Friday, December 12, 2008

A Much (MUCH) Overdue Update

These last few weeks have been a whirl, but I have missed my online buddies.

Ok, here's the not so quick and dirty

I was offered the job at AB and accepted. I put in my two weeks notice with a very congratulatory boss and sad co workers. The Monday of Thanksgiving week, I started off fine, but by the end of the workday felt at though I was on death's door. I had the same bronchitis that kept me up with my son for the previous two weeks. I don't think I've felt that bad in quite some time. My joints ached and I was exhausted. Luckily, my husband picked up a lot of the slack at home and I pretty much went straight from home to bed for the next couple of days.

Wednesday night Chloe burned her chin on a hot pizza pan and is alright but still has a mark. I'm slathering her with Mederma and praying it doesn't scar.

Thanksgiving was the icing on the cake. I was tired from being sick but still wanted to do all the cooking I had planned. I was way behind on laundry but managed to get a meal on the table just in time for Benjamin to decide to have a scream fest. We muddled through the rest of the day until I finally got him to bed. I went to heat up a plate for myself and right then the microwave died. Yes, dead, deceased and no more. Other than my cold plate of food, I'm not too upset and we haven't replaced it.

The next week was a blur as I cleaned out my desk (8 boxes!), finished up work, tried to instill the knowledge I had amassed in eight years to my co-workers, and said my goodbyes. It was very bitter sweet. The company threw me a nice going away party and my department coworkers took me to lunch.

I started my new job on December 8, the same day AB made the announcement to cut 1400 jobs and 415 contractor positions (which I am). Women were sobbing in the bathroom and everyone looked as though they'd been hit by a truck. What a first day. We find out on Monday who stays and who goes and I won't know anything until then. If I am let go, I'll get two weeks severance pay which isn't bad for only being on the job one week.

Honestly, if I am let go, I'm not sure what I'll do. I *think* I could get my old job back (although I hear they're on a hiring freeze) but am not sure if that's what I really want. I'd have a couple weeks extra pay and it's almost tax time so maybe it would be the kick out the door on the way to The Plan. At this point, I'm just surviving until Monday. I'll keep you posted.

On the happy news front, Stacey's company is having a Christmas party tomorrow night and they've bought us hotel rooms. The kids are going to stay with Christine. This is the first night we've ever been without the kids. There will be food, free booze and dancing. I'm fairly excited. I think I'll be taking a nap tomorrow afternoon. lol

The kids are doing well. Benjamin is climbing everything and doing a lot of toddler talk. He and Chloe are playing really well together and she seems to enjoy having someone who can keep up with her now. He's fun to watch b/c his play is more methodical. I can see him really having a good time with blocks and building sets.

Next month we're hoping to get Chloe back into preschool part time. She's doing well but I think she'd be happier playing with other kids a couple days a week. Of course, if I start staying home that won't happen, but again it's a wait and see world for me.

Oh, and my nipples have gone crazy. First my right side cracked open and was bleeding/hurting so bad during feedings I could hardly stand it. I finally got that under control after two weeks and my left side did the same thing. I caught it much earlier so it's not so bad but pumping has been terrible. I've gone through two tubes on lanolin. Thank God for that stuff.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A detour does not mean the end...

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference" ~Robert Frost~

I am feeling really emotional... again.

I feel like I want to fail the interview so I can just go home, but I know even six months at this job would be so beneficial. I'd be able to save some money plus I'd have IT street cred by working at AB. It is very difficult to get a tech job with AB.

I should know quickly if I got the job or not so hopefully I'll know Friday and won't spend the weekend in anguish over uncertainty.

I have a list of likely interview questions so I guess I should get on with studying them. I spent my lunch break reading Homeschooling: The Early Years. It's a great read so far. sigh...

Interview tomorrow at 4pm

I haven't been feeling the blog this week but I wanted to say I have an interview with AB tomorrow at 4pm. I should know quickly if I got the job or not.

I'm not sure what I want the result to be.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My interview with the headhunter

He continues to tell me I'm the ideal candidate with supreme qualifications and I continue to doubt. He was really impressed by my resume and I just can't imagine I'm that good.

He sent my resume to AB and they want to skip the phone interview and go directly for an in person meeting. I'm going to meet with them on Thursday so I'm the last person they talk to and we'll go from there. I get the impression they'd make a decision quickly and if I'm the person they want, I'd put in my two week notice and be there.

