Friday, November 29, 2013

I guess it was bound to happen, I just wish I'd been prepared

Have you ever been in a room full of people who are welcoming and genuinely glad to have you there but have never felt so lonely in your life? I'm thankful for a lot of things, most of all my kids and my family. But that's what makes it so hard to know that I just am not a part of a really good one anymore. 

I had the kids for thanksgiving, but for a variety of reasons it made the most sense to spend it with my ex and his family. His family are some of the nicest, most welcoming and caring people I know. In fact, they are a big part of the reason I chose to marry him in the first place. I like being a part of their group. And today was no different. Except it was. I've already mourned the loss of my marriage but now I'm struggling with the loss of his family. They are nothing but supportive of me and again, always welcoming, but it was very obvious today that I can't be a part of it anymore, no matter how much we all think I can be. I didn't expect today to be quite so difficult. As in any divorce, things aren't always pleasant, but we've made a really solid effort to keep things civil and nice, particularly for the kids. So while I knew it would probably be a little awkward, I didn't expect to have such a strong emotional reaction to the day. 

My ex's girlfriend was there for part of the day too (which I knew ahead of time so I was prepared - I thought). I like her, she's been a family friend forever and so I know her and her kids pretty well. She's a great mom and I think they could have something really good. They just go well together. But that's just it. It's like they already have this nice little family unit going and I'm just excess baggage. I know my kids always need me and I'm their mother and all that comes with it. But my ex and his girlfriend are able to provide that sense of family that my kids are so desperately missing right now. My ex is living in our family home, and while my apartment is comfortable, I can't provide that family feeling. All that I have here belongs to my ex. This is his territory and all I've ever been a part of up here has been because of him and the people he knows. I've never felt that as strongly as I did today. My family lives far away and I never made friends with anyone while we were together (well I did, but that's why I'm not married anymore - but that's besides the point). Because we don't get to see my family very often it makes it special when we get to see them, but I can't provide that on a constant basis for my kids, and I don't get to experience it for myself either. And it all leaves me feeling hollow, inadequate, and unbelievably sad. 

Don't get me wrong, I am so happy that my kids have my in-laws to love and care for them and provide them with the sense of family they need and deserve. And I am thankful that my ex has found a person that will love and treat my children they way they should be treated. But I can't help but feel I'm being left behind and I'm not good enough. 

I'm counting my blessings today, but I'm also mourning the loss of what it felt like to be a part of my family. 


Monday, October 21, 2013

The Family Learning Factor

I learned today (actually just a few minutes ago) that a friend of a friend recently started a new parenting blog and I’d like to share her with you. It actually comes at a great time because just last week one of my favorite bloggers posted about structured learning at home. The general consensus was that supplemental structured learning was overkill for our babies, but we also want to make sure we are doing what we can to enrich their learning experience in everyday life. I think TheFamily Learning Factor is a good mix from an experienced teacher. Her posts are honest, real, and in my opinion, motivating. Read her first post here. I think she does a good job explaining her philosophy and her purpose for her blog. I haven’t read every single post (give me a break, I got the link about 20 minutes ago!) but I like what I read and I think her enthusiasm is refreshing. I think her posts are a great talking point and could lead to some really great discussions. 



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My son

My son. I love this little boy more than I can even say. He's such a person and a boy and it makes my head spin to think how fast he is growing. He loves Minecraft and Skylander Giants and he's so smart I can't keep up with him. He gets frustrated like me and deliriously happy like me and has a personality all his own. Those crocs on his feet in this picture? He has worn those shoes pretty much every day for an entire year (and they are still in decent condition...way to go crocs!) He loves those shoes! Even though they are fur lined he wore them all summer. He wouldn't wear flip flops, he didn't want to wear his sneakers. I don't think I could ever look at those crocs and not remember how he, all of sudden, grew up in them. He must have the bathroom door closed now when he goes, and won't change in front of me...or says "Don't look!" if I'm in the room. He's not really a little boy anymore. He's most definitely a child, and he's still just a little peanut, but this boy is only just beginning to show what he is capable of. Sometimes it's hard for me to grasp that he's not just an extension of me. That he's having his own experiences and shaping his own life independent of my own. Sometimes I forget. But then I see him working things through, learning how to understand things from his own perspective. When he's trying to understand something he furrows his brow and goes very quiet and you can almost see the wheels turning in his head. He'll talk with me if I prod but otherwise he just sits with whatever it is he's thinking about. 

