15 July 2010

The End

This is the very first blog I started and I have kept it as my simplest blog in that I did not advertise it or try to get sponsors for it. However, as time as has gone on and my life has changed, I have found it very difficult to keep up with all that I have going on. At this time, I am not longer going to be posting on this blog and will be carrying over my favorite posts to one of my other blogs, The Happy Wife. I will continue to post about those things that I love and I will also post about those things I am grateful for over at The Happy Wife, but it is a "bigger" blog and has more advertising and sponsored posts. Thank you for all the support you have given me and I hope to see you on my other blog.

11 July 2010

Today's Gratitutde: Family Reunions

Yesterday, my family and I attended a family reunion for the maternal side of my dad's family. Aside from getting to catch up with distant relatives and visit with those who we are closer to, I learned quite a bit about my family's history. I recently took up studying my genealogy and was excited to fill in some of the blanks I had on my dad's side. At the reunion, I discovered that my great-aunt had compiled one line of our family history back to the 1700s and that they would be willing to send it to me. I also learned that a great, great, great-grandmother had traveled to America, by herself, from Germany when she was 13 years old as an indentured servant. A distant cousin of mine shared that she has original letters shared between 2 brothers, related to our family, who were both serving in the military during the Civil War. I am sure I won't get the originals of those letters, but how neat it will be to read them when she sends me the copies.

Those of you who are genealogists, do you have any neat stories from your family history to share? If you are not into genealogy, I encourage you to at least trace your family tree back through your grandparents and if you ever have the chance to talk with other relatives, ask to hear a story about your ancestors and be sure to record what you learn for future generations. It is a really neat feeling when you discover a connection between yourself and history.

30 June 2010

Gratitude for the YMCA

Each year, during spring break, our local YMCAs offer a special program. It is a week of daily swimming lessons open to anyone in the community, for free. For the past few years, I have taken advantage of this opportunity and signed my kids up. Generally, this is the only time they have had in a pool, with the exception of the occasional visit to a hotel or someone's house with a pool. Everything they know about swimming they have learned through these Splash Weeks, as they are called. Not only have they learned how to swim, they have also been taught water safety and have built up their confidence when in the water. It is important to note that they are still not strong swimmers, but they know the basics and can hold their own in a pool. I have always been grateful for this great opportunity that the YMCA offers, but more so after an incident that happened this past Monday evening.

As you may remember, I am currently in an isolation unit at a hospital, so I was not at this event, but what I will share is a compilation of what I have been told by several of the people who were there:
I have an uncle who is up from Georgia, visiting the family here in NY. Another uncle decided to host a BBQ/Pool Party at his home on Monday so that the visiting uncle could see a bunch of family at once. My husband packed up the kids and their swim gear and went to the party. At some point, my oldest 2 girls were the only people in the pool and my 5 year old nephew was walking near the shallow end, but it was believed he was done swimming for the day. Another uncle arrived and the adults, including those who had been near the pool, went to the driveway to greet him. During that time, my nephew apparently decided he was not done swimming and he re-entered the water. At some point, my daughter saw something blue in the bottom of the pool and thought it was just the pool liner. It took her a few seconds to realize it was in fact, my nephew. He had passed the part of the pool that separated the shallow end from the deep end and it was a sudden drop so he could not get back to the shallow end on his own. We do not know how long he was underwater, but my brave girls swam down and hooked their arms through his and pulled him to the shallow end where he was able to get his head above water. At this point, some of the adults had returned and they immediately got my nephew out of the water. He was conscious, but very visibly shaken and coughing up the water he had taken in.

I am extremely proud of my girls' quick thinking and brave actions. I firmly believe that they reacted the way they did only because the YMCA had helped instill that confidence in the water that they needed in order to swim down to reach my nephew. It is because of this, that I am extremely grateful for the YMCA.

***Please note- I was not at this function and therefore do not know all the details as to why the kids were unsupervised in the pool. Knowing my family the way I do, it was not intentional and they have all expressed feelings of guilt. They all are aware of how bad this day could have ended and you can be assured a lesson was learned by all. You are all entitled to your opinions, but please withhold judging the adults as you, like myself, were not there.***

24 June 2010


I have found a new thing to love...Skype. I first heard about Skype for internet based phone calls years ago, but never thought much of it. Then they started with video calls and I was not sure it would work for us. However, when I decided to enter this vaccine study which would keep me away from my kids for 12 days, I suddenly realized it had so many more applications in my life. I have been here in isolation since Monday and have used Skype to see my kids several times already. I know it is also commonly used by deployed servicemen (and women) to connect with their families. What a comfort that must bring to both them and their loved ones. My in-laws have been enjoying using it to see the grandkids and the kids love seeing their grandparents as well. They live 3000 miles away from us and the little ones grow so fast, it is nice for them to be able to watch as they grow, even from such a distance. I know of others who have used Skype to keep in touch with children who are traveling or studying abroad. The best part of Skype is it is FREE!!! No more paying for long distance or international calls! There is even a feature to call people on their home phones rather than computer-to-computer. That feature does cost money to use, but it is a reasonable 2.1 cents a minute or $1.09 a month. You can not find long distance, and especially not international rates, that low anywhere.

