Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Possibilities are Endless

When tucking my 3 year old son into bed the other night, we were talking about his bedtime story. He loves the Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osbourne and has 10 different books on CD that he listens to as he falls asleep. I also read him a story at bedtime, but he likes to have something on when he falls asleep. I can understand, I'm the same way. That night he decided to listen to Midnight on the Moon.

As I was tucking him in, I told him something that truly shocked him. I told him that he could be anything he wanted to be when he grew up. I explained that when he gets bigger, if he really tries hard, is a good listener, eats all his veggies and does well in school, he could be an astronaut, a doctor, an athlete, a firefighter, a police officer or whatever he wanted. His eyes grew very wide and he asked, "I can? Really, Mommy?" I assured him it was true and that I would support whatever he wanted to be. His reply, "Oh great Mommy, because I really want to be an astronaut!" He then jabbered on about how he can't wait to get bigger and how he's going to eat all his food so he can keep growing faster and faster so that when he's bigger he can fly in a rocket ship to the moon! He also mentioned that he'd like to visit Mars and Jupiter because it's the biggest planet. My reaction, "HUH??? You're three, how do you know Jupiter is the biggest planet??!" His response, "You told me, Mommy." Oh yeah, I taught him that. I forgot telling him about the planets, but I'm glad he remembered.

The point being, isn't it amazing how endless our possibilities are in this great nation? Each person truly has endless possibilities. I think we forget that as we get older. If we put our mind to it and stick it out, we can do anything. I love how children really see that they have a whole world full of opportunities in front of them and they aren't afraid to go after them.

The other point, kids grow to fast. When Nic mentioned that he's going to grow as fast as he can, I got teary-eyed. I asked him to please not grow too fast. The first 3 years have gone by too fast already. I'm sure most parents can understand how conflicted you feel when thinking about how fast your child is growing. On one hand, I'm so excited about his future and the possibilities in front of him. I'm excited to help him learn and grow and become a great man one day. On the other hand, I'm so very sad to see how fast the time is going and wish sometimes that I could just freeze time. Hey..maybe I should get working on that. After all, nothing is impossible. But first, I'm going to go upstairs right now and give him one more kiss.

Nic ready for bed:

Monday, December 29, 2008

Reflections and Resolutions - Putting God first

So it's time for everyone to make their New Year's resolution right? Not me, I don't really do the resolution thing. I just try to be be the best mother, friend, sister, daughter, Christian I can be on a daily basis. I do like to try to make each year better than the previous though and found some ways to do it that work for me. At this time of year I reflect on the previous year and try to see if I'm heading in the right direction by asking myself a couple of questions. One, am I happier in December than I was in January? The answer this year is, "yes." If the answer was "no", I'd ask myself why and try to change what was keeping me from being happier. I ask myself if I have my priorities straight. For me, it's God first, then family, then self. I have found in my life, the times that were the hardest for me are the times when I was furthest from God.

I have been a Christian since I was a little girl when my grandmother took me to Sunday school every Sunday. But even as a Christian, there are times in life when we get a little side tracked and don't listen to God or have faith in what He has planned for us. Remember that His will is perfect. Even when you are going through something horrible, in retrospect, you will see He had a plan. It is during the times when I haven't listened to or had faith in His plans, that I have been the weariest. When I keep the faith, I find getting through really difficult situations is more bearable. As I reflect on my life, it is the times when I am closest to God that I am the happiest. The more volunteer work I do, the more I am involved in church, the more Christian friends I surround myself with, the happier I am. This year, in December I have more Christian friends and am much more involved in my church and community than in January. I have a beautiful son who is brilliant, funny, cute as a button and loves me (in his words) "the best thing yet." I am so truly blessed. All of these blessings have come from God. Although there have been some tough things to get through this year, I have never lost faith that God is with me and has bigger and better things for me. This faith has sustained me.

I guess my advice for the new year would be to make sure you stay focused on your priorities. Keep God first because without Him there is no way to be truly happy. As I have learned this year, He can get you through anything and you will come out better for it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Nicholas received a phone call from Santa

Nicholas received a phone call tonight from Jolly Old St. Nicholas himself. I couldn't believe he took time from his busy schedule just to call Nic, I guess he has been a very good boy this year :-). This was so fun! I missed the first 15 seconds trying to get the camera to work, but Nic had so much to say that it doesn't seem like I missed anything. I was nervous that Nic would suddenly become shy and not talk to Santa...NOPE, not at all. He really loved this and I would highly recommend it to others. It was only 13 bucks and worth every penny. Afterwards, Nic kept saying, "Wow, Mom! I never talked to Santa that much before!" He just kept talking about it all night. I had a very rough day and this just lifted my spirits. I hope it makes you smile too.

