Monday, September 30, 2013


Friday, September 27, 2013

Romantic expectations

Mommy did you know that my first True Love' s kiss will be at football?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Soul Searching

A lot has been going on in the last few weeks and in some ways my life has been turned up-side-down. In other ways, it remains the same. We celebrated our 9th anniversary a week ago and got away to Manitou Springs with just the two of us. My love for Michael is still the same and the feeling we have as a team remains unchanged. Really, it's quite impressive when you think about it.

His gift for me? A journal that he wrote in every day for the last year. Every day he wrote about the things that he loves. Most of them were about things I've done, but many of them were things the girls have done. It was quite a feat - writing every day for an entire year - but the result was magical.

With the layoff, floods, down-sizing, etc... I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately and some of it has taken me by surprise. I really feel like Michael and I have made great strides this year in defining our priorities and living life to stay in alignment with them. So some of the thoughts that have come to mind in the recent weeks have taken me by surprise. Here are some, in no particular order:

In reading his journal there were a few references to how much Michael loves my blog and how we're documenting the things we love about parenthood, and how the little stories brighten his day and help him stay focused. In reading these entries, I was hit with the feeling of "Oh yeah! I love writing in my blog and I haven't been doing a good job of that lately." I've been a bit ho-hum on the whole parenting front. I wonder if the two are related. In trying to accomplish so many other things, the blog has kind of suffered for it. I really feel like that needs to change back.

Had you asked me a couple months ago what I would do if I was laid off, I would have said I'd jump all-in into the Beachbody coaching business. It would be, and is, so rewarding to help people reach their fitness and health goals, while attacking a real honest world-wide problem. So, it came as a surprise to me that when presented with the opportunity to do just that, I don't want to. I feel strongly that I'm not ready to give up my engineering background just yet. The engineering world has not seen the last of me!

Additionally, Michael has been more and more stressed by the business. What used to be the REASON he was able to improve his outlook on life and his priorities, now has become a hinder on those very same things. He has a family history of anxiety and mental break-down issues, and has started to feel some of those symptoms of anxiety for no apparent reason, other than it appears to happen when thinking and stressing about the coaching business. It's not worth it to us to risk going down that stress path. So, we are probably going to give up the coaching business all together.

We've spoken about what he would do with his time and we've come up with a few options that will really focus on the family AND his engineering career. So I am pretty excited about that. He is in a good place and feels like Beachbody and the people we've met deserve the credit for that, but it just got to a point where it was having the opposite effect on our lives than it was intended to do.

So that leaves the gnomes... I love the gnomes and their magical effects on me. I will be focusing on my gnomes again and that makes my heart sing.

As for my career, like I said... the engineering world hasn't seen the end of me. Wish me luck!

As for life in general, we've had a really big pull on our hearts to simplify. It's something we've been thinking for quite some time. I think it started when we visited my pen pal in Germany and saw how incredibly simple she lived her life. In a place that was smaller than my living room / kitchen area, she had everything she needed. Instead of it feeling crammed like we expected, it felt relaxing. It made us realize how cluttered our lives have been, even though we felt like we have done a pretty good job of living below our means. We won't go to the same extreme as what Katya lives. After all, this is America, where we simply have TONS of space that Europe does not.

But we do have a significant pull on our hearts to down-size and simplify our lives. As such, we're putting the house on the market. Once it sells, we will move into a smaller place (currently our house is 3,000 sq ft w/ 5 bedrooms and lots of extra space, and we're thinking we need 2,000 sq ft w/ 3 bedrooms and a place to exercise). We will take the remainder of our equity and use it to purchase another rental investment property. There is something about the concept of having a little place that is full of things I love that appeals to me. In our current home, the mode of operation is "We have space to fill, so we need to buy something for that corner." Instead, I want to live in the mode of "I only have so much space, so let's be sure everything in it is exactly what I want." Instead of filling the empty space with more stuff, I want to fill the space with cherished belongings.

Am I weird?

