January 31, 2005
Why Can't We Just All Get Along?
What do people in crisis think? I can't remember. When A and I were at our worst, we had arguments, fights even, that others were witness to in some way. I never gave it any thought. How terrible. Thank God we didn't have children then who understood what was going on or were old enough even to know we were fighting.

I wonder why, in the throes of an argument, people tend to lose their sense of reason. I got a phone call Friday from a friend who was irritated that her husband was acting retarded. My reflexive response was "He's a man, of course he's retarded. Have you not learned anything from me?" I proceeded to remind her that men in general just don't function the same way as we women do - their brains work in totally different ways, ways we can't even hope to understand. The faster we realize this, the happier our marriages are - no conflicts because we just know that there is nothing you can do to change this strange and unexplained discrepency in how we process life. It is frustrating for the men, too. We just can't get to a point where we really understand how the thought processes work in the opposite sex. The best we can do is to accept the differences and to forgive each other quickly and easily when we feel slighted or like our feelings have been abused. Offer the olive branch.

I got another call a while later and the other half of the aforementioned couple proceeded to tell me that she was acting like a lunatic. What were either one of these beloved friends thinking? Granted, they were coming to visit me and my family that evening, but did they really think before calling me just how silly their argument was? How I was totally heartbroken to be put in the middle of their argument... Thankfully, I convinced her to extend the olive branch in spite of her "right-ness" and they both apologized. They arrived here a while later and a good night was had by all.

Being the first to offer that branch, or extend your arms for that make-up embrace, is difficult if your marriage is not a happy one. If it has been some time since you have felt deeply connected or in love with your spouse. If one or both of you hold grudges or harbor resentment over past even present failings, it seems impossible to bridge the gap. Pride prevents you from being the first to say you are sorry. But, oh how awesome it feels to resolve a conflict in the moment it is happening - rather than let it fester along with the other moments noone would extend that branch. Isn't the pain of choking your pride down worth the possibility of happiness again?

Now, dear readers, I am merely waxing on about this subject because it is plaguing my mind. You have nothing to fear regarding me and my own marriage currently. We spent a challenging couple years with an amazing therapist who helped us to get past our issues of poor communication. We learned that communication was our key problem and because we didn't understand the other's way of communicating and didn't understand the other's expectations or limitations within the relationship - we were being unfair to each other. I am proud of A that he went to therapy with me. Believe me, it wasn't without a great deal of heartache between the two of us, especially in the beginning. But he went. And together we built a solid foundation of trust and respect and promises to be gentle when we tread too close to our differences. That doesn't mean we haven't had any arguments or even full blown screaming matches (sadly, I am the one who begins the screaming on the incredibly rare occasion it happens) in the past 4 years since the investment in our marriage. It just means we are quick to correct our own behavior and apologize to each other when we go off the deep end of control - which I can say honestly that in the past three years, happens quite rarely - like not at all. Unless you count that time last summer when I was near breakdown and attacked him for things that didn't even make sense to me as I was screaming them. That afternoon, my doctor called in anti-anxiety medication for me to help with my severe post-partum mood swings.

No, my dear readers, I impart this bit of wisdom with you because I've been thinking a lot about this lately. I have dear dear friends who are struggling to find each other again in their marriage and it breaks my heart. I pray each day (many times each day) they are able to perservere and claw their way back to happiness. And what if just one of you were quietly suffering with your own unhappiness? I would want you to know that I understand and I love you and am here to support you through whatever you need.

Until next time, God Bless you and your family.

And don't forget to pray for
Sean, especially, today!
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January 25, 2005
Woot woot! I am going to Atlanta!!!
I just found out tonight that A has more training in Atlanta. I am excited because this time, the girls and I will go as well. We will be in town for nearly a whole week, so if you're there, let me know if you want to see me/us! ***We are going the week of March 20***
Oh, and by the way, take a look over at Becca's - she has a new toy that she was playing with earlier and put up a neat message for all of us.
Hope you all have a great night. God Bless!
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School Woes
What do we do? Veronica will finish Kindergarten (at home) this school year. We will head back to Atlanta for her to be tested at the end of the school year so we have the appropriate records for her year.

So, what's the problem? Well, we just don't know what to do about her for next school year. It wouldn't be a big deal for her to just go into 1st grade here, but the problem is her age. She will only be 5 at the end of August. Florida requires that she be in Kindergarten at age 5. So, we thought we'd look into private school. I found out that the school at our church is phenomenal! But (you saw that but coming, didn't you?), the school requires her to be 6 to enter 1st grade.

