Category Archives: The Hubs

Playing Catch Up

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The Good

> Hell week at work is over. My project was out on time and with minimal bumps. Doesn’t mean the work is over (it’s never, ever over) but I’m over the first hurdle.

> We had a fantastic weekend. My parents picked up the kids after school on Friday because the Hubs and I had a wedding to attend 6 hours away on Saturday. We spent Friday night at home (I was coming off a 16 hour work day)- we went out to dinner to celebrate and were in bed by 10. My idea of a perfect evening. We got up and out on Saturday and drove to my favorite city (DC) for a quick 24 hour visit. The wedding was beautiful, we had a great time and the car ride was blissful with no kids to worry about.  It always makes me very, very happy to be reminded of how much I like spending time with my husband.

> We were spared Sandy’s wrath. The forecast was not looking good yesterday during the day- we were told to prepare for 3-5 days without power, but a last minute turn in the storm means we got hit with exactly nothing. Some rain and some wind, but nothing crazy or life threatening. My heart goes out to all those hit hard by the storm.

> Halloween tomorrow! I’m ignoring the ugly weather we’re going to get (40’s and pouring rain) and just focusing on how excited the kids are!

Now, for the bad…I have 7 loads of laundry to fold. Blech.  Back tomorrow with a more coherent post…promise.

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Simplification: Part 2

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A year ago, I shared that we made the decision to close our small business.  What I didn’t get into is how very, very hard that decision was.

We bought that business when Scorch was 5 months old. It was a huge leap of faith and one we made convinced that doing so would only improve our lives.  I remember the three of us driving around after we signed all the papers looking at some of the fanciest homes in town wondering how long it would take us to make enough money to afford one. Surely not more then 4 or 5 years until the only job the Hubs had to work was one that he loved, one where he set his own hours, that one that was his true passion.

And for the first 2 years, life was great.  Our business wasn’t making us rich, but it was doing well and we loved running it. Every dime we made, we put back into it upgrading equipment and making cosmetic repairs. We’d spend weekends there cleaning or making improvements with Scorch, and then the Bean, in the pack n play watching us dance around as we painted the walls or steam cleaned the carpets.  It wasn’t fancy- but it was ours and we were determined to make it work.

But then things got hard. The economy crashed and our clientele dried up as most people didn’t have $100+ per week to spend on our services any more. Local businesses who sent their employees to us went bankrupt.  With two little kids at home, I didn’t have the time to devote to the business, so the Hubs was picking up all the slack.  The hours there weren’t fun any more- they were desperate as we tried to keep things going.  We had 2 full time and 3 part time people working there that depended on us- we couldn’t fail.

The stress invaded every single aspect of our lives.  Weekends that used to include family time now included the kids and I at home alone while the Hubs worked his butt off coming up with new ideas, new programs, new anything to keep clients coming in our door so we could make payroll and pay our rent.  We didn’t feel like we could make family trips or even enjoy any time away from home because we were so consumed with how we could make things work.  We were so afraid that if we stepped away for even a moment, that is when disaster would strike. I really thought we were heading for divorce as all we could think about, talk about, surround ourselves with were issues related to the business.

It was a miserable way to live.

Finally a year ago, things came to a head and after trying to make a few last minute desperate changes we came to the realization that our  business wasn’t working any more. After weeks of sleepless night, more tears then I could count and more stress then I ever want to feel again, we closed our doors. I can’t even describe to you the sick feeling in the pits of our stomach when we made that decision. We could barely look at each other- all our hopes and dreams were shattered and all we were left with was the balance of our small business loans and each other.  I didn’t know how we’d pick up the pieces- that time was almost as dark as the hours we spent trying to make it all work.

But here we are- a year later and we’re still standing. I still can’t think of the business without feeling sad and disappointed. But I also feel free.  I feel like our life is ours again. I have a husband who’s home and involved and so very present in our lives- and it’s the biggest blessing.  We’re not walking around on egg shells with each other anymore in fear of setting the other person- a person who’s already on edge- completely off.   There is no feeling of dread and physical sickness when we have to pay our bills wondering how in the hell we’re going to make ends meet.  Yes, we’ve had to tighten our belt over this past year to pay down our loans, but I’ll take that over the way we were living last year any day of the week.

I don’t know why I’m sharing all this now, but I guess with the year anniversary of the closing it’s on my mind a lot. I look around and marvel how much life has changed for the better in this past year and I’m so very, very thankful we decided to simplify.

