Sweet Baby Jane

I was sitting in a summer training session at at school on August 21st when my phone rang. It was the adoption agency. I ran out of the room to the playground. “Hi, this is Mia with AdoptHelp. I’m calling with good news. You’ve been selected by a birth mother in Florida who is giving birth to a baby girl in December.” So much to process in that loaded sentence. Someone picked our profile? A girl? But I always thought of myself as a boy mom. December? I’ll be a Mama before the end of the year?! This is the best early birthday present ever. Mia gave me a few more details, none of which I remember. I was just anxious to get Brent on the phone. We officially accepted the placement and scheduled a call with the birth Mom.

Let’s flashback to January 2018. After an informational meeting with AdoptHelp, Brent and I decided our philosophy aligned perfectly with the agency. On January 15, 2018 we officially joined the AdoptHelp family. This is something we’ve talked about since before we were married. It was hard to believe it was actually happening. We were sent a THICK packet of paperwork. Applications. Home Visits. Profiles. Family photos. SO MUCH PAPERWORK. With the stress of school, it felt like a second job. We could have been a bit more urgent about finishing everything, but didn’t finalize all the work until the end of May. Brent was a bit of a perfectionist with the profile 🙂 After submitting all of our paperwork we were told to expect a 9-12 month wait. It was up to a birth mother to select us. To celebrate being done with all the initial work we went on the most amazing trip to Namibia and lived a “yes” lifestyle. This translated to running too. Run Cross Country for the first time since high school? Why not? Chicago Marathon with the American Development Program? Yes! Day trip in Sacramento to watch Ellen crush the California International Marathon? Absolutely!

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It was all well and good, but does not compare to the fun of being Jane’s mother. My whole world changed when Jane was born on December 30, 2018. Not having experienced pregnancy, I wondered if I’d feel like Jane’s mom. I wondered if she would bond with me. I worried that my mother instincts wouldn’t kick in. It didn’t feel real until I held her in my arms.

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I feel so blessed to have been there for Jane’s birth and to be the first to hold her after she was born. It was an honor to hold Jane’s birth mother’s hand through labor. We’ve built a strong relationship with her, and I know we’re going to be a part of each other’s lives forever. I love Jane more and more every day. Nothing beats the feeling when she laughs and smiles at me. I absolutely am Jane’s Mama, and those mother instincts definitely kicked in. It’s Mama and Jane all day everyday until April 1st. Oh and side note, yes, I’m a proud Jane, but Jane was not named after my running group. Jane met the name requirements for both Brent and I. I wanted a timeless family name (my Grandma and I both have the middle name Jane) and Brent wanted a female scientist. I love that she is named after a scientist who worked in Africa 🙂 For these next few weeks I am soaking it all in and taking advantage of every moment. Oh, and it turns out I love being a girl Mama too 😉

 

 

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Summer of Yes

This was the Summer of Yes. You might have noticed by my instagram hashtags 🙂 The Summer of Yes was all about taking a break from the norm. Alaina, Cecilia, and I wanted to shake things up a bit and switch up our routine. Yes, we worked most of the summer but we wanted to make the best of it. Summer’s kinda over tomorrow, so I’m here to report on the Summer of Yes activities.

Here we are, on the last day of school. What an amazing group of educators.

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We kicked things off with a wedding in Minnesota. Congrats Erica and Ryan!img_8257

Minneapolis requires a trip to the Mall of America. img_8230-1

And immediately off on our Euro adventure. Monday, July 3rd involved flying from Minneapolis-LA-London. 24 hours in London meant we had to go back to where Brent proposed to me. I got a good one!img_8296

Then it was off to Munich. We got to see Ana, my best friend from growing up in Germany. Here we are after our 15K hike in the foothills of the alps. img_8358-1

I am obsessed with Paris. The food. The wine. Here we are after one of our 3+ hour meals. img_8419-1

And after our food tour of Montmartre with John-Paul, who at this point is a family friend. Jackie and Alex met us in Paris for a few days.

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I came back from Paris determined to learn how to bake bread. Still working on it.

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Being back in LA also meant time for more trail running. Something about being up in the mountains. Ahh, it’s great for the soul.

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And time for exploring new neighborhoods. Gotta love the Arts District.  IMG_8440

And the meatballs at Jon+Vinny’s in Mid-City.

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I went to the top of the Wilshire Grand.

Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 9.15.49 PM.pngEven drove to Long Beach for my favorite latte.

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But the Westside is my fav…

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Did I mention we moved up the street? Yeah, Brent wins 1000 brownie points for secretly moving us in while I was in the bay for work.

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Work took us to Bestia. Bone marrow and spinach gnocchi. Drooool.

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Ellen and I took advantage of Classpass and went boxing!

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I went kayaking in the Marina with the captain.Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 9.17.03 PM.png

More mountain time with Meredith who came to visit from NY last week.

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Playa Provisions now rents bikes!IMG_8577

I’m working on building a garden in this patio. Purple jalapenos, meyer lemons, and succulents. Working on building my desert oasis.
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And the perfect end to summer. Beach walk with Ellen, Cecilia, and Alaina. IMG_8272.JPG

Cheers to the 2017-2018 school year. Let’s let the good times roll.

