Monday, December 9, 2013

The Day The Music Died

It was an uneventful Thursday morning.  I got up, got dressed and ready, go the kids off to school and went to work.  I went on my break about 11:30 am and turned on my phone.  "Dad is in the emergency room" is the text that met my eyes.  I immediately tried to call Steven to find out what was going on.  No answer after several attempts.  Lots of things were going through my mind.  Had he fallen or been in a car accident?  It never even crossed my mind that it would be something more serious.

Not getting a hold of Steven, I went to my boss and told her my father-in-law was in the emergency room and I needed to go.  "Of course," she said, and off I went, trying to call Steven and I walked to my car.  I was in the parking lot halfway there when I finally got him on the phone.  "Dad passed away," is what he told me.  I stopped in the middle of the parking lot in disbelief.  "Please tell me you are kidding."  He was not.  I immediately headed over to Gwinnett Medical where I found Steven and one of his brothers in a back room.  Tears filled my eyes again, as they had as I was driving, and I gripped my husband and held him tight.  I can't believe this is happening again was my thought process.

In the last 12 1/2 years, since my children have been born, Steven and I have lost all 4 of our parents, 4 grandparents, 2 uncles and 2 aunts, and that's just off the top of my head.

Dave was a tremendous man.  He wasn't my biological father, but he gladly took on the role, especially after my dad died in 2004 and I was left without parents.  We enjoyed having him over for dinner and making ziti.  He loved it and always told me how good it was.  That made me feel good because his wife was such a wonderful cook.  He would sit with my boys and talk to them about whatever interested them that day: WWE, basketball, Garfield, Pokémon, you name it.  He always made time to come to their baseball games, and even made it to a Tae Kwon Do belt test.

But I have to say that my favorite time with Dave was during piano lessons.  Each of my kids was to take 1 year of lessons, whether the liked it or not.  After a year they could quit if it wasn't for them, but they had to at least try.  One day I thought, "Why not me?"  So I began taking lessons along with Zach.  We would spend an hour a week with Dave at his house playing music and learning.  All of our lessons required that we learn a song or two from our book and then, when Dave had approved it, we would get to play a duet with Dave.  Nothing was more thrilling for me than to see my son playing next to his grandfather and for me to play with him as well.  It's so humbling, knowing how extremely talented he was.  We would play and laugh and have a great time.  And I was learning!  Such a blessing.

Elijah was due to start piano lessons next month, at the age of 8.  Grandaddy wouldn't start until 8.  And Elijah knew that turning 8 meant starting lessons with him.  Sadly, that will never be realized for him.  And I didn't learn enough to be able to teach him.

Dave, thank you for 21 wonderful years as part of your family.  I am blessed and a better person for having known you and your family.  We love you and miss you already.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Life is good

It was a typical Monday here at the Julian house.  The kid went to school, Steven and I went to work.  My day went well.  I've developed some "friendships" with some of the girls that I work with that sit near me.  They are all much younger than me, and that's ok.  It's quite interesting to talk to them.  Sometimes when we talk I realize I am referring to things that they are too young to remember.  I date myself a lot there.  They find it funny.  I discovered today that the 3 people around me today that I was talking to were born the year I graduated from high school!  Yikes!

I got off work a bit early (not by choice) and came home to walk the dog and go get the kids from school.  I got a text from Steven that he was having a horrible day.  I hate to hear that.  He works so hard and wants to do well by his family and his clients.  I hate when things don't go well for him.  I asked the kids what we could do for him to help his day get better.  Zach IMMEDIATELY suggested that we go out to dinner.  (That is always their first idea.)  I tried to come up with some other ideas: movie night with dinner in bed, family game night, etc.  I asked Steven and he agreed that dinner out would be just what the doctor ordered.  So we took the boys out to TGIFriday's.  Yum!  It was a great time. 

Steven and I were able to talk a bit about work.  I think he feels unproductive because of some disorganization.  He needs some protocols in place to help him transition smoothly.  Organization is my expertise.  I am going to try to help him get something in the works that would help him.  Perhaps God wanted us to have that conversation.  We'll see how it goes.

Now we are relaxing and watching Fringe while the boys watch RAW downstairs, a typical Monday night ritual.  I can hear them cheering and chanting.  They love it.  I love them.
Feeling so blessed today!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Catch Up

Wow!  Take a night or two off and then suddenly I realize it's been over a week!
Everything this week got straightened out.  JJ spent one day in ISS for NOT pulling a chair out from under another child, who wasn't hurt.  Elijah designed his experiment and I let him type it up to turn in to his teacher.  JJ was then accused of hurling homosexual slurs during class.  (Does he even know any?)  I was never contacted by the school.  Just JJ telling me he was called to the office and interrogated again.  Nothing ever came of that so I assume all is well.

I took JJ to the orthodontist on Monday to get a date for taking off his braces, after over 2 years.  Only to find out that they have OVER corrected his jaw with the rubber bands!  Now he has had to reverse the rubber bands to get his jaw back to where it should be.  (His bottom teeth were in front of his top teeth.)  So he goes back in 4 weeks.  Hopefully to find out when he will get them off again, maybe.  Elijah has to design an advertisement to lure people to the new Georgia colony founded by James Oglethorpe.  Only he can't tell me anything about the colony: why they started it, what would be appealing to others to make them want to come.  He can only tell me who started it.  Sometimes I worry about him.  Sometimes I wonder if his SPD is just a small symptom of something larger.  He has a very difficult time relaying information from school to home, answering an essay question on a test, etc.

Anyway, we have started a project for the month of November.  I am having each of the kids write down each day something they are thankful for.  I'm hoping it will help them realize all they have and just foster a grateful spirit within them.  So far, so good.  I am loving what they are coming up with.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I just can't believe it

Every time I think I've seen or heard it all, something else happens that changes everything.
I realize that things are different now than they were when I was in school, but the basics remain the same.  Teach kids to respect themselves and others and give them a base of knowledge they can use to advance in life.  Discipline when necessary and help them learn from mistakes.  But the public school system has really gone out of control.

A pep rally for the CRCT test and a song to the tune of "YMCA", numerous standardized tests and teaching so they pass the test, multiple forms to fill out just to change the way my child gets home in the afternoon, REQUIRING that I be involved in their homework.. (Don't get me wrong.  I am VERY involved with my kids' homework.  I know what they are studying and I make sure that they get their homework done and encourage them to study and work hard.)  Now they are requiring that I sign off on how many minutes they read each week.  I now have sign that I've seen my 2nd grader's work that comes home on Fridays.  They also want me to sign the back of each spelling word index card to show that we studied it.  Maybe that is why so many kids/teens/adults today lack personal responsibility is because someone else is always held responsible instead of making the student do it themselves.  Again, I'm all for helping, but I don't feel I should have to sign something to prove to the teacher that I helped him.  The teacher should deal with the school aspect, I will deal with the home aspect.  I don't make her sign things to prove that she taught it to my son in the first place.

The kicker came last week when my son spent the day in ISS (in school suspension) for something that he didn't do, where no rules were broken and no one was injured.  He was accused of pulling a chair out from underneath someone and causing them to fall on the floor.  (How many times did you and your friends do that in school to be funny?  Did you ever get in trouble for it?  I did it plenty of times!)  However, he didn't do it.  He admits to jokingly pulling the chair away from the other student because he wanted to sit there.  But he let go when the other student put his hand on the chair to stop it.  My son then walked away.
The other student must have misjudged the chair when he went to sit down because he fell and the chair flipped.  The student told the teacher that my son pulled it out from under him.  My son says he was several steps away .  (He has proven himself truthful over the years so I believe him.)  The teacher claims she saw my son's hand on the chair and the student on the floor.  If the chair flipped, how could his hand be on the chair?  If he had pulled it out from under the other student, it wouldn't have flipped!  But the teacher (a sub, retired from previous years with a reputation for being mean) asked my son point blank if he pulled the chair away.  My son, being the literal person he is, said YES because he did pull the chair, but not so as to cause the student to fall.  He was immediately sent to the office where he was questioned and required to write a statement of what happened.  He was given ISS and was cited as breaking a rule that was something about "Intimidating or intending to cause harm", neither of which he did.  I called the school after talking with my son about it further and stated that the punishment was severe considering he didn't break any rules and has never been in trouble at school in his life.  The administrator basically told me that my son was lying to me because he didn't want to disappoint me and the punishment would stand.  Because he admitted to moving the chair and signed the statement, I allowed him to serve the ISS, where he behaved and did exactly what he was supposed to do, unlike the others that were in there.  We chalked it up to a life lesson.  That was Friday.

