Category Archives: Me

Bless me, Father…

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On the way home from school today, the kids and I did a quick review of what we were doing that night. The boys had baseball and the Bean and I were going to a Lenten Penance Service. For the non-Catholics out there, a Penance Service is an abbreviated Mass followed by numerous priests taking everyone’s confession. Scorch went to confession last week so he gave the Bean some tips on what to expect and what to do. Then, they started listing out possible sins for her to confess to.

They both agreed that she had to include that she calls her brother names, but a big debate started on whether or not she should share what names she calls her brother. The verdict? It was OK to share “moron” with the priest, but not OK to share “ball sack.” (Don’t judge us- it’s a whole new world when you raise an older son and younger daughter who talk about everything.)

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Our gorgeous church

Confessions can be done one of two ways in our church. You can opt to have a privacy screen up between you and the priest or you can sit in a little room face to face. The Bean was adamant that the only way she’d give her confession is if the privacy screen was up. I explained to her that while I’d do everything I could to make that happen, she may have to speak to the priest face to face. She thought about this for a second and asked if I’d go in the room with her if that was the case. I agreed and told her I’d plug my ears so her conversation could be private between her, the priest and God.

Why? You’ve yelled at me for all these sins, so it’s not like they’ll be a surprise to you.”

Good point, kiddo- good point.

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When it was my turn, I opted to sit face to face with our priest. We had a great conversation after he heard my confession and, as we were winding down, he reached his hand out to me, looking like he wanted to shake hands. At the last minute, he raised his hand slightly, so his palm was up, facing me. I was super confused so when he started talking, I admit, I didn’t pay any attention to what he was saying because I was trying to figure out what the heck I was supposed to do with my hands and what the heck he was doing with his. It was super awkward, so I didn’t really think- I just reacted.

I high-fived him.

After I did it, I started listening to what he was saying and realized he was giving me absolution and praying over me and I high-fived him in the  middle of that. He wasn’t raising his hand for a slap, he was raising his hand to give me a blessing.

So I looked at him and he looked at me and we both started cracking up because clearly I am the biggest idiot he’ll see all day long.

 

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To My Badass Bean on International Women’s Day

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Dearest Bean-

Today’s International Women’s Day and, until the past few years,  I hadn’t heard much about this day. Started in 1908, the day was created to mark the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Back when it was started, women couldn’t vote. They couldn’t hold most jobs. They couldn’t be whomever they wanted to be. For you and me- white, solidly middle class women living in the Northeast- that’s pretty unimaginable.

Over the past year, we’ve seen women start to roar, loudly and with purpose. You and I and Scorch watched live feeds of Susan B. Anthony’s grave on election day. We marveled at pictures and videos during the Woman’s March on DC. We blasted Beyonce’s Run the World and we read Rebel Girls nightly. We talk about what it means to be a woman today and how the sky is the limit.

But I have something to confess—until I started educating myself, I didn’t know why this was so important. I have never thought I was less than because of my gender. I have never been assaulted. I have never been harassed. I was raised to know my self worth and even at my lowest, I have never, ever doubted that I am worthy of as much respect as a man. Nana and Papa never made me feel less than my brother. I have been very, very blessed- as are you.

But a lot of women aren’t as blessed. There are a countless issues women face world-wide and million reasons why a Woman’s Day is needed, but let’s talk about something you can relate to for a second. Did you know that nearly half a billion women cannot read and 62 million girls are denied an education world-wide? People are not taught to read or allowed go to school simply because they were born with a vagina instead of a penis. Girls are more likely to have to stay at home and tend younger siblings and other household chores; ensuring education falls way down the priority list.

As a result, 1 in 3 girls in the developing world are married before the age of 18. Any chance of living a good life is tied to the men in their life—fathers, brothers, husbands and sons. If they marry into poverty or to an abusive spouse, a woman’s options for getting out and moving up are next to none without an education and marketable skills.

Yeah, yeah—I know a lot of that doesn’t mean a lot to you here and now. Child marriages and abuse is as foreign to you as walking on Mars and for that, darling girl, I’m so thankful. But it’s because we’re so blessed—because we do have it so good—that we need to work even harder for those who don’t.

