Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Easiest Most Difficult Decision . . .


The easiest most difficult decision I've ever made.  An oxymoron you say?  Yes it is, kind of like the phrase, "the same difference."  Not a mistake or a grammar error.

I've recently made the easiest most difficult decision I've had to make so far.  I assume this will be the first of many now that I have a little human being that means more to me than I could explain.  She, or maybe it was God, put me in front of a big decision recently.  Do I go back to my job as a high school counselor or take on a new job as a wife and mother? 

That was my easy yet difficult decision.


Brea Olinda High School has been my home for the past 6 years.  I was a 21 year old college student working as an aide with the Special Education department as well as interning as a high school counselor with the guidance department.  I worked side by side with my mentor Kim Kessel, she taught me the ropes and the ins and outs of being a high school counselor.  I owe all of my awesome counseling skills to her in fact! :)  Of course there were several other counselors there as well, as a team they all taught me something new and different in the counseling field.  Our lead counselor fought for me back in December of 2006 to make sure I was hired and I was!  I didn't even have my credential yet but was able to get an emergency credential and work as a real life counselor.  So, the difficult part is the obvious, I'm leaving my friends that have become family.


I'm leaving my counseling team who have fought for me year after year during budget cuts to make sure that I have a job.  My friends who know everything about my life and I enjoy spending time with outside of work as well.  My friends who text me to see how things are going and who treat me like their family, their little sister in fact.  There are two Jen's that work on the counseling team so I was dubbed the name "Baby Jen," and they did wrap their arms around me and guide me through everything just like their baby sister.  I love them, they are what made this decision the most difficult.


The principals, office staff and teachers were all my friends too.  I felt like they all looked after me and were always ensuring that I was doing ok and was a happy camper at work.  Working part-time last year made me feel a little disconnected and they always did a good job of making me feel right back at home when I would show up halfway through the week for work.  They are all my friends that have become family too.


My pseudo kids.  I will miss them.  When I first started as a counselor I worked with the high risk kids, I loved them.  I continued to draw myself to those kiddos every year and constantly checked on them to make sure they were doing ok.  I will miss those kids.  I know that they are in great hands with the other counselors, but it hurts to know that I won't be there to chat with them and see whats going on in their lives anymore.  That made my decision difficult.


My husband and my daughter.

As much as I love every single person that I worked with at Brea and felt like they were my family and home away from home, it comes down to the fact that I don't love them or the job as much as I love my husband and daughter.


The thought of sending Leah to a daycare and in the hands of strangers terrifies me.  I know she would be fine, my friends have their kids in daycare and are alive and well, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't terrify me.  Having me stay home with her at all times takes that anxiety and worry away.  Knowing that I will be home to see all of her "firsts" and not hearing it from a stranger excites me.  Being involved with her preschool one day and not just dropping her off and picking her up is something that I look forward to. 


I remember when I was younger and my mom was home with my brother and I, it was the greatest thing ever.  Having my mom involved at my school, on my soccer team, at my brownie meetings are all things that I will never forget.  One of my best friends had a mom who stayed home too, Cindy.  I will always remember going home with Amber to play and her mom Cindy would be baking cookies as we walked in the door and she would leave out a spoonful of dough for each of us.  On cold days she would make us real hot chocolate on the stove with milk and cocoa.  Her and my mom would take us to the beach, camping and to Knotts Berry Farm or to places that we otherwise would not be able to go because we would be in daycare.  These are the things that I remember as a little girl and these are things that I want Leah and her sibling(s) to remember one day too.  I want her to remember me being there for her and creating these memories for and with her.  


Being there for my husband is important to me too.  Believe it or not, I actually enjoy cleaning my house, cooking dinner, baking and of course caring for my child.  All of those stereotypical things that the woman of the house is "supposed" to do, I actually enjoy.  I guess you can say I'm traditional.  Maybe its because that's what my mom did and that's what my brother's family now does and I'm just accustomed to it.  I'm all for women's rights and whatnot, more power to those women, that's just not me.  Anyway, I enjoy taking care of my husband and making sure that he comes home to a clean house, a good meal and a cared for child.  

