Thursday, April 30, 2015

Switching it up

Another month has gone by, which means more changes around our house. Like I've said time and time again, we never sit still and are always up to something. We're always switching things up and moving things around.

A few weeks ago I started a new job - and it's been wonderful. I'm still in that stressful time where I'm trying to learn as much as possible so that I somewhat sound like I know what I'm talking about. Any time you change jobs (even if it's still in the same profession/industry) there is still so much to learn at the new place. I now work for a small technology start-up in downtown Charleston called Good Done Great. I wasn't initially jazzed about the name, but it's growing on me. The best way I can describe working here is that I imagine it's what it probably felt like working for Google before it took over the world. Everyone has their own laptop, wear whatever they want, do whatever they want (i.e. - work when they want), and I never have a boss looking over my shoulder or watching the time clock. My manager has basically given me free reign to take initiative with my own onboarding, and has thus been pleased with the results. Things are so laid back but very dedicated at the same time. We work hard and are good at what we do, but never take things too seriously not to have some fun along the way. Being involved with a company that is this "young" provides me with the opportunity to really make my mark somewhere and be able to contribute in a meaningful way that could potentially shape how the company operates in the future. There's a lot of potential here, both for myself and the company as a whole... it's a very exciting (albeit nerve-wracking) time at GDG.

Just this last week, Mommy B and I also decided it was high time to trade in our 2007 Honda Pilot to get something newer. We did some research on a few vehicles we were interested in, even having a couple shipped here through Carmax. Well as fate would have it, we fell in love with another SUV... a 2012 Honda Pilot. Same exact model as the one we already had, just 5 years newer and about 107,000 less miles. I'll be the first to admit it was a little bittersweet taking the ol' girl into the dealership to trade it in, especially when they told us that they only use cars with that many miles for parts. You mean my babies and I are going to be the last people to "ride" in that car? Well, that got real. I have to say, it felt a little bit like finally putting an old farm mule out to pasture. She had been by far the best car we've ever owned and had been so reliable... and as much as I didn't want to see her go, it was just time to do it. But, we got a "younger" model just like her - and Mommy B and I are hoping that this one will be just as good to us.

This past month has basically been a blur for me - a new job combined with kids' birthday parties every weekend has me running ragged. There was seriously one weekend it felt like we were basically just going to birthday parties for two days straight between Alli and Aiden's friends. Then another weekend was Aiden's birthday party at the fire station. He just happened to have a ton of boys in his class, and needless to say they all had a blast playing on the fire trucks, shooting the hose at cones, spraying yours truly with Silly String, and of course, devouring pizza and cupcakes. I will say this though, that boy cleaned up on the birthday presents. He has some very cool friends' parents... if you catch my drift. I'm talking Legos, Hot Wheels, Play Doh, action figures galore - the list goes on and on. Not to mention that Mommy B and I decided to get him (well, both of them, really) a 7-foot trampoline for the back yard. They couldn't even wait until I had the whole thing built before they wanted to start jumping on it. Luckily I was able to finish it the next day and they've been playing on it ever since.

But as any parent with small children knows, it marked the beginning of the Terrible Three's. So many people talked about the Terrible Two's, but not our kids. The three-year-old age has been much worse than the two-year-old range, by far. And as if Aiden knew that by turning three he had a license to be a butthead, he sure embraced it. He's been more whiney than he's ever been, won't stay in his bed like he used to, and fights with us on just about everything. What makes it even more worse is that Mommy B and I can't count the number of times that his teachers tell us how mellow he is and what a great listener he is at school. There's nothing I hate more than when a parent talks about how great and well-behaved their kid is at home but the minute they go somewhere else with other kids they turn into a little monster. The whole time they're talking I'm thinking to myself, "Yeah, right. I saw your kid at the playground last weekend... I know better." Only with our kids it seems to be the opposite - they are well-behaved for everyone else, and are just little monsters for us! Well, I guess I'd rather have it that way than the other way around. I don't know how they flip the switch like they do, but it sure is frustrating. This has made our nightly routines a little more exhausting than normal, but we know that it's just a phase and he'll come back around sooner or later.

On the other end of the age spectrum, Brittany's grandfather's health has been in a steady decline the last couple of weeks. Things actually have gotten bad enough to the point of having to move him to a nursing home so that he can have people around constantly monitoring him. Since we hadn't seen the extended family in a while, Mommy B's nursing instincts kicked in and she decided that she needed to go back to Findlay to spend some time with her family. Since we don't know at this point if her grandfather's health will improve or not, we thought it would be a good idea to have the kiddos go along with her. Not only so the kids could see that side of the family again, but also so they could hopefully bring some smiles and sunshine to their great-grandparents who are going through a rough time at the moment. It's rare to have great-grandparents around at all, and we want to take every advantage we can so they can see each other as much as possible. Hey, that's what the savings account is for, right? So at 6am this morning, I drove the entire family to the airport and had to hold back my tears as I hugged all of them goodbye. Since I'm still rather "new on the job," we thought it would be better for me to stay behind to take care of Scarlett and keep busy with work (also to save on the price of a fourth plane ticket.)

While most people's first reaction is, "All right! Bachelor weekend for you!" That's not how I feel. I couldn't help but think about what it would be like if something were to happen to the plane. My entire family would be gone - just like that. I tried not to let those terrible thoughts creep into my head as I hugged them all goodbye and tried to drive home without crying. I opened the door to the house and even though the dog was there, it hadn't felt that empty since the day before we moved in. I went upstairs to their rooms and made their beds, just so they wouldn't have wrinkly sheets when they get back in a few days... it just seemed like the right thing to do. Luckily, I didn't have to wait long for the good news. Mommy B let me know that they landed safely and the kids were absolutely wonderful on the plane - not a single meltdown. It made me so proud that they actually behaved for her, for once.

I've been around Brittany's family for about 12 years now, so you can safely assume that I wish I was up there visiting as well. It hurts me beyond words to know that it's not going to be a fun trip for Mommy B, and I won't be there to comfort her in her time of need. Her grandfather was one of, if not the biggest, male role models she had growing up - and seeing him in his current condition isn't going to be easy for her. The man was there for her as a child when her father wasn't, helped raise her through those rough teen years (even helping her pay for her first car), paid for her college tuition in full, and most recently walked her down the aisle to give me her hand in marriage. Cue lump in throat.

I'm going to try and stay busy by spending some time with my family as well, just to keep my mind off things up there. So while I do have the next few days to myself, I'm not going to enjoy it as much as everyone thinks I'm going to. Call me a "Papa Bird" if you want, but I rest easier at night knowing my babies are safe in the nest. While I know Grandma C and the rest of the family will take good care of them, it's my job to protect my family as much as I can from the cruel, harsh world out there. But you know us, we're always switching it up.

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