Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Average Day

I have meant to keep up on this blog better than I have. 

I wanted to use it as a journal to someday come back and revisit this place in my heart.  But, through the busy-ness of life, it didn't happen. 

I won't be able to capture the feelings, the emotions that I felt while settling in.  And honestly, maybe I was hiding from reality.  I didn't want to open up and be honest about how hard it was to experience so much change.  I had wanted this for so long, I didn't want to admit that it was hard.

But it was hard.  And it still is hard.  I know that it is right, and I know that I'm where I'm supposed to be.  But it is still hard. 

I have a feeling that normalcy will solve some of this.  Once school begins and we are all in a routine of sorts, the rhythm of life will soon take over and we will feel more settled.

When I talk with friends and family back home, they often ask what fills our days.

I usually leave the house around 7 or 7:30 to catch the bus for work.  A few days a week, I will get on the early bus and am at my desk at 6:45 am.  People who know me laugh when they hear this.  I'm such a night owl...the only time I was ever at my desk at 6:45 am was when I worked night shift. 

Some mornings I will drop the kids off some where and other mornings, someone will pick them up between 8-8:30. 

The past few weeks the kids have had summer camps to attend.  It has added a bit of stress of finding drivers and babysitters, etc.  but it has helped them feel at home and settled in.

Riley is struggling a bit.  It comes and goes and most days it appears like he is doing well.  But I know deep down, he really misses his friends in Rittman.  He was settled, established there and it has been hard for him to uproot.  Thankfully we are close and he is able to stay open with me as we talk things out. 
When we started the remodeling on the house we will be moving in to, he was able to help with some of the demolition work.  It was great to see him working with the men, being treated like one of them.  He coudn't talk about anything else for the next week. 
He has meet quite a few boys his age, and I love to watch them play together.  He really is such a sweet kid, but has had to face so many tough things in his life and some has made him jaded.  I hope in time he can soften and learn to trust more openly. 

Rhianna has spent past 2 weeks (and this week) working on a Summer Musical Theater program.  She has THREE parts (she is ecstatic!) and is helping do the sets with her friend Leah.  It has been great to see her blossom through this. 
She has also buddied up to a friend from church who she calls her 'CT Grandma'.  I call her the little shadow.  Where she is, Rhianna is right behind her.  She helps in the kitchen and does all sorts of fun things.  This summer they are working on teaching Rhianna how to sew and other things that her mom can't do :-) 

Reagan is still Reagan.  His twinkling eyes and ornery grin.  He has a buddy at church who is a year or so younger than him, but they both are the same height with blond hair.  They could melt a stone heart with one little twinkle of their eye and the giggles that come out with every breath. 
There is a creek on back part of the church property here.  They tried to convince me this past Sunday that the Sunday School teacher wanted to have Sunday School there and they were supposed to go down there right away.  *I didn't fall for it but part of me wanted to.

My day?  My day is filled with meetings and writing documents, keeping track of IT questions and updates and documenting business desicions.  I am on a couple comittees, which are fun and break up the day.  I have a great relationship with the leadership of my organization and it makes going to work fun instead of a dreaded task. 
It no longer feels strange to have to hurry to catch the bus or to wait on a noisy city street after work to catch a bus home.  It feels normal and I honestly love it.  15 minutes of down time each way is exactly what this busy mama needs to mentally switch from mom to work mode and then back to mom again.

I'll try and start writing of our fun adventures we have had over the past 3 months.  In the grand scheme of things, it is going great.  We have been welcomed so lovingly into this church family, that daily I am overwhelemed by their willingness to take us in as their own.

My mom is coming tomorrow and spending the week.  Originally it was to work on the house, but our schedule is quickly filling up with other things.  But I think right now, the other things, the time spent together is more important. 

I surprised the kids and told them that Grandma was taking them back to Ohio for a couple weeks.  The kids are doing so well here, but I had promised them that I would take every opportunity to get them back to Ohio, even if it was for a long weekend.  They can't wait to see their cousins and friends.   I have to admit, I'm kinda jealous.

