Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday ~ October 26, 2011 The Morning Grumps

This picture sums up the general feeling in our house first thing this morning. 

Good news is that we've conquered it and now we're full of happiness, smiles and laughter.  Let's hope it stays that way!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Relationships ARE Work

I think we all agree relationships are hard.  They take work.  Hard work even, if we want to maintain and help them grow better, bigger, brighter.

That said, I think there are always times we get annoyed with our significant other.  There are even tines, dare I say, that we want to throw in the towel and walk ( sometimes run) away.  And you know what?  That's ok.  It's called being human.

However, when you love someone enough you continue to work hard to fix and overcome problems.  Sometimes it takes some breathing room and thinking.  But, we come back for more because the relationship and the bond we have overrides everything else.

So here are some of the reasons I work hard to keep my marriage alive and well:

*  He doesn't put our financial future at risk by purchasing frivolous things.

*  He plays like a big kid with our children.

*  He is truly happy to be home with us when he walks in the door after work.

*  He sits with my son when he has a stomach bug.

*  Sometimes he will just walk up to me and hold and kiss me for no particular reason.

*  He has our my needs first.  We bought my new cell before his (even though his really needed replacing).  He helped me finance a car since my van died.

*  He gets indignant in my behalf.  Sometimes more so than me.

*  He enjoys snuggling/cuddling with me.

*  He graciously takes no for an answer when I'm not up to making love (my back, neck and/or shoulder hurt).

*  He works two jobs so we can stay afloat.  He rarely complains about it even though 3 nights a week he falls into bed at 11only to wake up at 3:30 for his main job.

*  Somehow he gets little sleep, works 10+ hours and wants to drive an hour to watch our son play hockey.

He just gets me.  We fight and argue like cats and dogs at times.  It's just the way we are.  We're both Cancers.  We both come from management backgrounds.  However, when push comes to shove we stick like glue.

When I see how some other spouses are with their wives/husbands it makes me thankful that I am with a man who truly loves and cares for me and our children.

Thank you honey for everything you do for us.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall....the Best Season of All

As I've gotten older I find my seasonal preferences shifting from fun in the sun to crisp fall days.

My favorite season when I was younger was summer by far.   I craved hot summer days.  I would lather up with Hawaiian Tropic Oil ,lay out back on a lounger and bask in the golden sun. 

Nowadays that same sun causes me to cringe in fear.  Somehow in the last few years the sun has become my enemy.  The heat and humidity effect my body in ways I still don't understand.  It dehydrates me, makes my body weak and shaky and blackness closes in.  So now I'm extremely careful going out to enjoy a summer's day.

However, fall is cool and filled with beautiful ever changing colors.  I love experiencing these changes with my family.

We enjoy walking and taking in the breathtaking reds, oranges and yellows surrounding us.

I love the smell of leaves burning.  I love staring into the dancing flames.  It's invigorating.

We have our fall traditions.  We start with apple pucking in late September.  Then we decorate the house inside and out for fall.  Finally we head to a local farm to pick out pumpkins.  We drink hot apple cider and eat dense apple cider donuts.  We trail through hay and corn mazes.  We take hayrides into the pumpkin fields.

After all the pumpkin field fun we take our pumpkins home to carve.  Carving is so much fun.  The kids deliberate on how to proceed.  Will they go free style?  Use a stencil?  Or use the plastic cut out pieces to pierce the pumpkin skin, trace and then cut the shapes out?

Then Halloween arrives.  The kids dress up and excitedly run door to door for Halloween goodies before hitting the wall of exhaustion.  We finish the night off at our local ice cream stand.  Halloween night is their final hoorah before shutting down for the season.  Free ice cream for all!

Before I know it October is over and Thanksgiving is on its way.  Before long it'll be winter.

Winter...please hold off as long as you can.  I want to enjoy the crisp fall days before they turn brutally cold.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thankful Friday~October 21

Hooray it's finally Friday!  Here's my list on what I'm thankful for this week.

1.  So happy Friday finally made it and I am still mentally intact.  The second half of this week has been stressful for me.  Unfortunately, stress often turns into anxiety for me.  I've been emotionally wound tight the last few days.  Thankfully, today proved to be a good day without much stress so the anxiety is seeping away.

2.  Today my kids school had picture day.  First, I was able to purchase a picture package this year.  This made me so happy.  (Yes, sometimes it's the little things in life).  Last year I forewent Fall pictures and just purchased an 8x10 Spring picture.  Second, we had fun going online last night to pick out the perfect backgrounds to go with their picture day outfits.  And last, despite hair battles this morning they arrived at school looking picture perfect.

3.  Goalieboy studied really hard all week for his social studies test without much of a fight.  His dedication and hard work paid off.  He got a 97!  Proud mama here!

