First Week at the New Job

What a WEEK it has been here! What a week!

I just spent the last five days feeling like a new kid at school. (Down to the new shoes I wore!) I’m learning lots and lots. The new place is amazingly similar to my old job and strikingly different all at the same time.

OM

Wouldn’t you know it? It snowed my first day! Madison’s first snow, as it would turn out. (The picture above, I snapped on the morning of Day 2.)

Let’s cut to the chase – the people are so amazingly nice. Welcomes have been warm. My team is really great. There’s a lot of talent here and folks are just as sweet as they can be. Case in point: On Thursday, I asked my team where I could get a great cake or dessert for my mom’s birthday this weekend, and our technician said, “Sounds like you need me to make you my chocolate eclair cake tonight and bring it in tomorrow!”

WHAT?!? I swear you only read about people this nice! Because guess what I have sitting in my icebox? A completely magnificent piece of homemade pastry that I had no hand in making.

We have also been enjoying expanding our brand loyalty outside of our original terrain. :)

weinermobile bank

This picture sets me in a fit of giggles EVERY. TIME. (This is a bank, actually. It was a part of my welcome basket that was sitting on my desk my first day.)

The only damper in the week is that I’ve been taken down sick with some sort of bronchitis/sinus thing. I prayed for this thing to be mild, but no dice. I think I’m getting better, but it was stressful to be meeting tons of people and trying not to alienate them with my grossness.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Andy has been rocking it at Mr. Mom this week. He arranged for daycare (the boys start part time next week) and otherwise generally kept our two boys cared-for and happy.

photo 1

They’ve been making a habit of getting out and about at least once a day. We’re not letting a little cold weather cloister us in the apartment. When you’ve got two boys, you have to give them room to run!

birdie

You also need to get them matching HATS!

snow

:::SQUEEEE::::

zach morris

Also Baby Reid needs a haircut. This angle doesn’t look so bad,  but it’s all party-in-the-back, ifyouknowwhatimean.

Can you believe this little chubby angel is turning 1 in TWO WEEKS?!?!??!?!?!?! This year has gone lightning fast. Where did my baby go?

And also? Minor detail…

WE BOUGHT A HOUSE TOO. Haha. It’s in a great area of town that, quite frankly, we were pretty resigned to the idea that we wouldn’t be able to find a house there.

Then… there it was.

house

I don’t have my own pics of it – just what’s on the MLS listing. Just rest assured, it’s perfect. It’s basically my dream house. Room for us, the boys, guests, guitars and old Hugo.

Basically, we’re all settling in here just fine. We close on our old house in McKinney next Wednesday, and then our exodus from Texas will be complete. I can’t really believe all this has happened so fast. Keep Andy in your prayers as he looks for jobs. Things are starting to take shape there too! Keep you posted!

Packing it In

It’s really trippy getting ready to leave a place for good. And, to be honest, it feels pretty awful. Painful, even. Life is pretty consumed by “last” everythings and goodbyes. The closer we get to the actual move, the better I feel because I know we’re closer to hello’s and the thrill of starting everything new.

Blame my long line of pastor blood, but I’m wired for analogy. I can’t help but think of labor & delivery. Because it is a LOT like that. But I’ll spare you of anything more than that reference.

There *is* a story worth telling here, though. Let’s just glimpse at what the last few weeks have brought.

20131030-120714.jpg

Our first garage sale! We had our semi-annual community garage sale scheduled for two weeks prior to the move. As annoying as garage sales might be, we couldn’t resist. We had a great turnout. Couldn’t move our extra golf clubs, though. Even with our little Jack Nicklaus [pictured above] offering free demos.

20131030-121133.jpg

We listed the house on the market on the Monday following the garage sale. We had a showing that afternoon and an offer from that buyer first thing the following Tuesday morning. Tuesday afternoon, we showed the house to a second buyer and, on Wednesday morning – when we were in the process of volleying counter-offers with the first buyer – the second buyer offered a competing bid.

Our realtor went back to both buyers, let them know that they were in competition, and each had a chance to come back with their “highest and best” offers. We took the better one. The end. House sold!

And… during all of this on Wednesday, our house was still listed – Day 3 on the market – and we had four additional showings that day during the bidding wars! So we camped out at Chick-Fil-A to give our additional interested people some space, even after we had a working contract. A very heady process.

Good stress, but stress just the same!

Above picture shows the boys fighting over remnants of waffle fries, oblivious to it all.

20131030-131454.jpg

Last Friday, I said “good-bye” to my friends and work family for good. It was a hard week. I’ve got stories of sweet farewells and final laughs together, but this part was immeasurably difficult.

