I'm not going to do a 2010 review because, well, I don't feel like it. Part of me is indifferent to 2010. The other part, remembers very little of it.
I feel as if 2010 FLEW by. And here we are on the cusp of 2011 with a whole host of new beginnings ahead of us and with those new beginnings comes bad and good.
2011 promises to be nothing more than new and different and that is exciting and wonderful all at once!
What am I going to write about is being fat because, well, I totally feel that way.
We are beyond excited to be pregnant. I am beyond excited to know that come August we'll have another new member in our family. Someone to learn from and love.
That being said, it has been very difficult for me to go from being a triathlete to someone who has their exercise very much restricted.
Don't get me wrong, I have most definitely been enjoying these early stages of pregnancy. I've been loving my appetite and my minimal all day sickness. The excessive tiredness, that can take a hike, and the sore boobs....good LORD they can go elsewhere, too!
BUT as a result of restricted exercise and increased food intake, I have put on weight at a rapid pace. And while my doctor is ok with everything, I'm not. Although, I still weigh less than I did pre-pregnancy with my last baby. So...I guess I should be a little bit more ok with it.
I want very much for me to not be focused on my weight gain. I want very much to not think about the fact that I feel like I'm getting fat even though I'm pregnant and my doctor would tell me if it's a problem. I want very much to realize that this is my last time around with pregnancy and I should be embracing EVERY aspect of it....even the weight gain.
I have been able to get to the gym minimally due to basketball season and work commitments and home commitments and when I do I am able to do about 30 to 40 minutes of low cardio...I barely break a sweat. It's frustrating to have to stop running. To severely reduce my weight training. To take it easy on the elliptical. I worked so hard to make it my nature to push myself very hard in exercise and because of a very happy occasion I have had to change everything.
It is, by far, the very best way to get me to learn a lesson that I will carry into August as we welcome our 3rd child.
The Johnson and Johnson campaign had it totally right, "A baby changes everything."
The campaign doesn't mention how to transition into the change or deal with it.
Again, another lesson. I've never had three children before and we'll be learning as we go. Right now, as I bulk up in both baby and weight, I'm learning as I go and dealing, too.
If this is the worst part of this pregnancy, I'll take it.....and some pudding...because I really LOVE pudding right now!
Friday, December 31, 2010
I'm not going to do a 2010 review because, well, I don't feel like it. Part of me is indifferent to 2010. The other part, remembers very little of it.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 4:40 PM
Monday, December 20, 2010
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:17 AM
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
It's been awhile, huh?
Big changes 'round these parts!
Let's just lay it out there.....my husband and I are pregnant.
We decided, a few months back, to just see what happens and, well, it happened! And, wow, we're excited and pretty scared shitless!
So, yes, we're pregnant and we're due in August. And the thought of being massive for the Summer months does not thrill me but the idea that I'm not using any maternity leave until school actually starts makes me VERY happy!
This pregnancy has been very different so far.
There's the typical stuff, I'm exhausted- like go to bed at 6pm exhausted. I'm hungry ALL THE TIME! My face looks like it belongs to a 14 year old kid. My emotional roller coaster is on repeat. And, HOLY CRAP, don't come anywhere near my chest!
But then there's the stuff that's kind of new....my pregnancy test was positive WAY EARLY. I mean super dee duper early. My previous pregnancies I was significantly late before I got a positive test. My food aversions are somewhat different- last time I would have killed for a Tuna sandwich, this time the smell of tuna makes me gag. Egg Salad and I are BFFs BIGTIME! And my clothes? Well, they're already snug and apparently that's pretty normal.
So, it's a new kind of normal around here. A normal that we're getting to know quite well and that we're pretty excited about.
I'm what you might call impatient so the idea that I have to wait until August to meet this child, that my daughter has declared should be named Cinderella Tinkerbell Dora, is quite difficult to wrap my mind around. But wrap it around, I will, and I'm making sure to embrace this pregnancy. To take it all in and try to enjoy it as much as possible because I'm pretty certain that this is the last one.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 1:17 PM
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:38 AM
Friday, October 29, 2010
Have you seen this Article?
Please, go read it.
And please, be as disgusted and disturbed as I am by it. By the words, the opinions and the fact that this magazine and the editor allowed it to be published.
And here, here is the letter I wrote to the editor of Marie Claire. Will it ever get read? Who knows? I needed to say it, so I did.
And I will NEVER purchase this magazine again.
Dear Ms. Coles,
I am writing in response to a recent article by Ms. Maura Kelly. I am quite sure you know which article I am referencing. I wasn't a regular reader of Marie Claire, I had been in my early 20s but I have since turned to magazines that I find to suit me more. I will occasionally pick up a copy of your magazine if there is a story on the front cover that catches my eye. This story did not. I was emailed this article by a friend and I was immediately outraged. Not only was I outraged as a former "Fattie" but also as someone who continually struggles with her weight, someone who has worked very hard in the past year to lose close to 40 pounds and as someone who is the mother of a daughter who has to grow up in a world where women like Ms. Kelly and individuals like you and your editors think it's appropriate to refer to people based simply on their size and their struggles.
I work very hard to raise my daughter and my son to understand that people are different and that each day we encounter individuals who may be struggling or bearing some type of pain or hardship in their life. We also encounter people who have incredible self-confidence and self-respect regardless of their size. Your article, and subsequently, your magazine are simply feeding into the societal stereotype that says that being fat is bad and wrong and being skinny is right and good. You tout yourself as a magazine for young women and women who are looking for tips to make their lives better yet you publish horribly offensive articles that clearly state that being obese is something that can easily be changed with a personal trainer or a trip to the YMCA.
