The Past Does Not Always Indicate Future

Something about my personality I have noticed as my children grow up is that milestones in their lives become times that I reflect on my own life at those ages and what was going on. It’s often a source of anger or sadness and sometimes longing for what should have been.

As my children approach the age of 8, it seems that is the time they ask why they have three sets of grandparents. My own parents separated when I was 7 or 8 and the divorce was final when I was in the third grade. Whenever I explain that my parents were divorced, my children ask the inevitable questions about “why” and “did that make you sad, Mommy?” Of course, they often have asked if that would happen in our family. It’s a heartbreaking question to entertain. And I hate that I even have to qualify my response. Because the truth of the matter is that both of my parents assured me when I was in the first grade that a divorce would never happen. That turned out to be a big fat lie. So, when I answer the kids, it is usually goes something like this: “Your dad and I intend to stay married. I think everyone intends to stay married. You just never know how things will pan out. My own parents didn’t set out to get divorced, but they still did in the end. So, just know that no matter what, your dad and I are always going to try as hard as we can to do the best we can to keep our family together and safe.”

Sarah is the only child of mine that has reached the age that I have explained more about the divorce and how my life was impacted. Things like the fact that my dad lived many states away and that our situation did not include me getting to see my dad on Tuesday-Wednesday and every other weekend, the way other people’s arrangements always seemed to work out. Every now and then, Sarah will ask me, “Did you do X, Y, Z (insert any regular old teen-girl pastime here like looking at prom dresses and shoes) when you were my age?” And usually it is something I never did. Because my life was nothing like hers.

I see the amount of organization that goes into keeping Sarah’s high school life on track — all on her, by the way — and the ONLY reason she is able to think about everything she needs to do to keep her path going toward her goals is because she doesn’t have to worry about feeding younger siblings dinner and ensuring they all get to bed on time. She doesn’t have to worry about whether she will get to her volleyball tournaments on the weekend without asking for a ride. She is able to rely on me providing her time and space to study in the evenings or getting her to the extra study sessions on the weekends that one of her teachers provides. While Sarah is aware that anything considered “extra” (some makeup items, brand-name clothing, outings with friends) will come out of her own money she has saved/earned, she can feel confident to know her necessities will be purchased and provided to her by her parents. She takes the time to attend Life Teen at our parish and also the young women’s group that meets on Wednesday evenings. This provides her very regular and routine opportunities for confession and prayer and another adult female role model (the youth ministry leader at our parish) from whom to learn and receive encouragement. All of this is possible because she has an intact family at home, both parents committed to providing her the time, space and means to have an academic, social and spiritual life that keeps her headed toward her goals.

I’m keenly aware nowadays, of how extremely neglected I was as a high school girl. Even typing that, I feel as though I must be ungrateful and complaining. But no! Seriously, a girl should be able to count on having her parents maintain a stable environment at home that she can count on. I did not have that. I didn’t have anyone following up on my school work. I was on my own for too much time. While I helped ensure my younger siblings didn’t starve, I can look back and see that for the most part, we were all on our own. College applications? Pshaw! right! I am pretty sure I didn’t apply anywhere during my senior year. I only entered college the fall after I graduated high school because I was loopholed in as a resident of Kansas and my dad was still active duty military (living on the east coast) and claimed me as a dependent. Even then, it’s a minor miracle because Board of Regents universities in Kansas HAD to accept residents into their programs (at least that is how it was explained to me). None of this takes into account the ways I was getting the attention I needed — you know, the bad kind. Without a father in the home to give me the affection teenage girls need from their dads, I was searching for affirmation of my worth in not-so-good ways.

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This is me in high school (1992)

I have spent most of my life “getting over” the fact that things were hard. I forgave my parents (what choice do I have?) I forged on with regard to sports because I have a competitive spirit and I could lose myself in the contest. I refused to waste time thinking about the mistakes I had made and chose to simply move forward trying to make fewer mistakes and justifying the ones I made after that.