So, what do we do? Do we look for a different private school? One that doesn't have the stellar reputation that we know is available in the area? Do we say she goes into Kindergarten anyway (even though I feel she won't be challenged enough or grow to her abilities if she is held in Kindergarten for another school year)? Do I homeschool her for another year and then reevaluate what to do with her for 2nd grade?

If I homeschool her for 1st grade, we will also get her involved in some other activities with other children. I am currently looking for a local homeschool association in order to connect with some other homeschooling families and find out what programs are available in the area with museums and such.

I just don't know. Any suggestions?
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January 24, 2005
I need to make some neighborhood friends
Argh! I am so lonely through the week. I am so happy to be close to home, but golly, I am sure missing having someone to hang out with and chat with through the week. Someone to go to the park with or meet at the library for storytime or invite over for lunch. I miss that.

On the other hand, I am grateful for the friends I do have, even though they aren't within quick-visit range. I have enjoyed finding T&J's REAL blog and reading that some couples are exactly where we are. I have enjoyed living vicariously through
Kelly and Jen and their wild adventures. I find it immensely boring to share my sex life with you, but suffice to say that we are both happy with our own escapades - actually I do have a hysterical story from the other week... nah, I am not going to go there. Anyway, I digress.

Friday, when I drove into town to get A from the airport, we'd made plans to meet some friends for dinner. It was awesome not to need directions and to know exactly where I was headed, in spite of never having been to this particular restaurant. I have known M (the husband) for 9 years and we have run the gamut in our friendship. We used to have a blast together and spend nights being drunk and crazy - okay, I was crazy, he was just drunk. Come to think of it, I am not sure how our friendship has lasted so long - through both of us getting married and having kids. I am really blessed to have him in my life - I never thought when I was 20 that I was meeting a lifelong friend. And I am blessed too, because M has an awesome, fun wife. She has the same goofy sense of humor as he does and they are just fun to be around. And then there is their baby, C. This little guy is 16 months old and is bigger than Ana who will be 3 in two months. He is really quite a happy baby and I swear this kid is going to be like 7 feet tall! Anyway, aside from missing D part of the meal (baby C needed a walk), we had a nice time and look forward to getting together with them much more often now that we are back in the area. Actually, I am hoping that M and I will get to a baseball game during spring training. I need some buddy time. I can be goofy with him in a way that I can't be with my girlfriends.... Is that weird?

Saturday, my mom came to visit. She brought with her the mother of all Christmas gifts. The girls' kitchen. I am going to get the playroom straight and get the kitchen set up and post pictures here later. I think I am nearly as excited about this gift as the girls are. It is so beautiful and I even made the comment that these are items we will definitely save after the girls have outgrown them. I am thinking ahead to when I will be the best grandma ever with these incredibly awesome toys for my grandchildren to play with! Am I corny or what? It was nice having her here and I can't wait for her to come again. I think she was pleased that the drive isn't as bad as she'd expected and hopefully she's willing to make the drive often. We had a delicious lunch (Becca, remember the salad we had for dinner at my place?) and then she and I went and had an hour of browsing through the dollar and grocery stores (again, am I weird?). After she left and A went to work, the girls and I loaded up and drove to
Michael's, one of my all time favorite stores. I got some great bargains and I am looking forward to starting a scrapbook for my friends with pictures I have of their daughter when I was her daycare provider. In all, it was a pleasant day.

Sunday, we went to church at our new church. In spite of the fact we've been here for 6 weeks, this was only the 2nd Sunday we'd been to our new church. That is just how often we have been visiting with our parents that we've been going to our hometown church pretty consistently. Anyway, we are digging the new church and I look forward to finding out more about their programs and actually meeting some friends. I have been incredibly impressed with what I've learned about their private school, but I will save that for another entry.

After church, we had a lazy afternoon in anticipation of meeting our closest friends for dinner. We were going to meet halfway, but plans changed when Al's van was hit by a truck bedliner. That's right. A truck bedliner flew out of the back of the bed it was lining and crossed the highway and rocketed into our friends' van a la
Twister. With them and their 3 children inside it. Thank God nobody was hurt. They decided that since damage was minimal (only the roof of the van was damaged), they would meet us as long as they were done with the police by 5:30. Well, by the time they were done, we'd arrived in their neck of the woods, so we ate at SmokeyBones and enjoyed a drink or two before heading home. We look forward to them driving to us next weekend and maybe staying over so we can have a wild night of drinking without the worry of an hour drive home. :) Okay, our wild nights of drinking aren't really wild, but we do impart our share of alcohol on occasion.

