Thursday, April 17, 2014

Done

Today has been weird.  I expected to have another week of school and a final exam next Wednesday. But yesterday morning, the professor emailed us to say that if we were happy with our grade as it stood pre-final exam, we could just be done then.  He emailed me this morning to say that I had an A so far and to have a nice summer.

So, I'm done.  What a crazy experience this was.  I managed, thanks to my amazing husband and an awful lot of prayers from people, to juggle this and even get out of it with a 4.0 average.  I've always been a good student, but that's a first for me.  Also the first time that I've 1) paid for my education and 2) really liked what I was studying.  Not a coincidence, I think.

Today the final payment on Vivian's preschool went through.  Another kind of strange milestone to reach.

Oh, and one of my bigger articles went up on the travel blog. It's been a weird day.

Clearly, I must celebrate with a lunch of mac and cheese. And possibly a trip to Target. Done with huge tuition bills!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Two more weeks- two weeks more!

The end is in sight for this crazy, expensive, middle crisis grad school thingy.  Only $12,000 to figure out absolutely nothing about what I want to do in life! But I was able to identify some new areas that I am both interested in and pretty good at, so that was a plus, I suspect.

Next up (after writing one more paper and finishing the final exam) is to work on the house. Mostly the playroom, which is also my office (which I never use) and our storage area.  When we moved in, we just shoved things in available space, but it's not all being used efficiently.  So it's time to take everything out and start over with that.  During my last grad school adventure, I did home improvement products instead of studying/writing, but this time I made Daniel hide the new organizational stuff from me and promise not to give it to me until I was really done.  I'm getting a little twitchy though.

Yesterday was Ethan's un-birthday celebration at school. He's a summer birthday and those kids get to have an un-birthday celebration at some point in time. His classmates were shocked to hear that he's almost 7. He's the second oldest in the class of 27 kids and the shortest by far.  Welcome to the world of your parents, Ethan.

We've been traveling more lately for my job, which has been fun.  I feel like none of us really talk to each other on a daily basis- not real conversations, at least. Hours together in the car helps fix that. Thankfully the kids are still great travelers, so we have fun on our trips.  Last weekend we got to meet the new girlfriend of Daniel's best friend. This friend is like a brother to us, and meeting us is usually a sign that he's getting serious about someone.  Ethan decided that he's also going to need this lady as his girlfriend and he plans to buy her jewelry. Not a ring though, because he's too young to get married. Just a necklace.  I love that kid.

Monday, March 31, 2014

In which I am old

It's true. Birthdays get less interesting as you age. Particularly when you are hurtling quickly toward a new decade of life. My birthday came and went last Friday and was overall pretty quiet.  I did manage to be in my pajamas and on the couch with my Nook by 7 PM, which was pretty much the best birthday evening ever.  (Old)  I also bought myself fancy nail polish during a Target run on my birthday. Vivian found the idea of buying yourself a birthday gift to be absolutely hysterical.  I told her those were some of the best kind of gifts, but she didn't believe me.

In other news, I am 3 weeks and 2 days from being done with grad school.  One paper and one final exam stand between me and freedom.  I can almost feel it.  I'm making lists of projects to take on around the house when I'm done with school. Top of the list is to move everything out of the playroom and start over in there. It's out of control with the kids' stuff and our stuff all crammed in.  Yesterday we went to IKEA and got some organizing items and I'm having to exercise a lot of self-control to not jump into the project now. There's very little I love more than organizing things.

In Ethan's world, he no longer likes kindergarten and looks for every excuse to get out of going.  He said that it would be okay if they just had more choice center and recess time. Not likely to happen :)

So that's our world here. Chugging along. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Counting the costs

I am a terrible stay-at-home mom.  I just am. I love my kids, but I am a hyper, type A personality that is insanely goal oriented. If I don't have something concrete to accomplish, I wont accomplish anything at all. Oh, and most kids' games make me insane.  Fortunately my kids are so close developmentally that they're happier with just each other anyway and I can just drop by their playroom for some storytimes. Unfortunately, I also from "sure, I can do one more thing!" syndrome and to cope with not working at my old job, I took on a lot of other random things.  

