Saturday, September 29

What a week!

OK - so we knew that my returning to work after 5+ years would be an enormous adjustment. But, seriously, this week was NUTS!! Aside from the expected adjustments and normal disruptions, we were hit with several unanticipated anomalies that sent us into a bit of tailspin.

The Summary:
  • A fender bender and insurance fraud,
  • a once-in-a-decade crisis at the office,
  • two very sick kids,
  • and a trip to the emergency room.
The Details:

First, I BUMPED into another car's fender at the end of my very 1st day on the job. This wouldn't have been so bad had the other driver not decided to commit insurance fraud and claim that my little bump caused almost $2,000 damage to her bumper and trunk lid! So now I'm in the middle of an investigation with HER insurance company on my side of things. (Ooohhh - she's in trouble!)

The next crisis was work related. K was in the midst of a major PR/member issue involving media, the law, and the public. Because I'm new I did little more than observe from the sidelines. It got a little nuts and my first week was anything but normal as my boss and the executives worked to address the issues, deal with the media and potential legal issues. It was an impressive show of team work and tenacity that, in the end, paid off.

& most important and worrisome of all. My babies. Both Rachel and Alex came down with a VERY nasty cold. Dave stayed home with Ray-Ray on Tuesday and 1/2 day on Friday. But Saturday night I found myself rushing off to the emergency room with our youngest. She was alternating between the chills and fevers as high as 104.7. It was a long and scary night. Diagnosis? Rachel had developed a minor case of pneumonia and Alex 'suffered' with a raging ear infection. (I swear that child has no nerve endings in her ears!)

Well - both girls are on the mend and life is starting to return to "normal." Whatever that is. We're hoping for, and looking forward to settling into a new routine - one that is lot less intense than this past week.


Friday, September 28

Wednesday, September 26

Mommy's Angel

There are little things that happen in my life as a mom that make my heart swell with pride, and days when I'd swear that I have a guardian angel who gives me a little pat on the back when I need it most. Yesterday was one of those days.

After a very rough start to the day, I decided to take Alex out for a little one-on-one, special Mommy time. She was THRILLED! There is nothing grander for my oldest than 100% Mommy time. No divisions of attention with her little sister, Daddy, the computer, the phone or anything else. Just Alex and Mommy.

We went to dinner and she got to order 'anything' she wanted, play cards with Mommy while we waited for food, and share a bit from Mommy's plate before going to Starbucks for a desert of hot cocoa and a last game of Fish.

During dinner a grandfatherly man stopped by our table as he was leaving the restaurant. He looked at Alex and told her, "I love to see little girls who are such good little girls and act so nice for their mommy."

"May I give her a dollar?" he said as he handed her a bill. Her grin stretched from ear to ear as we both thanked him.

WOW! I hugged her and loved her up with so much pride I thought I'd burst.

But my guardian angel must have been watching this morning as Alex and I struggled with the enormous change in our lives. She must have known that I was struggling with what it means to be a 'good mom' and a 'working' mom simultaneously. Could I really be both??

Just as we were getting up to leave, a woman about my age walked over to our table and handed me a note. Smiling, she said, "This is for you," and walked away.

"Uh?" and I opened the note.

Teary eyed, I gave Alex a huge hug. Confident that being a working mom and a good mom aren't mutually exclusive.

Thanks Guardian Angel. You always seem to know exactly what I need.


Tuesday, September 25

The World Can Wait


It had to happen, I guess. The day when my oldest refused to let go of her strangle hold around my neck as she sobbed, "Don't go Mommy. I don't want you to go," sniff, sob, sniff. "PLEASE! Don't go..."

My heart was aching for her, my guilt at choosing to go back to work was rising, thick in my throat. Impatience or hurrying off to work weren't options. In that moment the reality of it all became very clear to me. Yes, I made this choice. And, yes, my choice is impacting my family.

But it is the right choice.

I will help her adjust and there is nothing more important to me than my children. Not this choice nor this job and I will take the time and patience to reassure and comfort her through this enormous change.

The job can wait - I can be late. This moment counts, I realized. Slow down and focus 100% on her and help make this moment a memorable, loving one. Not a forced confrontation, showdown or ditch and run.

Somehow I did it. I held it together and focused on her - not on my self-indulgent guilt or desire to put a quick end to a public outcry. I focused on her angst, confusion, frustration and sense of loss caused by this huge shift in her life. It would have been easier, in the short run, to ditch and run but it wouldn't have been fair or helpful.

And the moment came to a soft conclusion and I know she understood that I understood her, heard her and love her. She understood that, while this is tough, school is something that she has to do and I was able to leave once she was calm, as she cuddled Anna and 'read' a story to her sister.

She listened. She believed. She knows that I love her and will always be there for her. I will take the time - I will make things right. When she needs me I will ask the rest of the world to wait - and she knows that.