I figure since I was going to leave this job anyway, I might as well take a higher paying one until I do that. He also brought up two good points that I could work there a few months, save money and increase my IT street cred by having AB on my resume (they are an incredibly hard company to get in with).

In the meantime, I have to go out and buy an outfit appropriate for an interview. My present wardrobe is way to on the casual side of things.

Maybe Friday the 14th is my unlucky day

We have a showing today so, of course, Stacey is out of town, Benjamin has croup (not serious but he wants to be nursed 24/7) and there are huge piles of laundry everywhere.

I was basically up all night but managed to get up reasonably, get diapers out of the dryer for the sitter, get laundry in the machines and put the dirty stuff in sorted baskets and basically get things together.

Then Chloe melts down regarding an umbrella (it's raining here too) her and I end up in a screaming match and we get out the door. I've forgotten my bag of pump parts so I grab that and we are really off this time. Traffic is bad and I'm actually late to work.

I get to work and realize I've left that same bag o pump parts in the van. Luckily, my sitter ran it back up to me.

Oh, and my right nipple is still acting up and after an night of non-stop nursing, is cracked open again. Luckily, I did remember my new best friend Lansinoh.

I'm not usually one to feel like I'm having an all-out bad day, but I really think today is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Chloe told me some days are like that. :)

An email rocks my world

I have my resume on and occasionally get a hit. Usually it's for a temporary tech support job that pays less than what I'm making now. I got an email Wednesday night expressing interest in me and I replied back with the salary and hours I was looking for.

Turns out this isn't just another low end tech job. It's a high end help desk position with great hours, is closer to my home (which is barely possible) and pays about 30% more than I'm making now.

I suppose no journey should be easy right? I'm meeting with the headhunter today and most likely will interview soon. I am one of three people being presented and when I told the headhunter about my plans to stay home he said I was exactly the person they're looking for. By that, I think he means someone who has not only been with the same company a long time (I've been here almost 8 years) but also someone who isn't just looking for a paying job but is really looking for something that will make them happy.

To top things off, our house is for sale and really hasn't had any hits but today has a showing with a very interested loan approval woman AND we have another showing scheduled on Saturday.

Just when I thought I had everything figured out...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Retiring the Monkey Costume

Chloe has a monkey costume that we bought for her first Halloween. It was sized 2-4, but they were out of the infant size so we went with it. It was a bit too big, but it worked.

She has worn the same costume every Halloween since. This year, the legs were barely long enough but she wanted to be the Monkey Costume again.

I was planning to hold it for Benjamin to use, but I think I'm going to put it in Chloe's box (where I keep favorite outfits, cards, etc for each kid). It's just too Chloe and I can't see it being worn by anyone else. Ok, so I might take his picture in it just for laughs.

She already plans to be a witch next year. I'm excited. I think I might dress up too!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A rough morning turns out well

The end of daylight savings has done a number on my house. Kids don't understand time changes so they're up at 5am because it feels like 6. So everyone is tired and starting to wear down and get crabby. Chloe does not do well without enough sleep and even though I put her to bed at 7pm last night, she's still pretty worn out. Stacey had an overnight install so he's out of town as well. All of this adds up to a not so pleasant morning in the Hickman house.

Chloe and I went round and round over cereal, clothes, slamming her brother's fingers in the closet door (an accident and he's fine but I warned her about messing with them) and basically anything else you can think of. There was screaming, more than one tantrum, and both kids were crying a few times. These kind of mornings make me wonder if I really want to quit my job. Ha!

Somehow we managed to pull through and actually left each other on a good note. I fixed Chloe's hair so I could take pictures of bows my friend Jessica made (see her Etsy store, it's good stuff!). She started off grumpy but when I showed her how the picture looked, I think she got it (I swear the kid is wise beyond her years) and perked up so we could take some nice pictures.

All's well that ends well. Now I just need to muster some energy to get through this weekend. I think the guest list for Chloe's party is now up to 27.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chloe's party has taken on a life of it's own

In our house, birthdays really aren't big deal. We're having a party for Chloe, but it's a no gifts deal where we have people over just to hang out. Heck, we spent less than $40 for Chloe's gifts ourselves and this is the first year we've actually bought her anything for her birthday.

Well, we invited our friends and most of them can come (yeah!). Then Stacey invited some people from work, then I did and now our guest list is up to about 30 people total. I guess I'll need to buy more buns now.

