My Turn!

This is a fantastic idea. We all have such crazy schedules, what a wonderful way for all of us to catch up in one spot!

Oh where to begin… Monday – Friday are kind of a blur for me, it seems. Sarietta and I wake up around 5:45 or 6 to get ready for work/school. When I say 5:45 or 6, I mean my alarm starts going off then, but usually it’s more like 6:15… haha. We get all of our stuff done to be on the road to work by 6:40 for our 35 minute drive to the school. Once we arrive, we get my room ready for the day and I take her to her classroom. By 7:30, I’m back in my room and ready for students. I like my job, it’s fun and changes everyday. There have been some rough patches this year, but I am thankful I am finally in a school district and a good one at that.  Students dismiss at 2pm and then I finally get to pick Sarietta up at 2:10 or so. She hangs out in my room while I get paperwork done, set up for the next day. When we have meetings, she attends them with me and is generally good for the duration of them. She’s such a little grown up even though she’s only 5.

While we are at school, David is home with Liam. I think they typically start their day around 9 or so (lucky!) and eat and play for most of the day.  Liam goes to my mom’s each day at 2:30 and David goes to work from 3 until 11.  Usually by 3:15 or so, Sarietta and I pack up and head to my mom’s to get the small one. We sometimes hang out there for a while, but on Monday’s and Wednesday’s, we stay for only a few minutes. On those days, Sarietta has karate and we have to eat dinner and get there by 6:30. We are usually there until around 8 or so. On Tuesday’s I usually work until at least 5, sometimes 6 if we have a lot going on. Once we all get home, it’s dinner time that I have to make while Sarietta and Liam are playing in their rooms or watching tv. There are lots of interruptions and most nights it may be 8pm before we eat, but that is life. After dinner, it’s bath time and reading then off to bed by 9.  Sarietta always drifts off quickly but Liam is consistent in his need for snuggles or “nuggles” as he calls them. I usually lay in his bed with him for about 15 minutes, singing to him and giggling. He is a silly, fun little boy.  Sometimes, if Sarietta doesn’t go right to sleep I will go in there with her and talk for a while. She doesn’t often nap at school, but when she does, it takes her forever to fall asleep at night.

Once they are in bed, I always PLAN to go to bed by 10:30. 90 % of the time that doesn’t happen. I usually sew or catch up on my tv shows I record.  Sometimes, I do actually make it to bed by 10:30… not normally though. I usually stay up so I can at least see David for a few minutes when he gets home at 11:30. I always stay up Friday nights to see him.

On Saturdays and Sundays, we do all of our grocery shopping and if I am lucky I get to see Sarah and Regina for a bit 🙂  David usually works on Saturdays so we typically do lunch and then I take him to work. On Sundays, we sometimes go to church, but we aren’t very regular. This is something I want to change.  If we do go to church, we usually have lunch with David’s parents and then go home to have a lazy day and sometimes nap.

And then it all starts again!

Some random tidbits that have happened in the last year or so:

  • I have a huge passion for sewing. I started my own business in January 2014 and mainly make purses and baby items. I am a fabric addict and I love, love, love making all these wonderful things! I named my business Sew, Actually with David’s help and it has been a real blessing to us! 🙂
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    Sarietta as Spider Girl and Liam as Gnomeo from Gnomeo and Juliet: Halloween 2014

  • I recently became in contact with long lost family members. It’s been amazing. I am so grateful to be able to get to know them and it has really been life changing in more ways than one!
  • I’ve realized that the hardest part is David working 2nd shift. We recently took our first weekend trip without the children. This is something we had never done before and while parts of the trip were frustrating (hotel issues, etc), it was so nice to have time with him alone. I think we get wrapped up in all the craziness and we forget to take time for ourselves.
  • I just started using Young Living Essential Oils! Holy Crap, I am in love! It’s just been amazing!!

Well, I think that is all for now. I am really enjoying reading these so far! Miss you all! And I look forward to reading more 🙂signature

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Ellen’s Regular Week :)

Ok, let’s give this a whirl!  Thanks, Alma, for setting all of this up… and to Roberta for your wonderful directions 🙂  I’ll probably make my own account later.  I’ve often wondered what everyone has been up to myself, but I realize I’ve been pretty bad at staying in touch actively. LOVE Facebook for at least brief glimpses into everyone’s lives at least!

