Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014... and we're off!

Well, so much for blogging in 2013. I'm not going to promise anything in 2014, either. But I have found this to be a helpful tool in looking back on some history that I didn't journal through some really tough years, so I think I'll keep the blog going, even if it is only to provide an annual update.

2013 was an amazing year. The girls really began to get into their grooves at school and life in our household stabilized. Some highlights and accomplishments for our family:

  • Katie:
    • Completed 4th grade, and is now in her last year of middle school.
    • Is as compassionate, smart and sweet as ever, though we now get to see a dash of feistiness that I attribute to hormonal outbursts that I can expect for several years to come.
    • Got braces. So darn cute.
    • Was addicted to Minecraft. Even had a minecraft birthday. What is it with that stupid game?
    • Is practicing for her first musical. She loves to sing, and I love to listen to my little songbird through the bathroom walls. She's still not got the confidence to get up in front of others to sing, but I hope she one day does - she really is talented musically.
  • Sadie
    • Continues to torture Sammy (the cocker spaniel) with dress up.
    • Convinced her class that she speaks another language. Even her teacher thought it was some sort of Native American dialect - for a day or two. It's not.
    • Has a healthy heart - her check up this year went by with flying colors! I tear up every time I write or say that one. :)
    • Loves animals. Her birthday this year was at the SPCA, and like me, she wanted to bring home every animal there. I'm happy to report no new animals came home with us this year, despite our bleeding hearts.
    • Is actually enjoying 2nd grade. She's disliked every year before this one, so it's nice not to have to engage in a full-on battle of wills every school day anymore.
  • Both girls
    • are now in gymnastics and love it
    • were on swim team this year - also loved it
  • Sammy
    • Still pees on the floor. Still chews up everything. Still drives me nuts, but we love her.
    • Surprisingly has never bit Sadie
  • Carly
    • Did not have surgery last year, hooray! (in 2012 had two ACL surgeries)
    • Still is a good girl. Glad to see her moving around better after all the pain of the last two years.
  • I:
    • Found a killer professional coach - his guidance has made a huge impact on the way I see life. Also found two fantastic mentors!
    • Left the consulting company I so struggled to fit into. I learned some really hard lessons, but am thankful for the lessons and greater insights provided as a result of those lessons.
    • Took a Vice President, Head of PMO role at a bank, only to walk away from it within 3 months. One of my hardest decisions ever - and one of my best
    • Found my inner artist again.
    • Didn't date. Not necessarily by choice, just how it worked out.
  • Other family happenings:
    • The girls and I took a cruise and they got their very first passports. We went to Belize, Mexico and Honduras and had a great time (minus a lion bite for me that resulted in rabies vaccinations)
    • My sister watches the kids, so they get to interact with their little nephew every day and have the benefit of being around Kerinda and Spencer almost daily. Loghen (my nephew) is 17 months old now... I love having the little guy around and got to snag him for a few weekends in 2013. I couldn't be more lucky to have Kerinda's management of our household, and the girls couldn't be more loved. I truly would not have survived the year without them.
    • The parents are doing well. Dad's finally talking about retirement, hooray!
So what's up for 2014?! It's an exciting year, I'm sure of it. Some things we're looking forward to:

  • Middle school for Katie - so scary, so exciting!
  • Sadie plans on more sleepovers. And more owl fashion.
  • A great family vacation - we're weighing our options now.
  • Financial stability - we're entering this year with stability and look forward to further financial growth. I can't tell you how good it feels to recover from the hits we took in 2009, 10 and 11.
  • Expansion of my role at Owens and Minor to an international scope - again, exciting stuff!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

So... New Year.

Well, 2012. I didn't post much. At all, really.  Because, to be honest, my life has changed dramatically since I first started blogging.

When I first started blogging, I had a child in critical condition and needed to share information without being pestered. I don't even recall if Facebook was around yet. If it was, I had not yet joined. And so... blogging. I chronicled Sadie's rocky start, Katie's triumphs, our family ups and downs. And then came the beginnings of divorce in 2012 and I quit. I just didn't want to share my personal crap with strangers.