His grandma took this picture. I wasn't there and I don't know what was happening or what he was thinking, but I love this. This is so BUD! And his underpants sticking out of his jeans? They kill me. This picture is just so perfect. This child of mine is just so perfect. 


Monday, October 7, 2013

Piseco 2013

This weekend we went on our annual hike in Piseco! The weather this year did NOT cooperate like it has in years past and therefore most of the pictures I wanted to get weren't possible, but we made do! 

You may remember from last year's post (<--that's a link) that I compared my pictures from the previous year. Yeah, that's going to happen each year's so much fun to see how they grow!

Although our relationship status is much different than last year, we decided to take the kids together, and not just because I'd have no idea how to get up there without him driving. :-) I really want the kids to still have family traditions, even if the other 364 days of the year are spent apart. I want them to have at least one day that they can always look forward to. When I told Babe we'd all be going together she said to me, "That means I get to be with both of you?? At the same time???" And then she did a little gasp and clapped her hands. So adorable and so heartbreaking all at the same time! So yes, this tradition will continue, with both of us going despite our relationship status, until they are teenagers and refuse to be seen with either of us in public

Now on to the fun stuff...

We are standing in a cave made by a tree that blew over. It was pretty cool!

Babe has a good smile in this picture but she was NOT happy to be under there with us! Thankfully she's too much of a ham to ruin the shot with a sad face! :-)

Pretty girl!

This is one of the best smiles I've ever gotten out of him!

I don't think his feet touched the ground more than a handful of times. He was hopping from rock to rock like it was his job!

Babe held our hands for most of the hike but a few times she got adventurous and did it all by herself!
Bud...we couldn't keep up with him!

He climbed on every rock possible! No surprise there!

I included this picture because I have no idea why he felt compelled to stand there with his belly pushed out! I love this kid!

Standing on the big rock. (I promise it's there, I just don't have a zoomed out view right now and if I wait this will never get posted!)

Also on the big rock. We were having a good time!

Chair rock...taking up more space than last year!

Big rock
Bud ASKED to take a picture with me. I think that was a first!!

LOVE this picture!

Almost to the top!

What a view...of the fog!

And now a few comparisons...
 Chair rock (last year on left, this year on right)
It was a little hard this year to get the exact same picture because the rock was so wet so neither of them was willing to sit where I wanted them to. But you can still tell they take up more space than last year!

Last year on the left, this year on the right. 

The top one is last year...and what the view is supposed to look like
The bottom is this year and I swear it's the same place!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Apple Picking

I don't know what's going on with the weather here in Central NY but it has been almost 70 degrees every day and it's October. I will take it!!!! We took advantage this weekend and got a little apple picking done while my mom was up for a visit. I don't think you can ever have a BAD time apple picking! Eating fruit straight off the tree and deep breathing in the fresh air? You just can't go wrong. And I have the pictures to prove it...

She is always up for having her picture taken!

Not Bud though...he HATES IT!...

Even when he gets to hug Nana in the process...

But even he can't hold out in an apple orchard!!

And it helps if he can tease his sister!

She's got this posing thing DOWN!

She was just being silly here but I love how this came out!
My kids are getting pretty good with my camera!

Now I get to replace the 3 year old pictures on my desk with some new ones! Yay!

Nothing like an apple straight from the tree!

Perfect, perfect day! 


He had to show us EVERY apple!

I love this picture!

Very Serious Business

Three generations

Babe looooves her Nana!

Bud is showing off the two biggest apples of the day!

We really had a wonderful day! After picking we played at the massive play area they had for the kids! A pirate ship, and a slide hill, a hay bale maze, a petting zoo, and all sorts of other fun stuff! This was our first time at this place but you can be sure we'll be going back again!!

A long time ago I heard/read/possibly made up in my head that there is only so much space on blogger to save your pictures and if you go over your limit you begin to lose the older pictures without notice. With that I started using photobucket to post my pictures but some people have mentioned they can’t always see the pictures (firewalls and such). If anyone has another way they post pictures (besides uploading to blogger and using photobucket) please let me know!!


Monday, September 23, 2013

A Goodbye I Don't Want to Say

An administrative level position came open in my office after about 10 months of working here. Even though I only worked here a relatively short time, I felt confident that I could do a good job at the administrative level, and my boss thought the same thing. After interviewing me and several other candidates, my boss hinted that I was basically a shoo-in. Then she told me they had one more interview. She was a late applicant but had a lot of experience so they had to interview her. Ok, no big deal. The next day my boss called me in and told me they offered the job to that late applicant. I put on my happy face and hide my extreme disappointment. She told me that they knew I’d do a good job but the lady they had chosen had a ton of experience and would be an excellent addition to our office. Yeah ok, whatever.  