Today, the same son comes home (again, never been in trouble EVER) telling me that he spend time in the office again being accused of inappropriate language.  Granted, my son slips and uses profane words at times, but what teenager hasn't?  He was accused of homosexual slurs.  Seriously??????  Of all the things my son would say, that would NOT be one of them.  Again, 1 lone student said that it was my son that said it so the school overreacts and takes him to the office.  This one he will NOT get punished for.  The school hasn't called me yet.  I emailed the teacher that sent him to the office and stated that I would like to be informed if my son is being accused of something.  We'll see what happens.  They will have to get security footage and show it to me before I believe any of that.  He now feels that the school is out to get him.  He is very upset and can't understand why this is happening to him.  I prayed for him today, and for all of us, as we seem to be under some sort of attack.  (Again, no rules have been broken here and it's he said, she said.)

By the way, my 2nd grader has to design an experiment showing an object changing from one stage of matter to the next.  Seriously?  He's 7!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lazy Sunday

I played hookey from work today.  Well, sort of.  I woke up not feeling well and just knew that I wouldn't be able to be pleasant to people on the phone today, so I called in sick.  Sparky and my other boys have taken very good care of me.  I think I just got run down from my life and needed some rest.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

I'm looking out my window as I watch the Falcons on TV and see a gorgeous fall day.  I just wonder why all my kids are moping around inside saying that there is nothing to do or constantly wanting to do something in front of the TV.  (Yes, I'm in front of the TV but I'm resting.  :)
This happens a lot.  If we don't suggest something ELSE for them to do, screens are what they resort to as a default. 
Thankfully, a whirlwind of imagination hit just as I was getting frustrated and my middle son suggested that they get their fishing poles (yes, my kids have poles) and head over to the pond to fish.  That even got Joshua interested in repairing his pole so he could go too!  PTL!  Hallelujah!
Elijah, however, is still on the couch watching WWE videos.  He's always a bit harder.  But it's at least a start.

I find myself lately a bit dissatisfied with my life.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very blessed.  I sometimes just wish I was doing more with my life.  My job is fine, but it's just for making money.  I don't necessarily enjoy it or derive satisfaction from it.  It has kept me from attending church with my family for almost 3 months now and I'm starting to feel the effects.  I began attending the women's Bible study on Wednesday as a substitute, but it just isn't the same.  I'm not sure how much longer I can do this.  But I need to for my family's benefit right now until things get more stable financially.  We all make sacrifices for our families.  This is mine.

On a more positive note, I am very excited that the Red Sox will be returning to the World Series.  I just hope I can stay awake to see the entire game.  I've missed the ends of them all so far because I just couldn't keep my eyes open.  A bit more motivation to stay awake now, though.

That's it.  Not many thoughts today.  Missing my parents, as always and wishing we had better relationships closer.  Maybe one day.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Meds, and other things

JJ's trip to Jekyll Island was successful.  He had a great time, got little sleep and a lot dirty.  He discovered how difficult it is to sleep in a room with 6 other boys and appreciates his own room. He also came home with someone else's shirt (?).  But he survived and enjoyed it.  We missed him (it was quieter) but we are very glad to have him back. So are his brothers.

The day after we picked him up, it was time to take Zach to the doctor.  He has now been diagnosed with inattentive ADD.  Meaning, mostly, that he is a distraction to himself but not to others.  There is, of course, no official test for ADD.  This is all based on info I gave him from a psychologist, meetings with the school psychologist, and questionnaires from me, Steven, his current teacher and last year's teacher.  (His current teacher has a son diagnosed with ADHD so she understands.  She also told us at his conference that she loves how his mind works so she seems to understand him.)  So we started him on meds this week.  Not what I wanted to do, but I've been trying to deal with it on my own for almost 4 years now.  I've been trying to put things in place to help organize him and keep him on track.  While they may help, now, they just haven't been enough.  The day AFTER he was prescribed meds (but before taking them), I got an email from his teacher that he had a really bad day, not turning things in, not remembering WHERE to turn them  in, not being on task and just wandering around the classroom.  That sounds about right.

So we started him on meds this past Saturday over the long weekend to see how they affected him.  So far, so good.  There are some side effects, but he doesn't seem to be experiencing any, yet.  He worked diligently on homework on Monday morning (not something he would normally do) and got a good report today, his first day at school on meds.  So, we'll see.

It was a somewhat depressing day, though.  Two ladies I work with lost their step dads in the last week and are both very sad.  Also, another lady I know lost her oldest son (a teenager) suddenly this week.  I pray that God brings comfort to each of them and their families and that He would use it to draw them close to Him.

I get 2 days off work this week since things are a bit slow.  But I think that is a God thing because Zach and Elijah just so happen to have Field Day on each of the days I have off this week.  So I get to go.  They asked me  to, anyway.  I would be honored.

Well, the Red Sox won and I don't care about this baseball game, so I'm headed to bed.
I enjoyed the weekend with the family, seeing my sister and her kids and watching my niece play softball.  I also enjoyed helping her with her geometry homework.  I find it nice that they call me for math help.  My kids don't need any, yet, so it makes me feel useful and keeps my brain sharp.

Good night!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The trip

I was up at 5:15 am today to say goodbye to my beloved JJ, 13 years old.  He left this morning for a 3 day field trip with the PROBE program at his school.  They will spend 3 days at Jekyll Island doing various science related this and having fun.  I'll pick him up at school on Wednesday night.  It was a bittersweet moment when he left.  He's growing up and I know I need to let him.  I'm so excited that he's worked hard and is able to have this opportunity.  On the other hand, he's only really been off on a trip once before with our church  over a weekend.  I'm just not used to this yet.  However, he is rooming with some baseball buddies and friends from school, so I'm sure they will have a blast!  I can't wait to hear about it when he gets home.  I haven't heard from him, so I assume he is just having so much fun....

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, things are quiet here.  Eerily quiet, as Steven put it.  All my boys can be loud and chatty, but Joshua tends to be the most talkative.  He would definitely be talking baseball and why which team should do what and what his fantasy teams are doing.  (Also, he's missing RAW!)  Zach and Elijah watched some baseball with us and then went on to do their own thing in Zach's room.  Those guys are great!

It postseason baseball time and there were 4 games on today.  (Still waiting for one....Go Braves!)  So did homework and ate dinner in front of the TV watching the games.  Zach and I made brownies that turned out to be quite good.  That sweet boy wants to save one to take to his teacher.  Love him!

Speaking of Zach, he has been diagnosed with inattentive ADD.  We will start him on medication on Saturday and see if that helps.  We were at the dr. on Thursday.  Friday I got an email from his teacher stating that he was having a much harder time lately staying focused and getting things accomplished.  I'm praying that this medication helps him.  I'm frustrated and I can see that he is frustrated with himself.  I feel so helpless!  But this 4 year journey has finally come to something, some type of diagnosis.  Since 2nd grade I've been going here and there, talking to this dr. and that and the school trying to get him some help.  Finally, he got it.  I hope this works!  He is so smart!  Thankfully his teacher sees that and wants to help him too.  Today he came home wearing the cell Tshirt that he made at school.  He was giving me a science lesson on plant cells.  I was quite impressed.

Well, gotta go.  The Braves are about to start!

Sunday, September 22, 2013


It just hasn't been a good day.  It seems that every day I tell my kids the same thing and they never seem to learn.  Every Sunday I ask them to dress in a collard shirt and decent shorts for church.  Not because they have to impress God or other people, but just to look a bit nicer one day our of the week.  They have finally, after several months, started to put on a nice shirt when they get up.  But inevitably 2 of them come downstairs in nice shirts and awful athletic shorts.  Then they get mad at ME when I ask them to go change shorts.

Then I find out that my 7 1/2 year old wet his bed last night. First time, I think, EVER!  He got up, changed clothes, and just didn't go back to bed because his bed was, quite obviously, wet.  However, he got dressed and made up his bed and went downstairs.  He didn't tell me about it until several hours later.  I do give him praise for telling me, but I also suggested that he start to tell me things a bit sooner next time.  So Steven and I went and purchased a new mattress for his bed today.  It is a cheapie Big Lots mattress, but will have to do until we can figure something else out.  (The mattress he had has been through all 3 kids.  It was the mattress on Joshua's toddler bed when he moved from the crib.)

Then I get to work and it's so slow that they send me home 3 hours early.  (I could really use the money.)  Steven and I go buy a mattress and my tire pressure light comes on.  We go put air in the tires and drive home.  The light is still on.  I remembered that my brake light is out (yes, on my new van!), so we went BACK to QT and got MORE air for the tires and stopped at Auto Zone to get a new bulb for my brake light.  GOOD NEWS....I, myself, changed the bulb in the brake light!

All this to say that God uses these days to help us realize just how much we need Him.  Now, I'm not a sappy Christian, one that cries a lot or is just overcome and overwhelmed by the things of God (only sometimes), but He said something to me today.

