Sunday, August 30, 2009
The Many Faces of Jackson
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Oh Summer, why must you end?
Friday, August 21, 2009
This is a lot of family talk, and you people are just here for pictures of the boy. Here are some pics from the get-together, with only one Jackson pic:
Me? I wasn't so lucky. My extended family was always an ocean away, back in England and Scotland. I've met my cousins a few times, but I've probably spent more time with most of you than I ever have with them. The last time I saw my cousin Claudia and my cousin Richard, I believe I was 8 or 9. The last time I saw Kirsty, Bridget, and Elena was 1999. I only got the chance to meet my late cousin Neil a few times, and I believe he was actually the cousin closest in age to me. Oliver once made it over here to the states, but that one fun night in Clear Lake is about the extent of my memories of him. I've met my cousins-once-removed Fraser and Alasdair, but there are a number of them out there I have never met at all.
More family talk that involves no pictues, so here's a video of Jackson talking and giving a shout-out to his second cousin Alasdair, who is apparently making ceramic wrestlers nowadays.
So anyway, the point - I don't know my extended family well, and it's something that has always made me a little sad. Noelle has quite an extended family, and I love getting to know Aunt Lori and Aunt Shelly and the Mays family and my new cousins. (My parents even spent an afternoon with Noelle's mom's cousin in Colorado the other week!) I finally have cousins nearby to get to know, and when Noelle's grandmother died last year, I was a pall bearer, which was an honor I never had when my grandmother and grandfathers died. It's nice to have that extended family now, and I'm honored to be a part of it.
But now, I'm regaining that family an ocean away as well. This handy internet is finally giving me a chance to get to know my family tree. My cousin Kirsty and my cousin-once-removed Fraser are Facebookers, so we get to hear little snippets of how the family is doing overseas. Granny just moved to a nursing home near Kirsty, so we get reports of how she's adapting to that new life. Fraser's in college, which always makes for some entertaining status updates that make us feel old. And it's not a lot of communication so far, but I'm so happy that I get to have cousins, both new cousins here in the States and old cousins over there in the UK.
I think the biggest "Internet-Trans-Atlantic bonding moment" came when I posted this video of my grandfather on Facebook. He passed away a year ago last Spring, and he was as silly and awesome as this video shows.
It's great to see my brother and my sister out with their own families now, and I look forward to explaining to Jackson how he and his cousins all share a Grandma and Granddad. I look forward to introducing Jackson to Claudia's children and explaining how his middle name was their shared Great-Grandfather's middle name. I look forward to Jackson getting to grow up knowing his family as I look forward to getting to know mine better.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The speaker was sub par, but quick. Since it was summer graduation and the students were divided into two ceremonies, we didn't have to sit through too many people. It made the whole thing more enjoyable. Felicia came into town the same weekend to meet Jackson, so she killed two birds with one stone. I appreciate everyone that made the long drive: Mom, Stephen, Rob, Jackson, Mom2, Dad2 and Felicia. I learned a piece of trivia about the MacGregors that weekend as well. Apparently all the women have masters, but not the men.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Day 100/Day 1
First off, I woke up from my first school year nightmare at 5:30. Every summer seems to conclude with me having panic dreams about me in a classroom with no control over my students, and this year's adapted to include my anxiety about my curriculum and my new position as an Instructional Coach. It sucked, so I woke up, and then there was the realization that it was pretty much time to wake up.
Today they whined about us leaving them. That was rough to hear.
Then we get Jackson to his day care and got him all checked in. There was a crib with his name on it, and the teacher we met seemed very nice. Here he was, checking things out.
In the morning, the infants' rooms are combined as people checked in, which meant Jackson was sharing the room with older crawlers. Before we left, we watched through the window as an older baby got uncomfortably close to our baby. That was rough to watch.
But he needs that interaction, we know. And he's in very capable hands, we know/hope. So we headed out to go to school, and as I waited to make a turn, I looked in the rear view mirror. There, reflected in Jackson's little mirror, was the empty car seat. We've gone places without Jackson before, but never anywhere with an empty car seat being as he is still carried around in his car seat. Seeing it empty reminded me we had left him somewhere. That was so rough to see.
At school, people invariably asked us about Jackson. Every mother who had ever left a child in day care asked Noelle how she was doing, which is really not helping the situation for anyone. Everyone take note - just assume the mom is sad. You don't need to verify it. Of course, when people talked to me, they only said how hard it must be for Noelle. I guess they don't realize I'm one of those softy sensitive men who doesn't mind emoting, and I shouldn't feel slighted, but I missed him too. Anyway, long story short - rough day.
Here's the worst part though. My new position means I no longer have my own classroom, so one of my tasks today was to finish dismantling my classroom. I've taught in that room for three years now, and that was three years worth of posters and cards and projects and journals and pictures that I had to now box up or throw away. Here's a picture of my room as it was last year, when my students all put their heads down simultaneously on April Fools.
