Forks in the Road

I think when you feel the need or the passion to write, it comes from having many thoughts in your head that need to get out. Even if I didn’t have this blog, I’d have dozens of journals. I do have journals filled with my thoughts dating back to high school. I’d like to say it was to record thoughts to look back on when I get older but it really was to keep myself from going crazy. There was a time when if I didn’t write everything down, I would have been an angry, bitter person snapping at everyone. I’m sure I still had those moments but there would have been a lot more had I not had an outlet.

I don’t know if every writer does this but stories come to my mind in the form of mini-movies and I have to get them down on paper.

Sometimes I think about my life and the forks in the road and that leads to ideas for stories. Basically, if you could make money off of daydreaming, I’d be a millionaire. :)

Some of the forks that come to mind are these:

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1. Everyone tried talking me into going out for the pom squad (that’s what it was called when I was in high school) after the whole cheer debacle. I didn’t want to be told what to do with my time anymore. I wanted to work and concentrate on college. Would I have loved it? What experiences or memories would I have had from being on the squad?

2. I visited Eastern Illinois University and Northern Illinois. I ultimately chose Northern because it was closer. What if I had chosen Eastern? Would I still have gone into education?

3. After my car accident, I wasn’t going to go back to Northern. I was going to go to the community college and decide where to go from there. Leo talked me into going back. What if I didn’t? I probably would have gotten my associate degree to teach at a daycare and done that. I think I would have been satisfied but I would have missed out on a world of opportunities.

4. When NIU had a job fair, I stopped at a booth for a district in Dallas, Texas. I was a huge Cowboys fan and thought, what the heck. After talking to the recruiter for a half hour, he offered me a job, presented me with a contract and said they’d pay for me to visit. I was so excited. Leo and I talked about it, seriously thought about moving there together and even went out to celebrate. Jobs were hard to come by back then so it was decided that if I didn’t get offered a job in Illinois, we’d do it. Not only did I get a job in Illinois but I got one ten minutes away from where I grew up and in the same district where I went to high school. What if we had gone?

5. What if I didn’t leave my job after I had Nico? Sometimes a lot, I think that maybe I wouldn’t enable him so much. Maybe my kids would be a little more self-sufficient and a little more grateful for the time we do get to spend as a family instead of take it for granted that I am always here.

6. We were in a hurry to find a new house when we bought this house. We wanted to be moved in before Nico started first grade. Two of my sisters live in St. Charles in the same subdivision. We looked at houses in St. Charles. This one weighs heavily on me. What if we had landed in St. Charles instead of here?

7.  There was a brief moment where Leo could have transferred to Dallas for work and then when he was out of work, he had some companies from all over the U.S. call him for interviews. Sometimes I think about what life would have been like on our own, so far away from our families. I was pregnant with Gia at the time so the thought terrified me at the time.

I’ll stop at lucky #7.  I want to make it clear that these are not regrets. I just think about the forks in the road and what might have happened if I had gone the other way. Sometimes I imagine things happening to characters in a story and if I feel inspired, I’ll write about it. I always feel on the edge of writing one of the many stories in my head. It makes me happy.

What about you? Do you have a story in your head dying to come out? Are you doing anything about it?

Pouring it out with Shell today:

 

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5 Jobs I’ve Done and 5 Jobs I Want

Thank goodness for Nicole at Moments That Define Life for her idea bank. I have a ton of things to write about and some of it I can’t really write about here. I will just say that sometimes I think I live in Crazyville and raising a teenager and two tweens makes me want to move to St. Thomas or the Cayman Islands. I am completely addicted to House Hunters International because I am in awe (and a little jealous) of people who can pick up and move to a different country (I am mostly jealous of the island ones).

Anyway, back to the post. Thank you Nicole for the idea.

5 Jobs I’ve Had:

1. I babysat from the age of 11 (if not 10) and my first “real” job was for a teacher at my dad’s school. They lived in a townhouse a few blocks from us. The funniest thing was that my sister, Gina and I babysat together and the first time we did, we kept thinking the baby pooped and kept changing his diaper. There was never any poop in the diaper but it finally dawned on us that it was the waste management plant at the end of the street that was the cause of the smell.

