Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Passion

Packages from our Third Annual JF Burns Loves the Troops Care Package Drive

See that?  That's my passion...helping to support our troops.  Why? I have two sons who are brave enough to serve our country, protect & defend our freedom.  They are not the only reason but they are certainly the driving force.  You see, once you are part of a military family, you realize that all branches of the military are part of your family.  The mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, cousins, etc. they are all your family.  You feel a special connect to members of a military family that you don't with others because you share the same types of experiences. Separation, unknown, unrest, deployments, struggles, government cuts, etc.  A kinship that is different from all others.  We are in this together - we look out for, love & support each other.  You celebrate with them, you cry with them, you worry with them.  You understand what they are going through in a way that only a military family can.  Our lives revolve around leaves, deployments and promotions.  We watch the news differently than most.  We pay attention to what cuts are being made where & why when it comes to the government budgets.

A military mom is a different breed.  It didn't take me long to find out that there is a special sisterhood among military moms.  We will take care of each other and each other's families in a second.  Swiftly, without hesitation.  An encouraging card or letter to military family member who is lonely, homesick or in need of encouragement, care packages, special keepsakes for siblings struggling with separation and the list goes on.  

These boxes represent so much more to me than I could ever explain.  An idea that started three years ago when my son was deployed.  The thought that our deployed service members receive all kinds of letters and packages during the holidays but after that, it's back to what's their version of normal.  I thought it would be nice for them to know we were still thinking about them.  It began with a conversation with our PTO president, who is also a friend. She loved the idea, so we pitched it to our principal, who is a big military supporter.  

The first year we shipped off 27 packages to loved ones of the kids at the school.  The second year, 34 boxes went to a Kings High School graduate who had attended my daughter's elementary school.  His former teachers wrote letters to  go in the packages. His mom & sister came to help and we overwhelmed.  Typing this now, my eyes tear up because I could feel her pain and joy at the same time.  I found a new friend because of that project.  She happens to live in my neighborhood as well.  

This year, I had to look a little further for our package recipients.  Not too far though. We found 3 Kings High School graduates through my contact at the high school and a close family friend of a family at the school.  This year, 46 boxes were packed and shipped.  46!  I didn't have time to process that until after the packages were at the post office.  As I drove off from the post office that afternoon, I sobbed.  I sobbed because I am so thankful to live in this community that is so supportive of our military and their families.  Many are not as fortunate as we are to have this type of support.  This is my passion - supported by my community. I hope to do more & more of this, to see these projects grow and grow.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My girl

This morning I woke up & looked at the clock and was instantly annoyed.  Yet again, I am wide awake long before I need to be on a Saturday morning.  I laid them for a few minutes wondering why I can't sleep past 5 a.m. and growing more annoyed by the minute.  Until I took a moment.  Lying next to me is my sweet daughter who in the middle of the night, climbed into our bed next to me to snuggle.  Instead of being irritated about being awake, I took that moment and held her in my arms, I snuggled her tighter, smelled her hair and thought about how precious that very moment was.

She's 9, my only child still at home.   She's a hugger and a snuggler.  She loves without abandon.  She's my reminder that there's good in the world, that there's hope for the future.  I'm ever thankful for that little girl.  A child that we weren't sure we would get since doctors had told me about 5 years before we decided to have a baby that if I didn't get pregnant in the next 3-4 years, it may not happen due to all of the scar tissue from years of ovarian cysts.  God blessed us with this beautiful little girl.  A little girl who was showered with love by her parents and her big brothers from the moment she was born.  She's definitely sugar, SPICE and everything nice.  She's a little more spice these days as we hit the pre-teen stage but there's still plenty of sugar.  I'm ever thankful for her.  Both of her big brothers are now grown men.  One far from home in the US Navy, the other married with a precious little girl of his own - thankfully living just a few miles away.  I often think how strange it would be to be an empty nester at 42.  It's harder than I ever imagined to have your kids grow up and not need you anymore.  It's not something that I expected.  Thankfully, I have this sassy girl to keep me busy and on my toes, to continue to fill my heart and my home.  My sweet B.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nancy Reagan - Just Say No!

That's what life is like once school starts....the fast lane.  Non-stop go, go, go.  However, I will say that this year, is a little less than the usual school year.  Why?  Because a friend of mine, who I will call my own personal Nancy Reagan.
Why do I call her that?  Because she has taught me that it's ok to "just say no."  Through the few years that we have been friends, we have lived what seems like a lifetime together with the ups & downs we have been through.  One of the best things about our friendship is that we are honest with each other.  Neither afraid to tell the other what we really think.  She has told me more than once, that I do too much, I need to slow down, start saying no to things.  Well, she wasn't the first person to tell me that but she was the first person I listened to.  At first it was hard to do.  I felt guilty saying no because I've always said yes, even when I want to say no.  Finally, I said it...NO!!  The more I did it, the less guilty I felt.  Finally, no guilt.  I realized I don't have to be involved in EVERYTHING!  It's okay to just help out here & there, on the things I love to do, not things I feel obligated to do.  I now enjoy the evenings when I can sit at home with my family instead of running like a mad woman!  Just last night, I had my first night of not having to attend a Brownie meeting in 2 years!  Why?  I said no to continuing to be an assistant leader when the opportunity presented itself, I very politely said that I had too much on my plate and felt it best I let someone else fill those shoes.  So you know what I did?  I hung out with "Nancy Reagan!"  We celebrated a victory in our ongoing battle with the school district about head lice (we've literally become known as the  "lice ladies" because of this, but that's another story!) with champagne on her patio.  Somehow the words spilled from my mouth, "You are my Nancy Reagan!  You've helped me learn to 'Just Say No!"  It was the perfect way to kick off the first Brownie meeting....freedom and it was completely guilt free!  Thanks "Nancy Reagan"!

