Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Current Events

If you had not noticed, I took a break from writing these past few months. One reason amongst many is that I just couldn't find the few minutes to do so and when I did, it never seemed to be enough to convey what I was really feeling.  Work has been incredibly heavy and I just couldn't do one more thing.  Writing has always been an outlet for me, but the emotional roller coaster of the past few months has been more than I could expunge without a breather to gain some clarity.

One big change in our lives is that we let our Nanny of three years go.  This was incredibly hard for me - worse than any boyfriend/friend breakup I have ever had to do.  When I did it, she sobbed...hysterically.  She kept asking over and over if she'd done something because the end was so abrupt.  I only gave her one reason as to why we let her go and that was "for financial reasons."  I could not bear it if she tried to fight for a job I knew was gone for her.

We let our Nanny into our family and accepted as one of us - flaws and attributes.  I have never expected her to do things exactly as I would or even love my children as I would, but as a parent you know when something is not right - even if you cannot put your finger on it.  My gut told me it was time to make a change and to make it immediately.  In hindsight, I wish I would have done it sooner but it's done.  My kids are happy and healthy, so I know the experience was not necessarily a bad one for them. 

For the past few months, my husband and on occasion my mother-in-law have been watching the kids and it has been going well.  I'll venture out and even say it has been going great (for me at least).  A small miracle I never anticipated happening happened:  I stopped worrying all the time about what was going on at home and whether or not the kids were okay.  I had no idea how much anxiety I had over this until it was gone.  Even my husband won't do things exactly as I want, but I know he will genuinely love our kids and do his best to keep them safe.  He has a real investment in who they become, unlike a paid care provider.

The alleviation of the home anxiety has allowed for me to free myself of the mommy guilt I woke with daily.  I'm not saying I feel completely adequate all the time, because I don't but I do feel a great deal better than I have in the last 4+ years.  I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I don't hate my job.  I don't love it, but I don't loathe it like I did.

 The kids are all growing so fast.  My Big Girl is now 8 1/2, my Little Man is 6 1/2 and my little Itty-Bitty is not so itty anymore now that she just had her 3rd Birthday.  All the kids have quickly adjusted to not having the Nanny around - especially my spicy Big Girl who made it known she "never liked her in the first place."  Man, I love that kid for just laying it all out there.  I think it was tougher for my son who is incredibly loyal and my baby who still wants her shoes left out so the Nanny "can find them when we go to the park. "  Our kids need us to be there and I can already see the difference in their attitudes - in a good way.

I think I'm a better mom now than I was at the beginning of this year.  I still have things to work on, but I'm okay with this as long as there is progress. My goal this year was for things to be better and so far it has been.  I knew I wouldn't fix everything, but at least things are on the mend.  I'm never going to have enough time, the laundry will only all be done for 5 minutes (if I'm lucky) before the hamper begins to fill and I will inevitably forget to do something on a daily basis regardless of the crazy checklist I have.  I still want to quit by job, but at least for today I know if this doesn't happen, I'll be okay and so will the kids.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This Is How I Roll...

Roller Derby. I would be lying if I didn’t say I LOVE it, but finding the time to squeeze this in amongst already penciled obligations or sick kids has been really tough. The team just released the tentative bout schedule and some of them will require overnight travel. Can I really commit to traveling, much less overnight travel?! I have been struggling to try and sort out what to do these past few weeks. I don’t want to leave my team, but I also don’t want to miss my weekends with the kids and their sports.

I am 35 years old skating around in knee high socks, leggings and full skate gear. My body hurts and my rear end still has the purple outline of a full cheek bruise from a hard fall 3 weeks ago. I admit there is an element of youth derby allows me to hold onto; however, my life is everything but that of a youthful and carefree young thing these days.

Lately, I’ve really begun to see the difference in my kids with having both parents out of the home so frequently. I practice at least 2 times a week and the rest of the week is occupied by kid or husband sports which take our family time down to sometimes an hour or less a night. My husband finally acknowledged there is a clear difference between the kids we raised and the little one who has found achievement through pitching an Oscar worthy tantrum performance to get her way via Nanny. I do not believe in doling out any sort of corporal punishment, but I do believe in respectful and well behaved kids; the latter of which takes a lot of time and patience to achieve without wanting to spank them into submission (believe me, I’ve considered it).

I love derby and I love my family. Derby is exhilarating and exciting. There is nothing quite like hauling ass around a track, wind blowing through your hair and either jamming past your opponent or solidly blocking them and hearing the crunch of their gear on the track. It is an amazing and empowering experience. Beyond the joy of the sport, what is important to me is getting close enough to home to actually have an impact on the raising of my kids. I don’t feel like I can do this by working or traveling so far from home. Before I receive any sort of email about how working mothers can have an impact on their children, I will acknowledge that this is absolutely true and I am in no way implying it is impossible. I will also acknowledge that I was a solid B student in college and even though I wanted to be an A student, I couldn’t do it. We are all built different and all I know is what I’m doing right now, today, isn’t working.

I have a date in mind that I plan to be my last day here at this job. My husband has blessed this date and I am excited that 2012 could be the year. I cannot completely stop working at this point, but I can find a family friendly schedule through teaching. My biggest hurdle has been a financial one, but by saving and foregoing the major addition to our house we had planned, I think we’re finally there. If I can secure a teaching position next year, then I will be able to quit my job.

I love derby, but I love my family more. There is no choice in waging these two against each other; my family will always win.




Monday, October 10, 2011

The White Flag

I give up.  I am yelling "Uncle."  I am finally waving the white flag of surrender.  I can't keep fighting for a life that doesn't exist anymore.  When I left my post as a stay-at-home mom, my little boy was still wearing diapers and my daughter was just starting preschool.  A lot has changed from then until now; I have changed from then to now. 

Just when I thought I had it all worked out in my head, last week happened and it was a tough one.  Last week is the closest I have ever come to being fired in my whole life - the kicker of it is, I wasn't even here on a day that the whole thing went to hell...

The nanny had called me to say she was throwing up.  I could just picture the sick dominoes falling at the house:  Nanny, then Baby, then Big Girl, then Little Man, then my husband and I which would create a sick wheel for weeks to come. My mother-in-law was working, my husband had football and that left me.  I raced out of work to head home.