Merry Christmas!
video

Click here to hear the call from Santa's end.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas to all! Let's exchange cards!

I thought it would be fun to have a Blog Christmas card exchange. If you send me your card, I'll post them here! I found that AMom Two Boys (http://amomtwoboys.com/) is doing one too, so let's all spread some holiday cheer!

As a side note, my cards, CWI, The Allen Family and Dr. Meyer's cards were all designed and printed by yours truly through my marketing company, CWI Media & Marketing.

From Donna and Nicholas:

From CWI Media & Marketing:

From the Allen Family:

From Dr. Leigh Meyer:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Beef with Insurance Companies

So, I'm looking for health insurance coverage. What a joke! If you are one of those lucky people who have always had your insurance provided by your employer, give thanks. I use to be one of those people and I never truly appreciated how lucky I was. Due to some unforeseen turn of events, I'm on the hunt for health insurance coverage and learning quickly how messed up the system really is.

Let me just give you some of the basics. To cover my son, isn't too bad, he's been healthy and is up to date on all of his immunizations, so the premium wasn't too high. Or so I thought. The sales lady gave me these really great numbers over the phone and I actually felt relieved....wheew..not as bad as I thought. Wrong. Once I get the email from the insurance company and had the numbers in writing I find that the great numbers she gave me didn't include normal childhood vaccines/immunizations. WHAT? Are you kidding? Nope...that's called an "Option." Please add $40/month. Call me crazy, but being that shots are required prior to entering school, not to mention are necessary for the health and well being of a child, I fail to see how they are an "option"...to me they are a requirement in life unless you don't plan on sending your child to school. So, basically if you can't afford the "option" of having your child immunized, then you run the risk of your child contracting one of these sometimes fatal diseases. Again, you can call me crazy, but won't it cost the insurance company more in medical bills to pay for your child's hospitalization, medicines and doctor visits if they do become afflicted than if they would have just forked out the 100 or so bucks for the shot to begin with?

Oh...and then there is the maternity "option". What? Again, if you are a woman and still of child bearing age, be prepared to fork out an additional $70+ dollars a month, unless you plan on being sterilized prior to receiving insurance coverage. Oh, and that's even with a $2,500 deductible and forking out $30 every time you see your OB/GYN. Unbelievable!

All of the "options" that are out there are ridiculously expensive, especially considering the high deductibles and high cost of the co-pays and medicines. And, get this...I can expect my insurance premiums to go up at least 15-20% EVERY year. Therefore, unless I get a 20% pay raise every year, I can plan on filing for bankruptcy sometime in the not to distant future. Geez..the stress of all of this is giving me an ulcer...wait...I take that back...I don't want to raise my premiums due to a pre-existing condition.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nic's 1st Public Performance...and Public Meltdown




Nic (in the sweater vest) had his very first performance at our church Christmas musical today. For his first time on stage, he sang Emmanuel with the other children and did a GREAT job! For his second performance.....well...that's a different story. Between his first and second performance he sat beside his Dad. He's three, so sitting still is not his strong suit. To help keep him still Gary gave Nic his cell phone to look at the pictures on his phone. Nic LOVES playing with our cell phones and looking at the pictures. I hadn't planned on letting Nic play with the cell phones at church this morning because I knew he wouldn't want to put it down to go sing Jingle Bells. I didn't effectively relay that to his Dad....my fault! When the time came for Nic to go play his bell and sing Jingle Bells, he didn't want to go, he wanted to continue playing with the cell phone. Gary took the phone away from Nic and then the waterworks started. I picked him up and took him backstage thinking that once he saw the bells and the other kids with them, he'd want to play.....NOPE...wrong again. He just stood to the back side of the stage and cried. He cried for Daddy so that he could continue playing with his phone. We then went back to our seats and he still wouldn't stop crying because he couldn't have the phone back....and so a temper tantrum emerged.

