Friday, January 27, 2006

5:45 a.m.


This is my life on January 27th, 2006. It is 5:45 a.m. I slept too late. Coffee is brewing, pilates DVD is ready to go, and my Bible study is waiting for me so I can get a fresh word from God before my day. The song Old Brass Wagon is in my head and won't go away. My cats even look tired.

It's Friday, sweet Friday.

Good morning, friends.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Waiting tiredly

I'm so tired. It's hard to be a teacher, especially when you have to change gears in the middle of the day. This morning I taught a movement activity to 2nd graders. They did OK, but didn't "earn" the guitar for the dance. I so wanted to play for them, but I knew I had to set it up for my first teach that the students would realize that I was going to be consistent. The looks I saw on their faces after they didn't earn the guitar made me feel sad for them, but also good that I didn't cave! I get to try the lesson again tomorrow and Friday. In the afternoon I taught a recorder lesson to my peers. I'll also do choral warmups for grades 3-6 tomorrow. Better get crackin', because it is 45 minutes from my big bedtime. I could easily go to sleep right this minute.

And ugh, I'm so tired of sandwiches. (Hello, unrelated comment).

We're waiting for a phone call to set up our office interviews at Buckner. Although I absolutely can't wait to get another step of the process done, I haven't had time to think about it too much.

This is a really boring post, sorry.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A God thing

This morning after church we had a free lunch for the university students. One of the great things about serving in the university department is that when the students get free lunch, so do we! (Usually.)

Mr. Randy assistant taught 4-year-old Sunday school a few years ago. Today we ran into the teacher of that class who had not seen Randy in awhile and didn't know we had gotten married. R shared that we were adopting a baby and she said, nonchallantly, "Both of our children are adopted. What agency are you using?" R replied "Buckner." I don't even think I need to tell you what agency they used. This happens to us ALL THE TIME.

One of the stressful things about choosing adoption is selecting an agency. There are so many to choose from! You can go through an agency, a maternity home, an attorney, foster care, and so on. I thought we'd never pick one. However, from even before we came to the decision to adopt the word "Buckner" came to our ears regularly. Our friend went on a mission trip with Buckner. Our friend's friend had adopted from there. Every time we told friends we were thinking about adoption they said, "Have you heard of Buckner?"

Have you visited Christine's pseudo-crunchy weblog? Christine was a college roommate of a friend, and is now a friend to us, too.

The other night we announced to several more people that we are adopting. The first person we told, Cherie, squeeled with joy and asked, "From Buckner?" We had never ever talked about adoption or Buckner with her before. Julie was sitting next to Cherie and was equally excited. She was the friend who went on a mission trip with Bukner International to Guatemala and highly recommended Buckner's professional staff. (The international adoption side of things is a different staff from domestic, but I'm sure they are all equally loverly.)

And now this latest circumstance.

Some ways that God speaks to people are through prayer, the Bible, circumstances, and other believers. When you read in our profile that we feel that God is leading us down this path, part of that tug comes from the frequent confirmation of our choice by the words of other believers who we trust also are listening for His voice. This is not an audible voice, although it could be as God has chosen to speak that way to people before, but a still small voice. When we accept that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we are a part of Him and He a part of us. We then receive the Holy Spirit as our "inner voice" of God. When we pray to God, the Holy Spirit interprets our words in ways that even we don't fully understand - but God does. I'm not making this up - it's in the Bible. Check it!

I am not talking about "the universe" here. The universe is not a person, it is a creation of, you guessed it, God. Why is it so strange to believe that an almighty being acts in this way, but it is not strange to believe that the "universe" gives and takes away?

When did I become a preacher? You can call me "Rev" like the character in the movie Remember the Titans. ;o)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I'm Mrs. Standridge!

No, Randy and I did not renew our wedding vows, nor did I just wake up from a fit of amnesia. I am, however, a teacher. Check me out...

I remember being in grade school a million years ago and the names of my favorite teachers - Mrs. Swavely, Mrs. Rosenberg, Mrs. Williams (oh wait, she was NOT one of my favorite teachers. Anyway...). Now I am Mrs. Standridge. It's funny, I don't see an elementary school music teacher in the mirror, but it sure is fun to play the role.