After two weekends of gorgeous 75f weather, this weekend is supposed to be cloudy and under 50f. Oh well, at least it's not supposed to snow (I hope I didn't just jinx myself).

Just for fun, here are some pictures of the last big party we had for Chloe when she turned two.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Election Day!

Politics aside, I hope everyone gets out there and votes. I'll be doing my civic duty this afternoon.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm getting there...

Things accomplished:
  1. checked out Teacher's Lounge store (they have free storytime!)
  2. purchased lesson plan book for preschool
  3. did first write-up of ad and sent to buddies for proofreading/editing
  4. investigated various curriculum
  5. spoke with co-worker with homeschooling wife about purchasing old materials
I also put up an ad on CL regarding New Year's care. Stacey and I are looking to watch a couple of kids that night to make a little extra cash and have someone for Chloe and Benjamin to play with. Who knows? Maybe I'll recruit some kids for my preschool program too!

Friday, October 31, 2008

She's autistic, not deaf!

So one of the Senior VPs has a daughter, Johanna, who is 23 and autistic. She comes in the office a few mornings a week to do filing, clean the kitchen and other small jobs. She reminds me of Chloe. I mean that not in a demeaning way, but she is sweet and inquisitive. She asks lots of questions and doesn't have that adult filter. Her mom has worked really hard to give her a normal and meaningful life. She works, lives out of her home (with assistance) and does things like take swimming classes.

Well, one of the admins upstairs is basically in charge of her and I wanted to punch in the face. Now I understand having to make things simple for her and give her lots of direction, but the tone was so demeaning and she talked loudly as though Johanna was deaf (like people do to foreigners) or maybe like a dog. Ugh...

Maybe it's because I have friends with autistic and special needs kids, but it really bothers me.

Rant over... Happy Halloween! I'm sure I'll have pictures and stories to share tomorrow.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

They hugged!

My kids are awesome. They love each other and for the most part play well together. Chloe is sometime ornery but usually nice to her brother, and he's generally happy to follow her around and is a captive audience for her general silliness. Him chasing her around the dining room table is a favorite activity for both.

Chloe loves to hug and kiss on her brother, especially when he's nursing. This morning was no different but then he insisted I put him down so he could walk over and hug Chloe. Talk about a smile to start your day.

Which reminds me... I've been slacking in the picture department but with Halloween coming tomorrow, I'll be sure to get some great shots. Chloe and Stacey are going to the Blues game tonight and they're going all out for the holiday with games and candy for the kids who are also encouraged to wear their costumes. Chloe will be wearing the infamous monkey costume with a Blues jersey over it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reason 456,634,598 I love my husband

When I began crafting The Plan, I hadn't really run it past my husband. He has always been supportive of the way I've wanted to parent the kids and goes along with basically anything I want to do, but this one was pretty big. I would be asking to quit my job (basically my only adult job and I've been here almost 8 years) to stay home and watch kids for income (with security being iffy).

Well, not only was he ok with it, but he turned my 1 or 2 years plan into about 4 months. He is trading in his prize car for something we can pay off in a few months and has agreed to work as much overtime as possible and to even get a part time job if needed.

This morning he told me he was excited to have a stay at home wife. I think it makes him feel manly that he can support us well enough that I don't have to work out of the home. He said he feels like our evenings now are chaotic but I'm not so sure that will change.

One step closer on The Plan

Today I scheduled myself for the Essentials part of the A+ exam. It's a two part exam and both tests must be taken within 90 days. Having this certification will make me a little more comfortable about jumping out of the IT field for a few years. It may be an indefinite exit, but at least if I want to get back in, I have a little something extra on my resume.

I'm scheduled for Friday, December 5 at 9am.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Overwhelmed by all the materials

So while we work on our family budget and get things in order for me to leave my job, I am putting together a curriculum plan for preschool. There is so much great information out there and tons of resources, but how do I begin? I need help formulating a plan for teaching Chloe and the 'others'.

I want to have at least two months worth of lessons setup so I'll have things ready to go during the initial adjustment period I know we'll all go through.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by it all, but luckily have some great smart friends who are already doing this. I will be gratuitously stealing their ideas. Muwahahahaha!

