14 February 2016

A background story about the new Veit

We're pregnant! Or I am, but we are expecting a baby! I am 12 weeks, and the due date is August 28th. While we are thinking it is a boy based off of intuitions, we will find out in a couple of weeks for sure.

I am seeing a Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctor for a Subchorionic Bleed (there is a spot near the baby that is a hematoma and causing me to bleed every so often). These usually aren't a big deal, but mine has grown from 22 mm to 55 mm in 4 weeks, where you usually like to see them get smaller. Good news is it looks like the placenta is forming on the opposite side of my uterus but we'll know more after my next appointment. Baby is doing great, we've had four ultrasounds so far and I have a fetal doppler, which I am doing very well at only using a couple of times a week.

I have had more blood tests done this pregnancy too. I am on a progesterone supplement because it was low at my first HCG draw. I never even had an HCG blood test with Mary. However, after a miscarriage everything is different. When we moved to NC I was 8 weeks pregnant. We learned two days before the move that the baby had a small gestational sac and that it was a waiting game to see if the baby would make it. We were 10 weeks when we found out I miscarried. It made for an incredibly difficult transition to North Carolina. We were so lucky to have Leah with us to care for Mary. It was difficult, but we knew we would try again, we just were not intending for it to be so soon, but we are so grateful for this pregnancy. For those that didn't know about the miscarriage but knew we were pregnant, we are so sorry we didn't share with you. It was such an emotional time we kind of just went through emotions. Then we got pregnant right away and were not sure what to tell people. It has been a crazy rollercoaster so we thank you for your love, understanding, good thoughts, and prayers.

We are thrilled and scared and happy and emotional (ok, maybe that's just the hormonal pregnant lady). We can't wait to be a family of four. Mary loves hitting my growing belly. I think she will be a great big sister and we are excited for a transition to having two under two. 

28 January 2016

I'm back!

I'm not sure I have a ton to blog about, but I thought I would reopen the blog. The first order of business was to edit the "About Us" since we have another member of the family since the last time I officially blogged; Mary for all those wondering. It was also a little outdated with my information. It said I drink beer, where in the year and a half since I blogged last, I more enjoy wine, the redder and darker the better. I also am not in education any more, something I had to edit out. I'm not sure how I feel about that, I'll probably blog more on that later. Oddly enough, I didn't have to change John's description too much, his life has stayed relatively similar. Beer. The man likes beer. And me, he is head over heels for me.

So since my first post in April of 2013, the blog has gone from "Teaching Math Internationally" to "The Main(e) Idea" to "The Mommy Insider". It has gone from me moving to Bahrain alone, moving to Maine married, getting a dog, having a baby, and moving to North Carolina.

The real reason I wanted to "reopen" the blog was I have a lot on my mind and I need an outlet, kind of like therapy. I'm hopeful that I will have some time to get my thoughts on paper, er blog, between naps, diaper changes, and feedings. Or maybe just after everyone goes to sleep.

The first order of business after everyone goes to sleep tonight? Taking the Jeopardy online test. John and I took the practice tests last night. I'm less than hopeful for good results tonight unless the categories are Bravo TV, Math, Chocolate Labradors, Dark Chocolate, Wine, and Toddler Pedagogy. Here's hoping!

27 April 2014

Doesn't belong here...but I need feedback

I taught in North Carolina for 6 years so I was incredibly lucky when my husband got stationed in Maine. Well, I didn’t really see it as lucky at the time, I think my actual words were “it has been nice knowing you”. Then when I could not get a call back for a teaching job I felt incredibly troubled by the move to Maine. However, I am now in the most incredible job for my past experiences. I am the Proficiency-Based Project Manager for RSU 13 and one of my responsibilites is to help teachers with new standards. A job I have done in North Carolina and internationally.

