Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vival Stories

My 5 year old son has started a new pre-k program for kids who have birthdays that are on the cusp of either starting or waiting for kindergarten.  The preschool is a Christian program, which didn't play into the decision to have him attend, but it wasn't a problem either.  He loves his new school and he loves the new book they gave him.

My son kept asking "Mommy, have you seen my Survival?" at which I would reply "Huh?"  Finally after a few days he found his Survival and he brought it to me to show me just what he was talking about.  "Ahh....you mean your Bible,"  "Yeah, my Vival."  He tries so hard to get it phonetically correct, but falls short every time.  So, for now, we'll acclimate to him and call it a Survival or a Vival.

Like I've said in previous posts, we're not a very religious family.  We don't go to church regularly, but I do think it's important for my kids to know about religion.  The Bible my son has is a children's Bible and has done a nice job of simplifying the stories and creating good and kind messages about how we should treat one another.  I can't think of a more appropriate message than that at our crazy house. 

All of the kids love the stories and for the last few weeks, these have been what we read at night before bed.  Even I enjoy the quiet engagment of the stories.  It's a nice way to end the evening on a calm note and oddly enough the kids have seemed nicer to each other.  Even if that all happens to be coincidence, I'll take it anyway :-).

Monday, September 27, 2010

3 Years and Counting...

Last week (9/23) marked my 3 year anniversary of being back in the workforce and yesterday was my 34th birthday.  I kept starting and stopping a post to describe how the 3 year mark felt, but I couldn't really put my finger on it.  To be honest, I had been looking forward to it coming, but with a much different result (shocker!).  I thought I'd be loooooong gone by now and to not be able to an end in site was, well, disappointing.
 
It didn't bother me through the actual day, but it did that night.  The big question that kept my eyes open and my head spinning is "What do I do now?" and "How do I fix this?"  The easy answer is that there is no fix.  I just need to keep getting up and doing it over and over and over again with the hope that it eventually stops before my kids are grown.  It's never about the actual work I have to put in at my job; it's always about the part of my life I SO want to be a constant participate in. 

My birthday was a different story.  It was far from disappointing.  It was fantastic - but not for the reasons you might think.  It was a day of no obligation and no rushing.  It started with a tap on my arm in the dark at 3:45am.  "What's wrong, honey?" "Nothing.  Happy Birthday, Mommy."  "Thank you." "I'm cold, can you scoot over?" "Sure."  My Big Kid proceeded to snuggle into me and told me she loved me.  It doesn't get better than that...

At 7:00am I heard a loud "thud" that sounded like a kid falling out of bed.  My eyes shot open and my Big Kid was back.  "Is everyone okay?" "Yeah, I just wanted to get your attention, Happy Birthday again Mommy." "Thanks, honey." "You're breakfast in bed is ready."  I opened my eyes, now less foggy, and saw a plate with a water (the one she dropped to get my attention) and four Oreo cookies.  "You're the best daughter ever" I tell her.  "Thanks, mom."  Her priceless smile makes her face beam with pride at making such an impression this morning.  "Now don't come down until we call you." "Okay" I say.

Two Oreo cookies later and a gulp of water, I'm still sitting at the top of the stairs.  Finally I get to go down and open my presents.  I got a small box of drawn pictures and love notes from my Big Kid, running shoes and a sweatshirt from my sweet husband and my son gave me his heart since he said he wasn't a part of the gift decision.  Baby just went on hugging and kissing everyone like she normally does.  It was quite possibly the best morning of my life (besides that first night a baby sleeps through the night). The rest of the day was easy and fun.

 I dread Mondays.  I loathe that this one day ends my weekend.  Today was no different, but in light of the fun birthday, I was reminded of just how lucky I am to have my family.  I'm here at a desk, but my heart is with them all day :-) 



Friday, September 24, 2010

Soccer Talk

This is what happened at my son’s soccer practice last night (that I was not at, unfortunately)and amidst all the soccer moms:

Big Girl:  ”Nanny, can I have a dollar?”
Nanny:  “I don’t have a dollar.”
Big Girl:  “Yes you do.  My dad pays you $200 a day.”
Nanny:  “No….”
Big Girl “Uh huh.  You get paid like a $1,000.”
Nanny: “I don’t think so.”
Big Girl:  “I have an idea.”
Nanny:  “Yeah?”
Big Girl:  “Why don’t you give my mom your $1,000.  She only makes $25 a day.”