Baby5.jpg

2. My nana got me a job at Osco Drug (she worked at the adjoining Jewel) in the cosmetics department. I was 16 and trying to make money so I could afford to go to cheerleading camp. I was pretty good at stocking the shelves but sucked at working the register. The only memory I have is that my boyfriend at the time would come and keep me company while I stocked the shelves. My boss called me a slut and said that all he wanted to do was get in my pants (a simple, “Your boyfriend can’t come visit you” would have done). I told my nana and she marched right up to my boss, stuck her finger in her face and said, “If you ever say another nasty thing about my granddaughter, I’ll have your ass.” And then very loudly, she said to me, “She’s just jealous that no one wants to get in her pants.” She was my hero. She was the toughest lady I knew and I love that I have her blood coursing through my veins.

3. I worked at Movies to Go which turned into Blockbuster Video. I loved that job. I got my best friend a job there, too so it was a lot of fun when we worked together. It was an easy job that paid for a lot of extras my freshman year of college (mostly the long distance phone bill and eating out).

4. Every summer and every break while I was in college, I worked at Children’s World Daycare Center. I started out an assistant in the 4′s and then was promoted to the head teacher in the 3′s. When I stayed up at school, I got a job at Sycamore Child Center and was the head toddler teacher. I LOVED that job. I loved the kids and it felt like it was what I was born to do.

Child_Care.jpg

5. I was a teacher. I was a supervisor for an at risk summer school program where at risk high school students tutored at risk elementary school students. That job had scary moments but really rewarding moments, too. I worked in Carol Stream as a 2nd grade teacher. I don’t know if it was the team of teachers, the principals or the job itself but it was one of the best times in my life. I miss it every single day.

Teach.jpg

5 Jobs I Want:

1. I would love to be a private practice counselor. I think I’d mostly want to do children and family.

2. I would love to know how to do hair. Cut, dye and style it. I just think that is such a cool thing to know how to do.

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3. Another job I’d love is to be an actress. Okay, so more specifically, an actress who happens to play the love interest of Taylor Kitsch or Chris Hemsworth. Yes, I know there is a huge age difference but in the movies that I would be in with them, they would fall in love with an older, wiser woman. :) I have absolutely no acting skills (a flair for the dramatic, maybe, but actual acting, not so much) but I think it would be pretty cool to escape for a little bit and be someone else. I feel like I do that in a small way when I write in the books I am working on.

Gambit (pic taken from my TV screen)

Gambit (pic taken from my TV screen)

4. Which leads right into an author. It’s obvious but I can’t do a post on jobs I want and not include it.

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5. I eventually want to go back to teaching. I don’t know that I could do elementary school anymore. I’m not sure it is the same (I know I say that all the time). I think preschool would be a better fit. I would still need to manage the chaos at home since I have a small one at home and will for a loooong time and I like the idea of going to work and not having too much to do outside of it. Plus, I think preschool is so important in establishing a love for school that I find that challenge rewarding.

There you have it. Could you have guessed them? Surprised by some?

What about you? What was your most memorable job? What is your dream job?

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Some Tidbits

I know it’s not Tuesday but there are too many things going on for me to wait.

I have been toying with the idea of writing during the week and then not on weekends. I’m not sure it’s working out so bear with me. One of the things that I’m noticing is that it’s harder to write with the ages that my kids are. Oh, I have a lot to say, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t think I am at liberty to say a lot of it. I think most bloggers will agree that there are times starting up an anonymous blog sounds like a great idea. Wait, I am sure that moms that have kids in middle school and high school would also agree.

I am pretty sure that Instagram was invented by a mean girl and SnapChat was invented by some sick pervert not wanting to get caught sending inappropriate pictures.

I have two kids over here with broken hearts and one kid that was ostracized for asking a question. Growing up hurts. While we are on the subject, why do we always want what we can’t have? And why don’t we see the good that is right under our noses?

I had the biggest mom fail last week. Not only did I forget to sign up for Nico’s conferences but completely missed them last week. I have always gone to conferences. I’ve always signed up the minute we could. That’s how big the fog of sick kids, traveling husband and writing and promoting has been. I MISSED CONFERENCES!

The second book that I co-authored is on sale for all you Kindle readers. It is free until October 17th and the print version is coming soon. I plan on doing a post this week with more details but know that in this book, I wrote about getting through losing Rocco. It’s about triumphing through tragedy and is a must read for anyone that has lost a child, before or after birth. Whether you lost a baby at 6 weeks or 20 weeks, a loss is a loss. If you know anyone that could benefit from this book and has a Kindle, click the picture below. I will keep you posted on the print version as I think anyone that this book is the perfect thing to give someone suffering through a loss.