I don’t know what the means for you—hell, I don’t know what it means for me. All I know is that this year, I’ve been inspired to find out how I can give back. Right now that’s been monetary through donations, but I hope to figure out a way to take action and you can bet I’ll be dragging you and Scorch along with me.

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I saw this picture earlier today and gasped. The bull has been a fixture on Wall Street since 1989 and last night, the little badass girl showed up. Her name is Fearless Girl and when I look at her, I see you. You, child, are my  prickly pear. You’re my kid who doesn’t like hugs and who suffers through inane small talk. You keep your tribe small and tight and you hate when you don’t know what to expect or what to do. You are equal parts sass and stubbornness with a side of humor and grace that I marvel at daily.

When you decide to stand for something, you plant both feet firmly and you don’t give up and you don’t care who is in your way. Often times, this makes me crazy—but little girl, you will move mountains. You will vanquish giants and you will always stand up for yourself and I couldn’t be more proud.

So today on International Women’s Day I honor the women who have come before me, I celebrate with the women who fight today and I wait with eagerness and hope to see how you change the world.

I love you, my fearless girl.

-Mom

Happy New Year!

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Dear 2014,

You rocked on a lot of levels- I’m so glad we got to be such good friends. 2013 stunk- we were hit with ill health, some house problems, job loss and financial uncertainty so when you arrived you were welcomed with open arms and high hopes. You did not disappoint. You brought:

> Kindergarten graduation & First Communion
> 2 new jobs that I adore
> A brand new kitchen and bathroom> Vacations- including one that let us see all my nieces and nephews in one week (that one was by far my favorite).
> Good health for my immediate family
> Health scares for my extended family that were, thankfully, relatively minor and resolved quickly
> Amazing books and stories that helped to expand our imaginations
> and so much more.

But now you’re out the door and 2015 is coming in. Here’s hoping it lives up to all the fun you brought along with continued good health and happiness for us and our families and friends. Here’s what I wish for all of you as well:

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Thanks,

Heather

A Month of Thankfulness

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Yes, as cheesy as it sounds I’m going to try to talk about all the things I’m thankful for in Nov. Prepare yourself now. In reading over my last month or so of posts, it’s been a lot of complaining and whining which isn’t at all who I want it to be. So it’s time to shake off this funk and concentrate on the good stuff. I’m keeping things simple today – here are 5 things I’m thankful for this very minute:

1) My warm house. It’s really starting to get cold and I’m so thankful for a warm house full of comfortable furniture, thick blankets and cats to snuggle up with.

2) A good book. I started reading a new series that I’m really digging and got another great recommendation yesterday. I pity anyone that doesn’t fall into reading like I do- what a boring life they must lead.

3) The kid’s school community. I had a PTA meeting tonight and while being a PTA officer can be really frustrating, it’s also a great chance to see every month how amazing and giving people can be with their time, energy and talents.

4) Friends that speak their truth. Whether it be a dear friend’s moving, heartbreak essay in Salon about the long term ramifications of his sexual abuse at the American Boychoir School or another friend’s mission to education all women on the lesser known facts about breast cancer during the month of October, I applaud all who speak their mind.

5) Skinny Cow’s Dreamy Dark Chocolate Clusters. These make any night better. God bless chocolate.

 

A Year Later

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The kids and I listen to audiobooks in the car now because it’s the only way I can get them to stop squabbling. We recently started the Ramona series and began Ramona and Her Father today on the way home from school. Within a few minutes of the start of the book, Ramona’s father loses his job. The kids are worried, the mom is a stressed out mess and the dad? Well, he just doesn’t know what to do with himself.

It’s been almost a year to the day since I lost my job. I never saw it coming and it hit me like a blow to the gut. My VP IM’d me, asking me if I could talk and I happily agreed, thinking he wanted to discuss a project we were working on. Nope- he didn’t ease into it at all, the minute I said hello and asked how he was, he told me that there were layoffs happening around the company that day and unfortunately half my team, including myself, were being let go.  We’d be on the books for another month to wrap things up, there would be a severance package coming, goodbye and good luck.