Although...a couple weeks of just 'take care of myself' time sounds rather exciting and needed.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Three Months In...

I can't believe its been three months. 

Some days it seems like an eternity ago I said my good byes.

Other days, it seems like yesterday.

We are doing well.  Settling into a routine of sorts.

Work is going great.  Trying to learn everything as quickly as I can.  But there is just so much to learn.  Going from working nights at a hospital to days at an insurance company is a big change.  Thankfully, I have amazing co-workers and a great leadership team that has been so helpful.

The kids are having a blast this summer, but not without ups and downs.  They are meeting and making new friends, spending most days swimming, been to the beach quite a few times, not to mention Six Flags. 

Riley has probably had the hardest time settling in.  He had a lot of friends in Rittman and was established on his sports teams.  He is my kid who thrives on routine.  Its been tough for him, but he seems to be doing better every day.  Last week he was in a flag-football camp.  He enjoyed it, but definitely missed full-tackle.  Hopefully in a few years he can get back on a team and play again.

Rhianna has made quite a few friends and has found a grandma/mom figure who has taken Rhianna under her wing.  The two are inseperable and Rhianna has blossomed with her friendship.  She helps in the kitchen at church as often as possible and is becoming well known for her constant smile.  Rhianna is in a drama club this summer and has three parts in the musical they are putting on.  I can't wait to see her perform for the first time on Friday.

Reagan, my little roll-with-the-punches guy, has fit right in.  He has a couple little friends and has said he loves it here.  I love watching him at church with his little friend, two little blondies bopping around with their eyes twinkling. He was in a Lego/Robot class last week and is in a engineering/building class this coming week.

***
Housing?  We are working on getting into permanent housing.  It has been quite the unexpected journey, but again as so often in my past, I have been exactly where God has wanted me to be.  We are working, with the emense help of others, to remodel a house that we will soon call our own.  I can't wait to be settled into a house that is ours and that is large enough to have company stay with us. 
***

How is it really going?

I wasn't sure how much to write about how I have been feeling.  I have wanted this for so long (21 years!!!) and I know that God wants me here...so why am I feeling what I'm feeling?  I don't know.  But it seems like the more I fight it, the worse it gets.  But I'm homesick.  And oddly enough, not for the things one might think. 

Its the little things that get me.

I miss the secret little hugs my niece would give me.
I miss hearing her little sister giggle in my ear.
I miss my friends at the hospital, and knowing we are all scattered with the closing of the hospital makes it so much harder.
I miss the sounds of the helmets and shoulder pads hitting each other during football practice...knowing this is the time of year that practice and conditining starts. 
I miss stopping into my Grandparents and grabbing a few dozen eggs and chatting with them
I miss my family.

It helps to write this.  It helps to acknowledge that its okay to be lonely.  Its okay to be tired of all things new.  Its okay to cry when I think of everything in Ohio.  It doesn't mean I'm not where I'm supposed to be.  It doesn't mean I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do.  It doesn't mean I'm not happy where I am.  It simply means I have a lot that I love in Ohio, and for that I'm thankful. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Life


Life is good.

Busy.

Hectic.

Not completely settled.

But good.

We are adjusting to our routine.

(Just in time for the last day of school this Friday to shake up our routine again)

Work is going great.

Hectic (DEADLINES!!), but good.

School is going well for the kids.  (4 days left!!)

Riley is adjusting as expected.

He is doing great; but trying to get away with things under the name of "I'm adjusting, MOM" :-)

Soon (when I find time), I'll write about the week we spent in Ohio a few weeks ago.



Thursday, May 22, 2014

So God made a farmer...


I love this clip.

No, I'm not a farmer.

But I come from the heart of farmland.

Maybe at one point in my life, I wanted to run from it.

Maybe not so long ago, I didn't think where and how I was raised had affected me at all.