I am still working at the State of Nevada Welfare Department–I started there almost a year and a half ago after the fiasco of having to leave my last job at the Housing Authority.  I truly miss it. While I still work with the same clientele, it’s been a difficult transition going from Director of Public Housing at my old job to an entry level worker at the welfare department where it’s a bureaucratic nightmare.  No one wants a “peon’s” insights or suggestions, and if you ask too many questions you’re considered an upstart.  God forbid anyone in my unit suggest to my supervisor that she hold a meeting… that kind of thing.  My boss is incompetent and lazy (most of the employee population can be described as that, sadly), and there really isn’t any upward mobility, so needless to say, I’ve been looking elsewhere.  I’ve been desperately trying not to fall into complacency there, but it’s difficult when no one cares if you go above and beyond, and slackers get away with everything.  It’s a far cry from my old job where I worked 50-60 hrs/wk and my boss appreciated my efforts.  Thankfully the Executive Director at the Housing Authority is retiring this Friday (Yay Good Friday!) and there’s an entry level position I’m submitting an application for on that day.  I don’t mind starting over since there is a lot of upward mobility there and people know my work ethic.

At welfare there are days I feel like an adult babysitter since my job entails making sure anyone receiving Federal cash assistance is meeting a certain amount of self-sufficiency activity hours per week. On the upside, it’s truly a joy when I’ve been able to be a personal cheerleader for someone after he/she successfully completed a high school equivalency program or obtained employment.  Most people don’t want to be on the TANF program, and thankfully it’s a minority that try to live off of it and jerk me around.  I enjoy my coworkers within my unit immensely, and it’s never a dull day with the clients.  🙂

Most evenings are pretty chill in the Escobar household, though this past month I started participating in mixed Martial Arts.  Mikey has been going there for 8+ years and is a 2nd degree blackbelt, and for years he’s encouraged me to go.  They had a special for the month of March where family members could attend for free, so I finally decided to check it out.  It’s been exciting, hard work, and I’m meeting some new friends.  My shins hurt like a mother from Thai Boxing, but as they say, “no pain, no gain!”  I’m going to focus on the stand-up classes for awhile so I can build my core up again, but then I want to start going to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes again.  I did some of those this past month, but I strained a hip muscle while attempting to buck off people heavier than me, lol.  My massage therapist had a fun time working out my glutes, let me tell you! Otherwise we enjoy walking in the evenings, and sometimes I hit the gym to go to water aerobics or to power lift (I won’t lie… figuring out how to use some of the power rack equipment with good form has boosted my self-confidence!).  At home I’m lazier, but I’ll find Mikey doing his Convict Conditioning program which I don’t do consistently enough, haha.

After our evening workouts, we check on our eBay businesses (we resell stuff from Kohls primarily), and prepare outgoing packages while we eat dinner and watch a show.  We’re currently watching “Breaking Bad” on Netflix, which I’m enjoying.  Mikey crossed the $20K gross threshold on eBay this year and had to pay taxes (I think after expenses and taxes, he was left with about $2K, oops), but mine is still more of a “hobby” so I can fly under the radar.  Our house rather looks like a department store, haha, but it’s fun hunting for things on 90% clearance and having a little extra income.  Today I’ve been balancing my time between listing items and doing yardwork 🙂

Saturdays we usually get up and make a delicious breakfast of homemade hash browns, eggs, and nitrate-free bacon along with our twice-daily green smoothies.  We’ve gone pretty much close to organic and non-processed as possible.  Sometimes we hang out with Mikey’s family… we try to spend some time with his mom since she doesn’t drive and is retired now.  I usually go with her to church on Sundays since her kids aren’t active anymore.  Otherwise we use the weekends to spend time together, relax, and do cooking/other housework.  Yesterday I repaired my dripping shower faucet 🙂  I’ve really come to enjoy plumbing repairs over the years, and there’s something empowering about doing it myself.  I learned a lot from my former maintenance guys that I supervised.

With the mild winter we’ve had this year and the ever increasing warm temperatures, we’ll be starting to plan mini-excursions around Nevada for the summer time.  We really like going to nowhere Nevada and explore/hike.  Our next step will be to invest in some actual backpacking gear so we can stay overnight in the wilderness rather than always returning after a few hours of hiking.  I’m always amazed that I never hiked when I lived in the South, especially with all the wooded areas and beautiful waterfalls.  We’ve never gone down to Vegas to see trails there, but I just heard about some areas down there called the Gold Butte that I want to check out. It apparently has some amazing rock formations and is fairly close to the Grand Canyon.  But if not there this year, then I have yet to check out Yosemite National Park and some others that are relatively closer.  Last summer for our anniversary we went to the Great Basin National Park in Ely, NV (7-ish hrs away) and tried to find some ghost towns (most were unsuccessful ventures, lol), and then went with Mike’s family to Elko, NV (5-ish hrs away) where we hike in the Ruby Mountains annually.  Both were really fun trips, though I was fairly wary driving to Ely since the majority of it is driving along the “Loneliest Highway” in the nation and I was terrified we’d get stranded in the middle of the desert for some reason.  But, then I overcame those fears in order to go off-roading in my little Civic (yes, I still have that sucker!) to see petroglyphs and earthquake faults.  🙂

So to wrap stuff up for now, you can see my life isn’t all THAT exciting, haha.  But I try to stay busy, partake in self-improvement activities, and veg on weekends.  I’m re-reading my favorite book series currently (The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan–Ashley–you really should start it!!!).  I hope everyone has a fabulous upcoming week and a nice Easter!  Miss all of you!

