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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Reflections, Vietnam War
To all the brave men and women who fought bravely for this country, in all wars past and present, we thank you. Without these hero's, our country wouldn't be what it is today. From my family to yours, Happy Memorial Day!

This picture is one of my favorite memorial images. I first saw it in a sales window at The Frame Up in Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, in Arizona. It brought tears to my eyes as I stood there and admired the details. I thought to myself, this poor man survived Vietnam and his friends, his fellow officers and maybe even the nurse that saved his life did not. How does that make him feel; guilty, angry, maybe even a little cheated, that he didn't die with them? He looks to be in his 50's, maybe a little younger. Looks as if he has a good job and even a family. Those men and women sacrificed their lives so he could move on with his. He is carrying that burden with him, probably until the day he dies. But instead of dying in a ditch thousands of miles from home, he will most likely die in his own bed, with his family close by.

I could not imagine carrying that burden with me for the rest of my life. The men and women who chose to take those chances for us are far braver than I am. I have nothing but love and respect for ALL of them.

As we celebrate our last holiday in this home, I am grateful that we are able to barbecue as a family and drink beers. We are able to celebrate this amazing holiday and unofficially kick off summer safely in this country because of the amazing people that gave their lives. To all of the men and women, past and present....THANK YOU and GOD BLESS!!

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Update

I couldn't think of a catchy title, so I just wrote what this is....

This week has been a reality check for us. Sean had his first conference call with the company taking over his department. First off, the guy was a real tool on the phone. There were over 100 people from Sean's company on the call and the guy kept saying "We know this has been a hard week for all of you and we know you were all great at what you did. We have to be up front in saying, we cannot match your current salaries." What a great motivational speaker this guy must be. He went on to say what they would be doing, which is basically standing in an isle at Wal-Mart for 16 hours per week handing out fliers. Weekends off, not anymore, oh and nights are required with this company as well. So here's a quick recap, they will cut his salary in half and tell him he has to spend half his work week in Wal-Marts, handing out fliers. Weekends and nights are a must, oh and benefits suck too. So why, you might be wondering, would all these people from the department choose to go and work for such a crappy company....here's the incentives...

Sean's current employer is offering to pay the severance promised plus full salary threw 8/18/12, in one lump sum if they chose to transfer to this new company. (Did I mention they were only giving 1 day for everyone to make a decision) In Sean's case, that would be about $40,000. Sounds interesting right...except on his resume, it would look as if he took about three steps down from his current position. NOT WORTH THE MONEY!!! He would lose his awesome title and reputation, all for a little extra cash. He was actually considering it. He was willing to work in a place he hated for a minimum of 6 months (That was the requirement to keep all the cash) doing a job meant for a 19 year old. I was furious with him. I couldn't understand how he didn't see the insult in the demotion. That's basically what the position is, a demotion. These people put their sweat and blood into this company for years, and this is how the company repays them. After seeing how mad I was and talking to his co-workers, I think he realized what a joke the offer is. So, he hired a professional to update his resume. It should be done by time we move into the new house!

I mentioned before that Sean has a profile on LinkedIn. Today his big boss left him a glowing recommendation! I was so happy after I read it. I had no idea how great my husband was at his job. I knew he won many awards and was always at the top of important "lists" but to see in writing what his regional director thought of him....WOW! I'm so proud of him. If I had any doubt about him finding a new position, this threw it out the window! I'll leave you with his glowing recommendation...

“Sean is an extremely intelligent leader skilled in the art of relationship building, training for understanding and commitment, and driving results. Sean excels in both a team environment and as an individual contributor. He is a great coach and developer of talent. Sean adapts quickly and effectively to change and is able to prioritize his work to achieve best in class results. He is innovative in his approach and strategic in his decision making. What I appreciate most about Sean is his confidence and willingness to take calculated risks along with his entrepreneurial spirit. He is a pleasure to work with and someone that can be trusted and relied on to deliver results in the right way. Sean would be a great asset to any organization.”

UPDATE: This morning Sean sent his boss a thank you email, for the recommendation. (business etiquette) He responded with such a glowing comment. Sean actually thought he was just "being nice" in his recommendation and didn't actually think he thought that highly of him, but his recent email made him think otherwise!

"Sean,

You are very welcome.  I actually struggled to put your skill set into one paragraph. I have been thoroughly impressed with you and I am hoping for the opportunity to work with you at some point beyond or outside of *******.  I will definitely keep you posted on any opportunities I come across."

Again, I cannot express how proud I am of my husband. It's such a good feeling to see with my own eyes what his superiors think of his performance!





Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sometimes life just sucks...

Sometimes life just sucks....

At first, I wasn't sure if I wanted to write this post. I know Sean would prefer that I didn't, but I look at this blog as a record of our family, our life. With family and life comes ups and downs. I feel I should at least have a record of everything, whether we care to remember it or not. So here it goes...

Seans company is in the process of making some really big changes. Though mostly re-branding, departments are being moved and all together eliminated. Jobs are being lost, from call centers all the way up to VP's. Yesterday morning, Sean got the dreaded email. The entire department was to report to a meeting at corporate at 10am. They received the email at 8am, so he had to haul to get there in time. He was about 30 minutes early. All the DM's were still in their meeting, so he sat in a little cubical and hid until it was their turn.

In rolls the VP and HR, asking the department to have a seat. 40 minutes....the just of it......"The company has decided to eliminate your department to save money and go with an outside company to do your jobs." Effective August 18, 2012, they have the option to take a severance package and leave the company, or apply for a different position within the company and not take the severance.....

Over 2,000 employees nationwide were informed that they would lose their jobs in August. Some were with the company from day one. Higher positions didn't even get the three month transition period. Seans big boss is gone on June 1st.

This all couldn't have come at a worse time for us, with the move and all. We actually moved to the South due to Seans job. Now that's gone. It's going to be hard to find another position that he will like in this area because its such a small area. At this point, he's not even sure he wants to stay with the company anymore. He doesn't want to go back to retail management and take a pay cut. We can't afford that. The company did say any and all new positions created or opened, they will have precedence over all other candidates. Is that suppose to be reassuring....

After the meeting, Sean came home yesterday. He was pretty shocked. No one saw this coming. They thought maybe the higher positions would go, but not the ENTIRE department. Of course he didn't sleep all night. Today he is a little bitter. They were all going to the coast for a department meeting at some fancy restaurant by the sea. They didn't want the "pity party" at corporate, so they decided to meet at the beach...paid for by the company. Seans boss is pretty angry and not taking the news well. The point of this meeting was for the department to get together, help each other write resumes and decide how they were going to break the news to the outside accounts. As of last night, she was being pretty irrational. She wasn't going to hold them accountable for there visits anymore. She was already throwing in the towel. Sean had a talk with her and hoped that he could bring her back down to earth. She still needs to lead these guys, whether she wants to or not.

In the end, we will be fine. Sean is an extremely talented employee and has connections (LinkedIn) with many companies in his field. I have no doubt he will find a position with another company, he just wants to "milk" this company for all it worth. As well he should....JERKS!!!! (Did I mention his last day is the exact date of his hire, and the day before my birthday. He will have worked with the company for 4 years.


Even in hard times, there is peace and beauty...Sean just sent me these pictures from where his meeting is. Kind of makes everything feel just a bit better. If God brings us to it, he will bring us through it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day is always one of my favorite holidays. Not only is it a reminder of how wonderful my own Mother is, but also how lucky we are to be able to bring life into this world. Some of us are blessed with an easy birth, like myself. Some of us however, gave our own life for the little miracle inside. Yesterday, I came across this story about a young mother who just lost her life to an infection after giving birth last week. Her name was Alice Hansen, and you can read her story at Honeybear Lane. You may want to keep a box of Kleenex close by, you're going to need it.

For all of those wonderful women who were blessed with children, here is a poem for you. Happy Mother's Day!




Friday, May 11, 2012

We found a place to live!

After at least 2 dozen submitted applications, someone was finally willing to give a family of 9 with 2 crazy dogs a chance! Apparently we were exactly what the new landlord was looking for. She raised her children in this home and wanted to see it filled with children again! On to the details...

First of all, it's a 1526 sq ft town home. Not exactly what we were hoping for, but beggars can't be choosers. There is only one common wall, BUT...the unit next door was just seized by the federal government! They JUST moved out. So for now, we have no neighbors...YEAH!!! Our street is on a cul-du-sac, huge plus. There is a fenced front courtyard that leads up to the front door from the garage. Its completely private. It has a little garden with flowers and a small patch of grass. Of course we are responsible for the upkeep, so I will be hiring a landscaper.

