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December 30, 2009

Farewell 2009

It appears another year has come and gone.  2009 has been interesting, but I suppose looking back on an entire year, there are worse adjectives that could be used.  Things could be worse.

For me personally, I have found myself looking deeper and struggling harder for that optimism.  I do like to consider myself a generally happy and forward looking person, but for whatever reason(s), this year has been a test.  It's been more difficult to keep it going every day from morning until night.  I've had some material (meaning very expensive) problems this year, such as replacing a toilet, surviving without my under-warranty van for almost 2 months, and expensive repairs for a relatively new TV and refrigerator.  Combine that with some personal things going on and yeah, it's been a struggle for me to keep up the happy facade.

That happiness is crucial when you are raising 4 kids with 2 working parents.  When my happy juice starts to get sour, I take notice.

I know this year has been a struggle for many I know and love.  Here's to hoping 2010 is filled with a lot of those good things that help to keep that happy stuff going strong for all of us.  Bad things will always happen, but when you have enough of the sweet in the mental bank, it's a lot easier to swallow.

Happy New Year!

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October 26, 2009

Who Can You Trust?

Since having children, I've tried more than ever to educate myself on, well, absolutely everything. It's no secret that I struggled to have my kids, and I got more than my fair share of advice from people on what I was doing wrong. I got more than an earful on what I "should" be doing if I wanted to procreate. It's no surprise that I blamed myself for something I must have done wrong, having first a miscarriage and then no pregnancy in sight. And since so many other people could get pregnant without even wanting to, it must be some sort of punishment for me.

I went through hell and then some before I let myself believe it wasn't something I did to myself. I didn't let that first baby die. I wanted that child more than my own life, and it wasn't fair that the day I found out it was there, it was gone in that same second. I lost a part of my soul that day, and I will never forget that baby.

I later came to find that I'm riddled with physical, incurable problems. Again, being at the time a young, healthy person who survived a lot already, what went wrong? Did I not already pay my dues? Did I not already "prove" that I was ready to start my own family and have children of my own? Why did I have to endure more than I already had?

Jump again to the day I gave birth to triplets, almost perfectly healthy. Scary at first, but no real lifelong problems, only recommendations to have RSV shots because it could be deadly if they got it. I believed in that risk, I heard stories, and I did it...I took that first leap of faith to start injecting my tiny little babies with something. I took a leap of faith that their doctor wanted to keep them alive and keep them healthy. And you know what? Maybe it was just dumb luck, or our lifestyle, or faith? None of them had a hospital stay after birth discharge until Connor decided to be superman and break his arm in half.

I have done the vaccinations - spread out maybe differently when they were babies because my doctor was cautious. I have gone to an almost completely homemade diet for all of us. We are an active family, and we wash our hands regularly. I was able to have Haley without the aid of treatment or a c-section. Then, I was almost incapaciated with pain for years after having her until a doctor tried something different on me other than surgery - and something that actually WORKED.

Yet, there are things that still bring us down. The latest virus not the least problematic with its intensity...and the one we didn't vaccinate against. Is it a conspiracy? Is it some larger force trying to do us all in? Is it the drug manufacturers trying to force us in to having more things injected into us? Who can you trust? Who will you trust, and why? Everything anymore is under scrutiny from the air we breathe to the very foundations upon which we were all raised. I'm not completely sure myself, but all I can tell you is my story. We'll all have to make up our own minds about who and what we trust, and exactly why.

It's just that "why" that will always be in question...

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July 27, 2009

Hey, Joe Wilson!

Hey, Joe Wilson. How's it going? I never had a chance to say goodbye back then, so I thought I'd write you a little something here. Summers always make me remember you all the more. You meant so much to me and I wish I could tell you more in person...although I suspect you probably already knew.

I miss the regular breaks you had to take. I miss the wisdom you would impart on so many different levels when you spoke. I always loved your humble honesty of everything. I never really got the chance to tell you all of 'it,' but I told you enough - as much as you wanted to hear, anyway. And you would listen to all of the important stuff, every single time. You accepted me into the dinner group. We had so many good conversations. I probably never told you enough how much I admired you. Then again, I think we had a very clear unspoken bond.

At least I had a chance to tell you the next starting point and I'll never forget our last conversation.  I just wish I knew it was our last.  I honestly remember every syllable of it. Thanks for your blessing, we are still doing great.

I missed you enough that we paid a tribute to you in our wedding. And then part of your name is one of our kid's - little did we know at the time, the most spirited of the kids. I really do thank you for having so profound of an effect on my life. I wish I would have told you that better. I hope you knew that. And I hope you know how many times I wish I could share this crazy insane journey with you. You would have laughed. I have so many stories that would have made you laugh again and again.

Wherever you are, please know how much you are missed. You will never be far from my heart.

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March 10, 2009

A Much Needed Break

Since becoming a mom, I am much more concerned with my children than myself.  That's pretty normal I think, but the hardest part for me is sleep.  We kept the trio on a schedule when they were babies, and they were (still are) the best sleepers.  However, even when they were sleeping through the night, I wasn't: I was still getting up to pump.  Finally we transitioned to milk after they were a year, and I could sleep...when I wasn't getting called for work (I do NOT miss being on call!!!).  Or when someone wasn't getting up for some reason.  Or when a cat wasn't yakking up a fur ball.  Or when the grass wasn't growing outside.  I don't know, something changed.  Part of it was that hubby started traveling and I was the only adult home with all the kids.  Part of it was 9/11 changed me and suddenly the highway (near our house at the time) suddenly sounded like explosions.  Most of it, I truly believe, is it's just because that's who I am.  I am a mom after a long battle to become so, and I am now responsible for these little people who mean the world to me.  Being a natural worrier, this should be expected I guess.