4.  Both kids lost their games on Saturday.  But they played their hearts out and didn't give up.  Little Bee took a chance and played goalie for her soccer game for a quarter.  I think she's decided its not her thing and that's ok.  Poor Goalieboy is playing on a team that is struggling.  I think many players don't really understand positioning yet. I'm proud he hasn't let it get him down. 

5.  I have a new (to me) car!  We went car shopping and hubby helped me get one.  He's going to help me with the payments until I can fully afford them. 

All and all it's been a good week.  There's been ups and down but I always try to focus on the positives.

What are you thankful for this week?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dear Son, You Make Me So Proud

Dear Son,

As you sleep tonight I look in on you and am overwhelmed with the love I feel for you.  I just had to snuggle with you for a few minutes and whisper my thoughts to you.

I am so proud of who you are.  I know sometimes I am hard on you but it’s because I want you to be the best you can be.  I want to push you so that you don’t give up on your dreams.  I know you have it in you and sometimes you fear failure.  I want you to know it’s ok to fail.  We learn from our failures and mistakes. 

We grow from them and overcome obstacles we never thought we could hurdle over.  I think you are starting to understand that nothing worth having comes easy.  You have to work hard for what you want and never give up.

You’ve come so far this school year.  You are showing what I’ve known has been hidden behind the surface all along.  You are learning to believe in yourself.  I think you are starting to see what I’ve been telling you all along.  I will always be your biggest cheerleader, pushing you on to the finishing line.

I’m watching you grow and mature before my very eyes and the transformation has come about quickly, in just the past 6 weeks.

You amaze me.  I hope you amaze yourself.  I hope you see, hear and feel my pride.  You are becoming a stronger student.  You are not giving up.  You are learning control and focus.  Something you’ve struggled with so much in the past years.  Your teachers gave me lots of positive feedback when I met with them 2 weeks ago.  They say you are attentive and actively participate in class.  They do not see a major problem with lack of focus, nor with distractions to yourself and others (such as talking out of turn).  This is a major stride for you.  Be proud.  Own it. 

At home you are starting to help out more without me having to beg, proud or guilt.  I appreciate it so much.  I know there are things you don’t want to do but you do it because you know it helps me.  Now that I’m working again and daddy’s working 2 job it’s great to have a helping hand.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You are a wonderful older brother too.  Yes, there are times you are not so nice, when you push your younger sister’s buttons or hurt her feelings.  But, those are part of being a sibling and I know that.  On Saturday mornings, I can hear you two laughing together as you play or watch television.  You can make her laugh when she’s crying by being dramatically funny.  Her tears forgotten and belly laughs ensue.  That is a special gift you have, use it wisely.

Tears are in my eyes as I write this because you will always be my baby boy.  You were such a happy confident baby and toddler.  You started to struggle as your hearing difficulties became more obvious.  I know there are times you’ve used it as a crutch or a reason to give up.  I know that it was hard for you when you started wearing glasses, then bifocals and then a month later a hearing aid.  I know you struggled with your self image and how others perceived you.  I think getting the two hearing aids over this past summer and having the time to become comfortable with them outside of school has really helped.  I believe having a wonderful one on one summer school teacher that believed in you did amazing things for your self confidence.  He helped you see what we have known is there.  I will be forever grateful to him.

Honestly, I feared the day would never come when you would actively choose to read a book quietly on your own.  There was a short time last year but it was with easier, shorter books. Once those books were done, you’re interest in reading quickly faded.  You actually told me today that there were 2 books that you were looking forward to reading.   Two books that we not “Big Nate’ books.  Though I have to say, those are the books that started it this year for you.  I am so glad you asked your friend to borrow it because you’ve been immersed in them for the last few weeks.  Now you’ve found a school library book and a classroom book that you are excited to read.  I couldn’t be happier.  Reading should bring joy.  It should offer up new worlds for you to dive into and explore.  I hope it is something that you will continue to enjoy with pleasure for years to come.

Looking at you asleep tonight, I see all my hopes and dreams of a bright future for you.  I want you to be strong.  Positive. Proud. A Leader.  A Believer.  A Fighter that goes after what he wants and lets nothing stand in his way, especially himself.

I love you.  I’m proud of you.  I always am.  I always will be.  I am your biggest fan.  Your champion.

Love you from here to Eternity and back,


Friday, October 14, 2011

Thankful Friday

It's that time of the week again...T.G.I.F.!!

I like to take this time to look back at the week.  Even if it's been a bad week there's always things to be grateful for and I take this time to reflect.

1.  I have a job!  It may be only part time and not pay much but it's honest work.  It's a start.

2.  I had a wonderful time spending the holiday weekend with my family and visiting my brother in Buffalo.

3.  I had some awesome Buffalo food and I can't wait to go back for more!

4.  It didn't rain for a week here.  The first time since before Hurricane Irene at the end of August.  It's been
     sprinkling the last few days but no flood warnings.  I am very thankful for this.

