Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How did I get here? Part 2

If you haven't checked out Part 1, you can read it here.

So my second child has just been born.  I am living with my in-laws with my husband and a two-year old and a newborn.  And I just started a new job. Nothing in my life ever seems to be simple!

The new company was cool. We did interactive marketing pieces.  Every project was different.  The people in the office were all very nice.  We were a creative bunch and it was always a lively atmosphere.
I had a bit of a commute, but the company just really expected everyone to get their stuff done, whether it took you two hours or two days.  There was little micro-managing.  It was a great place to work.
I was approached after a few months about changing my work hours.  I was originally hired on as a full-time employee but business needs are cyclical in the industry and we had a bit of a dry spell.  I crunched the numbers and we were able to make it work. It was supposed to be a temporary fix. I worked Tuesday through Thursday and went in if needed on Mondays.  It worked well for us as my husband had been promoted and was working evenings and weekends.  We still didn't see a lot of each other, but our time together was precious.

After six months with this company, we hit a bit of a snag. A few things happened within our family that forced us to re-examine our daycare and work situations.  My Mom watched both children during the hours my husband and I had overlaps in our work schedules.  It provided us with free childcare and I never had to worry about my children while they were with Grandma.
Well, my parents were moving out of state.  Due to my Dad's job situation, they were selling my childhood home and buying the house my Dad grew up in. In Nebraska.  So not only were my parents leaving, we were losing half of our support system.
At the same time, my boss came to me and wanted to increase my hours back to full-time.  With the loss of our childcare help, it was going to be almost impossible. I agreed to stay on with the company until they found my replacement. I would provide training for that person's first week.

I was starting to panic about bills a little when I got a call from one of my vendors.  I remember picking up the phone and hearing, "What the heck is going on? Why are you leaving?" I explained what was happening, how I needed to have a part-time job, closer to home, a flexible schedule, etc. That wonderful man said, "Transfer me to your boss, I have something to ask him." Basically one of my vendors, offered me a job which met all of our needs!

Days before I was to start my new job, just as my baby was turning six months old, just as my parents were packing up the house they had lived in for twenty years, we found our we were pregnant.

I was so nervous about telling my new job that I was pregnant.  What if they rescinded the job offer? How should I tell? When should I tell?
It turned out to be a non-issue.  When I told my new boss on that first day, the only thing he said was, "Congrats! When are you due?"

His reaction was not the norm.  Most people in our families and our circle of friends were appalled that we were having another baby.  Two children was respectable, three was a litter.  People asked if this was an "accident".  I like to think of my youngest as a surprise.  The difference being that if I had to live it all over again, I would want that surprise every time!
The lack of support from family and friends was so hard.  I think I can count on one hand the times we were congratulated.  Most of the time people lectured us on the many forms of birth control available, or wanted to know if we were "done".  We were told that it was inappropriate for anyone to host a baby shower for us.  So there was no celebration of the pregnancy, except by my husband and myself.

Three kids in less than four years of marriage. It was a wild ride, but it is only the beginning!

Monday, August 25, 2014

How did I get here? Part 1

Back when I was a single gal, dating my future husband, I worked my fanny off.  I am talking 16-18 hour days were my NORM.  I was usually the first one in the office, the last one to leave and was on-call for any questions relating to the projects I was assigned to.  I traveled for work and got to meet people all of the country. I had a great rapport with my co-workers (well, most of them) and my clients really liked me.  So much so, that I was able to navigate job changes fearlessly just by who I knew in my network.  New jobs usually came from vendors or clients or even previous co-workers.

When we got married, I was the breadwinner while my husband worked full-time and took a full-time course load to finish his degree. I was also taking classes part-time.
Then we got pregnant.  I still worked crazy hours, but I dropped school.  My husband was closer to his degree, so we decided that he would finish and then I would go back to school.

At 20 weeks, I was put on medication and bed-rest due to premature contractions.. The only exercise I was allowed was to get up and walk the 15 feet or so to the bathroom. If I showered, someone had to be nearby.  I was on medication that made me sleepy, while my heart beat so fast, I thought I would have a heart attack!
But, we made it.  Even though I got phone calls about every 3 days from work about my return date. Even though I gained 40 pounds of water weight in the last two weeks of my pregnancy.  Even though my mother hid my baby shower pictures from me for two years because I was unrecognizable in them.