(by the way, this is really a cry for ideas so share some already!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween and Chloe's party

We're getting a double dose of Halloween this year. Of course the main holiday is this Friday, but Chloe has decided to have a Halloween themed party this year as well. Her birthday is 11/8 so the timing is great, it's easy to decorate for, it's not some annoying character plus it lets all the kids wear their costumes again (except for Pat who says he's not dressing up lol).

Chloe will once again be a monkey (her idea, not her cheap mom's) and Stacey is renting a gorilla costume. He's such a case but he's all excited so why not. He also spent yesterday afternoon decorating for Halloween. Our exposed brick walls were the perfect backdrop for that fake spiderweb stuff and he'll be pulling out the black lights later this week.

I still cannot find Benjamin's dinosaur costume but my friend Caroline made him some awesome fall color wool longies so he'll be sporting those with a fun shirt. He can't have candy but I'll be happy to help him trick o treat for mommy. muwahahahaha!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

More for the list...

I haven't decided if editing one post or just using labels is the best way to keep my information so these posts might change and/or get deleted later.

  1. childproof all cabinets and put latch on door to basement
  2. find resource for preschool worksheets that I can print out, copy, etc
  3. mock up meal plans and kid friendly, yet healthy, food items (all kids might not be as agreeable as mine)
  4. mock up daily/weekly schedule
  5. research field trips (firehouse tour, library tour, etc)
  6. talk to Christine and others about their childcare/SAHM experiences

Friday, October 24, 2008

I've been authorized to quit my job

When I decided to share my plan with Stacey, I though I might meet some resistance. Well, I got quite the opposite. I was basically told I could quit my job ASAP and we'd figure it out. Ok, so my husband is a gung-ho kind of guy and this plan will require a bit more, uhm, planning. Without further ado, here's my list of things to be doing in the next few weeks. Realistically, I'd like to quit about Feburary/March but I know Stacey would like this to come sooner.

  1. Put together a "Val at home" budget and review with Stacey
  2. Move Stacey's overtime pay into saving account to also be used for extra money we get selling items on CL, rebates, side work, etc
  3. Work on killer CL childcare ad. I figure I'll take in 1-2 toddler/preschool age kids for money and playmates for Chloe and Benjamin. I'm looking to say over 12 months in age and ideally not in diapers (but I won't hold my breath)
  4. Find preschool/home school resources I can use.
  5. Take infant/child/adult CPR class (11/19 $52)
I'm sure I'll have more to add...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eckert's, Blues, and Aunt Flo

We took the kids to Eckert's Saturday to meet up with some friends and pick pumpkins. It was a great fall day and, while exhausting, we had a great time.

Stacey took Chloe to see the Blues. They've been going to Saturday night games and having a great time. Chloe especially likes the fights and the cheap seats actually give the best view.

Chloe also got her first haircut Sunday. I was less than impressed with Cool Cuts for Kids and will not be back, but her hair does look better with some of the split ends removed. Taking some of the weight off has also brought back the curl. It looks nice.

My arch nemesis (ok maybe that's a bit dramatic) Aunt Flo came to visit Sunday. You'd think after two years I'd complain less but no, I won't. Not only do I get that monthly unpleasantness but now I have ot worry aobut fertility. While I'd love to have more kids, I'd like to wait another year before we start trying. Maybe I'm wrong, but I get this nagging feeling I won't have that long. Maybe I should start reading up on family planning. Anyone Catholic? :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On a happier note

I had a great time with Amber and Cathy. It was so good for my soul to have my friends here and be able to talk in person and love on them. I get to see Amber once or twice a year, but had not seen Cathy for, gosh, 2 1/2 years. I can't believe it had been that long.

Cathy takes wonderful photos and always seems to catch those action "real life" shots I feel I often miss. I guess it didn't feel like such a long absence b/c I'm able to peek almost daily at her family.

Here are a couple cute photos she took of Chloe at a local park.

Chloe and Ariel had a great time together. I'm not sure what they're talking about, but I'm certain it was deep. lol

Chris, Chloe, Ariel and Pat

I feel so frustrated today

When Chloe was born, I couldn't have imagined quitting my job. I like my job and she was such a demanding infant (or maybe it was just that I had no idea what being a mom was really like). I needed work to get away and not feel so needed.

Now that she's almost 4 and we have Benjamin, I ache to be home with them. Last night I was helping Chloe make a Birth Day card for our friend's new baby (her idea, isn't that awesome?). I printed some tracing letters and put them on the card so she could practice writing her name. She was having trouble and got frustrated.