Shame on you.
I feel for Ms. Kelly, I really do. Not only did she feel it was appropriate to write the horrible hate-filled and uneducated words that she did but then she had to step up and apologize for those words. She had to reveal that her words MAY have come out of a history of eating issues and anorexia. First of all, I can say with almost 100% certainty her horrible words MUST have come from a history of eating issues and anorexia. Second of all, if she cannot own the words and opinions that she wrote maybe she should not have written them. And finally, I feel for her because it must have been hard to come out and admit that she had an eating problem and needed help- much as it is difficult for obese people to come out and admit that they may have a problem and need help.
Ms. Coles, really, I am disappointed in your magazine and your premise as being there for women. You, in this case, are no where near to being there for any of us. I cannot believe that any editor would allow such a piece of mean-spirited writing to published in a magazine such as yours, or any. I can also tell you that I will NEVER purchase Marie Claire again and my daughter never will. I will also make sure that I share this with all of the "fatties" and non-"Fatties" I associate with.
Thank you for your time,
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:58 AM
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
About two weeks ago there was chatter amongst the parents in my area that a man was going to local Wal-Marts and trying to take children from the Halloween section. Or that's where the screams came from that thwarted his plans.
Yesterday, I received an email at work about a suspicious white van that was following children and watching after school in the area of the school where I work.
All of this, coupled with common sense, has made it so that I have become hyper-vigilant with my kids when we go out- ESPECIALLY when we're in a store.
It's also made it so that at the forefront of my mind is that fact that I need to make my kids aware that talking to strangers is not a good idea and that if they ever get lost there are specific things they should do to ensure their safety. But I worry that I'm going to make them afraid. Afraid of people, afraid of going out, afraid of everything.
I've been able to talk with my 5 year old about this a little. I've been able to explain to him about strangers and what to do if someone approaches you. But I don't think he's getting the clear idea and I'm not sure how to get that message across without making him fearful of everyone.
How do you explain to a child that they shouldn't talk to strangers and what is a stranger is but it's ok to talk to their friend's mommy or daddy if they ask you question?
How do you tell a child to go and say hello to someone they have never met when earlier you were telling them that she shouldn't talk to people they don't know?
How do you make them aware of the world around them and the fact that there are bad- and good- people in it without scaring them away from being a part of that world?
There are bad people in this world, we only need to turn on our TV or radio to know that, and we need to protect our children from them but how do we do that correctly?
I want my child to understand the difference between a stranger and someone he really just hasn't met yet but should get to know. I want him to have a clear understanding of dangerous people and how to stay away from them.
I don't want my children to be afraid of the world around them and the people in it- I think that's a terrible way to live your life.
But how do I teach them about stranger danger and how to avoid it and be safe without scaring them?
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 12:44 PM
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
My kid loves Kindergarten. My GOD does he freaking love Kindergarten!??! And homework. And library. And aftercare. And computer class. And art class. And on and on and on!
And thank God for all of that.
But, seriously, is it wrong to ask his Kindergarten teacher to maybe, inadvertently, misplace or (heaven forbid) throw away some of his creations?! Because at this point, a) my emotional state will not allow me to throw anything away without guilt taking over and b) if I accumulate any more random papers, completed homework assignments, or TIME for Kids magazines, my house is going to look like a recycling plant exploding inside of it!
And if my daughter's pre-school teachers could consider tossing some stuff, too, that'd be awesome!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:45 AM
Thursday, October 7, 2010
A number of months back I posted a list on Facebook that was kind of like my Bucket List but not really because I have no intention of being dead by 35!! I've decided to cut and paste the exact post/note here and I've made some comments to it.
I spent the afternoon and evening with my best friend from high school, Kate, and we were talking about turning 30. She mentioned that she and a bunch of her college friends had all gone away to celebrate their 30th birthdays. While they were away they made lists of 30 things they want to achieve by the time they turn 35. Some things were big, others not so much. While our husbands found this idea to be corny, I actually really liked it and I've decided to yoink it from Kate and her friends and make my own!
Thanks for the inspiration, ladies! And here's to a busy 5 years ahead!!
30 Things to do before 35
1. Complete a triathlon- DONE!
2. Complete a triathlon in under 2 hours
3. Get to 165 and maintain within 7 pounds (Want to do this by 31)- Getting There!
4. Sell my house- We're almost on the market!! WOO HOO!!
5. Finish my Masters and PhD.- This is slightly amended. I will be finished with my first masters next week!! I've applied for a second Masters program so completing my PhD. by 35 probably won't happen but two masters and on my way to a PhD. is A-OK with me!!
6. Run a half marathon- Looking for an event for the Spring so that I can start training now!
7. Make really good cream puffs (this won't help with #3)
8. Take my kids to Disney World
9. Sing Karaoke in a bar
10. Organize all of my pictures into albums
11. Read a book by Ayn Rand- all the way through!
12. Go to Key West and have my picture taken at the Southern Most Point in the U.S.
13. Plant a vegetable garden that actually produces vegetables
14. Turn in my lesson plans on time every week- This may sound ridiculous to non-teachers or to organized teachers but for me this would be HUGE! Right now, I'm a week behind....not bad for me!