Now Nic has NEVER done anything like this before so I was stunned and embarrassed. Gary picked him up and went to the back of the church where we have a kitchen. The whole way back down the aisle Nic is screaming, "Mommmyyy....I want Mommmmy." Oh my word. I'm horrified. I'm right behind them coming up from the other side. When I get to the kitchen Gary is already kneeling beside Nic talking to him. I then pick him up, put him on the counter, give him a hug and tell him we need to talk. I understand that he is only 3, so this type of conversation needs to be at a 3 year old level. I explained to him how it is never okay to throw a fit when we don't get our way and how it isn't fair to his friends who have been practicing for this day. I explained that I understood how much he loves to play with the phone and that it's even okay to be sad when it's time to put it away, but that it is never okay to throw a fit because that is not going to get him his way. I then explained how very sad his behavior made us feel because we know what a good boy he truly is, but that we still loved him no matter what. I then gave him more hugs and comforted him, as did his Dad. We told him he would need to apologize for his behavior and made sure he understood why. He then told us that he understood that it was not okay to throw a fit and that he was sorry. Then he asked his Dad if he could see his pictures on the phone again. After Daddy told him he couldn't because he had lost that privilege after his behavior today, he got all teary eyed. I reminded him of our conversation and then he dried his eyes and that was the end of it. I was proud of him for actually listening to us and understanding and not throwing another fit. I was proud of him because I could see that after he realized how his behavior effected others, he was truly sorry and he meant his apology. He has such a kind heart and is one of the many things I love so much about him.

Everyone at church was so wonderful. They all assured us that they had been there and that Nic didn't have to apologize. I was surprised to learn so many other kids had done this before. I truly appreciated that. I did want to make sure Nic took some responsibility for his actions, though. Even though he is only three, I don't want him to think it's okay to throw a fit and that there are no repercussions if he does. All of the other Moms were just so supportive, I may have just broken down if not for them. It was a comfort to know that I wasn't the only one this has happened to, even though I knew it...hearing it from the other Moms and having their support made this trauma so much easier to bear. Thank you so much, especially to Leslie and Paige!

I think part of what makes me so sad about the incident is that Nic practiced and practiced and was so excited about playing the bells. Because of this incident, he didn't get to do it. That opportunity is gone and he can't get it back. But, I'm going to focus on the positive and teach Nic to do the same. He really did such a great job for his first performance singing Emanuel, you can see it by going to: www.vimeo.com/nictv. I don't want to take away from how proud we were of him for that performance. Especially since he is the youngest one in the group. Everyone else is at least 1-2 years older. His temper tantrum was all of about 30 seconds, but before that he was having so much fun with the other kids and did a great job singing, it's just as important to focus on that aspect. We were there to sing praise to God and remind everyone of the true meaning of Christmas. Even with this little bump in the performance, that message was conveyed and that is what is important.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm too old...REALLY?

I have never liked telemarketers and now....I really can't stand them. I just got a call from a woman who was doing a "survey". Her first question was, "Are you between the ages of 17 and 30?" My response, "No, thank goodness." Then she asks if there is anyone in the household that age. I then tell her once again, "No, thank goodness." Mind you, it's not that I have anything against people in their late teens and 20's, I'm just not in a rush for my son to be that age. She then thanks me for my time and hangs up. So, what was her point? Anyone over the age of 30 doesn't have an opinion.....or that their opinion just doesn't matter? I've never been a believer that your chronological age determines how old you are. However, there are some people that really have issues with chronological age, especially when turning the "big" numbers like 30, 40, 50, etc. Maybe survey's like these are one of the reasons so many people have issues with chronological age. We put too much emphasis on how old you are physcially, instead of emotionally, spiritually or mentally. Oh well, her loss, I could have had something incredibly poignant or witty to say that could have changed her life, now she'll never know...HA!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Benefits of Giving Back

I'm wearing my Marketing Professional hat right now and posted the following on my business (CWI Media & Marketing) web site:

At this time of year, most people are more charitable, which is great. But, why not be charitable all year? If you invest in your community, you not only help it, but it will help you in so many wonderful ways.

The most important, of course, is how it helps on a personal level. But, by helping build a successful community, you in turn help build a successful business. If you don’t have a community to sell your goods or services to, then you don’t have a business. Help make sure your community is successful by getting involved. If you can’t donate money, donate time by sitting on a committee. Help increase your sales and increase what you can give back by advertising how you help. As an example: 5 percent of the proceeds from the sale of a particular item or service will be donated to: (list specific community development project here). People like helping others and are more inclined to buy if they feel that purchasing your product will not only satisfy a need they have, but a greater community need as well.

Giving back feels great and it is the right thing to do. You can help others and help your business as well. It is cyclical. Your community needs you to succeed just as much as you need it to succeed, so help your community … and you help yourself!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Oh the irony