Exhaustion, Thy Name is Heather

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There were a string of summers about 10 or so years ago where we had a wedding to attend every single weekend.  It wasn’t unheard of to have 8 or 9 weddings a summer- it was fun, crazy and expensive. Now that 95% of our friends are married, those summers are a thing of the past and we only have 1-3 weddings a year. This year we had 3 weddings to go to and, as luck would have it, 2 out of the 3 were this weekend. We had one wedding Friday night 2.5 hours northwest of here and 1 wedding an hour south of us on Saturday.  So, thanks to my mother-in-law and her extraordinary babysitting skill, the Hubs and I were able to party like it was 2002 for 2 days.  Some random thoughts:

1) We are too old and tired to party like it’s 2002 for 2 nights. 1 night, yes. 2 nights, no. We all showered today, but no one got out of their PJs all day.
2) Weddings make me cry- even weddings where I don’t know the bride or groom well like the beautiful wedding we attended Friday night.
3) I love, love, love getting dressed up but I hate wearing heels.  I whimpered when I had to put back on my (gorgeous) heels on Saturday.
4) A day spent with some of my oldest friends is time wonderfully well spent.  It boggles my mind that I have know such wonderful women since I was in 3rd grade.
5) Having friends who date/marry equally great guys makes going to wedding so much more fun since I don’t have to twist the Hubs arms.  He has just as much fun as I do!
6) Some people should not make speeches at weddings. Period.
7) Always eat before you go to a wedding reception- because you may not get fed dinner until hours after the reception starts (see #6 above)

T-minus 29 days until wedding #3 of 2012. I’m going to sleep straight through until then. *yawn*

Daddy Dearest

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Doesn’t seem fair to post about Mother’s Day back in May and not post about Father’s Day, does it?

We got the the Hubs some great gifts for Father’s Day- but the best gift we could have given him was letting him sleep in. So that is what we did- until 9:30. Considering my kids get up at 6 am, that is no small feat! We woke him up with his favorite breakfast (2 doughnuts and a coffee from Tim Hortons- we’re nothing if not healthy!) and gave him his gifts. Scorch made him a beautiful key chain in school- one that’s sitting on our keys right now.  And the Bean? Well, the Bean painted a rock for the Hubs to use as a paper weight. She glued these outrageous long-lashed googly eyes on it and carefully put it in a gift bag for him. But when she took the rock out (because my kids never let anyone open their own presents), one of the eyes fell off. Without missing a beat, she told the Hubs the rock was now a pirate rock that had an eye patch instead of an eye. Perfect.

After going to Mass that morning, we went down to the Hub’s grandparents house for a few hours. Grandpa isn’t doing well- he hasn’t bee doing well for quite some time. He stayed in bed and slept most of the time we were there, but that’s ok. He knew we were there and he knows we love him and sometimes that’s the best gift you can give someone.  The kids spent the time Grandpa was awake telling him stories and keeping up the happy kind of commotion only little kids can bring to a house. And seeing Grandpa is good for them. Unfortunately they won’t really have any memories of him in his prime, but they still know that he’ll listen to them and laugh at their stories. And he’s showing them that illness and dying can be done with grace and that it’s not something to fear- a priceless lesson as far as I’m concerned.

 

After hiking through the property and getting bit by the bugs, it was time to say our goodbyes and head out to my  parents for a BBQ with my Dad. Have I told you all I have the best dad in the world? Because I do (with the exception of the Hubs, of course). My Dad currently plays tennis competitively a few times a week. Do you want to know why he started playing tennis? Because I started playing tennis and he didn’t know how to play- so he figured he’d better learn so we’d have something to talk about. I haven’t picked up a racket in 10+ years, but my old man is crushing it a few times a week.  He also makes me CDs of some of the new (to him) music he’s found- he’s the reason I started listening to Mumford and Sons a few years back. He’s funny and smart and so damn personable it’s impossible to go anywhere with him without either seeing someone he knows or making a new friend.  He’s the Bean’s best buddy- I think she’s rather hang out with her Papa more then just about anyone in the world.  She’s got good taste.

After our time in the pool and eating my parents food, it was time to head back home to put the kiddos to bed. One the way home, the Hubs called his father.  We don’t see my father-in-law as much as I’d like, but he’s an important part of Father’s Day whether he’s here in person or not. After all, he’s the one who taught the Hubs how to be a father. How to raise his kids with love and kindness and fun, but also with respect. He taught the Hubs the importance of being involved- by coaching and being there for dinners and walking his kids into school. The Hubs is one of the best father’s I know, and he learned that all from his Dad.