I heard a song on 104.7 The Fish on my way to work by Mandisa called "Overcomer".   I listened to the words, realized that it was speaking to me somewhat, acknowledged it, and went about my day.  3 hours later, I get back into my car to drive home from work (realize, this is a 5 minute drive for me), and the SAME song came on.  Here are the words:

Staring at a stop sign
Watching people drive by
T Mac on the radio
Got so much on your mind
Nothing's really going right
Looking for a ray of hope

Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He's not gonna let it get the best of you

You're an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You're not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it's hopeless
That's when He reminds You
That you're an overcomer
You're an overcomer

Everybody's been down
Hit the bottom, hit the ground
Oh, you're not alone
Just take a breath, don't forget
Hang on to His promises
He wants You to know

The same Man, the Great I am
The one who overcame death
Is living inside of You
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There's nothing He can't do
He's telling You

I hear you, God.  I hear you.  Thanks and I'll try to remember that next time and not let it get the best of me.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I Must Be Crazy!

My oldest son, Joshua (lovingly known now as JJ), turned 13 last week.  Yes, a teenager.  My first of my very own.  Today we had a birthday party for him. I took him and 5 other 12 and 13 year olds for 2 hours of bowling and then back to my house (yes, my house) for pizza. "How bad could it be?", I figured.  The problem is, I expect every boy to behave like my son.  They don't!

Joshua can definitely be weird and crazy.  He likes being known as a clown.  But nothing compared to what I witnessed today.  I guess some parents just don't teach their kids how to behave in public places or when they are with other people.  One kids was just out of control.  I had to speak to him many times for sitting on and in the ball return rack, lying on the floor with the ball, attempting to bounce it, adding butter to his cup of water, and (the real kicker) trying to enter the "above 21" area of the bowling area where they allow drinking and smoking.  I finally had to grab him by the arm and explain to him that he was old enough to control himself and behave appropriately in a public setting. He wouldn't even look at me.  I am still in shock.

I have often thought that my problem is that I expect too much from my kids.  However, especially after today, I realize that the REAL problem is that other parents don't expect enough from their kids.  At 12 years old, they should be able to control themselves in public and show respect for other people and property.  I guess some parents just don't teach their kids that.  Maybe it's too hard and they meet with too much resistance.  But I think it is necessary and that is part of what is truly lacking in today's kids.

Anyway.......Joshua had a great time with his friends and I'm glad.  That was the whole point anyway.  Though there will probably not be anymore birthday parties for a while, if ever.  I'm just not cut out for that.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A typical Sunday

I have a confession to make.  I haven't been to church in over a month.  No, I haven't turned away from Jesus.  My new job made me choose a weekend day to work and I chose Sunday.  I didn't want to choose either, but Sunday just made the most practical sense.  Saturdays are baseball days.  With Steven coaching Zach's team and Joshua playing at a totally different park, we are going to have to divide and conquer this season more than ever.  As a compromise, I am listening to Pastor Steve's podcasts in my car while I waiting to pick up the kids at school.  Also, I'm going to start going to a women's Bible study at church this Wednesday (my other day off.  Maybe God did that on purpose...) so I will have some fellowship.  I've talked to my job about getting afternoon or evening Sunday hours, but nothing yet.  I'm low man on the totem pole right now, but maybe that will change one day.

Joshua and Zach both had their first baseball games of the season this weekend.  And, of course, they were at two different parks at EXACTLY the same time.  As much as I hated missing Zach's first game in a while, Steven was with him (coaching) so Elijah and I took JJ to his game.  We dropped him off at 8 for warm ups, then Elijah and I went to breakfast at CFA.  I love spending time with my kids one on  one.  He still just wanted to talk about WWE, but I engaged him as much as I could.  I just love him!

Joshua started off in right field, which made me laugh.  He hasn't played outfield in a while.  Then he played 1st base the next inning.  That's more his spot.  After the other team got 3 runs and the bases were loaded (from several walks) they called JJ in to pitch.  These times always make me nervous.  No one will be harder on JJ than JJ if he allows those runners to score.  But, somehow, he goes out there very cool and gets the job done, as he did that morning.  (I wonder how Craig Kimbrel's mom does it???)  He pitched the following inning as well and did great!  We lost the game, but more on errors that poor pitching.  The mound is farther from the plate in this league and he was still able to bring it.  I'm so proud of him.  (And he will be 13 this Saturday.  Can you believe that?!?!?!?)

Zach lost his game as well, but Steven said they fought hard.  Zach got to pitch.  He struck out 5 batters!  I wish I could have seen that!  He has another game on Friday so I will watch that one.  Elijah chose not to play baseball this season.  He didn't like getting hit by the pitches.  (With his SPD, it's just that much worse for him.)  And he's a lefty so that usually puzzles 7-8 year old pitchers since he's on the other side of the batter's box.  I didn't force it.  Even though I would secretly LOVE for him to become a pitcher.  Lefties are hard to come by.

So the running around begins.  Practices for both Zach and JJ (and JJ's travel team will want to be practicing too so we'll try to squeeze some of those in there), games, school functions, work, homework, etc.  Here's to craziness........

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sheer Frustration

I love my kids.  I really do.  They are sweet, smart, loving and friendly.  And they each love their mama.  I wouldn't trade any of them for anything in the world.  However, that doesn't change the fact that they can frustrate the fool out of me.

Like I said, each of them is very smart, but they can behave so stupidly at times. Bill Cosby said children were brain damaged.  I'm beginning to think he was right.  Perhaps I expect too much of my kids.  Perhaps I expect them to think through things like an adult and they aren't there yet.  I'm not sure.  Maybe instead of working on them, I need to work on me.

One thing tonight was just the fact that Joshua wanted to tell about something that Roddy White (Falcons football player) was tweeting.  The only reason this bothers me is because I can't get him to talk to me about school, his friends, etc.  But he's more that willing to talk about what football players are tweeting or what WWE superstars are doing out of the ring.  I guess I should just be happy that he's talking to me.  After all, he will be a teenager is just over a week.

 Again, maybe it's my expectations that need to change.....

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Julian Hospital

It doesn't happen often.  My kids don't get sick much.  But 2 of the 3 have been sick, with fevers, in the last 8 days.  Elijah missed a day of school last week and Zach missed today.  It's strange.  Elijah's only lasted a day, but Zach spent yesterday sleeping and still had a fever today.  He is getting to an age where missing school means getting behind.  I just hope he can catch up sufficiently.  He isn't doing so well in school so far.

All is quiet on the rest of the home front.  Rec baseball starts this weekend.  Zach has a game Saturday morning.  We've yet to receive Joshua's schedule, which irritates me just a bit.  They must think that we have no lives and no other plans to make.  Joshua turns 13 next week and I'm trying to plan a party.  However, without knowing if he has a game or not, it's very hard.  I've been putting it off so that his party wouldn't interfere with anyone's games.  But they are really pushing it.  I'm hoping to know tomorrow.

Friday marked my last day at work at Coolray Field.  I quit a few weeks ago after getting the job at Medieval Times.  I just couldn't do both, and didn't really want to.  However, they asked me to work the last two games, so I agreed.  It was bittersweet.  I walked away Friday night after clearing the suits for the last time.  I walked to my car and saw the fans standing by the clubhouse entrances waiting for autographs.  It was then that I realized I was walking away for the last time.  I have worked there for 5 years and loved most every minute of it.  I loved being so close to and involved with the game.  I loved getting to know the players and cheering for them when they made it to the bigs.  I loved being one of the only people to know who they were when they got there.  I love the people I work with.  It was a difficult decision to leave.  Those people have been like family to me.  ("My summer family" per Ben in Fever Pitch)  And so many people would love to have my job.  I just couldn't do it anymore.  So I left.  I will have to make a special effort to get to games next year so that I still know who's playing.

I still love baseball and will continue to follow it.  I will still plan vacations to various baseball stadiums around the country. we come!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

For Naomi

Good evening!
My dear friend Naomi, the only one that reads this as far as I know, has apparently missed my endless rantings about my life.  "Keep blogging", she FB'd me.  So here it is!

The first 3 weeks of school have not been overly kind to the Julian family.  Everyone, including me (especially with the new job to go to every morning), is having trouble getting back into the swing of things.  Elijah has already moved his clip to yellow (discipline measure for behavior) more times in 3 weeks than he did ALL of 1st grade.  I'm glad that he is getting out of his shell a bit.  I just wish he would do it at more appropriate times.  Joshua has 4 gifted classes (english, science, math and social studies) and deserves to.  But he has forgotten how much work is involved.  He had 2 read 2 books over the summer and do a project on each one.  They were due the 2nd week of school.  On the first day of school, his LA teacher gave him a rubric of how one of the projects (a business letter) should be formatted.  He totally forgot or blew it off or something and never formatted his letter appropriately.  So, he got a 76 on the project.  His content was well graded, but he lost all the points for format.  Just a dumb mistake.  I'm sure he won't make it again.  Then, there's Zach.......