As many of you know, I had a small fire at my house today. How ironic, I was a firefighter for 15 years and MY residence catches fire. I was downstairs wrapping Christmas presents and suddenly smelled something burning, from my years in fire and rescue, I knew it was electrical. I went to investigate. My first thought was the dishwasher, I've had plastic sippy cup tops and straws fall on the heating element before and the smell was similar, but I could tell from the intensity of the smell that the dishwasher wasn't it. I went upstairs and started snooping around, feeling walls, checking electrical outlets with my extinguisher in hand, ready to defend my home. I knew I should just call 911 and get out, but the firefighter in me resisted the urge and I continued my frantic search. Then I saw smoke, OK, NOW I'm scared to death. Actual smoke, not just a little, but quite a bit, filling the upstairs. I picked up my son and the phone, dialed 911 and went outside, grabbing our coats on the way out the door. I'm on the phone with dispatch while zipping up our coats and Nic is NOT happy about being out in the cold, especially since he was just having all kinds of fun helping Mommy wrap presents. So I have a crying three year old in one ear and dispatch in the other. I'm watching him, checking out the eves to see if there is any evidence of smoke coming out and giving directions to dispatch. I'm thinking okay, no smoke evident from sides 1, 2 and 4...Man I'm an old school firefighter, now they identify structures by sides A, B, C and D. Anyhow, I digress. The fire department shows up pretty quickly and gets to work. I was SOOOOO happy to see they had a thermal imager and I could tell they were surprised when they jumped out of the truck and I said, "OH YEA!! A Thermal Imager!" This means they won't have to tear down walls and look for heat. After investigating they discovered a small fire in my furnace downstairs. The motor burned up, the smoke went through the ducts upstairs and that's where all the smoke upstairs came from. They put the fire out and gave me the sad news that I would have no heat, but the really GREAT news is that it didn't happen at 2 a.m. when Nic and I were sleeping and it may have gone unnoticed long enough to completely burn our house down or...I don't even want to think about what else could have happened. And...it didn't happen while we were out of town Friday and Saturday. It happened while we were awake and able to do something about it quickly before our house burned down. Want to know something that really makes me think? Before I went out of town this weekend I had a weird, worried kind of feeling specifically about the house and so I actually stopped what I was doing before I walked out the door and said a quick prayer for God to watch over our house and keep it safe while we were gone.

Don't worry about us being cold, we were able to find a heating and air conditioning guy who came and fixed it for us tonight, so by 8:30, we had heat again! I am so thankful to all of you who called, texted and sent notes on Twitter and Facebook concerned and offering to help. My neighbor was wonderful enough to keep Nic in her house so he wouldn't be cold while I was outside talking to the firefighters and the Fire Marshall.

WOW...that was a close one. I am so thankful that things were not worse when they so easily could have been. God was definitely looking out for us and I praise Him and thank Him for his many blessings. One extra thing to be thankful for this holiday season. I still have a beautiful little boy and a home...wait, that's two extra things.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Helping the Salvation Army


Every year I volunteer to ring the bell for the Salvation Army and during the last hour of my day (usually 6-8 hours) my son Nic joins in. If you have never done this before, I highly recommend it. If my three year old son can do it, anyone can! At the end of the day my feet and back hurt, but my heart and soul felt great! You can just stand there and ring, ring, ring the bell if you like, but you can also have fun with it! When ringing the bell, I try to help spread the Christmas spirit by trying to ring the bell in the tune of "Jingle Bells" and telling knock, knock jokes and wishing a Merry Christmas to everyone that walks by. Not only did I help bring more money to this worthy cause, but I brought smiles to many faces......so much fun! Just as significant, doing this helps to teach my son the importance of helping others and doing it with a happy heart.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Only a Mom can understand....

Before I begin, I'll warn you, read at your own discretion. This story involves vomit (By the way, while writing this, I realized how many different words there are for vomit, I'll see how many different ones I can come up with during the course of the story). Okay...you've been warned, now I'll continue. There are many wonderful joys being a Mommy brings. Sometimes, even when you least expect it, like say when you are in the middle of vomiting, that some of those joys surface. Last night I started getting sick, by this morning, I was still sick. Nic (my 3 year old son) and I were downstairs and I felt it coming, the salty taste in the mouth, the beads of sweat forming, so I ran to the bathroom. Nic ran right behind me. As I leaned over the toilet and began to get sick Nic is watching me and goes, "EWWWWWW...Moooom!" Then, in the very next breath he goes, "Hey, Mom....I'm hungry." Okay...hearing that made me just want to hurl even harder. In between upchucks I manage, "I'll be right with you, sweetie." Then he goes, "Okay, Mom, I'm sorry you are sick, you should take some cough medicine, I'll go get it for you." Again, in between hurls I manage a, "Ahh..that's sweet, thank you baby (Ralph)....but I'll get the medicine..(Ralph)...you can't reach it." That was the first time I've ever felt so touched while getting sick (a.k.a. buying a Buick). I'm glad my 3 year old has compassion, it touched my heart, even while praying to the porcelain god (that's 7 for those counting).

Ahhh...motherhood...beautiful isn't it???