But the truth of the matter is that a high school girl has so much “hot mess” going on inside that adding all those other things to the mix made for a perfect storm. I shouldn’t have had to “get over” growing up without my dad. I shouldn’t have had to “get over” dealing with a neglectful mom who was emotionally abusive when she was not being neglectful. I shouldn’t have had to navigate high school all by myself without any support from a parent. You see, while I don’t do any of the work for Sarah, she has both of her parents available to bounce ideas and thoughts off of. If she has a question, she can trust that we’ll help her find the answer. When she needs to be somewhere, while it’s her “job” to take the initiative to communicate her needs, she can rely on both of us to help her get where she needs to be. And in the process, she can count on us to teach her what she needs to know so that when the time comes, she will be able to do it for herself.

When I think about the time and effort I spend educating and helping Sarah with logistics, I can’t help but feel cheated all over again for the things I didn’t get. It’s so weird. Every now and then, I feel like I need to have a little pity party for one and vent to myself. I think about the relationships I see between my dad and my siblings that lived with him for their high school years. I recall how lost I was in high school. But what’s really sad is I was so freaking lost that I thought I knew what I was doing! To remember how completely clueless I was about so many things back then, sometimes makes me angry! But it always provides me the resolve I need to ensure I never leave my kids hanging.

Obviously, my experiences are what made me the person I am today. Perhaps if I hadn’t had the experiences I did, I would not be so keen and sensitive to what I think my children need from me. It’s almost as though I am hyper-aware of being able to provide a stable home environment for them. Because I can look back and see what was lacking in the areas of emotional support and familial stability, I am able to work with Craig to ensure we do not lack in those areas.

I know the world is different now than it was in 1992. There seems to be a lot of pressures on kids in high school that I don’t recall there being when i was there. But often, I wonder if that was my experience because I didn’t have anyone to help me be aware of those pressures. Interestingly enough, I found the program from “Awards Night” at my high school for my senior year and my name was listed among the “academically fit.” I’m not sure how that happened because I recall “sweating it out” whether I would pass a couple of classes to graduate. (I had a VERY rough senior year in many ways.)

While I would have loved to change the economic background from which I came, I do think the fact that I never had any real money to speak of has helped me to accept that doing everything financially for my kids is not a requirement for them to have successful upbringing. It’s true that Craig and I are able to provide things for our children that I could have never even dreamed about when I was a kid. But, we’re not able to provide what many of their friends receive financially (for example, we will not be able to foot the college bill for our children). However, the lessons I had to learn all on my own about managing money — making it, saving it, spending it — have helped me get Sarah going on the right path. She doesn’t have a lot, but she understands the value of what she does have.

In the end, I often use my own experience as a way to help me understand my path with my own family. The example of my own upbringing is not an ideal one. Being aware of that has made all the difference with how we do things with our kids. I guess that’s the way it works for everyone — we all decide on things that we will “never do like our parents did” and those things that we hope we can do “just like our parents did.” Many times research indicates that what a child grows up with is what s/he perpetuates going forward into adulthood. There are some things in my life where I would agree with that, but thankfully in some of the really important things, it is not the case.

The First Day

Today is Wednesday and that is now the weigh-in day for our At-Work meetings with Weight Watchers. I chose today as my “new beginning” and requested a completely new weight record. I’ve been attending meetings since mid-November, but haven’t found the fortitude to stick with my plans until now. And since I am now re-committing and re-energized toward this goal, I wanted a completely fresh start.

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I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t all that happy with my weight today. I didn’t expect to be, but I think somewhere in my heart of hearts, I truly hoped I was lighter than I feared. That was not the case. And, because I am committed to full disclosure and accountability here, I’m just going to take a deep breath and type my starting weight.

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Ugh, it never gets any less painful to realize I let myself gain weight. Sigh.

In the meeting today, one of the flipcharts read:

Eating better got easier when “I can’t have that” turned into “I don’t want that.”