I love Zach.  He is the funniest, sweetest, most pure and tender person I know.  He is also brilliant!  But....he hates school.  His sheer intelligence has been able to get him along this far, but now it's getting a bit harder and requires more focus and attention and he just doesn't have it to give.  (We are having him evaluated..again..for ADD or something similar.)  He came home Friday with 3 U papers: 69, 64 and 40.  Ouch!  Two were math timed tests.  He doesn't see why he should have to do 100 math problems in 5 minutes.  Frankly, I don't either.  No one will ever test you on that for a job interview, but the school wants it done so he needs to do it.  I guess we'll work on it.  The other was an order of operations quiz (parentheses first, then exponents, etc.)  That was the 40.  The funny thing is, he can tell me exactly how to do it, in what order everything should be done.  He just doesn't do it.  Or he'll do it on the first 2 problems, then do the 3rd one completely different and in the wrong order so he gets the answer wrong.  Then he'll do the 5th one correctly.  I really don't understand it.  Also, his choice card (record of his behavior and effort for the week) was more colorful than a rainbow!  Not on task after several reminders, agenda not signed, homework not turned in, trouble focusing.....the list goes on.  I am at the end of my rope on what to do to help him.  I'm really trying to take my hands off and let him deal with things.  If he can't handle 5th grade, he certainly can't handle 6th and all the responsibility that goes with that.  I'm trying to guide him, but am trying to let him do it and see if it wakes him up a bit.  I've also given a questionnaire to his current teacher and last year's teacher from his pediatrician to get a better idea of his behavior.  Hopefully that will help.

On a more positive note, Zach loves astronomy.  Last night we took his telescope outside to look for Neptune which is closest to Earth right now and easier to see.  We found what we believe to be Neptune, so he thought that was really cool.  I love him so.  I just hope I can help him.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Just busy

Not much to say today.  I've been busy working most days so there isn't much to share.  I wouldn't want to bore you with my work.  Not that it's bad, just not worth talking about.  The Julian house is pretty boring lately.  There's work, school, baseball will start this week for Joshua and Zach, more work and homework.  Curriculum nights are this week for the elementary school.  Of course, those are on the same nights as Joshua's practices, which I just found out.  Oh well.  That is why there is a mom AND dad.  Divide and conquer, I say.

We have also been rocking out to Guitar Hero.  I beat the Easy level and am on to Medium.  It's harder as it requires one more finger, the pinky.  I am discovering that my pinky finger isn't very strong and doesn't always do what I tell it to.  However, I did get a perfect song on the Easy level.  I didn't even know that was possible.  I've also noticed that it's much more fun when you know the song.  You can really get lost in it.

Well, I missed church again today due to work.  I have put in a schedule change request so that I could possibly work Sunday afternoons or evenings so that I don't keep missing church.  I find that I really miss that time.  I listen to Pastor Steve's podcast while I'm in the car rider line, but it just isn't the same.  I miss that family time too.  Even though we all go to different places, it's nice going together.  Hopefully that schedule change will happen.

Steven told me that Pastor Steve talked about Elijah (from the Bible) today.  Elijah (my son) was also in the service and was very eager to listen.  I've told him the story of Elijah a hundred times so that he would know the story of his namesake.  I think he enjoyed it.

Now, it's Yankess Red Sox and time to get ready for bed.  Early to rise and get everyone ready for school and off to work again.  I'm STILL getting used to working 5 days a week.  I'm trying to squeeze in all my errands on my days off.  We'll see how that goes.

Friday, August 16, 2013

It's fun

After a wrong shipment and long wait on the cord, we FINALLY got the cord to go along with the Guitar Hero guitar to hook it up to the Xbox.  We've been waiting close to a month.  I ordered the guitar from Amazon and, of course, the seller sent us an Othello game instead.  Go figure!  So I got a refund and then purchased another one, from a different buyer of course.  It came and we were so excited!  (We love playing this game at Dave and Buster's and were excited to know we could now play it at home!)  However, the guitar did NOT come with the cord that hooks into the Xbox.  (not stated in the seller's description.)  So I ordered a cord immediately!  In the days after that, I also ordered a case for Joshua's phone (yes, he has a cell phone now!), a screen protector, and an mp3 cord.  I received ALL of those items BEFORE I got the guitar cord.  I was starting to think that I just wasn't meant to play.  But it came in the mail yesterday.  I immediately hooked it up and started a band career.  It's really fun, more fun when you know the song you are playing.  We spent the evening playing last night and I played some when I got home from work.  I really like it!  It was definitely worth the wait.

My job is also fun.  I admit, I still get a knot in my stomach on my way.  But it gets better after that first phone call.  I really enjoy talking to the people that call in, giving them information that helps with their date night or celebrating a birthday, and helping them set up a reservation, maybe even saving them money.  Most of them are genuinely appreciative of my help and are very nice.  I've called in to too many customer service places and received nasty people on the other end that behaved as though I was just wasting their time.  I have dedicated my time at this job to NOT be that person.  I vow to do my very best to help each and every person that calls me.  I will not get annoyed or frustrated.  I will take as much time as is necessary to explain what we offer and help set it up.  If they have a question I can't answer, I'll find the answer.  If you can be patient, I can help you.
For all I know, I may be the only positive interaction that caller may have that day.  If I can show God's love and patience, even in my voice, that's what I will do.  Customer service is virtually nonexistent in most places.  I will not allow that to be said of Medieval Times.  I'm learning a lot and enjoying it as well.  I'm still getting used to working 5 days a week, but the pay off is good.  (My paycheck is helping buy my new car, which I LOVE!)  And there is still some left over for other things.  God does look out for us and He does provide!

Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Out with the old, in with the new

I finally got a new car!  Well, not finally.  Yes, finally.  I purchased a brand new 2004 Toyota Sienna in May of 2004, right after my father died (inheritance money).  It took us to Montana and back, Seattle to Montana, South Dakota to Montana, Wyoming to Montana, Chicago and back and Pennsylvania and back, and many other places in between.  It 's been a great car!  (Even better that I didn't have payments!)  But these last months has not been it's best.  The deal breaker was that the sliding door on the passenger side stopped working.  It would open, but wouldn't close.  At least not without help.  And it got harder and harder to help the more we opened it.  So, we just stopped using that door.  It took a while, but the kids got used to it.  However, with school starting and my picking up the kids, we were causing a problem since they couldn't get into the car on the side closest to the sidewalk.  Bummer, huh.  It was definitely frustrating to not be able to get in and out how they wanted to, I admit.  But I could live with it.  But now with school it became a bigger issue.  Also since we are carpooling with 2 other neighborhood kids.  (And the car had over 117,000 miles on it!)  So it was time to get a new one.

We started looking back in June before we went on vacation.  I had just gotten an estimate of what it would cost to the get door fixed.  $1600!  Just for the door!  I wasn't willing to put that kind of money into this car.  Not for that at its age.  We started looking at SUVs but quickly discovered that, unless I wanted to drive a tank everyday, there wasn't as much room as the van.  Reluctantly, I decided to get a van instead.

We found one on Saturday that we liked but couldn't get the number we wanted so we walked away.  We found another a few days later with more features, but not quite as nice of a van, but it was less expensive.  I went back and forth trying to decide which one.  I really tried to like the less expensive one more (VW Routan, white with tan leather interior, navigation, dual dvd screens, sunroof).  But the Honda just had more of the little things that I look for in a car.  (adjustable middle seats, manual stowing of the back row, etc.)  So we were at the Honda dealership until almost 10pm last night signing papers and stuff.  I forgot how annoying buying a car can be.  Financially painful as well.  Our first car payment in over 10 years!  Ouch.  But my new job will more than pay for it, so that helps a lot.

I drove the kids to school and picked them up in it today.  It was nice.  (However, I was in the elementary school line behind a black Sienna, and another black Honda.  Behind me was another black Sienna and another black Honda behind that.  Almost like a celebrity caravan.)  The kids need to learn how to move the middle row of seats to get tot he back (It seats 8) but that's about it.  I spent some of the day programming the radio stations, reading the manual and finding out what it can do.  I'm very excited about driving it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Times they are a changin'

Well, it's official.  I am down to only 1 (yes, 1!) job!  I have officially left my job with the Gwinnett Braves.  (I will work 2 more games because I was asked very nicely, but won't work any until then.)  It was just getting to be too much.  I realize the season is almost over, but I don't really have the desire to work THAT many hours and run myself THAT ragged  until August is over.

I was getting up at 6:30, getting the kids off to school, work 8:30-2, off to the store or other errands, pick up at the elementary school, pick up at the middle school, home, change clothes, grab a quick bite and get to the stadium....late.  No time for pleasantries with my kids OR my husband.  No real time to eat at either job or in between.  Just not a good, healthy situation.  I've been thinking about it for a while now, especially now that my supervisor left.  (She's been there with me from the beginning.) It just isn't the same anymore and just wasn't worth the hassle for the payoff.  I will miss the people, the players, and the baseball, but I will get to enjoy my family more.  No more running off to work nights and getting home who knows when.  The 30 hours at Medieval Times will be more than enough.

