Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Welcome to the 3rd Trimester!

(4 months, 5 months, 6 months and 7 months!)

Here we are baby, the 3rd trimester!!!  I feel the same, just maybe a bit bigger, but still full of energy and happy to have made it here.  My OB said I will start to feel tired and melancholy, and maybe I have, but I mostly feel just as I did a couple of weeks ago.  I'm hoping to have energy up until the end because we still have so much to do around the house!

(I finally got a good video of the baby kicking!  I've been trying for weeks and I think this was actually from last week but I just remembered to post it now!  Watch closely.)
(5am dog walks!  We did it for 4 days in a row last week and then were interrupted.  We hope to pick it back up tomorrow!)

This week I had a very humbling experience.  On Thursday, after school, I got a phone call from our Assistant Principal saying that I was not going to be allowed to return to school until my Fingerprint Clearance card was issued.  I had heard of this happening to other teachers, in the past, but I never thought it would happen to me, and I felt both sad and embarrassed when she called.  If you don't know anything about this - when you work with kids you have to have your fingerprints taken and are issued a card.  Every 5 years or so (although it has been almost 11 for me and I don't remember having to do this) you have to get your fingerprint card renewed.  This means that you have to go and get your fingerprints taken again, pay a $65 fee and then send them off to the Department of Public Safety to be checked by the government to make sure you aren't a criminal.  The whole thing is just so stupid because your fingerprints NEVER change so they should technically just do a background check every so often to make sure you check out.  Ridiculous and just another way to charge teachers/counselors/etc. a fee for nothing.

It turns out that the district notified my school on Monday morning that my card was going to expire on Tuesday and they were supposed to tell me so that I could tell my students and plan for a substitute.  However, my school told me days later, and so the district had to pay me for working because I was there even though I wasn't supposed to be.  Now you're thinking, why is she teaching without her fingerprint card?  I received a letter from the district on March 7th saying that my card would expired on April 10th.  So, a week later, I got my fingerprints done and submitted them to DPS and thought I was all good and that they would be processed in time before my card expired.  Fast forward to last Thursday and they still weren't processed when I received the news that I could not be at school the next day (and was actually not supposed to be there for the two days prior).

Any other year I would have LOVED this news, a forced vacation where I could stay at home and get things done.  However, this time it came when I am trying to save up my days (to stay home with the baby next year), and so being forced to use my accumulated sick/personal days was devastating to me because it meant that next year I'd have to pay myself, from our savings, to stay home.  I only had 16 days saved (now 14) because of our crappy year last year, and am going to get short term disability for 30 of my 60 days off  (it pays me 60% of my paycheck), so I would have only had to pay myself for about 6 days (since I would have had 24 at the end of the year, now only 22).  So, telling me that I had to stay home and use up my days freaked me out, especially since the woman at the district told me that I would probably be home for 21-28 days total, when there are only 27 days left of school!  I cried, called my mom and dad, cried some more, called DPS (they told me there was nothing they could do) and just felt crappy all night.  My dad really called it, the next day, when he said, "Allison, you know why you are really upset?  You're mad at yourself for not doing this sooner."  And he was right, I was mad at myself.  I don't make mistakes like this, I am NOT the teacher who is walked off campus for something so stupid (yep, people have been "walked off" in the past!) and I never fail to complete paperwork (or any work for that matter) on time.  I am on the most organized person I know, usually.  Who was I?  A forgetful pregnant lady, that's who.

When calling DPS on Thursday I spoke with a really nice woman named Ronnie on the phone.  She told me that if anyone could work miracles, it was her boss and to leave a message for her telling her my situation.  I did, and also sent an email to them, and called the district to see if there was anything they could do.  (I may have also cried on the phone to both of these women, because I am 7 months pregnant and because I felt so stupid and helpless and bad for leaving my kids like this.)  No one called me back and I was in a slump thinking I was going to be out for weeks, wasting all of my days off.  I really wallowed that night and Ian had to put up with me, bless his heart.