When I left work, my phone still blew up all afternoon with work stuff.  I spend a great deal of time going through projects and gave direct and clear instruction on a situation that was on any given day no big deal, but apparently my staff did not follow directions and something small spiraled into a huge deal.  The next day when I came into work, little did I know just how bad they had screwed up and how much clean-up I'd be doing.  My boss and I both went up to meet with the Principal of a company who was set on describing - at length just how bad we'd screwed up.  At the end of  the entire ass-chewing, he looked at my boss and said "The only reason I am not escalating this any further is because of her" and he pointed at me and said "She is the best."  An otherwise awesome thing to hear, but preferably in a different context.  We breathed.  We were both not getting fired just yet.

Overall, I run a pretty easy going office and I do not thrive on ruling with a golden fist. But, if you blow it and not just in a "I'm a human, I make mistakes" sort of way, but big, then we're done. The staff walked on egg shells today and each of them came in an said their peace about what happened.  I hate pulling the supreme ruler card, but it had to be done and I'm hoping we're all better for it.

I thought a lot about what happened last week.  What I concluded is that every once in awhile it might be good to think you have something to lose - like you're job.  While I would love to not come to this place everyday, I'd prefer not to get fired over something stupid.  Last I checked, my family really needs me to hold onto this job and of all people to let down, it can't be them.  They are the most important; the reason I wake and rise every single day.  My fingers are crossed for a better week this time around...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

35

I celebrated my 35th birthday this week.  35.  When you're 25, 35 seems like such a life time away.  It seems like wrinkles and stuffy clothes; like 8pm bedtimes and 6am yoga...

But I don't feel old.  I feel like I'm not smart enough, like I haven't accomplished enough, like I haven't yet found how to be happy enough... to be deemed 35.

This last month has been a realllllly rough one for me - both work wise and personally. This week was not only my birthday, but it also marked the completion of my 4th year at my job.  By no means is this the worst job in the world and when there are thousands of people out there willing to take any job for pay, there is little room to complain about having a solid one.  I get it.  It doesn't mean that I'm not grateful for the job, it just means I'm not where I want to be.

As I round out my latest year here (at my job), I think in some ways it is finally getting easier to make the hour and a half commute because I'm not really leaving babies anymore.  My baby is about to turn 3 in a few months and is as happy and healthy as the next kid.  My 8 and 6 year olds are also doing just fine.  They are not damaged because I work.  The one who most resents me working is my Big Kid.  She remembers our adventures when I stayed at home most vividly out of the three.  We didn't have a lot of money, but we certainly found a lot of interesting and fun things to do with each other. 

I sometimes wonder if that two year experience staying home is what has made me so dissatisfied with where I am right now.  When my mind dawdles, I question whether or not this was a good idea or if I'm sorry I did it at all- in retrospect.  My answer always comes back the same.  No way am I sorry.  The two years I was able to be home were some of the toughest at times, but likewise some of the best years of my life.  if I had not taken that time when I could, I wouldn't have a clear vision of where I ultimately want to be.  I will likely never be able to be a stay at home mom again, but if I can find a way to be closer and more accessible to to my family, then this will all be okay.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Thank You

A big THANK YOU to Anna Deskins for featuring our interview on her site.  You may click here to read it.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's THAT Time...Again...


One word:  Budget.  My preliminary operating budget for work is due Friday.  Unfortunately, this halts my life until I meet the deadline.  It's Go-Time.  I have not seen my kids in two days - Oh, and I've actually slept in bed at home, but have left too early and come home too late to see them. 

Posts will hopefully resume next week..I hope :-(


Friday, August 5, 2011

1/3 Life Crisis

I'm not sure what my deal is. It's summer and usually my favorite season...I really tried to give this idea of a positive and optimistic year a real shot. Today, I am failing miserablly at this and I'm overwhelmed by what I am unable to control.  My "Bucket List" seems to be growing instead of shrinking these past few years - which I think is probably a commonality amongst a lot of us.

I only have this one life and clearly I am not getting any younger.  More often than not lately, I've been looking in the mirror and have no idea who the frumpy face looking back at me is. My wardrobe has become matronly and the fine lines in my face, more pronounced. Warning:  Old lady talk coming... my blood pressure has been off the charts lately!  What next med's and a walker?  I've been trying to find avenues to relieve the anxiety and stress from the day - like roller derby, but I don't know if this alone will be solving my angst.

Maybe it was the boys being gone this week or that I'm in my budget season for work; maybe it's that I'm turning 35 next month and am stuck in some twisted 1/3 life crisis - which I'm hoping aleviates the mid-life one I've heard others talk about. Whatever it is, I don't know how much longer I can hold on to my sanity or my optimism that there REALLY is an end in sight to my crazy.
I always new in the pit of my stomach that five years at this job was the most realistic outcome for me. California, like a lot of other places in the country was slaughtered in the housing market and jobs are really tough to come by. I'm just about to hit my 4th year here and while I should be thankful for just working, my mind is CONSTANTLY racing to figure out how to get out of here. I know, I know, there are countless people who have it worse than me (I get it, mother!) - I'm not denying that, but that hasn't changed my brain's inability to focus on plotting my "escape."

It's NO secret that we're cramped in our modest house and I know that if I quit before we break ground on an addition that there is a great possibility that the addition will never happen. I've consistently stayed the line on this one - thinking I can hold on until this work is done. I have the checkbook out to start at the end of the year. But then I started thinking - how irresponsible of us financially?! F-It. Refocus on paying down the debt. After careful consideration and thoughtful prioritizing, I don't think I give a shit if have a small house. I just want US - as a family and as a unit to be happy...everything else will work out.



Thursday, August 4, 2011

In the Blink of an Eye

In the blink of an eye it seems as though a whole life time has just gone by.  My Little Man turned 6 last weekend and I swear it feels like he was just born minutes ago.  Six.  I remember when I was this age like it was just the other day...and next month I will turn 35.
He starts kindergarten in a few weeks and I'd by lying if I didn't admit my heart is breaking just a little bit.  He is my only boy and one of the sweetest souls in our house (my girls are sweet too, but in a more creative way).  I know that the foundation of any child is layed at home, but based on experience I know that you cannot control the exposure of your child to other kids' behavior and my son is not a "reporter." He is quiet and his feelings are more guarded and reserved - unlike the girls.
 
When each of our kids turns 6 they get to go somewhere with one of us.  My Big Girl went to NYC with me and my son just got back fromSan Diego for his trip.  I missed the boys SO much - we all did.  I loved having some time with the girls, but I really missed having a full house.  Even my Big Girl said "I don't know why, but I really miss my brother."  I found myself just going into his room (yes, another part of his birthday gift from us) and just sitting on his bed.  What am I going to do when they go away to college?!?

