Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reflection & Rejuvenation: May

Hello, May! Welcome!

Only two months left until we welcome a sweet little one into our family. My, how time is flying! As I mentioned in last month's reflection, I thought the four months between turning in the charter application and having a baby would be calm and quiet. No way! Our non-profit organization is now under contract for nine acres of land for the school. April, like March, has been spent learning as much as I can about development: conducting a feasibility study, meeting with civil engineers to create a site plan, hiring an architect for schematic design, understanding zoning issues and city ordinances--the list goes on!

I am ecstatic about the property we found. Nine acres will provide a beautiful, natural environment for children to learn within. There are two city bus stops right by, and the lot is located in a diverse area, which will help us better achieve our goals related to fostering a racially, culturally, and socio-economically diverse community of learners. It's also within walking distance to a new 7-mile trail that the city is building on the east side.

Plus, our new house is only five minutes away! I promise I didn't push for this property because of its proximity to my house. Quite the opposite. First, I worked with various organizations and individuals to understand the demographics of poverty in Austin. Then we created a target geographic area for our facility search, based on the demographics. More than a year ago, I started doing home visits with families living within our target geographic area. After several visits in the same neighborhood, I asked my realtor to do a property search for our personal home, and that's when we discovered a relatively inexpensive 1/2-acre of land, adjacent to a creek, on a cul-de-sac. When it came time to search for land for the school, we used the boundaries of our target geographic area and found nine acres just outside our target triangle. Amazingly, the land is very reasonably priced. The plan is to house the school in portable buildings for three years while we conduct a capital campaign and seek the financing we need to begin construction on a permanent facility.

There's still a ton that can go wrong at this point, so I'm definitely not counting my chickens, but I'm very optimistic and excited about how this process is unfolding.

In other news, I've been feeling so much better since I started walking for an hour at least three to four times a week and going to prenatal yoga regularly. With Henry, I walked nearly every day and went to yoga once a week, and I honestly think it helped me avoid so many common pregnancy symptoms. Walking just seems to tighten up all of the muscles that get so loose in pregnancy. My back feels so much better, and other muscles aren't nearly as achy.

As far as what I wanted to accomplish this month, I did a much better job. Instead of just listing the goals here, I transferred them to my weekly action plan, which meant that I read over them every single week. It helped me keep them at the forefront of my mind.

Here's how I did:
  1. Update our scrapbook: Yes! This process took forever because I hadn't done it in a while, but it's finally done!
  2. Organize the garage in preparation for moving: No. I want to work on this one with Matt, and we had trouble finding time over the course of a weekend to do it. Maybe this month we should work on it one evening after Henry goes to bed.
  3. Plan our baby shower: Yes!
  4. Organize our closet in preparation for moving: No, see Point #2 above.
  5. Finalize Henry's baby binder: Yes! 
  6. Make a binder for the new baby: Yes!
  7. Finalize summer daycare: Yes! 
  8. Read Barbara Kingsolver's new book: I tried, but I couldn't get into it. I read all of Active Birth (recommend it!) and some of The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems (also recommend it!). 
 And on the docket for this month?
  • Enjoy quality family time at my cousin's wedding in North Carolina (on the Outer Banks)
  • Get all the surveys done on the land for the school, in addition to contracting with an architect and a civil engineer
  • Make significant headway on additional fundraising for the land
  • Get prepared for our home birth by following all of the steps laid out by our midwife
  • Work through the Hynobabies Self-Study Course to master some relaxation techniques in the upcoming months
  • Find a doula
  • Enjoy our little family of three!
Photo Courtesy of the Nikki McClure Calendar

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natalie said...

So does that mean your school charter application passed?? Exciting!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Natalie!

No, unfortunately, we won't know until the end of September. However, we aren't scheduled to close on the property until October, so the timing will work out perfectly.

Carrie said...

I assume your realtor put in plenty of contingencies regarding school application approval, zoning, etc.? Do you have a lawyer helping you out with the charter application and fairly substantial real estate development project? I just have to say these things because I'm a real estate and land use attorney (as well as public finance), and I don't want you to get in trouble! :)

Alissa said...

Sara, wishing you a wonderful Mother's Day!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Aw, thank you, Alissa! You are so very thoughtful! Thanks for making me smile.

Phae Feaga said...

Is your Dr. OK with you traveling this late in the pregnancy? God forbid you had the baby while you were traveling... then you'd be in an unfamiliar hospital with an unfamiliar doctor, and the possibility of a baby in their NICU for an extended stay.. I know the chances are slim, but that makes me nervous!

xoxo Phae

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