Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Art of Taking it Slow

So this new world is kinda weird. There are no set rules or "hafta's" in my day right now. I am free to do what I want when I want to do it for the most part- excluding of course being at the whim of a certain 33" tall  person who shall remain nameless.

The weekends are completely different right now- gone is the pressure to spend one whole day just doing the housekeeping stuff. The things that piled up all week because we were too tired and busy and now have to be jammed into one day. Our weekends usually consisted of one day where we were out of the house for most of it running around town getting errands done and one day in the house doing laundry, cleaning, or just catching up in general. Now I can go to the grocery store at 7pm on a Tuesday if that is what works for us because I don't have to be up at 5 am so we have to have a drop dead time of 7pm to get anything done otherwise there was not enough time to wrap up the day and get Q settled for bed.

Not gonna lie it is nice.

I have been pretty proud of myself actually. I have been resisting the urge to jump head first into a jam packed schedule of groups and activities to keep Q and I occupied. I am a planner and like things organized so I have started doing some research into some free or low cost options of stuff to do in the AZ summer for us but we have not ventured out to any of them just yet.

Maybe its just because Phoenix Comic-Con is this weekend but I will admit to feeling the push/pull feeling to get hyper organized and be - SuperMomma! (da da da daaaaaaa)

I am feeling small pangs of guilt and urges to "should" myself (I should be doing this, I should be doing that...) however I am patting myself on the back for resisting those urges and just really focusing on being my daughter.

I have spent the last 18 months fantasizing about how great it would be to just spend time with my baby. To be perfectly frank I am just not ready to share her with anyone else. I have been working my brains out to get to this point where I can be with her so why do I want to pack our days with running back and forth to places and things when what she needs- and god knows I need- is to just spend time together.

I am loving the hell out of just getting to know my baby. Getting brushed up on Quinnspeak and finding she is upping her vocabulary game to be able to better talk to momma. Talking her through the letter of the day on Sesame Street (or Elmo as she calls it). Spending our mornings snuggled on the couch just because its where we both want to be and not kicking myself for feeling like I am lazy or should be doing a zillion other things.

It's really amazing how easy and hard these past few weeks have been since my little world got flipped with the new of the lay off. Most all of my co-workers found other positions still within the company which is great for them. I admit I have this feeling of panic of "shouldn't I at least be applying for jobs- just in case??"

The answer is no- Chris and I have been planning for this day and the fact that it was chosen for me instead of me quitting a couple months before we were planning on pulling the trigger should not spook us. In fact it has been a huge blessing for him to be freed up to work full time (and by full time sadly that means 20 hours a day- I am not kidding). So keeping those moments under wraps is hard- I am finding a long cuddle and nuzzling a Q neck usually brings me right out of it.

I am looking forward to starting to explore and have big adventures with Q. I am sure we will find new friends and places and (god help me) crafts to do but for now I am putting on the brakes and just enjoying being my family.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

To quote a Queen...

We are just 15 days into my "unemployment" (I am officially employed until June 13th) and it's been really nice to just relax. Not having to get up at 5am means I can stay up past 9pm and because Momma is up Q has adjusted her schedule accordingly too. It really has been heaven to have cuddle time in the morning and just be with my family and yet...

I feel this sense of "something is missing". It's that "did I turn off the coffee pot" feeling- mild anxiety while talking yourself into the fact that everything is fine. That unshakable feeling that something is not right.

I don't have to set my alarm.
I don't have any meetings or conference calls.
I don't have to do anything right now cuz I can do it when Q naps.

I was just talking to my husband (while he is between HIS conference calls) and explaining my current head space to him. I was wondering even this morning if I really am a person who can live without a signature line in my email. Can I really truly be a stay at home momma? I really have no idea.

We were going to be putting Q in a toddler program for the summer to give Chris some work time and let Q get socialized but I am putting that on hold until fall so we can find our routine. I need to start doing some research and figure out what we can do as it starts getting HOT outside. I need to find out where all the cool moms go- literally!

So as I start getting the house organized (long overdue) and getting a Q on a new schedule and start finding some activities to keep us busy my inner dialog keeps asking me- can you do this? For reals?