Grief book cover

Finally, I am over at Ten to Twenty today with a post I did about that time that comes when your teen stops talking to you or telling you everything. It’s not all the time, just more than it was.

Whether you are a new reader that hasn’t read it yet or a loyal reader that already has, click here to read No Longer in the Know. I’d love to see you over there.

 What about you? Do you have talkers like I usually do or are your kids keep more to themselves?

P.S. Hoping the blog cooperates with me and I can post the Homecoming pictures at some point this week.

 

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It’s Here! It’s Here! So Excited!

The day I’ve dreamed of forever is here! The book The Mother of All Meltdowns is on sale at Amazon.com! If you have ever had one of those days that you wanted to yell, “I quit!” or “Why? Why does this happen to me?” then this book is for you. It will make you feel less alone from page 1. There are parts that will have you nodding your head in agreement or laughing out loud at the ridiculous things we do when we are in the middle of a meltdown. And who hasn’t found themselves in at least one (even if you don’t have kids, you’ve witnessed them happening, I am sure).

I want everyone I know to buy it not just because it is my first published for the masses piece of work but because I am joined with 29 other authors that are talented and make you feel like you are sitting across from a friend sharing this craziness.

If you click on the sidebar, you can own your very own copy! It would thrill me to death and thank you from the bottom of my heart!

button1for meltdown book

 

P.S. If you don’t see my picture under the authors, no worries, I’m still there and that is the right book. It takes a while to update and there might not be room for all 30 of us. :)

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Exciting News! I’m Ready to Tell the Rest!

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. I would have a ton of journals with stories or my thoughts. I still do and one of my favorite gifts that I have ever gotten was a package of pens, a few notebooks and a Barnes and Noble gift card because I’ve done some of my best writing there. The dream was always to see my words in print. I see my words in print with the blog and I love it. I really do. The dream was always to write a book. I’m still working on going solo with that but the most exciting news is that I am going to be in two books!! Not just one but two. Both are going to be available as an eBook and in print. The dates are still up in the air for when they will be available so stay tuned.

 

And no I am not the model for the cover but I very well could be.

And no I am not the model for the cover but I very well could be.

 

I am so honored to be among the other bloggers featured in this book, I haven’t stopped smiling since I was asked. This book is a must read for anyone that has had a less than stellar day in the parenting arena.  This book tells you that you aren’t the only one that has those moments. I don’t know about you but I love knowing that I am not alone in those “pull your hair” moments.

More information regarding this book is soon to follow as far as where you can read about it and how to get it.

I really wish this book was available five years ago.

I really wish this book was available five years ago.

 

Again, I am so honored to be among these special, special women that are taking their pain and hurt and using it to help other women going through what we went through. To be able to talk about Rocco and use that pain for good is such a gift that has me really excited to be a part of this book coming together.

 

If you’re on FB, this book has a FB set up. If you feel so inclined, please take a moment to like it. If you know anyone that might benefit from reading it, please feel free to share the page as it could serve as support for them. You can find it here.

 

I just want to thank all of you because without all of you visiting here, this dream of mine would still be just that and I want to thank Crystal and Alexa for believing in me and asking me to be a part of these!

 

 

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I’m Ready to Tell: Exciting News

Not all of it but here’s one I can tell because it is happening right now. It has always been my dream to write for someone besides myself. It has always been my dream to be a mom. Today both of those dreams have come together and I am now a contributing writer at a website geared toward raising tweens and teens called Ten to Twenty Parenting! I am so thrilled to be among some great writers and be a part of a website that helps navigate through this time in our kids’ lives. I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get.

My first post is up and if you are a regular reader, you probably have already seen this one but I’d love it if you came over to the site and read it again and be with me on this day that I am truly celebrating this exciting news. After all, it is all of you reading that inspire me to write every day. :) Think of it as a rerun of your favorite show (like when Ross, Rachael and Chandler tried moving the couch up the stairs).

Hope to see you there and if you have a tween or a teen, poke around over there. There is a wealth of information.

So excited, so excited, so excited! And if you could leave a comment over there, I’ll feel a lot less nervous about having my words somewhere other than my own site. :)

To see my page which makes me want to get up and do the happy dance, click here.