Then surprise (tee hee!) Haley came along and I relished every single moment of having one newborn.  All of my kids were snugglers, but when I could just cuddle one and not have the fear of someone else needing a cuddle at the exact same time, it was wonderful.  It was everything I hoped it would be, and then some.  The trio were 4 at the time, and they adored their baby sister just as much.

Hmm, do you think I'm sleeping more these days?

I love my darling youngest to pieces, but she is not the best sleeper.  She was on a schedule enough that I don't think it's the lack of deviance from one as strict as the trio's that did it.  She is our last baby, she gets her snuggles, and she knows it.  Not saying she's spoiled, because the girl is unbelievably smart and we are all stubborn enough to not give in to tantrums.  Come on, we have four kids, two full time working (traveling involved) parents.  We try very hard to spend the time we have with the kids very wisely.  But boy, 3 7 year olds and 1 3 year old can wear you out.  We don't have much family at all nearby, and we maybe go out just the two of us a few times a year.  Literally.  I really don't mind this fact, but right now, I'm tired.

I'm tired, people.  I'm seriously tired.  I need a break.  My body is telling me that.  I've gotten sick more in the last 4 months than I've gotten in the last 4 years combined.

There were some factors that all came in to play for us to take a little vacation.  We of course felt guilty as hell to even consider it (especially for me, since I have to fly), but I grappled with it for a while.  Then I got another health issue.  I decided that I have to do this for me, for my family, because I can't continue at this pace.  I'm pretty sure 5 nights in Mexico won't solve everything, but I am certain it will go a long way.  I've allowed myself to let go of the guilt, I know the kids are in trusted care, and I know I will enjoy the 5 nights of doing WHATEVER.  Sitting on a beach chair, reading a book, taking a nap, NOT checking my email, smelling the air, soaking up the sun (with sunscreen, because I'm overly pale).  It took me some time to 'allow' myself this luxury in light of the economy, everyone's uncertain futures, leaving my kids in general, but I'm going to do it.  Of course I'll miss my kids like nobody's business, but that's ok.

One week from right now, I'll be relaxing.  And it will be a much, much, much needed break.

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February 05, 2009

Choices

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.  It's mostly been driven by some, let's say "less than ideal" situations some close family members have gotten themselves into.  It's made me do some serious soul searching of my own.  Some of it has been therapeutic, all things considered.  So I thought in my personal therapy, I'd write some of what's been on my mind.

I've made my share of mistakes and bad decisions in my life.  That's just part of growing up.  I've also had some pretty shitty things happen to me which were out of my control.  The combination of what was in my control and what wasn't gave me a perspective that drove my goals.  It lit a fire under my butt that I knew nothing was going to come of my life other than what I made of it.  So going up against the odds stacked against me, I went for it.

It is often difficult to truly explain to another how hard you struggle.  The reason I can't stand the song "Brown Eyed Girl" is not because my eyes are not brown.  It is because I lived in a dorm my first year of college where I was one of the VERY FEW working to put themselves through school.  The spoiled sorority girls on my floor (not an insult to sororites in general) would hover in the hallways and brag about how their parents were gonna "kill them" for their outrageous phone bill.  Or how they couldn't wait for their spring break trip to Cancun.  All the while, they would hit repeat on the CD player and sing, at the top of their lungs no less, "Brown Eyed Girl."  It almost drove me insane.  There I was, trying to get some much needed sleep from working full time while also going to school full time to PAY MY OWN FRICKING WAY, and I had to listen to that.  How I survived it without punching them in the face will always amaze me.

I knew I'd probably be in the minority in that situation going to that particular college, and that was the decision I made.  In the end, it turned out to be a wonderful situation even with all of the hardships it entailed.  I met so many lifelong friends, not least importantly, my husband.  I fought through it all, and I became a stronger person as a result.  It's hard to describe the sleep deprivation from working so many hours and doing so much homework, let alone trying to have a social life.  Somehow, it all worked out exactly how it was meant to, and I wouldn't change a minute of it.

My first car?  Bought in cash after working two full time jobs an entire summer.  Insurance as a teenager?  Yeah, that was most of my wages.  First job out of college?  It sucked.  I didn't go through all that debt and struggle to be someone's assistant (not that there is anything AT ALL wrong with that job, I just wanted more - and needed to make more with my student loan debt).  Decided it was time to reach higher and went back to school.  My student loans are still with me today, and will be for a while longer.  The first house I ever lived in was purchased by my husband and I.  Our wedding, the wedding of our dreams (if you were there, you know it was by no means extravagant), was paid for by us on our measely wages.  Feeling ready for kids?  Oh, that can't be easy either.  Heartache and OMG what hell later, guess what...you're going to have triplets!  No family nearby, two working parents (and had to stay that way at that point, 3 babies are expensive!) but we got through 7 years and counting now.  Different jobs, layoffs, health problems, another baby, yet here we are still going strong.

Let's face it: life is hard, parenting is hard, it's a lot of work some days just to smile.  But I'm constantly reminded by something I kept hearing long ago...10% of life is what happens to you, the other 90% is how you choose to deal with it.  We can all have our bad days where that 10% feels like 100%.  But in order to stay sane, most days, it has to be more of a choice and an effort.  Shit happens every day.  Some days, the world collapses and you feel like you are the butt of a practical joke.  Sometimes those days turn into weeks and you are stuck in a really bad rut.  In those cases, I always try to find a way to shake it off.  Find the humor in a crappy situation.  I hear the comment "I don't know how you do it" so often.  If I am making this look easy, I am honored.  It's my life.  I do it because I love my husband, my kids, my family, my friends...my whole life.  It's very hard for me, too.  But it's my life, I love it, and it takes a lot of worthwhile work.

