Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Building A Village

Next month marks 3 years that I have officially been a Nevada resident.  There have been ups and downs and all arounds, but it finally feels like it's OK.

Mostly because of the village we've built.  When circumstances change, and you have to go outside of your comfort zone (and outside of the tri-state area where 90% of your friends and family lives), finding people who are there for you makes all the difference in the world.

Today, as I was answering e-mails and text messages, I came to the realization that we've got a whole lot of people here in Vegas who have our backs. They are the family that stands in when ours is so far away. They are important to us, and they are super special because they are the family we got to choose.

My friend Rose is always looking out for things that our son Sam loves, and she was travelling today and sent me pictures of Southwest airplanes for Sam to see. She even said she would try and get some Southwest swag from one of the flight attendants. :)  She's the same friend who knew of Sam's love of signs, and went to her city engineer friend and got Sam some real street signs to hang in his room.  Sam is one of the only people who gets to call her Miss Rosie. She is a treasure and a gem.

Our friends Marty and Mel, Cammie and Jim are special to our kids, too. They have watched them grow, and tease them, and indulge in everything they are interested in. They would give us the shirt off their back, and are always willing to help if needed. We've spent Christmas and other holidays with them, when we were all unable to be with our families. We make plans on weekends and drop off soup/smoothies when they are ill. They make fun of me and know I drink wine out of a Thermos at the park on Sundays. They accept me for my crazy.

Rebecca and Norm have become an extended part of our family. They are Aunt Rebecca and Uncle Nor-man. Their kids and my kids play together, like cousins. We vacation together and can talk about anything from politics to Lady Gaga. The kids have sleepovers together and we call each other in a pinch. We help raise each other's kids. Rebecca is my best friend, and we are sad if we don't see each other at least once a week. They accept my kids for their quirks, and love them like their own.

This is just a sample of the village we've built here. For the first time, I feel like if we ever left Las Vegas, I would be sad, and we would have an entire group of people who we would miss and who would miss us.

Friendship is a wonderful gift, and I am so, so glad that we found these people.  Happy Vegas-versary to us. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Flippin' out.

It's 5 o'clock, I've got a meatloaf in the oven, and my kids are moments away from being sold to the nearest gypsies. I pull out the meatloaf to baste it, catch the edge of the pan *just right*, and flip the entire thing over on the counter. Instead of starting over, I just scoop it up into a loaf pan and throw it back in the oven. 

Can anyone guess what tonight's dessert course is?

Monday, March 31, 2014

New Frontiers

On August 8, 2007, my life changed forever.  Our Sam was born.  But, if I am being honest, my life changed on May 12th, 2007, when my obstetrician told me that my new job was to lay in bed all day and focus on bringing a healthy, full term baby into the world.  My boss knew that I was thinking about becoming a stay at home parent, and Sam's scary pregnancy and our previous losses only bolstered my decision. On May 12th, I took my doctor's note to my boss, cried in her office, and then packed up and left my position as a scientist for a position as incubator.

Fast forward to 2014, and things are beginning to look as scary as they did that day in May when I turned my world upside down.  Sam now has a sister, and in the fall of this year, both children will be attending school. For the first time in 7 years, I have entire afternoons and mornings to myself.

It goes without saying that I've hardly gone without a job for the past 7 years, it's just that my job has looked a whole lot different than I envisioned when I was in college. I gave up petri dishes for potty dances, and paychecks for hugs.  We've thrived as a family with one income, mostly due to good budgeting and my husband's hard work.

I feel sad that my official job for the past 7 years is sort of "over."  My kids don't need someone to change their pants and feed them and rock them anymore.  They can get their own milk and cereal and make their own waffles and go to school. They are becoming self sufficient humans, and I am so proud, but so paralyzed by the new options presented for me.

With both kids in school, I'm in a weird transition period. I still want our family to have the niceties of having a parent at home. I want to pick them up, and be involved with their schools, and make dinner and bitch about being the only one that cleans. But, the thought of being able to use my college education and contribute financially to our household is appealing as well. 