Wow.  This has become a long winded blog huh?  I guess you get my point?  

My friend Jaycee said it best when she told me, "you can always go back to work one day, but you can never get back your kids childhood."  Agreed.

One more thing I need to add.  I know that I'm very very very lucky to be able to stay home.  I know that there are a lot of ladies out there that would do anything to have the opportunity to stay home with their kids but just are not able to do so.  I wish that every mom could have the opportunity to stay home if they wanted too and that circumstances didn't hold them back.  I know that I'm very lucky to have the life that I have and the hard working husband that I have.  Thankfully, God has blessed us and allowed Marc to be the provider of our family.  Wow am I lucky!   

Looking at my husband and Leah, this was the easiest most difficult decision.

Happy Summer 

Jen xoxo

Monday, June 13, 2011

Traditions . . .

Does your family have traditions?

You know, do you have to do a certain thing say every Christmas because its a tradition?  Maybe that's just my family?  I don't know.

We have traditions, a lot of them.  

Maybe you could call it "unwillingness to change," I'd prefer traditions though.

For example . . . 

Every time we go to Mexico we have SEVERAL traditions.  If we don't do the same things every time we go to Mexico its just not the same, the trip has a different feel to it.  We always stop at the same McDonald's on the way to Mexico, the one off 4th street to be exact.  We always get the same thing and we always fill up on gas.  4th street is just before crossing the border and its somewhere that we've always stopped and will always stop until 4th street disappears, which is highly unlikely.  When in Mexico its tradition for us to go to Faly's and eat huevos rancheros, nobody can go to Mexico with us and not eat Faly's huevos rancheros, they are the best thing ever!  Just look:


We also have to have "Peg McMuffins" every time we go to Mexico.  My mom, Peggy, is the maker of the Peg McMuffin unless she isn't there, in which case I am the maker of the famous Peg McMuffin.  


If you were to refer back to my Mexico blog you could see all this same stuff.  My point is, my family has traditions and I love it.  Most of our concrete traditions are in Mexico which is why I started with examples from there, oh but there are quite a few others as well.

Marc and I have our own traditions too.  The best one ever is SPT, otherwise known as "Stretchy Pant Time!"  Every night around 7:30 - 8:00 we have SPT.  That of course is when we change into our comfy pajama pants for the night.  Its the best time of day!  We are such old folks that SPT falls right between our Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune watching time, haha.  We don't care, we love it and that's what matters, right?  After SPT is "Cookie Time!"  My mom lives just two doors down from us so every night around 8:30 we walk to her house and plop on the couch for cookie time.  "Traditionally," Marc will take rule of the remote control, he will pour himself a glass of iced tea and he will get each of us one cookie (but always two for himself!).  We watch a show or two or a sport and then head back home after about an hour.  Its tradition, we can't help it.

We have a LOT more traditions than that, but I don't have the time to write for days upon days.  

I was just thinking though, what traditions will Leah have?  Will she pick up on our McDonalds tradition and carry that on when she is driving to Mexico?  Or will she join us at cookie time when she gets older?  Of course she is forced into these traditions now because she is only a whopping 3 weeks old and has no choice, but what will happen when she does have a choice?  I can only hope that she would like to join her parents in some traditions just like I have with my mom, but it will be fun to see her create her own along the way too.

Traditions are fun, they are what makes your family more unique than the next.  I wouldn't change anything that we do, its the best and it makes us happy!  As a wise wise lady (my mom) once told me, we all create our own happiness, nobody else is responsible for YOUR happiness.  So, Marc and I will continue to do just that and I look forward to bringing baby Leah along for the ride!

I'm going to leave you with some professional photos of Leah . . . just because I'm a proud mommy and I LOVE LOVE LOVE these pictures of our little girl!  A big shout out and THANK YOU to our photographer Michelle at Taylor Rose Photography, you are amazing!

Happy Monday everyone!  Have a great week!