It wasn't until I was offered the job at Travelers and then was told what line of Business I would be supporting.

(I work with a specific line of business and help them work with IT to implement system changes)

When I was told that I would be supporting the Agriculture line of business I had to laugh.

I was moving to work in a big city...to work in farming.

***
It was my second week of work.  I was overwhelmed, tired, frustrated with myself for not learning faster, and just plain exhausted.

I had a short training session scheduled with one of the VP's of Agriculture that I will be working closely with.  At the time of the meeting, I didn't have any ideas of what it was about.  I figured it was how our roles interact, etc.

It was to teach me about farming.

'Bob' is a great guy.  He is nice and so easy to work with.  However, I could almost sense a frustration of sorts when I first walked in the room.  Later, I wondered if it was because he was going to have to teach this girl about farming and probably didn't really have the time to try and explain to a girl what farming was.

He sat down next to me and explained that we cover property and liability, but our specific division doesn't cover production...and that I probably thought that the farmer who milks the cow, puts the milk in the jug.  And that the farmer who grows the grain makes the grain into flour.

I honestly didn't know how to react.

My first thought was: "PEOPLE REALLY THINK THAT???????????"

I honestly didn't know what to do.  Thoughts were swirling around in my head.

Do I respect him and let him go on?

Or do I politely interrupt and tell him the truth?

I honestly don't remember what I said or how I said it.

All I remember was words tumbling out of my mouth and then eventually said:


  • My grandpa was a dairy/chicken farmer
  • My dad managed a farm equipment store
  • My brother in law is a grain farmer
  • And I worked at an orchard for 3 years
  • I grew up in farmland Ohio. 

The look on his face was priceless.

It went from 'I have to tell this chic about farming' to 'WHOOHOO someone who knows something about this topic!'

Our session soon went from 'myths about farming to discussions about risks of crop insurance, Farm Bureau and other such topics.

He had even heard of Wayne County, Ohio.

***

So maybe I'm not really a farmer.

I'm not out working a million hours a week to keep America fed.

But what I am doing is helping to keep the computer system going so that farmers can be insured properly.

That counts towards something, right?

I left Wayne County to get to work in farming.

Life is funny sometimes.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Home

Its been a month now.

The first few weeks brought bumps that I didn't expect.

There were the adjustments and unexpected emotions that had to be dealt with.

Then all of a sudden, life seemed normal.

It is home and now feels like home.

I can't begin to describe the peace and contentment that I have.

I am finally home.

I hear many comment  with:

"You did it! You didn't give up even though it took 3 years!"

I have to laugh.

It actually took me 21 years.

I first knew this was home when I was 13.  I finally made it now that I'm 34.

I may have taken the long route, but I made it.

Breathless and shaky-legged ,yes, but home nonetheless.

There are still some obstacles that will have to be hurdled.

We are still looking for permanent housing, which is our only glitch.

Long story...but the house we were going to move into had some issues came up on the landlord's end so the deal fell through. We are staying in a small apartment that is home we look for to settle into.  Right now that is the biggest hurdle, and I have a 'crew' out looking for someplace for us to call home.

I came across this picture tonight and thought it said it perfectly:


We need to be content, but we also shouldn't hold on to things, ideas or concepts.  So often the things we think are exactly what we need end up taking the place of something that God wants to give us that is much better.   

*** 
We head back to Ohio next week to get Riley.  

I haven't seen him since Easter and this mama is rather lonely for her boy.  

(I could say that there is a boy really lonely for his mama, but I don't want to embarrass him!)

Rhianna and Reagan are doing remarkably well.  They have made so many new friends and are doing great in school.  They love their teachers, principal, and the kids in their classes.  

Things couldn't be going better! 

Thanks so much for your love and prayers! 

Please pray for us to find a home and also for Riley as he makes some big adjustments.  

Love you all!!
-j



Saturday, May 17, 2014

'Mom, you look like a widow' and other wonderful compliments!

Reagan was up late with me watching me scroll through Facebook.