I get the sentiment, but I don’t know if this will ever be true for me. I mean, I think I am always going to enjoy food that is probably not the healthiest for me. And, I think that on some level, I’m going to justify eating or overeating or whatever you want to call it, at various times in my life. What I think I need to get a handle on is exactly how to live my life in a healthy state without going whole-hog on the less healthy options. How to be satisfied with just a little bit.

When I was successful losing weight before, I followed Weight Watchers Points Plus program and now it’s Smart Points. The Smart Points takes into account the nutritional value of food in a much more common sense way. Protein is valued over sugar and carbs and fruits and vegetables and “real food” is much better than the processed stuff and that is reflected in the point values. What I think worked for me before and I expect to work for me this time is that I can mess around with the points values and decide what I want to eat and avoid feeling deprived.

In the year or two since I was at my goal, I have tried a couple of other programs to try and lose weight quickly and i would lose weight quickly — but I would cut something completely out of my diet. I tried a Whole 30, and I WAS feeling good and noticing the difference in my mid-section without any sugar or processed sugar or artificial sugar and only ingesting protein and vegetables. But I was hating life. I’m not kidding. Hating. Life. So I just said, “Eff it” and had myself a diet coke and a donut. And it probably would have been fine if it had just stopped there, but….it didn’t.

I wish I had a hundred dollars for every time I went through that cycle in my life…

During the meeting our leader asked us what was one small change we could make this week. Well, I had already made one change that I knew I would make when I decided to start blogging again. Besides the accountability with blogging that made me successful before, I had asked Craig to hide our bathroom scale and committed to only weighing at weekly meetings. So this morning, I sent Craig a message and asked him to hide the scale again. The only place I will step on the scale will be at meetings.

Avoiding the scale between meetings helps me make choices on their own merit. I had this habit of thinking, “Hmmm,, I’ve been good for a couple of days, I wonder what my weight is.” and getting on the scale. Whatever I saw seemed to impact my choices that day and the coming days. If it was down, I would think, “Oh! I’ve done well, I’ll have that third piece of pizza!” or if it was up, ,I would think, “Ugh, I was being good and I still don’t see the scale budge, I might as well eat a donut!” It was a HUGE positive thing not to have the scale in my bathroom my last time through weight loss. So, now I will no longer see a bathroom scale this time around either.

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My other commitment is that I will track everything. Every. Thing. Tracking my food is my biggest key to success. I need to be accountable to myself, and remember that just because I didn’t track it doesn’t mean I didn’t eat it.This photo shows that of my 36 daily points, I used them all plus 1 of my weekly points. And, I am done for today. I came here to write and then I am watching movies with my kids. And I’ll shower and go to bed and it will all be ok.

I did get my workout in today. And I had the opportunity to work on pull-ups. Some of you may remember when I actually got pull-ups the first time. But of course, with my lapse in healthy choices, etc., I lost my ability. But I recently regained it and I am very excited about that. 🙂 I also got up to 135 pounds on our weightlifting complex today (Clean/Power Clean/Jerk).

I have begun (again). It’s just day one and I know I won’t be perfect every day. But I am at least committed to trying every day: tracking, making healthy, positive choices and owning up any time I fall short.

 

Find The Courage To Begin (Again)

How to start….well, I just have to start.

I’m going to be blogging a bit more regularly. The past couple of years have seen me take extended breaks. I’ve wondered what it is that’s kept me away and I’ve decided it’s been a number of things.