It helps if you and your closest person are also on that same wavelength.  You won't always see eye to eye - some days nowhere even remotely close.  Once again, I believe it's choice.  Days where we aren't getting along, I can (usually) control myself enough to bite my tongue.  I believe Aaron does the same for me.  We get through those sour patches and do not hold grudges.  We find ourselves back to being best friends and able to navigate the challenges of our life together.  Neither one of us is perfect, but together and through our choices, we keep each other on track.  Personally, I believed early on that there was something different in my relationship with Aaron, which is why saying "I do" was so easy.  In saying this, I do understand that some people are just simply incompatible.  Some relationships can work; others cannot.

Do I have some point to this entire dissertation?  Only that I think life is more choice than chance.  Life is going to hit you, some good things, some pretty horrible.  Some things you can change, some you cannot.  What makes your character is how you deal with it, and how you learn.  The only real mistake is the one where you learned nothing.  There is no substitute for experience.  I'm not trying to sound preachy by any means, I'm just rambling out some stuff going through my head.

I am worried for some of my family members, but I know they make their own choices too, and it's their lives.  They will find a way, and hopefully things turn out on the positive side.  They have to find their own way just as we all do.  I just hope they make an effort to do something...at least to be happy.  And I will keep reminding myself that ultimately they are their choices to make, not mine.  Even when they make bad choices, I'll still be there for them.

The choices you make are your own (just please, pretty please, LEARN from them).

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September 09, 2008

Oh, September!

September always buzzes with more emotions for me than most other months.  Not to discount any other important events in my life, but it seems September is just chock full of those memories and events that send me into an emotional roller coaster.  A "tizzy," one might say.  I am starting to feel myself chanting at bedtime: "just get through this month; just get through September."

This year, it is no different.  I feel like summer just began, and now it's already gone.  Now here I am faced with September once more, and I'm trying my best not to be unhappy about it.  After all, I used to love the change of seasons; passing into fall, enjoying the change of scenery, holiday season approaching.  I certainly don't dislike October, November or December, because I think I tend to enjoy those three months very much - dare I say - maybe my favorite time of year.

But it's not really about the weather at all.  It's just that September has now historically been filled with many life-altering situations, and I am feeling a bit emotionally drained.  I don't think I can handle any more right now.  I am feeling a bit tired lately, and I'd just like September to come and go without any real, life changing situations for once in a long, long while. 

So whoever is in charge of September this year, can you just bypass me this time, please?  Let me enjoy one September without something really crappy falling on my head?  Maybe?

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February 27, 2008

A Blast from the Past

I have the sort of personality that gets increasingly more efficient the busier I am.  Please don't interpret that as I would rather be busy than not.  However, given my life's circumstances, my definition of busy often differs from most others.  I have recently undergone major life changes, of which you are probably full aware.  Given my increased need to be more efficient right now, I have decided to try and clean out my email-box.  That is more messy than trying to clean the kids' bathroom, trust me.  Almost as daunting a task, unlike cleaning a bathroom, I found quite a jewel amongst the rough (insert your own joke here).

Pre-blog days, I didn't spill as many of my thoughts on my web site after having kids as I did when I was preggers with the trio.  It was more about pictures, because they spoke a ton on their own.  Instead I wrote a lot of emails...and some posts to multiple friendly boards (back in the day, they were way less popular and a great means of support).  But now in hindsight, my stories speak to me just as much as the pictures.  The words I chose, the detail I recalled, the emotion I felt so strongly...IN ADDITION to the pictures of the events -- that is what can bring me back to that place and time.

Computer crashes and job change later, I came across a few emails that I had sense to save, and were in the 'notable' category.  I will leave them completely unaltered, even if I find a typo or something to clarify.  I figured I would share them here as I wrote them with my raw emotion.  Now and then, I'll post one.  I am so thankful that I have my own words at the time to recall these events, because they wouldn't be the same otherwise.  We all know we cannot depend on our memory alone!

This is written right after we baptized the trio (8/3/02), which was one of our first major public outings:

Hi everyone. I just have to take a moment to gush. We had the trio's baptism this past weekend and it was such a special day for us. Because of everyone's schedules and their birthday (not to mention RSV season), we decided to wait until now. We had been trying to get to this church (since moving to this area, we haven't attended any church at all) for a while, but felt scared to go by ourselves with our three mobile children. We were going to try this church in particular upon recommendation from a friend. We were a little nervous attending the first service having our baptism, but there we were.

I'm so happy to say that it was perfect. The church was pretty full and the pastor announced our baptism, saying it was extra special because they were his first triplets. I thought, oh no, now we're going to be bombarded with comments. No, quite the contrary. Everyone was so wonderful, the service was great, and we can't wait to go back. We felt very relaxed, and this being a "contemporary" service, it was much more casual and had more music (very upbeat music I might add!). They have wonderful children's programs, so many families and we can't wait to meet new friends.

As for the baptism itself, it was great. When the pastor leaned the babies over to christen them, they each did something different. My daughter wasn't quite sure what was going on, so she didn't do much other than look like a little angel. "Crazy" son made a big pose and a funny face, which did what he hoped, got a laugh out of everyone. "Inquisitive" son got happy and thought he was going to get a bath, so he turned over to face (and play with) the water. Again, more laughter.

Now the really neat part of the day happened in preparation for the big moment. I had gotten them children's necklaces with a cross when Service Merchandise was going out of business. They came in little keepsake boxes, and the lady could only find two. She dug around after she saw how sad I was, and by some miracle, found a third in some random drawer completely out of place!!! The really neat part is that on the tops of the boxes which looked like blocks, there was an A. Two of them had it in blue, and the third was pink. Now tell me, was that not meant to be? I didn't even notice the colors until Saturday when I got them out to put on! And then if that wasn't cool enough, when we pulled into the church parking lot on Saturday, the second I turned off the truck, all three babies in unison yelled out ecstatically "YAY!!!!" Both DH and I were dumbfounded. Keep in mind that they are only 13 months old and don't go around yelling "yay" knowing what they mean. And they don't typically express any emotion when I turn the truck on or off. Finally, they never yell anything out in perfect unison!!!!!! We were just speechless. A sign, perhaps??? ;-) What a great way to spend a Saturday!