When I met the Hubs almost 15 years ago now (!!!!), I knew he’s be a good dad. With some guys, you can just tell. But I didn’t know what kind of dad he’d be. Would he be the strong, silent type? The goofball, buddy dad? The involved dad in the dugout or the dad on the sidelines cheering his kids on?  He’s all of those dads- and more. He’s what he needs to be for our kids in any given situation. He’s not perfect (nor am I)- but he’s got the best quality of all. Love- and lots of it.  My kids may not always like us, they may not always agree with us- but they will always, always know they are loved.  And that makes the Hubs the best kind of dad of all.

 

 

 

 

Dating- Old Folks Style

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My parents, bless their hearts, took the kids Saturday afternoon for the weekend. It was like a gift from heaven. I love those buggers more then life, but sometimes it’s nice to not have to be a parent for 26 hours.  So how does a couple who’ve been together 14.5 years spend that much time without their kids? Read on…

After wasting time at home for a few hours doing nothing more taxing then reading my Nook, the Hubs and I went to see Battleship. It was exactly how you’d think it would be- a fun, shoot ’em up alien movie with a hot cast. It didn’t make much sense, but we both really enjoyed it for the mental floss it was.

On our way out of the mall, we walked by the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) gym to get to get to our car. There were a ton of people coming in and out (odd for 9:30 pm) and lot of noise. After being nosy and peeking through the windows we figured out they were having a MMA tournament. The bouncer saw our interest and asked if wanted to come in. Since the matches were 75% of the way complete, they let us both in for the price of 1 and we figured what the hell.

So that is how I ended up spending the end of our first date night in forever watching grown men beat the snot out of each other instead of over drinks and dinner.

It’s hard to tell, but we were in the Family/ Staff area and on the other side of the ring there were about 200+ people watching the matches. I admit to being fascinated with MMA / UFC since seeing Warrior (if you haven’t seen it, rent it. Now. Hand’s down the best movie we saw in 2011) but I was surprised how into it we got. I mean- it’s brutal. One guy got a compound fracture in his foot- it was gross. And, again, fascinating.

We hung out for about an hour before heading home because we’re old. And because we had to get up at 6:45 the next morning to go work out. The Hubs teaches a bootcamp style class with another trainer and typically I can’t go due to those pesky kids of ours. But there was no way he was letting me sleep in on Sunday while he went to teach, so off to class I went.  Now- the Hubs and I haven’t worked out together since 2001. The Hubs is hardcore into fitness and takes his workouts very seriously. I work out so I don’t gain too much weight and get diabetes.  Last time we worked out together in 2001, the Hubs stormed out of the gym because I rolled my eyes at him and refused to do another rep of something or another. Not our finest hour- so much so its taken us 11 years to try it again. I honestly don’t know who was more nervous heading in!

But, we did fine! The class was great- so great in fact that it currently hurts to laugh, bend over, raise my arms above my head, sneeze, cough and sit down.  After that 1 class, I’m frankly glad the kids force me to stay home and miss out- my muscles can’t handle much more of that!

 

 

How to Give Your Husband a Complex: Part I & II

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Part I

“Heather- come in here. Now, please.”

I’m a little annoyed at the Hub’s request this morning as I’m in the middle of a battle of wills with the Bean over what shirt she can wear to school. Normally I let her pick- but a fleece long sleeved shirt with a hood is a bit much on an 80 degree day.  So I’m a little huffy as I walk into our bedroom- until I get a look at the Hubs.

He’s standing there wearing his work pants and one of the brand new white t-shirts I bought him to wear under his polos.  I just bought the white shirts yesterday- they are freshly washed and ready to go for a new week.  These are the t-shirts I always gets him in the size he always wears- only this shirt is skin tight and about 2 inches to short.

I can’t help it, I started cracking up.  The Hubs is not amused as he asked me if it’s possible the t-shirts shrunk. Sure- they may have shrunk, but not that much. I suggested that perhaps he needs a bigger size and ran out of the room before I could bear the brunt of his string of curses. He texted me later in the day talking about the strict diet he’s going on and how he’s doubling up his workouts.

This afternoon as we’re getting the garbage ready for trash day, the Hubs found the package from the t-shirts I bought him. Turns out I bought him his size in a boys not in mens!  I have never seen him so relieved in my life.

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Part II

Despite what my teasing may suggest, the Hubs is in great shape because he works out 5-6 days a week.  He came home after tonight’s workout telling me about this annoying kid who was cheering him on during his exercises.