When learning about Maine’s educational policies I felt like I was in a different world with local control being such a strong force, compared to North Carolina with much larger school districts and more state control. I was excited to find out how similar these two Pine Tree states actually are though. Both states were early adopters of the Common Core State Standards, both have commissioned with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and both were apart of the 16 original lead states for the Next Generation Science Standards. Maine adopted the Common Core State Standards almost a year after North Carolina, however both states tried for implementation in the 2012-2013 school year. Maine pushed theirs back to full implementation in the 2013-2014 school year. Working as an instructional facilitator during the 2011-2012 school year in North Carolina, I trained teachers during 5 workdays on the implementation of the Common Core and how to read the standards as well as during many faculty meetings and early release days.

The state of North Carolina created documents called “Crosswalks” which outlined the differences between their previous Standard Course of Study and the Common Core. North Carolina has more required workdays and Early Release days for teacher training. I’m not saying this to make North Carolina sound glamorous, honestly, I talk about Maine’s school systems and often I see green in my former coworkers eyes. I’m just trying to stress how hard North Carolina worked on the standards, yet as of this week there is legislation pending to throw out the Common Core and adopt new standards. Maine has had far less training with the standards and has less time for it in the teacher calendar, and I fear we will fall into the trap NC legislation has. I beg Maine educators, community members and legislation to not forgo the Common Core State Standards.

Teachers and administrators are working hard to learn as much as possible about the standards. We are working on professional development calendars to make sure we that we have time to train teachers on aligning our current resources to the standards, because, the standards are not curriculum. We as a district get to decide the curriculums, but with budgets what they are, we have to just alter what we have instead of purchasing new, a problem North Carolina faced.

Getting rid of the standards will not change the fact that we have to work on standards. According to the Fordham Institute Research, Maine’s previous English-Language Arts Learning Results received two out of three points for clarity and specificity, however only four out of seven points for rigor and content; the math only received three out of seven points. The Common Core State Standards received the two out of three points for clarity and specificity, however the rigor and content was increased to six and seven points out of seven for English-Language Arts and Mathematics respectively. So even if the Common Core State Standards are revoked, work will need to be done on the old Maine Learning Results.

Getting rid of the standards will not change the fact that we have to test our students. According to No Child Left Behind each state must assess their students at the end of third through eighth grade and their third year of high school. Maine has been behind in this aspect adopting the New England Common Assessment Program that was not truly aligned to the Maine Learning Results, and also tested students on their end of grade learning, in the next school year. The third year of high school students have been taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). While this is test that is beneficial for students applying to colleges, it is in no way an assessment on their understanding of the Maine Learning Results. By becoming members of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, students will take tests at the end of the current year of learning, that are completely aligned to the Common Core State Standards. However, our adoption of the standards has nothing to do with us having to test our students, with or without the Common Core, standardized testing will still happen.

Getting rid of the standards will not help Maine collaborate. Maine is one of two states with a declining population according to a July 2013 report from the United States Census Bureau. Maine needs to be collaborating with other states to continue to build on their educational background (this is true of all states). I know our Maine Department of Education has been working with states, and recently traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to continue the work. Students move; we live in a transient time and by having common standards throughout the state, let alone the country. will benefit our students greatly. Eliminating the Common Core State Standards will only bring us back to 2009 when the National Governors Association and the Chief Council of State School Officers decided they were needed.

Getting rid of the standards will not eliminate poorly worded questions, ill advised homework or any of the other propaganda you have seen on the internet about why the Common Core is bad. The standards indicate to teach students multiple ways to understand why addition and subtraction are needed and work, not just the old algorithms taught long ago. The standards also do not indicate to NOT teach the algorithms. The idea is that students understand the whys before they memorize a formula that has no real meaning to them, but can explain why the formulas work. Parents upset that their student were marked down on tests for not giving the exact terminology should not be upset about the Common Core, but rather the directions for the test that did not clarify this. Terminology taught at a younger age means students in high school will have an easier time understanding more complex concepts. We cannot bare witness to this now, because we do not have enough years of the system to show it working. When reading through parental complaints about the “Common Core” ask yourself if it is truly a problem with the Common Core State Standards or if it is the assignments problem.