In the words of Forrest Gump: That’s all I have to say about that.

20131030-134241.jpg

Saturday, we celebrated a friend’s recent wedding at her home in McKinney. I got to see Don and Wynn, our long lost worship leader and his wife there. God is amazing. Thank you for connecting us all one last time before we parted for the long term.

As for our extended church family, we got a chance to say farewell at Sunday service. We took both boys to the actual service and soaked in our last time there. More goodbyes…

20131030-131729.jpg

Later that afternoon we returned to our shiny new youth building for the Fall Festival. Both boys, again, rocked their costumes. Winnie the Pooh and Tigger (not pictured) may not be the most creative of Halloween costumes, but I really couldn’t think of more fitting caricatures of the boys’ personalities right now.

Oh, bother.

20131030-134348.jpg

Meanwhile this past week has been filled with cleaning and sorting our household items into three categories:

  1. Need this week.
  2. Can live without this week, but need in the next 3 months. (To add to the fun, we’ll be in an apartment over Christmas. So we need Christmas decorations and the like.)
  3. Can live without for 3 months.

Quite the process. It makes one turn a discriminating eye to what one actually needs to raise a baby. I’m here to tell you: not much! (Although, to be fair, Reid is getting to be more of a toddler. What?! LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!)

20131030-134805.jpg

To spare our sensitive pup from this moving chaos, we had the sweetest offer from someone at Andy’s work to keep Hugo for us over the next few days while the house is being packed. We dropped him off last night and will collect him right before we leave town on Saturday. I was floored by the generosity of that offer. People are so awesome!

20131030-135121.jpg

20131030-135136.jpg

That brings us to today! Today is the first day we have the movers on site to pack us up. Joe and John arrived at 8:30 this morning and have been working nonstop to get this place stowed away securely. Joe and John are my heroes.

We’ll be able to stay here just one more night, but tomorrow they’ll be back to finish the job. Then we will be 100% in boxes.

What about the kids, you ask?

They’re handling things OK so far. Reid is obviously oblivious. Graham was unsettled by the fact that I’d removed his curtains and replaced them with blinds yesterday. Was almost unable to go to sleep because the different look scared him a bit in the dim light.

Tonight, now that his room is entirely packed except for his bed sheets, we have an air mattress ready to put on the floor of our bedroom. Just call it a hunch. 😉

Tomorrow, Halloween, while our house is being finished by the packers, it will be the boys’ last day at school. After school, we’ll don Halloween costumes, trick-or-treat with our friends, The Pratts, then we’ll stay the night at a hotel before loading day Friday.

Friday, the boys and I are going to have a fun day doing nothing of substance. Just fun and being together while Andy supervises the truck-loading process at the house. Friday night, we stay at the hotel again, and Saturday morning, we’ll get Hugo and head our for Kansas City to stay at Grandpa and Grandma’s before heading to our final destination: Wisconsin!

Whew! Raise your hand if you followed all that! Great! Now bend your arm and pat yourself on the back if you’re glad you’re not us right now!!

Thought so. :)

The Decision to Leave

It’s been long enough since my last entry that I’m sure barely anyone is checking this sucker anymore. But for those of you who still actually log on to maybe catch glimpses of the Daily Catch or re-read an article from the archives… and for those who have an RSS subscription, this post is for you. Here we go…

Andy, the boys and I are emigrating from Texas and re-entering the Midwest to put down roots for the long term. Our new home? Madison, WI. We are so, so excited and so, so stressed about the transition.

I haven’t written about this on here yet because a) there’s never sufficient time to do the topic justice and b) I haven’t been feeling all that eloquent anyway, but I’m determined to get something down on paper and document this at least partially.

This may not be a surprise to many of you. I try to keep this blog fairly upbeat, so in my tough times, this – well – this just doesn’t get written in that often. Every so often, I pop up for air and get some fresh perspective. Or sometimes I lose a handle on my hopes for the tone of this little corner of the Internet and I dissolve into a moody post about how things are pretty hard right now.

Basically, the decision to leave the place we’ve called home for the last 7 years wasn’t one big decision or impetus for change, but rather a retrospective of a variety of things that have in sum drastically changed day-to-day living around here.

It boiled down to a few big sparks.

Spark 1. Don [our worship leader]’s decision to take a post at another church. Our contemporary worship band and church members have been an absolute family to us here in Texas. I was even on the search committee for our new worship leader. We found an amazing young man who, with his newlywed wife, moved to our church, took over the position and brought consistency back to the church after this, frankly, devastating loss.