I kept up a few posts, though. The Montessori school I founded. The girls and their progress. My desire to make congenital heart defects better funded for pediatric resaearch. But then I stopped that, too.

The truth is, I don't have a lot to share with my life right now. My close friends/family know where things are with my life. I have nothing urgent I need to update. Life has resumed a new routine - one I haven't figured out but am still adjusting to. I still love my babies. I still crave a better education for them than public schools currently  can afford. I still think Montessori is not only relevant in today's society, but should be embraced in education - both childhood and adult. We are tactile, visual creatures that learn by experience - it's not rocket science.

What I do have to share is really pretty personal. It's stuff like trying to be a better mom, trying to date as a single mom, figuring out what I really want to do with my career and how I can be better about giving back. Balancing my obligations with my desires - understanding what divides the two. Trying to determine my path in life.

My path in life... so I know I've failed to stay on track this past year. I was determined that it was MY year, the year of the dragon; that I'd achieve great personal and professional success. What it turned out to be was a year of really hard knocks and lessons. Humility was one big lesson - I like to be the best at what I do. Where I work, I'm just one of many and it's hard to stand out. It's ok- it's good - I have peers I respect and love. Another big lesson was the ability to be alone and self motivate. Don't get me wrong. I've been alone for YEARS... but learning to admit that and stand on my own has been hard. I miss a partner in life. So that takes me to the dating scene - the ugliest part of 2012.

I dated 3 men this year for short lengths of time (3 or more dates) in 2012. After 14 years of marriage, I've found that reentering the dating scene isn't easy. Or much fun. I also went out on dates with friends of friends ("you have to meet my friend") and tried online dating once again. I'd done that in the past with mixed success, but this year I went out with an agenda - who I was looking for, what I want. Which, frankly, is crap. You don't know the right person for you until you meet him or her, and you can't decide based on a picture. So, here's the summary of the "big 3" of 2012: one was an awesome guy - everything I want except  he had a crappy job, kids with special needs and a demanding ex. Next! The following was an awesome guy - everything I want except he had 3 kids the same ages as mine that kept him super busy, was newly separated (not yet divorced) from a cheating wife and, well, had family issues. Yeah. Next! The final was a single guy my age who'd never been married or in a long term relationship. Guess how that went? Umm, yeah. Next!

So this past year I don't see my usual laundry list of accomplishments. I wasn't the mommy I wanted to be, I worked too much. I dated people that don't fit my lifestyle and I worked some more. But I did learn a hell of a lot about life and some really tough lessons. With that in mind, next year's resolutions are a no-brainer...

  • My kids are most important and I need to find ways to get more quality time with them. The petty crap like bills, housework, work, etc., will all pass. But I blink and my time with the girls will be gone. I need more time with them. It's funny - when I had less, I seemed to know more. Time to readjust - I've been in survival mode too long. Now it's time for living and growing.
  • I need to quit working such long hours and work smarter. I'm so over 50-70 hour weeks. This year I learned nothing is gained by it. STOP and NO will be my new mottoes.
  • I need a budget. Ugh. I hate a budget. But It's necessary as I need to be better about my savings. Again, it comes to survival Kim - a few years ago when I lost everything I lived paycheck to paycheck and bought what I could when I could. Somehow I find myself living pretty much the same way today, despite entering financial recovery. I won't delve into the psychology of poverty, but let's just say I'm learning how to get back to the basics of budgeting and saving.
  • I want to give back more to my community, family and friends. Frankly, I stopped caring last year. Which is funny - it's the whole reason I switched jobs.  I want to be passionate again and make a difference. This should be easy to do. I just need to devote time to do this.
  • Get healthy - I suck health-wise. I want to be in the best shape of my life by 40. This gives m about 3 years. Last year I took off and kept off 15 lbs. This year my goal 20 lbs, run 240 miles, and to buy a kayak and use the hell out of it.
And this is why I don't blog these days. It comes out like more of a personal journal entry. So to close out this post, I'll leave with the simple truths I need to focus on next year - I love my babies. They are awesome and funny and I will find ways to have more quality time with them so that I can enjoy them. I need to do a lot of work on myself. (crickets... we all know it's true). So, you won't likely see blogs any time soon as the work I have to do is deeply personal. But hang around, maybe my muse will reappear in 2013 after I get through this re-prioritization work on my life!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sorry but...