  1. Job changes and schedule changes and life changes caused me to lose my newfound confidence and commitment to my health and I gained weight again. Even though I remained active, I did not maintain my commitment to mindfulness with my eating habits. Of course, the spiral was complete with emotional eating, stress eating and just simply … eating.
  2. The landscape of our world is scary. I mean that politically speaking but I also mean that in a “oh-my-gosh-my-kids-are-going-to-be-adults-soon and…What the actual F—?.
  3. I lost my voice — whatever voice I thought I had. We made some changes in our family that I wasn’t comfortable discussing publicly on the blog. I’m not sure I’m 100% ready for that now, but I’m getting there.
  4. I lost the feeling of connected-ness I had once felt within the blogging community. Some of my favorite blogs went underground. Others morphed more into video or radio programming. And honestly, I simply didn’t have time anymore.

So here I am now. What’s the difference?

To be honest with you, I’m not sure there is all that much that is different right this moment. I’m overweight and find myself trying to re-commit to my healthy eating habits and drop this 30-35 pounds I put back on, so I am looking for an accountability outlet. I doubt I have much to say politically speaking because too much that is out there is far too angry (and honestly, seems completely irrational) for me to try to be a part of anyway. The changes we’ve made within our family are public and I am finally figuring out how to speak about them in a way that pleases me and honors the work my husband and I did in making them. I’m not sure I will feel as connected as I once did in the online community, but I’m going to try.

When I went back to Weight Watchers in the fall of 2013 and stayed committed through the next 8-10 months, I remember my weekly update blog posts being a huge source of support for me. Many encouraging words were written in my comment section and I received e-mails and text messages that kept me motivated throughout the process.

I’m not going to lie, I’m embarrassed to be in the situation where I need to lose 35 pounds again. It is difficult not to feel like a fraud and a failure. But at the same time, the rational part of my brain keeps me informed that life is messy and sometimes that means we mess up the things we worked so hard for. And it’s okay. Finding the courage to begin (again) has always been worth it before and if this accountability outlet was so helpful before, it can be again.

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So this is me these days…

Perhaps with regular writing on my return to a healthy weight and healthy lifestyle, I can find my voice again with regard to other things that are important to me, like raising my kids, working outside the home and balancing marriage and family amidst everything else that goes crazy with five growing children.

I hope if anyone out there is still reading this blog when a post pops up, that you’ll join me for this journey once more. I can’t promise I’ll be witty or charming, but I can say that my emotional health is quite a bit better than it was a couple of years ago and I think it gets a bit better every day. I’d like to share things like recipes, weight loss strategies and life hacks that seem to work as I chip away little by little at this weight loss thing. I’d love it if you’d share with me as well.

If you have stumbled upon this blog and this is the first post you have ever read, I welcome you to join me again and let’s get to know one another. I love to meet new people, experience new things and learn from those who think differently than I do. While I don’t anticipate much of what I write to be all that controversial, I can tell you that every now and then I get feisty and something opinionated comes out on my blog and I stress about who will hate me for writing it.

If you remember me from the days of Natural Family Planning posts every day during NFP awareness week or from my discernment on family size days, or the grief-filled months following the intra-uterine death of our youngest child, I also welcome you to continue reading. So much from those experiences shapes who I am and how our family has grown, that those topics are sure to surface from time to time. But I also expect that until I get going again, Weight Watchers weekly updates are probably going to be the bulk of what you’ll see here.

Finally, for those of you who were with me a couple of years ago, I still do CrossFit for my fitness activity.

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Here I am in the bottom of an overhead squat

It feels amazing that even as my weight crept back up to the place I swore I would never let it go again, I continued to work hard at lifting weights and trying to accomplish things like pull-ups and push-ups and double-unders and things that I couldn’t do before. Granted, it’s been more difficult at a heavier weight and I look forward to losing the weight and being able to crank out the push-ups again, but I am still amazed at the things my body can do and that I am still strong.

I plan to do a CrossFit competition on a team in May and am considering entering a CrossFit competition as an individual (scaled) this summer, too. I am goal-oriented and need something to work towards. It will be fun to have a place to share my triumphs as well as struggles with CrossFit going forward.

If you’re new (or even if you’re not) leave a comment with your blog (if you’re a blogger) so I can get to know you! And thanks for coming along with me on this journey as I begin (again).

