Thursday, April 18, 2019

It's Been a Whirlwind of a Year

Well, the past almost-year has been a whirlwind, to say the least. Figured it was time I caught ya'll up, if anyone is still out there reading these, LOL.

Last May we found out that our business wasn't doing nearly as well as our business manager had been telling us. We went from "yes, we should clear enough for Jason to quit his full time job and support your family entirely from the business in a month or so" to "the business is going under and our only option is to sell" literally overnight.

We had been told for months that everything was going very well, the business was making lots of money, we'd be able to insure our employees, including ourselves, very soon and increase what the owners were getting paid enough that we could, finally, solely support ourselves off of the business. We trusted this person, trusted the reports and numbers he showed us.

Thank goodness Jason  never actually resigned.

Because it was all lies. We got three days notice that we had no choice but to sell before it actually went under.

Our business manager had known long enough that he'd already applied for, interviewed for, and accepted a position at another company. As time has gone on, we've come to realize that he probably knew for about a year the true financial position of the company, and had been leading us on for at least that long.

And yes, we realize that that probably means that he was skimming off the top as well.

It was devastating and life changing, to say the least.

Not even touching on the part where someone we trusted was conning us for an extended period of time, we didn't know how we were going to support our family. You see, Jason's salary at the firehouse has never made more than about 40% of our household income.

We immediately cut back on our expenses, and Jason immediately began exploring other ways to make money. The sale of the business was final in August, but the proceeds barely covered the business' debt.

We considered me going back to work, and I put a few feelers out there, but in the end we decided that it would be too much upheaval for the girls for us to do it unless it was an absolute last resort. I still stay home with them, and we still homeschool, so me going back to work would absolutely turn their world upside down.

The  new owners of the business asked Jason to stay on part time, and that pay has been a God-send. Jason also started a new business, helping clients with digital marketing. He taught himself when he was growing our original business and became quite good at it, specifically GoogleAds.

I'm still the Vice President of my university Alumni Band, and that's been amazing. Last May, the week before we got this news, I traveled to Austin, TX for a nationwide Alumni Band Symposium. What a great experience!

I coordinated all the activities for Homecoming, which was last October, and it was a smashing success if I do say so myself.

At the same time, I became the Team Manager for Jena's soccer team. She's become quite good, and is now playing competitively.

There was another event that occurred last fall, but I feel it deserves it's own post, so for now let's just say it rocked my world, but not in a good way.

And then... in January we started another company. We help new businesses get started and grow their company, specifically in the Pressure Washing and Christmas Light Installation niches.

As part of that business we decided to host our very own Christmas Light convention. Yep, you read that right. We're hosting an entire convention.

Our life has never been particularly... stable. It seems every year or so we have a go through a major change in our family, but this past year has been... overwhelming, to say the least.

I've been feeling very stretched thin lately, but at the same time I don't feel like I can drop any of the balls I'm desperately trying to juggle.

I could expound on any one of those things, or all of them, but it seems that would take nearly a year in and of itself.

I would like to be on here more, but again, I feel stretched so thin already.

We have started a family YouTube channel that we post to sporadically. I find videos easier to do in short spurts from my phone than blogging. Fortunately / Unfortunately. I like the videos, but I really prefer writing myself. But if you want to follow us over there, feel free.

In the meantime, that's all for now. I hope you all are doing well. If there's anything you're curious about, comment and I'll try to make that my next update.

Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Recipe: Rice Krispie Turkeys

I made these cute little guys for Thanksgiving last year and they were a huge hit! Even with the adults, LOL!

Rice Krispie Turkeys

1/4 c butter
8-10 oz mini marshmallows
6 c Rice Krispies
chocolate icing
candy corn
PAM cooking spray

Melt the butter in a saucepan on the stove top

Add the mini-marshmallows and stir until the melt into the butter

Mix in the Rice Krispies

Let cool (approximately 5 min)

Twist apart Oreos and scrape out the icing with a butter knife

Spray hands with PAM and begin shaping the Rice Krispie mixture into balls approximately 1 1/2" in diameter

Frost the insides of the Oreo cookie halves with the chocolate icing.

Place each ball on an iced cookie half.

Add candy corn to the remaining cookie halves like a fan. Make sure you leave enough open icing for them to stick to the Rice Krispie balls.

Stick a cookie "tail" onto each Rice Krispie ball.

Use a butter knife to put chocolate icing on a piece of candy corn.

Stick iced candy corn to the front of each ball to be the turkey's head.

And... enjoy! Aren't they cute?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Finding Myself Again

In my last post I talked a bit about getting lost in the middle of everything, and I promised I'd detail a few things I've done to combat those feelings.

In fall of 2016 I decided to run for the Board of Governors for my university alumni band. I hadn't been involved in the organization at all for years, but it was something I really wanted to get involved in again, something that was mine. I resolved myself that I would make it work, even though I had no idea how I was going to find child care for meetings and such, and I did it.

And I was elected to the board. As a Governor my duties were fairly light, but then six months later our Vice President unexpectedly resigned due to unplanned life changes that took him out of town. While there is no requirement to be local, all of the executive positions have duties that make working from out of town extremely difficult, and so we were left with an executive vacancy.

You know what I did? I threw my hat in the ring. And the President appointed me to finish the term.

I know it's just a volunteer position, but for me it's been a "wow" kind of whirlwind. I went from not being involved in any activities outside the home, to joining the Board of Governors, to being Vice President of a large organization in less than a year, leading a large cross-functional team and managing a major project.

I was re-elected to the office of Vice President last fall, and am now working on my first full term in office, again leading a large team. My biggest project is to plan and carry out all activities related to Homecoming weekend: reunion dinner, rehearsals, parade performance, on-field performance, etc. It's quite a large undertaking, and it's a lot of work, but I have enjoyed it so much.

Stepping up to volunteer, and then taking a chance and going for (and getting!) this position has given me a piece of my identity back. I'm a band nerd at heart and love this organization. The work has given me a chance to use my brain in a way I haven't had the opportunity to since leaving the corporate life. It's given me a new circle of friends, acquaintances, and even professional networking contacts. I feel a little more like me when I'm there.

Most recently, just this past week I agreed to become the Team Administrator for Jena's soccer team. Mostly it's a lot of paperwork and organization, with a lot of communications thrown in just for fun. But I'm excited for it.

These things: volunteering, taking on responsibilities outside the home, creating new circles of contacts... they all help keep me from getting lost, from feeling invisible.

It's not perfect. Finding child care during my activities is still a struggle. But sometimes I bring the girls to tag along to. They've been to meetings, social activities, and even to a vendor site visit. So far there have been no issues, and I think it's good life lessons for them to sit thru these activities and see mommy "work".

So if you, like me, are a SAHM feeling a little lost in the middle, a bit invisible to those around you, try stepping outside a bit. Volunteer, try something new, get involved in an old hobby or find a new one. Remember who you were and grasp a bit of your identity again.


So what about you? What have you tried to hold on to who you are?

As always, thanks for checking in.
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