I have to admit its scary to think of not earning a paycheck. I pretty much insisted Chris quit his gig and start his own business when he moved in 4 years ago and since it takes awhile to build a new biz I also accepted the role of steady income earner. To not have my own check seems surreal to say the least. It really has nothing to do with income to the house- I am confident Chris can more than cover my income with his new venture but its MY earnings that will be missing. It just feels weird.

I have been running with the other rats for so long- racing for the piece of cheese some bastard keeps moving I don't know if I can stop.

As I have been finding a new appreciation for Disney movies I will quote the very current and trendy is time to (gulp)

let it go......

Monday, May 26, 2014

All of Me- for you

I have been blessed with love.

Five years ago I met a man who changed every part of me. He is kind, gentle, loving and my true soul mate in every sense of the word. Tomorrow is our 3rd anniversary but we are celebrating tonight because tomorrow he has to apply nose to grindstone and focus on the prize- our future.

I know so many wonderful women who are looking for love and I can only begin to hope they have a chance to experience a love like I was so deeply blessed to find. I hate to over use that word but I really don't know another way to describe the gift of his love but as a blessing for surely it was sent to me by powers greater than those on this earth.

I said that his love has changed me and yet it seems ironic that while I am changed I am more myself today than I ever have been. It is only through this love that I have been able to become the wife I am (and continue to learn to be) and the mother to our beautiful and precious daughter. I can look in the mirror every morning so secure in the knowledge that I was meant to be his wife and her mother. Love did that to me.

Christopher George- I need you to know how wonderful life is because of you. I want to thank you for all the joy and even the heartache we have experienced together because it has colored the pages of our life. 

I want you to know how honored I am to have you as a friend and partner. I want to thank you for making me your wife and for the greatest gift of all- the gift of being a mother. I can safely say that Quinn would not be who she is without you (mini-me...or rather mini YOU)

I love spending everyday with you and simply can not wait for our future- but not so much that I don't drink in every moment of the present.

It's simple- I love you. Deeply, passionately, and without reservation. I trust you. I respect you and I even just plain like you!

Thank you for 5 years of adventures and 3 years of wedded bliss. It's been grand my love- more?!!

All of me,

Tracey Luann

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Perfect Job

For those who did not get the newsflash on Facebook this past Monday (May 12, 2014) I was officially laid off from my corporate job which I have had for the last 4 years and 10 months.

Technically I am still employed until June 13th as we have been given some time to find a new position within the company. On the 13th I will receive a severance package if I have not found a new internal position. Those are the cold, hard facts of the state of my world.

The question everyone so nicely has been asking is "how are you doing?" To answer there needs to be a little back story...

I first took my "current" position right as Chris and I started dating. It was my firm belief and goal that he needed to quit his gig and start his own business and it made sense after years and years of head hunting and being paid only commission that we have at least one stable income while he launched his biz. He has done very well with Reyactive LLC and it has been slowing building for the past few years. Meanwhile I kept trudging along in the corp salt mine. Now to be very clear- I am and have always expressed my very pure gratitude for my job. It has been there to help us get married and to have a Quinn but my heart was never ever in it. It is and always was a J O B. I didn't bring it home at night and it was not how I identified myself- which frankly was a first for me and something I really struggled with during my days there.

I honestly felt a pang every time I saw one of those "live your passion" memes because while I have plenty of dreams and passions there was something I was doing for my family that was far more critical for us- its called putting a roof over our head and feeding us. I get the higher calling- I really do but for all you who preach the "life is too short to not follow your dream" please remember that someone can work just a "job" and still be living their dream- security for their family. Just a little food for thought the next time you get a little judge-y.

So back to the corp world- while a big huge company can provide the illusion of security I have been through a grinder or two so I never ever let myself get to comfortable. I always have had an eye open and a Plan B. My particular dept has been on the short list far too many times and finally it got cut. While we were getting the news I have to say my first emotion was relief. When you are constantly fearing and waiting for  the other shoe to drop its kind of a relief when it does. It's like "OK- that's what?"

So no shock and awe here other than just than a 2 minute panic attack on the way home. Our call was at 9am so when I walked in the door at 10 my husband was shocked but not really. Ironically I was supposed to be leaving Tuesday to go on a business trip which would have been my first night away from Quinn. Man plans- God laughs I guess.