To those that argue that the Common Core State Standards are “bad”, I ask why are they so bad?  When the standards are read through, many have few complaints about the actual standards. It is the testing, the lack of resources and training that they complain about-not the actual standards. So Maine, I beg of you, do not fall in to the trap that other states have and trust the system that you fought for since the beginning. Teachers, trust yourselves, colleagues and administration and try to learn as much as you can. This is a process that will take time and you are in the hard part, jumping ship will only take more time and work. The testing will still be there, but it won’t be aligned to the new standards, unless we want to work harder and create our own. We will be a lone state recreating the wheel by ourselves again and there will still be poorly worded assignments still out there. The Common Core State Standards are not the evil in education right now and the longer people keep acting like they are the more of a standstill we as a state, and an education system will be in.  Fight for more resources, not undoing things that do not need to be undone.

07 August 2013

Stories of Married Life

Our wedding was perfect.  I'll post pictures of the nuptials when we get the professional pictures.  We went to North Carolina for our honeymoon and then drove 1000 miles back home with all my stuff in the back of the truck.  It was fun.

So I could share with you the minute by minute details of the trip and life since the wedding but really?  Buh-or-ring. So instead I'll share little stories of why John and I love each other-some are repeats from facebook-so deal with it. I'm also learning how to use Gifs...deal with that too

What It's Like Living With a Girl
I'm not quite sure how many of you know that John has never had a roommate except for his parents and siblings growing up and a barrack full of Army guys.  I'm also not quite sure how many of you know that I am a "pretty, pretty princess" and very much a girl.  We've had some fun adjusting to life together.  Well, John has had fun learning that I am, in fact, not a dude and he can't say whatever he wants because, I may, cry, or get mad, or take it literally.  I mean it is hard to believe, but I am VERY different than a room full of Army guys.  And what he really didn't know before getting into this...is...

So I have a hair wall.  When you are in the shower and wash your hair, you get hair intertwined in your fingers.  There are two options here.  1. Rinse hands and have hair go down the drain/clog the drain so you end up standing in water.  2. Put it on the wall and remove it at the end of the shower.  Obviously number 2 is the better choice.  However, the remembering to take it off the wall doesn't always happen.  When I lived by myself I would leave it there.
But now I have to take it down...But I do forget and John does not consider it art...in fact he doesn't like it. At All...

Part of being a pretty princess is wearing makeup.  For the past 15 years of my life I have worn makeup.  Now John wears makeup!  No, not literally.  If you see powder on his nose, he is not taking up a horrible habit, he just kissed me.  His nose touches my cheek when we kiss, and therefore his nose gets makeup on it.  Poor guy.  I don't wear lipstick very much but when I do, he wears it too.  I loved it one day when he was drinking Starbucks...his cup looked like mine.  There was a dot of beige foundation on the white lid where his nose hit the cup and it had a lipstick ring.  He only freaked out a little.

Farts, Boogers and Potty Humor
I don't fart (in public).  I don't pick my nose (in public). I don't discuss pooping, peeing or gross things (in public).  I consider John public.  He apparently does not consider me public.  I have hung out with MGC (my friends in NC) to know that I am in the minority when it comes to bodily function actions and doing.  I would consider the MGC slogan to be "Let 'er rip, tater chip".  I, however, do not "let 'er rip"...yet.  Anyways, my adjustment has come with living with bodily functions.  And you know what?  Farts are funny!  Sometimes.  Not in the furniture aisle in Target...but I digress.   The best story was yesterday when John had an itchy nose in the car.  He blew his nose trying to dislodge the itch, and felt relief, but there was nothing there.  He searched around on his shirt, shorts, steering wheel, couldn't find it-but his nose was quite relieved.  We were driving along discussing how everyone has boogers but I just don't like discussing them...and I look down...and there is a HUGE booger on my jacket.  I lift my arm over to him and ask "What's this?" and he yells "There it is!!!!"  and picks it off of me. I laughed so hard I cried...or just cried...because I had a booger on me...that wasn't mine.

