where I go from here, part IV

part I, part II, part III

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In just a few weeks I leave for Arizona for five weeks for intensive teacher training. When I come back I will start work at whichever school I have been placed with. Evelyn and Olivia will be about 8 months when I start teacher training, 10 months when I go back to work full time. Somewhere in the middle of that I am hoping to fit in swim lessons.

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Decisions about work and family have not been taken lightly. One of the easiest parts of walking away from law was that I knew it would be a good choice for my future family. Teaching is going to provide us with a lifestyle that Rob and I are much more comfortable with. Working and parenting is such a controversial issue, with everyone having the “right” opinion. Well, first, let me say this. I want to go back to work. I want to work. I need to work, for me. Second, even if I didn’t want to, it isn’t an option for us. Rob and I need to be a two-income family. Rob’s income is not enough to support us all unless we plan to live with my parents indefinitely. As much as we love my parents, that isn’t an option either.

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I have had many, many questions about what I am going to do with Evie and Liv once I go back to work. I find this incredibly frustrating. Clearly, I am going to leave them on the porch with a sign that says, free to a good home. Rob would never get questions like this. He is expected to support the family. Way to perpetuate gender stereotypes, yo.

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So, what am I going to do with the girls? I am usually a quick decision maker. I know what I want. But I have gone back and forth between nanny and daycare 500 million times. Today I am 75% nanny, 25% daycare. Because it is two babies it is roughly the same cost to do either nanny or daycare. The girls are currently in daycare 8 hours a week so I can get TFA pre-work done. They are doing very well and seem to enjoy being there. My one main complaint is the colds. So. many. colds. I like that they will get interaction with other kids and different adults if they continue to do daycare. However, if we do a nanny they will be getting much more one-on-one attention and much fewer colds. But then they won’t be interacting with other kids and likely be in the house a majority of the time. I don’t know if we will be living near a park or museum or library.. add to this that I don’t know where we will be living and probably won’t until July.. it’s easy to understand why I am feeling a bit tense. But I think, since my parents are willing to take the girls one day a week, a nanny will provide us with more flexibility with regard to scheduling. Now all I need to do is find a nanny..

IMG_6070This is where I am going. Where we are going. I am nervous and excited and stressed. And excited. And nervous. And overwhelmed.

I can do this. We can do this!

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Evelyn & Olivia, Seven Months

And we have… HAIR!! I was pretty much bald until I was two and I was really hoping to not bless my daughters with that trait. So far, so good. They both have Rob’s hairline and their hair is starting to come in. Fluffy and dark. Win!

Because Evelyn and Olivia were five weeks early their checkups are a bit delayed. They are seven months but we just had their six month appointment. Olivia is just over 16 lbs and Evelyn is just under. They have the exact same size head and are the same length. They are both scooting up the growth chart and are in the low 20th percentile. Everything is looking normal.

I am surprised that Evie continues to be about a pound behind her sister. She eats like a champ. My mom feeds the girls their first meal of the day (because she is a saint) and Evie usually wolfs down her yogurt while Olivia is more like, thanks but no thanks. Liv really has to be hungry to be into it.

Evelyn is rolling, sitting, and inchworming. She sits with her one leg bent so weirdly that I am sure it hurts. I fix it every time and she just puts it back. Okay girl, you win. Olivia is sitting, but she can’t get into the sitting position on her own yet. She inchworms but she doesn’t seem that into it. She was the same way with rolling. Evie tried and tried and did it a month before Olivia and Olivia did not care. Then a month later Olivia was just like, oh hey, I can roll over! I am getting better about just letting them do their own thing when it comes to milestones and not comparing.

We’ve had a British invasion over the last month. Rob’s sister, Vikki, and brother-and-law, Matt, visited. One of my best friends from London and her boyfriend arrived two weeks later. It has been a blast having visitors. And the British candy and baby clothes have been a big hit. British baby clothes seem to be heavier on the bunnies and lighter on the glitter. Maybe Evie and Liv will be super into glitter in a few years but for right now, they get bunnies.