Anyways- so all that is really to say I am OK with what has happened. I do have some financial runway to make adjustments and the real truth is we have been working to get me home since I got pregnant. If you pay attention to my husbands posts at all you know he is launching something BIG- so big that we were already prepping that I would be able to quit by August so really all corp USA did was steal my thunder!

I have been thrown a few leads but I have to say I did get one offer I could not turn down. My new employer has made it clear that the budget is tight and there is little advancement opportunities but it does come with some perks that are pretty amazing- unlimited huggles and cuddles and nuzzles! I am going to try my hand at being a full time momma!

I have a whole other blog post about my emotions on this but for now I can announce how happy and thrilled I am to be with my baby girl from her first smile in the morning to her last sigh as she falls asleep.

I will also be stepping up and working more with Chris on our business so more on that as well!

All in all I am blessed beyond belief and thanks to all who have offered support and good wishes! I am worried, scared, excited, happy......I could go on but you get it!

Damn- I am gonna have to get a Pinterest account now aren't I?? :::forehead slap::::

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mean Mommies

As a new mom I am still figuring out  this whole mommy world. It really is like entering a foreign country where you don't speak the language but got plopped right down in the middle of this new land so now you have to sink or swim.

Most days it feel more like sinking.

I am pretty savvy with doing research so while I was expecting I got all the baby classes scheduled, researched the best products, interviewed multiple pediatricians and read every blog and post I could find to arm myself with knowledge on how to be the best mommy I could be. My situation was a little different because I wasn't having my child when all of my peers were so I didn't have a community of "mommy friends" I could tap into who were ready with hand-me-down onesies and tips on which was the best breast pump to get. I had to go it alone.

So Q is now 18 months old and I feel like we have done pretty well just us. Chris and I do our best everyday and we are blessed with a pretty easy going kid but at some point we do need to let her interact with the world and get her socialized.

We have gone out to the parks, children's museums, kid themed restaurants and Q does great with other kids. She even got her first kiss from a 2 year old Lothario named Jaden while waiting at a restaurant looking at a fountain. He snuck the first one in but when he came back for more Q put up her hand to block him. (#proudmommymoment)

The one thing I did not expect in all this child rearing stuff are a group of  women I have come to call in my head the "mean mommies". Now I have no interest in mom shaming and I do my best to not judge other parents because I am far too busy with my own shoes than to walk a mile in theirs. Still I feel this is an earned name because as I step into "their" playground turf holding the hand of my beloved child- watching to see where her eyes go and see which directions she wanders (slide? wow! ladder thingy? yay! sand? nommy!!) I see them in their tight little pack with their collective brood who is running about the playground marking their territory. I swear when they see us coming they step even closer together sending a big ol- why are YOU here vibe to us?

Now Q is so little and she just wants to play so I feel she ducks this pretty easily but I get caught in it like a fly in a web. Any thoughts of going up and making some new mommy friends are quickly nixed. There is no welcoming, no warmth, no cooing at each others kids exchanging vitals. "how old?" "what's his/her name?" "how many teeth?" It's total mean girl lock down and no one else is allowed in.

I could almost convince myself it is just me if not for the poor dad I met at the park Friday. I was scoping out a new park that was a bit out of the way and seemed a bit more friendly and cozy than others we have been to so far. Aside from the MM's the only other people there was a dad and his 17 month old daughter. Poor guy was clearly out of his element trying to chase his girl, get her to drink from a fountain (no sippy cup?!! boy did he get a look for that!) and get all the sand out of her shoes.

Our 2 girls gravitated towards each other and began the process of checking each other out- holding hands, grabbing each others toys, his kid sticking her finger in Q's mouth (??!!- eh? Q didn't mind) so we introduced ourselves and the girls as they played. We talked a little and then Q grabbed a ball that one of the big kids had brought so I quickly asked the MMs if that was ok?

Even thought it was 90 degrees the look I got was worthy of Elsa it was so frosty. I looked back at my new dad friend and in one glance I knew he was thinking the same thing. He said he had been there an hour and they never spoke to him once.

Now I get it- clearly they are friends. Their kids go to the same school. They have a solid group of long term friends. They are involved in each other lives and I am just someone who grabbed my kid wandered into their world. But isn't this for the kids? Aren't we supposed to be setting an "everyone is welcome" environment? If they see you excluding someone how can you tell them not to do it themselves? In fact- they already are following your example as not one of the kids even glanced at Q. And when you are so busy talking ABOUT your kids to each other instead of interacting with them in the moment what are you teaching?

