Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jason!

Today is Jason's 31st birthday! I've been trying to prepare Gracie all week, so it seems like we've actually been celebrating all week. Gracie helped bake Daddy's cake, picked out his gift, made him a card, wrapped it with her choice of wrapping, frosted the cake, sang Happy Birthday, helped blow out the candles, and of course helped to eat the cake! Happy Birthday, Daddy! We love you!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's official- I'm a (pregnant) HAWK!

It's been a pretty crazy few weeks for me (Jane). Let me catch you up. Central Unified (my school district) is opening up a new elementary school this August. With its new opening, boundaries have been shifted, resulting in my school losing enrollment. We're going from about 500 students to 275. Losing so many kids also means having to lose teachers. We were told before Spring Break that 12 of us were going to be moved elsewhere. Learning this information caused a lot of uncertainty among our staff. We were told that seniority would determine who would have to move elsewhere. Well, I have enough seniority that I was offered a position at my current school. Two other teachers with more seniority chose 5th grade, leaving me to choose between 4th and 6th. Before I left for Spring Break, I signed for 4th grade to secure a position for myself, but informed my principal that I was going to try and interview elsewhere for 5th grade. I really don't want to become a "first year teacher" again next year, having to learn entirely new curriculum for a new grade level. Besides, I have so many ideas I still want to try for 5th. My first choice was our new elementary school, Harvest.
I was interviewed during Spring Break and about an hour after the interview, the new principal called and offered me the 5th grade position. Of course I accepted! However, throughout this process, I have been very anxious because I have not divulged the fact that I'm expecting a baby in the fall. I have also kept this news mainly to myself at work because I didn't want word to get back to my new principal and have my pregnancy become a factor in whether or not to hire me (I know, it's against the law to use pregnancy as a reason not to hire someone, but still- I didn't want to take the chance). Many people advised me not to say anything, and even though I haven't, it has made me feel dishonest.

You'd think that I should feel confident that my new job is secure- already, so much has happened as a new Harvest staff member. We've already had a Community Forum, where we were introduced to the parents and I had to interview with and do a lesson for some of our district's leaders. Yet today was the day I have been waiting for- today, I finally feel like I can let out a sigh of relief. Tonight was Central's Board meeting, where the Board was informed of Harvest's new staff. Somehow, that makes me feel like it's "official." With that in mind, I decided I had to tell my new principal as soon as possible.
I was hoping to meet with him tomorrow and tried arranging a meeting for then. Instead, he came to meet with me today at lunch. His first thought was that I was going to tell him I had changed my mind about coming to Harvest! When I shared that I was expecting, he was extremely supportive. I am so grateful! I have been hiding my baby news from my staff for 14 weeks (that's how far along I am), and it's been getting more and more difficult. I'm starting to show and my regular clothes definitely don't fit me anymore. Tomorrow, I get to wear whatever I want because I don't have to hide anything! I also get to share our baby news with my staff tomorrow. You can't even imagine how ecstatic and content that makes me feel! Sorry for such a long post... I had lots to just let out! YAHOO!!!
By the way, if you're curious to see how things are developing at my new school, click on HARVEST. We've been told that construction is ahead of schedule and that we'll probably get to move into our new classrooms at the end of July. So much to look forward to...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

MCC Sale

This was a big weekend if you're a Mennonite. It's the weekend of the "West Coast Relief Sale and Auction" (aka the MCC Sale). People look forward to it and make a point to go. Jason's family is Mennonite and we attend a Mennonite church so it was inevitable that we would be there. The sale takes place every April and is one of the ways that our church denomination raises awareness and funds for relief efforts around the world. Believe it or not, a lot of money is raised through a Quilt Auction. People sit inside a gym for hours and bid on quilts. Some are quite amazing! (The one pictured was created by Cindy Wiens, our friend's mom). Of course there is also a lot of good food and there are always other things to see and buy. I think it's such a big thing for Mennonites because it's like a huge family reunion. The Mennonite world is quite small! We go in hopes of running into people we haven't seen for a while (actually, I go to remind Jason of what those people's names are- ha, just kidding. Okay, half kidding).
Our friends, Aaron and Christa, drove into town from Portland with their baby, Charlotte (they're in town for several reasons, but one of them was for the sale). It was great to see them and do a little catching up. I wanted to see how Gracie would be around a little one. She has only started noticing babies in these last few weeks. She has 7 months to get ready to have a little one around all the time!


Gracie is such a big helper nowadays (whether we want the help or not!) Here are some pictures from a few nights ago when we (or should we say "she") made pita pizzas for dinner.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Happy Easter!

Yesterday, we spent the morning at church before heading up to Coarsegold to spend the rest of the day with Jason's family. It was a nice, easy-going day. It was a good day to reflect about how much God loves us, and what exactly Easter celebrates.

"If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved!" Romans 10:9 NIV

Easter is a significant day for us. Without the ultimate price that Christ paid through dying on the cross for us and without His resurrection, we would not have "life." We praise Him for the priceless gifts of forgiveness, hope, and salvation- for new beginnings. Hope everyone enjoyed a truly meaningful, blessed Easter!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

I Big Girl!

On Thursday, Jason and I went and bought Gracie a "big girl" bed. We haven't felt rushed to move her out of her crib since she's not one of those kids who has been climbing out of it. We figured it was time- there are going to be many other things to get used to as October approaches. Switching to a new bed is something that can be done now, so why not. As soon as I picked her up from daycare, I told her we had a surprise for her. When we got home, she ran to her room. She climbed into bed and tested it out, pretending to go to sleep. She even went to her crib and brought her blankets over. Later that night, as we put her down, she said, "I big girl!" And that was that. She went straight to sleep until we woke her up the next morning. The same thing happened last night. Gosh, that transition wasn't too bad at all (though I know we're only two days in)- if only it were that easy with potty training!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

At the Zoo

One of the advantages of both Jason and I being teachers is the vacation times that we share. It's our Spring Break this week! Today, we decided to take Gracie to Fresno's Chaffee Zoo. We've been to zoos before, but today was so much more enjoyable because Gracie was able to recognize most of the animals. For example, when we saw the kangaroos, she said, "Up down, up down," indicating she knew they hopped. At the petting zoo, we pet a "llama," the first time we've ever said that word to her. She actually identified another "lalama mama" later on at another exhibit. She was so fascinated by the animals, and enjoyed watching their every move. I would have to say that she was most intrigued by the seal, sea lions, monkeys, and elephants. Jason's favorite part was feeding the stingrays, and my most memorable moment was when we witnessed two tigers fighting each other. Every time I've seen tigers in the past, they are usually asleep. Today, two of them were chasing each other around and roaring at each other. It was actually scary, hearing their loud, ferocious roars!
After our zoo visit, we went to the nearby playground to have a picnic lunch. Gracie spent some time playing, though the playground was definitely not geared for her age group. She still had fun getting up to the slides.
Visiting the zoo and spending time at the playground all made for a great way to spend a beautiful day!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Beautiful Spring Day

It took some convincing, but we were able to get Gracie to agree to sit for some quick pictures on this beautiful spring day. Isn't she cute?! (You can't tell that she actually had a pretty rotten day today- really grumpy and irritable). Come to think of it, we're lucky to have gotten these pictures today!