Monday, September 8, 2014

Here's My Sign...

As adults we make decisions all day long.  Everyday decisions that shape our days.  What do I wear?  Should I run this morning, or hope I have motivation later tonight?  What should I pack in the kids' lunches?  Should they get the flu shot?  What baby food should I make for Stella?  Some decisions are small, and some decisions are huge.  Yet, both big and small, they all have an impact on our days.

I had been having an internal debate with myself for quite a while on one of those really colossal decisions.  You know those kind of internal arguments that you can see both sides of the decision and go over it in your head day after day…after day…still never coming to a resolution?  Yeah, one of those.  I was weighing the decision to leave my corporate job.  You see, I've always liked having…well…let's just call them "options".  Despite the fact that I had been at the same employer since the day I graduated college, over the years I had obtained my real estate license (you know, in case I ever wanted to turn my House Hunter's obsession into a career), and created a LLC for a marketing consulting business, should I ever want to leave my employer.  I had that dream of being a marketing consultant, working for multiple companies everyday, yet working for myself .  

Making a decision that size can weigh you down.  Thousands of questions (at least the way my brain works) are associated with that type of a decision.  So, I set up the company, created a website, and continued my internal debate.  For months.  I guess you could say I was waiting for a sign.  A sign from God that it was the right thing to do.  A sign that I would be successful on my own.  A sign that companies would be interested in what I have to offer.  A sign that I could continue to contribute to my family's finances, doing what I wanted to do.  And then….one day I got my sign.  I am so grateful for my so very supportive husband (and entrepreneur himself).  He helped me READ my sign.  It was staring me in the face and it was Ben who figuratively hit me over the head with it.  It was my time to jump.  And so…after 12 years...I left.  I left my reliable, comfortable, corporate career.  I haven't looked back since.

It's been a month.  Exactly a month ago was my last day in Corporate America.  Since then, it has been a whirlwind of freedom and success.  I love it.  Just like God sent me the sign to leave, he has blessed me with dozens of gifts.  Beautiful little packages that present themselves in amazing ways.  Opportunities to work in different companies in different ways…so challenging and fulfilling at the same time.  Clients that came and continue to come forward, interested in my work.  And frankly, more work that I could have ever imagine I would be able to obtain in just a month.  One of my favorite gifts...the opportunity to work an occasional school lunch without a scheduling nightmare, or take the kids to the beach right after school, or simply play with Stella on the floor.  Oh, and that gift that is extra fun?  The work doesn't feel so much like work when it is your own.

It's so odd to me…yet so fun...that this blog started as a blog about balancing the scales between a corporate career and young children.  Navigating my way…finding my balance (if there really is such a thing).  Now, I find myself in a whole new world.  A world of working for myself.  Building a business.  Sustaining and caring for my family.  All in a day's work.  I am a mother…a professional…a wife…a friend...and a caregiver.  Every day, shoot…every hour, those roles are shuffled and mixed.  My work may have completely changed, but my roles have not.  They are the roles I am meant to fulfill.

If you are interested in more information about my new consulting business, you can check out my website here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday's Love and I'm Better Off Without Lists...

Love List…

  • Baby laughs.  Not just the little giggles, but those belly laughs that come from deep within, rooted in pure joy.  Those baby belly laughs that cause the hiccups.

  • My pride as I watch my girl dance in her dance recital.  To my pure shock and amazement, she had her own little twirl solo in her ballet number.  I had no idea.  With a sleeping Stella in my arms, I found myself hitting Ben saying, "Do you SEE this!?!?  Is that planned?  Did they all just forget to do that twirl except Jillian?!?"  Ben quickly brought me back to reality.  "Yes, Nik, it looked quite planned."  Ha!  I asked Jillian why she kept such a big little secret from us.  "Jillian, why didn't you tell us you had a solo?"  "What's a solo mom?"  She said she had told me.  She repeated what she had said and I remember the conversation….guess I just didn't get it. Sweet girl.
  • Watching the AAA Cardinals.  I love every minute of it.  Watching Ben coach, the boys make great plays and get better with every passing game, getting to know all of the kids on the team as I work in the dugout, and watching Myles have the time of his life.  It's awesome.  All of it.
  • Family dinners out with great friends.  Fun for all and priceless memories.
  • Summer is finally here!!  Thank goodness.  You will never hear me say it is too hot.  I love the heat and I love spending time outside!
  • Sitting with Stella by the water under an umbrella watching Myles and Jillian play with their friends in the sand and water.  Pure Heaven.  I plan to do it a lot more often this summer.
  • Evenings with Ben sitting on our deck enjoying a bonfire.
  • Shark Tank Tuesday.  Perfect for background TV while I write this blog post.
  • School is out on Friday!  Soon, Myles will be able to join us girls in our fun!
  • Perennials blooming.  No work and beautiful.  Perfect.
  • A sweetie baby.  I have never met a baby as easy going as my girl.  She continues to amaze me everyday with her chilled back nature.  I can already tell, her brother and sister are her idols.  From waving and movements to vocal inflection, she is already trying to copy every move they make.
I'm Better Off Without List…
  • The noise of my Mommy brain running a constant stream of thoughts that seems to never shut off…."What does Myles need to take to school tomorrow?  What day is Stella's doctor's appointment?  I wonder what time we will play in the championship baseball tournament this week…  Will Jillian still love dance if she moves up an age group that doesn't have all of her girlfriends?  I need to do baby laundry.  I need to get the monthly reports completed for the month.  I wonder if I have enough wipes.  I need to buy an end of the year teacher gift.  I wonder if I have prepared enough for the meeting I'm running at work tomorrow… I wish I could work in the classroom this week…  Father's Day is this week.  Don't. Forget.  The script runs through my head faster than I can speak it.  Sometimes I wish I could just make it hush.  Thank goodness for baby laughs and the silly kids that cause them.  It always quiets the script.  At least for a few minutes.
  • My next home remodel project that we will likely begin this weekend.  It will not help my Mommy brain script at all.  The room will look great though!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

