Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Starting a New Life

or at least the Next Phase in my life.

Since I was about 15, I've never not worked (i.e. had some sort of paycheck coming in), except a few months here and there during transitions. As of August 1, 2010, I will be officially unemployed. Fortunately, by choice. And by "employed" I just mean some sort of organization giving me a regular paycheck and me being responsible to some boss. I will still be employed, only now I won't have a regular paycheck (unless you count Frédéric's) and I'll be responsible only to two munchkins demanding my time and attention. Yup, just call me "Dr. Mom."

I suppose I should be a little scared, and I was initially when, despite thinking about this for the past few years, we finally looked to it as a real possibility. But really, I'm just excited. I know many people manage to work full time, raise kids, take them to all sorts of events, volunteer for boards, etc etc. Me? I can barely find time to make it to and from work. Between the demands of both our jobs, something had to give, and I was all too happy to give my job back :)

I like what I do - I still occasionally convinced myself I was out saving the world from infectious diseases - but I'm tired, and the day to day minutia is just not worth the time away from the family. I want to be able to do all the little things I can barely manage now, and then some. I feel really fortunate that this is even an option. Frédéric's job is pretty demanding and requires lots of travel. Until now, we've been coordinating it ok, but it's a challenge. My not working will ease up the pressure on him a bit too, although I've made no guarantees of a home cooked meal on a nightly basis (now, he cooks about 75% of the time).

As for my many many years earning an MPH and then a PhD? Some may say I'm "throwing it all away." Not really. My student years, though trying at times, were not a means to an end. I didn't sacrifice anything really for the hope of something greater at the end (ok, I did sacrifice a larger paycheck, but working in non-profit wasn't exactly a windfall either). No, those years of graduate school were, in hindsight, wonderful years of exploration and opportunity and enlightenment. While doing my research, I got to work on 3 other continents and an isthmus (or whatever Central America is considered). I met and learned from an amazing assortment of people. I am definitely a richer human being for the experience (if not richer in my checkbook...). It was all worth it, and I would do it again.

I'm sure being a Stay-At-Home-Parent will have a similar impact: full of wonder and exploration and enlightenment. Just in a smaller package, though some might say Angelina and Lenaïc have personalities which are not exactly "small." Rather, they are larger than life. There's a whole new world to explore. I'm ready!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Two Peas in a Pod

Nothing's better than sharing a treat with a friend!

And don't forget little brother.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Home-Day Angelina

We had two weddings (June 26 in Switzerland and Aug 7 in San Antonio), so we get to celebrate our anniversary twice. Angelina was only born once, but she also has a second "birthday" or rather, "home day." When she was born, the doctors weren't so sure she'd even go home. It didn't take her long to prove them wrong, and 4 years ago today, at 17 days old, we brought her home

We will forever be grateful to her fabulous neonatalogist who was our biggest supporter: when the nurses insisted she bottlefeed (and not breastfeed), despite her refusing the bottle, he stepped in, wrote medical orders not only to let me breastfeed but to let me room in with her. And while some of the nursing staff (mostly fabulous, but a few really difficult ones) resisted, the doc said "Take her home!" And we did.

So July 20th is her other birthday, of sorts.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Happy Birthday Angelina!

Four years ago our adventure began. Our bright eyed angel came into our world and everything changed. Hurricane Angelina continues to fill our days with laughter and love (and a few other emotions too). She's teaching us humility, and love.

Happy Birthday Pucinette!

Friday, July 02, 2010

The Friendly Spot

Or What I love about Lavaca part XXIV

Late last fall, a new watering hole opened in our neighborhood. Actually, technically it's not Lavca but King William, which with Lavaca = Southtown. The Friendly Spot is the perfect place for this 'hood. It's an ice house, otherwise known as a bar. But why so special? It has a playground. A playground in a bar you say? Well, in England, a playground at a pub is not that unusual. Indeed, the local watering hole is also the local community gathering spot, and with community comes kids.

Since it opened, despite the freezing winter, The Friendly Spot has become the center of the neighborhood. It's simple, outdoor bars, big shady pecan trees, lots of room for kids to run and a fenced playground. As one of the owners has a 5 year old and one on the way, this was genius. A place for kids to play and parents to socialize. With good food too. At any time, you can wander over and you're bound to see a neighbor or other kids for yours to join in play. Very important when you have an uber-social 4 year old desperate for other kids.

A couple of weeks ago we enjoyed The Friendly Spot with our good friend Dawn who came to town with her daughter Lily, born a month after Lenaïc, to see her sister Amy and her new nephew Kenny.


Angelina turns 4 this year! To avoid the holiday weekend, we celebrated last week, which, coincidentally, was our 6th wedding anniversary. We were happy to share it though.

Angelina has been looking forward to her birthday for about a year now. She's asked often "When's MY birthday?" and she was practicing singing "Happy Birthday to me" for weeks.

Since we belong to the Clan of "The More the Merrier," we invited everyone: School friends, neighborhood friends, dance friends, parents' friends. I had no idea how many would finally show up. As usual, we had a great crowd and a lot of fun. And a special treat, my friend Monica from Switzerland was in San Antonio visiting one of her other friends (who was 40 weeks pregnant) with her two kids, Elliot and Ivy.

It was hot as can be, but that didn't stop kids from jumping to their hearts' content.

Or moving to the pool to cool down.

Angelina took the notion of "Birthday suit" to heart: before I knew it she'd ripped off ALL her clothes and jumped in the little pool. Other kids followed suit, although most managed to leave some clothing on.

Lenaïc, for his part, has clearly inherited the party gene. He was happy all day, letting everyone carry him and play with him.

And the birthday celebrations continue.....today I brought cupcakes to her school so she could celebrate with her friends there. She was telling everyone she turned 4 last week at her party. When I explained her birthday was actually tomorrow and she'd have another celebration at school today, she said "So I will turn FIVE now?! Yeah! I get to be FIVE!"

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