I get it. I too get frustrated when I hit a challenge. I think so many things came easy to me in the learning world that I tend to shut down when I face something I cannot immediately master. I tried to help her and we did make progress, but I wish I could be home. I feel like I could use my experience to help her work past it and learn how to push through challenges.

I know I still can but evenings and weekends are a blur of cooking, cleaning and trying to have quality time with the family. I just feel like I'm not doing the work God intended me to do. I know I have a greater purpose and I'm so close to getting there. I know it's not time yet so I pray for patience.

Until then, I have to figure out how to make those limited hours more meaningful.

I try to remember that one day, when I'm home with my kids full time, I'll miss work. I'll miss being here and being needed by adults. I suppose the grass really is greener.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The only bad thing about having real life online friends

At the risk of sounding like a nerdy loser, I love my online friends. I have found people who really get me and it's great. Good or bad, my online friends have made me forget that most of my crazy parenting is crazy. I forget that everyone else isn't like me. It's wonderful.

I am very fortunate that some of these people live nearby and I'm able to spend lots of face to face time with them. I've also been lucky enough to travel and meet some of them.

However, there are so many I have not met in person and I yearn to. Wouldn't it be great if you could bundle up all your fiends and live in one place. Here I go on my wishes for a commune again...

They are my bosom friends, they are my 'people', they are the women I love...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Love this picture!

Thanks to my lovely friend Cathy for snapping this picture of me and Benjamin. I love how he holds my shirt. You can't see it, but his other hand is usually holding hte back of my arm and/or rubbing it. Almost like he's thanking me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

PMS so bad even my PC is broken!

I know I should be happy about having 12 months with no Aunt Flo, but really...

I have had PMS for almost a week now and cramps that aren't awful but are so annoying since Saturday. I actually spent most of the weekend in bed instead of at Christine's playing with my friends.

I'm crampy, my back hurts, my nipples are shredded, I'm crabby and tired. boo hoo poor me

Mostly, I just wish AF would get here so I wouldn't' have to wonder how long this will last. With Chloe, she just showed up without warning.

I think the PMS has now transferred to my work PC as I had to manually power down the darn thing about 15 times. I'm about ready to chuck the darn thing (not good since I work in IT).

I did get a Diva cup and some cloth pads last night so at least I'm ready. Are you listening Aunt Flo? Open the floodgate already!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy First Birthday Benjamin

Benjamin, in the Bible, was the last son of Rachel and Jacob. Rachel died giving birth to him and Benjamin means 'son of my pain'. Besides Joseph, he was the favored son of Jacob as Rachel was his favored wife.

Ironically, Benjamin is the son of my joy, the son of my spirit. If I could give a meaning to his name, it would be Hallelujah! (with the exclamation point).

Benjamin, you are a truly loved boy. Your smile brings happiness and you are adored by everyone you meet. You are a beloved son and brother. Your sister truly enjoys you and I enjoy the dynamic you've brought to our family.

Happy Birthday to my sweet man, to Chloe's Mr. Beefy and Daddy's pride and joy. You have shown me just how much love my heart can hold.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I want to live in Ralph's World

Yesterday, we saw Ralph's World at Blueberry Hill. It's a wonderful small venue.

He was every bit as kind as I hoped. More actually. He was so happy to see all the kids, sign autographs and talk to parents. AFter the show, he was in the audience before we had hardly moved. I wonder when he used the bathroom? Perhaps he has a parent's bladder (you know the one that lets you go all day without 'going')?

Chloe had a great time even though she was more mellow than some of the kids. It's funny that she's so animated most of the time but in those situations the chaos almost calms her. She was great with Ralph, told him her favorite Ralph song and let him pick her up for a hug and a picture.

I'm so glad we went and we'll be looking for him to come back to St Louis.

Feeling my own mortality today

My mom called this morning to tell me that Laura, a friend and co-worker, died in her sleep last night. My family has their own business so my mom's work friends are her friends for the most part. They had worked together for at least 10 years and mom thought a lot of her.

Laura left behind a husband and two young daughters. She wasn't sick and was feeling fine yesterday. Her husband woke to hear the baby crying and tried to wake her. She was already gone.

I feel such grief for this family. I cannot imagine the phenomenal impact her death must have. It would be like if I was gone tomorrow.

