Thursday, April 14, 2011

Winds of Change

A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook that there were changes brewing. BOY, how right I was! This month isn't even half over and we've seen drastic changes in our life. First, I am no longer working graveyard shift at IHOP! Thankfully, I've been able to find an office manager position with a very small real estate company in the area. I'm now working Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. The stress level at work is significantly different than before. The hours are significantly shorter. Thus, my life has gotten significantly BETTER, all the way around. I'm spending more time with the kids, more time with my amazing husband and I'm getting MORE SLEEP! Secondly, the career change couldn't have come at a better time. We've moved into a house more suited for our family's needs. It's larger and the lay out really lends itself to what we required all along. Downstairs is (once everything is unpacked) going to be a kid free zone (with the occassional Teen visit). No toys, children's books, movies or children will be permitted into Mommy & Daddy's space. There is an office, den, bathroom and bedroom in what would commonly be called the basement. Its cooler and extremely secluded. We needed that! Upstairs is the main living area. Children have already taken over! But that's ok.... just stay upstairs! I say this as lovingly as possible! A large fenced in backyard has made the dog very happy. Although, he still doesn't like to be away from the family. Eventually, he'll get the hang of the deck stairs and he'll be happy to stay outside for a little while, I think. So, this well rested, career minded, Mom is going to sign off for a bit and I'll try to catch up later! Ta Ta!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's been a while!!!

When I named this blog, I had no clue at the number of different directions my life would take me in such a short period of time.

Since my last blog, my family has moved back to Virginia, I've become a working mom, and things have changed in more ways than I can count. Some changes are good, some...not so much. But in all of this, we're still a strong family. We're still moving blindly along a path. Someday soon, I hope to be able to look back and take a breath.

I'm working as a manager at a restaurant now. Dinner and graveyard shift is very difficult! Actually, the job itself is easy. The hard part is what it does to your family life (or lack thereof). I work over 50 hours a week and feel like I never see my family. I may be in the house, I may be present, but I'm not awake.

All 3 of the kids are growing up while I'm trying to catch up on sleep.

Jr is now 16. 16? Seriously, it feels like just yesterday that he was curling up in my lap to watch Rugrats. Now it feels like I can't get his attention to say hello. He's been driving here and there to get his learner's permit hours. Although, I remember being much more excited about driving than he seems to be. He's been able to maintain good grades so far. When did I get a 10th grader? Didn't I just take him to Kindergarten?

Z is going to school to try to catch him up on the skill sets he's falling slightly short on. I see marked improvement in him. He's following some simple direction and is starting to show signs of constructive play. I simply wish I could find his volume button. Wow, that child has some lungs!

My quiet child has been replaced with an increasingly loud and talkative little girl. M is talking so much these days that I find myself longing for her silence! Not only has she begun talking over the last 3 months, but she's nearly using full sentences. Everytime I turn around she's using a new word or phrase that surprises me. Most recently she told me that it was "Untomturble" (uncomfortable) when I changed her diaper. Can anyone say potty training?

I must say my house couldn't run nearly as smooth as it does if it weren't for MIL. She watches the kids a lot now that I'm working so many hours. Not to mention, she feeds Sr & Jr multiple times a week. I know I don't thank her enough and need to work on that.

Sr has been most affected by my new work schedule. I feel horrible sometimes about NEVER seeing him. It feels like we simply pass eachother in the hallway of life. I'm getting off work as he's leaving for work. When he's getting home, I'm headed back out. I miss him.

My new saying, "Stop counting Fridays". I'm going to live each day to it's fullest, regardless where it falls in the calendar. I need to be more proactive in getting more out of what life has to offer. There won't be enough sunny day walks and rainy day color parties when I look back and miss my kids.

Let's keep this roller coaster going!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What makes a person, a parent?

As of late, I've been giving a lot of thought to one subject in particular. What makes a person into a parent? Is it the act of having a child that makes you a parent or is it the act of rearing a child that makes you a parent?

I came across an interesting quote that answers my questions, to a point.

"A genitor who does not parent the child is not its parent" (Ashley Montagu)

I'll admit that when reading this comment the first time I had to look up the word "genitor". For all of you reading this, it means, "giver of life".

Surely the act of giving birth would, in some aspect, make me a mother but would it automatically give me the right to be called a "Mom"? All over the world people ask this question of fathers; going so far as to call them "sperm donors". Mothers can be egg donors too, I suppose.

I suppose all of this is coming from fear on my part. Each day I love three children of whom I had no role in their births. I know that I do more for each of their children than their natural mothers do. I'm not saying that I love them more or less, just saying that I really do put a lot into trying to mold them into loving, functioning adults. Each of them is special to me in so many ways.