And Then There Were Five...

There came a time…a while ago…that I wanted to write a blog post.  Well, the fact of the matter is, quite often I want to write.  The thing is, sometimes it has been so darn long that I have written that there is this huge hill to overcome.  A million changes have occurred in our lives over the last few months.  How do I write about an especially fun day, or an amazing trip for Spring Break, when I haven't even introduced Stella Rose!  Yet, it's hard to find words to write about how wonderful our life has been with this amazing new tiny person.  Today, I decided, it's okay.  Just write what I want to write.  That is what I have always done and it is what I will do again…tonight.  So with no further ado, I am so happy to introduce Stella Rose.
Stella joined our family at 1:47am on February 23.  She weighed 8 pounds 9 ounces and was 21 3/4 inches long.

The end of my pregnancy was definitely the roughest that I had ever experienced.  Quite possibly due to the fact that I have never made it to a due date and Miss Stella made her appearance five days AFTER my due date.  Not to mention, I had steady and consistent contractions for the last four weeks of the pregnancy.  Yet, I am convinced that a rough pregnancy produced the most chill and easy-going baby that I have ever met.  She fits into our family so perfectly.  God certainly made her just for us.  She is so worth the wait.
The night of Stella's arrival was the most relaxed birth that I have ever had (just like Stella!)  Ben and I went to the hospital fairly early with contractions because Jillian's labor was so fast that I was only at the hospital about 20 minutes before she was born.  Better safe than sorry and a car delivery was not a desirable option if we had any choice in the matter.  Although, we didn't need to worry at all.  Everything progressed steadily, but it wasn't a crazy whirlwind.  It was relatively peaceful and each step of the labor happened when it should.  Then, at 1:47am, Stella was born.  For the first time, I was able to have my newborn placed on my stomach immediately following birth.  She stopped crying right away and nuzzled right in with me.  It was love at first sight.
In the morning, Myles and Jillian came to the hospital to meet their new sister.  Seeing the two of them love their sister with all their hearts, just melts mine.  It started that day in the hospital and it continues every single day.  No one squeals with joy more than Jillian when Stella smiles and coos at her.  She talks to her and looks forward to the times each day that Stella is awake and ready to play.  Myles is her protective big brother.  He loves to hold her, sing to her, and was the first one to object when the animal trainer joked that she was the perfect size for snake food at Gatorland on our vacation to Florida recently.  They love her and I can see in her eyes, she loves them too.
Now a bit about my new baby girl.  As any mother would say, she is amazing.  She is so relaxed, peaceful, and happy.  Frankly, my other two were never "chill" babies.  They both wanted to nurse every two hours and were quite fussy.  Stella, just goes with the family flow… a basketball game before she was a week old, dance practices, school drop offs, you know…normal stuff.  We even made the trek to Florida for a week of fun in the sun.  She was perfect and content.  A happy baby.  I won't bore you with boring details about the fact that she sleeps through the night and often puts herself to sleep when I lay her down drowsy.  Chill.  That is the best way to describe her.  Well, that, and happy, cuddly, loving, smiley, beautiful, and the sunshine of my everyday now.  It is amazing how a mother's heart can open and love each and every child in her family with so much gusto.

My days lately have been filled with cuddling with Stella and having good old family fun.  I never imagined that the transition would be so easy.  I thank God for answering my prayers. For giving us a wonderful baby girl that completes our family in a picture perfect way.