Here are some highlights of my first week. You experienced teachers will roll your eyes at the things that seem exciting on your first week that become mundane after years or decades of teaching!

-> Sweet T who I know from church who said "I'm so excited" after my cooperating teacher introduced me as their student teacher. Other students clapped and said, "Yay" when I was announced - a responsive crowd, these guys.

-> Walking down the hall in my teacher outfit and saying to the children, "Walk, please," and "You're being so nice and quiet in the hall," and "Very nice manners, Georgeanne" (*all names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent!), and "Oh, Parker, you can walk in a straighter line than that..."

-> Getting my badge (modeled so elegantly above).

-> Picturing my adorable nephew K5 in the 1st grade class next year chanting, "Ta-ta-ti-ti-ta."

-> The ultimate highlight - Joe and the button factory.

My brother was not crazy about school growing up (he went on to get a PhD - go figure). He did not get very involved in music, although he tried some instruments on for size. (Note to parents - do NOT let your sons choose the cello or any bowed string instrument unless they really, REALLY want to play it.) There are a few things he remembers from music class. Two of these things are "Ta-ta-ti-ti-ta," which he taught my precious nephew as mentioned above, and,

"Hi. My name is Joe, and I work in a button factory. I have a wife, a dog, and a family. One day my boss said, "Hey Joe, are you busy?" I said "No." He said, "Turn the button with the right hand." By the end of this movement song the students are waving both arms, twisting both legs, turning their heads and wagging their tongues. Yesterday the kindergarten class met Joe. I was laughing so hard silently in the back that I cried. I seriously had to get a tissue. It struck me as SO funny. Here is the one thing my bro remembers from music class and 25 years or more later I'm sitting in the back of a classroom in my first 3 days of learning how to be a teacher and this is what they do in class.

I know you had to be there, but I was and it was hilarious! I thought I was going to expire. I had the best day yesterday. I should cling to that as my honeymoon period with teaching gradually tapers off. And sometimes it will, I'm certain.

Am I really a music teacher? This was the last thing I thought I'd ever be doing when I was an undergrad. I didn't even major in music at that time because I didn't want to be a teacher or a performer. Now I'm working on an advanced degree in Music Education. It's nuts.

In the afternoon I had a seminar back at UT. (No, I didn't make my peers call me Mrs. Standridge!) We taught what is the third thing my brother remembers from music class - the recorder. The recorder can actually sound pretty good when played by a pile of music majors in their final semester of college. The day before, I had a request from a young guitar student to learn "Yellow Submarine." I was so inspired, I arranged it for recorder in two parts. It was a hit! I must say, I really enjoyed hearing the arrangement. It was really fun and I received several compliments afterwards. There are 16 people in this seminar, and everybody arranged and taught a piece on recorder, because it is one instrument that we all have in common. After each person taught the groups was asked for positive feedback regarding the lesson.

Let me tell you that excellent music instruction is alive and well in Texas. I would have any one of these cats teach my children. Everybody had their own style and personality which came through in their teaching. I was so excited at one point I squeeked out a shrill pitch on my instrument. I barely even thought about what I was doing. I just went, "TOOT!" on the horn. If I didn't already have the thing in my mouth I might have shouted, "Yipee-yahoo!"

It was amazing to see the teaching, and so warm and wonderful to hear positive feedback from your peers, especially when the comments they gave are ones that you really worked to receive. Part of my M.O. is using humor in the classroom. It comes naturally to me and I love to get a laugh! What I had to work on, though, was using humor effectively without getting carried away and off-task from the lesson. I have a hard time focusing on the task at hand when people start laughing. (Do NOT give me a microphone or put me in front of a video camera or you'll see what I mean.) I admittedly crack myself up sometimes. It's so fun. One comment from my esteemed professor was that I used humor in my lesson without getting off-task. Yes!

My dear husband (DH) took me out to celebrate my fun day at McDonald's and the movie "Glory Road." I had a little fatigue meltdown at home before we were to go out, and he asked me what would make me feel better. Off to McDonald's we went! I typically go there to celebrate victories great and small. Randy said, "You deserve a break today."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Oops - I almost forgot

I have a professional life!

In all of the excitement and obsessing about what shade of yellow to paint the baby's room (can't bring myself to say "nursery" like I'm Mary Poppins or something), I almost forgot to start student teaching today!