The inside is COMPLETELY REMODELED! All new flooring downstairs and carpet upstairs. All new cabinets in the kitchen and stainless steel appliances. We still aren't sure if there is a dishwasher though. Sean did go see the property, but didn't notice one, not that he was really paying attention to those sort of details. There is also a closet in the kitchen for the washer and drier. All the walls are freshly painted with white trim. The living room has a huge mirror right as you walk in the front door. This is a huge concern for us, since our kids track record with windows isn't so hot. (6 broken windows in a three year period) Mom suggested putting a hall table in front of it, to keep them away from it. I think we might take her up on the idea. There is a fireplace in the living room and a huge closet that goes under the stairs. All the rooms have ceiling fans with lights. Since the stove is electric, that should help with the AC cost. Plus, it should be a lot cooler their since we will be so close to the ocean!

Update: I found the last photo of the kitchen (first set of pictures, right). It does look like there is a dish washer to the right of the sink. It's black, I'm guessing?

There are 4 bedrooms upstairs and 2 full bathrooms, one in the master bedroom. There is one half bath down stairs. The stairs, hall way and bedrooms are all carpeted. All the windows also have really nice curtain rods installed! A couple of the bedrooms have a view of the small park out back. We had to put down a $1000 pet deposit due to the new carpet, so NO DOGGIES will be aloud upstairs!! Unfortunately, we will have to find the cats a new home. The master bedroom has a huge wood paneled walk-in closet. Total 70's but that's OK!

There is a small back covered porch out the kitchen slider. Its not big, but has a gate leading to a nice community park with swings and a play area for kids. Great for walking the dogs and letting the kids burn off some energy. Less than 100 yards away is the pool as well!! Everything is so green and beautiful! Best of all, it's so quiet! No crazy drivers speeding down the street going 40 mph everyday. Thank goodness!

We will be moving in around June 3rd or 4th. Not sure how we're going to get the kids and I there yet though. It's about 25 miles away from where we live now. A cab ride will cost us well over $100. We have to tow the van there since it is unregistered. That isn't going to be cheap either. I put some bids in on Angie's List for movers. Sean suggested I also call the guy that hauled all our junk away. His card says they doing moving as well. He was really cheap, so maybe we can save some money using him. We are hoping he has his own truck too. If not, it's going to cost us a fortune.

I started packing last week and have quite a bit done. The rest I can't really pack until a day or so before we move. The house is a huge mess and we have yet to hire a handy man for the repairs. The good news is, it's only going to cost us about $225 for the repairs, minus the two bedroom doors. We'll be getting that done sometime next week.

Here are a few other photos of the new house.
One of the bathrooms, not sure which one.
Swing set right out back.
Our walk-in closet.

Another view of the living room.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Belated Birthday Post.....Fionny

I actually wrote this post on 5/1, but with all the craziness around here the last week or so, I didn't get a chance to post it. So here is Fionnys Birthday party.

We successfully pulled off yet another birthday! Fionny turned 5 yesterday. What better way to celebrate than Disney! Once again, we loaded the troops into a cab and headed back. As soon as we got there, I took him to town hall to get his birthday button. Its nothing special, just a free button you wear that says its your birthday. All the cast members and crew see the button and wish you a happy birthday. He even had people that didn't work at the park wishing him a happy birthday. At first he was a little confused by it, but I just told him every time someone wishes you a happy birthday, just say thank you. He did!
This isn't the most flattering picture of him, but it shows his pin.

We spent most of the day at Disney, going on rides like Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear, and the Pinocchio boats. We didn't see any characters this time, so we decided to head over to California Adventure. Right away, we saw Minnie in a show. She walked right past the girls and they flipped out. Lizzie was so excited to see her. Then we saw Mickey and Pluto. They were posing for pictures, so I took Mary, Lizzie, Declan, Fionn and Cian with me to wait in line. As soon as we got up there, Cian bugged and ran back to Sean. Lizzie got a big hug from Pluto. She loved him. Mary got a hug from Mickey. She was thrilled too. I think that was the highlight of her day!

Before we saw Mickey and Pluto, Sean took Mary, Declan and Fionn on the ferris wheel. I got a pretty good shot of them way up in the air. Sean was actually pretty nervous on the ride. Not because of the spinning but because he was 175 feet in the air in a tiny cage with three of the kids. He was afraid one of them would try and open the door. You wouldn't get me on that thing.

We headed back around 3pm because we had a guy coming to the house to do some work, so we had to get home. I still needed to wrap Fionns presents and Sean had to go get his cake and In and Out burgers. Poor Fionny fell asleep on the couch when we got home, so we had to delay the party. When he did finally wake up, it was a dinosaur themed party! All his gifts were dinosaurs, the only things he asked for. They all played with the toys and ate cheese burgers and fries. To end the party, Boston Cream Cake!! All in all, it was a successful Disney birthday party. Happy Birthday Fionny Bear, my little man!!!