15. Make a piece of clothing for one of my kids to wear- in public.- Really, this is a basic desire to learn to sew!!
17. Surf- REALLY surf
18. Go to Cooperstown
19. Learn to ballroom dance- not necessarily well
20. Learn how to eat crabs
21. Knit or Crochet a blanket- This may be one of the MOST challenging ones. My hands DO NOT work the way they are supposed to be able to knit or crochet!!
22. Learn to de-bone a chicken
23. Start my own small business
24. Speak at a conference for educators
25. Either have a 3rd child or make a final decision that we are done having kids
26. Take my kids to Boston and Washington D.C.
27. Become a school administrator
28. Participate in one of the 3-day walks for Breast Cancer
I have two spots left. I am sure there is more that I would like to do or accomplish but I just can't think of it! Feel free to suggest away in the comments!!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:43 AM
Monday, October 4, 2010
So, when I got married I knew it was going to be hard. Relationships are hard- regardless of whether or not they are marriages or just friendships.
But no one mentioned how hard it could really get.
I mean like so hard that some days you'd seriously consider prison life because you just can't spend one more minute with this person who, for all intents and purposes, you've promised to spend the rest of your life with.
Yeah, I've been there.
If you want to tell me that you've never been there or at least close to there, that's ok. That's wonderful for you and your spouse. I don't necessarily believe you but I think it's great that your marriage is that effortless.
Mine is NOT effortless. As a matter of fact a few months ago I wasn't sure how much more effort I could put into it. And I know my husband had similar feelings.
It was just so hard. SO HARD. And I really felt like it shouldn't be that hard.
I was wrong.
There were fights. There were tears. There were silent nights and days. There were long talks. there was just a lot of everything. All of those things that come with any type of struggle.
It was hard. It still is. There are days- granted very few and very far between- where I'd like to take a permanent trip to a beach somewhere but now it's about implementing the things we learned years ago in pre-cana classes. It's about the compromise. It's about the communication. It's about the trust. And really, it's about the fact that we do love one another and our life together.
It got hard because we thought it was just so easy. We let it slip away from us. We got wrapped up in the life we were trudging through but not really living. We neglected each other and the individuality we each brought to our relationship.
And is it perfect now?
Not even close!
Is it better? Is it a work in progress? Is it back to being healthier?
Yes, a resounding yes.
I wish that someone had warned me about how truly hard it would get. How much intensive work and struggle it would take. I wish I had known it, REALLY known it going in. I doubt it would have made all that much of a difference but it would have been nice to be able to stop for a moment and say, "Oh yeah, I KNEW this was coming."
But I didn't. And I don't know how much harder it could get. But now I see that the storms that we weather alone and the storms that we weather together are no different because it's all part of one big weather system. And as long as we protect one another in the weather system, the storms will blow by as we battle each one.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 2:32 PM
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Yesterday I spent more than 45 minutes filling out paperwork. Paperwork that is not even close to complete. Paperwork that could ultimately change our lives. Paperwork that, once filed, will have our house up for sale.
In thinking about it all- both as I was filling it out and after the fact- I realized a few things. First, I'm extremely nervous about this. I have no idea where we are going to go, how it's all going to play out or what's going to happen. Second, this is HUGE. Monumental. And somewhat overwhelming. Finally, third, how are we EVER going to sell our house in this market?!?!?!
I also thought about the things that I'm willing to "trade" from our life now. Things I'm willing to give up for being closer to our families, my work, my kids' school and an area that I'm much more comfortable in.
I'm willing to trade or give up:
* Being a homeowner for being a renter for awhile
* Having my snow shoveled for me
* Having my grass mowed for me
* Living on a Cul de Sac
* Being minutes away from apple orchards and pumpkin farms
* Living around the corner from the YMCA
* Having bears wander through my backyard
* Having neighbors who think it's ok to trespass and cut my roses for their own enjoyment
* Having an HOA fee each month that really doesn't get us much more than grass and snow removal- and garbage
* 95 minute commutes on bad days, 45 minutes on good ones
* Having my yard back to protected land
* Having a good size backyard but even better sized side yard
* Having to miss events at my daughter's current school because it's just too far to travel on my lunch break
* Having to be up before 5 most mornings
* Not being near a train station that can get me and my kids into the city, easily, for a spontaneous afternoon trip
* And so much more
We have contemplated and waffled and argued and every other emotion there is about this next step. It's huge and scary and exciting all at once. It's something we have needed for awhile and something we really want.
And now it's starting to really happen and I wouldn't trade any of this experience for the world!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 1:14 PM
Friday, September 24, 2010
I completed my first triathlon this summer.
We use the word awesome so much in our society and I think that it often loses the meaning with which it was originally created.
I have to say, though, my experience was awesome. In the truest sense of the word. There is no other way to describe it.
I don't want to recap the entire day because a play by play could never actually capture what it was like to be a part of this even and complete it. But I can tell you that I still get chills thinking about it.
I have always been an athlete. My entire life. It is truly part of what defines me. Even at my heaviest I still played sports. But when I took on the challenge of participating in this race I really was not sure it was going to happen.
First off, swimming is not my strong suit. I am a former swimmer but not a championship one. Not a highly competitive one. Just one who did swim team for awhile and then left to focus on basketball. So, the idea of having to swim in a dirty disgusting river really, actually, scared me.
Second, biking. I enjoy riding my bike. I'm sure that on really nice days in the past when I've gone out on trails and with friends I've easily rode 15, 16 or even 20 miles with no problem and without realizing it. But the thought of being on a bike for 16 straight miles of hills and turns and unknowns was not all that appealing to me.