The highlight of my day was when a 2nd grader who I had last year in 1st grade choir at church was in my first class. In the middle of class, she turned around to me and with huge bright eyes and a big smile said, "I'm so excited!" in a loud whisper. It was unbelievably sweet. I will be teaching Kindergarten through 2nd grade - little bitties!

My cooperating teacher is amazing, too. She is very excited about our adoption plans and said that I could have any time off I needed for interviews. Now we are just waiting for the phone to ring...

The bad thing about student teaching is that I have to be there at 7:15 tomorrow! So it's 9:51 right now and I am panicking because I was not asleep at 9:30 so I could get 8 hours. I am so pleased that at least my morning placement is but 10 minutes away. Phew!

I already can't wait until Friday! It's fun to have a schedule again. I don't think it will be QUITE so interesting in a few weeks when I am teaching by myself and exhausted. In the meantime, just hook me up to a coffee IV.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Before and After

It's a study!

Wait, it's a baby's room in a lovely shade of cream!

No, yellow!

Yes, definitely yellow.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine...

You are the sunshine of my life...

I got sunshine, on a cloudy day...



Friday, January 13, 2006

The Eagle has Landed

After having put the postage on our application packet in the lower left corner instead of the upper right (should I blame my adjustment disorder or the confusion of the postage hike...), Buckner has received our mountain of paperwork.

Sound the trumpets!

I consider myself a no-fuss, laid back person. I don't like makeup, don't take long to get ready for my day, tend to blow off even important things (I call this laid back, but I guess it could also be called flakey), but I've been a ball of nerves waiting to hear that our paperwork had arrived. Today I gave in and emailed the very busy administative file-putting-together person, and she let me know that the package had arrived the other day.

It's about time I get back to school and get some other things on my mind!

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Now I'm scared. It is surprisingly hard to hope again after so many months of those hopes being dashed.

I'm scared! I'M SCARED! This is not fair.

How can I make this beautiful? I know fear is not from God.

We're moving furniture around to make room for baby. This is probably a normal, exciting, natural thing for a couple who have not suffered pregnancy loss and hope-of-pregnancy loss.

Think about this: Infertility is like a loss every month. Not the loss of an actual real baby, but the loss of a dream of a baby. During the last few days of each cycle you begin to wonder if you're pregnant, and you even begin to bond with that imagined baby. Then it's over and you get ready to do it all again. Although it's very different from a miscarriage, and unfortunately we also know what that is like, it is a loss all the same.

So, even the small life changes of moving a piano or a desk here or there are reminders of how things are going to change, and a reminder of how long we've been waiting for it to change. This is what we've been longing for for years. Now it's here and I think, "Huh?"

When I was previously married and going through a divorce, I went to see a counselor. In order to "treat" me he had to give me a diagnosis so that my insurance would cover it. He "gave me" an adjustment disorder. This means just what it sounds like - in the process of adjusting to a life change one might experience sadness, confusion, absent-mindedness, etc. I have a friend who has a new baby and she parked in her driveway after work and forgot to set the parking brake. Next thing she knew her car was out in the street. We joked about her having an adjustment disorder. This can happen when transitioning to a good new situation, too. It happened to me when I married my dear husband and moved into "his" house. I've recovered from that, and I will again.

So, don't mind my freak out! I'm sure it'll happen again.

Whoever said that adoption was a whole new rollercoaster knew what she was talking about! Who said that??

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Baby's room, stage II

We're really doing it! After almost 3 years of longing for a baby we have finally begun making a cute room. I can't believe this is happening.

Here's the extremely mundane details for anyone other than us.

Moved the tall bookshelf out and the short one in. We'll paint the short one white.
Moved the piano into the dining room. It actually looks pretty nice in the bay window. I've always wanted a piano in a bay window!
I'm taping up the floor boards and crown moulding so we can paint the room yellow during the 3-day weekend.
Made 3 trips to The Container Store to put some books and other items in storage.

As a reminder, here is what the room looked like before!

Think we have our work cut out for us?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Supervisor says,

"You and I should discuss your anticipated absences and how these days can be made up with each of your placements and supervising teachers."

P.S. The 51-page application packet is in the mail.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Paperwork is Done!