I know that whatever decision I make, I have the full support of my husband. I just wish I knew what it was I wanted to do now that my babies aren't babies anymore.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Let's Get Up To Speed, Shall We?

Last time I left off, I was fresh off an ACL replacement surgery and a move across town.  Things settled down...sort of. :)
 So pretty.

Sam started 1st grade at Twitchell Elementary school. He is in Ms. Kessler's SLD program, and I am proud to say he is now doing great.  He can read, his writing has improved 100%, and he is making friends. It makes me happy.

Sloane also started school. She takes Pre-K classes at the Henderson Multi-generational Center. This week, I also received her Kindergarten enrollment package. (insert sobbing "where did my baby go" dialogue here)  She's also quite the little ballerina, and participated in her first recital in December.

Johnny celebrated another birthday. He's still the news editor for local news at the Las Vegas Sun newspaper.  Because of his job, we get to do some pretty cool "not in Kansas anymore" stuff. It's been fun! There is a lot to do in and around Las Vegas, and of course the weather is awesome.
Opening of Hakkasan nightclub

Red Rock Canyon hike

First family UNLV Rebels game

Las Vegas Weekly anniversary party at the Tropicana's Havana Room

Christmas at Bellagio

The kiddos with Gregory Popovich at his comedy pet theater.

I celebrated an anniversary of my 25th birthday, too.
We had some wonderful friends and family in town to visit.

Aunt Treece and Lolo came to visit. Sloane and Sam (and mom and dad) were so happy!

Sam and Rachel on our tour of gluttony.

My childhood besties with John and I at the Welcome to Vegas sign.

Things here have been good. We love our new smaller house, and the kids love their school.  I'm rehabbing my knee and preparing to run my first post-injury 10 K in the early summer.

We are excited to take trips back to the midwest this year for a family wedding and just for fun!  The kids got to visit the ocean for the first time in January, when we took a weekend trip to San Diego.

That's pretty much a wrap.  I'm excited to share some of the fun and weird and hilarious tales of our fam in the coming months. Stay tuned. :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Once Upon A Time...

...there was a girl. She was an ambitious girl, who hated hearing she couldn't do something. Being told she can't do something is almost a dare to her (as her many friends can attest to), and some of the times, she ends up in quite the pickle.

This ambitious girl loved softball, and decided that after a 5 year hiatus, that the adult coed league was going to be a perfect and fun and safe activity for her 30 something ass.  She tagged up on 2nd after an infield fly ball, and...well...never made it to third.

She tore her ACL. In half. She's a dumbass.  So she had surgery.  She's still attempting to recover by going to physical therapy 3 times a week and crying. She realizes that she is not 20 anymore. Her husband takes much delight in this, as it is what he has been trying to tell her the entire softball season.

The same month, her realtor asked her if she wanted to sell her house for a lot more money than she paid for it.  The idea of being out of debt was really appealing to the girl, so she also agreed to that.  Her house was on the market for 4 hours before it had multiple offers. The girl, she lives in a crazy part of the country with a crazy real estate market.  The buyers waived all inspections and wanted to close fast.  The girl found a new house to live in (a rental), and helped her husband pack and move a 5 bedroom house, 2 kids, and 2 dogs. 2 weeks after having her ACL replaced with a zombie's.

She also threw a birthday party for her 6 year old son and entertained out of town friends during this span of 4 weeks.

What a crazy fairytale!! Oh wait. It isn't. In our house, we just called it "August." :)

This girl is tired, and looking forward to a much more peaceful and quiet September. And maybe not walking with a limp.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mom Guilt

As most of you know, our son has autism. Since his diagnosis almost 3 years ago, my husband and I have poured ourselves into getting Sam every intervention and therapy on the face of Earth. I took classes and learned to do some of his therapies, took classes on how to deal with behaviors of Autism, etc. If there was a class, or a scientific study, or a research available, I learned it and tried it.  I'm proud to say that our intense intervention with Sam has paid off in leaps and bounds. He's happy, he's thriving, and life is pretty good right now.