The trip was good for my son and my husband.  I think they needed to have some male bonding outside of a house full of outspoken and bossy females.  I heard a lot of laughing and story telling.  I don't think my kids have ever talked to each other on the phone so nicely or so eagerly in their lives.  I'm glad it was a good time, but I'm also so glad they're back.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Derby Update

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Betcha wanna know how Derby went....Well, it was GREAT.  I'd be lying if I didn't say the hard tumbles and the rigorous coach didn't scare me, but these women were AMAZING.  As required, I sat through one practice and couldn't stay away...I joined the team two days later and did a half practice last week - mostly as a relief to the stress of my Matron of Honor duties for my sister's wedding - which has since concluded (HALLA-FREAKIN-LULLAH). Congrat's little sister!

Last night I rolled out onto the outdoor concrete rink for my first all-in, two hour practice.  I showed up in full derby attire:  a running skirt, teal tights and teal argyle knee high socks, full pads (everywhere) and of course the helmet.  I made the mistake of only wearing ankle socks last week and the cuts in my ankles from my skates are not healing as quickly as I'd like.  The best part is that when I came down the stair last night, my husband looked over and said "You're not going to the grocery store like that are you?" Uhhh-NO.

I've skated more in the last week than in the last 15 years of my life.  I finally took some good tumbles last night - which I needed to get out of my system in order to stop being afraid of it.  While my rear is hurting, I thought it would honestly hurt more.  The weather was just right; warm with a nice, cool, summer breeze. 

I am a worrier by nature - which I blame on my birth order (I'm the oldest).  When I found my stride skating around the track, it's like my head just calmed for a few minutes.  I didn't worry about my usual vicious cycle of thoughts consisting of my crazy work life and my greatest fear of never escaping my job, resulting in my being a shitty mom and a space cadet blur of a wife.  I felt like for a few minutes I would survive, like I was okay.  I found piece for the first time in a long time on the track last night. 

The best part about this team is that these women are from outside my normal circle.  I would not seek most of these women out as friends, though there is an easy camaraderie amongst us.  These women are not part of my work life and not part of the PTA crowd associated with my kids' school.  Not that these are bad, but it was refreshing to just "be" without any label - self induced or not.

This hadn't played into the decision to join, but I recognize the benefits of  this now.  No one on the track cares what I do for a living or how much my husband makes or where I live or what schools my kids go to or what sports my kids play or what college they plan on attending or where I vacation - you get the gist.  These are just women who show up to skate in order to achieve their own personal goals.  And so far, this works just fine with me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Roller Derby Girls....

My life revolves around two things:  work and family.  I often gripe about my lack of time and my battle with my body and it's inability to slim down to my pre-3rd baby size.  I am exhausted most of the time and at best a "Jack of Trades,  Master of None."  I have absolutely nothing that is just for me.  Just saying it makes me feel selfish.  Most of what I do revolves around others - which I'm not necessarily complaining about, but it might be nice if I could find an outlet for just me that would make me an overall more balanced and pleasant person.


On that note, I caught an article in the local paper a few weeks back about Roller Derby Girls...and they were recruiting.  If any of you have seen the movie, Whip It, then you know that these girls don't look like they run around in Ann Taylor apparel all day at desk jobs - like me.  I remember watching that movie thinking how ballsy it was to go after something you enjoy.  Then the "If I were only 25 again..." made me check the idea...not.

 Well, I haven't stopped thinking about this for weeks now and I finally emailed the group looking for a try-out schedule. I started thinking, what next?  Am I going to ask "Oh, if I were only 34 again...I would've______."  Life is too short.  Seriously, what do I have to lose (besides my pride,some teeth and maybe a hip - yikes)?  My twenties are gone and my kids are getting bigger by the day.  I don't want to be the woulda, coulda, shoulda girl.  I want to be alive today not just focus on where I'll be in 5 years from now.  I think I need to add a leg to "My Plan" that allows for personal wellness.


I've set up at time to meet with the Derby Girls Monday to see if I'm actually gonna do this.  They have names like "HellZ NellZ" and "FEARlis" and be a liar if I didn't admit I was slightly intimidated.  It's exhilarating in some ways to be freaked out and excited at the same time.  Truth be told, I'm not even sure if I can make a lap on roller skates, but I HAVE to try...

Holy Beep!  I can't believe I'm thinking about doing this!  Wish me luck!  I'll post soon and tell you how it goes :-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Funny Girl

"Baby, you CANNOT run across the gym in your princess shoes."
"Why?"
"Because you'll fall and hurt yourself."
"Okay."
"Do you promise me you're going to walk?"
"Yes."
"Okay, shake on it."  At this point I extend my hand out to her to shake hands.
"Okay" she says and she wiggles and shakes her body in agreement.

I laughed so hard and she had no idea what she'd done.  In good spirit, she laughed too.  Seriously, I forget sometimes just how tiny she still is and how much more she still has to learn in comparison to the other two.  I just love my baby girl...who now wants to be called "Big Girl."


Friday, July 1, 2011

UNCLE!!!!

These past few month have been a whirlwind...It never fails that when you want time to most slow down, it goes faster and when you can't get to the next day quick enough, it always lags.  There is no question that for the last 4 years life has seemed overwhelmingly busy, but last week... last week I hit the wall...and I hit it hard.

I've always believed the balance of life's different compartments, work, home, kids, self etc. are achievable as long as they are not all out of whack at the same time.  This theory tested itself out last week and it is no longer just a belief of mine but a true test case.

For the last month I have not been sleeping well.  I've been fighting with myself to make my head stop thinking long enough to attain some level of peace through sleep.  I've even begun running at night with a jogging stroller to get the constant nagging of  "to-do's" to stop in my head.  But then, even my dreams began to unravel, turning abruptly from rainbows to my greatest fears.  Even in my sleep I couldn't find peace.

I have taken my "List" tendencies to a whole new level - I think my boss was actually alarmed by the length of my pending work list it as me made comment to it while perusing my desk.  My other personal lists:  Maid of Honor To-Do's, Home To-Do's, Self To-Do's (listed last of course), are less daunting but linger none the less.

Last week, after an emergency at my project which caused the loss of A/C and restroom facilities for 18 floors of unhappy people, I fought traffic for almost two hours which created a domino effect making me late to pick up my girls, which made me late to drop one off to basketball, which caused us to have dinner at 8:30pm (30 minutes past kid bed time) and my husband had to work late.

