Friday, September 28, 2012

Just One More Time

My husband played high school football years, sixteen years ago to be exact. Wow, there's nothing like putting it in writing to make you feel old!  Yikes!

Chuck was good at football, he broke a few school records, held a few titles in the football league in the state. He was what you could call a local high school football star.  When you mentioned his name, people knew who you were talking about.  He was being recruited by many, many colleges to go play for them.  He didn't.  I can't quite say why he didn't pursue it all.  It was all so exciting and fun but he didn't go after it.  (I was there through this whole time period because we've been together since I was 15.)

My parents often said that he should have gone on as a walk on with an NFL team (obviously the Steelers, is there any other team?!) to see what would happen.  I swear I think my mom still thinks he can do it, not realizing that he is considered old

So, fast forward to the present.  He is a family man, with a wife and three kids.  He works full time to provide for his family.  Some days I'm not sure if he thinks about what could have been had he gone after a football career.  If he could have made it.  I really don't know.  His high school rival played in the NFL and Chuck actually beat him out as Offensive Player of the Year for the Allegheny Conference.  That guy's name is LaVarr Arrington.  Yes, him.  If you don't know who he is, look him up.  Of course, I believe that he had the skill and talent and determination to make it in the NFL but then again, I am his wife so why wouldn't I?

This weekend is our alma mater's alumni football game.  The kid that has organized it has asked Chuck to play in the past and he was just never able to because of work.  He decided to play this year.  So, on Sunday, Chuck is going to get dressed in full equipment as this is a full contact game and see what he can do.  He is in fairly good shape, he stays active, can just go out and run 5 miles and play backyard ball with the guys.  This is sort of different though.  This game, he is going to be playing with much younger guys and against our high school rival.  I would hope that they are not out for blood or anything.  I'm hoping that Chuck doesn't get injured but I think he will know when he needs to stop.  He is taking Monday off of work just in case haha. 

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a huge football fan.  Especially when I am watching my son play.  He has his dad's talent and skill and often times, Chuck tells him that he is actually better than he was.  I am beyond excited to watch my husband play football again.  He may not be the star he once was on the field but he will always be that star to me.  I think he is excited to just go out on the field one more time and have some fun. 

There are a lot of people going to watch the game and I hope they can show our local rivals what they are made of.   The kids and I will be there cheering Chuck on for what may be his last football game he will ever suit up for......until he decides to play again next year! Ha!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Keeping Busy

I wasn't making it up when I said that I am enjoying being home with the kids and making sure the household is being run and everything is going smoothly.  However, I do get a little bored once the big kids are in school and Lincoln and I are here by ourselves.  He is perfectly happy to sit quietly and play by himself or watch a show or two...after we do his practice lessons.  I end up on the computer just browsing around between loads of laundry or sweeping or whatever else needs done. 

My friend runs a local gym (the one I used to go to) and she sent me a message last week about the gym needing someone on an as needed basis to work in the nursery.  I told her that I am available because they need someone in the mornings during the week and it just happens that the hours are before I need to take Lincoln to school. She said she would give my name to the girl that runs the nursery scheduling.  So, basically, I will be filling in for the nursery workers when someone can't make it.  It's only a few hours a day, when they need me so it's certainly not anything that is regular and I'm not going to make a huge amount of money or anything but it's something I can do for a few extra bucks occasionally. 

The one perk is that I will have a free gym membership!  That is awesome and I will get a lot of use out of it when the colder weather comes.  That means I can do all the classes that I love or go on the Precor machine that is my best friend. 

I'm pretty excited about it.  The nursery scheduler called me today and I have to go in sometime this week so she can show me what needs done when I am working, which is only a few things and I have been in there tons of times when the kids were younger and I was at the gym 4-5 days a week working out.  So, just one more exciting thing that is going for me. 

I'm so thankful my friend thought of me. She had asked me several years ago if I was interested in a nursery position and back then, the timing just wasn't right so I'm happy to be available now!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Pain of Comparison

Every parent does it. There really is no way of getting around it, when we are parents, we tend to compare our kids to others' kids.  It's natural, we are curious about whether or not our kids are developing and learning on pace with everyone else.

I try not to do it too much because, honestly, it will tear you apart. You will start to wonder if you went wrong somewhere or why others aren't doing what yours is doing.

We had to make a huge decision when it came time for kindergarten registration this year.  Should we or should we not sign Lincoln up for kindergarten? Is he ready for kindergarten? Can he keep up with the other kids and learn everything that all the other kids are? It weighed on my heart a lot.  I didn't want to make the wrong decision, I didn't want to be the cause of either his struggling to keep up or his boredom with it not being enough. There is a fine line when you have an end of summer birthday.  I hear it is even more of a fine line with boys because of the maturity. 

We decided to send him to kindergarten.  He hasn't been excelling but he hasn't been lost yet.  His teacher sends home practice pages every Friday for reinforcement (for all the students, not just Lincoln) and he is enjoying doing those, not realizing that it is helping him in the process.  He is working hard and although he hasn't mastered letter recognition and number recognition, he is learning.  I have been working with him daily for at least 45 minutes to an hour with practice pages, flash cards and online programs.  I am breaking down the letters into smaller groups instead of doing the entire alphabet.  It seems to be working.  He is excited to learn and he wants to do well. 

We received a letter this past Friday to say that he qualifies for extra help in the Title I reading program where he will receive extra help in the classroom.  There is already a paraprofessional in his classroom that helps him sometimes but this group will be even more help.  Lincoln has not be diagnosed with a learning disability nor has he had to be set up with an IEP but he is receiving the help he needs while in school to keep up. 