In all, it was a great weekend. Two dinners with friends. One visit with mom. Church. Time with my husband and children together. Really, one of the best weekends I have had since our
Blog Party. And that is saying something.

I will write another entry about our school woes and post some pics of the girls' kitchen later.

Until then, God Bless you!
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January 20, 2005
"I like sucking the best..."
and licking. Yeah, that is what I like the best - licking and sucking."

Insert me swerving the car like a panicked drunk!

"You know, like lollipops, ice cream, even the candy that Mimi gives us."

Good golly, I nearly ran the car off the road! What a filthy mind I have - as if my 4 year old is really going to be referring to that kind of sucking.

bad mommy points: 2
tsk. tsk.
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It's time to get back to "normal"
So here's a post about what's been going on recently in our lives.

This week:

Can you believe that A is in Atlanta for the week!?!??! After us being apart for nearly 3 months, his company sent him back to Atlanta for new manager training! Do you think they could have done that when the girls and I were still living there?!??! Of course not, so now we are apart again for a week. This week has been very long and difficult for the girls and me - they want Daddy every day and little A even started crying last night at bedtime because she didn't tell Daddy that she loves him. Yesterday morning, the girls climbed in bed with me and we lay there together, me in the middle and I had my arm around each girl, rubbing their little backs.... V lifts her face to look at me and says "Too bad Daddy is missing all the fun. I can't wait for him to come home!" My heart breaks.

Last weekend:

So beyond that, not a whole lot is really going on. We did go to our parents' over the weekend and A flew out Sunday to Atlanta. We had a sleepover with my cousin, Manny and her daughter. It was so much fun to spend time with Manny - she and I are the same age (I am 3 weeks older) and growing up, we were the best of friends. When I moved to FL (she had moved when we were 12), our closeness was re-cemented in the turmoil of our early 20's. I didn't realize until we were with them just how much I miss being an important part of Manny's life - how much we've missed with her daughter, O, in her first 5 years since we have drifted apart and a friend of hers kinda took my place. I am going to make a conscious effort from now on to be more involved. I want Manny to depend on me and I want O to know how much I love her and her mom. Not to mention, I have a deepened respect for Manny after being a single mom for just a few months - she has done it since O was born!

Growing in Faith:

A and I have officially joined a lay ministry group. We had attended meetings with the chapter in Atlanta and were going to commit to their group in October, but since we were moving shortly we were able to talk to the foundress and she has allowed us to join the bay area group. We aren't full members - there are several years of "preparation" required beforehand - in order to discern if you are really ready for such commitment (there are lots of volunteer hours required and a deep commitment to a regular/daily prayer life in addition to some other things). So, they have a school going on right now for 2 weeks and I signed up to serve lunches and dinners. Boy, oh boy! What work these ladies (and a few gentlemen) do for their guests. I have served a dinner and a lunch so far and I will tell you that I would much prefer to serve dinner than lunch! For lunch, they use china - real china. We're talking stuff with real silver etching - I will check out the back tomorrow to see what kind it is..... But, it is special stuff, for sure. It is a lot of work to serve the food and clean up. I don't really fit in with my fellow group members - the closest to my age that served lunch with me was 61. At dinner, the closest was 56. Um... Do you know that I am 29? lol

Anyway, we love the group. A grew up knowing most of them (his parents are part of the original, founding group and play a vital role in the whole community) and I have known them all of my Catholic life. In my childhood years I lacked a positive model of motherhood, I realized the other day at mass (with this community) that God has given me several positive models since my conversion, with Mary being at the forefront. During a time when I feel I am not being a good mommy (too stressed, etc.) we officially join this group that is nearly 100 strong and most of them are faith-filled, at peace mothers. Granted, most of their children are older than I am, but how wonderful to have access to this group of fine souls. These women who each in their own way will help me become the mother that I know God intends me to be. That in my adulthood, I will have more moms than I know what to do with. :) What a comfort. And what a delight to be back home where I have this opportunity.

Well, that is enough for now. I was hoping to touch more on small town living and the day to day here... I will have to come up with something interesting to say about that.