Anyway, I just had to share. My heart just swells with pride at these three miracles, and the every day miracles they bring to my life. Man, to only have one at a time!!! What you must miss! :-)

If you have the credentials, this is the link to a picture.

This entire long entry all said, it's the last paragraph in my old email that strikes me the most.  That is something you really must live in order to fully appreciate...and also something that we can never be reminded enough.  Amen.

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September 20, 2007

The Time is Now

It's been over a week since I received that life-changing phone call.  While I always had the fear in the back of my mind, nothing could have prepared me for the slam of emotions it entailed.  I was so shaken up by being laid off, that I was physically sick.  I felt like I had extreme morning sickness.  I couldn't eat, had a constant feeling of nausea and a never ending headache.  Add in the fact that I couldn't sleep on top of it and yeah, I was a real barrel of laughs.

Even worse than my physical ailments were my unrelenting thoughts.  I felt betrayed, I felt angry, and worst of all, I felt hopeless.  The thought of starting over was enough to send me praying to the porcelain gods.  I felt that it would never matter how hard you worked or how much you gave of yourself, someone was just going to crap on you anyway.  During this fog, I read something from Jordyn's teacher on why she loved teaching 1st grade.  I'll quote this, because I like it as is: "Where else would the future look as bright as it does amid an energetic group to whom nothing is impossible."  The first time I read it, I scoffed.  Yeah, I used to have that sort of attitude, but now I know all of these poor kids are so misled - the world is an awful place where it's everyone for themselves.

Then I stopped.

I caught myself going down a spiral that I didn't want to be in.  I don't believe the world is terrible, and I don't believe the future is bleak.  It was somewhere in there that my headache started to lift, my nausea subsided and I slept solidly for a few hours in a row.  I woke up Tuesday after having two very vivid work dreams that seemed to mentally cut the ties for me.  I felt better.  Wednesday morning I woke up and realized that I was in a better mood than I'd been in for a long time.  I mean a long time, even still being employed.  It was then, and only then, I was able to update my resume.

As I've said, the company had been going downhill for a long time.  It's a pretty awful feeling knowing that at any moment, the phone could ring and your time would be over.  I've lived with that feeling for a long time now, especially as I've watched friend after friend, great worker after the next, get their terminations.  I thought maybe if I did even more than my share, that I'd be spared.  As long as they were letting me work from home, I'd endure anything.  What right do I have to complain if I could do my work from home?  Deny me training, deny me raises, deny me new opportunities: well, as long as you don't make me go back into the office, it's ok.

That is actually pretty terrible if you think about it.

Why should I think that is all I am worth?  Why would I believe that "working from home" was the end all, be all of my life?  How did I allow myself to become so brainwashed?  I was "home" with the kids, sure, but I was mentally only half here, if that.  I was always thinking about work, on a call, checking my mail, typing up something, whatever.  There was never a clear start and end to my work days, it was just a continual day.  20 hours a week?  Ha.  What a joke.

Now my overwhelming feelings are those of relief, freedom and optimism.  I don't think I would have made a change in my life for a long time as long as I was allowed to work from home.  I would have been 'stuck' in that mindset and there I would stay no matter what was thrown at me.  And I really don't think I would have ever been able to advance my career any further there, in the office or not.  A point had to come to force a change upon me, and the time is now.

My bitterness and anger are gone.  I truly and honestly believe that there is something else out there for me which will be better.  I don't know what it is just yet, but I know that will become clear as the door opens.  I have some ideas, so now is the time to pursue them.  I know everything will be ok, and this is just another stepping stone to the next big adventure.  I'm thankful for the 7 years I had with the previous employer and for the people with which I had the honor of working.  I have made several friends whose friendship will remain regardless of an employment status.

My life is not going to be ruined because of a job.  I feel happiest when I am doing things I enjoy.  I very much enjoy being a mom, but I also enjoy doing other things including being able to provide for my family.  I will find a way to bring in income that I can be excited about again.  The whole world didn't turn to crap, even if a company will tell you it did (which is what they did in order to justify all of the cutbacks).  There is still so much out there, and even things to feel passionate about!  You really do need to enjoy what you are doing.  Life is just to short to do otherwise.  I would have settled because I was content with my situation, but I deserve better than that.  I have never settled on less than great before in my life, so why would I start now?  I know I have four kids, but I also have to be an example for them.  Settling is not in my nature.

So I guess I just needed to have my week and get over the situation.  I am over it, and suddenly the future looks bright again.  Whatever the future holds for me, I'm ready for it.  The time on my clock is NOW.

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September 13, 2007

Trying to Breathe

I apologize for the lack of entries lately.  The kids started school, and I've been trying to get a system in order for that.  Haley's 2nd birthday arrived along with Labor Day weekend, so we were celebating that event.  Work got incredibly busy, so I was of course dealing with that as well.  However, this week has been quite different.  Life altering, one might say.  And since it's 2:20 am and I should be sleeping but cannot, I might as well tell you about it.

Monday morning I was coming off of a busy work week.  Last week there was a major hardware failure in a network device for the main customer I was in charge of supporting.  Long story short, there were many hours spent on the phone with the primary network engineer to get the issue resolved.  On our weekly Monday morning call, we discussed the past week's events and were getting ready to confer all was well with the customer.  Before I had a chance to type the email, I received a call from a coworker informing me of some difficult news: the primary network engineer was killed in a train accident over the weekend.  I was very shaken up at this news and informed my coworkers of this tragedy.

Tuesday was my 7th anniversary with my company, and not to mention a 6th anniversary of one of the most difficult days of my life (not commenting on that today).  I was still feeling pretty upset about the news I received on Monday, but that wouldn't be the end of my bad news.

