Friday, January 30, 2009

scared Jaden

A little preschool update...

Monday and Tuesday, Jaden took naps at school. We thought this was ok even though he is not taking naps at home any more. He has been more tired lately because of all of the change in his life, emotionally draining and probably getting less sleep due to getting up earlier.

Tuesday we found out that the main reason for Jaden wanting to take naps was not his sleep deprivation but instead his fear of his teacher. He started telling one of the caretakers at school that he was scared of his teacher. Then I was informed when I picked Jaden up.

This didn't surprise me because I had been noticing that he was disliking school more and more. Tuesday night we talked a lot about school and why Jaden was scared of his teacher and what had been happening at school. Jaden has a lot of fears so this was just one more to get over.

Wednesday, I talked with Jaden's teacher and he was so disturbed by Jaden's comment and hadn't realized a problem till then. He did check with Jaden himself and realized he really needed to do something. Jaden's teacher went the extra mile that day and took some extra time with Jaden. They even talked in their group time about being scared and what other kids are scared of. Jaden's teacher also shared that he was scared of the dark as a child. Jaden didn't say a word. The teacher asked if anyone else wanted to share anything and Clay spoke up, "He's scared," while pointing to Jaden. That was all my boys contributed. The teacher called me at work at lunch to give me an update which I was very grateful for.

That evening when I picked Jaden up from school, he enthusiastically ran to me and said, "Mom, I like school. I had fun today." Wow, what a change! I guess that the teacher's extra effort really made a difference. Jaden now says that he likes his teacher and he is excited to go back to school.

Until this week I have been feeling unsure about the teacher and assistants at the school because they haven't seemed very welcoming to me. This situation changed my mind and I feel very well taken care of. I trust them with my boys and I am glad to see that they care about my boys too. I am hoping that Jaden's fear does not return and that he continues to like school.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

looking for friends

We are still in the settling in process in the Twin Cities. We have a few friends but sometimes they seem more like acquaintances. We don't have any good friends yet and we are trying to do all we can to make that happen. Any night we are at home and I have not worked during the day, is an evening that should be spent with others. We are trying to fill up our calendar with meals with friends or future friends. So, if you are reading this and you are local, we would love to have you over to our house.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

great prayers

I did catch most of the inauguration ceremony at work yesterday but the best part were the two prayers. I didn't watch Rick Warren's prayer until today online at but it was quite good. The benediction by Rev. Lowry (I think) was even better and dare I say entertaining. It was poetic and beautiful and challenging and funny. I am not posting links because they will probably change in the next day and be useless and I don't want to expend any more effort on this blog.

passionate life

I am loving life and my job. I feel like I have a new appreciation for everything in life.

I can't get enough hugs from my kids (they seem to always want more right now so I am taking advantage of it).
The sunrises and sunsets are just gorgeous.
My husband's extra efforts around the house are so appreciated.
I love meeting new people and learning more about them.
I love my manager and how nice she has been at explaining everything I ask her.
I have a great mentor at work that has so much experience and intelligence.

Life is so fulfilling when you are using the gifts God has given you. I know I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and God just keeps confirming that. Now I get to have 4 days with my kids and husband after working hard at ATK for the past 3 days. I am looking forward to catching up on a few things and having lots of family fun.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

i love my job

I am so happy after working the last three days and now I get to be home with my boys for the next four days.

I love my job at ATK. The only thing I am not crazy about is the commute but at least I get to chat with my kids in the van.

I get to watch the sunrise every morning on my way to work.
I get to talk to my kids about preschool which they wouldn't do unless they were forced to sit still in a carseat.
I love learning about rockets and knowing what is going on in NASA's biggest project: the space shuttle replacement, which the Ares rocket is apart of.
I love talking with other adults throughout the day.
I love going to the bathroom and eating in peace and quiet.
I love that I don't have to clean up after my boys all day long (meals and toys).
I am also enjoying the time to think by myself in the van and process all of the changes in my life.

