What a Difference

I’m back!  I enjoyed the past week with my family and spending some much-needed time away from work!  It was amazing and I am sad to be returning to work today!  The week went so quickly!  We were busy with family visits starting on Christmas Eve until Saturday night!  It was craziness, but such great moments.  We loved all of the time we spent with our family and were spoiled beyond words!  We are so lucky!

One of the highlights from our time off was a get together that we had with our friends.  All of the husband’s are fellow police officers and all of the wives were pregnant together – completely unplanned.  We all became good friends during this time and now the babies are friends as well!

We’ve made it a tradition to get all of our babies together each Christmas.  We decided it would be cute to put the kids in their PJ’s and to snap photos each year.  Last year, the babes were so young – from left to right – Brooklyn – 6 months, JoJo – 9 months, Kenzie – 7 months.

Look at how big they’ve gotten!  It’s amazing the difference a year makes!  Last year, JoJo had mastered sitting up, McKenzie was just starting to on a regular basis and Brooklyn was just at the very beginning of sitting up – someone propped her up and let her go just in time for us to snap the picture!

This year, they were moving targets and impossible to get all looking in the same direction or sitting still at the same time!  I love these pictures and look forward to this tradition for years to come!

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Here’s hoping you all had a lovely Christmas!

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The Thankful Project: Day 18 – A Choice

We make choices, day in and day out.  We make big decisions and decisions that are made without much thought and effort.

Today, the one decision that I’m thankful we made was to send McKenzie to an in-home daycare.  I’m thankful for Jen and the love that she’s shown my daughter for the past year and a half.

One of the biggest decisions that you make as a soon to be mom is whether you will return to work or stay home. For those of us who are not lucky enough to be able to stay home with their family, there’s yet another decision – what daycare? Should I choose an in-home or a center? What’s going to be best? I know this is a heated debate and there are strong opinions for both sides. That’s not what this post is about. This post is about the decision I made for my family, which has turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far!

We met Jen through a referral after our original daycare plans fell through.  Our spot was given to another family, a current family who recently told the director that they were expecting their second child.  I completely understood why this was happening, but as a planner and an emotional pregnant woman, I was devastated.  I had everything planned out and now it all seemed to be falling through.

That’s when we found Jen!  It’s hard to see it at the time, but everything works out exactly as it should.  We were referred to Jen by a friend of my sister’s.   We met with Jen at her house and I instantly liked her.  The house was immaculate – you would have never known she had crazy kids running around all day – and Jen was so warm and welcoming.

I hadn’t even had McKenzie yet, but I was anxious about having to go back to work.  There was just something about Jen.  I felt confident with her.  She has four amazing little boys of her own, so I knew instantly I could feel comfortable with her.  She knew what she was doing.

Daycare Crafts

Daycare Crafts

My maternal instincts didn’t lie.  What started off as a typical daycare/parent relationship has evolved into a friendship.  McKenzie loves Jen and Jen has welcomed McKenzie into her family, as if she were one of her own.   I’ve grown to trust Jen.  Pick-up’s take longer these days, because a friendship has formed.  Jen fills me in on McKenzie’s day and then the conversation continues.  We’ve vented about things that have made us frustrated and have become each other’s sounding boards.  My words aren’t doing this justice because I adore Jen and her entire family!

Throughout the past year and a half, she has been McKenzie’s Mom away from Mom.  She has been comforting to McKenzie when necessary, has taught her so much and has even been tough when needed.  Time outs have occurred, but McKenzie has always learned her lesson.  Jen is everything that I could have hoped for!

McKenzie's first time-out

McKenzie’s first time-out

My heart hurts to know that McKenzie won’t be going to Jen’s after this summer.  McKenzie’s grandmother is retiring and going to watch her.  She’ll be spending part of her time at a preschool and part of the time with her Bibi (what McKenzie calls her).  I know this is good for McKenzie.  It will enable her to make all of the memories that I made when my grandparent’s watched me.   She will still be equally as loved and looked after (if not more…you know how grandmothers are!), but it’s a change, and change is never easy for me!  It will be a new routine, new drop off schedule, new location.  It’ll take a few weeks and we’ll find our new rhythm.  We’ll have a new normal.

