Saturday, July 16, 2011

I'm a mom again!

And this time, I didn't have to get FAT! What's even scarier? It's to a teenager. Yes, I now have a 15 year old living in my house. Lord, help me!

In all seriousness, Hubs and I are thrilled (and a little nervous), but my stepson has decided to move from Topeka and live with us. This is something Hubs and I have wanted for a long time, but never pushed the issue. We wanted it to be his decision and not be something that was forced upon him. Sparing all of the details and respecting the privacy of everyone involved, we have found this is hopefully the best decision.

We all know this is going to be a huge adjustment for everyone involved. I imagine things will be tense and tough for a while, but we are a family that supports each other and I have no doubt we will make this work. I think what makes hit more stressful is that this all happens a month before I leave. Thank goodness I took vacation!

So, we are now a family of 6. My heart is whole and I know that my husband's is, too. For my readers that pray, please keep us in your prayers as we make this transition. And please pray for stepson's mom, stepdad and siblings in Topeka as they work through this transition, too. I know this can't be easy on them. Maybe I can get a picture of all 4 of my kids!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

They Say It's Your Birthday

Where has time gone??? My baby is 6 today! SIX!!! It doesn't seem possible. Hubs and I were talking to him about the day he was born. He laughed when I told him that Daddy stopped at McDonald's on the way to the hospital. But he listened intently when I told him about his Grandma Stutz. Grandma Stutz is hub's grandma who lives in Delaware. She was 90 years old when Little was born. And we were lucky enough to have her in Kansas when it happened. It was too hot for Grandma to visit the hospital, so we went directly to the inlaw's house once released from the hospital. Grandma was instantly smitten with Little. She ran her fingers through his hair and traced her fingers along his body. She looked at him and took him in without saying a word for the longest time. Finally, she held his hands. They were small and wrinkly, but she didn't mind. She looked at me and told me that someday those hands would do great things. Of course, when telling the story, Little wanted to know what things his hands had done and would do. We told him that with every picture he drew or lego building he constructed that he was doing great things. That every time he folded his hands in prayer, he was doing great things. And as for what great things his hands would do? Well, that was up to him. He is learning every day. He watches the world through his big, blue eyes. I can't wait to see what "great things" this year holds.


Becoming a Reality

It's hard to believe that in just over a month I will be leaving for the academy. While this is something I have wanted for a long time, I don't want anyone to think this is easy. I have so many mixed emotions about all of it. For starters, leaving my family. Yes, my children are in the capable hands of my husband and they will be busy with sports and school. While they may not miss me so much, I know I will be missing them. I've worked crazy shifts throughout the years, but I've always seen them at least once a day and been able to love on them. Then, there is my work family; the women I work with in dispatch. While we have had our disagreements over the years, they have been here to share in my lowest of lows and my highest of highs. I feel terrible leaving them. I hope they know how much their friendship means to me. I hope they know how hard this is to leave them. I feel bad because I am leaving the section short-handed and I hate for them to be in a bind. And it seems the longer I stay in here, the harder and harder it's getting to say goodbye.

In order to get ready I am taking a couple weeks vacation. Partly because Big is going away to summer camp so I am losing my helper with the other two. And, I just want a little extra time with my family. I want to be able to visit my grandpa in the nursing home and not feel rushed because I have ten thousand things to do, or exhausted because I have worked all night. I know my time with him is limited and I want it to be special. I want to have date nights with each of my kids. I want them to know how special they are to me. I want a date night with my husband. Those are few and far between as it is and I know in the following months it will be more difficult. I'd like a night out with "my girls". I want the special women in my life to know how much I appreciate them lifting me up and being a support through all of this. I'd like to have a family dinner with my parents, sister, brother and sister-in-law, inlaws, the whole nine yards. I want to take the time to toast them because I know I wouldnt' have had the courage to go through with all of this without them. There is so much I want to get done and not enough days in the month.

I am such an emotional mess that this blog may be all some people get because I don't know that I will be able to look at them without bawling. So, if that is the case, thank you. Thank you for saying a prayer for me. Thank you for encouraging words. Thank you for being a shoulder to cry on or a sounding board for my vents of frustration. Thank you for taking the time to make me feel worthy of all of this when often I didn't. Thank you for allowing me to quit when I felt it was my only option. Thank you for understanding that I did this for the benefit of my family and not to hurt anyone else. Thank you for instilling peace in my heart. Thank you just for being you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Extreme? Not So Much...

