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Archive for the ‘work/life balance’ Category

Some random pics of the past few months

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I never thought I’d be a boy mom. I took the afternoon off yesterday and was able to take my boys to baseball practice for the first time in a long time. No other parents were there and while I initially felt a bit out of place (all the dads were helping coach), I tried not to let that stop me from enjoying it. They were playing a scrimmage game with each other and boy, was I able to see the personalities of the different boys come into focus, much more than when they play the “real” games. This league is a bit rag tag (fall ball, not our regular league) and there is no equity. Basically, if you get to first base first, you are first baseman. It’s every man for himself, basically. No fairness, no equity, just survival of the fittest. Have to admit, it’s kind of refreshing!!

Our little team was a mish mash of out of the area kids (including us) that no other coaches had picked (again, not our regular league) and we ended up crushing the season. In any case, I sat there on the most glorious fall day of the year so far and watched the interpersonal dynamics, like a fly on the wall. The Coaches are young. Really young. And they’re not into the PC, everyone gets a turn, everyone is equal stuff. For being so young, they are extremely old school in that way.

I never imagined myself as a boy mom. Not in a million years. I’m not into lizards or dirt or Legos and while I’ve had many a baseball loving boyfriend and pretended to be interested, I’ve never been too jazzed about baseball either (unless the Giants are in the series, which happens a lot).

 But when your boy gets up to hit and the opposing team’s coach tells his player to spread out and get back…well, there are no words. And when the coaches and kids play a game of pickup football on Sunday afternoon at a birthday party and the coaches call your son the “star Quarterback” and comment on “what an athlete” he is? Heart.Bursting.with.Pride.  Huge boy mom moment there. Almost as good as the AM/PM Gas Station clerk  tells you that your kids are so awesome and well behaved. (What, my kids?)  

I decided while sitting there that I need to start writing more. Starting today.

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Writing

I cant believe that my last post was in October 2012. That does not seem possible! Much has changed in my life since then, which I probably need to share.

I needed a break as I was just feeling really *over* the whole mom-blog thing. The blog world became so over saturated with it, it jumped the shark, IMO. I never blogged to create a brand or strategic marketing plan. I blogged because I’m a writer and I need to write. Period.

Who knows if I have any followers left?0 I really miss having this writing outlet and want to bring back the simplicity of just good, simple blogging.

Back soon with some updates.

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First day of Kindergarten for the boys, First day of 2nd grade for Sofia

I know that it’s been a very long time since I posted. I don’t have a very good reason for not posting, other than not feeling particularly inspired.

The summer flew by, but lots going on….

Money – The husband and I decided to file for bankruptcy. Not an easy decision, but the one that makes the most sense for us at this point. Obviously things are not great. Clearly. But they could be worse. We’re taking it one day at a time.

Marriage – Status quo. We get along most of the time, but things will never be the same after last year. At least for me.

Job for husband – Currently trying to find work, pretty much anything at this point. So discouraged here. Because we don’t want to pay child care, we’re trying to find something at night or swing shift. One day at a time.

Work – As many of you know, I came to my current place of employment after losing out to the BIG job I originally tried out for in fall of 2009

That BIG job recently opened up again. The person who held the position became very ill and over the course of about a year, it became clear she wasn’t able to come back. I was consistently encouraged by every person in management (my boss included) to apply again for that position. As the BIG BOSS had no Secretary for the better part of a year, he relied on me to help him with a variety of things. I was happy to do so as it gave me an opportunity to show him what I was capable of. Many people did not like him, but he was always very good to me. When he announced his impending retirement, I was disappointed. He had been a cheerleader for me and now, he would be gone. The decision was made that his replacement, THE NEW BIG BOSS, would select a secretary and make the final decision on this job I so desperately wanted.

So old BIG BOSS left, new BIG BOSS came and the process began. I went through the series of interviews and felt really good about everything. I had a letter of recommendation from my current boss (CBO) and the BIG BOSS. I made it to the final two, beating out someone who I considered my main competition. 

