Sunday, April 11, 2010

Green Grass

Green grass in it's many forms has been on my mind the grass always greener on the other side? How do we grow green grass through the weeds in our yard?

Our wedding pictures are officially up on our photographer's website (, go to online ordering and scroll down to our album, just put your email address in and enjoy!) and I have made the decision NOT to look at any other wedding albums for the time being. I am a competitive person and I like to be the best and although I have curtailed my insatiable need for dominance in the past few years, sometimes the monster still rears it's ugly head. Planning, coordinating and executing a wedding is a personal endeavor - Craig and I worked very hard to infuse our own personalities into our day so that the whole shebang really reflected US as a couple. So when I start perusing the Facebook wedding albums of a few former acquaintances (who happened to get married within a few weeks of me) it affects my core when I see that their wedding might have been a bit dressier, more glamorous and definitely more expensive. I have to reel myself in and remember that I am a different person from my college days and that Craig and I have different priorities, especially when it came to planning this wedding. So what if I wore Steve Madden flats and not Manolo Blahnik heels? My shoes were turquoise and those that know me, know that's MY color. Who cares if our party didn't go on to until the wee hours of the morning? Craig and I aren't party animals in our normal lives, much less on a day when I had gotten up at 6:30 am. The truth of the matter is that I'm not going to compare weddings because...the GREEN monster might appear which will cause the memories of my day to be cheapened and because the GREEN grass isn't always better on the other side - maybe those brides with those big weddings look at MY pictures and think the same thing I do? Who knows? I'm happy with our day because it was perfect for us and that's all that matters.

Another matter of green grass was presented to me on Friday afternoon. I have an interesting Assistant Principal at my times he is prickly, sarcastic and a little angry but I have a feeling that there is a good guy in there somewhere. He and I get along, well...we do now that I'm on board with his sense of humor and I understand to trust nothing he says, but I think our relationship as AP and teacher was strengthened when I taught his very intelligent but slightly awkward 7th grade daughter how to throw the discus at a track meet a few weeks ago. My boys weren't throwing yet, so I took her out on the practice field and broke down the steps of throwing the discus for her. We worked on the basics of holding the disc and how to move our feet and she got a teensy bit better! But more importantly, I think it meant a lot to her dad that I took the time out of coaching my kids to work with her, but also to help build up her confidence. I guess what goes around, comes around because last Friday as I was dropping off some paperwork at this AP's office, he asked me to step inside and close the door. Uh-oh. That's NEVER a good sign. Thankfully, it wasn't THAT type of visit and he just let me in on a little change that was going on at my school. A teacher with a full courseload (6 classes) of 7th grade Math had just resigned and my principal was on the hunt for a new Math teacher to fill her spot. He mentioned that he knew I was looking to get back in the classroom and that this could be a great opportunity since he knows I love Math. He didn't know much about whether or not it could be broken up to include coaching Athletics two class periods out of the day, but encouraged me to talk to the principal immediately. "But, Mr. G! I have class!" I told him. Not to worry, Mr. G promised to cover my class and take them out to play soccer so that I could have this very important conversation with my principal. I was honestly touched by this gesture because it is very out of character for this sarcastic guy but I guess you reap what you sow. I sowed some seeds of compassion for his daughter and on the flip side I reaped compassion by him looking out for my interests.

So, I ran down the hall and met with my principal about this job and now I've got some decisions to make. First of all, this can't be a coaching position due to numbers, class size, etc. If I want to apply, I am saying that I am done coaching for the time being. I still would have to submit my application and proper references and go through the interview process, but my principal did say that I had really impressed him and that I was a vital member of the staff, blah, blah, blah. He likes me and he wants to keep me at the school. Got it.

