Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm 40? Who Me? Seriously? How did I get here?

Last week, I turned forty. Thanks to my wonderful husband and family, I had not one, but two wonderful dinner parties. I had an early celebration before Christmas with my side of the family and then one with his family on my birthday. Even though I knew I was having special dinners to celebrate, I had no clue where or when the parties would take place. I also had a few surprises in store for me along the way. At my first party here in Indy, one of my closest friends showed up with her husband and JT (Boo's future groom). On my actual birthday, there was yet another party in Ohio with my husbands family. And to my surprise, two of my close friends (one of which is battling Breast Cancer) from my days spent living in Buckeye country showed up. I hadn't seen either of these two wonderful women in close to ten years! I was so happy to see them I cried. What can I say, I am a big sap in my old age!

Turning forty was bittersweet for me. While I am not one to worry about age, it is hard not to think about it when looking back at all I've accomplished (or haven't in some cases). I remember growing up thinking forty sounded so OLD, and now that I am here I don't really feel that way. People say you are only as old as you feel, and most days I feel pretty young. My body reminds me, however subtlety, that I am not that young. I hear bones creak or joints crack when I get up and down off the floor, have to watch my weight, and things are sagging in places I can't mention. I even have plucked a few gray hairs here and there. But mentally I just don't feel OLD (except when I've forgotten where I parked or left my keys).

Looking back at all I've experienced in my life, I thought it would be fun to think of forty things I've accomplished throughout my forty young years. I wish I could remember my exact age for some of these, but my forty year old memory is failing me. There are some things that are pretty obvious, and some pretty great, and other things, well. . .not so much. You get my drift. . .

Forty Fabulous things I've accomplished/experienced (in no particular order of course):
  1. I was born into this world
  2. learned to crawl
  3. learned to walk
  4. learned to talk (and haven't shut up since)
  5. learned how to annoy people (mainly my older brother)
  6. riding a bike
  7. fell off of my bike
  8. learned to rollerskate
  9. learned to swim
  10. won a swimming race
  11. came dead last in a swimming race
  12. went to school
  13. learned to write
  14. learned to read
  15. got straight A's
  16. failed a class
  17. first kiss
  18. learned to play an instrument (Coronet/trumpet)
  19. got my first bank account
  20. bounced my first check
  21. learned to drive a car
  22. got in my first fender bender
  23. graduated from high school
  24. got my first job
  25. got my first car
  26. got my first paycheck!
  27. learned to type
  28. had my first alcoholic beverage
  29. had my first hangover
  30. graduated from college (so it took me 5 years, so what?!)
  31. got my first credit card
  32. moved out on my own
  33. rented my first apartment
  34. got married
  35. moved into my first (and only so far) house
  36. had a baby
  37. had another baby - with NO drugs
  38. wrote my first blog
  39. got my first dog
  40. turned 40! Whoo hoo!
I am sure I am forgetting something, but that is nothing new. After all, I am FORTY. Give an old woman a break! : ) I wanted to scan some pictures taken throughout my forty years but I will have to save that for another blog. . . my forty year old body is just too tired to do it at the moment!

If you know me, feel free to comment and add to my list of accomplishments. If you don't know me, feel free to comment anyway. I always like to get comments (nice ones of course) on my blog so I know someone out there is reading it!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Christmas Wish

I had a little trouble this year getting completely into the Christmas spirit, and I am not sure why. I LOVE Christmas; it has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love the music, the decorations, how MOST people are cheerful and how it brings people together.

This year though was a little different. I was so swamped with things at home, working, and keeping up with all of the school activities, there wasn't time for much else. I tried. I played Christmas music, baked cookies with the girls, and did everything I could to make it fun, but I just never really got there this year. I think the mad rush of it all has a lot to do with it. I went crazy trying to get shopping done, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, wrapping presents, plus the normal everyday stuff, that I barely had time to breathe!

Plus the last few weeks right before Christmas, at least one or more member of my family was sick, so that really made things a little more difficult. And of course, the last couple days when the Christmas spirit almost always takes hold, I was a touch under the weather. *Sigh*.

I've also been worried about a friend of mine's little three year old son. He has Neuroblastoma, a type of cancer, and is really fighting hard right now. He was supposed to have a treatment done a couple weeks ago and was hopefully going to be home by Christmas. However, due to complications the treatment was put on hold and he spent his Christmas in the hospital PICU. Just thinking about that makes me so sad. As complicated and busy as my family life gets, nothing compares to what my friend is going through.

This friend is a childhood friend of mine who I hadn't spoken to since my high school graduation. We went off to college in different cities and slowly, but surely lost touch. Then just a few months ago, I found her while searching for friends on Facebook. I swore I'd never join one of those social networking sites but I am so glad I did. I've had fun catching up with old friends from different parts of my life, but I think I was truly meant to find this friend of mine. For the last few years I've felt I've had this calling to work with kids with cancer and other similar illnesses. I've mentioned this before, but I really want to work in a hospital setting, preferrably as a Child Life Specialist. So finding out a friend of mine is going through this with her son is particularly heartbreaking.