It was Vikki and Matt’s first time meeting the girls and it was so amazing. As always, it was rough to say goodbye. It just doesn’t get any easier. We are hoping, hoping, hoping to take the girls to London next summer, but a lot is up in the air.

Evie and Liv have entered into the phase where they notice when you stop paying attention to them. It is mostly hysterical. Liv just yells until someone pays attention to her. They both continue to enjoy being thrown in the air. They also like being tickled, the NBA, kisses, bathtime, washcloths, paper, and anything that lights up.

Without further ado..

IMAG0432Evie and Rob at the aquarium. The aquarium is a big hit with the girls. They may not know what fish are, but they like pretty lights. 

IMAG0456Bathtime! Liv | Evie

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IMG_5495The love swinging. Evie | Liv

IMG_5505Evie | Liv

IMG_5522Have I mentioned they enjoy pulling hair? Especially Jillian’s.

IMG_5530Liv

IMG_5550Evie is very bendy. We call her Yoga Baby. Evie | Liv

IMG_5568Aunt Vikki and Uncle Matt brought Evie and Liv a ton of new clothes from England. She is clearly very pleased.

IMG_5585Family resemblance much? Olivia | Evelyn

IMG_5617Sometimes being a twin is not so much fun. 

IMG_5625Evie | Liv

IMG_5640Olivia with her photographer, Aunt Jillian

IMG_5725Finally, a family photo. Liv | Evie 

IMG_5743They are discovering each other more each day. Evie | Liv

IMG_5792Olivia is ready to meet Mickey!

IMG_5802Evie loves yogurt.

IMG_5862The girls are a big fan of Uncle Batman.

where I go from here, part III

part I, part II

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After I accepted the position with TFA there were a lot of steps that needed to be taken. In those first few weeks after my acceptance I had scheduled a handful of different conversations with TFA alums that were parents and TFA alums from the LA region. I remember I only got to have one of those conversations. The second never happened because I went into labor. I remember texting the woman I was supposed to talk to, saying I would have to reschedule. I’m nothing, if not responsible.

After the girls were born all TFA deadlines came to a halt for several weeks. However, when the girls were only about six weeks I had to get back to TFA. In order to teach in California I had to take and pass the CSET and CBEST. TFA had warned me that the CSET was an exceptionally rigorous test that I might have to take multiple times. Needless to say, with the memory of the Bar still in my mind, I freaked out quite a bit.

I started trying to carve out time to study anywhere I could. We had sitters come to the house two days a week for a few hours so I could get some studying done. Evie and Liv were still such a handful that we had to have two sitters. I would watch the Crash Course history videos (praise God for John Green) in the middle of the night while I was up with the girls. I think I was delirious for most of December and January. My memories from December are fuzzy and dark. Not as in depressing, but as in I remember always working in the dark because Evie and Liv were asleep.

All I really remember of the day of the CSET was how cold it was in the classroom. I wore layers like a seasoned tester and I still froze my ass off. I think I wrote an essay on the role of women in history? Hard to say. The CBEST was a little bit better but I had to remember how to multiply and divide. I spent the rest of January holding my breath and was very surprised to have passed everything.

Though the testing was one of the biggest hurdles I had to jump, I have kept running. Many deadlines and to-do lists for TFA. Some days I feel like wonder woman. Some days I feel like I am trying to push a boulder up a mountain while balancing plates on my head. I am exhausted. But I am getting there.

What’s next? Early in January I found out that my summer training, or teacher boot camp, would not be taking place in LA, but Phoenix.

Uhhh… our June just got very interesting.

where I go from here, part II

if you are looking for part I, click here!

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After deferring my acceptance to TFA my life became pretty consumed with other things. First, healing from the miscarriage, next, coming to terms with a new pregnancy. Though I can look back on my pregnancy now and tell myself it wasn’t that bad, it was. From 25 weeks on my entire existence was focused on keeping the babies inside for as long as possible. When TFA emailed me over the summer to double check that I was still interested for the following year, I almost didn’t respond. I had way bigger things on my mind. But I did respond and said yes, still very interested. But pretty pretty please, Los Angeles. I had to realistically accept that Rob and I could not move to Las Vegas with newborn twins.