And, that was that.

I remember calling the Hubs and sobbing and apologizing and wanting to throw up. I called my old boss, who went through something similar, and did more sobbing. Between the both of them they convinced me that everything would be OK. And while I knew that I would eventually land on my feet, the guilt was overwhelming. As I was listening to Ramona and Beezus, her sister, on the audiobook today brainstorm ways to make money for their parents I thanked my lucky stars that my kids were too young last year to get it. The cut backs we did were behind the scene and most didn’t touch them in any way they knew about.

It was hard and stressful and so damn scary trying to think about how we were going to make that severance package stretch as long as possible because we had no idea how long I’d be unemployed for. Date nights morphed into sitting at Tim Horton’s with a spreadsheet, pouring over bills and bank accounts, trying to figure what could be slashed. The Hubs got used to leftovers and the kids discovered that extras were no more.

But, a year later, we’re still standing. As crazy as it was, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have a current job that I enjoy the hell out of with some coworkers I adore. I’ve discovered the joys of working in an office again and found a job that allows me to balance that need to be in the office with the needs of my family. We’re much more budget conscience and shop more frugally and with greater intent. But the greatest blessing has been the people I’ve met this year. People who gave me a chance and valued the talent and skills I brought to the table at a time when I didn’t have much confidence in myself. People who encouraged me and believed in me and who pushed me to a new path I never saw coming. Would I want to go through all that again? Nope. Am I glad I did? Absolutely.

To all those people, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Picture Pages

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Scorch was kind enough to bring home a cold last week. Then he was even kinder by sharing his cold.  I think I’m dying thanks to this damn cold. Because of that, you’re not getting words, you’re getting some of my favorite pictures from the past month or so straight from my camera.

Here’s the kiddos jumping waves when we were at the beach back in August. Good times (*sniff*I miss it*sniff*). Full disclosure, I may have suggested (strongly) that they hold hands for these pics.

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I have had the good fortune of finding shells with heart-shaped holes in them on our last day of beach vacation. Here’s the 2014 edition (2013 can be seen here):

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We took the kids fishing a few weeks ago. The light was spectacular:

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This weekend I realized it had been a good two weeks since I took out my camera, so while the kids played at their favorite playground, I played in the garden:

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Send soup. I’ll be back when I don’t need to have tissues stuffed up my nose. You’re welcome for that visual.

What’s Inside My Brain

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I feel like I should write. I have the urge to write. But I don’t know what to write about.

Life is settled right now. We mostly have this whole me working outside the house thing figured out. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never have a quiet night again. Like, ever. If it’s not baseball, it’s therapy. If it’s not therapy, it’s swim lessons. If it’s not swim lessons, it’s some random dinner/meeting/function. And it’s ok, we’re making it work. My laundry pile is taller then my children and my house isn’t getting quite as clean as I’d like it, but there are meals on the table every night and I haven’t dropped anything major yet.

I feel like I should share funny stories about my kids. But they are getting older. So the stories of mischief and amusing misunderstandings have given way to two kids who are smart and funny and sweet and independent. Kids who will happily play outside for hours every day or let us sleep into 8:30 on a Sunday because they can basically get anything they need without our help. And they are amazing- that is amazing. I adore everything about the people they are slowly morphing in to. But it’s not great blog fodder.

I have a rash of friends and family having babies this month. Sweet, smooshy, yummy smelling babies. And I wonder and I think and I agonize over if we want to add just one more to this crazy brood. I love being a mom to babies. But babies turn into toddler and toddler are so damn exhausting. Do I want to give up all the independence we have for a baby? We’re 12 years away from having an empty nest. Do I want change that up and all of a sudden be 18 year away from that? I’ll be 55 and the Hubs would be 57 when this hypothetical baby goes to college. Is that even appealing? I don’t know.  I love feeling pregnant lady’s bellies and newborns. Not sure if those are good enough reasons.