Year Two.

Friday marked the end of my tenth year in education and the end of my second year as Principal at Equitas Academy #3. It was an exhausting year, and in many ways was much more challenging than our founding year. Our school doubled in size, we moved to a less than ideal space, and we worked with a far more difficult group of Kindergarteners. Despite all that our team finished the year more united than ever. Our academic results were even stronger than the 2015-2016 academic year. We rose to the challenge. Here are some of my principal life and runner life highlights from the 2016-2017 academic year.

August

Our growing team at Summer Professional Development.

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September

Alaina and I with our returning scholars and new Kindergarteners on day one.

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I ran the Ventura Half Marathon the Sunday after the first week of school. I won the race in 1:24, a PR at the time.

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Later that month we were challenged to recruit families to come with us to City Hall for the public hearing for our permanent facility. Cecilia, our School Operations Manager, recruited 70+ families in less than two days.FullSizeRender_2.jpg

Our future home.Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 6.26.48 AM.png

October

Our kindergarten class this year was, to put it nicely, needy. October was rough. This is how we deal with challenge. Impromptu love notes in the work room.

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Because of how well the Ventura Half went, I decided to go for a sub-3 at Long Beach. I was in disbelief when I crossed the line in 2:58.

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Chapter books with our 1st graders.Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 6.17.52 AM.png

First batch of rain. Leaking from the light.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 3.36.41 PM.pngCommunity Meeting had to be moved indoor. It was virtual for the next few months.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 3.39.37 PM.pngLater that month we hosted a Fall Festival at school, planned by the amazing Gabby Vega.

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November

This happened. Still not quite over it. A lot of fear and tears in our school community.

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Mama and Papa came to LA for Thanksgiving. Here we are driving around LA in convertible.
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Staff Thanksgiving PotluckFullSizeRender_4.jpg

December

Yup, still not over the political mess.

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The rain continued. Ruined our Winter Festival. Commonwealth (our building) was a hot mess, both inside and out. LA is not equipped for rain. Leaky classrooms, outdoor lunch tables, puddles. I love rain, but it was really hard having multiple classrooms out of commission and having kids eat lunch in their classrooms for weeks. IMG_5974.JPG

No rain on this day! Won the Santa Monica Christmas Run 10K in 39-something. IMG_6034.JPGSpent the holidays in Michigan with all the nieces and nephews!

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January

We find out our building won’t be ready in the fall and apply for space at a district school. Telling the families was no fun.

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This trip was much needed. Went to Dallas with Alaina and spent the weekend at Deloitte learning all things leadership. Especially loved their treadmill desk 🙂

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Running Mom Kathy got married. Of course we went for a run morning of the reception.FullSizeRender_8.jpg

Spirit week at school. This kiddo somehow found a way to wear a wig everyday. IMG_6180.JPGIMG_6182.JPGFullSizeRender_5.jpg

Alaina, Cecilia, and I drove to Long Beach in torrential rain for a Chinese Take-out Cooking Class.FullSizeRender_12.jpg

Yup, still raining. FullSizeRender_11.jpg

February

100th Day of School = 100 Years Old Spirit Day

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 6.20.24 AM.pngRan the Surf City half on Super Bowl Sunday. Ran a 1:23, and finished 3rd.FullSizeRender_10.jpg

Women’s March in Downtown LA.
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March

Visiting Carmen in Palm Springs.
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Kara Goucher at the LA Marathon Expo.FullSizeRender_14.jpg

April

We accepted placement at an LAUSD District School, and faced weeks of protests both at our site and the Equitas flagship site.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 6.27.51 AM.pngSpring Break in Michigan and Ohio. Here we are in Magnolia, Alaina’s hometown.

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And in Ann Arbor, MichiganScreen Shot 2017-06-25 at 6.21.29 AM.png

Boston! 2:58. Was hoping for a PR, but the conditions weren’t great. Ran a smooth and controlled run. Loved every minute of the race. Maybe a little too excited at mile 25?FullSizeRender_17.jpg

Spending $180,000 on furniture for our permanent facility.FullSizeRender_18.jpg

May

NYC for Rexetta’s 1st Birthday

IMG_7713.JPGFullSizeRender_23.jpgEQ3 Team Retreat in Palm Springs.

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Dinner with my Columbia besties!

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Joined Excelencia’s Board. Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 4.13.21 PM.png

June

Brent runs a 3:40 at the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon!

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Mustache Day.

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Placed 3rd and ran sub-6 pace at the LA Galaxy 5K. LAGalaxy.JPG

Last day of school sign language performances.

IMG_8104.JPGErica with a Kindergartener who scored a 200 on the MAP test. Those of you in education KNOW this is a big deal. We ended the year with 91% of our 1st graders and 98% of Kindergarteners reading above grade-level. We surpassed our MAP goals with 93% of scholars meeting or exceeding their math goal, and 84% meeting or exceeding in reading.
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I wish I could say I have the summer off. The principal life goes year round. (Although  I’m pretty excited about getting to work at 8 instead of 6:30) Summer is a time to reflect and plan. It’s a time to set new goals, to prove we can strengthen as we grow. Happy Summer 🙂