So while I am on Twitter or Facebook and I read about all these other kids that are doing amazingly well and are advanced, I can't help but wonder why Lincoln isn't like that.  I know that all kids are different and learn at different paces but it's tough sometimes to remember that.  I know several people who have 2-3 year olds who seem to know more than Lincoln does as far as letters and numbers.

It may seem ridiculous, but I can't help but feel guilt over the fact that my older  two kids had me at home when they were little and this was never an issue.  They learned all their letters and numbers in preschool and they were fine going into kindergarten.  They also were older though when they did that.  I can't help but wonder if it is because I wasn't at home to teach him or take him to preschool.  Is there a direct correlation between my not being home and Lincoln not knowing these things?  My Mother-in-Law has mentioned a few times that she thinks so.  (This is not a reason to bash her or say anything mean about her, she is just offering an opinion and one that I was already thinking.) But that breaks my heart.  I mean, it crushes my heart to think that I am not the only one who thinks this way.  She says that the older two had the best of me when I was at home with them and doing more with them when they were little and Lincoln hasn't gotten that.  He didn't have the best of me.  It hurts.big.time.  How do I let go of that?  I don't know if I will ever be able to.  I have cried to Chuck about this and he tells me that it is not my fault and he's sure that isn't why, that I have always been a great mom whether I was working or not.

Whether he struggles in the future or is able to breeze along in his education, I don't know if I can let go of the thought that it was because of me.  Yes, I had to work in order for my family to have the things we have and we needed me to work to pay our bills. We were lucky I could work to do all that we did.  I understand that but it doesn't lessen the hurt.

My advice to new moms is always that they should listen to advice and criticism, but to still do what they feel is right.  They are the parent and no matter what everyone else is doing or saying, they will know what is right for their family.  I should add on to that to say not to compare your children with others because it will tear you apart. 

My kids are smart, all of them.  We are blessed with well-rounded kids that have their own talents, strengths and weaknesses that make them individuals.  I wouldn't change my kids for anything or anyone else.  I just hope that we made the right decision with Lincoln and that I can quit comparing him to others.  He is young for his class...possibly and most likely the youngest one in his class, but he is having fun and he is learning. 

Parenthood is tough....definitely tougher than any job I have ever had.  I couldn't imagine a better job though.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Finding My Groove

It seems like I am just now getting back to the "old me" that I was years ago.  I have been at home with the kids since the end of June but I think that the school year has gotten me back to a familiar spot.  I am back to being organized, having a routine, wanting to do things at the schools, etc. 

I think that the best me is the one that runs a tight ship at home, is there at school for the kids, sees them off to school and is there when they get home.  I enjoy this life. I enjoy being mom before anything else.  I was always mom when I was working full time outside of the house but I am a better mom here at home.  I am not overly stressed, I am not exhausted every single day and I just have more patience.  I think it is because I have the time to enjoy the little moments. 

The kids definitely enjoy having me home as well.  Lincoln and I are back to being buddies again.  When I was working, he was home with Daddy and they were two peas in a pod and there was no time for Mommy.  Now, we have our moments when we lie in bed and tickle each other or when we take walks to the horse stables down the road and he tells me crazy stories. 

I am finding that I am getting involved in the schools and it feels good.  This is where I am supposed to be.  I was happy when I was first back home with the family but I am even more so now that I am involved and things are running smoothly.  I am finding my groove again.

Chuck is working long hours and I miss him terribly while he's gone but our family dynamic is back.  It feels so good. 

We've had some rough few months with so many downfalls but we are on the upswing now.  We are crawling out stronger than we were before which is a positive side effect from struggles in life, right? 

I still feel a lot of guilt for not being at home with the kids for the three years that I was working full time and more guilt about not being here for Lincoln, in particular, but I'm here now and they say it's never too late so I'm hoping that that is the case.  I hope he knows that even though I wasn't here during the day, everyday, I still love him just the same.  That I had to do what I had to do for our family. 

I can't even say how happy I am that I got my groove back.  It feels so good.  Just call me Stella! ;) 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Release and Relax

For years I blogged about myself, my family, what we were doing, what was happening in our know, normal blogging stuff.

As with everyone else on this planet, I got busy. Busy with work, kids, family stuff, house stuff and all the other stuff that holds us back from doing some thing that we love.

I stopped blogging because of being busy and also because there are people in my life that have made me overly cautious about my writing. I don't want to offend people and sometimes when I would write I would spew words that hurt people. Honestly, I didn't really care when I was writing because like many other people, my blog was a place where I could vent my frustrations and feelings and let it all out. However, that isn't really the way to go about things when you hurt people in the process. Basically, I was a bitch and I was found out and there was a lot of talking about me behind my know, the same thing I had been doing online. I'm not proud of my behavior by any means but I will say that writing can be therapeutic and sometimes I would write things just to get it off my chest.
After all that happened, I was really put off by writing and honestly feared hurting people with my big,fat, writing. Well, you know what I mean!

We have had a lot of crazy life stuff happening in the past few months and I found myself having anxiety issues and I feel that is, in large part, due to my not releasing my feelings and thoughts. Because I didn't have a blog, I took to typing Word documents so that I could release my feelings and get all the frustrations and anxiety out on the table. You know what? It helped more than any other tactic I have ever tried. Writing is my release, my therapy. It just is.

I hate to censor myself but I guess in a way, I need to. I need to avoid any hurt feelings or grudges due to my opinions or feelings which kind of sucks but not writing sucks even more.
So here I am, this is me. I'm back and ready to share my life again. I'm ready to rebuild relationships, share my family's news and all that I am with the world!