Finally, running AFTER biking. HAH! I run now and it's a shitshow because I'm not a "trained" runner. But running a 5k AFTER having swam and biked, well, forget it. I knew that right then and there my legs were going to detach themselves from my body and sit down on the ground and throw a temper tantrum.
But, all of it, I did it.
It took me and my friend and training partner, Wolfie, a good while to do it, but we did it.
I have a picture sitting on my desk at work of Wolfie and I before the race began. It's not the best picture but I really like it. I keep it there because in that picture I am someone completely different from who I am now and who I was 3 hours after that picture was taken.
I competed in and finished a triathlon this Summer and I didn't do it in record time or with the hope of winning, but I did it. And I am in awe of my accomplishment. I am amazed at what I have achieved because I never, ever, thought I could do that.
And next Spring, I'm going to do it three more times!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:59 AM
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
In the past few weeks I have been thrust into an entirely new dimension. A new version of parenthood. One that I knew was coming but it smacked me so hard upside my head that I haven't been able to regain consciousness just yet.
My son started Kindergarten this year and while I was fully aware that this was going to occur, I don't really think I was prepared for it.
I waited until the last minute to get everything done for him. This was partially because I am the queen of the land called Procrastinationville. (I tell myself I work at my best under pressure) But it was also partially because if I didn't take care of anything maybe the reality would not occur.
Well, it needed to get done and get done, it did.
My first realization that this was all going to actually happen was standing in the uniform store with my mother and two children. My son was trying on a sweater vest and I started to cry.
Now, let's remember, my kid has been in some form of school or daycare since he was 9 weeks old. NINE WEEKS! I was not crying because my baby was leaving the nest....far from it. I was crying for the same reason that I bawled a week later when driving to work and thinking about how he'd be going to school soon- he was growing up.
I love that my kids are growing up. I love that they are learning new things and becoming kind and generous individuals (outside of our home). I love that I don't have diapers in my house anymore and that my children dress themselves- albeit they don't always match. But when a milestone like this appears, I am quickly thrust back into the early hormonal roller coaster days of new parenthood.
These are uncharted waters we're going through here and I worry that they may start to get choppy.
I bawled on my son's first day of school. I tried my best to really hold it together. I didn't want him to be worried that this was going to be hard or be afraid of a new school. But apparently, my best at holding together is not all that great because I was a mess.
My son? Not so much.
His teacher stopped me in the hallway a few days later to see how I was doing and we laughed about the fact that this was not about him going off to school, per se. She told me that I was the first parent in YEARS to cry on the first day of Kindergarten. And then she told me that it was refreshing because it is such a monumental moment.
Last night was Back to School Night for my son. And I managed to only tear up two or three times. No weeping this time around.
Tomorrow night is another meeting at his school for a fun
But I'm in this world that I've really only seen from either the outside or the teacher side. This world of parenthood is completely different from anything I've know yet.
I don't know how to be a PTA mom, and I'm not sure I want to know.
I can't be the Home and School mom who organizes the gift wrap sale. I mean I can, but I don't think I want to be.
Room mother really doesn't appeal to me.
Thank God there are parents that want those jobs because right now, I just don't know where I fit into this stage of parenting.
I never thought about the changing dimensions of parenthood and I certainly never expected to be this emotional.
I guess in the end it becomes about your child weathers these changes. My son, in his classroom on his first day as I was crying, patted me on the shoulder, gave me a kiss and told me it was all going to be ok.
Clearly, something is being done right!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 1:06 PM
Monday, September 20, 2010
I think it might be time to make a return appearance. Hopefully, a long term return appearance.
I'm not really sure why I stopped writing here.
I can't give you a specific instance that occurred that made me want to step away from here.
I just needed to step away because it stopped being enjoyable.
It stopped being about what I really wanted to say and more about what I thought people wanted to hear.
And I was caring about comments. And I hate when I care about comments.
It wasn't about the content of the comments but rather that I was or was not getting them.
So, I very easily walked away.
I thought about coming back more than a dozen times but it never struck me as the right time.
I don't know why now is all of a sudden the right time but it is.
And I'm back.
I've been away.
I've been all over the place since I've been gone.
I've been working and running and triathlon-ing and doctor visiting and house hunting and house staging and painting and just living in chaos.
And now I'm back.
Thanks for stick around.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 2:17 PM
Friday, July 23, 2010
I'm making a comeback. And I found this article interesting and thought provoking.
All Joy and No Fun
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:53 AM
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Being a teacher in NJ right now is difficult, to say the least. To be quite frank, being a teacher anywhere is difficult but the political climate of NJ at this point in time is ramping things up for those of us in education sector. I find myself to be one of the lucky ones for once simply because I work in Catholic education. Although, that's no walk in the park either.
It's the end of the school year and I'm overwhelmed.
It's teacher appreciation week and I think I feel more underappreciated than ever this week.
It's May and I'm wishing it were the end of June- as I have been since just before Easter.
I hate that I feel this way.
I've said it tons of times before, I love my job. I come here because working with teenagers is what I believe I'm called to do. I enjoy teaching and I enjoy what I teach. I like the kids at my school. I enjoy being here. But I'm finding that I'm at a point where if Summer doesn't come soon I'm going to hate my job and resent my students.
And that makes me sad.
I think any teacher, especially those who teach in un-air conditioned schools, can attest to the fact that when the temperature rises outside the tension tends to rise inside. Things are crazy. Teachers are at their wits' end and the kids are nuts.