He happened to see my cover photo.

Which is this:


He said "Mom.  You look like a widow in that picture!!"

I asked him why he thought I looked like a widow. 

He said it was because I was wearing a scarf over my hair.  

(This picture was taken in February at a Connecticut beach.  It was cold!)

This didn't really make sense so I asked him:

"Do you know what a widow is?"

He said "Yea!!  A widow is a homeless woman"

Uhhh??!!...

This comment came a few hours after Rhianna had asked if I there were cars when I was little.  

"Um, yea..." 

Then asked when she thought cars were invented. 

"1800's?"

I guess that makes me a very old homeless woman. 

*Sigh*  

Oil of Olay wrinkle control sounds like a great investment.   

****
Other than recent the recent setbacks (the ones mentioned above), we are doing wonderfully good here. 

My 3rd week at work proved to be the roughest so far.  I think the newness wore off, but I still didn't feel settled.  My brain would hurt from all the information being shoved into it.  (I'll write soon about what I do along with pictures of the city) 

The next week went much, much smoother and we seem to be settling into a routine.  

We are in the midst of finding/finalizing some permanent housing for us.  We are in a great little apartment temporarily while we take some time to find a house that will work for us. 

Other than the housing search, the kids and I are doing great.  We have made so many wonderful friends and it feels like home here in Connecticut.  

I pinch myself when I think this is all a dream.   It is really is that wonderful. 

All I can say, is to those who read this who are struggling.  Don't give up.  Keep looking to God and keep plugging away.  Someday God will give you all the desires of your heart...in His way and in His time.  When that time comes you will have to pinch yourself too.  

I have so much to write, and will write more soon. 

Thanks for all of your prayers, encouragement and love.  

I couldn't have done this without you.  





Sunday, May 4, 2014

Better late than never...another update (Weeks 2-3)

Another long overdue update!!

Things are going great! I haven't had a chance to blog as frequently as I would like because  I don’t have internet access at my apartment because it is only temporary and figured it would take a few weeks to have the setup, I might as well wait until I am into the house I will be renting.

I might have to figure something else out…going without internet is proving to be difficult. 
That is one excuse for being weeks behind on the blog, another is I’m still letting thoughts roll around in my head and let reality sink in.

I never did write about my first week at work.  And I haven’t yet written about the kids’ first week here and now that they are 2 weeks in, and one week of school done, I realized I need to write or all of these things will soon be forgotten.
Week 1: (April 14-17th)
I started work on Monday, April 14th.  I had orientation in the morning.  I met a woman who is working in a different building and has a completely different role there.  She is so sweet and we seemed to hit it off.  (About a week later she looked me up in the company white pages and found me…we now have a day set aside each week to meet for lunch.) 

She has a completely different job than me and couldn’t have a more different background.  (She grew up in a Middle Eastern country, moved to Ireland, got married and moved to Conn.)  But what we do have in common is we are both mothers (she has a 15 month old) and we are both new to the company, etc.  I’m so thankful God placed her in my orientation class and that we could already be friends.

After orientation, my manager met me downstairs and walked me up to my cube.  She handed me my laptop and a box of office goodies.  I worked on getting everything set up with the help of my cube neighbor.  Already, I call her my work mom.  She is quiet, but I know she would drop everything to help me. 
The rest of the day is now foggy in my memory. 

Tuesday-Thursday:
The first week I was here, I was staying with a friend.  We had so much fun, going shopping some of the nights, running to Target and getting stuff for my desk, etc.  We stayed up late every night talking and getting to know each other better. 

Work went well.  The woman I am replacing, and who is retiring, is quite a character.  (Character: a nice way of saying cranky and rude)  Within the first 2 minutes of my training class on Tuesday she had me feeling like I was a 2 year old.  It took me about 2 minutes later to realize it wasn’t my problem, but hers.  I would take her comments and let them slide off my back…or try and see the humor in them.  Some were so rude I couldn’t help but almost laugh.