I know that going back to work was the right thing for me to do. I love it. My boss is great and my mentor is such a nice guy. And I am passionate about my work. I am loving life right now!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

day 2 of school

I remembered to take the camera today to the kids' school. I got a few pictures and they capture how thrilled each of the boys was to be at school. Jaden, not thrilled. Clay, couldn't be happier.

I am exhausted and need some sleep after these two very long (but incredible) days due to the bad weather and traffic and working 9 hours a day. I haven't went to bed at 9pm for a very long time. So, here's to going to bed early!

Monday, January 12, 2009

another miracle

Today started off a little rough. I got the kids to preschool with the huge load of stuff I had to take with them (extra clothes, shoes, boots, snow pants, lunches, toothbrushes and toothpastes, plants and paperwork). The rough part came when I was showing the kids around their new school and things just didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped. I am sure that the school doesn't get new people that often but I just wanted some more clear direction on what to do. Anyway, the uncertainty hit me hard. It also hit me how much I was now trusting Mr. Jason and Miss Katy to take care of my two precious gifts from God. Tears welled up in my eyes and I did everything to hold them back. I knew that I needed to be strong for the boys or they would freak out and cry or not want me to leave them. I am not sure how much they detected my concern but they did pretty well. I expected Clay to have a hard time parting with me and Jaden to just run off and play. Wrong expectation. Clay was fine and climbed on the step to wave goodbye out the window before I was even at the door. Jaden, on the other hand, wanted as many hugs as he could get out of me. I got out to the van as quickly as I could and drove off so I could let the tears out.

Was I doing the right thing? Will my kids be well-taken care of? Is this still what God wanted me to do?

I knew the answers to those questions but I still had them. I just kept repeating to myself that I know this is what God wants for me and them. I said it but didn't really believe it. God was about to make me believe it.

I got to work plenty early for the new hire orientation which would last all day. It was typical orientation stuff about security, proprietary information and information about the company, and ya know, the usual, be careful where you acknowledge that you work for Alliant Techsystems (ATK) or people might get mad at you. Ya know, stuff everyone encounters, ha ha. Stuff like, people picket the company weekly, usually peacefully but sometimes violently, ya know, regular stuff. Funny stories and a little disturbing. It will continue to make me evaluate the company that I work for. I think this is for the good.

So, here comes the miracle. At lunchtime, my boss takes me on the long route down the cafeteria for lunch and introduces me to the man I will be working closely with. As she introduces me to him, she says, "You will be working on the Ares program with him." It didn't quite hit me. I thought maybe she misspoke.

We walked on to another guy and she says, "You will be working on Ares with him."

We walked on some more and she says, "This is Raquel. She is working on the Ares program."

By this time, I was starting to get it, but I still wanted to ask my boss to make sure. We sat down to lunch and I said, "So, last time we talked I was going to work on an artillerary project. So, now I am going to be doing the Ares project?" Yep, sure enough. That was how my boss communicated it to me. I tried to keep my jaw from hitting the floor but I am not sure if she noticed how amazingly shocked I was. I am still giddy at the realization that I will be doing space work for NASA part-time in Minneapolis. How amazing is that!?!

This is such a miracle! It is an amazing answer to prayer considering I just wrote yesterday that I was praying for a miracle to be doing space work at ATK. This is also amazing confirmation to me that I am where God wants me to. My previous pastor, Mark Batterson, has said many times that frequently God asks us to take a step of faith where we think He is leading us and then God's confirmation will follow. I have never seen God so clearly let me know that I am doing what He wants me to be doing. As hard as this morning was to drop my kids off, God came through for me and reassured me.

Truly an amazing day for me! Lots and lots of thanks and praise going up to Jesus!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

good night's sleep

I am heading to bed just 7 hours before I need to get up and start my new day as an employed aerospace systems engineer. Monday will be crazy I am sure. My kids are starting a new preschool and I am starting a new job at ATK.