I'm going to go home and love on my family today.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lots of plans for the weekend

On Saturday our nanny, Jessica, will be doing roller derby so we'll swing by and catch some of that. I was hoping to have Chloe's new skull and crossbones hair bows but it doesn't look like they'll be here in time.

Arch Rival Roller Girls

On Sunday we're going to see Ralph Covert of Ralph's World fame perform at Blueberry Hill. I'm really excited and hoping we can meet him and get pictures.

Ralph's World

Otherwise, I'm pretty wiped out. Chloe was having some sleep issues during the early part of the week and now that they're lined out, Benjamin is having sleep issues from teething. His amber necklace broke but I managed to get it back together. One whole day without it really made a big difference. Benjamin doesn't fuss much so when he does you know he means business.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'll never forget 9/11

I was having a similar day in a different time. I was working at my desk like I am now, but seven years ago I had no husband and no children. I was barely 21 but very much still a child myself. 9/11 not only brought about full adulthood but also brought me back to my Christian faith.

I had never felt fear like I did that day and I literally fell out of my chair to my knees and prayed to God.

I find it sad, but not surprising, that there's not more coverage on the anniversary today.

God bless the victim's families, especially those who were never really found.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Kids look bigger in fall clothes

Well, fall is coming and that means it's time to get out the warmer clothes. Chloe spent the summer in underpants, shorts and t-shirts, and sundresses. Benjamin spent most of the summer in his diaper.

I was excited to get Chloe's things out because I had been collecting from clearance racks, friends, and garage sales for two years now. Seeing these clothes again was fun.

Now that the kids are in them, they look, well too old. Much older than being on the verge of 1 and 4. The jeans look impossibly long for Chloe but fit her perfectly. And clothes on Benjamin make him look like a boy and not my sweet little baby.

And while I hear Chloe talking non-stop, I almost missed Benjamin's words: hi, bye, ball, dad. He talks in gurgles, grunts, and this funny bubble type voice.

As much as I love watching my kids grow up, expand their minds and face new challenges, seeing them get older before I'm ready breaks my heart a little.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Overheard in the Hickman house

Chloe looking at herself in the mirror (our closet doors are mirrors) "why you look fancy today Chloe!"

Chloe and Daddy

Chloe: What are those
Daddy: My balls
Chloe: Can I touch them?
Daddy: No

Chloe to me: You need to kiss Daddy because you're falling in love, remember?

from my husband: what does having your period have to do with fertility (in a convo about the third daughter we are to have...)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Yea for hot water

The new part came, it works and we have hot water. Too bad this week has worn me out so much I can barely think about the dishes that have been sitting all week. Not the mention the countless McD meals we've eaten trying to avoid dishes. This family will be loading up on fruits and veggies stat!

I had a great night with the kids. We hit Babies R Us where I rocked the sling and got lots of questions about it (take that, over priced strollers!) for some baby/eco friendly diapers then off to Costco for some much needed groceries.

Chloe is such a cool kid. She's funny and kind, smart and resourceful, clever and witty. She is in love with babies and would shout "Hey, can I touch your baby!" at anyone who passed by with an infant. I guess babies, like toys, are more fun when they are not yours. That's not to say she doesn't love Benjamin b/c she's such a great big sister.

I really need to pray more often for patience. A little extra effort on my part really brings out the best in my daughter, and myself.

But I'm the judgemental one...

I am a Christian. I am not ashamed of that. I believe in God, Jesus, redemption, salvation and faith. I believe in the Bible.

I do not judge you if you don't believe. I don't hate you. I don't say you're going to hell. I love you and try to be your friend. I might even pray for you (whether you've asked or not). If you have questions about my faith, I will answer them. I'll admit to not knowing an answer and will try and find it.

So do you not see the irony in saying I'm judging you simply because I believe. If my beliefs offend you so much just by me verbalizing them, perhaps you should ask yourself why. Then get back to me with any questions because I'll still love you.

I will not, however, be a doormat for you to wipe off your guilt and doubt.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin rocks my socks

She's conservative, she has family values, she loves her husband, she breastfeeds and slings her kids... dare to dream?

Yeah rag on her about things her relatives have done and her daughter being pregnant but she's pretty great.

While I planned to vote for McCain, I wasn't excited, but now I am.

I feel like I can relate to her, like I could sit and discuss things with her, like she understands me.

Gripes for the day... sigh...

So the fabulous new part for our water heater almost works. Some adapter piece doesn't fit making the whole thing useless. They're sending a new adapter but it won't be here until tomorrow. I guess it's back to the YMCA for our bathing needs.