What's Yours is Mine, and What's Mine is Mine
Our furniture was not delivered for almost three weeks when we moved into the apartment.  An air mattress is a great invention...for a short time period...three weeks was ridiculous.  Our bed now is freaking amazing.  It has a pillow top, a memory foam pad and a padded mattress cover.  John even has a memory foam pillow (just one though since it was just him). I've never been a bed connoisseur, but John has changed that.  We don't have air conditioning and most nights it doesn't matter.  We have a little blanket that is perfect most nights as a blanket that makes you feel cozy, yet provides no warmth whatsoever.  So what John didn't know before sharing a bed was that I get cold when I sleep...and that his side of the bed is so much more comfortable than mine!  And that his half of the blankets are so much warmer than mine.  Poor guy, never saw it coming...

The Best Part
We can't always be amazing.  Some days are boring.  Some days we don't appreciate what the other has done just to make it to the end of the day.  I'm not working right now and sometimes I feel like a waste of space.  I know that John works hard each day and I try to support him as much as I can in every way.  One day last week he had a long day, and I had decorated a lot.  He commented on some things he liked.  I cooked dinner, we watched TV, and it was time for bed.  He went to bed first to read and I went to the bathroom to wash my face.  It was a perfectly average day.  As I crawled into bed he put his iPad down and looked at me.  "I really love how you are making our apartment a home-all the little touches-all that you are doing-I love it, thank you."  I love how he can turn an average day into extraordinary.  He amazes me.  

So that's our life.  Sharing, adjusting, living, loving.  Oh yeah...and farts.  

16 July 2013

The Quiet Moments

John has the day off to move his stuff into our apartment!  We are sitting around waiting for them to arrive...he is reading Life of Pi, I am blogging, we are laying side by side...

pretty sweet Tuesday for us.

This weekend I get to call him my husband, I cannot wait.  The moments when we are quiet are the moments I love, just as much as the ones as when we are laughing as we get lost going to see the Tree of Life and when we are riding the motorcycle.  I love him.

Before the chaos of the movers and the frustrations of where to put all of our combined stuff-snuggling with him and listening to the birds outside the window are exactly what we need.  Besides each other.

"Thank you for patience.
Thank you for-giveness.
Thank you for spending this time with me.
Meet me where you're going,
cuz I wanna be going wherever you'll be." -Cloud Cult

12 July 2013

We are not in Kansas

So I had a hard transition to Maine (it has only been 2 weeks, I know that is not that long.) It had nothing to do with John, it was all my own thoughts and feelings in my head.  He has done so much to make me like the area, and I got here just as work was getting crazy and he is finishing up his quals**, so he is extra tired but still amazing.  I want to preface this post with that because right now he is 90% of what I have in Maine.  So if I make an unkind statement about Maine or myself here, it could come off as directed at John, but it’s not.  

He is wonderful. 

Maine is different than North Carolina.  The accents are different and harsh, not soft and cute.  I hung out in two college towns in NC, GSO and Durham.  In Bahrain I hung out with my fellow teachers.  Here there are a lot of old people…a lot.  I may feel that way because I am out during the day and since they are retired they are too.  I understand that.  But this place is second only to Richfield for the most old people homes I’ve ever seen. 

The food is different.  I miss Bahrain restaurants already.  Once we get all of our cooking supplies I am going to try to learn to make machboos like at school.  The food here is good, but it is very much the same everywhere we have gone.  We still have to try the Mexican restaurant and the sushi place. 