Pray for me to be calm and that God will be with me and my kids on this new adventure.

Bryan will be happily at home on his day off. It will be nice to have him around in the morning to help me get the boys and myself ready.

This is a dream come true for both Bryan and I to be working part-time and have our kids in a Montessori school. There is lots of thanks going up to Jesus for working this miracle.

Now I just ask for one more miracle, God, that my job would involve some work in the space field, not just missiles and ammunition. I am also praying to make friends and feel fulfilled in my work and the relationships I make.

I look forward to giving you an update tomorrow. No, Teresa, I didn't take pictures of possible first day outfits. I am not that 'into' what I wear and that just seems like too much effort. I am letting the worry go and looking forward to a good night's sleep.

Friday, January 9, 2009

worry setting in

I got back to work in just a few short days on Monday. I am not concerned about my upcoming change but I am worried about my kids, especially Clay. Jaden is a tough kid who knows how to ask for what he wants but Clay is pretty quiet and doesn't speak up.

I have lots of unfounded and unnecessary worries. I am slowly getting over some of them but I am sure that once I get used to their school that I won't be so worried.

I am worried
that Clay won't get an afternoon snack,
that they will be starving by the time I pick them up,
that they won't talk to other kids,
that they won't know what to do with all of the new montessori activities,
that they won't get help buttoning and zipping their pants,
that they won't be able to open their lunch containers on their own,
that Clay will walk around with wet pants and underwear without anyone noticing,
that Clay or Jaden will miss me so much that they whine or misbehave more,
and that they won't get great care at the preschool.

I am really hoping that this preschool is as great as I think it is but I still am nervous about leaving both of my boys for such long periods of time. I know this is the right thing for me to do but that doesn't make it easy on the boys. I just hope that somehow they understand why this is all happening. I need to use the gifts that God has given me and that will make me a better mom to Jaden and Clay if I have more fulfillment in my life.

I usually have no problem leaving my kids with other people that I trust but this is harder than anything I have had to do. Right now they are excited to go to their new preschool together and I just hope that excitement sticks. I am also worried about when that excitement will wear off because I am sure it will.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I wish I were 35

I wish I were 35 because I want to add on a few more things to that previous life highlight list. These next 5 things will tell you a little more about me and the nerd that I am proud to be.

Honorable Mentions:
31. Numerous Labor Day weekend trips to the Outer Banks, NC with couples from church.
32. Myrtle Beach, SC Vacation
33. Being voted in as the student council President of my high school my senior year.
34. Following the NASA news about the teacher turned astronaut, Christa McAullife, before the Challenger explosion. (This began my love of space in 1st grade.)
35. Competing in National Science Olympiad in 7th and 8th grades.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The big 3-0

I am 30 today and I am proud of it. I never want to be ashamed of my age. I hope that I will always embrace it and that I will gain wisdom as I get older.

My husband has me in reflective mode so here are the 30 highlights and best times of my life so far. (I tried to put them in some sort of order but it is a flexible order that would change if I rewrote this list tomorrow.)