And life is overwhelming.
I don't dread coming to work but I worry about what will greet me within my email inbox and who will walk into my room with an issue that is bigger than anyone can fathom. I rush to practice after school or a game and I hope that a parent will not pull me aside to talk with me about something that they see wrong or that their child is experiencing.
I need a break.
My students need a break. These kids are overwhelmed. Not by work. Not by school. By life.
The climate of the times, whether it is in NJ or NY or CA or TX, has left people overwhelmed and exhausted. Life is crazy and sometimes crazy is good. Right now I feel like crazy isn't close to what we're experiencing.
And we all need a break.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:15 AM
Friday, April 23, 2010
I don't blame God for things.
I don't think that God causes cancer.
I don't believe that God takes people from us with no regard for our feelings.
I don't think that God sends hurricanes and earthquakes to punish us.
I have very rarely, if ever, doubted God. My faith is extremely important to me, it is something I hold close to me at all times but most especially at times when things are difficult. I pray. I trust in God. And I do believe that there is a plan for us.
It's my belief and I do my best not to force it on to other people. My relationship with God is just that, mine.
But just like any other relationship God and I have our ups and downs.
Right now, it's a down point.
I'm pretty angry or frustrated or something with God.
I haven't walked away from him, and I won't. But CRAP am I angry! (I was going to say 'GOD am I angry!' but I thought that would be odd)
When I first went to my doctor years ago because I was having medical issues, I knew something was wrong. Duh. I did go to the doctor and all. When they found tumors growing on my thyroid and I was sent to specialists and started getting ready for treatment. I was somewhat prepared. It was not something coming out of left field. It was hard but I was "prepared".
When I went for my first mammogram it was because I had found a lump and my doctor had found another. When I went for the mammograms after that it was because I knew there were problems and my doctors were finding problems. When I go for my next mammogram in June it will be because there is a suspicion of something. I know it's coming. It doesn't mean the results will be bad but if they are, I'm "prepared".
Two weeks ago I went for my annual check up with my OB/Gyn and it was routine. Simple, even. We chatted and laughed. It was like seeing an old friend, who scrapes your insides and sees how your lady parts are doing. A week later when I got a phone call on my way home from work telling my pap smear was abnormal, I was not prepared.
I have been very, very, VERY lucky. My thyroid was treated successfully and I'm in remission and my disease is maintained. My mammograms have been clean and I am breast cancer free. The scares are, well, scary but that's all.
I am starting to worry that my luck may run out.
I am not assuming that this is bad. I am not saying that this abnormal result is anything more than what many many MANY woman have, a fluke abnormal pap. What am I saying is that I wasn't ready for this. And it scares me.
A friend I discussed why this is so different for me from my breast cancer "scares" and why it's made me angry with God. This came out of nowhere, and I know that's how it is for a lot of people, but it really blindsided me.
The husband and I have been talking about getting ready to try for a third child. If, and I say IF knowing full well this will most like be NOTHING, this turns out to be something more than nothing that choice to have a third may have been taken away from us. And that makes me angry.
I went through a rough patch a few months ago where I was all consumed with fear about disease and what if my mammogram in June is bad. I am at the point now where I know I have to think positively and not worry about June until June. I was on an upswing. I feel like the upswing has been halted sort of. And that makes me angry.
I know there are people who suffer much greater losses and who experience far worse pain. I know that there are people who will go for a routine mammogram and receive a devastating result. I know that there are people who have tumors and cases that turn out far more devastating than what I can know. I don't deny that.
But I'm angry. I'm angry that this plan that I seem to be living is not the plan that I prepared for. I'm angry that these experiences seem to pile on top of me sometimes and come out of left field. I'm angry because sometimes I just don't want to deal with it.
I don't want to have my cervix scraped and possibly biopsied next week. (I'm not sure anyone does) I don't want to go back to my doctor if it's not for an ultrasound to see if I'm pregnant. I don't want doctor visits that could result in bad news.
I feel like my 5 year old at dinner last night when I tried to make him try Stove Top Stuffing (awesome, by the way). He jumped up and down and shouted "I DON'T WANT TO!" before he went and hid behind our dining room curtains.
I just don't want to anymore.
And I'm angry.
And I think that's ok. I trust that this will go the way it's supposed to but I'm afraid of how it will get there. I believe that this plan, even though I'm not happy about it, is the right one-for some reason beyond me. I believe that God knows what is best for me and my family.
But CRAP I am so freaking angry at him right now.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 1:14 PM
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
My student loans are astronomical. Seriously huge. It's because I changed my mind about graduate school each time I saw a different school sweatshirt that I really liked.
But I've finally settled into a Masters degree program that I am enjoying and I know is the right one for me. And when I started the program I told my husband that this was it. I was done with school after this. I mean really, I've been in school since I was 3 years old. I think it's time to stop.
Recently, after very little thought. Almost no consideration. And less than zero prayer. I've decided to pursue my doctorate in education.
Really, I feel like if my student loans are going to look like I went to Medical School I should at least get to be called doctor.
No, but really, pursuing my doctorate in education is important to me and I never really saw how much until just recently. I have worked so hard to get to this place, this spot in my career and my education, that to simply stop after I achieve this Masters degree is just not enough for me.
It feels good to know that I have something and some place to go after I'm done with this. It feels right to be able to say that my next step is towards my doctorate. And at the same time scary. But good scary.
