stock exchange

a couple weeks  before lincoln was born matt and i had chinese food and his fortune cookie said this: “don’t worry about the stock market.  invest in family.”  at the time we thought it was sweet and had a nice sentiment to it.  i remember i stuck it in my wallet (i tend to save fortunes, at least ones i like).

a couple weeks later lincoln was born.  september 17, 2008.  the day before he was born, the markets crashed.  our generation’s version of the great depression.  i remember sitting in the hospital with my brand new first born son watching on the news of the financial world falling apart.  it was slightly surreal, feeling such hope and joy in a new life while watching lives crumbling before us.

we started feeling the repercussions of the crash little by little.  when i went back to work after my maternity leave i could see the stress on my boss’s face.  suddenly high salaried people became a burden (i was one of them) not a bonus to the company.  a couple months later we found out we had to move from our new little home because the landlord was being foreclosed on.  promontions weren’t handed out so quickly.  my mom and i started the beginnings of opening a business (ever so hopeful we are! who else but a chemo patient and a pregnant person start a company during a recession?!  gotta love our faith…) and we discovered an upside to the recession, retail rents were CHEAP!

as the months and years went on, the effects of the recession lingered.  yet often i thought back to the fortune in my wallet.  “don’t worry about the stock market.  invest in family”  the store was taking off, paying the bills.  money was tight, but lights were still on (barely it seemed some months).  people weren’t shopping like they used to, but it kind of made each purchase that more special.  i knew if someone was buying something, it was very very important to them.  i liked being a part of that.  i liked the support that the community gave, even when they probably couldn’t afford to.  people began to pay for what was important to them.  priorites were reshaped.  like a natural disaster the recession had swept aside all the debris and left only deep rooted structures.  what was left was what could never be broken, forgotten, sold, or lost.

“don’t worry about the stock market.  invest in family”

we had two more children.  call us crazy.  call us hopeful.  my salary was cut in half.  our expenses tripled.  my savings was no longer my ‘fun account’ but was now my lifeline.  a lifeline that only stretched so far.  i learned that hope does not live in a bank account.  foundation isn’t built on paychecks.  we restructured our priorites.  looking around, past the debris, at the remaining structures i saw this:  a small bank account but a big happy family.  a struggling store, but a store that serves a loyal community and saves lives around the world.  i saw a couple that had chosen correctly in their investment.  three investments that may not pay for our retirement, but will make that retirement worth living.  (notice i said ‘may not’, we’ve all seen lincoln throw that football….)

today while i was fishing out nickels to pay the meter i found that old torn fortune in my wallet. not even three years old it looked ancient.  it seemed so foreboding.  thinking back to the night we first read it i can’t imagine if someone had told us what the next three years were going to hold.  three babies.  career changes.  sickness of a mother.  death of a father.  constant battles, and even more victories.

“don’t worry about the stock market.  invest in family”

p.s.  my favorite part is how it says “don’t worry” about the stock market.  not “don’t invest in”.  but just to not worry about it.  there’s only so much it can do, only so much it controls.  invest in family.

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stroller anxiety

so lately i have been obsessed with strollers.  finding a new one, wishing i had the right one.  i see other parents gliding down the street and in stores with their $700  fancy Bobs, Orbits, and Bugaboos.  Life seems so effortless for them.  I picture myself man-handling our sit and stand plus Baby Trend, the kids screaming, the lower basket jammed full of our lunches, diapers, my bag, my computer, footballs, baseballs, and even a baseball tee stand on occasion.  everything about it spells ‘effort’. 

but then it hit me.  the stroller isn’t my problem.  the stroller isn’t what stresses me out at night.  it’s the chaos that the stroller contains that stresses me out.  i picture myself attempting to load up three kids in ANY stroller and all I can think is “freakshow!”  I know no matter how much my stroller costs, no matter how smoothly it folds up, or what shade of mesa orange it is-it’s still going to be loaded up with 3 (probably) screaming kids, lunchs, diapers, baseballs and footballs and tee-stands, computers, and life.  and no matter what, when you load that much into any piece of material object, life gets heavy and it takes an effort to move forward.  

so, i have come to bite the bullet and realize that we will most likely look like a freakshow 🙂  and people will make their wonderful comments like: “well you have your hands full” “are they all yours?” and my least favorite, “here let me help you”  for some reason I don’t like to be reminded that simply opening a door requires help. 

so i suppose this little bout of stroller-crisis is simply my way of mentally preparing myself, and realizing, that soon the chaos of my life is about to triple.  and it’s silly of me to think that a $700 dollar stroller will make life any easier.  and in fact, even when they are screaming, and i’m sweating while i fight to push the 100lbs loaded into a piece of aluminum and plastic around corners, i know that i’d rather have an overflowing stroller that an empty one.  and you can’t put a price tag on that.

……and lincoln just ran out of the bathroom naked, wearing only a fireman’s hat and shouting, “happy ballentine’s day!”  i wouldn’t trade chaos for sleep and sanity anyday.

spring ahead

our day begins at about 5:30 or so.  sometimes earlier, never later.  stella usually starts fussing and no matter how many times i try to convince her it’s still night i know we are all up for good.  her fussing usually wakes lincoln, even from her new bedroom down the hall.  so then he gets up, runs to matt’s side of the bed since he knows i will make him go back to his room.  after pretending that they aren’t both fully awake for about half an hour, matt finally gets up with them both.  changes their diapers, fixes breakfast and, Lord bless him, lets me sleep til 8.  those two hours keep me sane. 

from there our days rarely differ from each other.  if it’s a tues or wed matt usually is at home and stays with one of them while i go to work and bring the other.  thurs and fri we go to the store as a trio.  sat is a day and tootsie’s, sunday and mondays are days with mommy.  it’s a nice little schedule and routine (if only we could break that 5:30 habit).

lincoln is just shy of 2.5 years.  he’s a great big brother, getting very helpful and very patient.  not a usual quality you find in a two year old.  he has his moments, but we all do….

stella is about 16 months.  she is becoming social, finally 😉 she is very very talkative and i am starting to be able to dechiper some words, some are still her own personal language.  she is slightly beginning to protest bedtime, i just stop going back in to her.  still wakes up a couple times a night for some more milk, think i will have to brave it out and stop going in for that.  she is VERY strong willed and very stubborn so that should be fun.  hence why i keep putting it off.  she has become very cuddly lately, wanting to spend a lot of time nose to nose and lips to lips while she giggles and hums.  would be more fun if her face wasn’t constantly covered in snot and peanut butter.  hahaha.   

even though i know life is going to be crazy and i will be DEATHLY tired, i am getting excited for this little guy to come.  about two more months left.  part of me thinks, ” how much crazier can life get?”  and then the other half shudders and thinks i better not tempt fate.  it can always get crazier.  fingers crossed we get a sleeper this time!