After six weeks, I went back to work.  Because its what I thought was expected.  It was what I thought I wanted.  I breast fed and pumped and my Mom took care of my daughter in the hours that my husband and I had to work or go to class.  I missed so many of my daughter's firsts.  And it killed me.
But I did what was expected and brought home that paycheck. Even when I was diagnosed with postpartum depression, I just did what was expected.  No time to enjoy my baby, no time to spend with my husband, no time to breakdown.

I got a new job when my daughter was six months old. 62 miles from our little apartment.  One-way.  My commute was and hour and a half to three hours each way, depending on traffic.  And if you have every driven in Southern California, you know exactly what I am talking about.
At that time, my husband had Tuesday and Thursday as his days off from work.  On those days, he went to school from 9am-5pm.  I left the house at 5:30 in the morning and didn't get home until 9pm and was off on weekends.  It didn't leave much time for our little family to spend any tome TOGETHER.

A change to my job situation came when one day, my infant daughter had a seizure and stopped breathing.  Of course, we spent the rest of the day in the ER. Test after scary test were done on my 11-month old, including a spinal tap.  Meanwhile, my cell phone was ringing off the hook.  I had missed an important conference call and was told that I didn't have my priorities straight.  The following week was my last at the company.

The next company I worked for was a children's book publisher.  I was only there a short time, but I loved the process of publishing and one of the perks was free books!  What could possibly go wrong?
We found out we were pregnant with our oldest son.  On Monday, I met with my boss, who was full of praise and talk of giving me more responsibility and a promotion.  Wednesday, I told him our news. Thursday, I was laid off. It was the first time in my working life that leaving a job was not my decision.

It didn't surprise me when our second wedding anniversary came and went without either one of us even realizing it.  We were just too tired.

I didn't work for much of my pregnancy with my second child.  It was common knowledge in my network that we were having a baby and no one wanted to make any offers until after my son was born.  From an HR standpoint, it was understandable.  But my checkbook didn't get the memo.
See, my husband was still working full-time and had dropped his schooling to part time, but he only needed about three more classes to graduate.  But I still made the bulk of our income.  Being laid-off was about the worst thing for our little family.  We tightened up the budget as best we could, but we still had car payments, rent, utilities, gas, etc.
After about 7 months of struggling and stressing, we were invited to move in with my in-laws.  The plan was to pay off our debts and save up for a house.  We hoped to be back on our own in one year. Later that month, our first son was born.

Having a two year old and a newborn was tough, but I got a call just before my son was born with a job offer.  I got the job and went back to work when my son was just four weeks old.  I remember my husband's mother asking me repeatedly, if I really NEEDED to go back to work.  I didn't want to, but I still felt obligated to bring home that paycheck.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mid-year update

So obviously my goal to write on this blog three times a week hasn't happened thus far. I have a myriad of reasons why, but like armpits, everyone has an excuse and they all stink!
So let's see how well I have done on the other goals for 2013:

1. Go to the beach
Did it! We went to the beach the weekend before Memorial Day. It was awesome and was needed. I spent so much time in the breakers that my family and the friends who went with us had to pull me out of the water to go home. I need to go more often. Water is the way I re-boot when I am having a bad day and after the craziness of life, a trip to the beach was just what I needed.
2. Learn to make cheese
3. Send birthday cards to friends - this has been a goal for a while!
4. Learn to use a sewing machine properly - I know how to hand sew and embroider, but I would love some lessons on how to actually use a machine the right way!
5. Fit into a size 14
6. Run 5x a week
7. Go hiking
8. Blog 3x a week
9. Finish my 215 certification
10. Get my insurance license
11. Go on a date 12 times - this can be with my hubby, by myself or with friends.
I think we have been out twice, not counting trips to run errands. Ugh - this needs some work!
12. Write twice a week
13. Take more pictures - I always forget my camera!
I have taken more pictures and posted them, much to the delight of my FB friends! I don't know if they enjoy them or not, but I feel like one of the cool kids with photographic eidence of my awesomeness.
14. Host a dinner party
15. Build a solar oven
16. Build 3 more raised garden beds
After completely rebuilding the garden this year, we have a total of 8 raised beds, so I totally knocked this one out of the park!
17. Wash my face every night - I admit, most nights I don't!
18. Get my nails done 12 times
I started getting my nails done, went twice and then decided it wasn't in the budget to keep paying someone to do it for me. Its a good thing my daughter has an unhealthy obsession with nail polish and glitter.
19. Read 25 books - This one should not be hard at all.
Done, done, and done. I've probably read close to 50 at this point and have a TBR pile that keeps growing.
20. Do 100 push-ups in one setting - at the moment, I can probably do 2. I have a long way to go to accomplish this one!
21. Be able to do the splits. :)
22. Learn to SCUBA - I learned how to skin dive when I was 12. Time to go to the next level.
23. Go fishing
24. Scrapbook
25. Keep a journal - this is similar to #8
26. Run a 5K in less than 45 minutes
27. Run a 10K in less than 60 minutes - both this and #26 can be accomplished with some great friends and an awesome local trainer. I just need my body to cooperate.
28. Take a cruise
29. Hug my children and hubby and friends everyday
30. Learn how to knit
31. Walk the dogs 3x a week - My daughter walks them everyday, I will just be crashing the party a few times a week.
32. Learn to make sushi
33. Wake up by 5:30am each morning
I wish that this was a habit that was well established. I am a morning person by nature, but being married to someone in the hospitality industry has destroyed that for me. Too many late night shifts and my schedule is so topsy-tuvy. I am recommitting to this one for sure!
34. Eat breakfast - I normally don't eat until 11am or later right now.
35. Grow a big herb garden
My herb garden is crazy. I do want to expand it but will need to wait until our next growing season.
36. Learn to make and use tinctures and herbal medicine
Working on it. My friends are starting to call me Hermione.
37. Try going "no-poo"
38. Detox 6 times
39. Make $2,000 per month - I am biting the bullet and becoming my own boss! Eeeek!
40. Make pasta from scratch
41. Go to the stained glass exhibit
42. Submit my work for publication - I haven't done this in YEARS!
43. Sew a quilt
44. Finish 2 embroidery projects - I have about 12 started. :(
45. Go dancing
46. Go to a U-Pick farm with the family
47. Go kayaking
48. Have lunch at school with the boys twice
49. Ride a horse
50. Swim with dolphins
51. Wear a fun hat to church - I do live in the South after all!
52. Take pin-up girl photos - this probably won't happen until I accomplish #5.
53. Can 200 jars of food
Not to 200 yet, but am probably at 50.
54. Wear a bikini - again, this is dependent on #5!
55. Play poker
56. Build and launch a rocket
58. Bake 100 loaves of bread
59. Plant a rose garden
60. Go to a concert
Went to see the Black Crowes at the House of Blues with a friend. It was awesome!
61. Go miniature golfing
62. Go to the World's Longest Yard Sale
63. Make a space for me
We just rearranged the usage of some of the room in our house and I now have an honest-to-goodness office!
64. Get 4 massages
65. Find and cultivate my "Anne Shirleys". - For those of you reading this who have not read L. M. Montgomery,this would be kindred spirits!
66. Go to bed by 10pm
67. Make a fairy garden
68. Have a tea party
69. Read the Bible everyday
70. Try Yoga
I have been incorporating this into my routines, slowly. It has been helping with my flexibility and breathing.
71. Buy a camping trailer
72. Write love notes to hubby and kiddos
73. Do the Love Dare
74. Complete a 1,000+ puzzle
75. Buy myself flowers
76. Host a game night
77. Get 6 pedicures
78. Go to a baseball game
79. Save $5,000
80. Get my CCP
81. Rock babies at the hospital
82. Moisturize! - can you imagine Cassandra's voice from Doctor Who as you read this?
83. Paint the house
84. Drink 100 oz of water each day
85. Ask for Help - this is a biggie.
86. Install rain barrels
87. Go to the movies by myself - I think this is the scariest item on my list.
88. Cook 15 meals per week
89. Make hubby a priority
90. PRAY
91. Make my bed every morning
92. Watch the sunrise on the lake 12x
93. Do an obstacle race
94. Store enough food for 6 months
95. Zero inbox
96. Plan a road trip
97. Give a sermon
I gave one on March 10th for Scout Sunday. I will be in the pulpit again in a few weeks for our next Youth Sunday.
98. Redo the kitchen
99. Have family portrait done
100. Take a trip with hubby - ALONE!