Jr. - My first child. In the beginning, there was only him. That mischievous grin that told me he was surely up to no good, is one of my first and fondest memories of him. He stretches me in so many ways. As frustrating as he can be sometimes, he makes me a better person and makes me question things in ways I wouldn't otherwise. He's begun to question everything. Sometimes its like he's trying to pick fights, just to see me get riled. Sr keeps telling me not to take it personally. I'm trying. I'm learning a lot through this banter with him, though. Its made me question things on different levels. He is going to be an amazing man someday. I pray that as he grows, that he knows how much I've loved him from the very first time I saw him. He truly was love at first sight!

M - With a smile that lights the room, she came into our lives with such force and fervor. From the minute I held her the first time, I knew that she was a special little girl. Those blue eyes could melt the frozen tundra (and they have). Sometimes when I feel so overwhelmed that I can't figure out which side is up, she does something unexpected and suddenly the world it righted again. Recently, she's been really enjoying being read to. "Brown Bear" has become one of her favorites. She's begun to turn the pages for me as I read, right on queue. I went from wondering if she even understood what I was doing, to being amazed that she's following along.

Z - What can I say about that boy? Dear God, he's a handful! From the minute he wakes up to the second he falls asleep, he's demanding.... demanding attention, demanding a bottle, demanding a diaper change, demanding something! I get the most frustrated with him, I think. Just not being able to figure out what he wants sometimes is a task I just can't grapple with. Usually just when I think I've found the end of my rope, he stops just long enough for me to catch my breath and head back in. He is such a loving boy, though. His kisses (or dive bomb to the face) are the sweetest and out of the blue. All of a sudden he'll stop what he's doing and just plant one on ya. It usually cracks me up when he does it, which make him laugh and then, once again... a moment of fresh air.

My fear is this: will they know how much they were loved? As Jr grows into the man he's sure to become, will he know how dearly he was loved and will he pass that love to his children? I don't think a teenager is capable of understanding the magnitude of love that their parents have for them. I remember thinking that my parents were raising me because it was what was expected of them to do. I know differently now, of course, and I hope he does too as he becomes an adult. My fear with the twins is slightly different. There is some part of me that still fears that someday I'll be faced with having to let them go back. Should that happen, I wonder if they will know how much they were loved and cherished while they were here. My heart would break if any of the three were to be away from me for any length of time.

I love each of them in so many different ways. To explain it would take up the entirety of cyberspace. They are, each one, very endearing and special. Sometimes I wonder why I do this. Why do I spend all my time, energy and money on raising other people's children?? The answer is simple. Because they deserve it!

That leads me back to my original question. What makes a person into a parent? I think the answer is "Love".

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Another trip complete...

As many of you may or may not know, we travel to North Carolina once a month for visitation. A little background may be needed so let me elaborate. My son (aka step son - bet lets not get technical) has one weekend a month in which he visits with his mother in Greensboro, NC. The twins' parents (aka niece and her husband - but lets not get technical) are supposed to meet there too for a short supervised visit with the twins. They were, once again, unable to make it.

I packed up the kids on Friday afternoon and headed to my parents' house. Sr had been out of town for over a week and I was very happy to hear that he decided to stop and spend some time with us before continuing his trip back home. His original plan was to leave early Saturday morning and head back home so that he could get back to work. Thankfully, my big brown eyes did the trick and I convinced him to stay until Sunday morning. It was nice to have him there!

Saturday morning I was shocked and amazed that both babies... yes... I'll say that again... both babies slept until 8:45 AM!!! So not only was I pleased as punch to be snuggling with my honey but I was able to sleep past 6:30. What a blessing!!!

Sr got up and took Jr to meet with his mom (the other one - just in case you were wondering). While he was gone my sister, in her hurried fashion, ran around getting the last minute things for the birthday party they were throwing for the twins. I helped to finish cleaning up the house, dress the babies and myself (thankfully - no one wants me showing up naked to a birthday party). Meanwhile my nieces & mother are really helping out with the twins. Its nice to have more than one set of hands with these two. I never really realize how much I do in a day with them until I have someone else helping.

Party time - people begin to arrive! Sis has done an amazing job on the food. We had fresh fruit, veggies, crackers, chips - each with their own form of dip - mostly made of CRACK! Yum! We opted for cupcakes instead of a large cake. I think that was a much better choice.... not that the babies liked it any better. Sitting around listening to the cacophony that is my family is one of my favorite things! We are so loud and obnoxious! But you can feel the love! When it was time to give the babies their cupcakes, we stripped them down and put them in their seats. As we were singing Happy Birthday, the screaming began! After many attempts at getting them to try their cakes, we gave up. But not until we had a few photo ops. My mother figured it out.... We strip them down to their diapers, strap them down in a chair, sit a cup cake in front of them and then all these people start yelling at them (singing happy birthday). I imagine its pretty scary! Of course if I hadn't wanted them to get into it.... it would have been ON!