I'm also looking for a new van.  Mine has 117,000 miles on it and the passenger rear door doesn't work.  (That is causing quite a stir when I pick the kids up at the elementary school!)  I'm just having trouble finding something that I want in my price range.  I really don't want leather seats (hot GA summers and a child with SPD just don't mix!)  I really don't want that 8th seat in the middle center either.  It just makes it harder to get to the back.  Not sure if I want power doors or not since that is what is wrong with my current van, but will Elijah be able to open the door?  He could learn.  I have a nice van and don't want to take a "step down" into a newer van.  Does that make sense?  Oh well...

I took Zach for his 10 year check up today...finally!  Thankfully, he is slender but not underweight.  However, the bean pole's cholesterol is high!  Not much, but just a bit.  I was shocked!  He's not the best eater, but I always figured he could use the calories since he's so thin (10 years old, almost 5 feet tall and weighs 74 pounds!)  He loves cheese so I figure that has a lot to do with it.  So I'm making changes to everyone's diet in hopes that it helps us all.  I have made several changes in the last year of two, but I get lazy and slack off a bit, especially in summer.  Trying to get them back on track.  I wasn't taught healthy eating habits as a kid.  You ate whatever you wanted whenever you wanted it.  (Hence the reason I was battling weight issues in 8th grade!)    So we are learning together.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


It sounds very silly, but I am actually a bit proud of myself......not to be egotistical or anything.  Today was my first day of work taking phone calls entirely by myself.  And I did it!  5 1/2 hours of questions, reservations, discounts, etc.  And I did it!  There were some bumps along the way.  I was even nervous on my way in to work this morning.  But once I got the first few calls out of they way, it wasn't so bad.  Back at it again tomorrow.

About 30 minutes before my shift was over, I heard the extraordinarily loud sound of rain pounding on the roof of the building, then thunder.  Sure enough, when I got outside to head to my car, it was pouring rain.  I ran as fast as I could in sandals in rain to my car, stepping in several large puddles along the way.  I finally got to my car with wet clothes and soaked shoes and feet.  And, of course, I needed to go to the grocery store.  Always when it rains.  Thankfully it was much lighter when I left the store than when I got there.  So off to pick up the kiddos.

I got in the pick up line at the elementary school around 2:45 pm, approximately 35 minutes before school even lets out....and I was not first in line.  I might have been about 7th, I guess.  I sat there playing games on my phone and waiting.  More hubbub when my kids had to come around to the driver side in the rain to get into the car.  They are getting to know me now though.  The lady (who said something yesterday) helped my kids around with an umbrella and was telling another inquiring mind that my passenger door doesn't work.  I apologized, again, and stated that I am looking for another car.  It is definitely beginning to be a problem and I rather have another car (this one is almost 10 years old) than spend an arm and a leg to fix the door.

So no baseball tonight.  Zach, Elijah and I are watching the end of Twister in my room (they are enjoying the intense tornado action at the end) while Steven and Joshua (who made the Peachtree Ridge 13U travel team!!!!!!) are watching the Falcons game downstairs.  Bed time is coming and we start all over again tomorrow.  However, tomorrow......both jobs!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

School days....School days

What a fun day!  But first things first....

I went to work for the first official time after training on Tuesday.  I spent part of the morning listening to another rep take calls and I was putting the info into the computer.  Then I spent some time talking on the calls while the other rep did the computer work.  I think I did ok.  But then she left at 1:30 and I was working until 2.  So I asked my supervisor if she wanted me to take calls.  Of course she said yes.  Then I remembered that I didn't know how to log into the phone system.  (I logged myself in using info from my notes, but I wasn't getting any calls.  Then I realized I was logged into the training system.  Ha!)  So my supervisor got me logged in and I took about 4 phone calls before I went home.  It was such a relief to get those first ones out of the way!  I had today off but will be back at it tomorrow.

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!  I put 2 kids on the bus and drove 3 more to school today.  (1 mine and 2 other middle schoolers from our neighborhood)  It was bitter sweet.  Thankfully we are past the point of everyone being nervous about starting school.  (Next year we won't be since Zach will start middle school.)  So it was fairly uneventful. 

The best part of the day was lunch with my neighbor.  She put her youngest child on the bus for the first time today starting kindergarten.  She got a bit teary eyed putting her on the bus, which made her daughter cry as well. It was sweet.  I remember doing that just a couple of years ago with Elijah.  I lost it as soon as the bus drove away.  Anyway, we had set up a lunch date months ago so she and I could enjoy some adult time without children anywhere near!  It was great!  We went to CFA and talked and ate for about 2 hours!  No interruptions.  Then she came back to my house for a little tour (we were comparing houses).  What a blessing!  It was a lot of fun.

Then I went to pick up the kids from elementary school.  I sat in the line for about 30 minutes before I got the kids.  Then I got razzed because my kids had to get into the street to get into the driver side door of my van (the passenger side doesn't work.  Looking at getting a new car).  They both had good days in 2nd and 5th grade.   Zach doesn't know the name of the person that sat next to him all day and Elijah forgot the homework that was written in his agenda and was referenced on a note from the teacher.  Not a great way to start. But they each had a good day.

Then Joshua gets home from 7th grade.  He said it was boring because they just went over rules and stuff.  Teachers can get pretty long winded when they want to.  But everyone is home safe and sound and ready to go back tomorrow.  Yay!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The end...or is it the beginning?

Busy day today!  First of all, it's Monday night so, of course that means that I'm upstairs in my room watching the Braves (going for 11 straight!) while my boys are downstairs enjoying Monday Night RAW.  (It just started so they haven't gotten too loud yet.)  This will be the last week since they start school on Wednesday.  Joshua will be the only one allowed to stay up and watch the whole thing (since the other kids will watch an hour and then go to bed) and he knows to be quiet.

Speaking of school!  We spent all day getting ready for Wednesday.  We headed to the elementary school this morning for Zach and Elijah (Zach's last year!)  We got a car rider number so I can pick them up from school and bypassed all the other things in the cafeteria.  (I paid my fees and stuff online!)  So it was off the meet the kids' teachers.  We were closest to the 5th grade hallway so we headed to Zach's class.  His teacher seems very nice.  Zach's desk is near hers, which is probably a good idea.  She told me about how they will spend time getting to know each other, which is good.  I've heard that she's tough, but Zach needs that.  I then had to fill out a sheet of things I thought she should know about my son.  Oh my!  Where do I start?  Without sounding too negative, because I truly love my Zach, I tried to state that he is a brilliant, friendly kid who is misunderstood and doesn't like school.  (I think he could be the next Albert Einstein....seriously!  But I think school bores him so he doesn't do well and has trouble focusing.  Talking to the pediatrician about it next week.)  But he is funny and she will love him!'s off to Elijah's class.  His teacher is new this year so I didn't know her from all the years we've been at this school.  She seems very nice ( and I got a good report from another 2nd grade teacher I know.)  He has quite a few friends in that class so I think that will help.  I also had to fill out a "what should I know" sheet for him.  That is always hard because what Elijah has is difficult to explain on paper.  I simply stated that he has SPD and is a bit OCD, likes routine and should really be told ahead of time if things will be changing from normal.  I wrote his name in his books and it was off to the middle school for Joshua.......

Or was it....

Along the way, we ran into many teachers that we've have met or have had over the years and stopped to chit chat.  Joshua talked to his 5th grade teacher, both he and Zach wanted to see their 4th grade teachers too.  We saw Zach's 3rd grade teacher, Elijah's Kindergarten teacher (the best ever!), and Joshua's 1st grade teacher.  (She is special because she was instrumental in helping Joshua adjust since we moved here from Montana in the middle of his 1st grade year.)  Getting through all that took quite a long time.  But, after catching up, and seeing our bus driver, we got our bus route and were headed off to the middle school.

Middle school open house is crazy!  There's nowhere to park and there are people all over the place!  We picked up Joshua's schedule and proceeded to walk through it, in order, as though he were in school so he could get an idea of where he was going. (Much easier now that he's done it for a year.  But I was also trying to show Zach around so he wouldn't be so freaked out next year.)  I tell ya, Joshua will definitely get his cardio in walking to his classes.  He starts out with 3 on the same hall, right next to each other, but then has to go all over the building.  Crazy!  Also, you don't get supply lists until you find out your teachers so we had to head off from there to get some last minute school supplies. 

One that was on my list that no one else knew about made Joshua very happy.  He will be turning 13 next month so we decided, for communication purposes, to get him a cell phone.  We headed over to the TMobile store for him to check things out.  Originally I didn't want to get him a smartphone because I didn't want him to have too much accessibility to the Internet like that.  However, after checking things out, it made the best financial sense to get him a Nokia Lumina 521?  It's a Windows phone and he is VERY (I can't CAP that enough!) excited!  It comes tomorrow and we'll activate it, put in the appropriate phone numbers, and get it set up for him.  So today we sat down and discuss the terms of our contract with the phone.  He agreed to all and will sign before I hand the phone over to him tomorrow.  He is almost giddy.