So at the halfway mark for the year, I have completed 12 out of 100! Oh dear, that's only 12%, not good. I guess that means I need to get my fanny in gear!

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Year - 2013 or my 36th on the planet

Today is my birthday and I am turning 36.
I love the fact that as a January baby, I get a few weeks to try out my New Year's goals before my birthday, which I consider my true NEW YEAR.
I really needed those weeks this year to get my stuff in order! Our family spent the first two weeks of 2013 with the flu. You know that epidemic that they keep talking about on the news? It is a doozy and it swept through our house with a vengeance.
Last week was spent trying to dig out from the pile of laundry and dishes that no one else touched while Mom was sick, catching up on homework, e-mails and general stuff that piles up while the house is off-schedule.
So today, my birthday, I am kicking off my NEW YEAR. A friend recently turned me onto an amazing blogger and business woman Leonie Dawson. Her writing style is very uplifting, but at the same time she doesn't pull any punches. I love it! I purchased her workbook and planner for 2013 and have been using it when I have a few minutes over the last few weeks.
I just added my to-do list and some goals for 2013 on this blog (see the tab at the top).
I hope to update each of them as I am able throughout the year!
Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Days #7 thru 10

I started out great guns about being thankful everyday, but as usual, I lost my groove! I must admit that since our election, I have been a bit down about some of the results and have not felt like being transparent and sharing my thoughts. But today, I am trying to get back on a positive note, so if you will bear with me, I want to "catch-up" before the month is over and share some things that even when our future is uncertain and our spirits are down, we can be glad about! Day #7 - I am thankful for my Youth Group. I was asked earlier this year to lead a Youth Group at my church. Of course, I can't say no! The children I am working with are so good and thoughtful and fun. It makes my Wednesday evenings a joy when I get to spend time with them. Day #8 - I have already mentioned my Girl Scout sisters, but I want to specifically mention how thankful I am for my own troop of girls. They have great ideas and make me laugh every week. It really does keep me young! Day #9 - I am thankful that my Mom and Dad live so close to me. "The Old Fart" had stroke and a heart attack a day apart almost two years ago and everyday I am grateful that he is still here with us. He may not be able to do everything he used to, but his humor is still intact and we all need to get used to his new "normal". Day #10 - I am thankful for my Mom. "Endora" has had her own health issues and becoming a caregiver for your spouse is not easy. Most days she gets through it with a smile. I am glad she is close by to help with my family and I am glad we are nearby to give her a break when she needs one. More thankfulness to come!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thankful Days #6

Day 6 As most people would agree, today I am thankful to be an American, to live in a country where my opinion matters and can be expressed freely, not only about how I live, how I worship, but about how my government is run. Today my husband, my parents and I all went to our local precinct to vote. We waited longer than I ever remember doing in the past, but it was not bad at all. Everyone was polite, patient and respectful - regardless of who they were voting for. As I type this, I am watching the election results, and while I hope and pray that the people and amendments I voted for are declared winners, I know that no matter the outcome I will be true to myself and my beliefs and will deal with the results as best I can. What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thankful Days #5

Day 5 Today I am thankful for my hubby Jeff. We have been married for 12 years, together for almost 15. Jeff puts up with my idiosyncrasies, my bad habits and my own personal brand of craziness. And the best part, he still likes me - most days! I believe in marriage. It isn't always easy, and there have been times that I really didn't like my husband, and I am sure he can say the same about me. But for us, divorce isn't an option. Not talking is not an option. Some people in this day and age might think that we are naive or old-fashioned, but that's okay. I have been accused of worse. What are you thankful for today?