Until next time, much love to you and many blessings from above!
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January 15, 2005
A Year in Review - 2004
As we enter 2005, I give thanks for the new year. We can begin anew, celebrating the next chapter of our lives. I've taken the time to reflect on 2004 adn the blessings and challenges I have had in the last year.

The year began as we rejoiced in holidays spent with family - everyone made the trip to Atlanta to be with us for Christmas and the New Year holidays. We were so blessed that the first year we were away from our family for the holidays, they were all willing to come to us - it was also the first year that A's sister and her husband had been with the whole family for a holiday in nearly 3 years. We had many visitors and I was so busy running a little B&B in our home.... It was exactly as the holidays should have been, even though I was totally wiped out! We had more visitors later in January. It was wonderful to have friends with us!

The year's beginning also included celebration of new life in our family - no wonder I was so wiped out! We were expecting our third child - what an immense blessing! Careful not to tell others of the pregnancy until we were past our "danger" point, we rejoiced in February when we were at the point that our pregnancies "stick." Unfortunately, sadly, broken-heartedly... our Gabriella died at 18 weeks. You can read more details
here and here.

I was blessed to go to Europe (for FREE!) as a chaperone for a high school trip. I had a wonderful week spent in Paris, Versailles and the final two days in London. The highlights of the trip for me were exposition and veneration of THE Crown of Thorns at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (I actually got to KISS the Crown of Thorns, well, the casing that protects it) and spending an afternoon and evening with my aunt and uncle in London. Though I was HUGELY pregnant on this trip, I had a wonderful time and really enjoyed experiencing a new city (first time I'd been to Paris) and a brief visit to London, which I love!

After my return and the loss of my third daughter, things kinda went haywire. I was handling the loss as well as possible, submitting myself to God's will and just praying for peace. The hard part was experiencing all the hormonal things that go with post-partum. I produced gallons of milk - was producing milk through August (the loss was the end of March). I was having short cycles... hormonally, I am still not back to "normal". I have been told that I might not get back to "normal". I had lingering postpartum depression and a good dose of anxiety, which was treated with medication.

Back to the Spring: In April, we had planned a vacation in Florida, to relax in the sunshine. We went even though I wasn't really up for vacation. We knew it would be good to have the time together to regroup. A wonderful friend hosted a birthday party for little A so we could see all our friends without having to visit everyone seperately. It felt good. We had a memorial mass for our daughter. We had a week spent with family before we enjoyed a week at a resort in Orlando. We enjoyed ourselves. I napped every day. I cried some days. Then we went home to Atlanta.... I crashed. The depression set in. The anxiety set in. I was faced with day-to-day life and my out of control hormones were winning the battle of wills.

I finally got word from iParenting that my
diary was set up. I poured myself into the diary....

I felt at peace with the loss of our daughter. I felt at war with myself, my emotions, my hormones. I trudged through the summer, calling my therapist (in FL) and talking for hours (I LOVE her!) We had switched churches in March and I was able to make some friends. I spent my time with the girls going to storytime at the library, going to the park, spending time with our new friends. I went to monthly scrapbooking nights at church. We helped a friend do a mini "While You Were Out" on their bedroom while her husband was at work - a surprise for his birthday. I went back to Florida twice for visits with family and friends, making sure my therapist was first on my list for visits. We had two wonderful weekends in Chattanooga. The first was spent acting like tourists, the second was a wonderful first meeting and visit with
Cara.

My sister-in-law and her husband came for a visit. We had a fabulous time.

I started a blog. You are reading it, so you know of it. :) I have met incredible women here. Just look through my blogroll. They are just the most amazing women! I became friends with some wonderful women through church. I welcomed two sisters into my life. You both know who you are. I have been blessed with lots of time spent with my closest girlfriends.

Florida was hit by 4 hurricanes. We spent a lot of time worrying about our friends and family. We actually visited Florida in between two of the massive storms - to go to Disney W*rld. We gave thanks that our family and friends went mostly unaffected by the hurricanes. Everyone we know was safe.

V started school. She is amazingly smart. I am so impressed with her. I took a job at her school - one of the biggest mistakes I made in 2004.

A got a job with a new company after being screwed by his old one. The job is in Florida. Where 3 of the hurricanes trekked. One hour from our families. This meant, unfortunately, that he was in Florida for nearly 3 months while the girls and I were still in Atlanta. It was a difficult time for us, being apart. It was stressful for me being a "single" mom, it was hard on the girls to be without their daddy.