Noelle has been an English Teacher Widow before. I have spent many nights working away at school, grading papers and entering grades, and her efficient, organized habits keep her from having to do the same. But to do it today was the worst. Jackson was out of wack from the new experience, and, as I've repeated not-so-inconspicuously above, it had been a rough day for us all. But I had to do my work, so after we got home, I fought every urge to nap to return to school.
Well, the classroom is barren now. No toasters, no posters, no projects, no nothing. A blank slate (with thousands of staples in the wall) for a new teacher to spend his nights trapped inside. My boxes have made their way to my office, and most of my materials are to be divvied up tomorrow at a meeting. The hours away were productive and destructive. I came home to find the family asleep.
I don't want any more days like Day 100. As much as I love my students, I don't want saying goodbye to summer to be equivalent to saying goodbye to my family. I've got to change as a teacher to ensure that doesn't happen. Now I just have to figure out how to make that happen. Hopefully, son, when you read this, you'll see where I made a commitment to ensure you had a dad that was always there for you. Hopefully, "Cats in the Cradle" will mean nothing to you.
I miss summer and those first 99 days.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Rain of Terror
So much has happened this weekend to report, but this sad little puppy's photo couldn't wait.
Tomorrow is Jackson's 100th day out and about. 100 days ago we were sitting in that hospital, waiting, anticipating, and dilating, and we didn't even have a name for who was about to change us forever. Now there's this little person whose smile starts our days, whose attempts to stand delight us, whose screams stress us out, and whose existence inspires us to be better. Each day is another first for Jackson - his first time to meet someone new, his first time to grab his pacifier and bring it to his mouth, his first time to wobbly stand up, his first attempts to crawl. It's all happening so fast, but we've fortunately been here to see it all. The past 99 days have flown by.
And so has summer.
Tomorrow, we return to work full time. Tomorrow, Jackson heads to day care. Tomorrow, everything changes. Tomorrow is Day 100.
Though I wish we could stay in this lovely bubble of summer and this period of time when all Jackson needs is our arms and milk and his swaddle blanket, life has to keep moving. More milestones have to be made, in his life and ours. Noelle just got her Masters this weekend, and she's already planning what's next, of course. I'm starting my new position tomorrow. Jackson has a million firsts ahead of him, many of them tomorrow at his first school.
It's all changing, but that's life - always changing. I am just one of those who wants to pull over and stop when the odometer hits a certain number to appreciate the ride. As the late John Hughes had Ferris Bueller say, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
I don't want to miss a bit of your life, Jackson.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Health Care Needs to Change
After we got Jackson home from the hospital, Noelle remembered to check on adding Jackson to the insurance. She logged on and saw that Jackson was listed on the policy. Well, "Baby MacGregor" was listed. She was relieved and went about her business. EOBs (Explanation of Benefits) arrived and his bills were being paid. In June Noelle called the insurance company to find out how to change Baby MacGregor to Jackson MacGregor. After asking her 100 questions to make sure she was Noelle, they pulled up the plan, and told her it was easy, just to contact HISD. Jackson got sick in July. He went to the ER and had a follow-up at the doctor. Then, days later, he had his 2 month shots. The next day we received a call from the doctor's office stating that Jackson's claims were denied because he did not have insurance. After calling the insurance company, we were told he was added to the policy for one month and then deleted because we did not add him ourselves. He had been without insurance for over a month. We were horrified and could not believe it. After speaking to many "managers" we finally found out about an appeal process. We did not tell our family or friends because we knew our parents would worry. Nearly a month later, and many phone calls later, we found out (today) that our appeal was approved (and it was retroactive back to his date of birth). Living a month in fear that Jackson didn't have insurance (and couldn't be added until he was 7 months old) had us living in terror. Not having insurance is one of the worst things, especially when it's for a newborn baby.
In addition to not having someone pay part of your medical bills, the doctors actually charge you more, for the exact same thing, just because you don't have insurance. It's insane. If you get in a wreck, and you don't have insurance, the body shop doesn't jack up their price. "You're poor - let's change you more."
If you look at your EOBs you will notice that it shows two prices:
1 - How much the dr/hospital/etc would charge you if you didn't have insurance
2 - How much the dr/hospital/etc is charging because you have insurance
This is not taking into account the amount your insurance pays for you; this is just what the office is charging.
When Noelle had an epidural during delivery - the amount she would have paid if she didn't have insurance was $5000. Since she had insurance, the charge was only $755. We only had to pay a little over $100. The doctor does the exact same thing for both types of people and uses the exact same supplies, but would charge an insured person 15% what they would charge an uninsured person. Thanks to insurance we paid 2% of what an uninsured person would pay.
Something needs to change.
And we don't want to hear anything about your thoughts on Obama's Health Care Plan. We're just saying the system is broken, and it has been a very stressful month worrying about our son's insurance.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Jackson Turns 3 Months Old
Jackson is a big boy. He weighs 15.5 pounds and is 24.5 inches long.
We also discovered this month that Jackson has reflux. Luckily, it is something that typically goes away at about a year.
Oh yeah, and Jackson is trying to crawl. He's not getting anywhere, but he's definitely trying to move on his knees.