On Friday, I decided to feel better, it WAS a free vacation after all and I DID have the days to use (thank goodness) so my dad came over and we built the crib together.  I went to school in the morning, before anyone was there (I was a criminal after all) and left sub plans for Friday and Monday for my students.  I also called the woman at DPS again, left her another message and she called back in the morning, saying that she responded to my email and there was nothing she could do to expedite the process.  I told her that I heard she could work miracles and that I'm in need of a miracle and she told me she would spend a bit of time trying to find my card (my fingerprints were accepted and they were awaiting a response from state/federal before issuing me a card), but couldn't spend too much time on it.  I told her to do what she could and that I would appreciate it no matter what.  My dad ran some errands before coming over so this left me time to email our governor's office (whom I'm not really a fan of but she oversees DPS), our two senators (at Christine's advice) and to do some research on the Director of DPS, in case I needed to contact him eventually.  I thought about going down to DPS too, but wanted to give the woman some time to work on my case and not bother her too much.  My dad brought me lunch, we put the crib together (that he and my Aunt Susie bought for us!) and we even took back some 3 year old closet doors to Lowes (without a receipt) and I got a $99 credit for them!  We worked all day and then Ian came home and it was kind of fun hearing about his day after being at home without him (we work together so usually this happens throughout the day or in the car on the way home).



 (Just as we were done building it we both said, "I wish the mattress would have come today, then we could really see what it looks like."  Then all of a sudden, the doorbell rings and it's the mattress!  What luck!)

(On Friday night we went to 2nd Friday in Mesa to get some hand knit headbands, with detachable colored flowers, for the lemon.  And, since it was there, I HAD to get shaved ice!)


On Saturday I was in a much better mood, coming to terms with my fate, and my mom, Aunt Donna and Aunt Sonja came over to work on more house stuff with us.  My mom and I re-organized my bathroom, hanging up pictures that I took (of flowers/plants in our front and back yards), hanging up jewelry frames with screens inside to hang earrings and hanging necklace holders.  My Aunt Donna worked on repairing my Ikea dresser drawers, and cleaning our fridge, microwave and oven and Aunt Sonja and Ian made shelves in our hall closet for our weights and yoga mats.  Ian worked on finishing the baseboards in the baby's room and filling in holes in the new flooring.  We got so much done, and it was craziness with so many different projects, but afterwards I felt so free and organized - it was amazing!  I am so thankful to be surrounded by such awesome people, I truly am the luckiest girl to have such a wonderful family.  I just hope I can help the lemon one day when she's expecting a baby of her own, just like our families are helping us get ready for her.  :)




The weirdest thing also happened on Saturday.  At Lowes, my mom paid for our window molding and some other supplies we needed, and was looking for a penny in her change purse to give to the cashier.  She found something, not a penny but it was shaped like one, and it was this instead (below).  It was a sign to not give up hope, to keep praying and hoping, and to stay positive because something we were wishing for was going to happen.  A little mustard seed of faith, just for us.

(It reads:  "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain move from here to there and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.")

All weekend I told Ian, "I am going to be back at work on Tuesday.  This woman at DPS is going to make miracles happen and I am going to be back in time to start The Martian Chronicles (my favorite thing to teach) with my students on Tuesday."  We also have a shower planned for this Friday at school and I had to be back in time or we would have had to move it.  I really believed that I would be back at work yesterday and thought it all weekend.  Especially since the lady at district said weeks, our union person said weeks and a couple of other people were also really negative about it too; I wanted to prove to myself (and a little bit to them) that I could make it happen, despite it being my mistake.  I stayed positive and knew that something would happen, something had to work out.  I moved my mountain this week for sure, and never stopped working on this even though I was at home.

On Sunday morning Ian framed the window in the lemon's room and I washed and folded baby clothes, cleaned the kitchen, did laundry and cleaned our room and bathroom.  Then we celebrated my brother-in-law, Leith's, birthday with Ian's family and Ashley's (his wife's) family at their house.  My sister-in-law, Kelly, felt the lemon kick for the first time and Reggie, our nephew had fun running around the backyard.  We got home and were beat so we laid around until it was time for bed.  It was a lovely day, the sun was hot but there was a cool wind and we think it was the last nice day in Arizona this year, before the heat sets in.