I didn’t have much time to revel in that fact as ultimately, I lost out to someone who is in a lower administrative classification than myself. New BIG BOSS chose to go in a different direction, I guess you could say, as my competitor was bilingual.  As I’d been working towards this job since 2010, to say it was a crushing disappointment doesn’t even begin to cover it. I get the bilingual thing, but it hadn’t been a requirement for the job. A Bachelor’s Degree had been, something I did have and my competitor did not.

I simmered through weeks of bitter and angry feelings toward my employer, feeling burned and defeated. It knocked me off my feet for a good 6 weeks and only recently have I begun to see clearly. I’m not perfect, but I’ve consistently performed my job well and risen through the ranks accordingly. This was my first taste of having the door slammed in my face due to politics and ya know what? Not so fun

I definitely feel differently about my job and workplace at this point. While my goal is to eventually find something better (made difficult due to generous total compensation here), at the moment I am focused on the kids. I’ve decided to embrace the fact that I don’t have a high pressure job, count my blessings and be happy that I have a job that is flexible, pays decently, provides wonderful medical coverage for my family and contributes generously to my pension. It’s hard to wrap my head around thinking about my pension, but I guess I’m at that age (20 years out) that I have to start thinking in those terms.

School – We made the very difficult decision to remove Sofia from private school so that all 3 children will attend school together. The boys were starting kindergarten and let’s be honest, we are in no position to be paying tuition. Sofia handled it better than I did. Her main concern? When can we go clothes shopping? They’re all settled in and we’re very happy with the decision. They boys love school and Sofia has a great teacher. I did decide to separate the twins, which I think is best for them but obviously harder on me. It’s a new world for me having to make sure all 3 kids have clothes to wear, 3 lunches to prepare, 3 sets of homework to oversee, etc. I am going to need a separate calendar to keep track of who’s class I am volunteering in and when. The school is moving towards a more minimal homework philosophy (emphasis on reading, reading, reading), so that works in my favor.

Weight – Not good. Not good at all. Not sure what to do about it as my plate is so full. No pun intended. I’m considering joining a gym near my house ($9 per month to go 4 days per week). Need to check it out. Need to get moving. My doctor put me on meds for high BP and I’m not sure they are working. Still having a lot of back pain due to degenerative disc and arthritis, exacerbated by weight, of course. I guess you could say I’m a hot mess.  

Sofia – Seems to be a little better, but still has an explosive temper, anxiety and several phobias. I discussed it with her primary pediatrician over the summer and he spoke to a child psychologist colleague who felt that between the family history (schizophrenia, general mental illness and anxiety disorders) and her behavior, there was more than enough there for an assessment. He gave me some names, but I’ve yet to look into it. I am hesitant to open the can of worms. For the most part, she is a happy, bright and engaged little girl. But she does display a lot of anxiety and an explosive temper. I’m sort of on the fence on what to do about it.

David – He’s a living, breathing cartoon character. Always smiling and trying to make people laugh. He’s like a 5 year old Jim Carrey with all his facial gestures and body movements. I can’t even begin to describe how animated he can be. I call him the “song and dance” man. He still can exhibit a little temper once in a while, but for the most part, is a sweet, extremely affectionate little boy.

William – A dream child. Innately good, he just wants to follow the rules and have things in order. For the most part, he doesn’t complain, picks up when he is supposed to, eats when he’s supposed to, follows directions. He makes things easier for me and thank god one of them does. Quiet and reserved and not overly touchy feely, he’s always thinking. It’s pretty evident he’s going to be a little heartthrob, with his enormous brown eyes, thick shock of hair and beautiful olive skin, but don’t let him hear you say that. If you even whisper that he is cute or handsome, he flips out. One thing William does not like is attention. Negative, positive, doesn’t matter, he doesn’t want it. I guess you could say he is humble. Steve says he will probably be a priest. He’s joking, sort of.