Not only that, but they charged for $32 for the shipping they said would cost $3 AND it came out of my husband's account which is only a holding tank for his reimbursements with a few extra dollars to spare. They're giving it back; now I just hope we don't get an overdraft fee.

Now, Verizon is telling me we can't switch out plan from wireless Internet to a cell phone. On Tuesday they said they could and not they say they can't? I have to wait until 11am our time so I can call Tele Sales. This should be fun.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

You can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal

Well, you can at least do the first part at our local YMCA. Our water heater went out Saturday night I'm guessing but we didn't notice until Sunday. After some Internet research, I found the part that needed to be replaced and headed to Lowe's. Well, that was a no go so I waited until Monday and called the company who manufactured said water heater.

Well, we apparently need a part from them which they are sending free of charge. However, Monday was Labor Day so it didn't' ship until Tuesday meaning well have it today. Yes, about 5 days later.

Luckily, I managed to snag the last of the hot water bathing on Sunday but by Tuesday, I was funky. My options at that point were 1) take cold shower; not easy with infant who I frequently bathe with 2) drive to friend's house but they all live at least 25 minutes away and have their own family chaos to deal with 3) drive to YMCA and shower there like homeless family.

Actually, our YMCA has a really nice family bathroom where I can lock us all in, wash myself, wash kids and it's setup that he whole room can get wet and it's no big deal. It even has a nice changing table where I put our dry clothes, towels, etc

So, there you have it. We're clean and we don't smell.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Name meaning for the kids

Benjamin Michael

Benjamin - son of my right hand, son of my pain; in the Bible, Benjamin was the last son of Rachel who died in childbirth, son of my old age; also last son and last child of Jacob
Michael - who is like God; one of the archangels

Chloe Renee

Chloe - green shoot, blooming; Greek Heroine, another name for fertility goddess Demeter
Renee - born again, reborn

Benjamin is walking

Benjamin began walking this past Saturday. Just like I thought, he waited for his daddy to come home and took 10 steps across the room to him.

He's still a crawler for most of his movement activities, but I know those days are numbered.

My dream...

I want to home school my kids. I want to quit working and stay home with them. The more preschool I do with Chloe, the more I want to do. I think I could do it. I think I would excel at it. I think it would make our family stronger and alleviate the stress I have over the children's education. It would also make us a more portable family unit.

The issue? Money. While Stacey is the primary breadwinner, I'm not far behind. Pair that will our comfy lifestyle and there you go. We have a mortgage and two new cars on lease.

I am hoping that our house sells (it's back on the market), we can find a nice place with reasonable rent and ditch one of the cars when the leases come up (2010 sadly). That or win the lottery. I'd take either. Of course that would mean I'd have to play and I'm too cheap for that. I have worked to cut out extra spending. We no longer have satellite TV and while we now have YMCA membership, I did ditch my gym membership and the Y would fit into my home school curriculum. I try and keep us spending reasonably, but the big three really get us.

Until that day comes, and I feel that it will, I will continue to home school Chloe and enjoy the time I do spend with my family. I used to enjoy working and while I like my job, the appeal of being home becomes greater and greater each day. I've been formulating various scenarios (aka plots) in my head.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My love affair with the library

I had to do my weekly book swap and while I was there, I stopped in the children's library to ask about home school resources. I found out a few cool things.

They have a program for homeschooling families of all ages (including Pre-K) each month. This month it will be a general session on how to use the library, behave in the library, how to treat books, etc. They'll have activities for different ages. The bonus is that this happens at the central library which is right next door to my office.

They also have book boxes. These are collections of puzzles, books, puppets, games and audio tapes based on a theme. She gave me a list of themes and I just have to call and reserve it. They are for Pre-k through 2nd grade.

They also have curriculum planning materials.

I've always been a book nerd but the more I get into the library, the move I love it. Not only is it free, but they have such great resources. I don't think it's advertised enough.

Anyway, there's my post on being a library nerd. If you haven't checked yours out (sorry for the pun), you should and don't shy away from asking about available programs. Our library also has movie nights and other family friendly events. Most of them are free as well.

They also have toys. Big toys, little toys, puzzles, puppets... I just checked out a bowling set and a parachute!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Way behind on the ol' blogging...

Someday I'll get into this...