I finally walked into the garage and cried, not caring at this point if my kids ever went to bed.  My husband called me when I was out there and all I could say is "I'm calling UNCLE...I can't do this." Accurately so, he laughed and said "You can't call UNCLE with kids."  While I knew he was right, I just needed a few minutes to collect myself.  "I'm in the garage" I said.  "Don't worry I can hear the kids from here if there's anything wrong."  I swear not 5 minutes went by and I heard a kid crying.  With I sigh I told my husband I had to go. 

My Baby Girl playfully hit my Big Girl in the head with a pillow that had a metal know on it....first crying kid.  In the commotion my son came peeling around the corner to see what was going on, slipped and hit his head on the wall...second crying kid.  Next, the Baby slipped on a step and hit her shin...third crying kid.  Already overwhelmed, we all just parked ourselves on the stairs, hugged and cried.  After a few minutes, we all started laughing at how silly we looked.  Picturing it all in my head now, it looks even more ridiculous. 

I think I needed to hit the wall to refocus on my goals.  I'm so close.  So freakin' close to everything I've ever wanted in my whole life.  Yet, it's all just out of reach...but I guess this is what keeps us motivated to try harder.  I have to learn that the list is never completed, the house is never going to remain spotless and that if I never get to quit my job everything will be alright...right???

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Latest

This might be my longest span without posting...I've never been busier at work and my home life has been upside down since my husband has begun this new company.  I can't express how happy I am that it is FRIDAY and for the first time in a month I can sit at my desk quietly drowning out the surrounding noise with my Pandora Radio and actually post something...

First things first, My Big Girl completed her mile trial run for her 2nd grade.  She loves to run and is pretty quick too.  This run, boys and girls, was weighing heavy on her mind.  She had been expressing her angst over not feeling like she could keep up with the boys (which bummed me out).  We encouraged her to practice and work up her stamina and told her "Of course you can beat the boys, you just might have to work harder!" Truthfully, I didn't know how true this was until she did her run yesterday.  In her class she was the first girl in and only ONE second behind the boy who came in first.  What I would've done to be there! My husband ran with her, as did a few other moms with their kids, and he said she pushed so hard to keep up.  I honestly could not be prouder of her.  It's not that she finished near the front, it's that she got to see first had that hard work really DOES pay off.  It's a life lesson I hope resonates with her.


My Little Man, who is 5, is going through a rough patch.  Lately, he's been more aggressive and his listening skills have severely dulled. I know it's crazy to think that he might always respond to me the FIRST time I ask, but for the most part he always has.  Now, I have ask several times and when I say "No" he is likely to burst out into tears and throw a tantrum yelling "You're the worst mom in the worllllllllld!"  He has always been my easy kid; the kid who listened when both girls were swinging from the chandeliers; the boy who would never let me leave for work without a hug and a "I love you, Mommy" but not this morning.  He refused to get dressed then through himself across the front door. It was one of those days you want to call in sick and just hug your kids until you can figure out what's going on with them if they won't tell you.  My husband it taking him out tonight, just the two of them, to feel him out and see if he can gain some insight as to what's causing the behavior issues.

Ah...then there's my Baby Girl who insists on being called "Big Girl."  Her new thing?  Dropping her pants and pretending that she's peeing on you like a boy.  Her little body turns in a sprinkler sort of motion all the while she's making the "PSSSSSSSSSSS" sound, followed by excited laughter.  I have to admit that it is a pretty funny sight to see...but, when it's not YOUR kid doing it.  Also on her list of accomplishments?  Profanity.  She has taken up yelling "Ah, dammit!" when something doesn't suit her.  Yep, we win the award for "Parents of the Year."  Clearly the grown-ups need a turn in the "Time Out" seat at our house. 

Our lives are clearly upside down and we're barely treading water.  School is out in two months and I'm actually excited about this.  The one thing that keeps me sane and I am always certain of is that I love our family and we are generally healthy and well, regardless of  periodic short-comings.  Even if someone refuses to give me hugs and tell me they love me before I leave in the morning, deep down I know they do.  Being a mom is the hardest, but best thing I've ever done in my life.  I just don't want to screw it up...

On that note, have a nice weekend everyone! May your laundry miraculously wash and fold itself into drawers and your children behave perfectly!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cop-a-Squat

Hello rain...again...We've had beautiful weather here in Northern California up until about a day ago and last weekend was no exception.  Sundays for me generally consist of buckling down and preparing for the next week by cleaning, laundering, homework...but not this week.  This week is Spring Break at our house.  Sure, I still have to go to work, but I don't have to think about school stuff.

To celebrate the good spring weather, the kids and I went hiking while my husband was out on errands.  They were thrilled!  They saw a falcon (I think), a baby rattle snake (not awesome) and felt like they were kings looking down upon the land as all the tiny cars went by below.  They spotted windmills on faraway hills and pointed out structures they recognized all over the city.  The fresh air had us all happy. 

When we made it to the top (of where we were going to hike, not the actual top), my baby girl looked at me and yelled "POTTY"  "I need to go POTTY."  As expected, there were no toilets.  I quickly looked around and we slipped a little off the trail to deal with the situation. The other two had found two comfy rocks to sit on and went to town on their lunch and conversation about dirt and snakes.  "Okay, lets cop-a-squat, baby." Ten seconds later and under-pants dry,  we joined the others and were back on our way.  Crisis averted.

Later that afternoon the neighborhood kids had gathered to play in the front yard with our kids.  I walked inside the house for a quick minute to grab something and when I returned I found my baby girl copping-a-squat, peeing on our cement walk way....nice.  It was kinda funny.  She didn't pee on her pants, so this was an accomplishment for her.  Good job, Baby Girl!

A few nights later we had dinner at a friends house and the kids were all out back playing.  Some of the older kids were in the hot tub, so the dads headed out back to watch while the moms cleaned up the kitchen.  Pretty soon, my husband passed us with our baby girl thrown over his arm.  "You have to fix this" my husband said as he raced by.  "Fix what?"  One of the little boys had to go potty so he jumped out of the hot tub and went on some rocks in the yard.  Our intuitive little girl walked over to the same rocks, pulled her pants down and peed right along side the little boy - this time not as successful in keeping her underpants dry.

The challenge of being a squatter and not a stander is one I understand very well.  Yeah, it's probably wrong on a couple different levels for her to be randomly copping-a-squat, but with the tough week I had before, it was kind of nice to just laugh...

Today is my Friday, so have a weekend filled with laughter everyone!