All the kids are now going to catechism. I know that’s not what it’s called anymore, but that is what I call it. They go every other Sunday after mass, so that means I have 3 hours to myself. Talk about a dream come true. It doesn’t get much better.

I think that’s about it for the last 6 months. I’ll probably try to upload some photos and for god sakes, try to post regularly – if there are any readers left!! If you are still out there, please post and let me know.

 

 

 

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So, it’s been a while since I updated this blog. Months. Since I started my blog in 2007, I never thought I’d go this long without an update. Truth be told, 2012 has not been a great year thus far. I’ve spent the past 4-5 months trying to keep my head above water, so not a lot of time or mental fortitude to write anything inspired. But in the end, this blog has been my creative outlet, so I am going to attempt to return to writing, with some regularity, starting today.

So what the *hell* have we been doing the past 5 months? Oh, lots. Let me break.it.down.

The marriage:
Nothing new there. I’m still bitter about last year’s near-indiscretion and not sure I’ll ever get over it. Also quite resentful about the financial situation and carrying the burden of responsibility for our family of five. It’s something I feel the weight of every minute, every second of every day…I can never forget that I have 3 little people depending on me to feed, clothe and love them, keep them safe. I’m not saying I’m doing anything spectacularI know tons of single moms do this and thrive – but I’m not technically a single mom and the resentment I feel for my husband is hard to get past at times. I’m trying. He’s trying. We all are.

Family:
I did finally come clean with my brother about how dire our financial situation is and while I expected him to judge (he has before), he didn’t. Inside he may have been, but he only offered support and love, which was much needed and welcomed. We had a chance to reconnect a bit and that meant the world to me.

My mental health:
It varies. Some days I’m fine, but other days, I am fighting back panic attacks and tears most of the day. Thank god for Klonopin, that’s all I can say.

When it rains, it pours:
A few weeks back, we had both cars give us problems. The van needed front end work, so not drivable on the freeway. The other car wouldn’t start. Got a new battery and still wouldn’t start. It was probably the lowest point of this year for us, by far. I barely had money to buy groceries and here I have 2 cars non-functional at the same time. A co worker drove me to work all week and by the grace of god, a mechanic up the street diagnosed it as an electrical problem and fixed it, free of charge. We still need front end work on the van, but it can be driven around town (Steve doesn’t need to go far now that the kids are out of school) but at least one car works. Last week, our refrigerator stopped keeping food cold. So we are currently keeping all of our food in the freezer. This happened last year and cost $250 to fix. I’m going to try a 48 hour defrost, but haven’t had a chance. Last week, Sofia swallowed a polished quartz stone about the size of a nickel. It has yet to pass through. So, after work, I am going to take her to after care as I won’t be able to rest until I do.

Work:
Where to start? I have tried for several different positions lately and for a variety of reasons involving politics and a cuthroat job market, have not gotten any of them. I’ve come close, but no cigar. There’s one left, so we’ll see. Being involved in such competitive job searches has shaken my confidence a bit. Then again, maybe I’m not meant to leave here. Maybe I’m meant to stay in this position as it offers me flexibility. Maybe the universe knows I can’t handle a high pressure job with 3 small children. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Who knows. I feel like something is keeping me here and pretty soon, will stop fighting it and get on my husband’s ass to do something.

Finances:
Not great, obviously. I am still working on the side for the German, but there have been a few dry spells in there that were scary for me. I have gotten behind on a few things, but somehow always manage to make the payment in the end. People (who know the real deal) comment on how the hell I am doing it on my salary and I have to tell you, I have no idea. I have to go out there and hustle and let me tell you, this is not in my nature – not even close. I would rather stay home and watch Real Housewives repeats. But I am a mama bear and if hustling is what I need to do to put food on the table, this is what I will do. (and by hustle, I mean, actively seek out work, actively seek out new positions, sell myself, etc.)