So they will spend their last day of summer vacation playing Xbox while I'm at work.  (I'm a bit nervous because training is over and it's time to take phone calls!) Then we will go to the pool after I get home.  Dinner and off to bed for school.  Where does the time go?  Where did my babies go?  Both Joshua and Zach can wear my shoes!  Zach's pajama pants look like capri pants.  They aren't babies anymore.  I love it and hate it all at the same time.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Working Woman

I didn't realize how long it had been since I had blogged something.  I've been a bit busy lately.  I just started a new job in the call center at Medieval Times.  I've been doing that from 9-4 for training and then working the Gwinnett Braves at night.  (That's the way it will be until baseball season is over.  But it won't be every day and I work 8:30-2 at Medieval Times starting next week.)  Needless to say, it has been a  long and tiring week.

Some good things have come of it, though.  Having not worked in a real office for 13 years, I realized that I didn't have proper "business casual" attire.  So I gathered up all my boys today and we went shopping.  I started at DQ to schmooze the guys over with a blizzard.  I took them to Sugarloaf Mills and showed them where I work.  We did some shopping there (though their clothing stores leave quite a bit to be desired for my taste), bought some xbox games at Gamestop and headed off to lunch.  After Zaxby's, we went to the Mall of GA, got some shoes at DSW and finally found some things that I liked (at a decent price) at JCP.  All in all, it was a good day.  But we were all tired.  I think this picture sums it up.

I came home ready to play some Guitar Hero.  (We just received our guitar controller on Friday and bought a Guitar Hero game at Gamestop.)  However, we realized that we didn't have the appropriate adapter to attach the guitar to the xbox.  I ordered one from Amazon and hopefully I'll be rockin' out in a few days.

The biggest bummer about my new job (though it seems as though it's going to be a lot of fun!) is that I have to work on Sunday mornings.  I won't be able to go to church with my family.  It's partially my fault.  I chose Sunday over Saturday so that I could help get the boys around to baseball games.  With Steven coaching Zach, he's pretty much tied to that team.  And with JJ moving up, he will be playing at a different park. So if they have things going on at the same time (which seems to ALWAYS happen) then someone needs to take over for JJ and Elijah.  That someone will be me.  I don't think it will be permanent, but it will be that way for a while.  God and I talked about it and decided that He was in the midst already.  I have Wednesdays off as well and that is when our church usually does a women's Bible study.  I've been wanting to go for years, but I've always worked Wednesday mornings.  Not any more!  I am also going to try to listen to Pastor Steve's podcast and take my notes, as I always do, so that Steven and I can discuss the message.  That will get us talking more about it than we do now, I bet.

All in all, I'm very happy.  I've met some great people at my new job.  It's a lot to learn, but I'm excited about the opportunity.  I'm headed to a show tomorrow, my first one, to see what it is I'm making reservations for.  (Steven is jealous.)  I've heard good things so I have high expectations.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Not tonight...

I really do have a headache.  I've had one off and on for a few days now.  So bad yesterday that I took a nap and actually considered NOT going to the Braves game with my family.  (Thankfully I decided to go and had a great time!)

But now I'm sitting here and I've had a nagging ache in my head ALL day long.  More so now that I'm home.  I've taken Ibubrofen and slept, but it's still hanging around.  After typing this, I will probably get ready for bed and hope maybe that helps too.

I started training at my new job today.  It was long, longer than days I've had at work in a long time, but profitable. I gathered a lot of information and am compiling it into a notebook that will hopefully help me when I go live on the phones.  I also met a few new people.  Not just the trainer, but the 3 other people who are being trained with me.  We are quite an array of people: 2 mothers of 3, a grandmother/financial planner and a Kennesaw State nursing student.  I also met someone who has worked there a few weeks.  And, wouldn't you know, she ends up being the wife of a former Gwinnett Brave!  I was so excited!  That was very cool!  I enjoyed talking to her about where he is now and what he is doing.  Also about baseball behind the scenes and my oldest son's desire to make it big.  All in all, it was a good day.  (Not to mention that there is a Starbucks just next to where I work and the soda machine in the break room that contains Mountain Dew is only $.30!!!!)  I'm in trouble!

It was nice to come home too.  I had left JJ in charge of the boys today and left some things for them to do.  Amazingly enough, all but one of those things was done.  (It even included an hour of reading time of books I previously okayed.)  Sparky met me at the door more excited than I have seen him in a long time.  (He hasn't left my side since!  He's even lying on the bed next to me now.)  Joshua was next, followed by Zach and, eventually, Elijah.  All boys said they had missed me.  I missed them too. However, at this point, with as much time as we've spent together over the last 13 years, I think it's a positive thing.  (Absence makes the heart grow fonder.)  They told me a bit about their days and I suggested we go to the pool for a bit.  Two of them jumped up and down yelling "Yes" while Joshua said, "I would be interested in doing that."  We enjoyed the sun and the water....and each other's company.  (When was the last time that happened?????)

Now, we are fulfilling our Monday night ritual.  The boys are downstairs watching WWE Monday Night RAW while Steven and I are upstairs watching the Braves (getting exciting now since they are making a comeback!).  Now, I will wash my face, get my pjs and watch the rest of the game from the comfort of my bed, under the covers.  Work again tomorrow, hopefully no headache, and plans to run in the morning.

Good Night!

Saturday, July 27, 2013


I spend a lot of my time frustrated.  At my husband, my kids, financial situations, job situations, etc.  I would hate to see how much of my life I have spent that way.  I'm sure it would be overwhelming!  Then, I got a little perspective.

A friend, a girl I've know for years (since she was a teenager, maybe before.  She was in the first youth group I ever volunteered in), just found out that she has lymphoma.  It was a very sudden thing, but very devastating.  She discovered a lump Thursday and was in chemo on Sunday the following week.  She spends 5 days in the hospital getting aggressive chemo treatments.  In that time, she can't see her 4 beautiful girls or go outside.  She will be doing this for several months, I believe.  I read a blog she posted yesterday and it brought tears to my eyes.  Not just in pain for her and her family, but in how I have wasted so much time fuming over things that don't really matter.  She is facing a life and death situation and is praising God through the whole thing.  She has a faith that I can only dream of.  I was so convicted and encouraged by her message.  (Maybe that's why she is going through this trial.  To help me and people like me increase their faith and make Jesus a bigger part of their lives.)  I long to live that kind of life, but it almost seems impossible.  I know in my head that I need to make Jesus a bigger part of my life, but I don't follow through.  (I get so upset at Steven sometimes for not following through on things.  Now look at me!)  I don't know if I'm scared or intimidated or feeling unworthy.  I haven't put my finger on it yet.  I'm praying for God's help.

In the meantime, I will also pray for Andrea and continue to read her blog.  That may be all the encouragement I need.

Hang in there, Andrea!  We are all with you!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer is almost over...

I had a great time with my boys yesterday.

Summer is almost over.  School starts in less than 2 weeks.  I start a new job and will be in training all next week, their last week before school starts.  (Actually working 2 jobs on 3 of those days: 1 in the morning and 1 at night.)  I wanted to spend some special time with them before they spend their days with other kids and adults.

So, I took them to a movie.  This was a big deal!  I know we go to the movies a lot in the summer.  They are older movies that are only $1.  But we went to a REAL, current movie!  Despicable Me 2!  (I had 3 free movie tickets so only paid for one of us.  $5!)  The movie was good.  Even my almost teenager was laughing!  I even laughed out loud a few times.  (Mr. Sheepsbutt.  It's Ramsbottom.  Yeah, like THAT's any better!  LOL)  It was a cute story and a good time for our family.

Then we went to lunch in the mall.  Elijah and I had Chick-fil-a (always a good choice).  Zach and JJ wanted Checkers.  Thankfully, that's easy in a mall food court.  The food was good.  The conversation was good.  I so enjoy talking to my boys when I can get them going on about something other than WWE.

Then we went to Target, got a couple of haircuts, and went to Publix.  (They have their penny item on Thursdays!  Hot dogs this week!)

To top the day off, we went to the park and met my friend Brandon, former minor league baseball player, for some batting tips for Joshua.  (13U tryouts are Sunday!)  Brandon gave 90 minutes of his time to analyze JJ's swing and give him some tips on how he can hit better and harder.  I was thrilled when Brandon told me that Joshua was a smart kid (I knew that already of course) and had good stuff.  Joshua has always dreamed of being a major league ballplayer.  It's nice to hear someone who's been around say that it could be possible.  We'll wait and see.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I'm sitting here watching Fever Pitch.  (For about the millionth time.  A must see for every Red Sox fan!)  I'm thinking over the last few days and realizing how blessed I am.  I have spent a lot of time fussing and griping because I don't have this or that.  But I have everything that I need and God always takes care of the rest.

Steven took Joshua and Zach to Six Flags yesterday.  (All 3 tickets were free.  That is a blessing in and of itself!)  They had a blast...until it started raining...again.  And I mean storming to the point that Six Flags shut down the rides.  It ended up raining for the rest of the night, lightning and all.  I'm glad they had fun, but I'm glad they came home when they did.  I'm also super glad that Elijah and I didn't go.  Elijah wouldn't have liked the rain at all!