I haven't posted for a long time for a variety of reasons. I've been busy. New job. Single momming it. Trying to reestablish life. A move. Whatevs.

I also was having issues logging in through Blogger, which I think I finally overcame through a new account. So this is a trial. And a promise of more juicy details of my mundane life to follow...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yeah, so...

The latest...

I took a new job. I love the people I work with. I love the goals I've set for the year. But...

It's the year of the Dragon. It's my year. Well, kind of... it's a water dragon year, and I'm a fire dragon, and none of that matters except that I know that this is my big year in some big way. But I'm not sure how to lay the path forward. I know what I want, but have no idea how to get it - except to try, fail, and try again. Right now my results have equated to failure for the majority of this year, so try, try again.

The girls are great, but I'm half the mommy I was before I went to work outside the home. And a third of the mommy I was before making a major career change. I'm stressed, and the girls are fantastic about adapting to our life changes, but I'm feeling like a failure for a mom. It's easy for single moms to feel this way - we not only obsess about how we're failing our children, but also about how we ended up as single moms to begin with. Lately this feeling is in overdrive.

So... summary.
I'm stressed.
I'm feeling guilty for not being a better parent.
I'm not sure I am making the right decisions career-wise.
Which means I'm at home less and feeling even more unsure.
Which leads me to stress...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: The Year of Rebirth

Looking back on 2011, I can see some tremendous strides that our little family has taken. While 2010 was a year of change and pain, 2011 was the rebirth of my soul, our lives and our home. It feels great to look back on the year and see all that was accomplished, and to know all of the pain and loss in 2010 was not in vain. I learned from the loss, have been soothing the hurt and have witnessed my girls blossom as I've never seen before. Here are a few highlights, since I was so woefully absent from blogging this year...