The soccer moms and the Nanny all started laughing.  Yep.  My daughter thinks I’m poor and needs the Nanny to kick down some money to support me.  Awesome...  Where do they get these ideas?  If any of that was true, I need to quit my job ASAP.  Needless to say, we had the talk last night about things that are not our kids’ or anyone else's business – like how much the Nanny makes J.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ugh...

How quickly things can change from one day to the next...

Yesterday started out great, then quickly went down hill with the news of a cluster of lice making its way through the elementary school.  I didn't think it possible to examine every strand of hair on a child's head, but let me easily confirm that it is.  At one point during my "check" I found a few specks of white which I freaked myself out with, in turn freaking my big girl out, who then freaked the baby out.  Talk about a domino affect!  By the end of the night, all of us were not only physically but emotionally exhausted. 

I would like to give the mom who called me prop's though.  No one ever wants to talk about lice and no one ever wants to admit that there kid has it.  Apparently there have a been a few families who have gotten it, but who haven't reported it to the school in fear of the backlash....not cool to say the least.

Today is going no better.  I am moments away from sending an employee home to contemplate his employment after he ridiculously went postal when I didn't do as he asked...hmmm...last I checked, I'm still the freakin' boss - wrong move pal.

This day can not end soon enough is all I can say...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Already?


Don't worry.  The picture above was taken while I was at a dead-stop in my mess of commute this morning.  It looks like we're crammed so much tighter from the dash view than it looks in the pic!  Clearly this must be a good sign that the economy is picking up, right?  Today was ONLY an hour and half drive...please, hold back your envy! 

We had SUCH a fun weekend, no commute could ruin this Monday!  My kids are so lucky to be them.  Not all of our extended family can always make their soccer games, but this weekend just about everyone did - which I appreciate since soccer isn't exactly the most easy watched sport sometimes. When both kids scored goals at their games, our sideline erupted with cheers - mostly from our family.  You would have seriously thought we just won the World Cup.  My daughter screamed in excitement and my son dawned a proud smile before covering his face in embarrassment from all the attention. In some respects, I think we kind of did win the World Cup.

Right after soccer, we went home and cleaned everyone up just in time to head out the door to the Jonas Brothers in concert.  Yes.  I said Jonas Brothers.  The rule in our house is no shows like Camp Rock, Hannah Montana, iCarly, Sonny with a Chance, Suite Life on Deck--you get the picture.  The subject content is still beyond them and I don't need my 7 year old thinking like a teenager.  But, we do let them listen to the music on the shows as long as we've previewed and approved it first. 

I'm not gonna lie, my husband and I had low expectations and were even a little embarrassed to be going to the concert...until we got there.  I have to say, I've never seen so many moms dressed in support of the Jo Bro's in my life.  I applaud their support for their kids' good time (if that's what it was), but also relished in the absurdity of the soccer mom wearing a puff painted t-shirt that read "Mother of the Biggest Jonas Brothers Fan."  But hey, we all have our own thresholds.  Mine did not include a band t-shirt.

Randomly in the 19,000 who attended, we ended up spotting another family we knew through sports and our kids totally bonded.   The dads boosted kids up on their shoulders and didn't complain once that their ear drums were most likely fatigued from the screams.  The girls linked themselves together via glow stick chain and sang and squealed with delight as Demi Lovato, then the Jo Bro's lit up the stage.  The girls were going strong, but the boys eventually tuckered out and went to sleep on the blanket on the lawn. 

In the midst of screaming adolescents and glow sticks galore (the new lighters of today), something great happened.  I actually fell in love with my kids and husband all over again. There was no reprimanding, no need to yell, fight or battle.  Everyone was the best of themselves, which doesn't happen very often.  It's so nice to remember why we not only love each other, but why we like each other. 

