What it's all about...

I'm a 39 year old wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt & friend. That should tell you who I'll be writing about most of the time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Huge, Fantastic Change

I can't believe that it's really going to happen, but it's official. Starting in two weeks, Shell will be working days for the first time since our kids were born. She has worked graveyard shifts for so many years and although I am grateful that we had the benefit of being the only two people to have raised our children, I'm so happy that it is changing now. We never had to put the kids in day care and probably wouldn't have had them in preschool if the school we wanted them in didn't test prior to kindergarten admission. They actually only attended about 4 months of preschool and still passed their admission test with flying colors! They've always come home after school and Shell has always been home with them on days off or when they've been home sick.

We've had many discussions over the years about when would be the right time for her to go to days or even swings. These talks didn't go far when we contemplated what to do with the kids during summer and other school breaks. We couldn't afford to put them in any type of after school or daytime programs and we definitely weren't comfortable with them staying home alone or walking home from the bus stop on their own. However, a shift has occurred in these conversations over the last year. Working nights and not getting a full "night" sleep during the day has started taking a toll on Shell and although we've made it work for a long time now, it has never been easy for us to only see each other for a small amount of time during the week. This became very clear when I started school and working part-time. Before those happened a typical week day looked like this: Shell doesn't get off work until 6am and it takes her about 45 minutes to get home (without heavy traffic), so I'd get up and get the kids moving in the morning. She'd get home between 6:45 and 7 and we'd chat as I finished getting ready. I left with the kids to head to the bus at 7:15. Fifteen to thirty minutes is all the time we had in the mornings to connect and catch each other up or discuss what needed to happen that day. On days that the kids didn't have school, we'd have an extra 10-15 minutes before I had to leave for work. She picked the kids up from the bus at 4:45 and I'd get home around 5:30. We'd prepare and eat dinner, help with homework when needed, and watch some TV before she started getting ready for work around 8. I'd even sit in the bathroom most nights and talk to her while she was in the shower just to be able to cover everything before she left at 8:45.

When I started school and working part-time, many of those evenings ceased to exist. When I am working, I head straight there from my day job and don't get home until after she leaves for work. On those days the only time I see her all day is for those 15-30 minutes in the morning. The nights I had class, I'd go right to school from work and wouldn't get home until after 7.

Needless to say, our weekends were our primary opportunity to reconnect with each other, but they were also the days when we went grocery shopping, cleaned the house, did laundry and everything else that needed to be done. Our only two nights a week together were always expected as the nights we would make love, but that didn't always happen. Many times we were just too tired or the stress of the week would take over and there would be some bickering or arguments and in those cases having sex was the last thing we wanted to do. Mostly though, we're just tired. We have learned the hard way that if we let a weekend pass without making love it makes the following week harder to deal with and if we're not careful it often results in arguments and less patience with each other by the end of the week. This leads to a weekend where now we're not so much tired as we don't want to be intimate. It is a vicious cycle that we've fallen into more times than we'd like to admit. All this to say that the prospect of having the opportunity to make love or even just be able to snuggle up and go to sleep together every night instead of just 2 a week is VERY appealing.

When a position opened up in a different department where she works, Shell was hesitant but after we talked about it she applied. The kids will be 13 this summer and although it means that they'll have to walk home from the bus and be home alone when they're not in school, they won't really be alone. They'll have each other. And even though they argue and annoy each other all the time, they do really well when we leave them to run errands or go out to dinner. My parents live very close and Shell's best friend lives pretty close too, plus it only takes me about 15-20 minutes to get home from work. We're still nervous, but know that once we work out the little things it will be so much better for us as a couple and as a result, for us as a family.

Two weeks from today our lives will change in a huge way and I can't wait!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 30

30 Days: Day 30-a picture

This was taken just last weekend. I love us and I love that I have completed this challenge. I started it on March 22 so I'm not sure that I'd call it a complete success, but I did every single one plus a couple of regular posts as well. It's a success in my book. And I've really enjoyed reading everybody else's challenges too. A few of you have started some others that I'm intrigued by, I'm just not sure I should start another one. Let's see... It took me almost 3 months to complete this 30 day challenge so maybe I could make a goal to wrap up a different one in 2 months this time. I'd have it done before school started back up again at least. Maybe...

Day 29

30 Days: Day 29-3 Wishes

I've thought about this one for a few days and although I came up with many things to wish for, I just wasn't sure which 3 to use for this post. World peace, winning the lottery, the end of poverty... where to begin? And in doing so, I put off writing it. So, for the sake of finishing this 30 day challenge, I'm simply going to put 3 things I wish for my life pertaining to today.

My 3 wishes for June 16, 2011:

  1. I wish that this shake-up at work would benefit me in some way. I want to be considered for a position that has just been vacated, but at the moment I don't know if they are even looking at filling the spot or just having those duties absorbed by others. The "others" would probably include me anyway, so if there is any way to increase my salary at the same time it would sure help a lot.