So, the loans can build up and the school work can be piled on and the late nights can continue because my husband is going to call me Doctor some day and I'm TOTALLY going to use that against him!!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:17 PM
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I think about moving. I mean I think about it A LOT. Like there isn't a day that I don't think about it. That I don't think about selling my house and moving. That I don't come up with lists in my head of things that need to be done before we even call a Realtor to put the house on the market. That I don't think about how much we paid for our house and how much we want to sell it for but how much we'll actually be able to sell it for.
Really, I think about moving a lot.
I don't think about the house that we'll move to because that would just get my hopes up. I don't look for homes that are for sale because I see no point in readying myself for something that isn't coming. I don't peruse open houses and randomly pop in to them on Sunday afternoons because I fall in love with other peoples' houses far too easily.
But, God, do I think about moving A LOT.
Why, you ask. Let me tell you.
We bought this house as an investment. We bought this house to sell it. We were idiots. We bought this house in an area of the state that was growing rapidly and then when the bubble burst, it rained down all over us. And we are just too far.
Our plan was clear: we were only staying a few years. We are at 5 right now. Or we will be this Memorial Day Weekend. I would say that's about 3 years too many for me. But I have learned to be happy here. I have learned to embrace our home in the mountains and farmlands of NJ. I have learned that there is a reason for everything and for some reason we are meant to still be here.
But, CRAP, I think about a moving ALL THE TIME!
And it appears that we continue to be stuck. We continue to be plagued by home prices that are ridiculously low and taxes that are unbearably high. We are loaded down with one of the highest costs of living in the country and we are stuck.
What are our choices? Where do we go?
Any move will bring us out of state and away from family. It will take us further away from the things that we care about and love. It will remove us from jobs that we are both finally happy with. It will leave us with a new beginning but not one that we accept voluntarily. And we don't want that.
So, we sit. We sit on our ridiculous taxes and astronomical cost of living. We sit on roads clogged with unbearable traffic each morning. We sit in a home that was meant to be sold quickly but hasn't been sold but rather remodeled and fixed and changed so as to boost it's value for when it's time to sell.
And we wait. And we think about moving. A lot.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 1:55 PM
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
It's funny when we started having kids I was certain that I did not want any girls. No matter how many kids we had, I was pretty sure I wanted all boys. I especially wanted our first to be a boy. I figured after that if I had a girl, I could "deal".
I clearly remember the day I found out that our second baby would be a girl. It was earlier than the normal 18-20 week anatomy scan, probably around 13 or 14 weeks. Because of my pregnancy status of high risk I had an ultrasound almost every single week of my pregnancy. I was in my OB's office for a routine weekly visit (yes, I had WEEKLY visits my ENTIRE pregnancy- sometimes twice a week!) and we were doing the ultrasound and I asked my doctor if it was too early to tell. She told me that sometimes they can see things and sometimes the baby just isn't ready to show.
Well, my baby was ready to show.
My doctor told me with, as she called it, 90% certainty that we were having a girl. I was excited and just relieved to know what we were having.
And then I went to Babies R Us and that's when the "fear" set in. I was standing in the midst of pink ruffle dresses and little black patent leather shoes and shirts and pants with hearts and flowers on them and I felt the panic attack start.
I had no freaking idea how to raise a girl.
I didn't take dance. I didn't do a lot of the typical girl things and if I did, I didn't do them for long. Frilly dresses and hair bows were not my thing.
My daughter was doomed.
My pregnancy progressed and we created a room befitting of a girl, even though there were points where I was sure that the ultrasounds (because I asked at every single one) were wrong. We created hot pink walls with pastel stripes along the bottom. We were given bedding in browns and pinks that screamed out classy, chic, baby girl. We were given and purchased endless amounts of pink and purple onesies and dresses and shirts with hearts and flowers. And tights. I had tons of tights.
And the first question out of my mouth at the end of my labor (after inquiring about her health) "Are you sure it's a girl because I have a hot pink room at home that I don't think a boy is going to like?!"
The stares and laughing were overwhelming and my delivery room, including my husband, froze for just a moment.
And it was in that moment that I realized that I wanted a girl. Maybe not two girls, but definitely the one I had just given life to.
Last night, I experienced something with my daughter that I've thought about but didn't think would happen for a number of years.
Not realizing it was almost 10pm (and yes my child was still awake thanks to the 2 hour nap her father allowed her at 5pm) I put the movie "Mamma Mia" into my laptop. The husband was watching something on TV and while I should have gone to bed, I didn't. From the very first song, my daughter was HOOKED!
In the hopes of getting her to fall asleep before 3am I decided to head up to bed with the computer and the movie and my daughter. We snuggled under the covers and watched the entire movie- even after daddy came upstairs and jokingly chastised me for still having her awake.
We sang along. She danced. She bopped her little head. And she snuggled up to me and comfortably watched the musical story unfold and resolve itself.
More importantly than understanding the movie or listening to the music, my daughter and I bonded last night. And it wasn't for the first time but it was in a way that we haven't done before.
Last night I experienced something with my daughter that I could have had with my son but it would not have been the same. It was special and unique.
And it made me realize that while having boys is wonderful, and I don't ever have to fear PMS with them, having a daughter is something special and something I am so glad I haven't missed out on.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:32 AM
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
You know when I started this blog I started it because I felt I had a way to connect with other moms. We all have something in common, no matter where we live or what we believe or how many kids we have. There is a common thread.
We are moms.
We have kids.