Come on, buddy, you can do it! Way to go, man!

When I asked the Hubs how old the kid was, he told me he was 18.  Without thinking, I said “Oh, so he’s exactly half your age. He really is young!”

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hubs doesn’t speak to me the rest of the night.

 

Home Again

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After a whirlwind trip down to VA, I’m home again! It’s always fun for me to travel for work, especially now that I’m working with folks that I haven’t met before.  I love seeing if my mental picture lines up with what people look like in person. On this particular case, I was only close with one out of the five people I met. Clearly I’m losing my edge.

From the plane on the way home…

I got home yesterday around 9:30, so it was perfect timing. The kids were sound asleep, but I still had enough time to before I had to hit the sack to catch up with the Hubs.  The Hubs did a wonderful job while I was gone, but I have to admit to being more then a little pleased when he copped to how frazzled he was yesterday morning.  It’s not easy trying to get yourself and two little people out the door in the morning between breakfast and getting dressed and teeth and vitamins and making lunches. Throw in a dog who needs two different kinds of medicine, to be fed and to be let out twice and it’s easy to go from frazzled to crazy in no time.  After he was done telling me about his morning, I told him how nice it was to sleep 9 hours straight and to shower in peace and quiet for as long as I wanted.  He didn’t find it as funny as I did.

Flying into some cloud cover over Philly.

But now that I’m back, the real craziness begins. On top of my page long to-do list from my meeting, we’re gearing up for a weekend full of birthday parties for Scorch.  Saturday we’re hosting 25 family members at our house and on Sunday we’re heading to a party location so Scorch can celebrate with 32 of his closest buddies. It’ll be a mad house- so say a prayer for us!

Brain Dump

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I really hate those nights when I sit here and just stare at my blank screen, wondering what to write about. I know I had a million ideas pop into my head during the day today but by 8 pm, they are gone. So tonight, I’m taking the easy way out and scatter shooting my thoughts. Here I go…

Scorch’s has his very first loose tooth! The boy swears and declares he’s the last one in his class to have one and he can’t wait for it to fall out. I think he thought that we’d find a loose tooth one day and it would fall out the next. He wiggles it all the damn day trying so hard to hurry the process along. I try not to gag when he does.

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We’re almost two full weeks into Little League and it’s awesome. I had a lot of worries about this. While this league doesn’t follow strict baseball rules, it’s closer then Scorch has ever played before with outs and actual plays and a 3 strikes rule.  So far he, and the rest of his team of 6- 8 year olds, have handled the transition from t-ball beautifully! The games are fun, the parents are all supportive and the kids are having a blast. We were all actually disappointed when his game was rained out tonight.

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I started meeting a friend at 5 am to run. It only gets me up 15 minutes earlier then normal, but I’m exhausted. The good news is that knowing a coyote is in the area is damn good incentive to pick up my pace.

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I was just thinking the other day how nice it is that the Bean is watching such gentle shows like Blues Clues and Wonder Pets. Annoying, but sweet shows where there are no bad guys or fighting.  Then she discovered Power Rangers thanks to Daddy and now that’s all she wants to watch.  I don’t get it.

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We decided to do a Big Party for Scorch’s birthday.  I think there are something like 29 kids invited.  To keep it as stress free as possible, I’m doing everything at a play place for kids- so all I have to bring is the cake and decorations.  I also solved my gift / goodie bag worries by requesting in the invites that everyone bring a wrapped book suitable for kids ages 5 – 8 so we can do a book exchange. Every kid will go home with a new book, including the birthday boy, instead of a goodie bag.  Win/win (I hope).

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The Hub’s grandfather’s health is very quickly declining.  He’s a wonderful, sweet, smart, funny, vibrant man who’s slowly been stripped of his health for the past 4 years and it’s been the saddest thing to see.  His health and the health of those taking care of him, including his wife and daughters (including my mother-in-law) weigh on the Hubs and I a lot.   I’m open to any suggestion you all my have on discussing death with kids.

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We met with a financial adviser today for the first time! Over all it was a great experience until he told us we’d need to save almost $667,000 over the next 11 years to finance 4 years of a state college for both kids.  I sure hope they like Boot Camp when the time comes to ship them off!

And that’s what’s on my brain. Perhaps I’ll be more coherent tomorrow….