 

Letter to My Third Son

Dear Gregory,

I took today off work. Tomorrow, too. Today is more like my “trauma recovery day” and tomorrow is my “I remember the day I held you day.”

Four years ago during the noon hour on this day I learned that you had died. It was, hands-down, the most horrible moment of my life. Sometimes when I think about it, I wonder why I still shake and almost cry when I think of it, and I can only deduce that it was trauma at the time.

We loved you from the second we knew you were on the way. For some reason I always want to tell you that. It’s like I want you to know how wanted and loved you were from the get-go. We still love you now, of course, but it’s … different. Loving you cannot be physical — I can’t hug you and kiss you like I do your siblings. Loving you cannot be intellectual — I can’t have long in-depth conversations with you like I do with your siblings. Loving you cannot be sensory — I can’t see you and smell you and hear your voice. Over these four years, I’ve often thought about the way I love you still.

I love you with my eyes as they look at my mother’s ring. Every time I see that I have put it on with your birth stone at the bottom, I always flip it so it’s at the top — because I think of you being in Heaven. I love you with my mind every day when the other kids do something cool and I wonder how you would have done that. I love you with my ears when I hear babies cry or I listen to your siblings all playing or talking together (they do that so well — you would have LOVED growing up next to your siblings, they are the coolest people!) I love you with my hands when I pray the Rosary using the one your godparents sent to me on your due date, four months after we lost you.

I love you every second, every minute and every day of my life. I can’t tell you the number of times I think of you every day. “Gregory would be 3, now, and probably driving me nuts!” or “Gregory would be almost 4 and probably getting ready for full day preschool…” or “Gregory would adore his two big brothers — they would have a blast with those cars and the Skylanders.”

So while today is my “trauma recovery day” I dedicated every rep at my workout to your beautiful soul and I am about to go eat lunch with your big brother, Vincent. Thank you for praying for all of us and please keep it up — your mom needs it.

I love you with all my heart.

Mommy

PS: Your big brother, Dominic, asked me to take him to see your resting place today…and since the weather was so nice (70 degrees in February!) I took him. He said some prayers with you. 🙂

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What a whirlwind life is while raising children! The time goes by so quickly and every so often, I stop to take account of where we are and I realize they are growing up so quickly right before my eyes!

I go back to work Tuesday this week and my children go back to school Wednesday. They begin the second semester of the school year. In five short months, Sarah will be halfway through high school. And this summer, we will be embarking on life with a high schooler, two middle schoolers and two elementary kids. When I look at my kids, I see them growing, but my brain still thinks of them as little. Sarah is on the brink of womanhood and yet, I keep thinking, “How can she be much over the age of 8?” Dani is moving quickly through young adolescence and establishing herself firmly in things different from her older sister. I love this, because it shows how unique each of our children is. And it’s exciting to think about the new activities I’ll be entrenched in a couple of years from now (choir, theater…). And Helen is getting better with her cheer and showing me yet another path for raising a daughter — one completely unexpected due to my lack of participation in something like cheerleading. Dominic will receive Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion this spring. He is a lot like his older sister, Sarah, in that  feel as though he has been ready for these Sacraments for ages, he is so mature for his age. As we were discussing receiving the Holy Eucharist recently, his innocent face made wide eyes as he told me how he “cannot wait to be united with the Lord” in this way. What 7-almost-8-year-old talks this way? I love it. Finally, the baby boy, Vincent, is progressing through Kindergarten quite well. He’s quiet, yes. But he is smart and he works hard and wants to do his best. I don’t remember noticing the growth that happens in Kindergarten with the other kids. I have determined that it must be due to the fact that I don’t have any more children behind him that I can pay enough attention to notice!