Wednesday morning I arrived back at home after walking the kids to the bus stop.  Before leaving, I read an email from the company president saying there would be 265 new layoffs before the end of the week.  I never feel safe when hearing that news, but was still shocked to get the phone call informing me I was one of them.  There aren't appropriate words to convey how I am still feeling, so I'll leave it up to your imagination.   Perhaps one day when I'm not still tossing and turning at such an hour, I will be more eloquent in describing it.  I've done everything in my power to remain off of that list for 7 years, including still paying for my Master's Degree: of which most people do not even have their Bachelor's (note: I know a degree doesn't mean everything, but come on, I am not a dummy and more than pull my weight).  I've put in so much overtime, lived without a raise for 6 of those years, took paycuts, and didn't complain.  This week, I was worried about the guy losing his life and was trying to figure out a way to help.  Luckily I still have my own life, but the situation I am in now is pretty tough.  I feel like I've been sucker punched when I was already vulnerable.  And the 'best' part?  They sent some code to my PERSONAL phone and wiped it clean...meaning I lost all of my personal pictures, settings, contacts, etc.  Had I known, I could have backed up my personal information from my PERSONAL phone to my media card (all of which I purchased myself of course), but I had no knowledge this would happen.  So much for 7 years of loyalty.

So if you are a regular reader of my blog, I do apologize for my lack of writing lately.  I will pick back up before long...after I figure out what I'm doing with my life and how to support 4 young children.  And after I find a way to sleep well at night once again.  It should be easier...after all, I don't have to worry about my middle of the night work calls any longer, right?

 

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June 13, 2007

Every 17 Years

I am happy that I live in an area where the 17 year cicadas are emerging.  Specifically Brood XIII to show you I have done my research.  I just find it amazing that these creatures can live underground for 17 years, all come up at the same time, mate, lay eggs, die, and the new generation go underground...not to appear for another 17 years.  I mean come on, is it just me, or is this completely wild?  And the sheer number of them is mindboggling.  Their noise (ahem, their mating calls - it's funny that all the chatter is from the guys looking for a date) is deafening.  I love that they are harmless to humans and we can let them walk on us.  It is a very unique feeling having their rather large and sticky legs creeping along on you.  I am terribly afraid of anything with a stinger, but these bad boys are pretty cool.  My only concern is with my unruly hair, I am not fond of them landing there because cutting one out would dampen my like for them.  And I will admit, after having at least 20 of them crawling on you throughout a trip to the zoo, you might feel a little bit creepy-crawly for a while.  But still, you have to respect them.  What a journey they have!  What a reminder that we are all part of a larger universe.  Part of something so much more than just our individual lives.

17 years ago in 1990, I was equally as enthralled by them.  I lived in Rogers Park (a neighborhood in Chicago, if you don't know) and we didn't have any in our neighborhood, so I took a drive to find them.  I was dating my high school sweetheart, and we went together (he drove me, I didn't have my Cordoba yet).  Of course I was romantically imagining what life would be like 17 years from then, when the cicadas would reappear.  We would be married, have a house, some kids, be happy; you know, the usual girl dream.

Well, to the offspring of the cicadas I saw back then, I say my dreams came true big time.  My prince wasn't my high school sweetheart, however.  No, but I definitely found my soulmate.  And the house part?  Check.  A beautiful house and it has room for the next part, the kids.  Four of them, you cicadas who can lay up to 600 eggs!  To you, that's not much, but for many, it's considered a large family.  But it is most importantly, a HAPPY family.  This time when I think forward to 17 years from now in 2024 (egads), my dreams focus on my family.  I hope my triplets, who will be 22, are doing well in life.  My 'baby' will be 18, ohmigoodness.  Wait, my children will ALL be legal adults?!?!  Wow, life will be way different when I see the result of the current reproduction efforts taking place as I type.

I hope for those of you being bombarded by Brood XIII, you find some sort of enriching experience from it.  Personally, I think it's pretty incredible.  A very unique opportunity to say the least.  Here is a picture I took of one:

Cicada

Now that I see the picture on the screen, I do believe we can call that actual size!  So true, I can see how it can be a little freaky at times.  To give them due credit, I completely recommend this very neat video on YouTube which goes through their lifecycle.  It is very neat and educational:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I3CNnLdnQc

Simply fascinating!  And to the cicada pictured above, I hope me and my entire family meet your offspring 17 years from now...

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March 21, 2007

Entitlement

I am really bugged by those who feel they are entitled.  Entitled to receiving whatever it is they desire.  Entitled to a free ride.  Entitled to everyone else around them making them happy.  Have you ever noticed that the people happiest in life are NOT the people who have everything they want?  No, the ones who are truly happy are those who are happy with what they have.  Not the ones who feel they got the short end of the stick because someone else shorted them.  Not the ones who fault other people for their own shortcomings.

This is life, people.  You have control over one person in this world, and that is YOU.  If you are looking to others for your emotions, your path, your future...you might find something occasionally, but you are most certain to find a bunch of disappointment.  You need to take control over your own life and set your own destiny.  The people around you do not exist for your every whim.

That's not to say that you should be oblivious to the people around you by any means.  We all have boundaries, and there are rules.  When you are a kid, you have most importantly, your parents or guardians.  As you get older, you realize there are boundaries all around.  You meet people along the way that may help you on your journey, and there are those who are probably not the best personalities to be around.  But who is it there with you at all times?  You.  You ultimately make the choices that affect your life.  (I realize I could get into an entire tangent on religion right here, but I'll save that one for another day.)  You are the one responsible; the one accountable.

If there are obstacles to overcome, then take action and overcome them.  If there is something that you want (within reason, of course), then take steps to achieve that goal.  If there is something making you completely miserable in your life, then make a plan to change it.  The absolute worst thing you can do is blame it on someone or something else.  If you sit around and wait for someone else to fix it, it will never happen.  If your game is to blame everyone or everything else, then nothing is going to change for you, my friend.  Check back with me 1, 5, even 10 years from now and I'll bet that you are still crying the same tears.