 A few random photos of the last two months…

Hospital photo.
First doctor's visit.

Stella enjoying a basketball game.
Roadtrip to Florida!  
 When I look at this picture...I realize…just how many kids we have...
Sitting under an umbrella by the pool.
 Sibling love.
Stella at the beach.
 Beach baby.
 The kids call Stella "GlowWorm" when she wears this green swaddler.
 First touch of the ocean.  She smiled.

 This feathered lady kept trying to steal the gator food (hot dogs) from Myles!
 Silly Jillian at Gatorland.
 It's baseball time again!
Stella cooing.
And smiling.
My Love.  Be Still My Heart.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Almost Post-Flu Irrational Rant

Warning: Irrational Rant Is About To Ensue.  Proceed At Your Own Risk.  Seriously.  Consider Yourself Warned.  I'm A Little Crazy Right Now And If You Remotely Like Me, You May Want To Stop Reading.

I know there are people in this world that suffer so much.  Sickness, emotional stress, loss…every single day terrible things that happen.  I always try to keep the little issues in my life into perspective.  Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind and I realize that most are worse than mine.  But today…after a week like this week…I just want to scream.  I want to scream as loud as I can, as if it would help in some way.  Although, the truth is, it would just send me into a coughing fit that would likely last the better half of an hour.  So.  I won't.  But just know, I want to.

Sunday night we started getting sick.  Really sick.  Influenza sick.  The whole family.  I won't go into all of the details, but Influenza is not funny.  And if you are wondering - yes, we had flu shots.

Our week has included:

  • Fevers.
  • Coughing and chest discomfort that relates closely to an elephant repeatedly stomping on you.  (Oh - and if you are almost 37 weeks pregnant and you are coughing so hard your whole body is behind it - you will have contractions….and you will pee.)
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Adverse reaction (Ben) to Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug, that sent him into a severe vomiting day and ended in a face full of broken blood vessels.
  • A flu test for me (apparently flu and pregnancy together are a BIG deal, and doctors will scare the sh!t out of you if it happens to you)  I didn't know you (well, a doctor) could stick a stick up your nose six inches.
  • 16 phone calls with different doctors: general, pediatricians, OBs, you know, all the good ones.
  • Rebound fevers for Myles every night, even after full days without.
  • A medication list that I am required to take (despite arguing with both my regular doctor and OB about - they insist the drugs are better than me not breathing…really?)  that scares the sh!t out of me.
  • Worry.
  • Constant wonder if it will ever end and if we are all going to make it.
  • Counting baby kicks to see if she is doing okay.
  • The whole family wearing masks so we don't re-infect each other (extra fun when you are not breathing well anyway). 
  • Wonderful phone calls and texts from concerned and praying family members.
  • Closed front door drop offs of supplies from my caring Mother-in Law.
Okay, there is more, but enough b!tching I suppose.  Today, we had declared was it.  Ben and Jillian have been better for a while.  Myles has been pretty good despite an occasional and random fever.  I have been the worst, but yesterday the anti-viral drugs must have clicked, because I had marked improvement.  Today was going to be the day that everything got better.  Better enough that we can get dressed by Saturday.  Baby steps I suppose.

So, I am taking Myles's temperature and I lift up his shirt to find…..a RASH.  I smiled, took his temperature (98.9), asked him if it itched (yes), and went ballistic over text to Ben.  Seriously!??!?  Why the hell do we need a rash too????  I need to get ready to have a baby.  I need to disinfect this plague from my house before a tiny little baby comes home here.  I need to get back to growing a baby, instead of losing weight laying on the couch everyday.  WE NEED TO MOVE ON.

Instead, now I needed to call his doctor on this new development and send my husband texts that include every swear word I know.  And you know what?  Auto-correct won't even LET ME SWEAR.    No iPhone… I do NOT want to say DUCKING.  Sometimes enough is enough and this is enough for me.  I'm done with this.  I haven't left the house all week and taking a shower was the biggest accomplishment of my week.

Ben read all of the texts and asked all of the right questions…what can he do?  should he come home?  what does the rash look like?  what is his temp?  You know…all of the right things.  I read them breathing my shallow breaths (heaven forbid I take a few deep breaths and cause a coughing fit until tomorrow) and continue my freak out.  Of course there is nothing he can do.  There is nothing any of us can do but wait for this crap to LEAVE my house.  His last text though………ticked me off so much…….but only because he was so right……

"We're almost there.  Just close your eyes and say a prayer, babe."

So I will.  I will.  But first…this rant.  But I will.  And it will get better.  Gotta go.  My kids are asking when it will be warm enough to swim in the lake.  They must not have heard of this Polar Vortex B.S.