At the beginning of the school year, Sarah didn’t have a clue as to what she might want to do after high school. She only knew that whatever it was she wanted to do, she needed to get through it without incurring debt. So she started thinking about the options. Recently, she’s become a bit more aware of some options available that will help her in this quest and I am pleased she is considering them. She worked her tail off during the entire semester, which included volleyball (fall sport) and maintained her excellent grade point average and is well on her way to an academic letter for the second year in a row. She also lettered in volleyball this past season, so she received a Letterman Jacket for Christmas. It thrills me to see how much she loves it.

Dani discovered midway through the fall semester a love for Choir and a continued love of performing music. Her school provides the opportunity to switch electives every 9 weeks, so that is why she was introduced to Choir midway through. Her school also allows a switch to “year-long” choir, should a kid find their true love, so she’s now switched her schedule to be a part of choir the remainder of the school year. She tried out for her school’s musical, High School Musical, Junior, and was cast in a couple of different roles. I think that is awesome! She’s very excited. She recently told me that this year’s musical at her school is the VERY FIRST musical the school has ever put on, so this will be a great learning experience for her. It will also keep her preparing to continue in these Fine Arts into High School. It looks like it will be over in time for her to still participate in the swim team in the spring for her school as well, though we are not 100% sure on that yet.

Helen has adjusted very well to her new school. She has been in counseling since last January and I am impressed with her improvement in confidence as well as a reduction in her physical ailments that we figured must have been due to anxiety. She started running this fall and really enjoyed doing that. She also continued to participate in a Cheer Program through the school district that is giving her experience in doing some things that will help her, in the future she hopes, to do cheerleading in high school. Recently, she told me that she thinks the help she has received through counseling and the environment she experiences at school has helped her to be a more outgoing person and that she is happy.  I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see her happy. We weren’t sure what was going on with her when she was suffering so much pain and not knowing the tools to deal with it. When we decided to attack her issues as though she had anxiety and got her some counseling, it made a world of difference for her. Now, she keeps a journal for herself that she can review with her therapist and she and I keep a journal between the two of us. It’s helped our communication and given her an additional outlet if she wants to talk about something that might be too uncomfortable to say out loud. She even bought a journal for Dominic for Christmas so that he “would have a place to write down his feelings.” She is playing basketball and enjoys that as well. She is receiving some extra help on reading at school, but she doesn’t feel like it is a bad thing. She understands she needs the help and therefore commits to it fully.

Dominic is also playing basketball. I am not sure it’s going to be “his thing” — much like any physical sport might be difficult for him — but I am so happy he wanted to try. He and I finished the Harry Potter series about a month ago and he loved the story. He and I are reading the Chronicles of Narnia together now. He continues to do well in school and has made a few new friends, but he also keeps in touch with friends from his old school. I love that they can pick up right where they left off and talk about things like they did when they saw each other each day. Dominic also has determined that after he is an FBI agent, he will be a best-selling author. He is already writing comic books in the mold of Dav Pilkey (the Captain Underpants series is a favorite of his, as is Dog Man). This kid used to hate to try drawing, he would get so frustrated. But now he is trying his hand at new characters and thinking up fun stories! I love that.

Vincent is in Kindergarten and that is enough for now. He tried gymnastics in the summer, and I think he would be good at it, but he lacked the attention span needed to get into it more seriously and the cost didn’t justify his lack of interest. He is reading like a pro! He doesn’t like it much, but he can do it. He really enjoys math and science. So maybe that will be his niche. Honestly, if he could spend every day hanging out with Dominic, that would be his ideal life. Thankfully, Dominic feels the same (most of the time) so they have a good time playing together.

Craig and I keep plugging along. Craig will continue working nights for the foreseeable future. Since that is pretty much what he has always done, it’s not a huge deal, but he does end up missing some things that I know he’d rather not miss. But for really big deals, he can ask for an evening off (like when Sarah was confirmed last spring, for example). I have been back at my new/old job for a couple months and I am happy there. Sometimes it takes doing something else to realize that you were where you were supposed to be. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to return.