Sorry ladies but I pass. Give me the strays of the group. We will make out our group of misfit "Idon'tknowwhatIamdoingcanyoupleasehelp" parents. Our kids will get messy and crazy but they will welcome all the other kids and have fun.

 And I will be right there with them soaking up as much of these toddler days as I can!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Where the heart is

Who am I? Where should I be right now? What would really make me happy? At any time these questions are rolling through my head. Even more so since I became a mother! I am not gonna lie- as the days of my maternity leave came to an end I got more and more depressed and starting the week before I went back to work and lasting for the first 6 months I pretty much cried myself to sleep and was still crying as I left the house. I counted down every second and would literally run into the house to pick up my baby and cuddle her close. I felt with every fiber of my being that I was damaging her by not being there when she needed me the most. I had stopped breast feeding by the time I went back so it wasn't the food issue but I felt she just needed ME to be there with her. 

Truth be told I still tear up at least once a week as I kiss her forehead while creeping out the door.

Luckily we have been able to swing our schedules so while I am at work Chris can be the primary caregiver then we tag out when I get home so he can work on his business and on those days we need extra coverage we have a sitter who comes to our house. It has worked out as well as can be expected and despite my fears and worries Q is a very happy and well adjusted kid.

Still my soul literally screams that I should be home with her. 

I am very luck to have a solid job that has given us stability and any of you folks who have a brilliant entrepreneur in the family as I do know that as a business gets launched it sometimes takes a supplementary income to balance out those highs and lows. I am beyond grateful to have a job that provides for my family and we have been very grateful and yet I have to say it is more of a struggle than I imagined being a working momma.

It's not the hours, or the juggling or the multitasking even that bothers me. It really is just that stronger than steel bond I have with my daughter that pulls me to her and causes me physical pangs of longing when I am not with her. And let me be clear- never in a zillion years did I think I would have feelings like this. I had settled into the "motherhood is not for me" boat and was just fine. I had made peace with the fact that having a kid was not on my to do list and that was perfectly ok. 

And then a boy came along.....

And then a baby girl was born....

And my need to be with them is tangible and physical and so powerful it is overwhelming. 

I need to figure out who I am and what my passion is now but for now the title I really want is....Momma.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Someone thinks you are special

I was just reading a blog called Single Dad Laughing about Dan (the author) sending out a text to 218 random people basically telling them they are special. You can click the hyperlink to read the responses for yourself. Some are funny, some are sad and most did not reply.

It's the ones who did not reply who I am thinking about. Did they just delete as a wrong number or did they for even a second stop to let the message soak in? Were they able to believe for a single moment that someone in the world truly did think they are special and deserved being told so?

My guess is no. We are so hard wired to push away compliments- especially when we feel they are undeserved. I have to admit my husband and I are both very bad at just accepting the love and nurturing and unconditional love that we heap upon each other- and we do- yet there are still those little voices we all have that whisper "not you- no one could love you." Not true of course- totally the opposite in fact and yet....

I have 248 contacts in my phone....I wonder how many of them (you) know how much I love and appreciate them.      

Perhaps I will poke a few to find out :)

*****update: I have sent out about 75 messages and lots of awesome comments have been sent back including this one from my husband.*******

I highly suggest doing this and if you got a message from me just pay it forward to someone else ! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Looking back to move forward

It had occurred to me that there has been a significant gap in time since I have last put my thoughts out into the universe and some of the people in my life are brand new to this blog and are not aware of why it started and what it means to me.

It really started in 2008 and just to give you some scope it started on MySpace (I wonder if Tom misses all his "friends"?). I started it right after I lost my brother after he committed suicide. I spent a gut wrenching week with my family and when I came home I felt so alone and isolated that by writing the blog I could keep connected to my family and friends who knew me- and my brother- the best.

It was in the healing process of learning to live with my brothers death that I start a weight loss journey eventually losing 200 lbs. I also lost my beloved Grandma who means the world to me .

I also had many single girl dating disasters and eventually met and married my husband. That's pretty much when I stopped for many reasons which I may or may not rehash later.