Friday, August 23, 2013

The First Week of School

We've made it through the first week of 3rd grade.  I say we, because being the mom, I often feel like I'm going back to school too.  Forms to fill out, checks to write, emails to send the school, last minute additions to the school supply list that need to be purchased, being nervous for them on their first day with new teachers, well, you get it.  This is the part where my daughter benefits from having 2 full-time working parents.  There's not much of an adjustment in her sleep schedule.  She gets up at 6 a.m. all year long.  Summer break only means we let her stay up a little later since she doesn't need as much rest due to the lack of brain power that must be applied at day camp.  

What it does mean is that:
  • I need to leave earlier than I do in the summer because of all of the additional traffic once schools in the Cincinnati area start back up.  
  • the evening routines of packing lunches, laying out clothes for the next day, double checking the calenders is WAY more important.
  • evenings are for homework, soccer practice and after school activities like Brownies & maybe dance---of course, playing outside as MUCH as possible before or after those things.
  • more sleepovers & birthday parties
  • B & I both get to see our friends more!
  • schedules are SO important now.

So far, we've done well.  Yeah, it's the first week but it went much better than I anticipated.  I'm getting back into the swing of things by keeping up with the house during the week so it doesn't become an all out war against dirt, grime and clutter by Saturday. The result of me volunteering to take one of B's friends overnight tonight along with a meeting with the PTO president & a spirit wear vendor (I'm the "spirit wear chairperson"), plus hubby's fantasy football draft night left me with time on my hands to get a head start on the cleaning that needed to be done.  I made a decision to clean for 1 hour and that's it.  I set the timer & off I went.  In that hour I managed to clean 2 bathrooms, including the 1 tub we have, sweep & mop the kitchen, dining room, entryway, laundry room & both bathrooms, vacuum the first floor & the upstairs, dust the living room and pick it up, throw a load of laundry in, get the coffee maker ready for that early a.m. soccer game we have, restocked some things in the kitchen from the overflow pantry, gathered laundry and a few other things.  I ended up doing all of this in 1 hour & 10 minutes.  The extra 10 minutes was because there was no way I was leaving that living room un-dusted after I just did all that other stuff.  I wanted the first floor done.  Apparently this is what happens when I forego a bottle of wine & the one child left at home is occupied and my husband is gone.  Hmmmm....perhaps this should happen regularly!

I thought about designing some cute labels to put on the snacks we are passing out after the soccer game tomorrow but one would care & I'm ready to collapse at 10:26 p.m. on a Friday night.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Where did summer go?

The only thing I don't like about living in Ohio is that school starts in August.  The summers fly by.  Next week begins the flurry of activity surrounding back to school.  Soccer practice officially begins and so does the end of summer.  This has left me wondering where did summer go?  Now, of course, it's not really over until Labor Day weekend but summer break is coming to an end on August 20.   Since my husband and I work full-time, our daughter doesn't sleep in during the summers, she's busy at day camp all day.  So the mornings will not be much different.  It's the evenings that are about to change.  Homework, soccer practice, Brownie meetings, orientations, conferences, PTO meetings, etc. will suck up all of those hours that are now free time for us all.  This is what I will miss, the free evenings.  The homework battles shall begin along with rushing around to get a meal on the table and get back out the door to the next activity or event.  Meal planning is going to be my new BFF. Schedules are routines become key to smoother evenings and mornings.  Sigh...I'm just not ready for it all.  So I'm hanging onto this last week of summer break...savoring it.  Even though soccer practices start this week, we don't have homework to add to the mix, yet.  I guess I'll look at this as easing us back into the school year.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Moving along yesterday was NOT as successful as previous days BUT it was not a normal day.  I worked from home due to the ongoing construction.  B went to daycare because they had an awesome field trip planned.  I picked her up & made her something to eat as soon as we got home as her little mouth is sore from her first visit to the orthodontist.  I did sit down with B while she ate & we chatted about her day.  M was solo on dinner last night since B & I had somewhere to be at 5:30.  At 5:30 we went to spend a few hours with friends at their pool.  It was nice.  We left prompty at 7:30 as planned and got ready for bed, made lunches, laid out things for Friday, etc.  That was followed by some snuggle time and once B went to sleep I caught about the last 5 minutes of Sharnado....oh my....terrible terrible tv for sure. 

I've managed to keep up on the laundry this week & stay sort of on track with the menu.  But hey, it's the first week of attempting to get back on track right??

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Not perfect but not completely off track

So Wednesday was not ideal as far as staying on track with the goals, but life gets in the way of things so you must roll with the punches & not stress out about it right?  I came home last night & had to park on the street because our driveway was blocked with vehicles of the guys working on our house.  My yard was strewn with old windows, screens, etc., my house torn up on the inside with piles of discarded materials everywhere.  I walked in, grabbed a cocktail & sat out on the deck with M and discussed the days events.  B had spacers put in at the orthodontist and M stayed home to take her & deal with the window guys.  Dinner was 8 p.m. late and B sat with us & chatted about her day so while things didn't go as they had the past few nights, we still took time to focus on and listen to each other.  Hurray for the small victories right?



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