Chloe is such an information sponge. She is writing her letters and learning words. I'm really enjoying preschool with her and wishing I could stay home and do it full time. I always wanted to be a teacher you know.

Benjamin is on the verge of walking. I see little bits of babyness leaving him but not his wonderful smile.

The relationship between the two of them is so awesome.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

All I can do is all I can do...

So my friend and I have made a pact of sorts to try and do better for ourselves and our marriages. It's nice to know I'm not alone in how I feel. It somehow makes it easier to try. Seeing my pain reflected in someone else makes me that much more resolved to get past it.

Friday, July 4, 2008

On vacation

We're on day 7 of family vacation and day 3 at my family's house. We're all pretty tired, especially the kids, but things are going well. The pool has been a savior and thankgoodness it's heated, especially with the lack of sunny weather.

We did make it to the City Museum and the Zoo. The City M was great but I think Chloe was a bit too tired by Zoo day. A puffin did try to escape with my husband and that was pretty entertaining.

It looks like January will be coming back to St Louis with us on Sunday.

I'll put up some City M and Zoo pics next week, but here are some from the Lake.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Priorities for my upcoming vacation

I'm pretty stoked. We're going to the Lake next Wednesday, but will be doing some fun things here in St Louis before then. The things include:

St Louis Zoo - free and the super awesome Dinosaurus exhibit is free if you get there between 8-9am. This is one time it's nice that our kids get us up before 6am

City Museum - pricey but so worth it. I really want to try the three story slide this time. At the City M, Chloe is 2 (mum's the word)

Grant's Farm - where else can you ride a tram, pet a goat, and get free AB beers? It's free but parking is $10 (they're pretty slick, huh?)

Otherwise, I'd really just like to have a nice relaxing week. I also want to make it a point to take lots of pictures of the kids.

Jessica, our new nanny will be moving in over the weekend and it will be nice to have some new energy in the house. We will miss Rebekah though.

I'm also picking up the huge meat order we're buying with part of the insurance money (Stacey has his equipment bag stolen on the road). I'm just hoping a half hog and hind quarter of beef fit in my deep freeze.

Otherwise, BBQ anyone?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

On a happier note

Certified Professional Midwives are now free to legally deliver babies in the state of Missouri!!!

Midwifery legal in Missouri

Midwives brace for future battle

Raising your spirited child - Ch 1 & 2

spirited children are normal children who are more


Sensitivity - to noise, smell, light, sound, textures, changes in mood (in others)
Perceptiveness - notice everything, everything distracts
Adaptability - uncomfortable with change

Lesser characteristics:

Regularity - impossible to get on schedule
First Reaction - need to warm up to new things, places, people
Mood - serious, analytical

Creed for parents of spirited children
1. You are not alone
2. You did not make your child spirited
3. You are not powerless
4. You have permission to take care of yourself
5. You may celebrate and enjoy the delights of your spirited child

Be careful when labeling - see positive aspects of challenging traits and help others to do the same

The low down on my low down sister

The latest and greatest...

My mom found out that Amanda not only is going to court for drug possession charges, but will likely be going to court for writing bad checks. How many bad checks do you have to write before you actually go to court for it?

Michael went over to her old (mobile) home to retrieve the kid's things. He found cockroaches everywhere and sh*t and p*ss on William's highchair. Seriously, ours gets gummed up with food but human waste?

It's amazing her kids aren't psychopaths.

My mom is now on the path of taking the kids permanently. My sister is apparently too stupid, drugged up or emotionally void to care for her offspring. Stacey, the kids and I are going down there next week and hopefully we can come up with some sort of plan. We have offered to take January, who is 5, for the rest of the summer.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My hunka hunka burning love

Seriously, how can you not love this boy? Not only is he beautiful, but he has the most incredible spirit I've ever encountered. He's had a bit of a cold, but as soon as I picked up my camera, he perked up, posed and smiled for me.

My lovely friend Michelle made him an amber teething necklace. Amber is supposed to have anti-inflammatory qualities and aid in healing the mouth and throat. It doesn't provide instant relief, but once it starts working, provides continual comfort. Plus, it makes him look like a rock star.

Raising your spirited child - Greetings

I'm so glad I found this book. I really hope it will help me be a better and more patient mother for Chloe. She really is a wonderful gem.

Spirited, not difficult

these children are MORE; more intense, sensitive, persistent, perceptive - traits we value in adulthood

progress, not perfection