My first harsh encounter with this sort of entitlement attitude was while away at college.  I was working full time between multiple jobs in addition to taking out the full amount of student loans available just to make ends meet.  College wasn't all fun and games for me by any means.  However, the particular college I went to, it was exactly that for many students.  That's not to belittle the school; I could have gone elsewhere and I'm sure I would have been in a different crowd.  But I will never forget how badly it hurt when I'd hear certain girls in the dorm hallway bragging to each other on how 'upset' their parents would be when they saw their phone bill that month.  Or when they'd giggle about what part of Mexico they would visit for spring break.  Or how their parents would have to send them more money.  When I would hear such comments, it took all my self control to not go over and knock them in the head.  I would be in tears of fatigue some days just from the sheer pressure of too much work, not enough sleep.  (an aside: this is not to say anything against my family.  They were helping in any way they could, they just had circumstances of their own at the time.)  It would just drive me batty in college that these people had no clue whatsoever how good they had it.  To them, it was mom and dad's responsibility, their obligation for pete's sakes, to send them off to college and pay their way, and they weren't the slighest bit appreciative or humbled by their good fortune.  And I still see this attitude today in adults!  People that are plenty old enough and should know better by now.

And now, I have four children of my own.  Like most parents, I do not want my kids to endure all of the hardships that I did.  However, I also do not want them to become "entitled brats."  My husband and I will try our best to find a way and instill this into them.  Teach them the value of everything in life, from the material things all the way to the simplest emotional ones.  Just another one on the long list of parental responsibilities I'll try to achieve.

Personally, I think this entitled attitude is a real shame.  Let's all try to be a little more accountable for our own actions.  A little more humble for our good fortunes.  A little less "what are you going to do for me next?"  Take responsibility and most of all, take notice of your own actions.  The world does not owe you...and if it does, it's not much more than a smack of reality upside your very entitled head.

Now go listen to this song and let it soak in.

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March 06, 2007

Breathe in, breathe out....

The longer I live, the more I come to understand.  Life isn't a given.  Life isn't owed to you.  You might be a great person, live a long and prosperous life and die happy.  Then again, you might be a real dick, treat everyone around you horribly, and die alone.  Sometimes bad things happen to good, young people.  And also, sometimes good things happen to bad, nasty people!  You are probably somewhere in the middle, and some days, you think you are stuck.  The time or age of your death does not equal your worth in life. 

That grand philosophy was free, courtesy of, yeah, me - it's MY blog, right?!?!  Want more?  I believe FIRMLY that you should take advantage of every, single, rotten, sweet, yummy, yuckky moment of your life.  Even in those times when you think you would rather die than take another breath...do it.  Those moments when it feels like there is nothing to live for...you would be surprised.  I hate to use, as Aaron would call it, 'another fortune cookie sign,' but I do like this one very much: "To the world, you might just be one person...but to one person, you just might be the world."

Sometimes life gets hard.  Some times life gets really, really, f'in hard.  But, seriously in the grand scheme of things, that's just life.  You can't really appreciate the joys unless you know the sorrows.  Those are just the way of things.  In the way of life, you meet those who have AND haven't traveled the same paths, and don't share the same experiences.  That's fine.  We can all learn from each other and maybe even spare some of the pain knowing that someone else has been there, too.  We should all learn to lend that ear, whether or not we know the pain.  And most importantly, whether or not we (or they) think we need it.  We're all in this together, people.  You have no idea how sometimes a fleeting conversation in the strangest of places might change your life forever.

Happiness, that's just so easy to share.  But there needs to be more of that, too.  Laughter is the best medicine...when appropriate.  Most often it's hardest to see the humor in a situation than it is to see the inconvenience.  Trying to feed four kids 5 and under, yeah, there is a TON of this kind of thing in my life.  But what kind of memories do we want?  Perfect example: having fun assembling your own tacos (spilling cheese and what-not on the floor in the process) and loving every single, messy, cheese-and-lettuce-on-the-floor-bite...then, asking for seconds.  Life is messy, but still pretty g-d'd good most of time, especially when your perspective is right (on days they aren't, serve something else for dinner).

To get serious for the moment, my grandpa's brother John passed away.  One of the very few surviving elder relatives I have anymore.  My best wishes go out to his family.  If you want more details, let me know.  It makes me miss all of my loved ones who have gone all the more.  For more reasons than I could ever type out tonight.  All I can say is, the longer I live, the more I come to understand that life sucks for people a lot of the time.  You can't change that fact.  There is always something that sucks, and always days that make you wonder way too hard.  But life is also a lot of what you make of it.  Life is too short.  Waaaayyy tooo short. 

Breathe in, breathe out.....move on!!!!!!!!! (I'm totally cheating, it's just such a great song with wonderful lyrics by my favorite singer!)

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February 21, 2007

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs

1 Aaron sometimes makes fun of the signs I have around the house.  He says we live in a "fortune cookie" house.  That would only be true if I had a sign that said: "Man who fart in church, sit in own pew" and I don't.  However, what I do have is this particular sign:

Thankful

I knew I liked this sign, because there are days I read it as a reminder.  However, I think it was just a premonition to what the sign should REALLY say:

Thankful, really 

(please pardon my crappy Photoshop work; surely you understand that there isn't enough leisure time for me to make it better than that at the moment)

I think the sign is rather fitting.  Anyone else want one?

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February 10, 2007

Baby, it's cold outside...

