Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Keeping on keeping on.....

Tuesday night. I should be in bed, but here I sit, finally ready to chat. I've missed this, the writing down of daily details, things that would otherwise be forgotten. I've never been one to journal or capture my thoughts on paper, and as I scroll back through images on my phone and the cameras, I'm amazed at how much I HAVEN'T jotted here, and I need to do that. Not just for me, but for my kids. I like to think that someday they will read this, and either laugh, or not think so harshly of me. One can hope :)
Thanksgiving day, game time for Dad while Mom cooks - note the Mimosa....
So what's been going on? Probably the biggest thing in our bubble has been Matt's job, or potential lack there-of. He's been a subcontractor for 6 years now, and while there have been many benefits - working from the house 3 days a week, more than adequate hourly rate - there are downsides - number one being the stress of never knowing if you'll have a job tomorrow. After we got back from the beach in August, we had word that Matt's contract would be finished in October. Then it was mid-November. Then December 8 or something. Now it's the end of January. Given that things change on a weekly basis, I took a class this fall in anticipation of working during tax season (background in accounting and all that) and started looking for part-time jobs. Happily, I've landed one that is pretty much ideal - part time accounting and tax work for a CPA, something that will get me back in the work force after 11 years away while not requiring me to be away 40 hours a week or more. I'm thankful to have found something like this while we wait to see what's around the corner with Matt's career. So much uncertainty in this world, in more ways than one. A week ago I would tell you that everything will be fine, things work out the way they should. Today? I'm not so sure.

Mom and Dad at the ice rink on Sunday

In the midst of me starting a new job - with a little bookkeeping gig on the side - Matt has started a blog about something he's passionate about, and is looking for work, either here or in Texas. Texas is looking more and more appealing these days. The kids are in full-on Crazy Christmas mode, manic and nutty as the day is long, all day every day - I have to remind myself that they get like this every year, so excited about Christmas and Santa and all that (although William I think is starting to think it all through logically - he asked me if I was Santa recently - like I could pull all THAT off!) They are all getting so big, so fast, and yet are still so small. Jason still climbs in my lap for a snuggle without even realizing he's doing it, one of my favorite parts of the day! I could go on and on, and probably will at some point, but I'll save that for another day. For now, I'm living looking ahead 18 hours in advance and doing what needs to be done, and savoring every moment I have here with my family. Because as was all too harshly pointed out, you never know what's around the corner.
Points of Interest:

Stolen from a friend's Facebook wall:

The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not comprehend it. John 1

The Shack. If you haven't read it yet, do so. Sometimes there is no reason, but He is always present.

If you'd like a laugh, some wisdom from Finding Nemo:

You have to go through it, not over it.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Too close to home.....

Sandy Hook. I've been there. It's a sleepy little town, much like the one I live in. I have a friend who lives there with her four children, two boys and two girls, much like my own. We have a lot in common - we love coffee and wine, complaining about things; we're the same age, our kids are the same age, and we have husbands who love us in spite of the things we might say in a mood. I met her through blogging; we shared a hotel at a conference in NYC 2 summers ago, meeting for the first time in the lobby. She came to visit my family, we visited hers last summer. Laura had two children in that school on Friday. It still doesn't seem real.

Laura doesn't blog anymore, I like to think she doesn't need to; or that she's got a fabulous book that she's working on that takes up all her time. I don't blog much anymore either, so we've kind of fallen out of contact. I'm very glad to say, though, that she answered my text within minutes last week, assuring me that her children were safe and in her care. That is NOT to say that they hadn't seen things that no child - or anyone, for that matter - should ever see. My heart aches for that entire town, but most especially for the family that I've come to know and love - I can't imagine having to live through a situation like this.

When things are uncertain in our life, Matt has often heard me say 'Everything works out the way it's supposed to, things happen for a reason.' I would like someone to point out to me what possible reason there could be for what happened on Friday.  Various groups will use this incident to further their own agendas - gun control/we should all carry guns/better health care for the mentally ill/lock up all the mentally ill. I have no idea what the answer is - I don't know that there is an answer. Humans  being human, we've done horrible things to each other since the beginning of time. Right now, all I know is that if I think about it for too long, I start to cry - and I'm so grateful to the teachers and administrators who did what they could to protect the children in their care.