1. Marrying Bryan (best thing I have ever done!)
2. Bringing my 2 boys into this world (Jaden and Clay are well worth all of the effort)
3. My parents raising me to know Jesus and figuring out my faith (God has been with me in all of my experiences)
4. Living in the Washington DC area for 7 years (and moving out of ND)
5. Being a part of National Community Church (Washington DC)
6. Working at Kennedy Space Center
7. Flying on the NASA KC-135 (Vomit Comet) in zero gravity
8. Earning my BS and MS in Aerospace Engineering
9. Helping Bryan earn his MD and PhD
10. Medical mission trip for a month in Honduras
11. Medical mission trip to Mexico City
12. Vacation in Italy (I love vacations. They are some of my favorite memories.)
13. Vacation in Paris and surrounding areas of France
14. Vacation in Norway
15. Vacation in Germany (to visit my sister and her husband)
16. Vacation in Glacier Park, MT with my family
17. Vacation in the Black Hills of SD
18. Vacation in Phoenix, AZ
19. Driving vacation around the northeast (PA, NJ, NY, VT, NH, ME, MA, RI, CT)
20. Road trip with Raquel's family (DC to ND to CA to WA and back to DC; 150 hours in a vehicle and lots of beautiful scenery)
21. Driving vacation in AZ and UT (beautiful national parks)
22. Bryan finishing internal medicine residency at the Mayo Clinic and its hospitals
23. My dad's compassionate reaction to me after totaling my parents new car by driving it into a building corner (high school)
24. My mom staying at home with me and my siblings instead of working (until I was 11)
25. Going to ND Governor's School of Science and Math (where I met Bryan)
26. Working at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for my masters research and first job
27. Leading couples small groups (with Bryan) to help people work on their marriages
28. Attending Family Life Marriage Conferences (Weekend to Remember)
29. Going to Space Academy (Camp) in 8th grade in Huntsville, AL
30. My sister writing me an apology letter (representing all of the times we fought and forgave)

I look forward to adding more highlights and memories to my life. I feel like I could add a few more but time will need to pass to find out how monumental they will become. I didn't realize that my life would be in such a state of change at the age of 30 but I love change. I hope that life is never boring but that I live a life full of passion.

Right now these are the big things in my life: moving to the Minneapolis area (we've always wanted to live here someday), going back to work after a 4 year motherhood sabbatical, doing life together with my brother (Kirk) and his family, and being a part of the Upper Room Community (our church).

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes! You helped make this day more special.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

3 Christmases

We are celebrating our 3rd Christmas with family this weekend. I am happy to have a stretched out time of celebrating. We had our 1st Christmas with my side of the family the weekend before Christmas Day. And then just the four of us celebrated by ourselves for Christmas Eve and Day. It seemed too soon for Christmas to be over so I am glad to still be celebrating in Fargo with Bryan's family. The kids have enjoyed opening presents three different times and I have enjoyed all of the food. Three big meals and lots of treats and sweets. We will be hanging out with family for a few more days relaxing and probably eating too much.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

sparkly happy new year

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I hate glitter. I hate that it gets all over and it is hard to get rid of. I would just rather not have anything in my life with glitter. So, if my kids make something with glitter or if you send me a card with glitter, it will get thrown away in the garbage. Unless it is a truly amazing card, those I have kept at least one with glitter, but that is definitely an exception. So, keep the glitter away from me and out of my house.

All that is the intro to a Sparkle-rama New Year's Eve party at the St. Paul Children's Museum that our family went to last night. We were lucky enough to win tickets (nice surprise). I didn't realy think about the title (Sparkle-rama) and about how much glitter that would include. It did indeed include glitter and about anything else that sparkled. We all had a lot of fun and tried to avoid the glitter which worked out pretty well. We all made sparkley hats and sparkley noise makers. We had a blast. You can see some of our creations below.

There was also a kids band, complete with a lead singer rockin' the air guitar. I guess it wasn't really an air guitar, it was an inflatable guitar, but it had air in it nonetheless. The kids enjoyed the music, dancing and playing a little inflatable guitar themselves.

The highlight for me was the "ball drop" at 8pm. There was a big countdown and then they released a bunch of inflatable balls. I didn't even think about what the ball drop might look like at the Children's Museum. There is a 4 story atrium where they dropped the balls from the 4th floor. It sure was a lot of fun hitting the balls around through the crowd after the big drop. The only downside was that Clay and I got separated from Bryan and Jaden because of a restroom break needed right before the ball drop. We found each other shortly afterward but I missed my additional kiss(es) at the stroke of 8pm.

Bryan wearing his 2009 hat and making the hat requested by Jaden.
Here are my hat creations. Clay asked for a star and a smiley face out of pipe cleaners which was a bit challenging.
Here is the 'J' 'a' 'd' 'e' 'n' hat that was requested.