It's been a while since I've done a real blog post that isn't more than a "photo drop" style post because this has been my life for the last month (ish):
My goodness, we have been busy! The transition of me going back to work has gone a million times smoother than I ever could have imagined and I am so incredibly grateful for that. I cried a lot leading up to going back to work, but on my first day of school in 17 months (yep! 17!) I did not shed a tear. I love my job. I was so excited to get back to my career, my calling, my passion. Those first few steps I took down the hallway at school had me feeling like, "I've SO got this".
I adore working .6 between two schools. My grade 8s are a job share with my dear friend, Leah. My grade 7s are a job share with another phenomenal teacher, Amy. I split my time between two of the most vulnerable middle schools in our district and I wouldn't have it any other way. I like that on Tuesday I can leave our 8s in Leah's capable hands (...and that I don't have to see those kids again until the following Monday! Ha!) I have Wednesdays and Thursdays off, and then I'm back in the classroom at my other school on Fridays. My Friday job is pretty much a dream...it's like a work day that's not really a work day, that's how dreamy the students are.
Mrs. Alleyn has a sweet gig this year, folks!
However, my "sweet gig" wouldn't be even close to possible without a few key players. First of all, my mom! Holy moly, my mom has been absolutely incredible. Let me count the ways...
On Mondays I wake up at 5.45am and get myself ready for the day (oh so quietly). I usually have to crack Charlee's door open at around 6.20am because our little buddy loves her sleep. Mondays are early for us! I prep all of Charlee's stuff the night before, so all I have to do is grab and go in the morning. After a quick breakfast bottle, Charlee and I are on the road by 6.40am. We reach my parents' place around 7am, I drop Charlee and all her stuff off, and turn around to head to school. Depending on traffic I make it to school within 20-45 minutes (sitting in "The Crawl" is only slightly infuriating...) Charlee spends some time at my parents' house and usually she and my mom head back to our place just in time for Charlee's PM nap. This schedule works well for us right now because I can leave school around 3ish and be home so my mom doesn't (usually) get stuck in traffic on her way home.
Let me take a moment here to also share that my mom goes well above and beyond the call of childcare duty because not only does she provide Charlee with the best care and attention, but she also cleans my house while Charlee sleeps. I'm not even joking. I come home from school to clean floors, washed and folded laundry, and a gleaming kitchen. Oh, and my mom obviously doesn't charge us for childcare. Call us spoiled, but I don't know, I just think we are incredibly lucky and blessed. Mom, you have been such a help and a blessing for us. Thank you with all our hearts for what you do for us. You're amazing.
On Tuesdays my friend and job share partner, Leah, comes to our house to hang out with Charlee. Leah brings Jackson, her 2.5 year old son, with her. Charlee, Jackson and Leah chill at our place all day and Joel gets off early (around 2pm) so Leah and Jackson can head home. This arrangement has worked out so well for us, because on Wednesdays Charlee and I head to Leah's house to chill with Jackson (while Leah wrangles our shared grade 8s in the classroom for the rest of the week). Having Charlee and Jackson spend time together throughout the week has been so good for both of them, but especially for Charlee (I think!) because she has learned so much from Jackson. She took her first real steps at Jackson's house, she has learned to share at Jackson's, she's learned about patience from Jackson, and she's also experienced her first swing rides and slides with Jackson at the park. Our child care arrangements are the best of the best!! My mom will start taking Charlee on Tuesdays come January because Leah is expecting her second baby - a little sister for Jackson!
Thursdays are my day off and Charlee and I usually do whatever we please! Lately, we've been doing morning coffee dates with my lovely friend, Jess, and her sweet boy, Dawson. We love having this pre-set time in our week to catch up with these two dear people. On Thursdays once Joel gets home from work, Jess and I hit the gym and work insanely hard for an hour. I love having so many precious friends (who also all happen to be teachers...weird!) who also have little ones. I have a very sweet circle of beloved friends.
Fridays are my grade 7 day at my other school and my mom comes to us for the day because dropping Charlee off and driving all the way downtown for school would be an hour commute for me (again...my mom is so awesome).
Saturdays are catch up days for us. I usually get to sleep in and Charlee and Joel spend some time together in the morning; however, the cats usually wake me up by 8.30am because no one else is good enough for them, no matter how hard everyone tries! I am one afflicted crazy cat lady.
Sundays are generally rest days for us (save for some serious Zumba with my sweet friend, Karen!) but the best part hands down is family dinner at my parents' place. My parents whip up a feast and we all gather to share the meal (including my sister and her man, Andrew). My parents instilled family dinners in us from the time we were very little, and I am so grateful that we have the opportunity to continue this practice with our whole family on Sundays. Indeed, one reason I am so partial to our own ugly kitchen corner nook is because of the cozy gathering and conversation filled atmosphere it provides and inspires.
Throughout the week Charlee gets to catch up via FaceTime with her Grandpa Ray and Granny Doreen (Joel's parents). Charlee is really good and waving hello and goodbye to the iPhone, and she especially love showing off her newest skill sets to her other set of doting grandparents. Can I just take a moment here to raise the roof for technology!? How cool is it that Joel's parents can still connect with their one and only grandchild several times a week, even though an ocean separates us!? So cool. As struggles with Joel's mom's health increase, these special FaceTime chats are becoming more and more important. We don't talk a lot about Joel's mom's health, but recently things have become much more difficult for her, and for Ray. Ray, we honour and respect you for your dedication to your wife, and mother of your children. You are a beautiful example of patience, kindness, love, perseverance and hope, not only for us, but for Charlee as well. You better believe we will be telling her these hard stories in the years to come. Thank you for everything you have done for us.
In case you can't tell, this post has needed to be written for a long, long time. So much to say and so much to reflect upon, especially at this special time of year. Lately, I've found myself on the brim of joyful, grateful tears. Amid some family sufferings, we choose daily to be deeply grateful for what we have. We choose daily to live in the moment, to soak in our sweet blessing of a daughter, to give thanks that all is well and healthy with both her and me, especially after last year's trauma.
I've been loving Christmas songs more than ever this year. Even though our decorations aren't on display yet, and our Christmas tree sits outside our kitchen door waiting to be let in, this season has been pure magic; a time to draw close, snuggle longer, sing praises higher, hug tighter.
It is well, it is well with our souls.