Now, Skype does have some potential downsides, but I expect that as technology improves, so will this great service. In order to see each other, you will both need a web cam. It is possible though for just one of you to have a web cam, but the one with the web cam will not be able to see who they are talking to. You can also make computer-to-computer calls without a camera through Skype and it works similarly to a chat. Oh, and you can conference others in on your calls as well. Another drawback is that unless you have a high quality web cam and microphone, your images can be distorted and your voice may be broken up. This can also happen if your computer or your internet connection is too slow. However, the way I see it, a grainy picture is better than no picture. Eventually, as money allows, I hope to upgrade all aspects of our computer so that we can share high quality video conversations. It will never beat face-to-face interactions, but it probably the closest we can get from 3000 miles away. I love Skype.

21 June 2010

Time for Mom

With 4 little ones, it can be difficult to find time for myself. However, in order to be the best mother I can be, I need to remember to take care of me too. If I am not at my best, I cannot give my best. Over the past several months, I have failed to take care of me and I could feel it mentally and physically. I recently had the opportunity arise to participate in a 12-day isolation research study. The fact that it pays well and that it would give me the time and opportunity to do all those little things I have been wanting to do, but been unable to find the time for; made it an easy decision to participate. My husband recently lost his job so he is taking this opportunity to bond with the kids and get some projects done around the house. I checked in this evening for the study and am looking forward to this chance to pamper myself and rediscover my inner self. I love getting some time for me.

29 April 2010

Today's Gratitude: A new day

After yesterday's incident with my little guy carrying on for much of the time we had to wait for my daughter, I was fearful that today would bring more of the same. As a homeschooler in NY, one option I have for end-of-the-year assessment is to have them tested. There are tests I could order and administer myself, but frankly, we do not have the financial means to do so, so we take the school district up on their offer to provide and administer the tests. The down side of this is that we have to wait in the cafeteria of the administrative offices while they take the test. Due to my children's ages, the tests are administered over several days. Today was the second day of testing for my oldest and another day in the cafeteria.

The cafeteria staff are very friendly and the employees are also very kind. That does not mean that I want to have a screaming child on my hands though. That is why I am grateful for new days. Today went so much better than yesterday and my little guy did not get upset once. I did avoid buying chocolate milk today though and opted for cookies instead. They had a nice, healthy breakfast at home first, so I didn't feel bad about the cookie at 9:30 in the morning. I also brought different activities and these ones seemed to suit him better as well.

Today's experience reminded me that every day is a new day and we do not have to allow the attitudes, problems, and issues of the previous day to determine how this day will go.

28 April 2010

Today's Gratitude: Understanding strangers

Today, I had to sit in a cafeteria with my 3 youngest children while waiting for my oldest daughter. I knew ahead of time I would be there about an hour so I brought activities for the little ones and some money to buy them each a chocolate milk. Unfortunately, my almost 2-year old decided that he was just not going to do anything that I had brought with me. First, he picked up the little plastic menu holder thing that they put on the tables. I figured there was no harm in that so I let him hold it. He proceeded to take the paper out so I took the paper and let him play with the plastic thing. Two seconds later, I heard it snap. He had split the thing into two pieces. I managed to somewhat put it back together and immediately put it where he could not get it. He cried for 10 minutes until I bought the chocolate milks. At this point, he took a small sip of the milk and then screamed because I would not let him hold it by himself. He was welcome to hold it with me, but because I do not desire chocolate milk stains on his clothing, I had to hold it too. He did not like this and made it well known. He proceeded to cry and scream for 20 minutes as he tried over and over again to get me to let him hold it by himself. I felt terrible for those who were trying to enjoy their breakfast, but I had entered into a power struggle with him and knew that if I let him win at this point, it would set a precedent for the next time he wanted something he was not ready for. Fortunately, most of these people were very understanding and as they passed they gave me an understanding smile. No one stopped to say anything negative or rude, but the ones that touched me the most were the ones who stopped and tried to help. One lady brought over paper and a pencil in attempt to divert his attention. It did not work, but I appreciate the effort. Another lady came over and told me that she had raised 3 of her own and remembered these days. She told me most of the people there were parents and understood what this was like. I know I how react when someone else's child is screaming near me, I generally tune it out (unless it is a scream that warrants my help) and give the mom one of those understanding smiles. However, when you are in that situation, it is difficult to remember that most people are understanding of this and generally are sympathetic more than they are annoyed. I am so thankful for this lady for reminding me of this simple fact and for the others who were so understanding of my situation today.