None of us knows what is waiting for us around the corner - we make plans to the best of our ability and then something nudges us off our path or spins us around so we have no idea which direction to head. Am I now thinking about the schools my kids go to, and what security measures or lack there-of are in place? Absolutely - my first thought when I walked into our brand new high school two weeks ago was , wow - the cafeteria is right up front by the main entrance and completely open, what if a nut-job walks in with a gun? - but off to school they will go, with an extra tight hug, a big kiss, and a fierce "I love you!". I don't know what else to say, other than that I am heartbroken for the families grieving the loss of their children right now, and for my friends and the other families who have to journey through this awfulness. Pray for them with me.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Are you there blog? It's me, Jen....

Can someone please tell me where the end of October went? And the month of November? Jason informed me today that it's December 2nd - because of all the kids, he's the one keeping track - and I had a bit of a panic attack. How did I lose a whole month? I mean, I remember going through it all & doing all the daily things, but I'm just sort of baffled that we are just over 3 weeks from Christmas. Usually by now I have some shopping done, gifts on order, lists made, and a pretty clear idea of what December will entail. This year? I'm flying by the seat of my pants. One day at a time, here folks. The kids want to know when we're making ginger bread houses, when we're going ice skating, when we're doing this/that/the other. I want to know when they are going to help me?? :) Overwhelmed much? Yes, that's me. There are other things playing into my distraction, but overall I'm feeling untethered, like I'm floating above it all while going through the motions. Don't be surprised if I don't send you a Christmas card this year.

So in the last 45 days or so, Evie turned 11, I turned something-or-other, and Jason turned 5. Pictures to come, hopefully soon. What else - I finished up a class I started back in September, Evie tried out for and was selected for District Chorus, and William of all people lost 5 points on a math test for TALKING. That is so unlike him, it really sticks in my mind :)

William accused me of being Santa, which Evie promptly told him was ridiculous; Jason, while watching the Avengers, told us he knew the Hulk was going to appear 'because I saw it on my underwear'; Sarah, ever the prolific writer, is using her new-found reading skills to use up all my paper and staples make books about various subjects. A born author, that one :) They're all growing so big, so fast, I want to hug them close to me and have a good cry - time flies. Jason goes to Kindergarten next fall, and Evie will graduate in just 7 years. How is that possible?

Things are busy, things are crazy, and things are somewhat up in the air, but the kids are happy and healthy, and so are mom and dad, so all is good in our bubble at this time. That said, I'll leave you with pictures from our Halloween celebration, taken by our very good friend, Cheryl. She's awesome. And she takes awesome pictures! If you're local, you can find her at http://ccfphotography.com

For the record: Evie was Katniss, I was Effie Trinket (NOT Marylin Monroe!) and Matt was Bane, from the Dark Knight Rises. We're not sure anyone saw the movie, because no one seemed to know who he was...







Merry Halloween???

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Harried Happenings -is there ever a dull moment?

Matt's out with a friend, all the kids are in bed (I think) and I'm ignoring the mountain of laundry on my bed. It's all good, right? I've been jotting notes down for days about things I needed to post here before I forget them - because while I do love to share a fabulous project or room re-do, mostly I just talk and/or complain about my kids here. usually after having some wine. :D that's all good too, right? So without further ado, and probably a fair amount of rambling, here we go:

William turned 9 back in August, right after school started. William is still a turkey a good bit of the time.
Last Monday I went to wake William up for school & found him playing Minecraft on his iPad at about 7:15am. I took it from him & asked him to get dressed & ready for school. There was a good bit of angst from him, but that's not out of the ordinary. At 8am, after sending him up to brush his teeth 20 minutes ago, I found him asleep in bed. ?!?!?!?!?!?! I dragged him out of bed, and off to school. At 9:50 the school called - William had fallen asleep in reading class & they didn't know what was wrong with him - um, I do! After a little discussion, it was decided that I would bring him home. He slept from 10:30 am until 2pm, when I woke up him up again. I had a class to go to that evening, so Matt had a discussion with William at bedtime where it came out that William had been up all night, playing Minecraft on his iPad. ALL.NIGHT. I have no idea how he did that without falling asleep, but he's lost use of his iPad until November 15.
 This morning I found William asleep in the chair in the basement in front of the PC the kids use. He'd been watching YouTube videos of people playing Minecraft. Needless to say, YouTube is now blocked from that computer. William went to school after a good breakfast and a cup of coffee.
William had an awesome backyard party with friends :)
Sarah turned 6 last week - how is that possible? - and had her very first birthday party with friends!
We were hoping to watch Tangled outside, but the weather was breezy & kind of iffy, so we ended up watching it inside, which might have been a bit of a mistake. WOW, seven 6 year old girls can be wild. At least one some of them, anyway ;) But seriously - how did my baby girl get to be SIX????