I hate to keep repeating my dismay with the weather, but DAMN it's cold outside.  If it ever gets above freezing again, I think I will run around in shorts it will feel so warm.  It's not so bad if it's just adults dealing with it, but getting all the kids all bundled up like the little brother Randy in A Christmas Story is a major pain in the backside.  And now I lost a mitten of Haley's.  Do I have a spare pair?  Can't find any small enough in this house (remember, when the kids were this size, Aaron was POSITIVE we were done having kids, so I didn't really hold on to much).  So I thought, well surely I can find some when out doing my weekly shopping, right?  No.  Even though our temperatures are barely even double digits with windchills plunging to dangerous levels, there are bathing suits and shorts now adorning the stores.  Well, maybe a nice bikini set will keep her little fingers safe from frostbite, ya think?

But on a happier note, while we were shopping, we got to meet and get a signature from Chicago Bear Rod Wilson (59).  Not all that bad to look at, and he was a really nice guy.  The girls were with me, and he thought it was really cute how Haley was giving me a high five and a belly bounce when I said "Touchdown!"  And when she even sees the Bears C or the Bears head, she starts getting excited.  His comment was he was glad to see us starting them out young!  Hey, when you have to go grocery shopping, there's nothing better than running into a Chicago Bears linebacker...even if his career hasn't been especially impressive so far.  When he hits it even bigger, I have his signature!  ;-)

Other news?  Anna Nicole Smith dies suddenly after she has a baby, and her son dies unexpectedly.  An astronaut goes mad, prompting the screening process of the mental health of astronauts (see, I never would have made it).  People are still afraid to eat spinach.  Some places in New York had over 100 inches of snow.  Who will be our next presidential nominees?  While waiting for the school bus to drop off the kids, I watched a coyote casually walk down the street and duck in to an open garage when a car was approaching.  Michelle Duggar is pregnant again, with #17?  Will the Cubs suck again this year?  Hmm, well, I guess things sitting here at my computer in the kitchen aren't really all that exciting in the big picture, now are they?  ;-)

Well, here's something cute for you to enjoy.  Don't be afraid to click on the link, it's 100% kid friendly and safe for all eyes.  Don't worry, I wouldn't lie on my own blog.

Now I must go outside to get the mail in the -10 degree windchill...

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February 07, 2007

This Entry Brought to you by the Letter "P"

If you wanted to see Prince's Superbowl performance, here is on YouTube (edited to add: WAS a link - I'll find another one later when I'm not as busy).  I did not make this myself, I just went out and found it to spare you the trouble.  I am sure most of you out there wanted to see it again, so you are welcome.  ;-)  I've been amused at reading some of the discussions regarding his performance and the infamous 'scene.'  Read in to the title of this post what you will, I will not indulge.  Sometimes a guitar is just a guitar...or is it?

On other topics, I have been enjoying the American Idol auditions as usual.  I still find it either sad or amusing how many people completely suck, yet still feel the need to try and belittle the judges in order to make themselves feel better.  As if they really care what insults you sling at them?  Come on.  Letter P's for them?  Pathetic, putrid, perturbed...just to name a pitiful few.

And I feel the need to proclaim that I am immensely enjoying the new series Heroes.  I don't really watch a ton of programs (and those that I do are watched via DVR - oh my goodness who wants to watch commercials other than the preferred few during the Superbowl?).  However, those programs I do watch have produced my loyalty.  My current preferences, as if you really give a poop, are: Heroes, Lost (back on tonight - something better start progressing the story a bit more), American Idol, House, AFV (submitted our premier video and I hope the comedians of the family can win us plenty of bucks) and Ugly Betty.  Aaron and I are a perfect pair and he watches all of these with me with the exception of Ugly Betty.  I am so pleasantly surprised at the comedy of that show.  It's flippin' hilarious!  The last episode was particularly funny to me and I even made Aaron watch a scene ("..you gotta ride that squishy train...").  Priceless!

But anyway, that paragraph was a tangent.  Heroes, yes.  What a show!  I suppose you must have a liking for science fiction-y type of things, but I think it's a wonderful, incredibly written show.  Man, I don't remember liking a show so much, truthfully!  Not something to watch with the fam like some of my faves, but something Aaron and I profusely anticipate every Monday night.  If you haven't been watching, go catch an episode on NBC's web site and see for yourself.  P's for Heroes?  Perfect!

That all said, what are you watching?  Or what do you do to unwind?  These few things are my way to chill out after all the chitlins are in bed peacefully snoozing, one still with a pacifier.  I read here and there too...any profound books out there currently that I should check out (aside from a dictionary to find more letter p's)?

And how many letter p's were in this post?

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January 16, 2007

Some Random Thoughts

In case anyone was wondering, yes, I did join the health club.  Only myself and Haley at this point.  I can add and remove the kids from the membership as I need to - right now I will mostly be going when the trio are in school, so I only have to worry about her for the time being.  Down the road, I'll add the others when I know they will go enough to justify the $5/each (every penny counts these days!).  Aaron can use my guest passes (2 a month) for now.  If he will get more involved, then he can join as well.  So, I'm excited about that, and hope that soon I'll be feeling human the majority of the time once more.

Also, if anyone is interested, I added a couple of new pictures in the Picture Album.  I added our family picture to the 2006 section, and the 2007 section is officially up (hint: if you can't see it, just hit "refresh" on your browser).  This means I am going into my 6th year of maintaining my web site.

Now, that all said, I often get random thoughts in my head, so I've decided that every now and then, I'll share them with you.  Feel free to add any of your own in the comments.  Really people, you CAN comment, it's ok.  ;-)

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Today's random topic: female jeans. 

