this Sunday, but I’m taking a small load of boxes over after my little man’s swim lesson.

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Our plan is to take over one or two loads between today and Sunday, and finish with the big stuff on Sunday. That’s the great thing about having a slow move, you’re not killing yourself to get everything moved in a day.

A lot went in to finding our new home. The most important factor, for us, was the school district. We have been very unhappy with his current school district. In kindergarten he has had no regular recess, testing every two weeks, oral reports, and a long list of curriculum that is inappropriate for a kindergarteners developmental stage. Some of it is due to the fact that more is expected of kids his age than when we were in school. But I’ve done my research, and I know that a lot of is due to Clayton County being Title 1, and having to prove that they are earning the money they are receiving from the federal government. The reasons are irrelevant, though. We simply cannot allow him to go to that school another year. We tried to get him into the private school where I work, but he’s not quite ready for that. So, I started to research metro Atlanta schools, to make sure we got him into the best school we could.

I started my school research on schooldigger.com, a website that ranks schools from best to worst, 1 to 1240.  You can also read reviews of schools, check out demographics, student to teacher ratios, etc.  I looked at every school in metro Atlanta that ranked 500 or better, that was within 30 miles of our work, and then checked rentals in the area to see if we could afford to live in those areas.  I used Zillow to search for rental homes.  Zillow was a wonderful tool.  I thought it was just a property appraisal site, but it has become so much more.  Now it provides property values, homes for sale, and homes for rent.   I would search the zip code of the school I was researching, and could add filters, such as the  property type I was looking for and the maximum monthly payment I was willing to make.  (Trulia.com has similar tools, but I found that Zillow was more user friendly.)  These searches allowed me to quickly determine which school districts we could afford to live in.  That data allowed me to create a spreadsheet with school ratings and an average cost of living.  Once I had narrowed down affordable school districts, I checked another school ratings site, greaterschools.org.  This site also provides reviews, demographics, student to teacher ratios, and the like.  The difference from great schools and school digger is that great schools ranks schools from 1 to 10.  I found that using the two sites together gave me a more dimensional understanding of a schools pros and cons.

Once we had our list of schools, we began visiting them.  We found one in Stockbridge that we liked right away, and while there were others that were also good, we had found our favorite.  We began searching for rental homes in the two school districts that we liked the most, and visited a few until we found the one for us.  We were lucky to find a great house, bordering a cul-de-sac, in the school district that we wanted.  God is good!  Now, if only he would move our stuff.  Oh well, without struggle we cannot fully appreciate victory.

Speaking of victory.  Yesterday my son graduated from Kindergarten with a ‘Most Improved’ honor.  I am very proud of him, but not as proud as he is of himself.  He told my dad, “I worked REALLY hard!”  Here’s a picture of him receiving his certificate.

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Mother’s Day Blues

Caution: This post contains melodramatic material.

Sometimes being the wife of a chef is pretty cool.  Like the time Alton Brown came into his restaurant, and I got to tell everyone that my husband cooked dinner for Alton Brown. Or the many times that he managed to make a delicious dinner out of seemingly useless ingredients the day before payday.

Other times, being a chef’s wife really stinks. Mother’s Day is one of those times. Don’t get me wrong. I love being a mom, and I love the adorable homemade cards that come with it.  But what I want most on Mother’s Day is to be with my family.  Unfortunately, Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for a restaurant.  In the 6 years that I’ve been a mom, he’s never been able to take it off.  Of course, he can’t get Father’s Day off either, so sometimes things stink all around.

This year has been a little better because I’ve been able to spend it with my family, for a change. I got my hubby up early this morning so we could take his mom out to breakfast, which was really nice, and a treat, since we usually don’t get to see her at all on Mother’s Day.  After breakfast I took the hubby back home so he could get ready for work, and I went on to church.  At church the kids gave roses to the moms, and all the mothers were recognized and blessed by the preacher.  After church my parents, my son, and I  had a picnic lunch with my grandparents, aunts, and cousins . So it hasn’t been a bad day.  In fact, it’s been a very good day. If it was any other day, I would feel very content. But it’s not any other day, it’s Mother’s Day, which means it’s my day, but half of me is gone.

I am well aware that I am just feeling sorry for myself, and that my life is very blessed. I know there are some mothers who have lost their children, mothers whose partners are away on active duty, or are on active duty themselves, or a countless number of other reasons why I should stop complaining. So I’m not trying to ruin anyone else’s day by weeping openly everywhere I go, and I’m certainly not looking for sympathy from anyone.  But no amount of rationalizing makes me feel any better, in fact, it tends to make me feel worse. So, since this is my blog, and my day, I’m going to go ahead and have this pity party.