Sunday morning the babies slept in a little again. I was a happy woman!

Hubby left mid morning and T, J & the Girls came by after church. I love simply hanging out with them. The girls are always a treat. Later a couple of my (many) cousins dropped by. Again.... a blast!

That night, my Niece spent the night. I tried to hang with her and Mom but they are way too good at this night owl thing. I'm a little out of practice. We watched scary shows and made cracks the whole time. I read all the scary captions in my tiny goofy voice and RR laughed her patootie off! What a time....

Next morning, back on the road. As much as I dislike that ride home, getting home is always such a relief. I'm so thankful that we live so close to them that I can have these weekends. But I wish they were closer! I miss having them close by. My Sis and I were having a conversation the other day about how nice it would be. I'd have someone I could leave the kids with for the weekend and sneak some hubby time in, and she'd have the same. Although she has that now. I'm the one without... boo hiss!

Well enough for now. I didn't realize I was writing a novel.

Oh, wait... I did have one thing I felt I needed to get off my chest. Speaking of writing...... I know that blogging is supposed to be a place where anyone can go and talk about anything they so choose. My problem is.... if you're going to invite people to read your blog, spell check. I know I know... petty, right?!?! It drives me crazy. I know that I'm not perfect - or even close, for that matter. I'd simply like to read something that makes sense. People need to pay attention! I guess maybe some people type like they talk. That drives me crazy too. If I offend anyone... I'm sorry. But I needed to say it was driving me crazy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Moving in a DIFFERENT direction!

Saturday was a very fun day!

The morning started off with a whole house pick up. With the help of Jr I was able to get the entire house ready for company; floors mopped, swept & vacuumed, fresh sheets on beds, dusting, he even helped me dis-assemble the kitchen table and put it back together (one of the boards was stuck for the leaf to go in). My parents arrived a little after 1 and about 3:30 or 4, some amazing friends got here too. On top of it all, Sr was making a fantastic meal for us all. The babies were being overly fussy (teething, and all the commotion didn't contribute nicely to naps) but we managed to fit in a small 1st birthday celebration. L didn't understand the whole cake thing and was none too pleased to put her fingers into the mushy cake. Z took a little while to warm up to it and eventually had it all over the place (including the inside of his diaper). I still can't believe they're going to be a year old this weekend.

After we were all thoroughly stuffed, we descended into the living room for a haze filled gab session. Mom & Dad left for their hotel and Shari, Al, Woody & I sat around the table running our mouths about everything from religion to politics and beyond! I must say this was the highlight of my weekend.

Surrounded by friends & family with loud laughter and good food is the way I'd spend EVERY SINGLE DAY! I'm sure it would get old, but I'd definitely enjoy trying to wear it out!

Sunday morning, Sr got up and prepared another amazing meal. We all gathered around in my kitchen and ate and laughed some more.

When the dust settled, our visitors all got into their vehicles and headed to their respective homes. About an hour or so later, I found myself napping, snuggled sweetly beside my honey.

This weekend has made me reflect on a few things. I love living here. My only regret is that one friend in particular lives so far away. Sometimes in life you have to sacrifice things. This is not one of those things I wanted to sacrifice. So, for now, daily phone calls and e-mails will have to do. That is until I can convince her that she needs to live here too.

I've been able to spend more time with my family than ever since we've moved here. Even when we all lived 45 minutes away from one another, I don't think we saw each other as much as we do now. We may have, but it wasn't quality (not to say that I still didn't enjoy it). I've heard over and over again how quality over quantity was better. Now I'm a firm believer.

I said something to Shari yesterday morning that has been stuck in my head. I told her that if we lived closer that we wouldn't enjoy the time as much. In some ways, I still think that's true. But it would be nice, though, to be able to have her closer for an extra set of hands on occasion.

Another thing I said to her that's been stuck in my head is that I wanted to be her when I grow up. In my eyes, she's got such a knack for organization that I severely lack. She's always learning and teaching her children and I admire that. She's focused and determined to make things better for her husband and her children and herself all at the same time. By better, I don't mean that her life is bad. Rather that there is so much in this world that our families are exposed to that they REALLY shouldn't be. Sometimes its just easier to let "the system" tell you what's good and whats not without questioning why. I wonder if I'm guilty of that. I know I am to a certain degree. I'm more apt to sit back and accept something as truth without truly delving into it to find out the reasoning behind it. That can't be a crutch anymore. "The system" doesn't have my family's best interests in mind, and its my job to determine what's best for them.