I also have a friend going through her second battle with breast cancer. I was fortunate enough to see her this past weekend after not seeing her for almost ten years. While we've kept in touch through the years, this is the first time we've had a chance to see each other in person. She has just finished round two (out of four) rounds of Chemo and then will have radiation therapy. She inspired me so much because of just sitting around feeling sorry for herself, she's living her life to the fullest, including training to run in the Race for The Cure. She's going through Chemo and she's training for a race? That is remarkable to me. I don't think I can ever have a good excuse when it comes to not exercising anymore!

Christmas flew by and I never had a chance to enjoy it. I wanted to do so much more with the girls but there just wasn't time and I just didn't have the energy. I wanted to write a blog about Christmas and what it means to me, and couldn't even find time to write one word.

I do have a Christmas wish though. As I write this blog, I think about all of the things I have in my life: A wonderful family with a loving husband; beautiful, healthy (mostly) children; a sweet puppy, and nice home to live in. I was able to be with both sides of my extended family over the holidays and they were all kind enough to have nice parties for my *gulp* 4oth birthday.

I have realized recently that in all of my complaining or moping how lucky I am and I feel like I shouldn't ever have a reason to be unhappy. That in my absolute worst day, nothing I am going through remotely compares to what either of these two friends of mine are experiencing.

I've also realized that I should not for a second, take ANYTHING for granted. Never. I should relish the time I have with my family, my friends and enjoy it, instead of worrying about what I haven't accomplished, don't have, what could be different, etc.

So my Christmas wish (however late it is to make it now) is not for me, but for my friends. I don't want anything more for myself than I already have. I want my friend's little boy to be cured of his cancer and live a long happy, healthy life. I want my friend with breast cancer to win this second battle of hers so she can continue to be the great mom that she is and see her children grow up. I also want my loved ones to know how great they have it. To not take life for granted, live life to the fullest and be happy to be who they are. To know how lucky they are to live in this great world of ours (which believe me, I know does not always seem so great). Make the best of your life and don't dwell on the things you don't have, didn't accomplish, etc. Why live life that way? What is the fun in that? Find something that makes you happy. Do something for yourself, or better yet, someone else. I know I will.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Let it Snow!

Laci loved her first real snowfall. She was just as fun to watch as the girls were the first time they played it in (and she likely enjoyed it more!). Too bad it had to go and melt two days later, as it provided hours of fun for the pup!

Who says you can't play soccer in the winter?

Kiki attempting to build a snowman

I swear I wasn't eating the snow!

Laci playing "find it"

Ready to catch the snowball

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I had this great plan to write a nice blog post on Thanksgiving, talking about things to be thankful for. However, since we were in Ohio visiting with family, I couldn't very well ignore them all to write a blog post, so I am very late in my Thanksgiving blogging.

Kiki, Boo, and I have lately had many discussions about being grateful and all that it means. Boo has this bad habit of complaining and it is driving me crazy, so I am constantly reminding her to think of the things she does have, instead of what she doesn't. She seems to be a "glass half empty" kind of girl, and I am trying to turn her into a "glass half full" person, but am not having much success. As we were talking the other night before bed, we listed several things we should be grateful for, and took turns. Kiki and Boo said the obvious and listed loved ones and friends, etc. I reminded them how truly lucky we are to have a house to live in, clothes to wear, food to eat, and toys to play with. We talked about "needs" vs. "wants" and how we all should learn to "want" less and just appreciate what we have.

Both girls seemed to get the message but I know it will take a while to sink in. The very next day, Boo was right back to complaining. What can I expect really as she is only 5 years old? I am trying to figure out how she got this way, and did I do something to make her feel like she is always getting the short end of the stick?

I think part of the problem is that when the girls were little, we never wanted either of them to feel left out, so we did many things the same for them. I always bought them each an outfit when I went shopping, whether or not they both needed clothes. Boo's outfit often was the same style, maybe even the exact same as Kiki's. At Christmas and for birthdays, I often bought them the exact same number of gifts, and they were often very similar. Many of the relatives followed suit, probably thinking along the same lines as we did, not wanting either girl to feel slighted.

The problem with this is now Boo EXPECTS everything to be equal and FAIR, even when that is often impossible. I've explained this to her time and time again, that life isn't fair. I often point out their differences and how boring life would be if everyone looked the same, had the same things, etc. Again, she seems to get the message and even gives her own examples, but it doesn't last long.

I think the other issue is that Boo is the younger one, looks up to her older sibling and wants to be everything and do everything her older sister does. She absolutely WORSHIPS the ground Kiki walks on, and I try to remind Kiki of that when she complains Boo is "copying her".

I am a younger sibling and absolutely understand where Boo is coming from. Maybe that is why I tried so hard to treat her the same. I don't ever want either of my girls to feel as if I love one more than the other. Do I love them exactly the same? No. However, I don't favor one sibling over the other, I just love them differently. They have such different personalities there is no way to love them the same.

I am hoping Boo understands this as she grows. That she is unique and is her own person. That she doesn't have to have everything exactly the same as Kiki or anyone else for that matter. I point this out to her as often as I can in a positive way, and I hope it really truly is sinking in.

I've decided to help both girls understand gratitude a bit more by talking each day about things we are thankful for. I've even thought about having them keep a journal and write in it a few times a week, or draw a picture of something they are thankful for. I have also been showing them ways we can help others in our community with the hope that they will understand that life isn't just about them.