Let's start with my newest aggravation first: what in the heck is the deal with "skinny jeans" coming back in style?  Back in grade school, I used to have to sew by hand my Zayre-bought jeans into tapered legs...they were called TAPERED LEGS when I actually HAD skinny legs.  And, the smaller on the bottom, the better.  And god-forbid if you did something too strenuous for the thread (like bend!) and it snapped...it was an emergency necessitating an immediate trip to the girls' room for repair, usually with a safety pin until you got home.  Finally they started making them smaller at the bottom...but then they started going back to bell bottoms (sorry, "flared" bottoms), which is something I swore to my mom I would *never* wear.  Come on, I could barely tolerate the dreaded straight legs, how could I go on to those huge things?  Well, sure enough over time, I began to like them - still not the enormous goofy looking things - but "flared" nonetheless.  Now I can't believe the "skinny" jeans.  At a time when everyone on TV and in the movies are TOO flippin' skinny anyway, someone decides to call tapered jeans, skinny jeans, and they come back in style.  Well hey, I noticed that many of the ridiculous colors we 80's children used to wear are coming back as well.  Heck, I should have kept all that stuff instead of discarding it wondering "what was I thinking?"  Nah, maybe not.

My other issue with female jeans are the sizes.  What kind of moron came up with the system?  Why can't it be more like men's sizing...you know, waist and inseam.  You have your different cuts (relaxed, slim, flat front, whatever) and there you go.  No, we have to have odd sizes for Juniors and even sizes for Misses.  Yes, I did my retail stint at JCPenney's and I know what it is supposed to mean: Juniors have a different cut meant more for the younger crowd.  However, I still cannot pick up my 'usual' size (and by that I mean the same size that fills my current wardrobe) and know it will fit with confidence.  I had great luck with a particular brand but even now they are coming up with too many different "cuts" and they seem to have cut me out.  I will walk in a dressing room with 15 pairs of pants in my usual size and even a size up just in case.  I am lucky if twice a year I can actually find a pair that fits great.  Nowadays they are so low waisted that anyone who has even thought about having a baby can just forget about it.  Now I know after a triplet pregnancy and another baby, the ole bod will never be the same, but come on...all I want is some coverings for my lower half!!!!  I want to be able to bend over to pick up my daughter and not look like the stereotypical plumber.  I don't have a tatoo, so therefore there is no reason that part of my body should be shown to the public.  I just wish that there was a better system for those of us who wear clothes because they are functional, without making me have to switch to elastic polyester pants.  I am starting to understand why those NEVER go out of style.  But seriously, 'those people who make a living out of screwing around with the pants that fit me, are comfortable and actually look flattering as well,' I'm begging you, please come up with a better system for the sizing of these things already!!!

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Aren't you glad I *only* type 70 words per minute?  ;-)

To end this reflective, informative and enlightening post, I'll put up a picture to warm your heart.  This is why it's great to share a bedroom with your brother - to have impromtu slumber parties on the floor any random night, which is exactly what this is:

Slumber Party

   

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December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!!!

The shortage of entries has obviously been a result of the holidays.  I hope your Christmas was as enjoyable as ours was.  We had a great time even though it's sad that it's drawing to an end.  Soon it's back to work, back to school and back to winter.

However, in honor of the new year rolling in, I thought I'd list out some highlights from our 2006.  Please feel free to leave me a comment and tell me yours as well!  I'd love to hear them.

Highlights of 2006 in no particular order:

  1. Watching all of Haley's firsts without missing *any* of them.
  2. Seeing the trio off to their first day of kindergarten.
  3. Participating in our very first organized sport, tee ball, and watching the three learn how to play.
  4. Watching Jordyn take her first ballet class...and what a difference from the first class to the last.
  5. Driving around Sauganash with my four kids and hearing them ALL shout out in excitement at the beautiful Christmas displays.  An additional note about this particular item is this was a long standing family tradition in my family, and somehow I felt my grandma was with us.
  6. Hearing the squeals of joy on Christmas morning.
  7. Visiting with my family in Tennessee multiple times, including seeing my cousin Lisa's new house (rebuilt after a fire destroyed theirs).
  8. Having a drink with my brother who turned 21(!).
  9. Finally having my house feel like 'home' after the remainder of it was painted (thanks mom and Tony).
  10. Celebrating our 10 year anniversary with my husband, the love of my life.

I can't really complain about 2006 - it was a pretty good year for us!  I hope yours was great as well, and your 2007 is wonderful.  Have a safe and happy New Year holiday, and see you in 2007! 

 

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November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope your holiday weekend is great, spent with loved ones and eating lots of yummy food.  I hope for the fellow Black Friday crowd, your day is filled with deals galore.  If you travel, I hope you have a safe trip there and back again.

We are expecting a house full of company, and that is just how I like it.  Aaron's mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brother, sister-in-law and neice are coming to visit us for Thanksgiving and leaving Saturday.  It should be a great time.  My friend Jeni and her husband are coming over for dinner, so we'll have 10 adults and 5 kids.  I love it!  Me and entertaining get along well.  I'm quite excited about our menu as well; all homemade stuff down to the cranberry sauce...yummy.  Thanks, Rachael Ray, for kicking my ability to cook up a notch.

In honor of Thanksgiving, take a moment to reflect on the things for which you are thankful.  It probably goes without saying that I am most thankful for my family.  All of my family, not just the ones who share my house.  I'm also thankful for my friends.  Many of my friends are like family to me, and I treasure them just as much.

I think back on past Thanksgivings.  Last year we had a great time in Tennessee visiting my family (and likewise, my mom, my sister Ashley and I had an absolute blast shopping!).  I felt so incredibly lucky to have a perfect family of 2 boys and 2 girls...and to have a baby again!!  6 years ago, I just did the IVF transfer of three not-so-great quality embryos, and was told to take it easy until the pregnancy test on December 2.  We went to my uncle's house for dinner and an old family friend told me to 'rest and take care of those babies.'  Hmm, she must have known something, as she was right.  7 years ago was very hard, as I wanted nothing more than to have a child, and couldn't forget that I should have been 3 months pregnant at that point.

But back to today.  It's time to finish cleaning and getting ready for our company.  I'm very thankful that I have this awesome kitchen with plenty of room to cook, and will have a full house tomorrow!  I'm thankful that this is my life!

Happy Turkey Day!

 

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