When I had been accepted originally the Los Angeles team had told me that it was very difficult to get a position teaching in LA for History or English. The LA team wanted me, but hired very few English or History teachers. When I sent off the information saying that I was still interested, I assumed I would get told that they wanted me, but only had a position for me in Las Vegas. I sent off the request and it fell off my radar again. Something about being in and out of the hospital meant that I didn’t have room for much else in my brain.

Sometime in September I got an email from TFA welcoming me to the Las Vegas team. Well, that was that. I was disappointed but had never really expected it to work out. It would have been too good to be true. I didn’t respond to the email right away because I was just like, ugh, another door closed. I really wanted to work with TFA, everything about the organization had impressed me and screamed, this is the right fit for you! I was too bummed to respond and say, thank you, but I can’t move to Las Vegas. So I didn’t. About a week later Rob left for England to go to his sister’s wedding and I was at home, on bed rest. thrill. a. minute. I got a call from an unknown number in LA and decided to answer because, what else was I doing?

It was the TFA Los Angeles calling to welcome me to the 2015 team.

Erm.. what? I assumed there had been a mistake and explained to the very nice woman that I had already been welcomed to the Las Vegas team. She assured me that there definitely had been a mistake because I was for sure on the LA team. She had me login into my TFA page to prove it. There it was. I had been assigned to teach history in Los Angeles. The conversation gets a little hazy for me at this point because I was hyperventilating on the inside while trying to act very normal on the phone. I remember her insisting that I take a few days to make a decision as to whether to accept the position, she had just found out I was about to pop with twins.

I got off the phone and started to sob uncontrollably. I kept trying to get it together because I was freaking out my family. A sobbing pregnant woman is never a good sign. I just kept saying it’s good news and it’s not about the babies! I had also been waiting for a phone call from my OB regarding premature labor. I called Rob like 14 times, but he was in England and asleep so I just left him several voicemails saying, it’s not about the babies and please call me back.

I got the call from the LA team on a Wednesday. I had a couple of weeks to consider it and decide. I accepted it that Friday.

where I go from here, part I

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Last July I did a four-part blog on how I upended my professional life and stepped away from the legal world. I left it hanging as to what I would be doing now that I wasn’t practicing, mainly because it was still very much up in the air. For most of my pregnancy I knew that I was going to have twins and then..? Well, I got a phone call about two weeks before I gave birth that changed everything. However, I am going to have to back up to October 2013…

It was about October of 2013 that I was desperate for something, anything, to get me out of my firm job. I felt so helpless, all I wanted was a job where I felt safe, where I felt appreciated and needed. I was looking for teaching positions and wasn’t coming up with anything when I stumbled across Teach for America.

For those of you not in the know, TFA is a national non-profit organization that places educators in low-income communities. TFA states, “Our mission is to enlist, develop, and mobilize our nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity.” What this meant for me, practically, is that I would be teaching in a low-income school while I earned my teaching credential. It sounded like an amazing fit for me. I knew about this TFA in college, but I already had plans to move to England and marry Rob so I had never considered it seriously. I didn’t really know the details, but I started the application process and crossed my fingers.

The process was rigorous. Essays to be written and lesson plans to develop. If I made it past the first steps I would have to present a lesson, on a topic of my choosing, to a classroom of other applicants. I made it through the interview process and everyone seemed very impressed with me. I say this not because I think I am super cool, but because it was such a different experience from where I was working. I was starting to become used to thinking I was crap at everything. Having people tell me I was qualified and a great fit was amazing.

Early January I found out that I had been accepted to teach English… in Las Vegas. I knew this was part of the deal. I could be placed anywhere in the country. But I also knew that I couldn’t move to Las Vegas. I tried to convince Rob that we could totally move and he was like, um no. And then, I lost the baby. Instead of turning TFA down I asked if I could defer for a year. I figured, a lot could happen in a year…