5.  Co-workers that I like.  It's been 3 weeks and no drama so far.  I love it.  I don't think I've ever worked
     at a job that didn't have quite a bit of drama.  The women I work with are nice, fun and entertaining.  One
     is a little "crazy" but that's OK.  There's always one in the bunch!

6.  I'm starting to carve out blogging time.  I come home from work, relax for a bit and then have an hour or
     so to write before I'm off to get the kids from school.

7.  My son has found a book series he enjoys reading.  He just got one from the library on Tuesday and is
     over half way done with it.  I let him stay up a little later last night because he was quietly reading in his
     room.  I'm so excited!

8.  My son did well on his vocabulary and spelling tests he took Tuesday.  Awesome news since we had little
     time to study while we were gone.  We totally forgot about the spelling test and he only got one wrong.

9.  Great email from son's teacher.  His talking is minimal to nonexistent so we are going to hold off on
     putting a reward system in place.  He's doing so much better over all this year.  His academics are good
     and his distracting behavior (talking/focus) is almost nil.  I couldn't be prouder or happier.  He's right
     where he needs to be.

What do you have to be thankful for this week?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Must Haves When Traveling With Children

We just came back from a weekend away.  I realized I have many expected and unexpected responsibilities during a long drive.

Here are just a few hats I wear:

*  Direction giver/GPS checker
     - I never leave my husband in charge of directions because his mind wanders.  If I'm driving he's usually
       fast asleep instead of paying attention to where we need to be going. 

*  Keeper of the snacks
     -water bottles, pretzels, fruit, crackers, granola bars and a few sweets.  Very important to keep up
       every one's energy when traveling.  A hungry adult/child is a crabby and whiny one.

*  Argument settler
     -Self explanatory for any parent.  I lost track of the amount of times I said things like...stop doing that,
       keep your hands to yourself, use your indoor voice, leave his/her stuff alone it's not yours, stop fighting
       and the list goes on and on and on.

*  Game coordinator
     -My kids like to play games in the car.  It keeps them engaged and that makes mommy happy.  A
       few games we like to play are:  searching for different state license plates, 20 questions and I-Spy.

*  Entertainment Bag
    -I make sure both my kids pack a small bag to bring into the car that is separate from their luggage.  This
     bag contains things that will keep them occupied.  It is a life saver because no matter how well you plan
     the kids will get bored.  They pack activity books, coloring books, crayons, a book/magazine to read,
     their DS and small toys.  My daughter likes to pack a few Barbies (hope this stage is over quick) and a
     stuffed animal.  If it's small and will keep them entertained for a while I will let them pack it.  The only
     exception is really tiny toys like Squinkies which are easily lost and nearly impossible to find.
*  Music Controller
     -Everyone has different tastes in music.  Right now my kids don't have i-pods so we have to compromise
      on music choices.  My kids like popular "Top 40" type of music, my son and husband like Country.  My
      responsibility is to make sure everyone gets a chance to listen to what they like.  Sometimes we've run
      through the Cd's and the radio stations are full of static.  In my world that can be pure hell.  So, I always
      try to keep the radio on until we get to a point where we can't find a good station to listen to and then I
      I put the Cd's on.

*  Movie director
     -If we're borrowing my dad's van I am in charge of the movies being played on the DVD player.  It's hard
       to get the kids to agree.  I have a boy and girl so it can be a struggle.  My son likes sport based movies
       and my daughter likes girly movies and cartoons.  Depending on how long we're going to be
       in the van I have them choose 3-5 movies and I am the enforcer of compromise.

*  Rest Stop Coordinator
   -This goes along with direction giver/GPS checker.  My job is to plan out stops to use the bathroom and
     stretch.  This is very important.  Kids need to run around after being in the car for a few hours and they
     have a harder time waiting to use the bathroom.  Adults just need to stretch so their backs don't freeze
     up.  I have a bad back/neck/shoulder so this is very important.  I wasn't able to plan in enough stops
     on the way back from our last trip (because we started home late) and my body screamed at me for days
     after.  So, always plan stops in your travels.  Your body will thank you later.

And finally....

*  Climate Control
     -This is very important!  No one's body has the same temperature thermostat.  It's a very fine line to walk
      especially if it's extremely cold or hot outside.  Again, a lot of compromise comes with this responsibility.
      I make sure the kids bring a sweater or jacket to keep them warm in case the car is too cold for them.

Oh, and another must is pillows or pillow pets. Kids get tired during car rides and there's nothing worse than trying to find a comfortable place to put your head while you close your eyes.  I always make sure they bring pillows with them into the car.

Do you have any responsibilities when your family is traveling?  How do you keep things running smoothly?  Do you have any go to's to keep your kids from getting bored and cranky?  I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Family Weekend Away

For the Columbus Day weekend we went on to visit my brother in Buffalo. 