Don’t Ignore: The Scars Still Show

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Yesterday marked the start of National Infertility Awareness Week. NIAW was started by an amazing organization, RESOLVE, back in 1989 to help educate people about infertility and to help erase the stigma of the disease. I mark this week each year looking at my kids and marveling at how very lucky the Hubs and I are to have them at all.

It’s been a little over 9 years since the Hubs and I started trying to have a family. Back then, I knew a grand total of 1 person in my life who had trouble having kids. While I had a great outlet online to talk women in similar situation, the vast majority of people in our day-to-day lives didn’t have a clue what we were going through. It was isolating and frustrating and scary as hell when everyone around us kept saying things like “All he had to do what look at me and I got pregnant.” or “We weren’t even trying- this pregnancy just happened.”  or “Just relax, you’ll get knocked up in no time.”

People didn’t mean to be hurtful, they didn’t mean to be cruel- they just didn’t understand.  “Relaxing” doesn’t fix medical issues.

For some, babies don’t just happen. For some, having a baby requires thousands and thousand of dollars in expenses even with great insurance (which we had).  Having a baby requires daily shots for years and medicine that makes you moody and crabby and hot and fat.  Having a baby requires prayers and tears and raging at God wondering why the druggie on the street corner has a baby every year that ends up in the foster system while you- an employed, stable, married, willing woman- can’t have even one.  Having a baby means having sex with your husband only when you’re told to and only in certain positions to try to maximize the changes of making that coveted baby- it’s not about love or lust any more. Having a baby means living and dying by the calendar as  you wait and test and pray that you ovulate and then wait and test and pray that you conceived.  Having a baby means analyzing every single thing your body does during that 2 week wait wondering if that twinge or that cramp means you’ll finally see those two lines on the pregnancy test.

Trying- and failing- to have a baby starts to color everything.  I started to turn into an ugly person, one who wouldn’t- couldn’t- be happy at a friend’s pregnancy announcement. There simply wasn’t any room for happiness when I was so jealous I couldn’t see straight. After we finally got pregnant and I started to have the miscarriages, I’d find myself wishing that someone- anyone- around me would have a miscarriage so that someone could finally know how I felt. I’m not proud of those thoughts- they are hard to even write about now- but that was my reality.  Infertility robbed me of my ability to feel joy at a friend’s pregnancy.

But the the Hubs and I were lucky- we made it to the other side and we have two amazing, gorgeous kids to show for it.

But others aren’t so lucky and are still fighting this battle. So please, be mindful and be kind. Don’t assume that babies are always the next natural steps in someone’s lives.  If someone does tell you that they are dealing with infertility, tell them you’re sorry and offer to listen. Don’t share the story about your cousin’s best friend’s sister who adopted and then- BAM- ended up pregnant. Don’t judge a couple for going through the infertility treatments and not adopting- or vice versa. You have no idea why they picked the path they did.  If you know someone who is dealing with infertility, be mindful of how you share the news of your pregnancy.  I promise they will be happy for you and rejoice with you- but it may not be right away and if it’s not, remember that’s not a reflection on you or your friendship.

Today I know of at least 8 people in my day to day life that have struggled or are struggling to start their families. Infertility isn’t going anywhere and having a baby isn’t always as simple as you think. Please, don’t ignore infertility and all it’s victims. Educate yourself about the basics of infertility and the importance of NIAW.

 

 

No Good Deed…

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The Hubs and are I very lucky that, thanks to a great babysitter and family nearby, that we get to go out without kids at least once a month.  Typically these dates are very fluid- if we have to cancel our sitter due to any sort of emergency, it’s not a big deal. Very rarely do we have an engagement on a specific date that we really can’t miss.

This past Friday was one of those dates.  I had gotten the Hubs tickets to a show for Christmas and the long awaited day finally arrived. We were psyched- we had dinner planned with friends before hand, then the show.

That is why I wasn’t at all surprised when I checked my messages before leaving the gym at 6:30 am Friday to see the Hubs texted me to tell me the Bean threw up.  Of course she did.

Being the planner that I am, I had plans A, B & C formulated in my head before I got home 15 minutes later.  One way or the other, the Hubs was going to this show even if I couldn’t join him.  Thankfully the Bean was feeling fine by 11 am and my Mom, bless her, still offered to come up and babysit for us.  We had a great night- a night so great that it proved to me once again that I’m not 21 any more, nor can I act like it if I expect to get up and be a productive member of society the next day.

Unfortunately for my mom, she also paid for her kindness by spending all last night sick with a stomach bug. I guess it’s true- no good deed does go unpunished.