Little did I know the impact this would have on my life. This lady that they, very rightly, chose over me is now one of my closest and dearest friends. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have survived these last six years without her, professionally or personally. Maura is one of those people who embodies the spirit of goodness. Her level of compassion and caring is unparalleled and I am so grateful to call her my friend. I have never worked so well with someone, or had such a perfect complement and balance in a teammate. We fill each other’s deficiencies perfectly and sometimes I feel like we are just an extension of each other. But it’s not just work stuff. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in the last 6 years, especially this last year. I’ve cried more in her cubicle than any other place combined. She’s helped me talk through more issues than I care to remember. She knows when to give advice and when to just listen. She heaps on the support and love in ways that I never thought possible. She has been my crutch when I thought I couldn’t move. She has been my motivation when I didn’t think I could go a second longer. She has held me up when all I wanted to do was crumble. But, of course, that’s not all. She has also been an amazing mentor to me. She never let an opportunity to teach me something pass by. She always included me and went out of her way to show me how to do something. I can say without question, I am a better person for knowing Maura.

On Friday she gave her two-week notice and I’m afraid I’m going to grab onto her leg and never let go as she walks out of the door on her last day. She has been my life support and I can’t fathom coming to work without her here. She is making the right decision and I am so happy that she doing what is best for her…but damn I’m going to miss her. Of course we will stay in touch as much as humanly possible, but there will be a gaping void that cannot be filled.

So Maurina, I’m going to miss you more than words can describe. But once again you are being a perfect role model as you embark on an uncertain, but necessary, future. Your faith in God and in yourself makes everyone around you a better person. I wish you all the happiness in the world and I look forward to continuing our friendship despite the distance. Good luck my dear friend. Thank you for being you and for all you have done for me in these last six years! I will cherish our friendship forever!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tomorrow we'll be earlier

This morning Bud and Babe’s bus driver told me I was one fast mama. While I don’t appreciate the possible undertones of that statement, I have to admit it was quite appropriate. Why you ask? Because at 7:05 this morning I was sprinting down the sidewalk in my socks yelling WAIT at the top of my lungs with the kids trying to keep up behind me.

According to the published bus routes, their bus is supposed to come at 7am every day. Since the first day of school he has unerringly come at 7:12 every. single. day. Those 12 extra minutes are crucial to our morning routine. It means they get more time to sleep in, it means I have another few minutes to get my morning in line, it means if I shoot to have them ready by 7:05 every day that gives us a few minutes to sit in our stairwell and spend some time together that isn’t distracted by finding backpacks, making lunch, and any other sidetracking task. I love those few minutes in the stairwell. We can see the bus as it turns the corner and the kids still have time to get to there. We are warm and dry and talkative. I can tell them how much I love them and ask them what they are looking forward to today. It’s only a few minutes but it means so much to me.

But today as I picked up my shoes to put them on, I heard the familiar rumble of the diesel engine coming down the street. (I can’t tell you how thankful I am that our windows face the street and I can see these things!) I had no time to get my shoes on but thankfully the kids had their shoes and jackets on already and were just waiting for me. As I picked up Babe and ran with her down the stairs behind the speedy Bud I figured I’d just stay at the door and let them run to the bus. I kind of have this thing about going outside in my socks. I don’t like it. But there weren’t a lot of kids at the stop this morning and my kids aren’t there every day so the driver wouldn’t know to wait for them. As we emerged from the house I knew there wasn’t going to be enough time if I let them go alone. So, in all my shoeless glory, we started running down the street. The DPW guys next door noticed us and started yelling STOP to the driver…which got me yelling WAIT! NO! DON’T GO! WAIT!...which made them laugh at me. As the bus doors closed I knew he was going to pull away and we were still far enough away for him not to notice us. I dropped Babe’s hand, put my head down, and started to sprint. After a several yards I heard his brakes engage and I thanked my lucky stars! He stopped and opened the door and my kids ran up behind me and climbed on. “You are one fast Mama!” he said to me. Thank the good Lord for that!!

As I walked back to my house I couldn’t help but think of the scene of Dottie and Kit running to catch the train. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, shame on you better get yourself a copy of A League of Their Own and watch that classic STAT!

Tomorrow I'll make sure we are ready earlier.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

School Days

I’ve been trying to write a post about the first day back and the words just aren't coming. So instead I’ll let the pictures do the talking. 