Now I've got to make a decision:
- Is this "the sign" that I've been waiting for? Is it really time for me to get out of coaching?
- It's no secret that coaching is exhausting and this year has been the biggest struggle for me.
- I am sick of the politics that are involved in coaching at the district level.
- Craig and I already know what our next great adventure is going to be: having a family, and me coaching while pregnant just doesn't sound like much fun.
- I love the game of volleyball and I love watching girls fall in love with it as well.
- I finally got the title of "head coach," am I ready to give up that small amount of glory I've earned?
- I will miss the girls. By coaching, I get to know them so much better than the average classroom teacher. Sometimes this is good, sometimes it is bad.

But here is the problem that I am grappling with:

Right now, while I am in the midst of long nights at track meets, being able to go home right after school and not have to work any extra hours sounds awesome. That grass definitely is greener. But if I take this opportunity and next year I happen to walk by the gym and see those volleyball nets up, will I miss it? Will that grass seem greener than it does right now?

And plus...Craig and I have a plan for our family but it might not be the same plan that God has for us! I would hate to give up coaching this year for nothing. Craig and I are looking at August as our "start date" or whatever for beginning a family but what if it doesn't work out that way and I could have coached another year? But then again, what if I don't take this opportunity and our plan actually happens and I have to waddle around track meets until 9:30 at night while I'm six months pregnant! That would not be fun for anyone involved.

I talked with Craig about this on Friday night and his vote was for me to jump on this opportunity. He knows that I miss the classroom and everything that it entails, as well as the fact that I have been frustrated, tired and bored this entire year while teaching PE and coaching volleyball, cross country and track. I think I know what I need to do, but change is scary...especially when it's coupled with trying to start a family which is an even BIGGER life change.

On an entirely different note, and now about REAL green grass...our yard is a hot mess. We have virtually NO grass but instead a vast assortment of weeds. Weeds in our lawn and weeds in our flower beds. We promised ourselves that we would take care of it AFTER the wedding, but instead we had to divert our attention to Craig's knee surgery and recovery instead of the lawn. I was discussing this fact with our neighbors a few houses down whose daughter is one of my very sweet 7th grade athletes. They are a fantastic family with great morals and values, which they have dutifully instilled in their seven children. Saturday morning I was picked up by my friend Emily to go shopping with her and her two middle school nieces at the Southlake town center. As I was getting in the car, Emily mentioned that she had seen some little girls pulling weeds out of our front flower bed but when they saw her pull up, they took off down the street. Sure enough, I peered down Sunflower Ln. and there were some curly headed girls trying unsuccessfully to hide behind cars. Hmm. I put it out of my mind and enjoyed my morning with Emily and the girls perusing the home decor sections of Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie and The Container Store.

When Emily dropped me off, I paused while getting out of the car. Our lawn had been mowed. Our front flower bed was devoid of any weeds. Someone had cleaned up my yard.

I was moved beyond belief. When talking with my neighbors the previous Thursday at the track meet, sure...they had mentioned "if you need anything let us know - our oldest boy mows lawns for people in the neighborhood" but I didn't think much of it. Most people put that stuff out there to SOUND caring, but rarely follow through on anything they offer. But not this family...they had snuck over to our house on Saturday morning and mowed our lawn and picked our weeds. And more importantly, they didn't expect a dime in return. They had done it out of the Christian goodness in their heart because they knew that life had been a bit of a challenge for us lately and they wanted to do something to take a little bit of life's burden off our shoulders. I'm not sure what I did to deserve this type of kindness but I hope that someday I will be able to repay this family for the act of service that they performed for Craig and myself.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What's next?

Now that we're married I am often asked about the wedding - how did it go, do you enjoy being married, etc. And I always have to stop myself before any words come out of my mouth because if I didn't have any sort of filter, my response would be something like this:

"I am so glad that it is over. Ugh."

And I just don't think that's really the response people are looking for when they ask me about my big day. Again, like I've said so many times...

I am so glad and beyone thrilled that I married Craig. I am so blessed to have found him and I truly do know that he is absolutely 100% the most perfect man for me. BUT...I really struggled through the wedding planning process because I had a hard time getting excited over wedding related stuff. It was a lot of extra stress and worry that was always lurking over my shoulder - I'm glad to have all that behind me. I even feel a certain amount of freedom knowing that I don't have a huge wedding To-Do list waiting for me to scratch things off. I can now focus that energy on things that I want to be doing.