TentoTwenty_badge

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Chaos With a Side of Excitement

This is going to be a super short post (let’s see if I can really do a short one) or let’s see how much I get done before I have to light a fire under Nico to get him to move.

Let me first say, I am sorry that I have been MIA lately. I know I said that I would be until after Labor Day but I still feel bad. I miss the blogs I read and will have a boat load to catch up on. In RL, I miss the friends and my sisters that I normally see or chat with. This time of year slams me like everyone else with the getting into the groove of school, football and cheerleading starting.

Today Gia goes to meet the teacher and yes, I am a little weepy that she is going to be in school three days a week this year but it’s time. She is ready to be with kids her own age and so am I. Tomorrow, I have a meeting at Tommy’s school with all of his teachers about CF. I hate those meetings. I am dreading it. The rest of the week I am going to cram all of summer into three days and hopefully do some fun things with Gia.

That is the chaos part. The excitement part is that I am working on a few projects with my writing that I am thrilled about. I am not quite ready to share yet but will soon. I’m trying to balance the kids, the house, the blog, and the deadlines for these projects and I know I can do it but since I never have, it’s been an adjustment.

Now, if I could just get out of my own way, my dreams might actually come true.

I want to leave you with one thought that became very clear to me this weekend. Doing something small for someone might end up being something big to them. Sometimes all it takes is a friendly smile and a genuine “How are you?”

I tell my kids every morning, “The world is full of mean people. Don’t be one of them.”

So, how’d I do? Short post? For me, I’d say yes. :)

Have a great day!

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5 Things Going Right

In my effort to be a more “glass half-full” person, I thought I would talk about the five things that are working well right now…making me happy.

1. The words, “Okay, Mommy.” I love that I have a child that when I tell them no to something, the answer is sometimes, “Okay, Mommy.” Sometimes there is crying before or a small struggle but if I stand my ground, it ends up with these words. I know those of you that have ever been in a checkout line that was filled with candy understand my relief when I hear these words.

I heard "Okay, Mommy," after I said it was time to leave.

I heard “Okay, Mommy,” after I said it was time to leave.

2. The book I am rewriting/adding to. I’m not sure how or why but I can’t seem to stop writing. My favorite part of writing this book that I don’t know I’ll ever do anything with is that the characters take on a life of their own. I can spend hours with my notebook and pen and be completely engrossed and I love that.

book

3. Emails from long-lost friends. There is nothing like opening your email and seeing the name of someone who you miss or that you haven’t talked to in a long time. If you are missing someone and questioning whether you should reach out, do it. It will make the person’s day.

4. New readers and new comments (and loyal readers). Those of you that blog, I know you get this. It feels amazing to have someone respond to your writing. It’s the equivalent of a stranger stopping you on the street to tell you your kids are well-behaved or ask you where you get your hair done. It is a feel-good moment. I just want you to know that I appreciate all that read and commenting lets me know you are there. So thank you.

5. The 17 Day Diet. I wrote a post about the struggle to lose weight. Click here if you’d like to read it. A few months ago, I was reading a success story from a very talented writer, Galit from These Little Waves. She was doing the 17 Day Diet and had lost quite a bit of weight. I decided to try it and I’m telling you, it works. I have lost 14lbs and feel so healthy and fit. It doesn’t feel like a diet. It was more of a tweak in the way I was eating. 17 minutes of exercise is completely doable over here and I actually look forward to it. You know the people who say happiness shouldn’t come from a number on the scale? Well, they might be right for some but for me…I see the number on the scale and it makes me happy. Is that right or healthy? I don’t know and right now, I don’t care. I’m too busy being happy.

 

So there you have it. This weekend is going to be packed with running around so I wanted to concentrate on what was making me happy. You know before the road rage, bad refs, kids wanting to be out and social and early morning games hit.

What about you? What’s making you happy?