This was our kids' first concert and I can't imagine it being more fun than it was.  What began as a dreaded experience for us as parents ended up being unimaginably fantastic for all of us.  I don't know about you, but I remember the New Kids On the Block concert I went to like yesterday.  It was one of the first exciting experiences of my life.  One day, they will sit with their own kids at a lame teeny bopper concert and remember their experience at Jonas Brothers concert.  I hope they remember it as fondly as we do! 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lucky

I feel lucky to be alive this week.  For the first time in a loooong time I had a really good week.  The kids weren't crazy, the house was not super messy and work was not overwhelming (for a change).  Another first in a long time is that I actually stuck to a no wheat, moderate dairy (creamer for my coffee) diet all week long.  It was tough, but it wasn't as tough as it normally feels.  Listening to the "Skinny Bitch" book on my ipod on my long drive home doesn't hurt as a food deterrent either.  I recommend the chapter on the practices of slaughter houses to push you over the edge.

There are only 4 weeks until the Nike Women's Half Marathon that me and a few pals will be braving.  For the last few months I have been nursing my foot that has been plagued with plantar fasciitis and FINALLY I ran a decent distance last night with NO pain.  It was tender and sore this morning, but I could actually run-- which is a huge deal for me. 

I was not born a natural lover of running.  It seemed to find me by default.  It didn't require a gym membership, equipment or any fancy coordination; it is simply putting one foot in front of the other, which I knew I was capable of.  And, the rest is history...

Overtime, running has allowed me a means to settle my mind and think without consequence.  Last night as I ran down my neighborhood streets, I thought a lot about three women who live on these streets who are battling cancer.  One woman lost her battle on Tuesday, one woman is preparing for the end of her battle and another is fighting like crazy to be here.  None of these woman were what I would consider "old" and they are all someone's daughter, someone's mother and someone's wife - just like me. 

I am not sure if it's just that I'm getting older or if the numbers of cancer seem to be exponentially increasing.  I have begun reading a lot about the causes and what we can do to help ourselves avoid this terrible disease.  My first thought is to safeguard my children the best that I can, my next is that I really want to live a long time to see my children blossom into their own lives.  I've begun removing the unhealthy processed food from our house and forcing my kids to eat things other than Dino Chicken Nuggets and Mac 'n Cheese.  The three bites (of something you don't like but is healthy) rule is back in enforcement. 

We are a bustling, busy house and any spare time is a luxury.  Of all the things I'm aware I will regret, I don't want what I feed my kids to be on that list.  We do our best to provide healthy choices full of color and nutrition.  Truth be told, we don't always have the time for the preparation of healthy home cooked meals, so we do our best today and better tomorrow.

Have a healthy and safe weekend; go home and hug your kids because you can!



Monday, September 13, 2010

Rise and Shine

What a busy weekend!  Saturday marked the beginning of the soccer season and the introduction of running between two different kids' games.  Saturday began at 5:45am to get everyone up, dressed and out the door to the soccer parade by 7:00am.  Then, we moved onto a quick stop at Target for a Sunday birthday party, then onto the first of two games.  The games had a slight overlap which required the difficult task of driving separately and finding parking for two cars at the various soccer fields we needed to be at.  The logistics of the whole thing were definitely an eye opener of what's to come for us. 

As much as I despise work, this is the first time I've actually been able to breath in the last few days. My vice is that I have trouble sleeping when I can't get my head to turn off. Last night was another one of those nights. I tried to "clean" it out of my system and washed dishes till midnight and did a little laundry. Then I finally laid in bed until I had no choice but to close my eyes. The last clock check was at 1:11am. This was followed by a baby having bad dreams at some point in the night, a cold big kid at 4:30am and a choking little guy at 5:30am and a late alarm at 5:45am. I am a zombie today.

My commute last week was HORRIFIC.  I can (barely) deal with one day of 2 hour commute time a week, but throw in an additional day on top of that and I nearly want to throw myself into the wall.  I guess a big rig on fire requiring the closure of most of the freeway lanes explains a lot, but tell that to my big kid whose pre-game practice I missed. 

Now that I'm trying to wrap my head around the "this might be forever" I know that I will not mentally survive the angst of sitting in the car while my kids grow up.  So what did I do?  I applied for new jobs in different cities.  What do I have to lose.  If the pay is right, I'm jumping ship.  If the pay is close, I still may jump ship.

This doesn't change that I want to be home with my kids.  There is NOTHING in this world I want more than to be with my babies.  If I'm honest with myself, I know I don't have a problem working, but I do while my kids are small like they are.  The clock flies way too fast right now and things change with them daily.  I wish that I could buy myself grammar school with them.  I say that, but who knows if that in the end would actually be enough...  But, if I have to work - which we ALL know I do with the amount of bitching I share here, then I mine as well conquer. 