Being originally from the Western New York area, I am an avid hockey fan and love the Buffalo Sabres.  We spent part of Saturday at First Niagara Center.  The Sabres were actually playing overseas in Germany. The team broadcast the game on the jumbo tron at the Center.  My son was so excited to be able to see a game there, even if it wasn't live.  I'm hoping we can get him to an actual game sometime this season.

Being a goalie, my son loves this work of art.

Buffalo Sabres fans truly do live hockey.  We definitely do in our household.

The kids enjoyed meeting the Sabres mascot, Sabretooth. 

We walked around the Buffalo Waterfront enjoying a beautiful 80 degree fall day.

Sunday the girls spent the afternoon at The Great Pumpkin Patch in Clarence, NY while the guys watched football.

The petting farm was a huge hit!

Amazing pumpkin carving!

Another piece of pumpkin art!

Wow, over 1,600 lbs of pumpkin!

View from the car ride home.

Windmills in the fields.  My kids found them mesmerizing.

The weekend flew by way too quick. We tried to do as much as we could in a 48 hour period.  Late Friday night we feasted on traditional Friday Fish Fry and chicken finger subs.  Saturday morning included a trip to a local Tim Hortons for delicious coffee and bagels.  How I miss Timmy's!!!  Saturday night we had pizza and wings.  I always associate Buffalo with a variety of amazing food choices.  We weren't able to hit every place so I have a to do food list for next visit...Ted's Hot dogs, Mighty Taco and Beef on Weck (hold the weck) just to name a few.  I did pick up some sponge candy and I have it stashed away until I have a major sugar craving.  I may share it if the kids ask nicely.

It was wonderful spending time with my family and seeing my brother.  It was tough spending the first night at my brother's place because he has a one bedroom apartment.  We stretched out on air mattresses which screwed up my neck and back.  The hotel we stayed at was good but it was hard having 5 people in a room with only a king bed and pull out couch.  Little Bee shared the bed with hubby and I.  She's a bed hog so I didn't sleep too well.  I was ecstatic to come home and sleep in my own bed Monday night.

I'm sad it was over so quickly.  I'm looking forward to another visit soon!!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Back to Work Mom

Sorry I haven't been around much the last few weeks.  There have been changes happening in my life .  I've struggled to find the time and energy to blog because I've been so tired mentally and physically.  Thank you everyone for hanging around waiting for me to come back. 

As many of you know I have been out of work for the past two years.  Last week I finally found a part time job.  It has been difficult getting back into the routine of being a working mom.  I'm still trying to find the delicate balance between work and home.  It's not easy but I'm getting there.

Whether you're a "working" mom or "stay at home mom" it's all the same as you work 24/7 7 days a week 365 days a year.  It's never ending being responsible for your family and household.

For me personally it was easier being a stay at home mom. Maybe it's because that's where I prefer to be.  And trust me when I say that wasn't easy by any means.  It was just easier because I could rearrange scheduling to accommodating the last minute changes.  I also was able to find more time to cook, bake and sneak in a few minutes of me time before the kids came home from school.  As a working mom I have to have more of a set routine and stick to it.  When I fall out of the schedule things start to unravel a bit.
Having both kids in school full time now definitely makes life easier.  It was a lot harder 2 years ago when I was working full time with only 1 child in school. I don't know how I did it all.  Looking back I feel like I must have been super woman.  I'm tired all the time now, how did I do it then when I know I was even more exhausted?!  I guess sheer will power.

Right now I'm just glad to have a job. I've been without one for 2 years now due to an on the job work injury.  Last December the company that I had worked for (for 7 years) terminated my employment.   It's been a very difficult job hunt.  I have physical limitations due to my injury, plus I really needed a day job while the kids are in school. Combine those two and finding a compatible job is nearly impossible. 

At this point the job is only part time but at least it accommodates the hours I need.  I'm hoping and praying something full time opens up.

Its not my dream job and it doesn't pay much but I'm working and I have a foot in the door.  That's all I can ask in this economy. 

Unfortunately, I think I'm doing more than I should be physically, even though it doesn't sound like much.  I'm standing on my feet for 4 hours with little walking.  I'm also reaching above my head and doing repetitive motions.  I'm not supposed to be doing any of that.  I'm telling myself it's alright because the reaching isn't constant and the motions are tolerable.  At this point I don't have much of a choice.  Worker's compensation requires me to look for full time work.  At least with part time work I'm showing that I'm trying.  Also, the little bit of unemployment I had is down to almost nothing.  So, I will continue looking and forge forward.  It's the best thing I can do for my family.

I'm teaching my children that it is good to work hard no matter what the job or the pay.  The best thing is that I like the job and the people.  That's a bonus in my eyes.  I do find myself enjoying being out of the house and doing something productive.

Wish me luck on this new journey in my life!