Today I start moving in a different direction; trying to stay focused on a larger picture and managing myself and my family accordingly.

To my guests this weekend, I say, "Thank you".

Thursday, August 13, 2009

On the road again.....

Tomorrow after Jr gets out of school we'll be getting on the road and heading to NC again. 5 Hours in the car with 11 month old babies and a 14 year old can have its ups & downs, that's for certain!!! The good part is that Jr gets chatty and starts talking more than usual. The bad part is... its 5 hours in the car with 11 month old babies and a 14 year old. ;-)

This month we will celebrate the babies 1st birthday. Geez... I can't believe their going to be a year old. Where has the time gone? They've been with us now since December 12, 2008. I remember the first time I held each of them. Zack was so tiny and frail looking. He was skinny and seemed weak, but had the cutest little sideways grin. Lissa had a head full of hair and was clearly the stronger of the two. She started wrapping Sr around her finger from the very start. Once they came to live with us, they really began cementing their little feet into our hearts. At first, I was so tired that I could hardly enjoy being with them. Once I got used to going without sleep, I was able to take it all in. Now, Zack's got a grip like a strongman and Lissa's ready to take on the world... as long as I'm within her line of sight.

Jr has been in school nearly 2 weeks now. I still can't get over having a high schooler. He's having some of the same struggles we've had since 1st grade. The beginning of the school year always seems to be the hardest. I guess its just getting back into the swing of things and not having any free time on your hands. I have faith that he'll get on track and do what's expected of him... and do it well! Especially with Sr behind him nudging him along.

Sr's taking more classes for his designations. Sometimes I think its the classroom environment that he enjoys more than getting the designations. That man always wants to know MORE... part of the reason I love him, I suppose. I'm very proud of all he does for us!

I'm finally beginning to feel better. Whatever creepy crud I had this week has certainly taken its toll on me but we're on the road to recovery..... sniffle sniffle

Hope all is well with you.....

Keep moving in that direction!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

One sick Mama!!!

This weekend was a rough one!

I haven't been sick in a while; since we've gotten custody of the babies, I think. At least these were the words that were going through my head the other day when I started feeling the itch in the back of my throat. I'd been doing pretty good at putting everyone else's needs first and still managing to stay well. WELL.... that all changed on Friday.

Thursday I stared feeling a little scratchy so I drank some orange juice. Friday morning I got up and had a full fledged stuffy head... you know the kind that make your head feel like it weighs an extra 10 pounds. I trudged forward and tried my best to stay on task, even making a "to do" list so that I wouldn't get terribly distracted. Saturday I could feel the fever taking over. UGH!!! All the while, staying with my list and managing to finish it all up before Sr got home from his trip.

I know I like coming home to a clean house, so I figured I'd do my best to make sure he knew we were happy to have him home!

Sunday morning I woke with the nastiest, stuffiest, sneeziest cold I'd had in a VERY long time. I was more cold than the coldest winter morning, yet it was hot outside. Bundled in my long sleeved sweat shirt, jeans, and socks, I curled back into bed under the down comforter and slept peacefully for many hours. Thanks to MIL & Sr for tending to the babies!!! Sr came in and checked on me a couple of times and I was blissfully unaware! Thankfully, Mom made dinner and I was able to relax in a hot bath. Afterwards, I was feeling TONS better and slept very well throughout the night.

This morning I was refreshed as I woke. Only to find that BOTH babies are now exhibiting signs of the creepy crud. As I sit here and type, they are both sleeping well. Nap time usually takes about 2 hours and so far, they've been asleep for 2 1/2. I'm hoping they sleep right through the yuckies and wake up happy!

Now that I'm on the upswing, its back to the weekly grind. Although this week, I feel like I'm ahead of the curve since I was able to get the whole house in order before I crashed! Now its just a matter of maintaining.

Today I've been able to get my coupons organized, my menu for the week planned and dinner started. Its now 2:15 pm and I feel pretty confident that the rest of the day will go pretty well. Famous last words, right?

On an up-note... Z has finally started to sit up like a big boy. Last month he surprised us all with the leaps and bounds of progress he'd made. First crawling, then pulling up and standing up. Oddly, he wouldn't sit up on his bum. He'd lean over each and every time you'd try to sit him up. This morning I watched him sit straight up just like his sister and play. What a wonderful sight to see!!!!

As always, we're continuing to move in that direction!!!