Monday, since I knew I'd be home again (because all of the businesses I called don't work on the weekends), my Aunt Donna and step-dad Joe came over to help with more house stuff (it never ends!).  Aunt Donna and I took down our 5 shelf expedit Ikea bookcase (so I can get a 4 shelf one instead) and her and Joe loaded it up to bring to Christine's (she bought it as a room divider for her one bedroom condo).  Then we spackled and caulked the baseboards while Joe glued down some thresholds and drilled out some dowels and then all three of us worked on cleaning up and organizing the porch.  Aunt Donna also brought over the rocking chair that she glued, sanded and painted and attached a really cute note to, but I will save a picture of it for when we get the cushions!  I called the woman from DPS again in the morning, left a message, and heard back from the governor's and senators' offices (who all told me they couldn't help but would make an inquiry to DPS on my behalf).  After bringing the shelf to Christine I was worn out I had to nap on the couch until Ian got home from school  And, at around 4pm, as I was looking through my phone at some old voice mails, I saw a 000000 number who had left a voice mail at 12pm that afternoon . . .

It was the woman from DPS saying that she had my card and was mailing it out to me that day, so I had been CLEARED to return to work!!!  How did I miss her call, I had my phone on me all day?!  It was incredible and I immediately got up from the couch, rejuvenated, and we headed out to run some errands for the week.  It only took 16 days (they got my fingerprints on March 30th even though I did them weeks before) to get me cleared when other teachers have been out for weeks and are still out due to theirs still processing.  This lovely miracle worker made a miracle happen for me and I am so thankful for her.  I actually feel bad because this week she is probably going to get phone calls from the governor's office and the senators' offices on my behalf - ugh!  On Friday I think I'm going to have my students write "Thank You" cards and send them to her.  She deserves so much more but I don't want to get her into trouble in case she had to pull some secret strings or something.

I felt really guilty after I called the district Monday and told them I had been cleared to go back to school  The woman said that I must have "pulled on someone's heartstrings" to get this to happen so fast.  I felt bad for all of the other people who are waiting and who don't know when they will be able to return to work, who are using their sick days up for this too.  Isn't it strange that one minute you feel like the luckiest girl in the world and the next minute the guilt comes, thinking of all of those less fortunate?  As I was sitting in the bathroom Monday night (on one of my many pee trips) one of our light bulbs starting making a funny noise and then popped and went out.  It is one of those CFL bulbs so they usually last a long time and one hasn't gone out on us yet, so it was strange.  I felt like it was someone telling me, in the universe, that they worked a miracle for me and that I should be thankful.  Or maybe I wasted my miracle, and I may need another one later, and maybe I shouldn't have wasted it on this.  But that's silly to think, right? 

So the lemon and I headed back to school yesterday and the kids were so excited.  They were worried about me (imagine if I had been out for all 28 days!) and were happy I was back.  I told them it was a good lesson for them to learn; that if something happens, they have to be persistent and fight for what they want, they can't give up and just take what people say as the end-all-be-all.  I am happy also, to be back, and realize just how lucky I was to get back to school so fast.  Before this all happened I was feeling really down like I didn't want to be at work, like I'd rather be home doing baby stuff or house stuff and uncomfortable because I really don't have many work clothes I can still wear.  I was ready for summer and was through with the kids, the school and my job.  But, then this happened and smacked me in the face, and here I am again - excited to be at school, happy to be with my students and happy to be working and saving up more of my days.  Sometimes we need to be humbled, and this was definitely that experience for me.

It has been 7 months, little lemon, and we can't wait to meet you in July.  Time is going by so fast lately!


  1. Congrats on the 3rd trimester...the end is in sight! So crazy about the finger prints! You make me want to get mine checked, just in case. That's so great that the woman at DPS was able to help you out and speed it up, I know the feeling of not wanting to use those days, and then being forced to sucks! You're a lot like me though, always looking for that sign, message, or symbolism around you to give you some hope, some inspiration to keep holding on (or in some situtations to let go). Sometimes I'll find a quote, meet someone new, or see a certain animal or object and I know it's a sign of some sort. So glad I'm not the only one who does that!

    By the way, I love your crib! So clean and modern, very cool.

    1. Thanks Ashley! We are very similar, that's probably why I like reading your posts so much, it's funny how you feel like you know someone so well even though you've never met in person. The room is almost done, I can't wait!

  2. Hey 'lil' LEMON! Yellow little ray of sunshine, full of hope, LEMON! And that "mustard seed of faith" is working overtime praying and surrounding all of you with love, positive thoughts and FAITH that God will watch over you. He has made blueberries into lemons after all, so he can do ANYTHING! Love, Your Nani