The New Normal

Hi Blogging Friends! It’s been awhile!

Things have been crazy since school has started, but I just realized that this week is the last week of September. It’s somehow almost October! And I haven’t updated you guys since August (or maybe even July!), so I am way overdue for a post.

Even though we’ve been at this for nearly eight weeks now, this whole school routine still feels very new, and we’re definitely still adjusting to our new normal.

Week one through two of returning to school was something of a honeymoon phase. I was excited to be doing something different, the boys seemed to be adjusting well to daycare, and everything was just GREAT! Then week three hit, and things suddenly became impossible. I started feeling overwhelmed with everything that needed to get accomplished in a day, and too exhausted at the end of the day to want to do my nightly routine (make dinner, wash dishes, bathe the boys, put them to bed, pack lunches, etc). The boys started suddenly having epic meltdowns when I dropped them off at daycare (like maybe they also felt overwhelmed), and I started feeling guilt over whether I was doing the right thing by returning to work. I think I cried pretty much every day for two weeks (like weepy, ugly crying) and considered quitting my job a lot. Then we had a crazy week, when Justin’s family came to visit and we hosted a Chinese exchange student (and witnessed a solar eclipse) all at the same time. (More on that later.) Something about returning to normal after all of that craziness made our new normal seem more manageable. I spent a few weeks surviving (and not crying or feeling guilty anymore), and I feel like I’m just now starting to transition from “surviving” to “thriving.” I’m finally coming out of the fog! It’s taking me awhile, but I’m getting there.

So here’s what a typical day looks like now, in our new normal:

  • I get up around 5:45 am, get dressed, and get my hair/makeup done (I generally shower the night before to save time).
  • I get the lunch boxes together (I also assemble those the night before) and drinks and start loading up the car with stuff. I also toast a bagel and pack it with a banana for a breakfast-in-the-car.
  • I wake up the boys and get them dressed. Occasionally, one of them will wake up ahead of time, but usually they’re still sound asleep when it’s time to go. I’ve been waking up Teddy first, getting him dressed, and putting him in the car with a toy or something. Then I go back and get Jake dressed really quick (he’s usually half asleep and it’s something like dressing a corpse), and I get him into the car too. If you’re wondering about him using the potty, I generally just keep his pull-up on him until we get to school, and then I take him to the bathroom in his classroom and switch him to undies. The first couple of weeks I was trying to get Jake to go to the bathroom before we left the house, and there was a lot of angry crying and screaming and half awake rebellions that went on, before I finally figured out a better way. πŸ˜‰ By the way, he’s been doing great with telling me when it’s time to pee on the potty, and he just (within the last two weeks) figured out how to tell me when it’s time to poop on the potty, too. It only took us nine months to train him! #starparents
  • We leave the house around 6:45 am, and the boys munch on Cheerios and yogurt pouches in the backseat while I eat my breakfast and drive. Our commute takes about 35-45 minutes in the morning, because traffic isn’t too bad yet at that early hour. But you’d better BELIEVE I have been building my case to convince Justin that we should move across town (he also works on the west side of town, but we live on the north east side…).
  • I drop off the boys in the preschool wing, and then walk downstairs to the high school wing where I work. I have a pretty nice schedule: three 10th grade classes and two 9th grade classes, with two planning periods (and a long lunch–45 minutes is the longest school lunch I’ve ever had at any school I’ve ever worked at, which gives me a chance to get some work done while I eat). My students are all pretty well-behaved. I’ve got some chatty kids and some silly kids, but no kids who are outright rebellious or disrespectful, which is nice. It makes the day go by smoother!
  • School is over at 3:15, and I try to force myself to stop working by 4:30. I really do have to force myself to leave, because there is always SO MUCH to get done, and I have realized over these last several weeks that very little work that I bring home with me actually gets finished. The bulk of my work needs to fit into the school day just out of necessity because there is too much to do on the home front when I get back to my house.
  • I go pick up the boys and hear about their days. Teddy’s teachers are really good about sending me text updates during the day with photos of what he’s doing. Jake’s teacher sends out a weekly newsletter with photos. I feel really good about the daycare that they’re in! It is such a nice environment with loving Christian teachers (and it’s lacking that yucky poopoo smell that La Petite always had when Jake went there). There’s a reason this place has a waiting list a mile long!
  • It always seems like it’s nearly 5:00 by the time we get into the car. Which is probably the WORST time to be on the interstate. Driving home generally takes us about an hour, sometimes longer. I’m still trying to figure out the magic formula that makes a long commute with kids successful, but it definitely involves providing snacks, drinks, toys, and Moana songs played on loop.
  • When we get home from school and unload everything from the car, it’s time to make a quick dinner, get everyone fed and bathed and tucked into bed, and prepare for the next day all over again!

They days are long and VERY busy, but it’s a really good, fulfilling kind of busy. Overall, I feel happy with how everything is going, and I feel like I’m exactly in the place that I’m supposed to be right now. And now for some photos!

Our days have been filled with…


Having fun at school (well, some of us, at least)


Participating in Spirit Week (and a fun reading of Charles Dickens)


Playing with friends (They’re both getting so big!)


And being a STINKER (Jake’s actual photo on the daycare wall)


Unicorn sightings (who doesn’t love playing with the Halloween stuff at Target?)


And an unfortunate trip to the Children’s ER for a little boy with a case of Croup. 😦 (He recovered quickly and he’s fine now!)


We got to hang out with a bunch of students from Fuzhou for a week! We hosted Henry at our house (seen on the right), and took him shopping and out to eat and to see all the local sights. My school has a big exchange program with China, and these students were testing the waters during this short trip, trying to see if they’d be interested in a longer stay or enrolling in our school. My connection with China is a big reason that I was hired to work at Concord! They wanted someone who’s going to love on these ESL kids and not see them as an inconvenience in the classroom.


And a bunch of people looking up at the sun. πŸ™‚


This handsome guy slept through the eclipse, but he was ready for it just in case!


Speaking of this handsome guy, I’ve been enjoying getting text updates from his teachers at school! He’s getting ready to move from the crawler room to the walker room, and we’re sad! We’ve already formed such a strong bond with his teachers! 😦


Dressed and ready for his school photos! (Another shot snapped by his teacher). I promise Teddy isn’t my favorite son…just the most photogenic. πŸ˜‰

I promise a more specific update on what school has been like is in the works!

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