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 starting.....wow!  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!

So...it'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.