The hardest transition for me is the lack of job.  I feel like a waste of space without a job, or anything to do around the house yet (we are still waiting for our furniture to arrive-then the pinterest projects can really start).  I had an epiphany this morning though...if I had a job lined up for the fall, I wouldn't be working right now.  I would be doing the exact same thing I am doing, watching TV, painting and figuring out life here.  If I had not moved here and was going back to Bahrain I would be doing the exact same thing I am doing right now, watching TV, figuring out life.  So why do I feel like a waste of space right now?  Can I accept this as my “leave***”?  I am actively searching for jobs every day.  Once they open background checks back up (they are closed for summer?) then I will get my name on the sub list officially.  I am confused why I have this huge desire to be defined by my job.  It has been one of the only things in my life that has challenged, supported and fulfilled me in my adult life.  It doesn't mean other things, or roles can’t.  And it has only been two weeks.  We are not defined by two weeks.  So I am not a waste of space.  I am enjoying my summer, like everyone should get to do-don't worry, I'll enjoy it for all of you working 9-5s. Next margarita is on me.  Well, technically John :)   

**(qualifications that you have to get at each new boat, even if you’ve held them before on another boat…it’s like getting recertified for teachers)
***defined by the two week to month long break given to military during or after deployment.  

08 July 2013

John learns the difference in temperature heat and heat from your wife....

“So you’re new to town?  Me too, where are you from?” 
“Well I just got here from Bahrain”
“oh yeah? I’m from Chicago, I’m used to this heat too.”

 So Rockland had a heat wave this weekend.  It got up to 89 degrees.  Oooooh….Both John and I were not impressed, however, our little 2nd floor apartment was incredibly impressed by the temperature outside and decided to double it inside our little non-air-conditioned abode.  We went to Wal-Mart to check out the selection of window units and they were all sold out.  I’m not joking.  People were walking around in bathing suits in Wal-Mart, red faced, buying fans, and anything else that could offer them cool-ness.  John and I just wanted a little unit for the bedroom so we could sleep better.  We talked about ordering one, but then we decided to see if we could wait it out…we had to shut the windows the next couple of nights because I was too cold, $200 well saved. 

Saturday, during the “heat wave”, John and I went to a birthday dinner for a CG’s girlfriend.  She is a local hair stylist so not only am I excited to have someone to help my rats nest, but she is also way cute, a quality I find really important in friends J.  

It was a lot of fun.  I love meeting people and getting to talk about John and I and we had a lot of fun hearing stories from the people we were there with too.  They kept talking about how I looked cool, as in not hot.  (insert a Shehab joke here: “Ms., do you think you are cooler than me?” “Ghazi, of course I do.” “Good, that means I’m hotter than you.”-this from the kid who dressed up as a carrot.) 

I was talking about how the temperature was cool compared to where we were, the humidity was new though and that it felt a lot hotter because of that-completely true.  I still want to buy a dehumidifier for the apartment, temperature is nothing, but I hate feeling sticky.  I then said that John “lured” me here with the mild year round weather.  They started laughing, and pulled out their cell phones…every single person from the table…not an exaggeration.  They showed me pictures of the winter storm from last year where the snow covered cars and doors.

 “Make sure to keep your shovel inside so that you can get out of the house.”

All of the sudden I was sweating profusely and could barely talk.  John started laughing and I swear I saw him give the “shut the heck up” face to his friend Jesse.  I looked at him and he smiled and said, “see, just like Ohio.”  The only saving grace was that people said everything shuts down when it is like that…whew, ok, that I am used to.

The party was at a local bar, Rock Harbor.  They are starting to turn it into a brewery.  There used to be a brewery in town but it closed.  I am excited for it to open with its own brews because one thing we are adjusting to is the choice of draft beers here.  I dislike the summer seasonals so far and then there are a lot of IPAs-which I’m not a fan.  John likes them, but it is still some guess and check to get the “right one”.  He is brave, and a guy, so he just orders whatever and drinks it whether he likes it or not.  I, however, am being a snotty girl and asking for samples.  I have not gotten a full glass of anything I have sampled yet.  I do like this bar though because of the bartender.  She is awesome.  She works at another local bar too, when we saw her there, she said “I’m following you two.”  I love her. 

So I’m adjusting to, and liking life in Maine-and of course loving every minute with John.