I feel like I may have drifted from that or maybe not. Maybe I just went in the direction I needed to go in. Either way, I do feel like I haven't spoken about my kids much. And there are reasons. But they won't be revealed right now.
But I will talk about my kids.
There are days when my kids and their actions make me feel like the worst parent in the world. More often than not it's because of my reactions to their actions. But sometimes it is just because of the way they act. And how I think that reflects on me as a parent.
Take, for instance, my daughter. She is, as they say, a piece of work. (To put it mildly.) The child is the most independent and fiercely daring individual I think I have ever encountered. She is not yet 3. All of this put together makes my life somewhat difficult. And, at points, embarrassing.
I do not want to crush my daughter's independence. I think it's wonderful. But if she is not the most stubborn little thing I have ever met, I don't know who is! Seriously, the child pushes every button I have and I think she has even installed a few new ones that are specifically just for her.
Potty training? Oh, we were almost done. Almost being the key word there. I think she got wind of the fact that I was thrilled to have her out of diapers before 2.5 years and said to herself, "Screw mom, I am NOT crapping on a toilet! And you know what? I'm going BACK to peeing in my pull-ups! THAT'S RIGHT LADY, NO BIG GIRL UNDERPANTS FOR ME!"
And you think she doesn't talk like that?
Have you seen her??
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:29 PM
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Growing up my grandparents lived in a home where the door was always open. Always. (Except to the Sunday morning Jehovah Witness)
It didn't matter if it was a weeknight or a Saturday mid-afternoon or a holiday. As a matter fact, on the holidays I think their door was more open- if that's even possible.
This quality of my grandparents' family life is something that I know that my parents have tried to pass on and it is something that I feel I have completely absorbed.
When we finally moved into our current house I sent out 'We've moved' announcements (they were really cute- I used paint chips and the saying 'The paint has finally dried....') and at the bottom of each announcement I put that our door was always open. And it is.
My house is not always clean. Actually, considering our schedules right now, it's more often messy than it is clean! I do not always have a ton of food in the fridge or the cabinets. And we're not always equipped with out friends and family members' favorite beer. But our door is always open.
For a very long time I struggled with the idea that maybe people didn't realize that. Maybe people didn't see that they really could just show up at our house- especially if they had a bottle of wine with them! ;) I worried that people felt it was too far to visit- and I still worry about that. I was concerned that our friends felt as if they were intruding or were over too much. That our invitations were refused because people felt as if they were being invited out of obligation or necessity.
This past weekend was probably the first weekend where I did not have a game or practice or a lesson or something to do. The kids and I were F-R-E-E. The husband had to work but that's normal- to us. And I decided to send out a quick text and in a matter of minutes we had guests coming over for no other reason than they wanted to. They knew the door was open and were ok with the drive and messy house and minimal food. They just wanted to be.
And it was great.
And the next day, more guests. A quick invite. A simple plan and a dinner with wine and dessert was arranged and the house was filled with laughter.
I vividly remember the people sitting around my grandparents' table and in their living rooms- both sides of my family. People who were not blood relatives, and some who were. All family. And all knowing that the door was always open to them, to everyone.
I carry that with me. I welcome people to our table regularly. It's part of why I love throw a party or have people over for dinner. It's part of what brings me joy and helps me to teach my children about the value of family and love.
Our door is ALWAYS open. To ANYONE. And it's in that door being open that I find my connection to family and friends. That I find my connection to something bigger than me. That I find comfort.
It is having that door open that creates the memories I hope my children carry with them into their own families and friendships.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 12:32 PM
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
So, I just pulled a very angry post off of here at the urging of a good friend.
It was about my family, my extended family and if you'd really like to read it you can email me or find me on FB. I saved it. But in the interest of not starting a family wide war and not wanting to hurt feelings and again, being the bigger person, I felt it best to remove my words.
I hate that.
They were my real feelings. I am really angry with my extended family.
Not my husband. Not my kids. Not my parents. Not my in-laws.
My EXTENDED family.
If I go any further it will be just as bad as if I had kept the post up.
It does bother me that I have to curb my feelings here because of who reads this. And really, I don't think any of my extended family even reads this. I keep feelings and words to myself because I don't want to start anything. I don't need emails flying and comments raining down on me. I don't feel like dealing with shit storm that could result from some things that I have wanted to write.
And now I'm stuck.
I removed a post today and I'm not sure that I've ever done that before. And I'm not sure how much I like the feeling that comes along that removal. I've censored my feelings to protect other feelings and ironically enough, that's part of what the post was about. And I feel like I'm doing that a lot around here.
And I'm tired of that.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 12:54 PM
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I've been listening to the Indigo Girls quite a bit lately. And while my friend Wolfie thinks I've transported myself back to 1992 because I'm in denial about turning 30, it's actually because I really like the Indigo Girls and I enjoy their music.
I've been fixated on one song lately, "Watershed". And the ironic piece about my fascination is that I've listened to this song a thousand times over the years but the lyrics are just starting to make sense to me lately.
I feel like I'm being smacked in the fact with a ton of crap all at once. And, truthfully, I have a roof over my head (granted my ceiling is caving in), I have a husband that loves me and that I love, my children are healthy (except for that double ear infection and nasty asthma rearing their ugly heads), and I have a job that I ADORE. I should not be so consumed by these things that will, in time, pass and I will be able to deal with.
But I am.
Tomorrow I turn 30. Consuming crap #1. (That sounds gross, like I'm actually consuming crap but really I mean that turning 30 is consuming my being right now).