Monday, April 4, 2011

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Our Softball/Baseball season is in full swing.  A round of bad weather actually pushed a handful of games out resulting in an imbalance of schedules.  The games that kill me are not the weekend games, but the weekday ones.  I had to practically kill to make a 5:30pm game on a Tuesday.  This year the team decided to bring rather than buy snacks.  When I checked we were a good few weeks down the list so I didn't think anything of it.  Until there was no snack.  Still thought nothing of it.  Until my husband looked at me and said "Oh God.  I hope it wasn't our turn." "I'm sure it's not - we were way down the list." I even pulled out my phone to reference the snack list.  Then I saw it.  "SH*T - it was us!"

Now granted it was a week night and most families were on their way home to dinner, so no one really cared, but it's not the snack part I was most devastated by.  It's that this was the first time ever we couldn't cover everything.  Sure, we're not perfect and we miss stuff, but it's usually dumb stuff that would only affect us and had no major impact.    This latest lapse was a clear sign to me that we were in way over our heads.

I know there are super-moms and dads out there who appear to who work full time fulfilling jobs, get fresh healthy meals on the table, have no dirty laundry, compete in iron man competitions and be ever present in their children's lives with no mis-step.  I used to strive for this, but I have concluded that these parents are completely lying to the rest of us.  There is no possible way without actually halting all sleep that this is possible to cover.  I plan the crap out of things to make sure I can cover and we still miss the mark sometimes and it's never pretty.

To say our lives have been busy would be an understatement. I am definitely an 8-5 girl who will do what it takes throughout the day to make sure that I get out the door and on the road at 5:00pm. Lately, I've had to cut lunch (ie my grocery shopping hour) and actually work a few hours later to ensure I get all the bases covered. My work life has been insane.  I have literally been running from one thing to the next.  I broke into a sweat one day last week trying to run to two separate, but equally important meetings on different floors!  I can count at least three occasions that I thought I might start crying at my desk (which I thankfully avoided).  For the first time, I actually exhaled in relief just to sit in traffic knowing  I can't get anywhere fast.

My husband who I've come to depend on to cover local things for the kids like sports, walking to school and the occasional mommy-chat to stay in the know has been swamped too.  I mentioned a few weeks ago that he was struggling to make a career choice and although he hasn't come right out and said which way he's moving I get the picture.  He is gearing up to launch a new company with a new partner and I'm excited and nervous about it all at the same time.  This decision will either solidify my work status or set me free...nail biter.

In the mix of all this crazy, my sweet little boy lost his first tooth.  It has been hurting him the last few weeks and this past Saturday he finally had his dad help him yank it.  I didn't think his little smile could get any better...and then it did.

I know we're all over extended and I keep telling myself to inhale every moment of their sweet little faces before it's gone and I'm looking into the eyes of grown-ups. My conversations with my Big Girl are already beginning to change - not in a bad way, but just a more mature way.  My son is attempting to use new words like "Ridiculous" and "Complicated."  Our last baby, our Itty-Bitty, was the best decision we ever made.  Our all time favorite new thing she says, and not prompted by us, is "When I get bigger Daddy's gonna be my coach and I'm gonna play baseball."  She can barely say it coherently, but we know and it's so sweet...

My master plan to get back home to manage our household is still in alive and well.  Technically speaking I think I've got about another year and a half to meet my original mark of paying off all of our debt. I'm still playing the lotto and haven't won as much as a $1, but again, you can't win if you don't try.  We're close to where we need to be, but as my "Stupid Things People Say" desk calendar reads, "We're a long way from being where we are." 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When I Grow Up...

Who really grows up wanting to work in the real world?  When I was growing up I wanted to make movies or be a writer.  I asked my assistant and she wanted to be when she grew up and she said a police officer or a vet (until discovering she liked to push the legal limits and couldn't stomach needles).  When I ask my kids what they want to be when they grow up they give me the best answers.  As simple as they are, they actually make me happy.  Right now my son wants to be a race car driver (a step up in excitement from the previous "scarecrow" profession), my Big Girl goes between wanting to be a crystal hunter and a nurse.  My Baby Girl just keeps me guessing...

No one grows up saying "I want to be a drug addict" because it sounds so fun and lucrative.  My younger brother is a drug addict and I haven't talked to him in eight months.  When I did talk with him (I called him to wish him a happy birthday), he didn't even know who I was.  I watch my parents struggle with the guilt of watching their son kill himself and feeling helpless to stop it.  The guilt of "what did we do wrong" is the only thing my parents agree on - but on separate sides of the country no less.

I have come to terms that I cannot save him - even though I wish I could.  I have accepted that the only thing that makes me feel better is trying to ensure my kids do not choose this same path.  My kids only know they don't see my brother because he lives far away.  I don't tell them about the drugs, the jail time, the skanky girls or that I don't even want him to know where I live.  I don't want them to know him the way I do. 

My whole point is that no one grows up wanting to be a failure at their one shot at life.   Every baby is perfect when they are born and he was no exception.  But life happens and everyone copes differently with the hand they are dealt.  There are no longer any valid excuses as to why he is who he is, but that doesn't stop me from thinking about him all the time and hoping that he decides to make a real life for himself. 


 

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Sweet Boy

My girls are loud and outspoken, sweet and loving.  They demand my attention even when I'm too tired to give it; they do not accept the word "No" well and I do not foresee this changing anytime soon.  My Big Girl is sharp and quick to point out  an instance 4 years ago where I playfully swatted her on her bum - admittedly harder than I had intended and that I "hurt her on purpose."  The Baby gets babied because she is the baby.  But not my Little Man...

He is my middle child, my smart and handsome little prince.  He is well behaved, but fiery when pushed to his limit.  He is not a dweller.  He doesn't remember what he was upset about 10 minutes ago, much less 4 years ago.  As long as you have a heart beat, he'll talk to you and be your friend.  He is kind and patient and loves both my husband and I so deeply and genuinely.

Yesterday, he got really upset that his big sister was going to a classmate's to work on their Science Fair project and ran upstairs and hid under his bed crying.  The incident was out the ordinary and kind of baffling.  It had to be something else besides his sister going to a friends to do homework.  I thought maybe something was bothering him and this just iced the cake??  I didn't really know...

Maybe he just needs some time for just him, I thought.  I offered to take him to any kids movie of his choice.  He declined.  To make matters worse, he said "Mommy, now that you go to work you don't play with me as much anymore." The flood gates of my mommy guilt came sweeping in...My sweet boy who is so patient and rarely complains and doesn't dwell noticed this. I almost started crying; I could almost cry now thinking about it.