Wednesday, September 19

36 Hours Turns into 18...,

Our camping trip started out like most - a long drive, too much time setting up and getting settled in, followed by dinner and the traditional (and super yummy) smores ritual.

(So yummy!)

And this next photo may give you some idea about why our camping trip was cut short. Mommy and Daddy didn't sleep too well.

(Lucky Mom had custody of the camera .
So the only evidence is this photo of DH.)

The girls, on the other hand, slept pretty soundly in between Rachel's random disturbances.

And after Rachel continually jolted us out of sleep throughout the night, Alex awoke at her usual 6(!#&%*#)AM. Bright eyed and raring to go while our little sweet Rachel just kept on sleeping.

(If she weren't so cute I would have been tempted to ring her little neck.)

Instead, we decided to pack it up and try again another day when mommy and Daddy were a little more rested (read: patient).


The Magical Kingdom



Papa Bear



Sunday, September 16

Crazy Days and Monday


True to our goal of treating the girls to a few 'extras' during my last few weeks as a stay at home mom (SAHM), we've crammed in an amazing array of activities during the past 10 days.

First, a trip to Oregon to visit Papa and friends. DH was on a business trip to D.C., so I took the girls on a short trip up north to spend time with a paternal grandpa (Papa) and his family, and visit with Mommy's old friend, Nick Novotny.

Papa treated the girls to 'cousin' Sammy, a beautiful little girl about Rachel's age, a trout and salmon farm that just enthralled them and, the biggest treat of all, he 'taught' them to fish. In reality, we went to a cool little trout farm where the kids tossed a hooked worm into a little pond which was immediately ambushed by 50 starving fish! The girls LOVED it. Rachel was a bit nervous when the fish started "wigglin-gigglin" as they came out of the water -- but she loved the catchin' and the cleanin' part.

Next, the girls' first trip to the Magical Kingdom of Disney. There is nothing greater in the life of a mom or dad than to witness your child almost explode with excitement as they watch a Disney parade for the first time. The purity of their happiness and joy is awe inspiring and brought tears to my eyes. It was truly magical.

Then a three day camping trip that lasted all of 18 hours. Again, this was a first for us as a family and we learned A LOT in that short 18 hours. Mostly about what NOT to do the next time we attempt a camping trip with two preschoolers.
Such as;
  • Don't drive two hours when there are perfectly good spots MUCH closer.
  • Don't spend the 1st two hours at the site setting up while your two kids, who have just been strapped in car for hours, explode with boredom and drive you insane!
  • Pick a camp site that offers activities for the kids, like swimming, fishing, and horse back riding. Nature for nature's sake can be lost on 3 & 4 year olds after about 20 minutes.
  • And, if it's not working - pack it up, go home and try again another day. Thankfully, we new better than to try and force it and it all ended well. I think Ollie had the most fun of all.

Lastly, we went to the WA Park for a day of a bit more relaxed fun. Although we've been to the park countless times, the girls never tire of seeing the animals and watching the shows.

And now my time as a SAHM comes to an end. Tomorrow, Monday, I will return to the world of suits, commutes, deadlines and take out lunches. I am excited and nervous about jump-starting my brain back into professional mode, while I'm also sad to be leaving the 24/7 life with my girls.

It's funny, as a SAHM, I've heard so many people say that I had the hardest job there is. I'm not sure I ever really, completely believed it. A part of me always thought that this is something people say to SAHM's to make them feel better about the choices and perceived sacrifices they've made. But after having my kids in preschool and after school care during this last month, I realize now, after just a few short weeks apart from it, how challenging it has been to be with kids 24/7.

I also realize that there is NOTHING I would change about these past five years home with my girls. It is the greatest gift I've ever been given. Most people tell me how lucky my girls were to have a mom that was able to stay home. But I was the lucky one. Fortunate to have had this time with Alex and Rachel and to experience all their milestones, bumps, bruises, uncontrolled laughter, unbounded enthusiasm and wonder as they discovered the world around them. I know in my heart that I stayed home as much for me as for them. I have been blessed and I will always treasure this time I had with them - our little threesome learning about the world and about each other.


PS: I have some fun pics of all our recent fun and will post ASAP


Tuesday, September 4

Teaching Our Children...,

About Prejudice

There is no one better than you.
There is no one less than you.
Everyone is different from you.
Different is a good thing.
Different is beautiful.

If we were all the same,
our world would be a very
boring place.

All the same size,
all the same shape,
all the same color,
all the same language.


No texture,
no flavor,
no variety.

Yes, if we were all the same,
our world would be a very
boring place.

Celebrate the differences.


Monday, September 3

Vintage Preschooler

"Mom," Alex says in her littlest girl voice. "You're beautiful."

"Awe. How swee..."


DOH! Deflated by a 4 year old!