  • Sadie's Bragging Rights
    • Speech - Sadie has long suffered from a speech impediment, often making her hard to understand to even our closest family members. This year Sadie conquered the letter sounds "l" and made significant progress with her "r"s. 
    • Kindergarten - Sadie's social skills continue to grow as her speech develops. She's little-miss-know-everyone in the school and her silly personality brightens up almost every path she crosses. It's so hard to believe this funny little girl was once a screaming, drug withdrawn infant. 
    • "Perfect" Heart - well, as close as you can get to one when you've had TGA, at least. This year Dr. Allen took a good look at the ultrasound and declared her heart to be the most perfect TGA switch he's ever seen. She's in fantastic health, so much so that we get to skip next year's cardiology appointment!
  • Katie's Accomplishments
    • Social growth - While 2010 was a year of introversion and sadness for Katie, 2011 offered new friends and tons of fun with them. It's heartwarming to walk into stores and have kids come running up to her to say hi. She even has a boy that has a crush on her in her class (she politely turned his "Do you like me" note away and told him they could be friends). She's come so very far post-divorce, and gained an incredible amount of self-confidence this year. I hope we continue to see growth in that area in 2012!
    • Smarty Pants - she's getting great grades (all A's), and has really grown this fall and into winter with her 3rd grade teacher. Thank goodness for her revitalized love of learning!
    • Soccer Diva - She's finally found her stride in soccer. While she's not yet the very best kid on the field, she does try very, very hard and is gaining confidence and skill each season.
  • My Metamorphosis
    • Career Growth - at phenomenal speeds. I received a double promotion in May at Ironworks Consulting. As much as I loved the firm, I couldn't help but jump when Dominion Digital crossed my path and another bump up the ladder was dangled in front of me. DDIG, as Dominion is affectionately called, has more heart and soul than any other company I've encountered, and I've enjoyed spending the last couple of months reconnecting with my core needs and spending some time evaluating what I want to do when I grow up. The company is in a metamorphosis as well, and I can't feel that I am at the right place, at the right time. Another big change is on the horizon in terms of my career (as soon as within a month or two), and I'm very, very excited and optimistic.
    • The boyfriend. Yep, I had a boyfriend this year for five months. It was a learning experience, too - learning who I really am, what I really want in a relationship and such. And I figured out that I'm not ready for one quite yet. We had a blast together this summer with our kids and each other, and I rekindled my love for the water and learned how to just sit still and enjoy nature again thanks to him. I'm already planning my summer around how I can get the kids to the water, camping and outdoors more frequently! Anyway, the boyfriend was the first step in reclaiming my romantic life from the ruins left behind by divorce. I left the relationship feeling more confident, happier and healthier than I have in years.
    • I gained a brother! And there has not been a luckier sister-in-law than I on this earth. I'm thrilled for Kerinda's happiness, and absolutely adore Spencer. He's made my life and the girls lives better and was an amazing source of support this, and the last few, years. Kerinda and Spencer's wedding was amazing, and a fantastic time was had by all.
A few other events shaped (or enlivened) our lives this past year. Highlights include:
  • The earthquake of 2011, which literally rocked our world here in Richmond.
  • Hurricane Irene, and our fantastic neighbors we weathered it out with. I heart YellowRose.
  • The Japanese earthquake, tsunami and flooding, which we all watched with horror and tears. 
  • My final term on the CJSTUF board. I really enjoyed helping to get the nonprofit off the ground in previous years, though I admittedly had little time this year to devote to the charity in 2011 compared to previous years.
And with that long, drawn out post, I close the blog out for 2011. The new year offers so much promise for our family, we can't wait to see what it brings!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Yet Another Change

I started a new job on October 12. I'm still figuring out how I feel about it. It's hopefully a very good step forward in my career, but I don't take it lightheartedly. I left a great company behind that I really enjoyed working for.

Without a doubt, I have joined a very "thinking" firm, they seem to be on a different plane of existence. It's what lured me in - the beat of a different drummer than most of the corporate world. But part of me isn't there yet. I miss my old company and friends there. The work really hasn't interested me too much. But I have to give it time.

In the meantime, I'm back to storming. Life got a little bit normal over the summer, and it seems I just can't take too much of that. So, more change, new faces, new places. We'll see how it all pans out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Birthday Season

It's hard to believe that my girls are now 5 and (5 days from) 9. Seriously?! They're both into Kids Bop, have outgrown Hannah Montana, and Katie has informed me she's too cool for Barbie and birthday parties now. Sadie had a rock star 5th birthday blowout and is on the fast track to divadom. And I... I'm just trying to keep up with them.

In the last 6 months I feel like our life has finally leveled out and is becoming 'normal' once again. Last year was all about change - family, home and career all changed drastically in a period of 6 months. The aftermath left us all spinning and just trying to hold on.

This year I was determined it would be better, and so far, it is. We have become closer and developed routines to support our new lifestyle; we've made new friends and expanded our support system; and I've learned to better manage long work weeks with family life. Not that it's perfect - it's not, but it's better. I even found time to date someone for a few months this year. It didn't work out, but it was a good first time out of the batting cage with a relationship post-divorce.

I think of birthday season (both girls have birthday season) as my personal 'new year.' School starts again, work generally goes into overdrive, fall hits, signaling my favorite season's start in Virginia. And I get excited, antsy, and tend to make most life changes/decisions in the fall, for some reason. This birthday season is no different - I see some changes coming, but nothing drastic, all good and all positive. Life is getting better and easier, and I'm proud of the progress our little family has made in the past year. I'm hopeful and ready for whatever is next!