I forget sometimes that we have a younger daughter too.  We've spent so much time and effort getting Sam the early intervention to thrive in the future, that we haven't done a whole lot to make sure our daughter thrives, too. I can't remember the last time I got the flashcards out to teach Sloane. The letter puzzles got tossed in our move. Where are the BOB books? Who knows.

This became blatantly apparent this morning as Sloane and I were practicing our alphabet.  She is still not recognizing all of the letters, and sometimes we have trouble with counting. I am feeling like a total slacker mom right now! Sam could do all of this stuff by her age! I feel like I've failed her.

But then I remember the things that she can do that her brother can't.  She can diffuse a situation using big, adult words and not the words that most 4 year olds use. She shows a compassion for her brother. She understands him without having to ask what is wrong.  She drags him along with her and insists that he participates in whatever group activity is going on. She pushes Sam to be social. She can get herself dressed and brush her own hair and brush her own teeth. She is pretty much amazing.

So, yes. My daughter is 4 and stares blankly at the letter T.  But you can teach letters in school. Compassion, on the other hand, is something that isn't easily taught.  Perhaps I've done a better job with her than I think I have.

(and yeah, I'm going to start doing a better job of having a preschool hour in the house. Just sayin', some things are way more important).

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Long Time Gone...But I Choose Happiness.

In January, I promised a good deal of you that I would write again regularly.  It was my New Year Resolution.

Yeah, well resolutions are made to be broken, and sometimes life gets in the way.

Our move to Nevada has been hard. A lot, lot, lot stinking harder than I ever thought it would be.  We've dealt with the usual "new surroundings" stuff, but I've also had a harder than usual time making friends.  The kids have had a harder-than-I-could-have-imagined time adjusting to the weather, and a new house, and  "why can't we just go see Aunt Jessi and Sammah and Aidan and I MISS THEM."  My husband moved around much of his school aged life, and even he said that this move was one of his hardest.  I could write an entire book on how hard it was for me to leave Lawrence.  Needless to say, I haven't felt particularly funny or had anything that I considered exciting and fun to write about. I sat at home a lot, we tried to discover the city on weekends when Hub was home, but mostly we just existed.

And then, my mama came to visit. And I told her how hard it was and that I hated it and why cant I just come home with you? And, instead of saying "Yeah! You should! Let's do it!", she said something different.  She told me that even life in Larrytown would have changed had I stayed. The close friends I have there have children of their own, and they all go to different schools and like to do different things.  They are all growing up, which means we all would spend less time together and more time chasing our children's dreams.  Our families are also doing the same stuff--my brothers and sisters have kids and are more busy now, which means less time on weekends to get together. Same for John's family. Same for my friends' jobs' and things they are passionate about.  "Lindsey, life is constantly changing. How you choose to deal with the change is what makes life exciting, and fun, and worth living."

I really enjoyed my time with my mom, and I bawled like crazy when she left. But her words hang in the air around here, and have left marks on my heart.  And so, I started trying to look at Las Vegas as an exciting time in our life, and not a sad lonely place where we don't know anyone.  I started inviting people I have met to do things, and they said yes!  I began embracing the crazy and weird and madly interesting city I live in. Before, I'd just assume there was no sense of community here, and now I seek it out.  It's made all the difference in the world.

I still love Kansas and my family and I always, always will. If there comes an opportunity for us to get closer to home, we will probably take it.  But for now, I've chosen happiness here in this strange city. It doesn't quite feel like "home" yet, but who knows. Maybe someday it will.

And now, he's some photos of some of the fun things we've done since I changed my perspective. :)
 The kids and I at the Bellagio Conservatory celebrating Chinese New Year. That picture is made of only flowers.

 Sam and Sloane meeting Gregory Popvich, who does Pet Comedy Theater at Planet Hollywood. 

 Delicious beers at Hofbrauhaus.

 After hours cocktail party with the men of Chippendales. Holy hot mans.

 My time to shine at the Terry Cavaretta Trapeze Experience.  It. Was. Awesome.
 Trapeze with new friends. It was a fantastic time!

Our family, June 2013, Bellagio Conservatory.