Feathered Aspen



It’s been 10 weeks since I last posted, and it’s been about that long since we took a photo of the belly, too. It makes me a little sad to think that there are 10 weeks – one fourth – of our pregnancy lost to all documentation, but I do have a couple of excuses.

First excuse (wasn’t that the theme of my last post?): I’ve been working a lot. It seems like no matter how well I budget my time or how diligently I plow through each task, there are four or five more tasks to be done. So it’s 12 hour work days for me. Every time I look at the clock and the minute hand is inching closer to the 6 or 7 pm mark, I feel this little fissure of panic.
Where did my devout work-life balance go? Sadly, I am too easily susceptible to the reviews of my superiors, and while they were mostly positive, I – like the type A dweeb that I am – latched on to the bad news. Learning that my students were not making as much growth as I had hoped they would was pretty devastating. I spent a long, sleepless night fretting over it, and then I began writing all of my lesson plans. Whereas before, I shared lesson planning with 3 other teachers, now I am/was planning day to day. I decided that I needed to know what my students could do when I cut out everyone else and left them with me.
As a school, we test every 6 weeks. At the end of the last 6 week period, my students’ averages grew by 10 percent. For the first time, I had all four of my classes above an 80 percent average, which is our goal for mastery.
And while that should have been good news – and it was good news – I still felt defeated. I’ve taken ownership of my lessons, but I still struggle with behavior. It seems as though there is an infinite number of columns in this rubric, and when I finally improve in one area, another needs work or another slides. It leaves me feeling like I’m treading water.
Anyway, enough about work. As you can see, it’s preoccupying far too much time and now blog-space.
Second excuse: I am painfully uncomfortable in front of the camera. I’m pretty sure that Ms. Obscura is out to get me at the most unflattering angle in the most unattractive lighting. So, after nearly 40 photos, these are the three I’m willing to show you 🙂

34 weeks and some 🙂
And Thibideaux too:

Little Lily is not so little anymore. Now, when she moves, I can feel her hands near my hip, her bottom above my navel, and her feet just under my ribs. Her movements are so strong, my students can see them, and in the middle of lessons, they gasp and say, “she’s kicking!” At night when I lay down, her twists and turns make my belly look like an earthquake.

These crazy strong movements have been going on for about a month now. It’s also been about a month since I’ve been able to sleep with anything less than 5 pillows. Should I try to sleep with one or two pillows, my uterus sloshes up into my lungs, and I wake up, gasping for breath.
All in all, it’s been a good pregnancy. I’m feeling a bit blue today (which I’m sure came through in my first few paragraphs), but I don’t think I’ve ever been happier living and working. When I count my blessings, there are many. Among them:
1) Joshua. This is going to sound so very married and cliche, but I do love him even more now than the day we married or the day after that or the day before yesterday. He’s my best friend, and although we’re rarely apart, I miss him during the day or when we’re busy. Whatever we do, it’s always better when we’re together.
2) This baby moving inside of me. It’s pretty magical. With all of her furious and strong movements, we’ve already assigned her a feisty personality, and we can’t wait to meet her.
3) Our home. And the first floor is finally, almost, very nearly done. Besides a tile backsplash in the kitchen, and a fully furnished sun room, it’s there. Pictures are up, things are pretty much where they are going to be, and it looks and feels like a real home. We love it. The colors are awesome: tangerine and pistachio in the living, dining, and kitchen rooms, and the bedroom feels grown up in ochre with white stencils. I love my bubble-gum pink bathroom, and the sun room is shaping up to be beachy and inviting.
4) Our friends. Kyle and Stacy’s companionship has made life so much better. We cook meals together on Friday evenings, and Sundays are often spent up in the mountains, talking and appreciating the view. Just a couple of weekends ago, we went to Santa Fe, and we had so much fun eating ourselves silly and exploring the city. Brian and Brittaney are sadly leaving us for the wilds of North Dakota, but we’ve been so lucky to be able to spend time with them this past year. Brittaney has pretty much been the only other pregnant woman I know, and watching them go through their pregnancy and the birth of their new son (on January 30), Harrison Curtis Devane, has made us feel very lucky to be a part of their lives during this very full year.
Denver/ The Mountains. We love our new city. It has everything we need out of a city: good restaurants, a big REI, parks with green spaces, an excellent tattoo parlour, and of course, the reason we’re here in the first place – jobs that pay. The weather is always surprising, and we get all of my favorites: blizzards, rain storms, and hot, sunny days with cool, summer nights. And then there are the mountains. Would I love Denver as much as I do without it’s proximity to the mountains? Probably not. But seeing as Denver is a 15 minute drive to the foothills and a 30 minutes drive to real-ass mountains, there’s no need to speculate. We try to get out to the hills every weekend, and the views and the chance to stretch our legs and breathe mountain air never ceases to make us feel very, very lucky. Recently, snowshoeing has been our outing of choice, and the winter wonder lands that we’ve found and explored have been beautiful beyond comparison.
My walk to work. 2 miles there and 2 miles back give me a sunrise over the mountains and frosty lake views, as well as twilight along the front range. I see coyotes and foxes, geese, and runners. I listen to music and I wonder what Lily will be like.
My students. Even though teaching can be a mixed bag, I am blessed to have some of the most wonderful students to grace the threshold of a classroom. They are beautiful and smart and they have so much heart. I am constantly surprised by their wisdom and grace, and they are so very generous with me: they share their smiles and time, their Spanish and their intelligence. I feel lucky to be a part of their lives.
And then there are the constant things that have made life good for a while now: Oscar and his perky tail and floppy ears, Thibby and her lemming ways (she’s particularly attached to the pregnancy belly and what we like to the call “The Mammaries”). Good food and cooking, good health. Jobs that require our brains and our hearts, and weekends that give us a chance to reconnect and breathe.
So that’s the news from Edgewater, a little forgotten suburb on the heels of Denver. Hoping all is well with you and yours, Ellie.

Author: Ellie

Wife, Mom, Adventurer...

6 thoughts on “Bless

  1. Love the pictures – Ellie you look so Beautiful cannot wait to meet lil Henriette she is going to be awesome like her mommy & daddy!!! Love you both!!!!

  2. I second Joette: you look lovely (and Thibbie is not bad looking either).So soon – it's hard to believe. You guys are in my thoughts every day. Much, much love.

  3. You look absolutely wonderful! We are so happy for you guys. Love you lots!Tom and Jeanne

  4. Dad tipped me off you had a new post. Lovely to hear your blessings–can you be a perfectionist and content? You do a pretty good job of both! You look amazing. Our pregnant girl. So very excited to meet little Hen. I was hoping to see more pics of the house in its finished state. Do I have to wait 'til June? Love you tonsMandy

  5. I like those plates on the wall, and I love your cute kitty. Time moves on so quickly – enjoy these last few weeks of suspense!You look lovely, by the way:)

  6. As usual, inspirational writing. I'm encouraging Amber to read your post since she's at week 22 and could use some encouragement about the third trimester. Thanks for the update Ellie

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