A sentimental journey

Join me on a sentimental journey through life with my Littles - the joys, the love, the laughter, and our adventures with travel, foods, school and more! Join the discussion - I'd love to hear from you!

October already? Musings…..

Wow…it’s October…where did the year go? Yes, October 1st! Christmas decorations have been in stores for at least 6 weeks. I’m starting to believe what I’ve been told – that the older you get, the faster time flies. I’d choose to just believe that time flies faster the more fun you are having. And boy, are we having fun!

The Littles continue to surprise and delight – and how different they all are! Fourth and third grade, each with their own personalities. All BIG personalities! Teaching me new things everyday – about what is important, how each needs attention, how to discipline, coach and, above all, LOVE!

Sometimes we make mistakes (who doesn’t), but we remain super close and I am so grateful for the smiles, snuggles, love and security that is our home and family.

My cousin Jake, who was the cutest ring bearer a wedding could ever have (20 years ago), just got married. I know someday that we will be giving a child away to the love of his/her life – and yet I’m so grateful I still have at least 8-10 years to enjoy my Littles before that happens.

Colton continues to be more his Mother’s son – more interested in creative endeavors than sports. Shameless plug – he has his own YouTube channel – called “TwoTwistedKids” – please subscribe if you have a heart – he will be so excited. He’s determined to be the next YouTube star – or actor, director, producer…Lord help me if he decides he wants to move to New York City or Hollywood someday!

Lauren is our little giver and lover – the most thoughtful little person I’ve ever known. Teaches me to be mindful of being thoughtful every day – and makes me envious of how naturally it comes to her to think of the littlest things that can affect others. What a lovey little girl. Latest obsession? Unicorns, of course!

Taylor is my diva – need I say more? Can’t wait until she’s 13, loves taking selfies and SO careful and particular about her wardrobe. Little fashionista! Sassy as the day is long, and will surely give me a run for my money in the parenting department. She is our athlete – gymnastics her sport of choice. She is her Daddy’s daughter – I don’t have the sassiness and he does. Witty and clever…OMG may spell trouble!

And then there is Trump – AKA “dumdum” – our yellow lab puppy who has brought his own kind of teaching to this already crazy family. We can’t help but love him…he is such a cutie pie. But he is also a big baby, reminding us that he will NOT be ignored! And without enough attention, he will uproot plants, chew on throw rugs, and otherwise make it impossible to pay attention to him when we need some time to relax! Good thing he’s so cute! Just sayin’!

So what’s the point of this post (other than just a good record for my memory lane later)?

It’s this:

Live every moment – IN IT! Be present!
Take time to stare…really look at those you love…because with every day that goes by, they change.
Take time to talk…just sit quietly and find out what is on their little minds…during whatever time of day works best. Sometimes the best conversations I have with my Little ones is when it’s bedtime and during snuggle time.
Appreciate and learn their differences…it will make all the difference in the world – at least I hope and pray.
Let them teach you…every day, in the Littlest of ways. It will be worth it.

Happy October!

The jar…

So I have this jar I bought. Nothing fancy…just a jar with a lid. It’s clear glass and rather large. Glass lid. Has a little label on it that you can use chalk to write on – whatever you want to label the jar with. Simple. Plain.

I bought it with the intent to label it “2017 Blessings” – then “2018 Blessings,” “2019 Blessings,” and so on. My plan was that on Thanksgiving, we would open the jar, pull out our blessings one by one and read them over dinner – so many reasons to be thankful that year. Nice, right?

Well, it’s June 11 and the jar is empty. Yes, that’s right. Empty.

I am embarrassed. I am disappointed – mostly in myself.

There have been so many blessings thus far in 2017 that I cannot believe I haven’t written them down and put them in the jar.

Let’s start with the fact that my Dad made it through Christmas 2016 after a really terrible scare through the holiday season. Then the visit I had with him the first weekend in January – the one during which we had some precious time to just

sit and talk – about a lot of things. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything in the universe. I left there not knowing if that was goodbye – what a life changing series of moments. Thankfully he’s hangin’ in there and another visit is coming!

And then there is the new chapter in my career – my new role with Olympus. True testament that God provides. HE must have known I needed a change, and HE provided it – and I have never been so happy to share what I have learned and share my gifts with an organization and the people who truly appreciate it. Yet another life-changing blessing for the jar in 2017.

Steve and I celebrated 20 years of marriage in 2017, and took the time and opportunity to share it with our precious Littles through a beach vow renewal on the stunning island of Maui. Makena Cove was the spot, and special it was!

From the Christian/Hawaiian tradition, the blowing of the conch shell, the ukulele serenade to the sweet reaffirmation of our love for each other while our Littles snuggled at our sides. I just know that they will remember it for a lifetime – and pray that they remember it when they are in their own marriages, so they understand what commitment truly means. What an incredible blessing – again – the jar…

Now we are in summer, and another blessing fell in our lap. Trump, the yellow lab puppy, introduced to us through Facebook of all places – is now a member of the family. He is so sweet, and bad, and sometimes we call him “dum-dum” for the silly stupid things he does (and eats). But he couldn’t have come at a more perfect time…the Littles are a perfect age to learn what it means to love something living that counts on them for their well-being. It’s been fun (and tiring). But mostly fun.