About two weeks ago I received a call from my doctor that my mammograms actually were not all clear. Consuming crap #2.
A few of my students are dealing with things that no child should EVER have to deal with and they have turned to me. I am MORE THAN HAPPY to help them, but it is taxing. Consuming crap #3.
We're having some interior issues that are being dealt with but I have a hole in my ceiling and it's sometimes disconcerting. Consuming crap #4.
And finally, I am being offered a possibility that could help my family exponentially and we could finally be financially more comfortable but I'm not sure that it would make me happy. TOTALLY ALL CONSUMING CRAP #5.
And here is where the Indigo Girls come in.
And I have done an AWESOME job of making my "agony" my heaviest load. I have allowed the possibility of what could MAYBE happen to overwhelm all of my senses.
I have, as they say, put the cart before the horse.
Every choice is worth your while.
And I have a good laugh.
Until every step you take becomes a twist of fate.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 1:32 PM
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
My husband wears his wedding ring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is something about that fact that I really love.
Last night as I lay in bed and he snored, quite loudly, I felt his hand under my pillow and his ring was there. It's always there. At night I like to run my finger along it or play with the ring while he sleeps. Knowing that he has it on all of the time gives me this warm feeling, a feeling of love and devotion.
There is something special about that to me.
Now, there is a VERY good chance that he wears his ring all the time because this his second wedding band. The first one, which I designed using stones from his mother, is gone. It's been gone since about a year and a half into our marriage. Lost, never to be found again.
But I like to believe that he wears this ring all the time because he wants to, not out of fear of losing it.
I know men, my grandfather was one, who couldn't wear their rings. They worked jobs where there was a possibility that their hands could become permanently damaged if the ring were to stay on. That did not make their rings any less special.
I also know men who do not wear a ring at all. Ever. This is something I find upsetting. I understand that sometimes it doesn't fit. Sometimes it's lost. Sometimes it's forgotten. But there is something about not wearing it, ever, that bothers me. I don't know why.
But at night I lay in bed and I feel the cool metal around my husband's finger and it reminds me of our devotion to one another. It reminds me of our wedding day and our days since then. It reminds me of the unbroken circle that we have and the strength that the circle possesses. And I realize that I don't need a ring to remind of all of those things because I have him to remind me. And it's in that strength I find love, friendship and, often, my own strength.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:27 AM
Friday, January 8, 2010
My husband's family owns a restaurant and for a very long time my husband worked there. He would work part time, sometimes full time and sometimes full time in addition to another full time job. It was a lot. And if you know anything about the restaurant business, the hours are not kind to those who are close the workers.
When we became engaged and then when we got married we discussed right away that once we started having a family chef's hours were out of the question. In the early, early infant years maybe it wouldn't be a big deal. But once our kids grew older and started becoming involved in things, chef's hours would become quite a detriment to family time. We agreed that one, MAYBE two, nights a week to help dad out was enough.
And that's what it was.
Yes, there have been spurts- because of emergencies- where my husband has worked constantly. There was a point where my brother-in-law, the head chef, had to take a leave of absence from the restaurant and my husband worked 8 to 5 at his then day job and then 5 to 10 or 11 at the restaurant. THOSE were long days for everyone.
But, we thought that we were past that.
The husband was just working Sunday afternoons/evenings and even those were starting to slow down a bit. Having the extra cash was nice and it gave the husband a chance to be with his dad and brother and cook, something he enjoys, and be in a place where the memories of his mom are still pretty strong.
Plus, the chef's hours were not present. It worked really well.
About 3 years ago the husband left his sales job to head back to retail management because, really, he enjoys it and it pays SIGNIFICANTLY better than sales- if you can believe that (and he was a top performer in his sales position). Initially, we were really happy with the move. He was loving the job- and he still does. He works with some really great people. And his company, well, his company takes care of their employees in an ethical and fair way. They are wonderful company to work for. Truly.
But the hours. Oh, the hours.
The husband has recently been transferred to a new store and he's one of the guys in charge of opening up this new store. The company just bought this store and are in the process of turning it into "their" store. The amount of work and effort is astounding.
I haven't seen my husband for more than 10 minutes in the last two weeks.
Sometimes, I'm a little ok with weeks like that. Recently, not so much.
Last night he wasn't home before midnight.
This morning he was at work at 6:30.
Tomorrow, who knows.
Those chef's hours are starting to look pretty good.
One of the other pieces about working at his family's restaurant that my husband didn't enjoy, besides the hours, was the tension that was often present. He is the "baby" of the family and often his ideas and suggestions were and are discounted. My father-in-law and brother-in-law, not unlike my husband, are quite stubborn and want things done their way. Unfortunately, they don't like to take too many chances and my husband will. So, there was always tension. Not bad but not great.
When the husband took on this new job it was as if a weight had been lifted. He left a crappy ass sales job where the company was terrible and paid quite poorly. And went to a job where he was listened to and appreciated. He would come home from work tired and sometimes stressed but his days were far more enjoyable. No longer was he was stressed working for his family and a terribly unfair company, to boot. He was finally in a place where he was happy.
He still is.
That, his happiness, is the ONLY thing keeping me from freaking out right now. I find these hours to be ridiculous- especially since he's not paid hourly. I think it's unfair that my children rarely see their father, now. I hate that haven't seen my husband in days.
But, this too shall pass. And it will get better. And we will see each other.
But, seriously, chef's hours....not so bad, right now.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:43 AM