 

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Connections

When I started blogging, it was all about the writing. I wanted to be a writer for as long as I could remember and blogging seemed like a great way to start. At first, it was just for me. As a way of documenting the things in my life. Then, I put my toe in the water, so to speak and sent it out to friends and family. That felt odd and exhilarating all at once. Would people want to read? Is it even that interesting? From there, I put my foot in and started posting on my personal Facebook page. The response was like an instant confidence booster and someone, Leslie G., suggested that I join Twitter. Wait…strangers would follow me? And some might read my blog? Sign me up! That bubble was burst shortly after I signed up when my first 5 followers were from porn sites. I didn’t give up and though I’ve been on it for more than a year, I’m still figuring that part out. Then someone, Jody B., suggested that I have a Facebook page for the blog. I did and am up to over 200 followers (and will always welcome more if you know anyone that might like it :) ). I took a class from Shell at Things I Can’t Say and Ashley at My Front Porch Swing and pretty much dove right in. With the help of those girls and Kimberly at Reflections of Now and Ashley and Lisa from The Dose of Reality, I was off and running and ADDICTED. Addicted to the connections that can be made in the blogging world.

I joined SITS, a community of bloggers and found a wealth of information to help me grow as a writer. There I met some fabulous women and was lucky enough to meet up with Samantha from Life as a Wife (which I believe is on hiatus at the moment). That was my first time meeting someone from the blogging world and I was nervous! Everyone that heard I was going in RL was concerned that I was being played and that it wasn’t actually a woman but alas it was and a new friendship was born. One that started online and continues in RL, mostly through Facebook because she is off making her dreams come true. Fast forward to Spring Break when I was supposed to meet Susi from Boca Frau but unfortunately I couldn’t make it work. Next time I am there, we have to make it work because it seems pretty tragic that we were probably a street away from each other.

Then two nights ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle from A Dish of Daily Life. Again, I was warned that it might be a man or a murderer (because all murderers find their subjects by setting up a blog about raising their families or pursuing their passions) but again, it was not. It was a wonderful and talented blogger that is just as down to earth in real life as she is in person. Time had gone by way too quickly and it felt like we had just scratched the surface. Blogging allows us to feel like close friends even though we have only known each other a short time. I love that. I wanted to soak it all up and make plans to meet again. I encourage you all to check out her blog. You won’t be sorry. Plus, she is a girl after my own heart and asked that the picture be taken a bunch of times because we were unsatisfied with how we looked. :)

Michelle and me

Now in addition to the writing, I am loving the connections I have made. Say what you want but online friendships are real and they are strong. I know I can count on the friends that I have made through blogging to lend and ear or some advice. It just happens in emails and texts and instant messages but it doesn’t make them any less strong. I can honestly say I love some of these women and I’ve never even “met” them. Crazy, huh?

What about you? Have you met some of your blogging friends in real life and did it live up to your expectation? For those that don’t blog, do you have friendships that thrive soley through technology?

 

P.S. Some of my favorite bloggers have made it into a book! Best $8.99 on Amazon I have spent in a long time. I thank you ladies for my laundry not getting done, meals not cooked and hair not washed. I am too busy laughing!

Pee Alone

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A Little Positivity and Blog Issues

Something has been going on with Feedburner, the service that I use for email subscriptions. Sometimes it sends out my post at a different time than I have set or sometimes not at all. I think there was some buzz about it going away and since it is all I know, even if it’s not working correctly, that sends me into a small panic. You know the thought of having to change things or learn something new.

Are you wondering what the positivity in the title is referring to? The worst part of Feedburner acting up is that some of you, especially the followers not on Facebook or Twitter might have missed this wonderful post by my friend, Chris Carter at The Mom Cafe that I posted yesterday. Since I saved it in my drafts folder back in February, it posted it under February even though it was yesterday’s post. She came up with a way to ease our guilt when we are having one of “those” days. If you missed it, you can find it HERE. Please take a minute to check it out. It’s great advice that is east to implement. I’ve already started it and it works!

I have a question for you: When I look at my header (title of the blog), it doesn’t look right. How are you seeing it? I’ve checked with a few friends (okay, just two) and they are seeing it fine. I just want to make sure everyone is seeing it like they are and not like I am. This is how I see it:

See how there is only half shown and the shadows of Leo and the kids are only their heads?

See how there is only half shown and the shadows of Leo and the kids are only their heads?

 

While we are on the subject of blog issues, if you feel so inclined and you like what you read here, if you could click on The Best Mom Blogs in the sidebar, it would put me back on the map (I seem to have fallen off). I’m thinking of taking my blog off of there but thought I’d give it a go first.

 

As always, I just want you all to know that I appreciate that it has been two years and you all are still reading. It warms my heart and really, is better than spending thousands of dollars on therapy. :) Just wanted to say thank you!

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