  2. I wish for the weed killer that I sprayed last night to work on my yards and the rocks surrounding them. I'd like a yard full of green grass, not grass and weeds.

  3. I wish that we weren't having spaghetti for dinner tonight. We eat it almost every week and I'm tired of it. I wish it wasn't one of Shell's favorites so that it didn't always show up on the meal list when we grocery shop. I wish it wasn't so cheap to make because then I'd have a reason to veto it.

I guess that last one had more that one wish in it, but they were all related to the same thing. End of this challenge...here I come!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 28

30 Days: Day 28-Something that stresses you out

Money, money, money! Seriously, if it wasn't for money we would be less stressed at least 90% of the time. Just this morning, Shell took the kids for their dental cleanings and was told that our girl will need braces after all. They've been watching her for years to see how her jaw and mouth would move while growing because when she still had her baby teeth it could have gone either way. Our boy was 100% in need of braces, even requiring two rounds to get everything fixed right. But the girl's was dependent on how her permanent teeth grew in and made room and it seems like it didn't go in our favor. She goes for an orthodontic consultation at the end of this month and we'll see what they say. Unless it is imperative that she get braces right away, it may need to wait until the first of the year when we can add more to our FSA account. We didn't see this coming, so didn't plan for it this year. Ai, yi, YI! The stress!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 27

30 Days: Day 27-Pets

Let me just start by saying that I love animals and always have. My mom tells many stories of taking me to petting zoos where I squealed in delight when realizing where we were and then once inside, I'd go from animal to animal and pet each one with a huge smile on my face. And to be honest, I still do that now. :)

As far as pets go, we always had them when I was growing up. Our family pets included lovebirds, a cockatiel, lots of fish, and always dogs. When I was little, we got a Basset Hound who stole my heart and is the main cause for my love of the breed. When she passed away, we got a Chihuahua, rescued an adult Shar-Pei and got a Shar-Pei puppy, all within about 6 months. We are definitely dog people in my family.

As for my own pets, I've had a few over the years. The first that were just mine were mice, which I wrote about here. I snuck a hamster into my house once and kept it hidden in my room for a couple of weeks until it bit my sister. Then I had a parakeet, whose name was Teekarapelam (male parakeet spelled backward) who we called Teek. I watched him die and was completely devastated.

After leaving my parents' house, I lived in apartments and have always felt strongly about not having a dog in an apartment. I'm not a huge fan of little dogs, so I chose to do without. However, when we lived in California we ended up with a cat. My cousin's husband works for a veterinarian and this cat was abandoned in his office. They offered it to us and even though I really wasn't a huge fan of cats, I missed having a pet and the cat was very sweet. Let's just say, I fell in love with her. We named her Kerrigan and she was perfect. She used her litter box religiously, never tried to run out the door, liked to be cuddly and always stayed in the room when someone came over. We were so sad to have to find her another home when we moved to Colorado, but since we were moving in with my parents and they already had two dogs, we couldn't bring her. When we moved to the manager's apartment at the motel Shell worked at, she went with my sister one day to the animal shelter to look at cats. Before they walked in, a woman approached them and asked if they'd be interested in a kitten. Her cat had kittens and she couldn't find homes for the last of them. Shell came home with an orange striped female and we called her Sammi. She was a good cat, but when we moved to my sister's basement, Sammi had to stay down there with us. My sister's cat and Sammi didn't get along unfortunately and even after we moved to our apartment she just seemed irritated all the time. Once the kids came, she was even harder to live with. She would choose to use her litter box sometimes, but would also use piles of laundry, the couch, our bed, and sometimes the couch. It was frustrating and we couldn't explain it, other than figuring that between the time in the basement and then the move and the addition of the kids, she was just mad. When we moved out of our apartment into the house we rented, we chose to surrender her to the no-kill shelter instead of running the risk of her habits continuing or worsening in someone else's house. We hoped that she would be adopted by someone without small children who could give her the attention she deserved and she could feel secure in her surroundings.

We moved to the rental house in May and within a couple of months I was hinting that we could now finally have a dog. Two weeks before Christmas, Shell surprised us with a Basset Hound puppy and that is my Willow. She is tri-colored and was 3 days shy of 8 weeks when we got her. I wanted a puppy, but once we were out of her puppy phase, I knew I'd never do it again. After we bought our house, we registered with the Basset Hound Rescue and that is how we got our Joe. He is red and white and was very skinny and skittish when he first came to us, but he got along great with Willow and we all fell in love with him. They are still great buddies and really so much fun. It's hard to think that they are basically middle aged now because they run through the house and up and down the stairs so often, like puppies would. But they are getting a little more white around their eyes and noses and sometimes it looks like it's not as easy for them to get up after laying down for a long time, like they used to. But they are very loved and we truly enjoy being their pet parents.

Willow and Joe

Day 26

30 Days: Day 26-Picture of your family

An assortment of family pictures through the years. I need to get to work scanning my pictures from when the kids were younger!

1998 (First Christmas)