I also realized it wasn’t me when the managers kept asking me if I was coming back to work after I went to Ohio for the weekend.  At first I thought that was really odd…of course I was coming back; until one confessed that most who trains with her threaten to quit.  I told them I was okay, but knowing it really wasn’t me and that they had my support was comforting.

Wednesday afternoon, someone asked me something about my previous job and co-workers.  I answered them and then the tears threatened to fall.  I started thinking about my nurse’s and the three I adopted as little sisters.  It takes a lot to make me cry, but here I was sitting at my desk crying over the co-workers/friends I left behind.  I realized then how much I missed them and how close I had become to them.  

I’ve met so many amazing people at this company and the management is incredible.  Everyone is polite, helpful, and friendly.  I’m so excited to be a part of the team there.
I drove back to Ohio Thursday after work.

Week 2: Monday-Sunday
Monday morning we pulled out around 3 am on a few hours’ sleep.  I was doing okay, but a few hours into the drive, I had to stop to sleep a little bit.  I ended up stopping a few times to take a quick nap.  The drive there was much harder than I anticipated.  The further we drove, the harder it was.  I wasn’t expecting these emotions and more than once I found myself crying.
I prayed and prayed and then remembered that so many people knew I would be on the road that day and also would be praying for us.  It came to me then that these emotions of fear and apprehension were coming from Satan.  I knew I wanted to move here when I was 13.  Twice when I was single and young, I almost did but chickened out.  He was there the whole time telling me it was too hard and too scary.  I couldn’t let his voice win and scare me into turning around and driving back to Ohio.  I drove on, recollecting the hundreds of times God proved to me I really was supposed to move.

We made it to Conn. about 12 hours later.  I can usually make it in 9, but stopping so much slowed us down.  We found the apartment and unpacked the car and soon after my brother in law pulled in with the truck and trailer.  A handful of men from the area were there to meet us and helped us unload.  We only unloaded the necessities and then drove the trailer over to another trailer and moved the rest of the stuff into there.  When the house opens up we will just drive that trailer and unload it there…much simpler than a storage unit. 

At this point I was mentally shot.  They would ask me questions (where to put what) and I couldn’t answer.  They were so kind (and teased me a little) and understanding that my brain was fried for the day.  Their welcoming kindness and love made the evening so much easier.
We came back to the apartment and then my brother in law said goodbye.  I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was.  He was staying with a couple from church and then was pulling out early the next morning. 

Monday night I sat in my recliner looking around.  I can’t explain the feelings I was feeling, but overwhelmed was at the top of the list.  I stopped myself from thinking and realized that I was beyond overtired and when I get that tired nothing looks right and everything looks too hard.  I went to be, thankful my manager had given me Tuesday off work as well.

Tuesday morning we slept in a little and then went off to the kids’ school to turn in the paperwork, etc.  We found out who their teachers were and we met Reagan’s teacher but Rhianna’s teacher was out for the day.  We met the principal and he spent a few minutes talking to the children.  He was kind and welcoming.  He spoke to me a little, but focused on the two children.  That made me so comfortable to see he was wonderful at interacting with the kids and treated them well.  By the time we left, the kids were excited to start school.

We had been told that they needed a physical and a TB test.  We found a quick-clinic and everything started out great.  Until we got to the finger poke to check blood volume.  Once Reagan’s finger was poked, it was all over.  He started screaming and running around uncontrollably.  He had never, ever done this in public and I was doing my best to calm him down. 
Once we finally calmed him down enough for the doctor to come in, it went a little better.  Then it came time for the TB test (at this point they had taken Rhianna out of the room and did her physical and TB test in the other room) He screamed and screamed.  I did exactly what the book on parenting says not to do: I bribed him with a toy AND a doughnut.  I just wanted to be done and get us all out of there.  