I needed something really good to try and redeem myself as his mother.  I offered him a trip to his favorite park since the sun was out, albeit barely.  "YES!" he said excited.  Great!  Fresh air AND it's free!  I headed back to the house to quickly to pack up snacks and shoes for the Baby Girl.  He smiled all the way to the park.  I'm not kidding, the moment we pulled up and unbuckled the rain started.  Then got harder.  "Sorry, Buddy" I said.  "It's just too wet."  He let out a huge sigh, hung his head and began buckling himself back up.  "Thanks for trying, Mom."  I know this small gesture of appreciation is just that, small, but it broke my heart.

I thought a lot about what he said.  I realized that because he's not loud and demanding and because he's such a good little boy, he may be getting less attention than the girls.  The day before we left his baseball opening day early to make it to his sister's last basketball game.  Then we went to her softball practice ti bring cookies (that he doesn't even like) before heading to his first game.  We ran around a lot of the day for her.  My Big Girl gets a lot and is vocal about feeling like she's been shorted in anyway, all the while my son just quietly puts up with it, not complaining and staying in line.  I think this is really what he was upset about (getting shafted) but didn't know how to explain it.

I need to work harder the older they get.  Sure, they're tough when their babies but their needs do not subside along side the diapers.  I need to remember just because they aren't screaming at me doesn't mean they don't need me.  Kids are really good about telling you what they need...as long as you're listening with you eyes and your ears. 



Post Lag

Just a side note today...for whatever reason (probably my fault) my post from last Thursday posted to today...Sorry for the weird time lapse...I'll try and post something newer in the next day or so. 

Have a great week!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Another Day, Another Rain

After a few nice days of weather, the rain is back and the day is gray.  My assistant has been out on vacation all week (at Mardi Gras!), so I get the brunt of her work on top of my own.  In a weird sick way, I kinda miss my old job as an assistant.  It was totally devoid of any real responsibility and if you had a problem you just asked someone.  Now that I'm that "someone" who gets asked, well, it kinda sucks.

I feel like I'm going crazy today and I have not yet determined whether it is just a case of bad PMS or if it is a genuine disappointment in humanity.  It is entirely possible to HATE my job without being ungrateful that I have one.  Of course I'm thankful for a means to support my family, but it doesn't mean that I'm satisfied with the way I've chosen to accomplish this.

My poor sister who is younger and working on her Masters said to me the other day "I can't believe people can't find the time to take a break to get a drink of water, much less lunch!  This just isn't right!"  All I could think is "Welcome to being a Grown-up."  So wrong...

Happy Almost-Friday (less than 24 hours, but who's counting!)

 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

And Life Goes On...

It's been more than a few weeks since my last post and my apologies for lagging.  I had been sick with a respiratory infection - which doesn't happen often - and life seemed to move by just as quickly despite this.

Work has been busier than I would like.  As environmentally friendly as I like to think I am, it is RUINING my work life.  LEED certification in San Francisco is the new big thing and everyone wants to be a part of the vinyl emblem stuck to a building's exterior.  If you ask me, it's a waste of my time tracking and compiling data to support our insistence that we are "greeeeen."  Why can't we just BE green without having to flash our Prius pride on every freakin' corner.  I bet the amount of paper I blow through to PROVE our projects are environmentally friendly defeat the actual purpose.


My Baby Girl is one of the toughest kids I know - just ask her brother.  Late last week, she sliced her toe open on a piece of tile stuck in the side of a shoe which resulted in an emergency room visit and some Dermabond action.  The ER was even more awesome than the last time I was there a few years ago for my son.  Some poor woman sat in the waiting room for 3 hours (!!) crying and my baby pointing and loudly asking "Why is she crying?!"  Thank goodness for nice nurses!  At the end of all that we were instructed to keep her off her feet for 3-4 days.  Shat two year old wouldn't want to do THIS I ask you?  Needless to say, we were back in the Dr.'s office just a day later trying to put it all back together again...


There is not a lot that has changed here with me.  I wish I could say that there is...but I am still here...plugging away at my grand plan to escape this place.  I like to think I'm getting less bitter about this whole working thing, but why start lying to you now?  I think I have half the money for our home addition saved - and by half, I mean half of what I think it'll cost not what the architect thinks it will cost.  We've scaled back what we want to what we need so when I do get out of here - and I will - our home will hold all of us.  If we don't do this before I quit someday, we'll never fit into our modest house....yes, mother, I know families of 20 manage to live in a straw hut with no running water and a can for a toilet and manage to be content.  If you want me to admit I'm a whiner and I'm shallow, then I guess I am.  Hey - you raised me!  ;-)

 
On that note - have a good week everyone!  The storms are supposed to ease up for at least a few days...

Friday, February 18, 2011

No Whining Today...

The past few weeks have been filled with the busy life work and home inevitably demand.  As a family, we have some really tough decisions to make over the course of the next few months - but nothing life threatening.  I was all geared up with a shallow post on how tough the balance of work and home are when I received an email from my son's school. 

The email was about a little boy named Logan who is a student at the preschool.  Our family doesn't know his family, but like any parent I don't doubt we love our children the same.  The email shared that Logan is a 4 year old suffering from a cancerous brain tumor.  That next week he goes in for surgery and his family needs our prayers. 

My heart sank.  Four years old.  I year younger than my son and just a small distance from my baby girl.  No parents should ever have to experience the sleepless nights and anxious days I can't help but imagine are occurring.

No shallow posting today.  Just a prayer for this family.  If you want to read about Logan's story from his mother's perspective click on Logan's Story.

Go hug your little one's or the little one's you love and be thankful!  Have a nice holiday weekend everyone!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A New Day

I have to remember that it doesn't matter how long I've been here, Mondays are ALWAYS hard for me.  Changing gears from "Mommy" to "Boss" is still not a natural transition for me.  Yesterday, I let my insecurities boil over and freaked myself out - shocker, I know.  Today is a new day and it's going to be better (even if I have to kick someones ass to make it happen).

Options are never a bad thing.  In theory, choices should improve our ability to control our destiny - and they do - if you make the right decision.  I'm not going to lie, as much as I look forward to leaving this job, it is a little daunting to think about losing this paycheck and depending on my husband.  It feels good to contribute to our family monetarily, but crappy when you cannot find the balance of equally contributing to their lives. It will be an easy decision to leave when the time comes...I hope.  I think I will ultimately go back to teaching if I have to do something and this will be a happy medium.

My sweet baby girl looked up at me this morning as I kissed her goodbye and said "I go with you Mommy?" "No Baby, I've got to go to work" "I ride in your car!" "Not today, Baby...maybe next time?" This was followed by about five "Why's" then "Okay, Mommy."  She gave me the best hug and kiss and sent me on my way...She is the best thing I ever begged my husband for. And, I know he would agree.

