Peek into the new normal…

It’s been a month since I took a drastic jump in careers. A few of you how asked me how it is going. Former colleagues think I have fallen into a gopher hole on the prairie because they have not heard from me. I have not talked about the changes on this blog as often as some of you anticipated because instead of blogging, I have been living the changes. 
This past weekend was my first “work” conference, the Dakota Grown Local Foods Conference where I gathered with farmers market managers, farmers, new colleagues and many other stakeholders in the local foods movement in our corner of the prairie. But…I was also with friends.

A few North Dakota blogger friends joined and later this week I will share their blogs and thoughts from our weekend together. The new normal is that I don’t travel nearly weekly on airplanes anymore. I don’t sit in hotel rooms by myself on a regular basis where much of my past blogging got done late at night.

Instead the new normal has me mostly at home in the evenings. I don’t blog as often because I am reading Green Eggs and Ham to Miss A each night and taking Miss E to her weekly Tae Kwan Do class.

When I do have a work commitment within driving distance like I did this past weekend, there are always native Dakotan faces there that I know…and love like my sister who attended the Local Foods conference and shared a hotel room with me. We didn’t blog from our hotel room. Instead we had conversation.

A part of the new normal I was worried about a month was the driving. I thought I would be driving solo to and from my deep into the prairie home to the Capitol of North Dakota for work. Instead I was given a surprise gift in the last month, a carpool friend. Each morning I am due in my office I drive north 25 miles to a farmstead right alongside the highway to meet Amanda. We have developed a friendship in just a month. The new normal requires prairie driving but I have been enriched by taking in the prairie scenery and given the gift of friendship with my carpool counterpart.

The driving force which I felt it was mandatory I make a career change was to be at home for my family each day with out the dependence on airline schedules. I could not stomach the thought of missing basketball games of Hunter’s this year. It is his first year playing varsity and I wanted to be there. The new normal has my bottom on the bleachers many, many nights a week alongside my husband, daughters, in-laws, parents and our friends.

The new normal has taught me to yell less, bite my tongue more and realize we can’t always win. But most importantly I am there. Whether Hunter fully appreciates it at age 14 or not, I am not concerned.

Hunter’s Godparents, Lois and Mark visited last night and watched him play his last regular season home game.

Post away game with Uncle Jim, Grandpa Fred and Great-Grandpa Sonny

Someday Hunter will remember he had generations of fans in the stands for him. There is nothing more rewarding for me in this chapter of life than to be with my family each night supporting him at games.

In the last month, I added an iPhone to my arsenal of personal technology tools. Since the new normal requires a lot of family time in the basketball bleachers, I have learned to fully utilize apps for kid entertainment. Every child needs Kids Doodle. It’s coloring without crayons!

Miss E takes cat naps in the stands. I take my cat naps in the car on days Amanda is driving in our twosome carpool. The new normal requires an earlier bed time and an earlier morning alarm clock for me. Naps are necessary at times.

The time we’ve spent at games in the last month has Miss E dreaming big about her future and I think our new normal is that we’ll be cheering at games for the next two decades. The new normal has me on the prairie watching my kids grow, trying to muddle through laundry, figuring out how to keep our house clean and trying to keep enough milk in the fridge.

I do miss many friends I used to talk to frequently because of our past work connections. But I am staying fairly connected via social media outlets. And I hope a few friends visit us on the prairie! I will miss the traveling someday. That’s what vacations are for I hear?

For now, I just need to keep turning the page in this chapter and keep going with each new day. It’s a chapter I like. It feels right. I am content to be home. I am challenged with new opportunities. I am renewed and grateful each day as I watch the prairie sunrise.

I am home.

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  1. Katie, what a rush for me to see my sweet friend Laura on your blog today! I’m so happy for that connection! I’ve been thinking of you all through the weekend. Boy, our lives continue to be so parallel right now, down to the basketball games. Only we’re not quite at varsity level. But I’ve been keeping those bleachers warm as well, which is one of the reasons I couldn’t make it to the local foods conference. But I’ve been living vicariously! I hope the new connections made will carry you well into this next and exciting phase. I think it’s awesome we crossed paths again as we did at this intersection of life.

  2. Good for you. Sometimes our family needs us to be right where you are. If it feels good inside, then it IS good. ENJOY your new normal.

  3. Nice to see that things are working out for you! You seem like a very positive person, so I felt like you would make this a great job experience AND family experience.

  4. i do hate that you have to drive so much now, but happy that you have found a wonderful companion to share that task with. and hurray for limited flying and airports!

  5. Hi, Katie! Thank you for the awesome opportunity to blog at the conference. It was wonderful to meet you, and look forward to keeping in touch. Would you mind sending me a copy of the bloggers pic? I’d love to post that to my site as well –
    Blessings to you, new friend!

  6. LOVE your post! Being home will never disappoint you!

  7. Aw, what a fun weekend! So glad we got some sister time.
    p.s. I had to laugh at my elf ears peeking through my hair in the photo of us. Ha. Some things never change! 🙂

  8. Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in such a great weekend! I learned so much and feel like I have made some great new friends. I’m learning that even city girls like myself have a role to play in North Dakota agriculture!

  9. Happy to read this. All I can think of is what you just described as the new normal juxtaposed with the old normal of you crying on airport floors and catching mice under hospitality room cups.

    Welcome to sanity, Katie. Not only is it a nice place to visit, it’s a wonderful place to live.

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