This one takes my breath away
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Also, can her backpack be any bigger on her?

They are the cutest
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But they still are brother and sister!
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She did NOT want his arm around her! He thought it was hilarious!

I love these two!!
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But it doesn't mean I'm not going to tickle them when they won't keep their eyes open for the camera
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No nerves here! She was so happy to get her name tag and stand with her class!
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Bud lined up outside his classroom. 
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He's upstairs this year so we had to find our way...but we made it!

My favorite story of the day happened as we were walking into school. Babe couldn't walk very fast in her new shoes (they were a little big) so I was carrying her and she was snuggled into me so nicely. I told her I loved her and she gave me a squeeze. I leaned over to Bud who was walking next to us and I said "I love you Buddy!" He turned to me and said "Keep your voice down, I don't want the other kids to hear!" And so he begins his journey into second grade! 

This morning was their first morning of going on the bus from our apartment. It conveniently stops right next door so I couldn't ask for better. But I got better. The bus they ride is the Butterfly bus (as you may know, Babe refers to herself as Princess Butterfly)!! So I like to think it's a good omen and this school year will be a good one! I'm so proud of both of them. Bud is just unbelievably smart and kind. I am in love with the boy he is turning out to be! And Babe is giving her brother a run for his money with her brains and sweetness. She already is one awesome little girl and I love watching her grow and state her independence (as troublesome as that may sometimes be). I just couldn't love these two more!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

NYS Fair and Awesome Weekend Recap

Remember how I promised you two posts in a 7 day period? Yeah, I thought it was a long shot too. But how about 2 posts in a 2 week period? Better than nothing right?

So yeah, my weekend with my girls was LEGEND…wait for it…DARY!!!!!!!!!! Having my friends visit was just what my soul needed! I can’t even recount all the fun stuff that happened because it’s the stupid little stuff that made the whole weekend what it was. However, some things were documented photographically so I am able to recount those. (Lucky you!)

There was that time that Smidge brought a suitcase big enough for her to climb into and get lost…
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And there was that time that I wanted Smidge to braid my hair so Jamalee helped me get my hair wet…
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And that time we ALL braided our hair and took the wackest coolest selfie of all time…
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And the time we took a picture to make my cousin who flaked on us jealous…
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As you can see from those documented times, we had ourselves a very good weekend! We spent Saturday at the New York State Fair having a GREAT time!! As you may remember, I received free tickets to the Fair in return for my blogging about it. Honestly, I would be blogging about it even if I didn’t get free tickets so really that’s just a super fun bonus!!

We got there about lunch time and headed straight for the butter sculpture…you HAVE to see the butter sculpture!
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While we were gazing upon all the wonderful butteryness we had the wonderful surprise of being ambushed by my kids!! I knew they were planning on being there that day but with the crowds I never expected to actually run into them! 
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From the butter sculpture we headed over to my most favorite exhibit every single year. It's the same exact routine but I still love it every time! What am I talking about you ask? The New York State Trooper exhibit of course!!!

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They always start with the roll-over simulation, then do the K-9 unit demonstration, then comes the repelling demonstration. Based on the pictures I took of the event you can guess which is my favorite!

For the life of me I cannot get Blogger to post my videos using photobucket so if you'd like to experience the awesomeness of this demo please click the following two links: Bad Boys and Repel

I really do love that part of the fair! But that wasn't all we did! No sir! We also walked past one of those photo boards and initially we kept going but all of us agreed we had to turn back and kick the little kids out of it snag some unsuspecting individual to take our picture!

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All of us agreed that it was fitting that Smidge was the nut. :-)

Ok, but this year, I have a new favorite part of the fair. For any of you who have been reading me for a long time may remember my love of trampolines and how I've never forgiven my parents for trying to pass off an exercise trampoline as a real trampoline one Christmas I jump on them any chance I get! In the past I've always walked past the trampolines at the fair, nearly salivating at them but my cheap side holding me back. But not this year! This year FUN prevailed! And I jumped! Oh boy did I jump!!! And swung a little too but that part wasn't great. (Watch the video and you'll see what I mean.) 

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Once again the whole I can't upload click the link to see me in full swing action!!

In my defense, I believe I started to swing like that because I somehow eventually managed to get my fat ass to do a flip!!

Oh yes, my friends! This was a fabulous Fair experience this year! If you are ever in the Syracuse area at the end of August you MUST make plans to go! You won't be sorry!!

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A very bad picture of the giant sand sculpture...also not to be missed!