I still Crossfit and of course, with the new year, I am focusing yet again on cleaning up my diet and losing weight. Last year was rough on the routine and I didn’t stick to my healthy habits. But I’m committed once again and I know I will get back to my “fighting weight” at some point this year. Sarah does crossfit, too. It’s done wonders for her power, quickness and confidence in volleyball. It’s also given her an outlet to keep working hard. One thing I know is that there is no one out-working my girl. A few may match her, but no one is working harder.

16 Things 2016 Taught Me

Hello! It’s December and I am taking inventory of the growth I have made this year. The only way to know what I need to take on in 2017 is to take stock of where I am now. When I started this blog post, I put the title as “XX Things 2016 Taught Me” and decided I’d jot the things down and wherever I ended up, that would be the number. An additional note is that these are things 2016 taught me about MYSELF, MY MARRIAGE, MY CHILDREN, MY WORK and MY LIFE…way too long of a title, so I left it as “Taught Me.” Also, they are in the order I thought of them, so there’s no rhyme or reason or importance given to the number next to each.

  1. 35 miles per hour is plenty fast enough with your 15-year-old in the driver’s seat.
  2. The world won’t cave in if my children aren’t in Catholic school.
  3. My weight doesn’t define me. I read that quote on a piece of paper lying around Dani’s bed when I was cleaning up after the girls. I love that she tells herself that and it was a cue to me to get my act together on that little bit. I’m forever struggling with how heavy (or not heavy) I am, but nothing changes the fact that I am working to be healthy at whatever weight I happen to be at the time.
  4. Some kids really can’t tie their shoes until well past age 5.
  5. I’m still an early-morning person. I still get up for crazy-early morning workouts. I like the later workouts, but I am far too busy playing mom-taxi in the afternoons and evenings, so the morning it is!
  6. Some kids are ready for more heavy literary material earlier than others. When Sarah read the Harry Potter series, starting in 2nd grade with the first book, she needed a break of about a year or so between books 3 and 4. Dominic and I read the books straight through this year starting in March and finishing recently. It’s true — each kid is different!
  7. Dani and I are quite similar personalities. Much more similar than I thought.
  8. I probably dealt with depression and anxiety as a child all on my own. Helen struggles with some anxiety and has been in counseling for almost a year. The growth has been AMAZING (wonderful therapist!) and she teaches me every day that children absolutely can be incredibly in touch with their feelings and mental state and simply need someone to listen to them and provide help — either directly or through a therapist. Sometimes I look back at the things I went through as a child and I can see that many of the things I did to cope with the voids in my life could have been alleviated if someone had allowed me to talk about things openly.
  9. My marriage needs more work now. When we were having babies every couple of years, we were forced to connect and communicate for the survival of the baby and the kids. I had taken our strong, connected relationship for granted. I have started to realize that not having babies requires us to take the time to cultivate our relationship in a new way. I’m not saying I’ve been good at it — only that I have learned that I need to work on it.
  10. I am not a salesperson. The qualities it takes to be a successful sales person are simply not a strong enough part of my core personality that I could make a living selling anything, even real estate.
  11. It’s okay to take risks, as long as I understand when the game is up. I took a risk delving into real estate for a year. I had a great job that was less risky on the family and financials but had an opportunity that I would have kicked myself forever if I wouldn’t have taken it. It was not the good fit I dreamed it would be. Lucky for me, the people I used to work with still liked me, so I got to go back to the bank. I’m still glad I tried, but I’m really happy that I was able to “go home.”
  12. My siblings are still my best-est friends. A year ago, our whole family came together here in Kansas City — all of my siblings, all of our spouses and children…together. I believe that time together nourished my soul so well that I weathered the storm of my job change and some other things going on with our family much better for having had that time with all of them. I can’t wait for us all to get together again!

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13. I love each of my kids completely differently, and that is okay.