Sofia:
She is as challenging as ever. In fact, while the boys become less challenging, she becomes more challenging. The past few months have consisted of daily battles, tantrums, oppositional behavior, exhausting everyone in her wake. All that said, since school let out, she is bored, but much more manageable. I think she’s getting more sleep and that’s a huge difference. She does go to bed early during the school year, but I think the getting up early and pressures of school and all that goes with it takes a lot out of her. Who knows, maybe my little princes will become beasts when they start school as well. When she is in her “normal” state of mind, she is the most articulate, engaging, bright and loving little girl you’d ever want to meet. It’s the times when she’s not in her regular state of mind – head spinning around a la Linda Blair, tantruming, screaming, kicking and acting out – that is so concerning. I’ve talked to her pedi, who talked to a child psych and because of my own family history, her anxiety and vomiting phobia (think I’ve mentioned this before), they feel she is symptomatic enough for an evaluation. So, just trying to process that and see how to move forward. One day at a time.

Will:
He is my little prince. Selfless, adorable, loving, smart, creative. Steve likes to joke that he is going to be a priest and I can’t say that I disagree. Whenever I take him out, if he buys something for himself, he always thinks of his brother and sister. Would they think of him in the same way? Probably not. He is the first to clean up, listen to what I say, make his bed, and fall in line. He’s a kind, selfless child and I am so thankful that one of them is like this.

Dave:
David has come a long way in the past year. He burst out of his shell and loves to make people laugh. We joke that he’s a “song and dance” man as he loves to dance around to Michael Jackson and do air guitar. He’s quite petite for his age, so people always laugh when they see him do this stuff. He’s also quite a terror on his bike. He’s been riding w/no training wheels since he was 4, so when people see this little guy who looks 3, tearing it up on his bike, they stare in amazement. It’s awesome! He’s a bundle of energy, but he makes me laugh and smile on a daily basis. He’s always telling me I look pretty, even when I have just woken up (which I can assure you, is not my prettiest moment). He’s truly a doll.

I think that brings us up to speed with how I’ve spent the past 4-5 months. Things are hard, but could be worse. The kids are happy, despite it all. They do ask for things that we can’t afford, and that is hard, but they do seem to “get it” after a while. We had a very generous and kind friend treat us to a Disneyland trip in February, all expenses paid – stayed at the Disneyland hotel. That didn’t suck.

There are no summer camps in our summer, but I’m lucky to have them spending time at home, playing in the yard, their dad at their disposal, just like I did as a kid. I think summer camp is great and god knows, I wish I could send them to some, but I never had camp growing up (and neither did any of my friends) and we managed to get by just fine. It’s going to be ok. My husband may lose his mind, but it’s going to be okay.

The good news, the godmother is taking Sofia and me away this weekend to a resort. I’m a little nervous about leaving the boys (guilt), but am hoping this is a time for relaxation and to put aside my troubles and enjoy a cocktail or two. Or five. We shall see. Sofia has been quite good this week, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

Hopefully, this will be the first of many blog posts to come!

A pictorial history of what we’ve been up to the last 5 months!!

My favorite pic of the kids this year

Sofia teaching Geography

My silly boys at their 5 year old doc appt – complete with boy move hand in pants

Hearing test

Doing what they do

Tee ball

Impromptu trip to Disney in February (treated by friends)

Got SOfia’s haircut for a birthday party

Just another day at the park

Sofia bridging to Brownies

The kids trying to convince me a new kitten is just what we needed in our lives

Sofia being Sofia

Will after buying items for his brother and sister, with his own quarters, after buying something for himself

Sofia flying a kite with her 8th grade buddy on their 1st grade/8th grade end of the year picnic

Will running for base

Playing with the cousins

Sofia’s bowling birthday party

Sofia and her godmother at the park

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Follow up to Speech IEP

Just to follow up on Will’s IEP for speech…

They did a full psychological Eval based on his prior head injury…Long story short he came back as advanced in many areas, def. ready for Kindergarten. They were surprised he’s not in preschool (Kudos to Steve on that for his “home schooling”) and of course, their main preschool teacher, Sprout.