Eye on the prize, EYE ON THE PRIZE...

Happy Tuesday everyone!



Monday, February 7, 2011

Are We There Yet?

I recently saw a picture of myself and it was not the person I remember myself looking like.  I looked tired and  heavier and older.  I looked at my chubby self and I wondered who that was staring back at me.  I know that I am older, this came as no surprise.  It's the way I'm getting older that I found to be the real shocker.  I guess that I've just gotten so caught up in  every day life, I didn't realize that aging has not occurred as graceful as I always pictured it - in more ways than just how I look.

When I was in my twenties I was sure that life in my thirties would be so different.  I worked long and hard hours to achieve a solid future where I could finally breath... I thought my path would be paved and as long as I just stayed between the dotted lines things would drive smoothly.  I know this sounds naive, but I never really accounted for changing lanes or desiring to "off-ramp."  Doesn't everyone say that 30 is the new 20?!?  Was this just to make themselves feel better in their 30's?  I still feel as much pressure as I did in my 20's, it's just in a different way now that my little people depend on me to make the right choices.  I put a lot more thought into the consequences of my choices, which I think is normal, but is it always better?

I feel like I'm at a crossroads on where we go next.  Do we choose the safe route or the one that allows us to keep our dreams alive?  Responsible or crazy and exciting?  As a current responsible "grown-up" I think the answer is to be responsible, but then I start thinking by making the easy choice we are actually doing a disservice to ourselves and our kids by not encouraging dream chasing.  But, what if we fail?

I don't know what the answer is...I wish someone could just tell me when we're "there" already... 


Friday, February 4, 2011

Funny Things My Kids Say

I'm so happy it's Friday that it's actually pathetic.  So, on that note, I thought I'd pass on a funny thing my Big Kid has said too often about her brother:

"But, Moooom! I have to help him because he's still little and his brain isn't right yet!"

My poor Little Man...I think is brain is perfect!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One Day at a Time

I've been trying SO hard to play a new set of cards and stay positive this year.  I keep telling myself I'm not a bad mother for going to work, I'm not a terrible wife because I'm so embarrassed by my fat ass I don't let my husband see it, I'm not an awful employee because I want to be treated fairly, I'm not a bad friend because I can't find five minutes to just call you, but some days even the greatest of wills succumb to cynical defeat. 

My husband and I have made the decision that no matter how much we make someday we do not want to be slaves to a mortgage.  I love to travel and in a different time in my life I did just that. There are far more important experiences in life than living in a big house. And, one day when it's just my husband and I who is going to clean that big house? 

We had an architect look at our house last week and her assessment of what she thought it would cost to expand our humble abode was very different than ours.  Not a problem.  We can can work with this...But then I started thinking, "But, how?"  How the hell are we going to save enough to front this expense?! We bought our house in peak market and we'll never be able to tap into any equity before my kids are in college.   

Then I do the "flip-flop."  The flip:  Three kids sharing one room is not a big deal.  It encourages comfort in small spaces and sharing.  The flop: My poor daughter getting training bras one day too soon and my son ridiculing her just before asking "Hey, do your friends wear bras too?"  My new self-induced mental trauma now leads to my common path of self-pity:  I'm going to have to go work for freaking ever...

Now, it's not that work is terrible right now.  Busy? Absolutely, but not awful.  We've buttoned up one major capital project and we've got one to go set for completion in March.  I'm the boss of my own space, I have good size office where I can escape and I have a good staff.  My company dished out more than fair bonuses and salary increases and on paper my life is pretty perfect.  Why can't I just buy on to this already?  I've achieved everything I could have hoped for...

But, then I became a mother. Being a mom was never in my plan, yet here it is and it's all I want... I know I've said this before, but this is my blog and I'll say it again:  Who knew being a mom could be the greatest thing I never knew I wanted so much.  My best day at work has never been as good as my worst day at home with my kids - and there have been some rough ones ;-).

One day at time...Being a grown-up is overrated. 

 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Sickies

Last week - a great week - ended with a batch of sick kids and now a sick husband.  The funny thing is that I'm not even miffed about it.  I feel like that much good in one week was bound to have to get sideways; the universe had to realign itself and spread the good out amongst everyone.

Heading to work at the break of dawn is already tough (even though it's getting better), but when my kids are sick is when it is the most difficult for me to leave.  My kids are well taken care of but when they are sick sometimes all they want is for "Mommy" to hold them.  My poor big girl woke up in the middle of the night with the worst bloody nose I have ever seen.  It was like a faucet and the amount was scaring her.  After about 30 minutes of gushing, it started to scare me.  I mean how much blood can someone so tiny even have?!  At one point I'm holding the pile of toilet paper on her nose and Googling Baby Center to try and find pointers to help.  Head leaning forward and a cool washcloth later the bleeding stopped and she was fast asleep - thank you Baby Center!

Sometimes in these tired moments with your kids something gets said or a thought pops into your head that you just can't shake.  The bloody nose was a minor issue, but scary for her nonetheless.  At one point her poor little tired eyes looked up at me and asked - very seriously "Mommy, am I dying?"  It sounds stupid, but that question broke my heart.  Not because I thought it was happening or that it would, but because she felt like this  question was warranted.  Thank goodness my answer was an easy "No" but it made me empathize with anyone who has ever had to say "Yes" to their child.  I hope I never have to walk a day in those shoes...

We all survived that night, albeit ridiculously sleep deprived and everyone seems to be on the mend.  I miss them every day and almost every moment I am sitting at my desk, phone glued to my ear.  That small question my daughter asked has stuck with me the last few days. It puts things back in perspective - which we all need sometimes.  My situation is not ideal and I never look forward to work, but I know my kids are home safe, waiting for hugs and kisses when I walk in the door every night.  For some, this IS like winning the lottery.

Have a good week everyone!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Pretty Things

For the record, mom's deserve pretty pampering just as much as anyone else out there, but for some reason we are the first to sacrifice these things for our families, for our checkbooks, for whatever.  My friend joked that the only way her "...bra and underwear match these days is if they are both solid white."  Yeah, we got a good laugh out of that...because it's true. 

Today for the first time in YEARS - yes, it's sad, YEARS - I bought a matching bra and underwear - or "panties" as I called them in my pre-Mommy days when they were true delicates.  It has a simple, yet pretty pattern and the panties are well... pretty for lack of a more deep descriptive.  I know you don't need a play-by-play on the details of my unmentionables, but I was am SO excited.  I had forgotten how it felt to wear pretty versus functional undergarments - even though no one sees them. 