~Ellen

An Introduction to my World. Drum Roll Please…

I love this.  I can’t tell you how many times I have wondered what everyone else is doing every day, how your children are growing, how you are growing.

Right now my biggest time suck is my full time job, of course.  I am the childcare director at our hometown Y.  I have been with the Y for more than four years, but just took this position after maternity leave last November.  In all honesty, I didn’t want it.  Now that I’m in it, I’m finding my talents are well suited for the most part.  The best part is being able to make my own schedule.  I also get free childcare.  I guess it makes up for the lack of a good wage. I also feel like I can do some good for our community.  There is a lot of opportunity to serve others, parents as well as children. The worst part is supervising.  I really hate that part.  There are 14 people that I supervise right now.  This number will increase during the summer.

My heart is at home, though.  My children are 7, 2, and 6 months.  All are absolutely gorgeous little girls (I’m not biased at all ).  Hannah is about to finish her first year of grade school.  She’s so smart.  Her personality is all ribbons and princesses.  She’s very gullible and has a good sense of humor.  One of her teacher’s told me she is everything a little girl should be.

The toddler, Ezri, is a force of nature.  My husband nicknamed her “Demon” to the shock of everyone who hears it.  He’s only half joking.  She is a terrible morning person.  She destroys everything in her path.  Sometimes she refers to herself as “we” and randomly talks in terrible voices.  She’s not entirely social.  Even as a baby she just gave everyone mean looks.  Don’t get me wrong, she is healthy and happy.  She has a twisted sense of humor like her father, though.

The youngest, Nora, is just so sweet!  She’s the happiest baby I have ever encountered.  She smiles 90% of her waking time.  She loves watching her sisters play and she rarely is unhappy.  She can belt it with the best of them, though.  The day she was born the nurse said “there’s nothing wrong with her lungs.”  If she’s not in her bed at 7:45 every night she lets the neighborhood know.

So for us it’s really the same Monday through Thursday.  I get up at 4:30 to get the four of us ready.  My husband goes to the gym before work, so he’s not there to help, and honestly, that is helpful.  When he does stay home to help I just badger him with questions about what he has or has not already gotten together and we always leave something.  Hannah is at school by 7:35 and then the little ones and I go to the Y.  At 8 they go to the nursery.  At 8:45 Ezri goes to school.  I pick her up again at noon.  The nursery closes at 1 and I usually keep them with me until 1:30 or 2.  At that time either my mom or my mother in law comes to get them and then pick up Hannah.  We get home around 6, to dinner already started by my husband, take showers and get the girls to bed by 7:45.  Chris and I follow by nine at the latest.

If all goes well during the week, I usually get off early on Friday to do the grocery shopping and a little cleaning at home.  Saturdays we see my husband’s family a lot or sometimes have events or birthday parties to go to.  Sundays we go to church, have lunch at my mom’s, the oldest two go visit my dad in the afternoon and then they have Awana at church at 5:30. There’s very little wiggle room to our schedules.  Coordinating three children gets tricky sometimes.  If someone wants to schedule something it’s gotta be a month in advance.

My outlet is home projects or throwing parties.  I just love to put together detailed tablescapes.  I’m already planning an apple orchard theme for Nora’s first birthday.

All in all, I’m really happy.  I love our little town, the people I work with and my job.  My girls are miracles and I think my husband is secretly working on sainthood.  I have my moments when the little things get to me but I am truly blessed.

Following in Alma’s Shoes….

Well, I suppose I’ll follow Alma’s lead and introduce you to the day-to-day of my life. I am still living in Winston-Salem and, as of two years ago, Joe has been living with me. I graduated from Wake in December of 2013 and spent 2014 doing several crazy 6-week stints of frantic science while half-heartedly looking for postdocs and doing a ton of soul searching, but I’ll save my disillusionment with science for another post on another day.

My days are now devoted to music, writing, transcribing, occasional scientific consulting, and, most recently, studying for the LSATs. I typically study for the LSATs in the morning and spend my afternoons doing any freelance work I might have, singing, writing, researching my genealogy, brushing up on my German by reading the Harry Potter series, and brushing up on my Italian with a grammar text. I have Winston-Salem Symphony Chorale rehearsals on Monday evenings, church choir rehearsals on Wednesday evenings, and church on Sunday mornings. Sunday and Monday are Joe’s days off, so the two of us usually do some exploring on those days: trying new restaurants, visiting small local museums, and visiting historical sites.