I'm the one in the blue shirt. Wait - that's Christine's favorite shirt. I must have borrowed it...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Doors are opening

Oh, God. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Things are really happening.

I know that at any time doors could start to close and things could be postponed, but for the time being, God's timing seems to be moving pretty fast. What a ride!

I emailed my advisor about whether she thought it was feasible to both student teach and do interviews at the same time. This might be a little easier if our agency was in Austin, but it isn't so we'll just go with it. Her exact response was...


Whoa. That's unambiguous, isn't it?

My next step was to email the student teaching superviser. I have not heard back from her yet, as a just barely emailed her, but I think I composed a special email stating our "case." If she is as encouraging as my dear advisor, I will then contact my two cooperating teachers. I would like to take a minute to outline some of the circumstances outlining our parent preparation process. (Sounds like I am making a speech).

Spring 2005 - field teaching experience with Mrs. Woodbridge, a Christian
Fall 2005 - field teaching experience with Mrs. Oliver, a Christian, shared our adoption plans
October 14th - attend Buckner orientation
December 2005 - received spring student teaching placement with Mrs. Woodbridge and Mrs. Oliver
January 5 - hear from agency that we could get in our interview and attend a seminar next month
January 6 - panic, email advisor
January 7 - validation from advisor, email supervisor

Right now doors are opening. They could temporarily shut tomorrow, and that's OK. We're doin' the faith walk! Scary? Hmmm...exciting. Definitely exciting.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Another update!

Yowzah! Things are really moving. Am I really saying, "Whoah, Nelly, slow down!?"

I feel particularly pulled in two directions today. Yesterday we heard from Buckner that if we get our paperwork in soon we will be able to get our interview completed and attend the seminar next month. Huh?! N-n-next month?"

Don't get me wrong - we're ready (sort of), but there is, was sonst, a snag. I am student teaching this semester and attendence is a big issue. I would certainly have to miss several days to drive back and forth to Dallas from Austin. I know these are extenuating circumstances, it's not like I'm a 21-year-old kid skipping school to attend Austin City Limits, but this is not cut and dry like it might be with a regular j-o-b.

After years of waiting for a baby, doesn't it seem strange that now I'm willing to wait an additional 5 months so that I can earn my teacher's certification? Am I willing to wait another few months? Do I have to?

This would be a great time for me to be reminded about God's perfect timing.

Also, all of the sudden I am asking myself, "Are we ready to be parents?" This is normal, right? No more doing whatever we want whenever, no more hesitating to clean up that spare room to make room for a baby, no more worry-free alone time?

I am freaking out! Do we wait to submit paperwork? Do we go ahead? Do I ask permission from my student teaching supervisor?

Are we ready for this? Suddenly, having 9 months of pregnancy to get used to the idea of having a baby looks extremely luxurious. I know it could take longer than that to be placed with a birth family, but it could also be faster.

TGIF! Gotta get that 1040 done...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

State jobs rock!

Hello, W-2 forms! Be still my heart. These are some of the very last things we need to complete our application. We were in such a hurry we were about to go back to all our pay stubs and add up our incomes for 2005.

I start student teaching in two weeks! Today I have to go get a TB test that is required before my student teacher orientation. It was possible at one point that I could have been exposed to TB, but I have had a test since then that was negative. When I did my music therapy internship at the VA there was a TB scare. Seems like I dodged that bullet, though.

Off to the gym. See you!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Finally - an update!

We are almost finished with our paperwork! We finished our 20-page questionnaires, have our recommendations in (we think), and will have our medical statements sent in this week!

We are still waiting for our W-2s to finish our 1040 and adoption fee agreements, and after that we wait. I feel like we've been waiting for long enough, but wait we will (I hear this last part of the sentence in an annoying Jar-jar Binks voice, sorry.) It's been almost 3 months since our orientation at Buckner, and it feels like so much longer.

Yesterday I stopped at Home Depot and picked up some paint samples for the baby's room! We are going to do yellow, but of course there are a million shades of yellow, all with interesting names. Here are some examples...

Touch of Nectar
Jonquil (huh?)
That 70's Color!
Celestial Sun
Punk Rock

Maybe we'll skip Punk Rock - no telling what may happen with a color like that. Plus, it looks like a hopped-up version of those Avocado-colored appliances from the 1970s. So far I think Citron Ice or Celestial Sun...