To ice the cake, everything was on sale!  A gift card (thanks to my husband) and a guilt free shopping spree (not technically a spree, but it was for me) later and I've had a great day.  Did I mention it's also FRIDAY?!?  Another 15 minutes of procrastinating at my desk and I'm outta here...

Have a great weekend everyone!  Go hug your kids...or your pets...or anyone else you might love!


Monday, January 17, 2011

The Big Plan

First and foremost it is tragic that I have to work today on MLK day.  The only good thing about working today is that there was NO traffic.  If it only took me 30 minutes to get to work everyday, it would be a game changer.  Moving on....

We were supposed to go to the snow this past weekend, but my little man got sick late last week and we didn't want to push it.  There is no such thing as a leisure pace when there is snow to throw and fun to be had in every direction.  Instead, we did a quick stop at the beach and we all got some fresh air.  The weather was perfect.  Not too hot and not too cold.  The kids got to dip their feet in the ocean and found tide pools to explore.  What's not cool about petting star fish and finding clams and hermit crabs?

I have often talked about the greener grass in previous posts and I have often debated on what the best decision is for our family.  Should we move to a more affordable area or stick it out and stay where we are? We have concluded - at times against my better self - that we are not going anywhere.  The longer I work, the less I want to work to pay for a house.  I have come to know very well that the size of our house doesn't make our home.   

When we first moved in my daughter wasn't even a year old, so the size of the house was manageable for three.  It was more space than we had every known...we had a back yard for crying out loud!  We also figured we'd move to a bigger house in a few years - once we built up some equity (ha!).  An entire economy down the drain and six years and two more kids later, we are busting at our seams.

Today was an incredibly exciting day for me.  A few hours ago I made the call to an architect I've been corresponding with to tell her we are ready to have her draw the plans out to expand our house.  My husband works in construction and I have a good amount of experience running construction projects so between the two of us, our plans have been drawn for some time - just not to code.  Our date nights have consisted of sketching ideas out on paper napkins at the table and I think we're there; we just need someone to put polish it up.

Truthfully, we are in no position to break ground tomorrow, but knowing how much the project will cost will determine how far away we are.  My fingers are crossed for raises, bonuses and income tax returns.  Right now I have three small kids sharing one room - which I understand is a luxury for some, but if I don't have to do it, I don't want to.  Sharing never killed anyone, but neither has a plan so that's where we're starting.

  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Optimistic Pessimist


I had my annual Employee Review on Friday and it went well - really well. As much as I don't want to be here, being viewed as someone who is competent and does a good job is still important to me. Doing well was really important - not just for me, but for my team. The hurting economy caused our company to hold salaries and reduce bonuses the past few years. Based on my "score-card" I should know by the end of the month whether I will get a much needed raise and bonus. Every extra dollar I make puts me one step closer to being where I want to be.

I am a planner by nature and a pessimist against my own will. I want so badly to be that positive and optimistic friend we all have (or should have) where everything works out peachy in the end. But, I am not built that way. I read articles and reports all the time from parenting tips (home) to the comparisons of sectional boilers (work). I cover the pros and cons of each, then bank them as a resource. I may never tap into these "resources," but I'll be ready if I need to. I have come to accept this oddity about myself. I've also come to understand that the more prepared I feel for the unexpected disaster, the safer I feel in my everyday life.

My plan of getting out of here in the next year is still in effect. By the end of this year, I should be closer than I ever have been - pending any horrific changes to my financial forecast which is always a possibility. I've paid down our debt, secured our mortgage, worked my ass off to be considered for a salary increase, and threw out to my boss I'd be willing to accept a new position in a different capacity if it meant I'd get closer to home. I'm trying...and that's all I can do. Here's to a slice of optimism today :-)


Monday, January 10, 2011

Basketball Season

Basketball season opened for my Big Kid this past Saturday and I bid my open weekends adieu until softball season ends this summer...

My eldest daughter is tiny, but scrappy.  She will work harder than any player if it means she will out play them...I envy her athletic appetite.  Basketball hasn't typically been her sport (in my opinion). Last season was her first year playing and it was just okay. She had a tendency to "butterfly chase" sometimes, so I thought it was just a matter of time before she got bored and we would move on.

This year I saw a whole new player. She had 12 points and 4 steals. Where did that come from?! I was stunned.  It certainly wasn't what I sat down in the bleachers to see that morning.  We were so proud of her and it ended up being really fun.   The best part is that SHE looked so happy and alive on the court.  As much as I complain about how time consuming sports are, there are so many worse things she could choose to do. 

Happy Monday everyone!




Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Who They Are Today...

So far this year is off to a good start.  Everyone is healthy and my house is mostly clean:  my criteria for a "good start" is not complicated.

Each year that goes by it's like a smack upside my head that my kids, no matter how I fight it, continue to grow.  I like to jot down who my kids are at random times, just so I don't forget.  There may come a time where I read back through these profiles just to remind myself that the unruly teenagers I'm looking at were not always so tough.

My Big Kid is just that:  a Big Kid.  She is definitely my girl.  She is doing so well in school and absolutely loves sports.  There is a fire that burns in her to challenge herself to be the best.  Right now, it's not mean spirited just determined.  She can be such a good big sister, but more times than not she's tough on her brother who continues to try to please her, regardless. My only bone to pick with her is her sassy attitude - which is inevitable since she is my daughter.  Someone once said to me "You'd rather have a child with spirit than a child without."  I sure hope she was right...There is something about your first born that will always be special.  At a respectable 7 1/2 years old, she still periodically wakes up in the night and stealthily climbs into my bed to be close to me.    I think her and I will never be too far from each other.

My son.  My sweet, sweet, little boy who I didn't think I was capable of loving as much as a daughter has stolen my heart.  He loves both my husband and I equally and deeply.  He, more so than the others, craves affirmation and tries so hard at everything he does. He's more reserved than the girls.  He doesn't gloat or show boat; he just goes on about his business.  He starts kindergarten at the end of this year...I hope it doesn't ruin him.  He is a good brother and the sweetest boy I could have ever hoped for.

My baby girl.  I love our little "Itty-Bitty" blondie...she is spicier than her big sister already, but loves everyone and freely gives out hugs and kisses.  She's so funny with her new found facial expressions and expanding vocabulary.  She's started using the potty more frequently these past few weeks and the thought of being free of diapers is both exciting and devastating.  She loves me, but she is a "Daddy's Girl."   I cannot imagine our lives without her.

If everything in my life goes sideways, as long as I have my family I will be fine...

Happy New Year everyone!  Go hug your loved ones!