If you haven't watched it, I'm sure you have heard of it. "Extreme Couponing." It's a show produced by TLC. They show men and women from all over the US spending HOURS price matching, cutting coupons and organizing coupons. Then, you see their shopping excursions. Carts overflowing with multiples of items. And when I say multiples, sometimes it is hundreds. To me, these people give couponing, and the purpose behind it, a bad name.

I am new to the coupon game. So, I have respect for these people that have taken the time to learn and perfect it. But, seriously, how many bottles of hot sauce do you need? And diapers? You don't even have kids! I understand that getting it for free totally rocks, but why purchase something you have zero use for?

I am guilty of watching the Extreme shows. I have lots of friends who coupon and some who are REALLY good at it. So, I decided to give it a try. And you know what? It's kind of fun! I grew up with a mom that never cut coupons, so it has really been like learning a foreign language. You have to know who doubles and who doesn't. Who "stacks" and who doesn't. It's about getting the most bang for your buck. I was proud of myself yesterday. Here is the breakdown of my purchases:

Total Bill: 97.27
Paid out of Pocket: 30.33
Register Rewards Earned: 25.00 (to be spent on later purchases)

Basically: $5.33 out of pocket!!!

My "mentor" was proud. I think my mom and some of my friends are expecting to see me on TLC soon. But, I am purchasing items that either don't expire or have a long shelf life. All the ones I made yesterday were toiletry-type items. With me leaving for three months, I figure the less Hubs has to worry about purchasing, the better.

Now, for you beginning couponers. I suggest you find out if you have friends that coupon and are good at it. I have found that most of mine are very willing to help walk me through stuff. Start scouring blogs that handle deals. Many will do the weekly match-ups for you, so it takes a lot of work out of it. Take a coupon class. Yes, they do exist. But please, don't let me see your face on the next episode...

Friday, May 27, 2011

We Recycle Around Here

With two girls, I am all about hand-me-downs. This is an outfit that I had custom-made for Big Bit. Once she outgrew it, I packed it away in hopes that Middle would be able to wear it. (The girls were born in opposite seasons and have different body types so sometimes it doesn't work.) I pulled it out the other day and Middle deamed it necessary to wear on her last day of school. The picture on the left is Big's last day of 2nd grade and the one on the right is Middle on her last day of 1st grade.



We had our last day of school. Man this year flew by fast! I now have a Kindergarten graduate and a middle schooler! All 3 kids did great this year. While physical changes aren't as easy to notice in the picture, the internal changes are enormous! I am so proud of my kids!


14 Weeks

That is how long I will be away from my babies, husband, family and friends. 14 weeks. That's how long I have to learn to become a police officer.

This is all pretty bittersweet. Being a police officer is something I have wanted for several years. But now that it's here, I am freaked out. The most I have ever been away from my children is a few days. To clarify, I do get to come home on the weekends. But,I still feel the guilt of missing their first day of school, Big's birthday, school pictures and many other things. My kids are my life. For the past 11 years they are what I have lived for. I have taken them to school or daycare and been home when they got home. I have kissed boo-boos and dried tears. I have broken up my fair share of arguments. And I have witnessed the bonds that only siblings know. My husband. He is my biggest cheerleader. Through the lengthy hiring process he stood behind me. He lifted my spirits when they were scraping the bottom. For 14 weeks he is going to be a single parent to 3 lively children. Even when I have worked strange shifts (which has been the majority of our marriage), we have parented as a team. I'm not sure what kind of teamwork we can do via Skype, but I guess we will figure it out.

Then, there is the schooling. I have been out of school for a LONG time. I left college when I was pregnant with my oldest. I will spend 14 weeks in classes, studying and taking tests. I will learn defensive tactics and push my body to it's limits in physical training. I will be pepper sprayed. I will learn to shoot a gun. At 33 years old I am starting a whole new phase of my life. I am excited and scared.

In 12 weeks I will be pulling out of my driveway and saying goodbye to a job I have loved for almost 11 years. But hopefully, in November I will be graduating and welcoming a new career into our lives.