After a few attempts, he finally let us do the test and be done.  Later that night he told me he planned to scream…that the needle really did scare him, but he was going to scream like that anyway.  Just to make me mad.  Honestly, I ‘m not sure if he really did have it planned, but I pretended to be mad at his little scheme for a minute before tickling him and snuggling him.  I knew that both kids were at their emotional limits and this wasn’t the week to punish. 
And as his treat he got a little Lego set and a doughnut.  That’s bad parenting!  But in the grand scheme of things…I still think it was the right thing to do. 

Wednesday-Friday:
The kids went to some people’s house from church, forming new friends and playing with old friends.  They have gotten to know one lady from church and when they find out they get to see her they always cheer.  I’m so thankful for her friendship and help in getting us settled in. 
The TB test couldn’t be read until Thursday, so that night after work we found our way back at the clinic.  I threatened Reagan vehemently that if he screamed again he would be in SO MUCH trouble.  He just grinned and said “I know”.  Thankfully, there were no screams.  Only smiles.
Friday I was able to get out of work a little early to make it back to the school in time to turn in their medical paperwork.  The kids were okay’d to start school on Monday!

Friday night we had pizza at some friends’ house and let the kids play.  We went home around 9 and crashed.  It was a good week, but a tiring one.

We slept in on Saturday and spent some time at the Laundromat, had ice cream, and went to a park.  It was a fairly uneventful day which is what we needed.
Sunday was our first ‘official’ Sunday at church.  We were welcomed lovingly and I didn’t see the kids most of the day.  They were off with friends and they chatted my ear off on the way home. 

We found out at church that there was one girl in 3rd grade at the elementary school Rhianna was going to.  (There are other 3rd grade girls at church, but they all go to the other elementary schools in town).  We also realized that they have the same teacher!  There were some girls with smiles on their faces!!!  I’m so thankful that God orchestrated this. 

We had been invited to someone’s house for dinner and had a wonderful time there.  I know them fairly well, but it was good to spend more time with them and get to know them even better. 

Week 3: Monday-Friday
Monday morning was the kids’ first day of school.  The secretary said we could come in a little early so I could walk them to their class and Rhianna could meet her teacher. We told the teacher that Rhianna knew the one little girl and the teacher said “No way!  I had no idea, but I put you next to her!!”  Again, a little gift from God to make it easier.  Since then Rhianna has come home and I hear all about the fun that she has with her new friend(s).

The kids did great.  And work has been amazing.  They told me that I could come in a little late and leave a little early to help the kids settle in school.  I have work I can take home and my manager said she didn’t care if I took it home, that helping my kids was very important to them.

This week flew by.  The kids act like they have been at this school all their lives and work doesn’t feel so new anymore.  I’m starting to recognize faces in the halls, I know where things are, and I know how a typical day should go.  I’m starting to pick up on the lingo and during meetings I am starting to be able to follow along.  Taking the bus doesn’t seem so scary anymore, it is rather relaxing and I enjoy the ride in to work.  I know we all have a lot to learn, but we are starting to settle in.  

We are all doing great.  The worst is being separated from Riley, but we talk multiple times a day.  We are half way done and in a few weeks I’ll be back in Ohio for a week to get him.

Everything is going so well, so when I started feeling blunky the other night I couldn’t figure out what was bothering me.  I thought about my past few weeks and realized that it was a bunch of meaningless little things that were adding up and creating a shadow of frustration. 
Little things like I don’t know the shortest way to Target.  I know how to get there, but I know I’m taking the long way.  I want to make cookies, but can’t because my stuff is still in storage, I can’t get my mail, (I tried to get a PO box, but it takes so long for approval, I’m just going to wait until I’m in the new house to get a mailing address…which is why I haven’t given it to anyoneJ) I stopped myself from thinking and realized, once again I was overtired.  I made myself go to bed and in the morning realized all of these new things will figure themselves out and it really isn’t a big deal. 

Yesterday the kids and I are went to the beach.   The sun was finally shining and we are going to go out and enjoy the day building castles in the sand and hike up the rocks.  (Pictures and post to come!!)