What happened in the gap is  something I will probably bounce back to in time so I won't go into any great detail except tp say the most amazing thing I have ever done happened- I became a mother to the most beautiful child in the world. Her name is Quinn and if anyone is reading this you probably already know all about her. :) 

If you do care to visit the archives I will tell you especially the early posts are pretty raw emotions. I have always done my best to keep this place pure and honest. This is my no BS zone and I really mean that for myself more than anything else. This is a space where I get real and honest with myself. This is my time to sit in front of the mirror and really dig into it (whatever "it" is at the time).

Next- the reason I have named this blog Laughing Stars- I still can't read it without crying and as I looked this up to post here I had a vision of reading this to my daughter to explain to her why this is important to Momma and I lost it....I love you Troy and Grandma. Watch over us....we need your love!

From The Little Prince:
"All men have the stars but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You–you alone–will have the stars as no one else has them–"

"In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night… You–only you–will have stars that can laugh!"

"And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure… And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, 'Yes, the stars always make me laugh!'

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Know thyself

As I start getting back into this blog and give my inner voice a mic I have been randomly clicking through the archive to read past entries. I don't know if every writer has this experience but once I write something it's like I have deleted a file and it's gone from my head. My main purpose in blogging was always to clear my head so in that sense it is good to get it out and clear the decks but it's so odd to me to re-read past entries. 

I recognize my writing voice and clearly I wrote it but it's almost like reading someone else's diary even though it happened to me. Like I said that might seem cray-cray to you all but it's even odder for me. Even so I am glad to have this to refer back to and experience again. The time after losing Troy was so utterly life changing and in the time since literally everything in my life had changed. 

I really haven't decided what I am doing with this yet but I do know it felt good to come back here and curl up for a bit. Thanks for coming along :) 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Because I'm Happppeeeeeee

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.- Ferris Bueller"

There is no question life in at Cayer Castle is crazy. There are several project launches, full time J O B S, normal daily maintenance and oh yeah there is life with a VERY active toddler named Quinn. So with all this craziness what's a momma to do so life gets not only lived but fully appreciated?

Enter the #100happydays challenge! If you haven't heard of it click on the link for the origin but basically it is taking a minute to find what makes us happy- take a pic and post it with the hashtag. Easy peasy! 

What I like about this is it helps us focus and reframe all the chaos that is constantly swirling around us- well, me at least!!  :) 

Even more fun is I have thrown out this challenge to my family to participate in as well. Is this going to change the world? Maybe not today but what it can do is help make the bad stuff quieter and give voice to the really good stuff that is just sitting there waiting to be noticed. 

Feel free to join in!!

Here is my first post: My teenaged wish list for my dream man: cute, quirky, has an accent, brown eyes and someone who would sing to me. He is my dream come true and so much more. Happiness starts with him. #100happydays #myhusband #theboy

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I love your Curves and all your Edges

I love you. You have stood tall and proud on this earther for nearly 44 years. There have been many obstacles to overcome and you have kept your head down and kept on moving the chains even when it seemed hopeless. You care deeply about so many things and when something hurts you it hurts so beautifully that your whole being feels the pain. Never change that- keeping yourself open to things that can hurt you is what makes you so amazing. You have hope- even when there doesn't seem to be a reason to hold out.

You are quick to smile and to laugh and to help a friend in any way you can. You are thoughtful and often will buy or send someone something that they mentioned in passing just to make them smile. You love giving the people around you reasons to smile and will do whenever you can to let them know you care.

You are organized and do a great job at keeping things on track and moving in the right direction. Your attention to detail has save more than one butt over the years including your own.

You have soft, tender eyes and thick, lush hair and are very huggable.

You have inspired many with the journey you have taken and there are many who can't wait to see what comes next.

You have the cloak of a true and good man about you all the time. You can know at every minute of every day you are loved completely to the core of your being and that you love equally in return.

You created the most beautiful little girl in the world. She has your gentle heart and every time you look at her you can know you have done what you were put on this earth to do.

You aren't perfect Tracey- none of us who walk this earth are- but you are very special and I love you.

***I was inspired to write this by my husband who is always asking me to see in myself what he sees and also by a lovely lady names Tatiana who goes by the name @beatfacehoney on Instagram. She posted a note to herself and it made me think how lovely it would be if we all did the same. It wasn't easy but if I am going to teach my daughter to love herself completely I need to start with myself.