They were not able to use my video language samples for a variety of BS reasons. They did acknowledge he has a stutter, but they could not grade his samples, used the ones he gave at the meetings (where he barely spoke). He scored above average on so many other developmental tests that I’m sure that came into play. They want to reassess in a few months and they said they would definitely see where he’s at in the fall and more than likely, provide services in kindergarten. They said that for now, since he’s unaware of his stutter, not to try and draw attention or correct it.

I wasn’t super surprised. I’m semi irritated that they could not use the video clips, but she did say I can certainly send more as time goes on.

The speech therapist kind of bugged me. The plan is to plan a meeting in a few months to go over strategies within the home. Whenever I hear that phrase, it definitely pushes my buttons. I get ultra defensive, but it’s a sore spot for me. Overall, I think she was implying that he is competing to talk and this causes the stutter. she suggested that the family reinforce that everyone gets a turn to talk (insert sacharine preschool teacher voice here).

I have a problem with this implication for a few reasons. A) This girl is all of about 27 and probably doesn’t have any kids, let alone 3 small kids and while she may have worked with kids, I can guarantee she’s never experienced the level of competition that exists for my attention in her life, nor will she ever (if she’s lucky). Will has been stuttering since he was 2 years old. He does it when he’s excited, when he’s calm, when he’s alone or with many others. Of course he competes to talk. My house is like a 3 ring circus most of the time. *I* compete to talk in my house. And maybe it makes the stutter worse. But it’s not the cause of the stutter.

Of course, in the back of my mind, I know they have both seen all of the medical reports and all the awful stuff that is in there from that time, so that colors my defensiveness, if you will.

The psychologist was nice and I think she “got it.” Stay tuned…

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As I’ve mentioned a few times, my 4.5 year old Will has had a speech assessment beforeat 26 months, but was barely talking and was found to have a moderate delay at that time. Not enough to qualify for any services. Due to his head injury in infancy, we were told to watch for any developmental issues. The only thing that has presented itself has been the stutter. It’s been consistent since he was about 2.5 years old. It has not improved, it’s just the way he speaks.

I’m now going through the process of having a speech evaluation for the stutter, within our school district. At my job within a neighboring school district, I work in close proximity to our Special Ed department, so I’m somewhat familiar with the process.

Of course, Will is painfully shy. When I asked his preschool teacher last year about the stutter, she admitted that he doesn’t speak much, at least not enough for her ever to hear the stutter. Many people have wondered what I’m talking about as they don’t hear it. He has to be very comfortable for his natural speech pattern to emerge. Otherwise, he is just incredibly quiet.

He is 100% unaware of the stutter. My concern is that once he starts kindergarten, that will change. He’s very sensitive and quiet as it is. Any negative attention drawn to the stutter could cause him to withdraw more.

We began the assessment with a psychological/developmental evaluation. He aced it and may, in fact, be semi advanced in gross motor skills. He certainly knows all his letters, counts to 30, everything he needs to know to start kindergarten in the fall. The psychologist mentioned that his history looks “A Lot Scarier on Paper.” You got that right, sister.

The next day, we met with the speech therapist for her assessment. In the end, she was not able to get a sample of his speech patterns as he barely said anything, completely clammed up, which I suspected might happen. Will clammed up, gave one word answers, shrugged and nodded. A lot. He can take a loooooooooong time to warm up to people and he wasn’t exactly warming up to the ST. In fact, at one point, she asked “What is your favorite food?” and his answer was “I don’t want to talk about that anymore.” Alrighty then!

I did show the ST a video so she could see I wasn’t completely crazy. She asked if I had more videos, I told her yes. Oh yes. Many. I have been videotaping him over the past month as I suspected it would come to this.

So, this is the little montage I came up with that shows him stuttering in his conversational speech. It happens when he’s alone, with other kids, excited, relaxed, tired, etc. There is no rhyme or reason to when it happens, but there are certain patterns of how it presents itself. I sent this to the ST and meet with her again next week.

Thoughts and opinons welcome.

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