14. The cutoff for Kindergarten works for us. Sarah is a “baby” of her class. Dani is one of the oldest of her class. (Missouri cutoff is August 1 — child must be 5 before August 1 to go to Kindergarten). I toiled over the impending decision for Vincent — do I send him and have him be the youngest or do I hold him and have him be the oldest? I went with my gut and sent him and I am glad I did. He sometimes mentions that he wishes I would have let him wait because he does not like to be the last kid to turn 6. But other than that — he is doing great! It has worked well for us.

15. Our faith sustains us always. There have been some things over the past few years that have caused me to ask God why things happen the way they do. I’ve suffered some setbacks, but also found comfort in my faith when things have been tough.

16. I need to pray more — frequently, with more structure and with more intensity.

 

And here’s to perhaps blogging a bit more frequently in 2017!! Happy New Year!

Blrgh!

It’s been so long that I am not sure what I should write. I’ve toyed with the idea of closing it all up for good. But then, the idea still gnaws at me. So…I don’t do anything.

In all honesty, it’s okay. I’ve been so busy that I don’t have time to write a coherent thought most of the time. I came back to my REader last week and read a recent post by my friend Rebecca at The Road Home. And I had to dash off to get home and pick the kids up from the bus stop, but I told myself, I should send her a text to let her know I had read her post. I can’t remember what great thought I had about it that I would share with her…because the moment passed and I completely spaced it off and now I can only remember that I had wanted to reach out to her to let her know I”d read her post, how proud of her I was for whatever she wrote and let her know I was praying for her and love her.

It’s crazy when life gets like that. I feel like my life is one big ball of spaced out moments. I hear of a friend who has lost a parent and I make a mental note to pick up a card and drop it in the mail to let her know I am thinking of her…but it never happens.

My children began attending public schools this fall. All of them. After much prayer and discernment,  we decided that long-run, that was the way to go for our family now. Sarah was kicking butt in high school and getting the kids going “in the system” ahead of high school seemed like a great way to keep that ball rolling. Couple that feeling with the fact that our school district is phenomenal (the elementary school my children attend was named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School) and the kids have great attitudes about school in general, and I can say we made a wise decision for our family. Of course, we’re still active in the parish and blessed to have that still. It was a difficult decision but one I can say has turned out to be the best one for us.

Our schedules are hectic once school starts. Sarah has volleyball practices and matches/tournaments. And she has a helluva school load with an AP class and honors all the rest. She also likes to see her friends sometimes. Oh yeah, and go to homecoming.

Dani is at the middle school and chose to run cross country. She ran for class president — didn’t win, but met new people and learned new things. She’s getting the hang of some newfound independence and has been cleared to be recommended by me to people for paying babysitting jobs.

 

Helen, Dominic and Vincent are all at the elementary school. Helen gets extra help in reading, which is so critical for her! She had some extra help at home before, but I love that she is able to get some remedial help within the framework of the school day with her teacher. Helen has been impressive with her spelling ability and of course, made some good friends. She is doing cheer as an extra-curricular activity and seems to enjoy it.Dominic is his usual sweet self reading everything in sight, dominating his “mad minute” quizzes, and continuing to kick butt on minecraft or Star Wars video games, LOL. Oh yeah and he is playing flag football and enjoying that, too. Vincent is learning to read! Kindergarten has been very good for him.  I must admit I was worried since he is on the young side, but it’s working out quite well.

With the hectic schedule, we have little time for me to write. I spend most of my “free” evening time reading Harry Potter with Dominic, or walking our dog.

Yup…that’s right, we now have an 8th member of the family — Tardus!

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I’m not quite sure how it happened, but one day the topic came up that we should allow a dog to join the family, and all of a sudden…the perfect pup was available at a local shelter! He is a really good dog and we all love him dearly.

The thought that has been on my heart for about 8 months is that I should start writing chapters to a book I may eventually put together. Of course, if I don’t have time to write here, how would I have time to write that?!?

Well, have a great Wednesday. Will I post another blog after this? Maybe.