He is making sure that we have plenty of instruments and singers to rotate our group of volunteers week-to-week without putting too much strain on any person. The big difference for Andy and I means that we are staffed less and have more open weeks. The great result is more free time in a time where we NEED more free time (two kids HELLO). The not-so-great result is that we don’t see our band family nearly as often. It remains hard to strike a good balance here because we have so many things that need our attention at home.

Spark 2. Brian & Michelle moved to Atlanta. I say this in the least guilt-trippy way possible, but it’s an insult to our relationship to not acknowledge that this was a major loss for us here. Not only this loss, but the loss of the long term hope that maybe someday Craig and Susan would come down and colonize a little Fischer community of family so very far away from where we all started.

The decision of where to live and make a home remains, rightfully so, in the hands of those who actually live it out to the very end. But then, Andy and I realized, we had some decisions to make too.

Spark 3. Friends leaving for other things. My peers and I are at a time in our lives where we are making decisions for our little growing families. Decisions we have found that we’ve never had to make before. I’ve had friends leave work to stay home with their kiddos full time and friends trek far, far away for spouses’ jobs & support from extended family. We have said “good-bye” so many times to so many people, learning of yet another impending ‘farewell’ has taken on almost a comical tone.

Spark 4: Baby Reid was born. And this was the culmination of everything. This was the weight put on our safety net. A net which, as I have described, has sustained some serious loss in structural integrity of late. Local friends who remain have pitched in and done everything humanly possible to make this transition as comfortable as possible.

Yet still, life has taken on a new level of complexity and difficulty. Andy found himself no longer wishing but needing to find a job closer to our home in McKinney. The 45-90 minute commute each way to work was no longer do-able. It was time for change.

Since Andy thought about starting to look, so did I. After all, a job in food science isn’t all that easy to find. There are tiny windows of job opportunity lying out there that open ever-so-briefly. I had to keep my eyes open.

Sure enough, a window opened in Madison, WI – a 4-hour drive from my family and no additional distance from Andy’s family – with the right job opportunity at a good company with good people. So I took it.  Now we are heading into and living a time where everything changes.  I have so much to write about. I figured this would be a good place to start.

Stay tuned. More is coming.

Reid’s First Week at Daycare

I’m a week or two late in writing this, but I believe it still deserves documentation…

Reid has started daycare, and I’m back in action at work. Technically, this is Week 3 Day 2. (And we’re already working our way through Reid’s second cold! Ha!)

We had a bit of a softer start than I did with Graham. The Friday before I returned to work full time, I dropped Mr. Reid at daycare and filled a day full of wonderful things for ME. (How selfish!) Yep, I got my hair done, ate a fabulous lunch, then went and got a mani/pedi.

Needless to say: I felt miserable pretty much all damn day.

Huh? Well, okay, so taking the second kid to daycare isn’t as gut-wrenching as it was for me with the first kid. I get daycare. I understand the flow. I know that he’s gonna smell different when he gets home and that there’s going to be a coughing baby with a booger hanging out of their nose when I drop off my precious widdle bundle of perfection that first morning.

I know all that. But still, Reid had been my buddy through maternity leave. He didn’t really mind being in the carseat, so we went places. He had fussy days but he also very frequently had laid-back days, so I didn’t have a visceral need to get AWAY for a few hours.

So my little trial run on Friday felt stupid and pointless, and – even though I was the epitome of self-indulgence – I pretty much disliked every minute of it.

Gathering my baby in my arms on Friday night?

Felt so good. :)

I spent the whole weekend thinking that my daycare test drive was worthless.

That is, until I went to work on Monday.

That Monday morning (a.k.a. my first day back at work), I had no issues getting the boys up and off to daycare. Heck, I was at work by 8! Sure, I was exhausted, but that was beside the point. I had realized logistical success.

And guess what? Because Reid had already done a full day at daycare, I wasn’t worried about how all THAT was going. I knew that he’d eaten and slept successfully for an entire day away from me. I knew he wasn’t somewhere far away having the most miserable day of his little life. And that comfort on that day made that “stupid” test run COMPLETELY worthwhile.

That was also basically the last time we saw Reid awake for the rest of the week. He started sleeping through the night Monday night and hasn’t gone back. (Well, okay, he’s sleeping like crap right now because he’s sick, but he DID have it. So I’m hoping to get those full nights of sleep back once he’s better. Pretty please, Universe??)

Also so adorable? They sleep unswaddled at daycare. How cute is this?!