Elijah and I went to Dave and Buster's (1/2 price games on Wednesday) and had a blast.  However, halfway through Elijah said he was done.  I made him play Fruit Ninja about 10 more times so we could get some more tickets.  (There is still credit on his card for more games!!)  But he got a Nerd rope (candy), a koozie to keep in the car and he got me a tumbler with straw that I can use at work.  We then went to Happy Hour at Steak N Shake and had lunch at CFA.  It was nice to spend that time with just my youngest son.  Then he got to spend some time with his Grandaddy and that was great too.

Tonight we went to the end of season party for Joshua's travel team.  It was great to see him interact with his teammates in a different setting.  It was also nice to hear some of the things his coach had to say about him. Tryouts for the next travel team are the 28th so we are praying that it goes well.  What a great group of kids....and parents!

Family Day

What a great day!

Background:  My mom has 4 sisters, all of whom are married and have children.  And now their children have children!  So I have lots of aunts, uncles, cousins, and 2nd cousins on my mom's side of the family.  It just so happened that a lot of their birthdays fell in July.  So, many years ago, even before my mom died, my aunt Fredna (who lives in a nice house with a pool) and Uncle John started hosting what was called a July birthday party.  Every year we would get together at their house and swim and celebrate birthdays.  It was always a great time to see family that we don't see much and get caught up.  (This was before Facebook!)

Well, everyone has gotten older and not as enthused to celebrate their birthdays perhaps, but the tradition still continues.  Once a year we get together for swimming and family time.  My kids look forward to it every year.  They know when July comes around that it is time to go to Aunt Fredna's (the one with the diving board) and swim and eat. was that day!  We actually counted 17 family members who weren't able to make it, but we still had a full house.  It's always great to see everyone and talk.  Facebook is good, but it doesn't replace face to face conversation and a hug.

I found out today that my cousin and his wife are expecting a new baby.  (They already have a 2 year old girl who is just precious!)  My other cousin's fiancé is not feeling well and is having some tests run to find out what is wrong (prayer request!).  My aunt still drives a bus but they closed one of the schools that she drives to.  A cousin is getting used to life in Birmingham, a 2nd cousin loves baseball and is an umpire, etc, etc.  I could go on and on.  I just love catching up with them.

Steven has always said great things about my mom's family.  I guess I always took it for granted because I was so used to them and their friendliness.  But he's right.  My cousin's fiancé came and without my cousin.  She already feels like part of the family.  That's the way it's always been.  They are very welcoming to new member and make them feel right at home.  And, even though my parents are no longer living, they still include me and my sister in their family activities and keep us in the loop.  I am so blessed to have such wonderful family around me!

The kids enjoyed the pool and all the playmates.  (There would have been more but 2 of my cousins who had kids the same age couldn't make it.)  Elijah even spent more time UNDER the water than above it!  I was shocked and pleased all at the same time.  He's stubborn and does things in his own way, in his own time.  But he DOES do them.

I am just feeling tremendously blessed today.  Thanks family!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

God is good!

It's been a few days.  Sorry.  Lots of things going on around here, good and bad. 

Sunday night we were up late watching WWE Money In The Bank PPV that my kids purchased WITH THEIR OWN MONEY.  They had an absolute blast.  I don't care for professional wrestling myself and I really wish they would get into something different.  But seeing the enjoyment they experienced that night was totally worth it.  What a great time!

Last night we were up late watching the Home Run Derby.  (Well, 4 of us were.  Elijah was upstairs watching WWE Raw.  The other 2 chose to miss a week to see the derby which only happens once a year.  But not Elijah.  Usually when we try to do family stuff, it ends up being 4 of us.  Elijah is not really the joiner.  He's much better in his routine.  Result of the SPD, I guess.)  It was fun.  There wasn't a Brave in the running, but we love seeing the long shots those guys can hit.  Wow!  (I even found the Triple A Home Run Derby online and watched Gwinnett Brave Ernesto Mejia hit a few!)  They stayed up to see the celebrity softball game, but Sparky and I went to bed.

Despite many other not so good things that have happened over the last few days, today was a good day!  Let me share a bit of background......

Money has been a bit tight around here since Steven changed jobs.  It's just until his production gets back up, I realize.  But it's been tough.  I'm always trying to figure out how I can help.  I mean, I do have a college degree.  However, being out of work for 13 years doesn't endear you to companies.  So I work for the Gwinnett Braves, but that's only seasonal.  It will end in September.  I usually work at Perimeter Church taking care of 1 year olds.  I've been looking for something else, but haven't been able to find anything suitable, so I keep going back every fall.  (It's just through the school year.)  But this summer I've had a strong aversion to going back there.  The people are great and I cherish the friendships I've made there.  But the thought of changing one more dirty diaper or dealing with one more screaming child.....I just couldn't do it.  Steven and I discussed it and agreed.  I am not going back.  But what will I do instead?

Well, Steven wants me to help him with admin stuff.  I am more than willing to do that, and have some, but that doesn't pay me.  It helps him, but it's not enough work to warrant me doing just that.  So I put a resume on and started looking for part time work.  I like my flexibility of schedule and don't really want to give that up.  Plus I still have some young kids at home that I would like to be there for.  Well, I found an opening at Medieval Times at Sugarloaf Mills.  They were looking for someone in their call center.  That's basically what I do now with the Braves.  So I applied.  The following day I got a phone call.  We set up an interview for the following day, today, and I went.   They hired me on the spot!  I am so excited!  I can't wait to learn more about their show and the people involved.  And it's all year round.  They also took into consideration the fact that I would rather work during the day when my kids are at school so I can be home with them.  I look forward to seeing where this takes me.

God is so good.  He knew I didn't want to go back to taking care of children.  That stage in my life has passed.  Not a week after I told my boss that I wouldn't be returning, this job opportunity came up.  And, in a matter of days I got the job.  He certainly does take care of me.  I am so grateful.  May I never forget that all good things come from God.  Wow!

Now the boys are taking me to dinner to celebrate, after I do a market research study.  (That's another thing I do to make money.  It's fun and pays well.)  Thank you, Jesus.  Cast your cares upon Him because He cares for you!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tough Times

It's been a long day.  No major details are necessary.  Suffice it to say that Steven and I are fighting and it makes life in the house difficult.  Not to mention that my kids are a bit stir crazy from being trapped by all the rain we've been having.  I tried to take them to a movie today, but Elijah didn't want to go.  Even though that upset his 2 older brothers, I went with that.  Elijah, with his SPD, can make life quite miserable if you make him do something he doesn't want to do.  Sometimes I do, for his own good, and he enjoys it and everyone has a great time.  I just wasn't in the "let's make him" sort of mood today.  Then later, of course, he asked me if he could watch a movie.  I told him "NO" because he had missed his chance.

Then I was going to take them to the pool.  But by the time we got back from CFA (Cow appreciation day) and finished arguing about the movie, it started raining....again!
It's not that I don't enjoy my kids being home.  I really do.  I love each of them very much.  It's just that they would be couch potatoes or would never see the sun if I left it up to them.  I never thought I would have to FORCE them to go outside and play.  I often wonder if my staying home with them over these last 12 years has done more harm than good because they expect me to be their social coordinator.  Not that I always have.  I do plan some things for us to do, but not usually on a daily basis.  But left to their own, they would rather do nothing.

I'm in a tough place right now.  Finances are tight and that's always hard.  I'm trying to find a job to help out but, being out of work for 13 years means that no one wants to hire you.  So I sit here with a college degree from Georgia Tech that isn't being used.  (My father would be very ill with me.)  I feel disposable (from Pastor Steve's sermon) and not useful.  This so isn't where I expected to be at the age of 40.  How do I cope?  How do I turn it around?  Where do I go from here?

Lots of questions.  Still no answers.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Long Day

Wednesday was a long day,  After a 1 hour 15 minute rain delay, I worked a 4 hour game.  Then I had to get up this morning and be there at 10:30am. Tired, frustrated by life, but enjoying the game of baseball.  Unfortunately things took a turn for the worse.  I don't really want to get into it.  Needless to say that I am in bed, exhausted and haven't really spoken much to anyone in  my house since I got home from work.  Time for some sleep.

By the way, Sparky doesn't smell good.  I think it's time for a bath.

Tomorrow will be a better day!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A fun family day

What a great day!  After sleeping in until almost 10am (I couldn't sleep last night), I took the kids bowling and then we went to the Gwinnett Braves game.  I got to watch!  (I had the night off.)

Bowling was a blast!  The kids enjoy it so much.  We aren't very good at it, which would probably make my parents cringe.  They were in bowling leagues when I was a kid.  Garalyn and I spent every Friday night, at least, at the bowling alley.  Anyway, it turns out that Elijah (yes, Elijah!) won both games!  I can't remember his first game score, but his 2nd was 109!  Not bad for a 7 year old.  Yes, he was using bumpers, but still!  Now, if I could only get him to bowl by putting his fingers in the holes!