Again…still haven’t added that to the jar.

It may be the end of the year before I remember to actually get some cute paper and start adding stuff to the jar. But that doesn’t mean the jar is empty. I guess it just means we are living the blessings – not just putting them into a jar to remember…

Maybe that’s actually the best way.

Maybe the jar needs to be filled with puppy food instead.

Here’s to looking forward to filling the jar of life – metaphorically speaking!

2016…go ahead and drink the wine…

What a year, what a year. Let’s put it this way…it’s was a year full of surprises, and not always the good kind. But when that happens, one hopes that there are lessons learned along the way that make you a better person. More to come on that…

It started out fairly quiet, with the usual falling asleep too early on New Year’s Eve and setting an alarm to (sort of) wake up and watch the ball drop in Times Square. Yes, I am that old! LOL

Early in the year, we were still in moving boxes and getting settled in, while I worked to bring some modern HR practices to a company seemingly still operating in the dark ages in so many ways. It was challenging and invigorating, and despite the challenges, I loved it! I had a fabulous HR staff, and felt great about the progress we were making. Anyone who knows me knows that I love my profession, and that I take pride in working to create an engaging, productive, and fun culture. The rewards are great, and in this company, I became comfortable and confident in the work we were doing.

In May of 2016, my family received a tremendous blow. My Dad, the best man I know, was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer. Even though they caught it early, it was Stage 3 because it did reach the lymph system. And yes, Dad was a smoker years ago, but quit at least 30 years ago, so this was unexpected and obviously super scary! Simply put, I am NOT ready to lose EITHER of my parents yet! They are too young, and so am I!

I went up to visit just before he started treatment, just for moral support and to spend some time…worried about how he would handle the aggressive treatment they had planned. I took Taylor with me, with the plan to lighten the mood with her infectious silliness and laughter. It was fun, even though our moods were somewhat darkened by the upcoming treatment implications.

After that, Dad went into 2 full months of very aggressive chemotherapy and radiation, and I think I just held my breath to some degree during that time. He thankfully handled the treatments well – no extreme sickness, but it did wipe him out in terms of energy. For that, I was grateful, because it could have been so much worse.

As if that wasn’t enough, on July 8th, 4 p.m., I was unceremoniously fired from my position. Apparently, according to them, I did not “fit the culture” of the organization. The real truth was that the owner’s father, an 83 year old “old school” type of leader, didn’t have an appreciation for Human Resources in general, and certainly not my commitment to a more empowering, collaborative and less dictatorial style. So just like that, I was dismissed.

If you’ve ever been fired, you know how it feels. For me, someone raised with an incredible work ethic and a history of stellar performance, it was unbelievable – and that’s an understatement. I mean, seriously – even when I was in high school and had a part time job (and probably thought about quitting just so I could go to a party) – I was never disciplined or fired – I just simply couldn’t do anything but the right thing.

It was confirmed that my departure had everything to do with the old man – not fair, but blood is thicker than water, so it was what it was. But it still was quite the blow to my confidence and made me re-evaluate where I was in my career and where I wanted it to go. It goes without saying that trusting another corporation with my livelihood was not at the top of my “desired” list, so there was a lot of soul-searching about my next career move that went on over the 2016 summer.

Honestly, considering the “shit-show” (as I affectionately call it) that was the company’s operation, there was a part of me that thought, “they are not worth my efforts and contributions!” That in itself can be empowering and positive! I can find something better! A company who will appreciate me! That will be grateful for my contributions! YES! YES! YES!

But…the hardest part of the whole thing was that I had hired a fantastic HR team – both ladies who were amazing and competent and that I grew to know as close friends – and when all this went down, I lost one of those friends. I’m not sure if it was due to fear for her position, or if I really didn’t know her as well as I thought I did, but regardless, it simply HURT. Still hurts. Badly.

So for five months, I spent my time looking for a new position – something I’ve never really had to do – and boy is that depressing. Anyone who has been in that situation knows the job search market is NOT a friendly place. But I won’t digress…let’s just say it wasn’t fun.

I spent the summer looking for a new role, while also planning trips with each of the Littles to fly up to Ohio to visit with Dad…those were bright moments in an otherwise tough times…Dad was looking tired, but was otherwise ok…and I am grateful beyond belief for the time with him, and for the individual travel time I had with each of my Littles. What fun!

To prove there are blessings that come out of trials, I will tell you that I became closer to God than I think I’ve ever been in my life! Church and prayer became a refuge, and I am really feeling the tangible comfort that comes with being closer to HIM. My best friend gave me a daily devotional book, and it is my new addiction – I don’t feel complete if I don’t have that quiet moment with God each day.