I've had a lot of balls in the air for almost 2 years now.  And some of them finally started getting dropped.  Apparently I'm not invincible after all.  During my parents' last visit, they kept gently suggesting that perhaps I was more discouraged and down than they would like to see.  My parents have always encouraged me to follow through with things I start, so it spoke volumes when I said that I was quitting grad school after this term.  I will finish with a graduate certificate, but physically and emotionally I cannot continue on as planned.

I've learned a lot in the classes that I've taken and I've found new topics that I care about passionately and things that I never knew I would enjoy. I didn't suspect that I had a secret love for studying Constitutional Law and American Political Thought.  Those classes challenged me, but they thrilled me in ways that nothing I've studied before in all my years of school have done. But some of the other classes have been more challenging on an emotional level and it's taken a toll on me, a person who has struggled with depression for years and who has a low ability to cope with other people's pain. 

I've become snappy with my kids and so tired by the end of my days that I have nothing left for my husband.  I can't tell you when I last wanted to hang out with friends or even bothered to contact anyone other than a comment on Facebook. I just haven't had anything left to contribute.

I don't know what God has next for me and what I'm to do with these newfound passions and interests. Maybe nothing for a while. And that's okay.  I'm not sorry for these last two years, but I'm glad the end is only 5 weeks away.  5 incredibly busy weeks, but just 5 weeks all the same. Deep breaths.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Today I feel like my heart weighs 1000 pounds

I really hate Tuesdays. Especially rainy Tuesdays. No good ever comes of them.

I'm home alone today, supposedly working on a 10 page paper for school. On abortion policies and laws. So I get to read 50+ articles on that cheerful topic. And then write a letter to the death row inmate that I'm corresponding with this term.  Death policy as a class topic... not the most cheerful thing.  This semester is really hard for me. As someone who struggles with chronic depression, I tend to avoid unpleasant things. But our professor, rightly, wants us to see the "real" of the world, not just theories and policy as abstractions. 

And I'm watching Facebook and Twitter and the news as all hell breaks loose in the middle of Kyiv. I have friends there and love Ukraine and hate seeing death and fire and violence and total political uncertainty.

It's just now noon and I just want to be done with today and go to bed and pull the covers over my head and cry.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

That's not how biracial works.

One of the things on my to-do list for the past few months has been registering Vivian for Kindergarten. It wasn't urgent, but I wanted to get it done before I forgot. Registering her required finding her immunization records (which were on the computer, I just had to log-in to the site) and coming up with two address verification documents (again, sitting right in my desk, just too lazy to look for them).  I just hadn't gotten around to it, until Monday when I realized that Daniel was sorting through all the bills and organizing them and could get me the two documents. And I also realized that I needed to print out the kids' immunization records anyway, since they were switching to a new pediatrician this week.

Anyway. All that to say that on Monday, I finally was ready to fill out Vivian's registration forms. (I didn't go through this with Ethan, since he has been in the public school system for several years now and was automatically registered for K).  I have a weird love for filling out forms, so I was zipping right along, filling in all the answers. And then I got to this form, which stopped me in my tracks.

I've filled out lots of these forms before.  I know that gathering demographic data is part of the whole experience for a lot of things. I have no problem with that. I will happily answer the question about whether or not my child is Hispanic, and I have no issue with checking boxes to say which race(s) my child is.  I'm happy that there is now an option for more than one answer and that I can indicate that my child is Caucasian and Chinese.

But do you see the sub-question under "What race(s) do you consider your child?" The one that says "Check all that apply." (fine) and then "Please circle your primary choice."

Excuse me? My primary choice?  I was unaware that I could just pretend that half of my child's ethnic background doesn't exist.  And why do I need to make such a choice? If I consider my child to be primarily Chinese, does she need to be educated differently than if I consider her to be primarily white?

Truth of the matter is that when my kids get older, they very well might identify more with one race than another.  Right now Vivian looks much more Chinese than her brother does. With his glasses on, he's barely identifiable as biracial. Maybe Ethan will grow up and want to embrace his Asian side and identify with that. That's fine. We're trying to raise the kids to appreciate both parts of their heritage and teach them as much about both sides of the family as possible. When they grow up they can identify themselves as being from the Purple Heffalump race for all I care. BUT I AM NOT CIRCLING MY PRIMARY CHOICE on a form for my 4-year-old.