Evie has turned into a bit of an entrepreneur - she's making 'Fortune Pets' for kids at school and selling them for a dime. At least, the basic ones are a dime. Limited edition (?!?) ones cost a bit more. She's making customized paper 'fortune tellers' hand drawn as different animals - dragons, zebras, elephants, what-have-you - to order for her friends at school. I'm kind of blown away by this - one, because I find her to be incredibly creative and talented, and two, that she's selling them. I'm wondering if this is ok with other parents? The school? Go Evie!!

I know I'd pay a dime to my friend for one of these :) After school today she was a bit stressed because she had 16 'orders' to fill......

And I'm fairly certain that there is no cat in all the land that is loved more than Sweetie. Especially by Jason. The two of them have become fast friends. I think Sweetie sees Jason as a partner in crime.
He drags that poor cat all over the house, and isn't exactly gentle about picking her up and hauling her around. She doesn't seem to mind though, and actually seems to look forward to playing with him. I opened the door to the boys' room Tuesday morning to wake them up for school & Sweetie hopped into Jason's bed, licked his cheek, and then curled up & started purring. Other than the times she wakes me up at 5:30am, I'm really glad we got a cat :)
I'm sure there are a thousand other things I could mention - one of them being how much I love my new Kindle Paperwhite, my early birthday gift from Matt! (they finally made one that didn't need a light, and I'm amazed at how lost you really do get in reading it!) - but things are a bit crazier here than normal, with 5 birthdays in 2-1/2 months on top of Halloween, and some other unusual things piled on. I'll just keep jotting things down on sticky notes & hopefully get to them at some point. Right after I post pictures of our last two beach vacations.....time to get more wine. And fold all that laundry....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Camping We Will Go (or went, I guess...)

Can you believe it? We went camping this weekend!!!! In my mind, our tent was just like this:
Ranger Safaris - Tanzania

Reality was a bit different....
 Home sweet home for two sleeps
In fairness, however, we've only done this once before - for one night - so I'm pretty excited over the fact that our family of six spent two nights outdoors in one tent, without any electronic distractions. Granted, we did forget to pack our camp chairs - again - but it didn't really matter because 1) our camp site was under a bunch of oak trees that were raining down acorns - and the occasional maggot, I'm not sure what that was about - , making it not-so-great to sit around a fire and 2) Saturday night it was really windy and cold so you didn't really want to be outside anyway. And I fell asleep at 9:30 while Matt told ghost stories to the kids....

We did have a fair amount of fun family time - William was so excited to have his favorite breakfast, cooked oatmeal - which I do make all the time, I'm not sure why he thought this was such a big deal....
William and the biggest walking stick ever
Sarah, surprisingly loves camping and didn't complain one bit - which sort of amazes me, because she can be pretty particular about some things, and is a bit of a girly-girl....
Evie is totally in her element in the woods - we went to the Nature Center at the campground for a few special events, and I could totally see Evie being a Naturalist in a state park someday....
Evie finds a beaver house
We walked around the lake, William proved to be an expert at skipping rocks (I was lucky if I could get a rock to skip twice, let alone his record of seven....)
We tie-died some shirts and fed some snakes at the nature center, and we did our best to keep William, Sarah and Jason from setting the woods on fire - or our tent, for that matter.
We brought some board games along, and yes - Jason was actually with us too, although he took a 3 hour nap on Saturday....

And yes, Matt and I were there too - we took pictures to prove it :)

So a year after our first attempt at car camping, we have successfully completed a second attempt, and I daresay the kids are ready for more.I don't see that happening until the spring though, as we roll into October and all the fall fun that follows - Halloween is a big deal here, you know. But I've made some notes for next time (more lanterns, candles, rugs and furnishings HA!), and I think we're all looking forward to going again. I'm only hoping to avoid 30 mph wind gusts and low temps of 44 degrees next time :D

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