We have also made some new incredible friends in the past year since moving back to Texas, and for that we are grateful. Most were made through the Littles’ school and activities or from the actual move itself, and we know what it is to be truly a part of the community, even if there is not enough time to get together as often as we’d like. I’ve also reconnected with old friends from the last time we lived hre (you know who you are), and there’s nothing like picking up where you’ve left off after all those years. Truly a blessing!

Another true blessing was Thanksgiving this year – we drove to Ohio for a full family holiday – my sister Julie hosted – and it was really amazing. All of my siblings, their families, and Mom and Dad, all in the same place, laughing and loving….truly a gift! Dad was tuckered out, but enjoyed the food, and I got extra snuggle time with him on the couch! Yay me!

And then, like magic, upon return from the Turkey Day holiday, I received a position offer from the most amazing company – Director of People – with the best culture, beautiful offices, progressive leadership, and more…and 5 months to the day of being let go, I started my new job! God is good!

So just in time to make sure the Littles had an amazing Christmas, I was back at work! Christmas was magical, especially since all of the Littles are still enthusiastic believers! Christmas morning, it looked like a gymnastics gym that had the American Girl Doll store explode around it, mixed with LEGOs, a bike and a drone for my Little big boy!

Christmas was not without some scary drama, with Dad ending up in the hospital with possible pneumonia and other heart-related complications, but the good news is he was released shortly after the holiday and is resting at home with therapists and my mom there to support his recovery. Again, proof that God is good!

So now I am sitting here, reflecting on the lessons of the past year, and looking forward to a much more (hopefully) simpler and humbler, uneventful 2017. Lessons learned? Yes….simpler is better…don’t get too comfortable….show love to those important to you…move forward no matter what…forgive those who hurt you (and move on)…know your worth, know your strengths…don’t be afraid to ask for help…follow your dreams…make it happen…keep going even when you don’t want to…

And finally….drink the wine!  LOL

 

The tummy bug…and my boy…

The dreaded moment you know…the tummy bug has entered the house. As a mom, you want to run like hell, especially if you are anything like THIS mom – one who would rather be subject to just about anything BUT throwing up! And you just KNOW that once it enters the house, you are on the path to vomitville! Gaaah!

So that aside (and no, it hasn’t reached me yet – maybe all the excessive hand washing and loving from afar actually works), this post is more about my Little Colton and his particular, very personal tummy bug!

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It all started yesterday – I was at a professional appointment, and the Littles were with Daddy at Colton’s soccer practice. I had just called to let them know I was on my way, when Steve had to cut the call short because Little Lauren had just thrown up on the playground. Twice.

One of the blessings (if you can relate blessings to being sick) about my girls when they are sick is that they don’t really complain. They just throw up and move on – sleep, lie around, so easy! I’ve always attributed that reaction to the resilience of kids – you know, they bounce back very often more quickly than we do as grown ups!

So we managed to get through the night – the worst was over with her by bed time, but I awoke early in the morning to the sound of vomiting in the hall bathroom. Thinking immediately it was Lauren, I hopped out of bed ready to console her and help clean up any potential “misses.”

To my surprise, it was Colton. Poor little kid. One of those scenes where he’s sitting on the potty with diarrhea, and vomiting on the floor. Not too much of a mess – there really wasn’t much in his stomach (thank GOD), so we cleaned up and got him tucked in lying on the couch. That would be TWO home from school today!

As the day progressed, we dealt with more dry heaves and diarrhea, and through all this, my theory of the resiliency of kids became challenged.

Baby boy, as it turns out, is quite the drama king! Seriously, he was moaning, crying, shouting out, “Tummy bug – what do you WANT with me????” I mean, as a mom, it’s so sad to see them sick and hurting, but c’mon – how do I stop myself from nearly spitting-out-my-drink laughing when that happens? Add to that the writhing on the couch shouting, “why me?” and “I’m not sure I’m going to make it!” and you have a full-on reality show script!

In his drama, though, he is SO sweet it just makes me want to cry! Here are some quotes from the day:

“Mommy…even though I know there is nothing you can do about the tummy bug, you are my only medicine.” Cue the “awwwwwwwww!” Seriously? This kid – my love! I have my own tummy bug prevention strategy, BTW…

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He asked late in the day to get into the tubby for a nice warm bath, which of course I accommodated – who doesn’t love a warm tubby? While he was in there, he asked me to pour water over his head, face and down his back. With each pour came different remarks, including:

“That one felt like a warm snuggle…”
“That one felt like a thousand kisses…”
“That one felt like a long warm hug…”

I’ve said it before – he is the sweetest little boy I’ve ever seen in my life, and he’s gentle, kind and loving. And apparently I can add “poetic” to that list!

So even though the tummy bug is here (still hoping to escape it), I am grateful for the insight into this Little guy’s persona as I love him through it. And yes, like any good mom, I started thinking – college scholarship for drama in his future? LOL JK

Pray the bug leaves soon – but I’ll always have these memories!