I hosted a blog party, enjoying some much needed girlfriend time with some fabulous women! Have I mentioned how fortunate I am to have met some of these incredible women? I also had a really fun sleepover along with a few other visits with Becca. So blessed am I.

The girls and I moved in December, the week before Christmas. In the week before the move, things were crazy and the girls and I were so blessed to be invited into the homes of a couple other amazing families.

We enjoyed the holidays with family - again in Florida. We spent A's 30th birthday with some good friends. We're happy to be witnessing the beginning of a family as some friends of ours are expecting their first child. We are happy to be witnessing the renewing of love as some other friends of ours are rebuilding their marriage. We are happy to be witnessing the miracle of life in our children and the children of our friends and family. We are happy.

We are home. We are blessed. We are grateful for the new year. New Beginnings.
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January 12, 2005
Sickness and Laziness
Well, what a title for my blog entry.... My first real one in over a month....

We have been passing around illness since Christmas. It is like a plague. My family has been asked NOT to visit others. Understandably. It started with me having headaches and fever, then A got a stomach bug, then I got the stomach bug, then V got something - a fever and one good heaving session, then little A had fever. Goodness gracious! This was in 5 days' time. Then 3 days later, we took little A to the walk-in clinic (we don't have a pediatrician here yet) and she has an ear infection - severe. Good golly. 4 medications later.... She seems better now, a week later, but time will tell if it is really gone.

Most of you don't know the problems we had with her last year - she had one ear infection for 5 straight months. Month after month, they would give her stronger antibiotics until she was getting 2 shots/day for 3 days. We were advised by the otolaryngologist (ENT) that if she had another infection before the year's end, to schedule surgery for tubes. Well, she was diagnosed on 1/03/05. We are taking this as a sign that she will have enough growth to eliminate the need for tubes, so we are not jumping back into the surgery wait - yet. She will be 3 in March and if we can keep her well for just a bit longer, then maybe - just maybe - she will be out of the woods. Unless she is anything like her friend
Liah.

The day after little A's late doc visit, big A stayed home from work - he was so sick - again. This time more of a regular flu (rather than just stomach). A never stays home from work, yet in 2 weeks, he did twice. Two days after that, I stayed in bed most of the day. And that leads us to a few days later, today. My head is feeling mostly clear (no bricks in residence today), my throat is not burning like fire, just the embers... I am on the upswing. A is on the upswing. V is perfect and healthy. And wouldn't you know, little A was coughing and wheezing this morning. Jiminy! And wouldn't you know, that since A switched jobs and we were without insurance for 3 months, now her breathing issues are considered "pre-existing condition" and insurance won't cover any treatment for a YEAR! It is a good thing the problems are occasional (rather than daily) and I have plenty of refills (I hope) of all her meds that we just have to pay out of pocket for meds and not doc appts to get the meds. And the meds are cheap enough that we won't break the bank, hopefully. Anyway....

We are SO happy to be an hour from home. We have seen our families every week. I was able to go help my mom a little after she had a leg injury. We are able to visit A's grandparents. We have gotten together with some friends. My cousin and her daughter drove over for dinner one night last week. Of course, due to our illnesses, we haven't been able to do everything we've wanted.... but, it is a good start after being gone over a year! I love being with my husband on a daily basis! I am still not used to him being in the bed with me again (go figure, I couldn't sleep the first week we were apart and now it's been a month together and I can't get to sleep!). Especially with all the illness and (his) subsequent snoring I have just not slept well in a number of weeks. Hope to get all that settled once we are completely well.

I have rambled and rambled.... I didn't mean to complain about being sick through the whole entry. I am actually working on another entry - kinda a 2004 in review.

Hope you are all well, I have been trying to catch up with everyone's blogs. I will get there soon!

Until next time, I hope the weather is calm and you're appreciating all the blessings in your life.
God Bless!
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January 06, 2005
Happy New Year!
I am back online after nearly a month! I have many things I would like to update about, but don't really have time today since I have committed to unpacking the last 3 boxes in our bedroom. I figure I can spend a bit more time online once I have my "work" done.

I wanted to wish you all a happy and healthy new year! I know so many families have been dealing with viruses and other illnesses. I am praying especially for those of you dealing with sick babes and other family members.

I will check in soon, hopefully later today give you a general update and then I will give some specifics later.

Until then, God Bless you and keep you happy and healthy in this new year!
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