There is no place for me to move up in my current company.  The way our corporate structure (conveniently) works, it does not allow for the advancement of women - which actually feels weird saying since it is 2010!  I know I've said it before, but for the first time in my career I had no urge to advance, which made staying in a company with no real advancement potential appealing.  That mentality is over.  I worked so hard in my twenties to get here.  Why shouldn't I keep pushing if in the end it means this whole work thing might end sooner?  More money = debt paid off faster = quitting my job sooner.  Nothing will ever take precedence over my family, but I need to do something different because the current path isn't working.

We'll see what happens; we'll see how my ego takes the hit if I don't get call backs on my applications.  I can't complain about anything if I don't try...my fingers are crossed!

Friday, September 10, 2010

WHAT THE HECK (and yes, I just said "heck" - trying to keep it clean)

I have been TRYING like crazy to figure out why this stupid Photobucket icon will not go away.  I've deleted, checked, edited, posted - then unposted and can't figure it out.  There is something to be said about taking and using your own pictures...but let's face it.  I work and try to keep my kids alive.  I don't have time to take my own pretty pictures.  I'll try and get rid of the icon this weekend.  If it's annoying me, it's gotta be annoying you :-)

Happy Friday Everyone!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

OMG - This May Be Forever...

As of last Thursday, I wrapped my toughest two weeks of the year up by submitting my Final Preliminary Budget - I know, "Final-Preliminary" doesn't make sense to me either. Now, I sit and wait until the FP comes back so I can revise to get a Final-Final Budget. The whole process is brain bending and ridiculously time consuming.

There is never a dull moment (unfortunately) in our camp. If it's not work, it's home that is upside down. Today, my son started his first day of his last year of preschool. I would have been more sad about it if he didn't look like he was having so much fun with his new teacher and classmates. I can't believe next year I'll have two in grammar school. Thank goodness I still have baby who seems to be growing so much faster than the other two.

September 23rd, just a few days shy of my 34th birthday, marks my third year back to work. This past weekend and for the first time in three years I think I came to grips with the fact that I may be a "working mom" forever. For the last three years, I've thought about each of those days being the last day I drive in the bumper to bumper commute I've come to loathe so much. I've had to admit to myself that while I make these "3 Year Plans" and periodically box my desk up like I'm not going back, the truth of it is I know I am going back. When you hold your breath, close your eyes and pray near tears before checking your lottery ticket, you have issues. And, right now that is the most viable option out there on the table.

There are a lot of things I can't control but, I do believe in working hard to get the most from what I can control. Everyday I look for different jobs for either myself or my husband. I have a teaching credential and have been certified by the State of California to teach high school English (a little scary). If I have to work, this is the best option since it would mirror the kids' schedules so closely. The problem is I can't afford the massive pay cut I would need to take in order for this to be enough. When I find a job opportunity for my husband, I go so far as to fill out all the paperwork, request the school transcripts and even copy and mail the stupid thing. On one of these occasions he said, "It's like YOU are applying for the job." Well, just so we're clear, it's because I AM applying for the job in some respects. If I ever want to get out of here, my he and I need to trade salaries.

People always say that it doesn't matter if you work or if you stay home, you're kids will be fine and they probably will be. For me, I notice a difference in my kids from when I'm the constant and when someone else is in raising them. They seem to listen differently and act out more when I am home - maybe to hold my attention? Nothing solidifies that more for me than when we have a long four day weekend. Here is my favorite line taken from my husband: "I don't know why they act like that with you. They never do that we me." Yeah, that one stings...I know why they do it and it's because when I'm there I throw off their routine by just being present. I don't know that every morning when they kids walk to school they take turns putting a the paper on a neighbor's porch. I also didn't know who did it the day before in order to make sure the right person gets their turn. This goes back to a point I've made over and over. It's the detail in everyday life I so clearly miss. By the time everyone is back on board with minding themselves and the time out bench is beginning to cool, I go back to work and the ugly cycle starts all over.

My first priority is and will continue to be taking care of my family. I have sacrificed a lot to live in a community nicer than I can afford so that my children are surrounded by good schools, nice families and are safe. As each year of their childhood passes, I console myself by revisiting these reasons I go to work in the first place. Yeah, I'll keep going to work and like I tell my kids, life isn't always fair.