Zach did great too.  He's a bit crazy but, after watching him, I think I've decided he has the best bowling arm.  He can make the ball spin pretty well for his age and skill level.  He was using bumpers too, but did a great job.  He made a few spares.  Here, he just missed a strike.

JJ, however, had a rough day.  He is very competitive so, when he started out not doing so well (he got 129 last time we went), then he just got frustrated.  That only made him bowl worse.  The angrier he got, the worse he did.  He was so upset that his brothers were beating him, he just couldn't hit any of the pins.  I told him to just relax and have fun.  He said it's hard to have fun when you stink.  He really is competitive!  He finally did get some spares.

After a great afternoon of bowling, we decided to head over to Coolray Field to see a game.  I had the night off, it was 2 for 1 if the kids wore their rec jerserys, and Brandon Beachy was making a rehab start against Jair Jurrjens.  We couldn't pass it up!  Unfortunately, it decided to rain on and off while we were there.  Not too big of a deal, unless you are there with Elijah.  Luckily, it didn't rain too hard and we were able to go back to our seats.  The GBraves made it interesting, but ended up losting 4-3.  Jair Jurrjens got a nice hand when he left the game, which I thought was nice.  We were sitting by 3rd base where Alden Carrithers made a few very nice plays, but Stefan Gartrell got stranded there way too many times.  It was fun though. 

JJ caught 2 balls from the players as there were coming to the dugout.
With the storms in the area, the sky sure was pretty.

All in all, it was a great day.  But I'm beat.  Time for bed.  Good night!

Monday, July 8, 2013

And the sun comes out...

Not a lot happened today.  Not that that's a bad thing.  It was a nice, relaxing, comfortable day at the Julian home.  I ran a mile on the treadmill this morning, got some work done for Steven to help him along a bit, took JJ to the orthodontist and found out that he should have his braces off by Christmas.  (However, I thought it would be before that.  My contract says I stop paying in September, so as long as that happens, I'm good.)  Then I took the boys to Suwanee Town Park to run around in the fountains.  Well, Joshua and Zach ran around in the fountains.

 Elijah and I walked Sparky around the park.  Elijah, as a result of his Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), doesn't like the water coming at him or falling on him.  Therefore, the fountain wasn't an option for him.  But I enjoyed walking around and talking to him.  He has a difficult time expressing himself, also due to his SPD, so it takes some prying to get things out of him.  For example, I knew he wouldn't go in the fountain because the water is coming at him, but he wouldn't tell me that.  His favorite answer is "I don't know".  I'm trying to get him to really answer my questions instead of bailing out with his trusty "I don't know".  It takes more time in a conversation, but I think it's worth it.

Elijah seems so normal on the outside.  I mean, he is normal.  But he is different too.  I know.  Everyone is different.  But Elijah is unnoticeably different.  He doesn't appear "special needs" and I hesitate to call him that, but it fits in some ways.  I have to think specifically about him in many situations and make accommodations for him.  It's very difficult to find things that we can all do together because he shies away from a lot of things.  It's been hard, but we make it work.  That is one reason we visit different baseball stadiums on vacation every year.  The beach didn't work for us (feel of the sand, waves rolling in and out,etc) but baseball is something we all enjoy.  We started last year when we went to Chicago.  That was the first family vacation we had ever been on the we enjoyed!!!!

Anyway, we are sitting here enjoy a night off from work.  The GBraves are winning (of course, because I'm not there!)  Steven and are I are in our room working and watching the Braves, of course.  The boys are downstairs watching WWE Monday Night RAW, of course.  So goes a Monday night at the Julian home.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sweet Moments

It's been a long weekend already.  Lots of hours working, which I don't mind because I enjoy my job at the stadium.  But it makes me tired and I just don't like being at work when my family is home.  I just feel like I haven't seen much of them lately.  Sometimes that is good though.  I am home with them so much that they never have a chance to miss me.  Mom is just always around.  At least when I go to work, the miss me and am glad when I come home.

Tonight, I got home just after 11 and the bottom of the house was dark.  I put my stuff down and went upstairs.  I noticed that Zach's door was closed and I heard voices.  I knocked on the door and opened it up to find Zach and Elijah listening to Braves historic moments on his MP3 player.  I said hello to them.  Elijah's face lit up.  He smiled, said "Hi Mom" and got off the bed to come give me a hug.  That, in and of itself, was worth the 6 hours that I worked tonight.

I proceeded to talk to Zach as well and then went off to see Joshua.  I enjoy talking to them and asking them what they did and how their night was.  Those are things I don't get to ask when we are together all day.  I enjoy listening to them and seeing how their minds work.  They are great kids and I am so blessed to have them.

I would be remiss, though, if I didn't mention Steven.  He does a great job taking care of the boys while I'm at work.  He feeds them, plays with them, takes them out.  They are all very understanding and supportive of me working nights.  Thanks hon!  I couldn't do it without you!

Odd Woman Out

I have a husband and 3 sons.  Even our dog, Sparky, is male.  I am the only one of my kind in my house.  I am finding it more and more difficult to deal with as they all get older.  (Or maybe it's as I get older, I'm not quite sure which.)

Don't get me wrong.  I love my boys. They are great!  But they are SO messy.  They don't listen well and don't retain information.  (At least the information that I give them.  Sports or WWE information takes precedence.)  I never knew urine could get to those places.  I find clothes and toys in the strangest of places.  And nothing ever gets put back where it came from, but they expect mom to magically know where it is when they want it.  I went so far as to label every drawer in Zach's room so he would know where stuff it.  All he had to do was put the stuff back there once he was done with it.  Nope.  Doesn't happen.  Anyway......

I sit here now making lunch/dinner because I have to be at work, again, at 5pm today.  All the boys are playing upstairs and Steven is playing with the dog.  I'm tired.  I'm frustrated.  I'm wishing the clean fairy would sprinkle her magic dust on my house and that there was a money tree in my backyard.  Ok, enough complaining.

Steven took the 2 older boys to Home Depot this morning for their kids workshop.  They each made some sort of car (that ended up on my kitchen table).  But they were cute.  Elijah, not wanting to try anything new, came to the grocery store with me.  He was so helpful!  He was putting things in the buggy, helped put them on the belt at checkout and even hung around the back of the van to help put them in the car!  That is new for him!  I heaped praise on him in hopes that he will do it next time as well.  Zach and Joshua cleaned around our neighborhood pool (their summer job) and then came home and did chores.  So my house is somewhat clean.  Everyone did their part.  I greatly appreciate all the help they give me.

Now off to eat ham and rice and chocolate pie.  Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Here we go again!

I was just reading over my old posts.  I can't believe it's been almost 2 years since I posted here!  I remember it being very therapeutic, so I'm not so sure why I stopped.  Busyness, I guess.  So much has happened, so I'll catch you up and we'll start from there.

I still work for the Gwinnett Braves in the summers during baseball season.  I am the game day receptionist so I answer the phones, check tickets, and assists fans on the 3rd floor suite level.  During the school year I still work at Perimeter Church doing child care.

Steven is a financial advisor still, but has changed companies.  He went independent and now works with Cornerstone Private Client Group.

Joshua is 12 3/4.  (He will be 13 in September.  Yes!  A teenager!)  He is going into 7th grade at Hull Middle School.  He is taking 4 gifted classes, playing travel baseball, and is a great babysitter to his brothers.  He loves WWE and knows everything there is to know about sports.  We have nicknamed him "Captain Comment" because he always has something to say.

Zach just turned 10.  He's going into 5th grade, so he's almost done with elementary school.  He enjoys WWE, chess and astronomy, but not reading and writing.  I'm teaching him to type this summer.  He has played soccer, baseball, done tae kwon do and is now taking piano lessons.  His teacher says he is very good and should really stick with it.

Elijah is 7 and is going into 2nd grade.  (Hard to believe after my last post.  I cried when I read that.  It seems so long ago!)  He is doing well.  He likes school and routine of it all.  Summer is harder for him.  He has learned to bathe himself and loves doing WWE moves to his stuffed animals.  He still is a picky eater, but that is typical for someone with his disorder.  He likes fruit so we keep shoveling that in.


We still live in the same house.  Strange, really.  We've lived here 5 years which is the longest we've lived ANYWHERE since we got married.  Sometimes I feel myself getting antsy like we should move again.  But I like everything about where we live, except the age of our house.  It needs a lot of updating.  Slowly but surely we are bringing it to the 21st century.

We still attend The Bridge Church in Lawrenceville.  We took a short break and attended a Methodist church, but that wasn't a good fit.  The Bridge got a new pastor and youth pastor and things are working out very well.  I'm still trying to figure out where God wants me to serve there.  I'm trying to avoid the kids' ministry because of my kids and the fact that I already work with kids.  Still searching.

I'm going to try and keep this updated, for you as well as me.  I find that I have no one other than Steven to talk to about things on a regular basis, so this may help get my thoughts straight.  Thanks for listening.