Not even kidding you… I’m thinking of renaming him “Rip Van Winkle”. Daycare is tough stuff! So much going on. :)

He’s adjusted a little bit week by week in that he’s not SO exhausted when he gets home.

It continues to go well. Some tactical details, for posterity:

  • I drop off in the mornings, and Andy picks both the boys up at night.
  • Graham has a stoplight clock now that is red when we turn it on and doesn’t turn green until 6:45 a.m. He’s not supposed to get out of bed before then, and you know what? It TOTALLY works! No more 5:30 a.m. wake up calls!
  • I get up at 5:30 (ouch!), get myself ready, then try and wake Reid up by 6:15 so I can feed him and get him back to bed before Graham wakes up at 6:45.
  • Graham watches T.V. every morning now. I don’t like it, but I’m not sure how to get around it. It keeps him occupied while I get him dressed, get the baby dressed, make bottles, pack backpacks, make coffee, make a snack and pack the car.

Also? I can’t fully express in written word how AMAZING it feels to get both boys strapped securely in their carseats, slide into the front seat, look in the rearview mirror and say, “Okay, family! Here we go!”

I get a solid 10 minutes to chat with Graham on the way to school. We talk about the sun, about what we think is for breakfast at school (the person who makes the silliest answer wins – purple sparkle gummyworms, anybody?), who is a girl, who is a boy, who are his friends at school and who threw wood chips on the playground yesterday. Sometimes conversation shifts to baby brother. If he’s awake or asleep and what he’s wearing. It’s a great part of the day. :)

So, it’s working! Most mornings I’m not at work until 8:30, but sometimes I can make it by 8. It’s been an adjustment to go back to work, but these two are making it pretty easy on us, truth be told.

They’re such good little boys. :)

Travel and Two Kids

As intimidating as having two kids may have been, it was nothing compared to the intimidation of knowing Andy was going to have to take his first business trip when Reid was a mere two weeks old.

Knowing other moms of two, I knew that the first time home by yourself with two kids is as momentous as it is terrifying. How do you put one kid down for a nap when the other needs to eat? How do you juggle a crying baby when your toddler is in the bathtub?

Well, said business trip came and went. Graham stayed home with me the first day. Then my friend (and knight in shining armor), Sherryl, offered to run Graham to daycare for me on Day 2. It was trying, but I made it. We made it. It became clear after that trip, though, that a follow-up trip was necessary the week of Christmas – two days after Christmas to be exact.

Again, the boys and I hunkered down in the house and managed to survive. This one was a day trip, so it was a little simpler than the last. Still – a huge sense of accomplishment at having kept two boys fed, well-rested and entertained for a day.

No time to feel relieved though, because – come later that day – I found out that Andy had YET ANOTHER TRIP on the docket for the following week. This week. If you’re keeping track, that’s three business trips for Andy in as many weeks. Two of those weeks being holiday weeks.

Augh.

At this point, I’m getting more confident with two. So confident that I decided to make Graham’s favorite meal for dinner last night: spaghetti and garlic bread. If you’re forgetting the steps involved, that’s boiling water, cooking noodles, browning ground beef, heating up sauce, preheating an oven and toasting garlic bread. That’s about five steps too many for being a man down. But I was cocky, I mean… this was my third time doing this, right?

As I relayed to Andy on the phone at the end of the night: “Handling the two of them by myself is fine… until it’s not.” If Graham is cooperative, it works. If the baby is sleeping or fed and happy, it works. When one of those doesn’t happen, I have to resist the urge to hunker in a fetal position in the corner and wait for reinforcements.

And, of course, that happened about the time the ground beef hit the searing hot frying pan – thus locking me in to the meal I’d originally planned. During that time, Graham was systematically dismantling and destroying everything in the house, the baby was crying anytime he wasn’t held, which was a lot because things were being shuttled in and out of the oven and on and off the stovetop.

At one point in the night, the house was wrecked with toys and other shrapnel resulting from a toddler entertaining himself. The kitchen, disgusting with all the food and dishes sitting out. Graham was miraculously sitting at the table, eating – and covered in spaghetti sauce. My plate of food was getting cold on the counter because, of course, the baby needed to eat RIGHTTHEN.

But then, a miracle happened in the form of a baby falling soundly asleep after his feeding. I not only got to eat my dinner, but I got dishes washed, Graham down to bed, the kitchen and rest of the house cleaned, laundry and dishwasher started and poured a glass of wine for myself.

Because, you know – it’s fine. Until it’s not. And Andy’s coming home today with no more travel in the foreseeable future.

Hallelujah, amen.