We’re amazingly thankful that Bibi will be able to spend time with McKenzie, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a big part of me will miss Jen.  She’s what I know.  She’s my resource and my friend.  The day I told Jen that McKenzie wouldn’t be returning next year, I sobbed like a baby.   I am dreading McKenzie’s last day with everything in me.

I know her new beginnings are going to be just as great, but I know that a huge piece of both of our hearts will be left with Jen.  We are thankful beyond words for her and the love that she’s shown our family.

Today, take the time to thank those who take care of your children when you can’t be there.  They are so important and are often taken for granted.

Words can’t express how grateful I am.

thankful project title

I’m linking up with Kenzie over at Chasing Happy for the month of November.
Be sure to stop by and check it out!

The Thankful Project: Day 16 – Something You Own

What is it that I own that I’m thankful for????…I just couldn’t decide.  To me, this thankful seemed so materialistic.  There are many things that I’m thankful I own.  I am thankful that we own our house.  We worked hard to get it.  It reminds me to continue to work hard.    I am thankful for my car.  It allows me to get to work safely each day, so I can continue to do the job that allows us to live in our house.   I am thankful for my wedding rings.  That when I look at my hand, I am reminded of our love and commitment

I’m thankful for all of these things, but the thing that I am ultimately most thankful for is this…

I am thankful that I own my actions.  That I own the right to decide what’s best for me.  That I am becoming stronger each day in standing up for myself and not allowing myself to be treated badly.  I continue to discover my voice and my strength each day and I’m really thankful for that.

What do I mean by this?  Prior to a few year ago, I let people walk all over me.  I was in horrible friendships that I was taken advantage of.  I was taken for granted.  I did things that made others happy, often forgetting about what made me happy.  I was a peacekeeper. Even if something bothered me, I internalized it and never spoke up.

Well, something has changed.  I have grown and developed a different kind of strength.  One that I’m sure I’ve always had, but never knew how to voice.

strength

Don’t’ get me wrong, I am still a peacekeeper more often than not.  I avoid drama at all cost and never look for a fight.  I am at a point in my life where I don’t need that.  There’s just so much more to life!  Yet recently, I’ve started standing up for myself.  When someone hurts me, treats me bad, or walks all over me, I tell them!  No longer am I silent.

I believe in forgiveness and second chances, but when someone hurts me repeatedly, I’ve learned to walk away.  That’s it’s okay to cut ties.  I’ve learned that you don’t need something so toxic in your life.

I’m thankful I own the right to decide what’s best for me.  I’m thankful that I’ve found my voice. I’m thankful that I’m making positive decisions for me.

What are you thankful for?

thankful project title

I’m linking up with Kenzie over at Chasing Happy for the month of November.
Be sure to stop by and check it out!

The Thankful Project: Day 6 – A Failure

party

See those girls above?  Those girls….they are my failure.

They are my best friends from college.  They were the girls I did everything with.  The girls I could always count on – through the countless nights out at a bar and for the crazy moments that life can throw at you.

I’m not necessarily thankful for this failure, but I do believe you learn from each mistake you make.

So how are these girls my failure?

I’ve failed them and our friendship.  I’ve failed by not keeping in touch, by letting life get in the way, by going way too long between phone calls, and visits and by not making more effort.

None of these girls and I ever had a falling out.  We never had a fight or a moment that ended it all.  We just grew apart.  We moved to different towns and states. Some married, while others have not.   Life.  It got in the way.  The trips to visit each other became increasingly harder.  The phone calls to keep in touch dwindled.  A constant game of phone tag.

Yes, we still know the goings-on’s of each other’s lives thanks to Facebook and I still love all of them dearly, but it’s just not the same.

I guess that’s life.  People are in your life for only a finite amount of time.  Then life shifts and you move and those people – they still remain, but as memories.

I just can’t help feeling guilty.  As if I’ve failed them.  As if I somehow should have done more, tried harder, talked more, called more.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them. I’m a bad friend and I know I could have done more.

So why am I thankful for this failure?  It’s forced me to realize that I need to stop making excuses.  To reconnect.  That it’s never too late.  Over the next few weeks, I am going to call each of them.  To chat about life, to catch up, to make the attempt.

And you know what’s crazy?  It will be as though we hadn’t missed a beat.  We’ll pick up right where we left off and laugh until we cry.

Isn’t that a failure worth being thankful for?

thankful project title

I’m linking up with Kenzie over at Chasing Happy for the month of November.
Be sure to stop by and check it out!