So, in response that those questions, I just say...

"It was a success! We accomplished our goal and are indeed married! The 'I do's' were said!"

But...having been a former bride, I do have some piece of advice and my new rule for being a newlywed.

Advice: It doesn't matter. None of it. The color of the ribbons, the details on your shoe. Not only will you not notice any of it on your wedding day, but no one else really cares. Well, the people that matter to you won't really care.

Rule: I will not offer any wedding or marriage advice to any newlywed unless specifically targeted and asked.

So now that all the wedding madness is over what am I going to focus my attention on?

1) Making sure that Craig rehabs his knee in the best way possible.
2) Writing Thank You notes. Yuck.
3) Getting the yard taken care's becoming a jungle out there.
4) Reading more books and getting more sleep.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Craig's Knee Surgery

Craig had his knee surgery last Thursday and it was a two hour surgery, but Dr. Moore seemed to be a lot more confident that he "got it" this time so hopefully the surgery will hold and we'll be able go longer between knee surgeries! Dr. Moore went in arthoscopically through the previous surgery holes and cleaned up a lot of the loose cartilage in Craig's knee, but while he was in there he realized that there was a large part of his medial meniscus that was breaking loose which was causing the popping and locking that Craig has been experiencing. Before the surgery, Craig met with Dr. Moore and clarified that we wanted to FIX the problem and that we trusted the doctor to do whatever was necessary to get that accomplished. During surgery, Dr. Moore made the decision to cut into the inner side of Craig's knee and through that incision was able to suture some cartilage on the sides of the medial meniscus which should hold it in place and stop the locking and popping thus giving Craig better mobility.

Unfortunately these sutures will cause Craig to have a longer recovery time and more intense physical therapy and for the time being he is stuck in a big blue brace that stretches from his groin all the way to his ankle. He is in this cast because if he bends his knee too far too soon he can risk breaking the sutures apart which would not only be painful, but also cause us to go through this knee surgery nightmare for a fourth time in a single year.

Speaking of which, I'm doing...okay. Thanks for asking. I was able to just take an afternoon off on Thursday so I didn't miss too much school and we were blessed by being able to schedule the surgery the day before a three day weekend so that we didn't have to use our few remaining paid days off. I planned ahead (surprise, surprise) and had all the ingredients needed for some of Craig's favorite meals.

Thursday: Taco soup with cornbread
Friday: Lasagna and lemon garlic broccoli
Saturday: BBQ chicken sandwiches and homemade potato salad
Sunday: Easter dinner comprised of...ham, oven baked onion potatoes, broccoli cheese casserole, sweet potatoes and pineapple au gratin

We have a TON of leftovers sitting in our refrigerator which is great because now we have lunches for the entire week! Generally speaking though...I'm exhausted. Physically and mentally exhausted. I was on my feet for what felt like the entire weekend between refilling iced tea glasses, changing out the ice machine, cooking and serving dinners and managing laundry and dishes.

Craig is doing much better - he is alert and moving more on his own. My parents came over tonight to visit Craig but to also help me get Craig up the stairs so that he could take a proper shower. I don't feel comfortable getting Craig up and down the stairs for the first time by myself - I like having my dad around to catch Craig in case he stumbles up or down. I know Craig feels so much better now that he has showered...I'm hoping that he will be able to make it through the day tomorrow as he is attempting to "teach" PE all day long.

This has been a really long school year and I think that's why I had a minor breakdown at lunch today when I went home to feed Craig. We have been going nonstop since August...
September - November: volleyball season
November - February: basketball season (Craig and his sister at the high school)
September - present: Wednesday night women's volleyball league for me
January - March: Cross Country season
January - present: Select basketball with two practices a week and tourneys on weekends
January - March: majority of intense wedding planning and execution
January - present: Tuesday night women's Bible Study
March - present: Track season
April - Knee surgery
I think we're pretty ready for our summer vacation...