Maybe. But sometimes that's the conclusion that comes out of a major soul-searching session like the one I am still processing.

All eyes on the bride!

Ellie: How about you are the bride and you are getting married and then I will be the flower girl?
Addie: Ok!

(A few minutes pass and Ellie obviously forgets that plan...)

Ellie: Let's go over here and watch the show!
Addie: NO! I am the bride. I AM the show!!!

Addie the Tomato Girl

Daddy: What do you want for dinner?
Addie: Can I have some tomatoes with a side of tomatoes? Please???


Luckily we weren't affected hugely by the recent historic floods. Aunt Erin and her family were stranded in Lyons for a few days before being evacuated. They're told that it could be a couple months before they can move back into their home. Even that's not the worst. I know some people who were relocated to some of the ski resorts 3 hours away!! And others who were told that it could be up to a year and a half before they have access to their homes again, simply because not only did the road to their home wash away, but so did the ground supporting the road. Crazy stuff.

Luckily we're ok and relatively unaffected. Ellie's school was severely damaged so she'll be attending a YMCA camp for a few weeks. Not ideal, but in the grand scheme of things, we're lucky.

I have to say that my girls were pretty awesome when the floods happened. I doubt they really understood what was happening but I tried to show them pictures to keep them updated. I LOVED that upon hearing what happened, the first thing to Ellie's mind was if her best friend Brynn was safe. She insisted we send Brynn's family a message to find out. Of all the people to be concerned about, it goes to show how strong their friendship still is if Brynn is the first person Ellie thinks of.

My thoughts go out to those who were less fortunate than we were, but that goes for people even beyond the reach of the floods.

Multiple career path

After reading a book about a baby bunny whose family is guessing at all the careers he wants to have when he grows up, only to find out that the baby bunny just wants to be a daddy when he gets bigger...

Mommy: Are you surprised at what the baby bunny wanted to be?
Ellie: No. I want to be a mommy when I grow up!
Mommy: I think that's a great idea, but you know what's really exciting?
Ellie: What?
Mommy: You can be a mommy AND something else. You can be a mommy AND a vet!
Ellie: Like you're an engineer AND a mommy!
Addie: And the tooth fairy!

The science of rivers

Leave it to Addie to be good at science... When the family was driving across the continental divide, I was trying to see if Ellie knew where the water goes, thinking that on one side of the divide it goes to the Mississippi River and on the other side it goes to the ocean.

Mommy: Ellie, if we're at the continental divide, can you guess where the water goes from here?
Addie: (interrupting any chance for Ellie to answer) DOWN!!!

Can't argue there.

Addie is good at science

A while ago we finally came across a phrase that we can use for Addie that is all her own, to make her proud of her abilities. Ellie has always been good at "coming up with solutions" and she knows it. That's not to say that Addie isn't, but whenever the topic comes up, she says "No, that's Ellie, not me." So the day that we learned Addie was good at "understanding science" was a glorious day for me. Since then every time she takes note of something that can be explained using science, we are sure to point it out and oh the pride that beams in her face! Wow. The girls is a star.

That being said, sometimes her pride stretches the concept of science....

Addie: Mommy, did you know that Nana is Daddy's mommy and Grandpa Lou is Daddy's daddy?
Mommy: I did know that.
Addie: And Mommy, did you know that Nana once thought that Grandpa Lou was her pince but den she changed her mind? And now Grandpa is her pince! Just like in Shrek, right?
Mommy: That's right.
Addie: Did you know I understand how she did that?
Mommy: I'm glad you do!
Addie: Mommy, is that called science???

Hmm... I suppose in a way it is. Psychology at it's finest, right?

Thursday, September 05, 2013


How fortunate I must feel if when told I am being laid off, the first thing through my mind is "oh crap! I hope John's job is safe. He is the only income provider for his family. What about Mark? He just bought a new house and is a bit house poor." How fortunate I feel knowing that my first thought was NOT "omg how are we going to pay the bills? " or "how will we manage? "

I am fortunate even if turned up side down.