The Winston-Salem Symphony Chorale is the absolute highlight of my week. I’ve been singing with the chorale for about three years now and we usually put on four or five sets of concerts per year. We just performed Bach’s Christ lag in Todes Banden and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass (I thought of you and Trafalgar Square, Alma!) at Centenary UMC last weekend and that was a ton of fun, even if the crowd was disappointingly sparse.

This post is really short, but perhaps I’ll write a year-by-year recap later today or tomorrow.

Roberta

Hello world!

shoes

Walk a Week in My Shoes

I thought we would start this off by writing about what a typical week looks like for each of us.

In February, I left my full time job as a supervisor at a non-profit mental health agency. I now stay at home with my son and in August I will be switching from a graduate Counseling program to a graduate Industrial/Organizational Psychology program. I want to share with you what my life looked like before I resigned and what it is like now.

My husband works 12 hour shifts three or four days a week and he rotates between day and night shifts. On the days that he was not working or sleeping, he would stay at home with our son. When he was also working, my mother-in-law would pick up my son in the morning and watch him until one of us picked him up at her house. Each day for work I would get up, get ready, get him ready and send him with my mother-in-law or leave him with my husband.

At my job I had certain tasks and responsibilities that I had to complete each week to fulfill a monthly quota. I had to attend meetings for the supervisors on my team in the morning on Monday and Tuesday. I had a two hour meeting on Monday that I had to lead. On Tuesday, I took notes at a meeting that was led by the consultant for about an hour. I was responsible for meeting with each person that I supervised for about an hour to discuss their development within their role as a specialist and within the company. I had to meet with so many clients each month to either supervise and train staff or to help with coverage if needed; it was always needed for some reason or another. If I saw a client for the staff member then I had to write the session note and submit it into the paperwork system. I had to read each piece of documentation that a staff member entered into the computer system and either approve it or send it back to them to improve. Each specialist that I supervised would have a caseload of 9-10. Each week they would have 9-10 session notes from where they met with the client. They would also have monthly paperwork due for 2-3 clients each week like treatment plans. I reviewed all of that paperwork for quality and took note of their timeliness score which I later reported in one of my supervisor meetings. I had to read each treatment plan, safety plan and other supporting documentation and would write up a one page sheet (we called it group preparation) that was my direction to them about their treatment plans. I was on call 24/5 for my team for emergencies. Emergencies ranged from a youth has become homeless, to a youth has expressed a suicidal or homicidal thought to anything in between that required staff assistance. I was also on call on one weekend a month for the entire office. Emergencies for each program varied from a youth ran away from home, expressed suicidal or homicidal thoughts or any other concerning behavior. To basically sum up my job, I drove, wrote, typed and talked on the phone a lot.

The semesters that I was in class, I would go to class starting at 5 pm until 8 pm at the latest. I would do homework whenever I had breaks at work or when I got home at night. The days that I didn’t have class I would drive 30 minutes away to pick up my son and drive home in rush hour traffic. I would make dinner and get my son ready for bed. I usually had a million things that I didn’t get done during the day that I would stay up doing after my son had fallen asleep.

On Saturdays, I would clean as much as I could, go grocery shopping and run any errands that I couldn’t do during the week. On Sundays we attend church for three hours. After church I would try to spend time with my family. We do not go shopping, watch television or work on Sundays so I would basically play with my son all day and squeeze in a nap if possible.

Now that I am a full-time stay at home mom, my life is much simpler, easier and less stressful. Most days, except Tuesdays and Sundays, my son and I wake up anywhere between 7-9. We get breakfast and I let him play while I get ready. I get him ready and we usually go to the library for a story time or a play group. There are several libraries close to us that have different story times so we rotate between each of them. We come home for lunch and then play until he takes a nap. I either clean or nap while he naps. We usually go outside after his nap and then come in and make dinner. After dinner we play a little more and then get ready for bed. My son magically falls asleep right at 10:30 pm no matter what time I try to put him to bed. After he goes to sleep, I usually try to get some of the things done that I cannot do with him around and then I go to bed.

On Tuesdays my mother-in-law takes my son with her for the day. I clean as much as I can on these days. I also attend a community French class at the local Catholic church. I took French in college and did horrible at it. I learned Spanish after college and so I wanted to try my hand at French again. I really want to go to Marseille one day and I like to keep my mind busy learning new things. On Sunday, we attend church for three hours and then try to visit family.

As you can see there is a big difference in my life before and after resigning. The reason I decided to leave my position was to be able to have more time with my son and to focus on my graduate program. I feel a lot less crazy these days and my house is so much cleaner. We have also been able to do a lot more as a family.

Alma