All I do know is that I love my family. I love my new job. And that spring is slowly, slowly coming. All those are amazing things and right now, they are more than enough.

My view driving home at 6:25 this morning. Breathtaking.

My view driving home at 6:25 this morning. Breathtaking.

 

 

 

To New Routines

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Well, it looks like the folks I interviewed with who saw my blog didn’t think talking to a psychic was too odd because they offered me the job and I accepted! Starting the first week in March I’ll be back to working full time for 1 employer and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Things fell very quickly into place with this job and it just feels right- let’s hope my gut is leading me on the right path.

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The kids went back to school yesterday after a week long February break. Why do we have a February break when we also have a week long April break, you ask? To make parents crazy. That is the only answer I could come up with that made any sense.  While honestly we had a great break, the stress of trying to work, juggle playdates and keep my household somewhat functioning almost broke me.  I was beyond thankful for 1) our babysitter that give me 9 hours out of the house, 2) friends who graciously took my kids for playdates and let me take their kids in return to occupy my kids and 3) kids that get along very, very well 90% of the time.

The other 10% of the time gave the Bean a really good excuse to try to spell out a new sign for her bedroom door:

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Translation: Scorch is not allowed in my bedroom

I give her mad props for the freaky smiley face, but the fact that she thought “Barm” = bedroom makes me wonder why we’re spending money on a private school education.

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Next week starts a new normal as I’m back in an office full time. After a few weeks, I’ll be spending the majority of my time working from home, but these next 3 weeks will be the first time ever that both the Hubs and I will be working outside the house 40 hours a week. I foresee lots of scrambling, breakfasts for dinner and a messy house. But I also see two kids thrilled they can go to after school again (after school = play time), a wife (me!) feeling like she’s pulling her weight again and a job I can’t wait to sink my teeth into.

So here’s to new routines, new normals and a fresh start!

Great First Impressions

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So you know what’s fun? When you go to a job interview for a position that you’re very, very interested in and you talk at length at how much you love to write and how you wrote a professional blog for the Big Company and how you have your own personal blog as well.  And then the people interviewing you ask to see your blogs. So you say sure because, after all, both blogs are public and you haven’t written anything that you’re embarrassed about on either one. Except for that on your personal blog, the last entry is about how you saw a psychic and tried to communicate with your dead childhood friend. While you’re not really embarrassed about this, it’s still just a little odd to reveal that at your interview with the company you’re hoping to work for, no?

And that’s my life.

*Hoping to have 2 full-time job offers this week. Say a little prayer for me, will you?

Flying Solo with Santa

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Continuing on my “Sunrise, Sunset” theme of the week, we took the kids to go see Santa tonight. At first, Beaner was not having it- at all. She said she’d give Santa her list and talk to him but she wasn’t sitting on his lap or taking a picture with him. No way, no how. Given that this isn’t my first time around this particular block, I put on a festive sweater and touched up my makeup knowing darn well I was going to have to get in the picture with the kids to make it happen.

There was a small line ahead of us, including this adorable 10 month old. Her parents had her decked out in this gorgeous dress and big old bow. She couldn’t stop smiling and waving at Santa while we were in line, and the kids asked if they were that excited to see Santa when they were little. So the Hubs and I started to tell the kids about all our trips to see Santa over the years. About how Scorch would get all serious and scowl and the Bean would cry and cry the minute she was put on the big guy’s lap.  We took bets on what the little girl in front of us would do- the kids thought she’d do fine and I knew she’d lose her mind the minute her mom walked away. And that’s just what she did- the poor thing couldn’t get away from Santa fast enough as all of us in line giggled over her.

Once she was done, it was the moment of truth. Scorch was geared up and ready to go- but Beaner was the big question mark. I took off my jacket to hop in the picture with them, when Beaner let go of my hand, climbed up on Santa’s lap and told me they were fine without me.  And they were.  For the first time in 7 years, my kids took a picture with Santa without me in it because they didn’t need me in it for reassurance and comfort.

3 hours later and I’m still not sure what I think about that.