Please tune in to the following posts for cheerier topics.

Swim Lessons

I’m writing this on my iPhone because I’ve been having issues with my laptop. Recently I installed an antivirus program called Kaspersky. I can’t say that it’s a bad product, because it works fine on my mom’s laptop, but it’s certainly bad for my laptop. Shortly after I installed it my computer started crashing every time I used it. When I finally got it to stay on long enough to properly restart it and run a virus scan, then it worked fine for a while. But the other day it started crashing again. I restarted the computer, uninstalled and reinstalled it, ran a virus scan. Nothing worked. Finally, I just uninstalled the program and disconnected the internet until I can get my usual antivirus software, Norton. I know that I can download it, but then I have to pay full price for it, and I haven’t paid full price for it in years. I usually get it for a discount from No More Rack or eBay.

We started my son in swim lessons this week at the VBG Recreation Center in Riverdale,Ga.  Monday was his first day, and today was his second lesson. He is having a great time, and is excited about learning to swim without his frog (life jacket).

This is from last summer, complete with frog.
This is from last summer, complete with frog.

There is a wide range of of ages in his class, so there are two teachers. One focuses on the kids that can already swim, and teaches them the different strokes. While the other teacher focuses on the smaller kids that are still learning to swim. That’s the group my son is in. We worked with him on swimming without his life jacket last summer, and he was doing really well, but that was months ago. This should get him ready for a summer of swimming like a fish.

My husband doesn’t like the other teacher, the one that teaches the bigger kids. He says that he is rude, and he doesn’t like the way he talks to the kids. He is a bit brisk, but I really saw his value today. A little girl in William’s group is really scared of the water, and just bawls when it’s her turn to swim. Her mom was just about to give up and take her out when he said “I’ve got her.” There was a moment when I was terrified that he was just going to toss her in, but instead he carried her into the water and put on his back. He continued teaching class that way, and when she got tired of that, and started crying again, he moved her to his side, and kept going. Once he had given his directions, and his class started swimming laps, he started working with her on a noodle, showing her how to pull the water with her hands and kick her legs. She was having none of that, and just cried the whole time. She would wail “I want my daddy” and he would say, “Can you swim to him?” When she would say no he’d tell her that she was stuck with him. But at the end of class she managed to kick her way to the side of the pool where her daddy was, blubbering the same whole time, and of course, all the parents gave her a standing ovation for her hard work.

 

 

Hello Again!

Hello Again…or maybe for the first time!

It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything, that I doubt I’ll have many returning readers.  And since I allowed my domain to lapse I’ve lost all of my old posts :-(.  Oh well, a fresh start isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  After all, the fresh start that my family has gotten since our move back to A-town has been a God-send.

I have not been idle during this sabbatical.  This spring I volunteered to coach my son’s U6 soccer team.  The things I learned coaching soccer is for another post, but there is one thing I’ll share with you now.  I learned that I don’t really enjoy coaching soccer.  There is a lot about soccer that wasn’t taught in the coaches clinic that I still don’t understand, and trying to reign in 8 kids running around with balls is a true exercise in patient.

But that’s enough complaining for today.  Let me take a minute to brag on how awesome my job is.  Yesterday was Administrative Professionals Appreciation Day, and for the first time ever, I was appreciated!  My managers presented me with a gift bag that had a gift certificate to Chick-Fil-A, a journal, and large coffee cup with a matching saucer.  The cup and saucer are so adorable, when I use it I feel like I should be sitting at a tea party surrounded by teddy bears pretending to drink Earl Grey.  It’s pretty clear that one of their wives picked out the gifts, but that’s not the point.  The point is, they took the time to recognize my contribution to our office.

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I have also been upping my weight loss game.  I’ve taken to eating strictly salad for lunch, and often times dinner too.  Although I do try to mix it up a bit by adding chicken strips, chicken salad, or tuna salad.  And on taco Tuesdays I make it a taco salad.  My work offers exercise classes, and when you take them you earn points.  A few months ago I earned enough points to get a fitbit, which has really helped motivate me to exercise more.  I don’t always make my goal of 10,000 steps, but it certainly keeps me conscious of how much, or little, I’m moving.  It also throws little parties for me when I exercise 5 days in a week.  I have lost about 5 pounds, although I seem to have plateaued at that point.  I haven’t given up hope though.

I’m looking forward to sharing all this in more detail in future posts.  At the moment, though, it is nearing my bedtime, so I’m going to wrap this up with the promise of more to come.

“Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts.” – Sandra Bullock, Hope Floats