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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Christmas Calendar

Growing up my sister and I had a Christmas calendar similar to the one pictured above, except ours was a bit better. Our Mom hand sewn little embroidered ornaments for each of the days of Christmas. I think it was probably one of our favorite Christmas things to do. I remember that my sister ALWAYS got to put the star up the 24th and for years I wondered how she accomplished getting the prize ornament. Obviously older and wiser in being able to do the math certainly worked in her benefit. Usually most of the ornaments were just placed back after the countdown and Christmas season were over. It wasn't until THIS year, my Mom told me about the symbolisms of why certain ornaments were place in certain pockets. Maybe it won't matter to the entire world, but I wanted to share in any case.

Dec 3rd

For this one I had to laugh when my Mom told me the story. She uses the embroidered teddy bear ornament on this day to remember her brother as it is his birthday. The reason WHY she always puts the teddy bear back in this particular pocket was because when he was little, he was a naughty, little boy. My Grandmother was so mad at him one day, she took his bear and beat the crap out of it. She beat it so badly that she had to sew the bear back up. He must of did something spectacular!

Dec 7th

The meaning behind this ornament runs certainly deep with just about every American family. She had embroidered the word "Peace" in delicate gold and silver thread. The particular meaning behind it was, this also happens to be Pearl Harbor Day. A day that rocked the nation and certainly changed her life (my Grandfather fought in World War II) and so many other lives around the world.

Dec 13th

The 13th happens to be my Nagymama's birthday. Growing up, my Nagymama never had a doll. Could you imagine being a little girl and not ever having a doll? When she grew up, her husband bought her very first doll only to have it stolen. Had I known, I would of certainly gotten her loads of dolls. It doesn't make up for it, but I wish I could of shown the gesture any how. For this date, we have a small embroidered doll to remember her by.

Dec 14th

The 14th was my Grandfather's birthday. When he was a little kid, for Christmas he was give a whole dollar. He was sent to by his two brothers, two sisters and himself a Christmas present. Some how he had enough money to buy himself a sled. For this day, my Mom always put the ornament of a little wooden sled to remember one of his own childhood memories.

There are other memories here and there with different decorations around my house. Certain ornaments on my tree remind me of things in the past like a ball with the NYC skyline as it reminds me of visiting NYC with my sister and Mom after 9/11 or an ornament of little squirrels selling hot nuts to remind me of when we visited Morrows Nut Shop in Cleveland. The Nutcrackers share special memories as we would see the play every year when I was a kid. My Moravian tin angels reminds me of Winston-Salem, a place where I spent a lot of my childhood. There are so many memories wrapped up in Christmas and such a wonderful time to celebrate family especially Christ's birth.

Do you have any interesting symbolic things you do for Christmas other then celebrating the obvious meaning of Christ's birth? Do any of your decorations hold a special meaning?

Last Day

Today marks the last day at my current job. While I knew this day was coming, having to actually go through it is another story. I'm not sad. I think I would of been sad had I not found a job already that I will be starting tomorrow. I just feel WEIRD.

Its odd to think after learning an entire new process, working my tush off creating metrics that NEVER existed before I came (and going years back to collect them) and spending my days helping a contract for the past two years that now it is all coming to an end. Almost like it didn't matter in some ways. I know the work I did was productive. I helped the teams get to where they want to go especially during some more strenuous times. I also learned quite a bit too along the way thanks to a fantastic manager. Closing the door to this period in my life is just...well weird!

I will say that a few people commented how I will have a new "awakening" when I start this new job. Sure I probably won't be working from home as much as I have (or if at all) and will have to put my best foot forward in proving myself once again. However, I know that. I know what to do. I know how to kick ass in a new job. I know that there will be a learning curve, but I'll do it. I know I can. I've done it in the past and obviously have been hired based on credentials and upbeat personality (the hiring manager did say he liked my personality over another candidate).

However for those that work, take this into perspective for a moment. Pretend that you find a new and exciting position which you THINK will be long term. Only to find out that the job you were hired for isn't stable. In fact, another company is suppose to take over and you don't quite know when they will take over or perhaps they may never take over! You just aren't sure. You obviously start looking for a new position as your family depends on your income, but the economy and job market is in the crapper. Jobs, especially in your field, are so much harder to come by. Pretend that you interview for COUNTLESS positions. You have four verbal offers in which you think that you will FINALLY have a stable job but for one reason or another they all fall through. Then finally at the end of a long haul (two years is a LONG, LONG, LONG haul to be looking especially in this area), your luck changes and a new job is presented to you and something that is promising, has growth potential, is a fantastic commute AND actually has benefits! Did I not tell you I never had ANY benefits (no holiday pay, no sick pay, no vacation pay, no 401k) the entire time I was here?

So really my awakening is, that I actually have a job and I appreciate the stability. I like to dig my heels, roll up my sleeves and get into the grime of things. I feel like I can really contribute to a team and also do the best thing I can do for my family in the long term. Having that when you don't have the morale of your team or stability for so long, you certainly learn to appreciate it. I'll actually be paid on holidays (YAY) and won't feel bad knowing I'm not getting paid that day. I'll actually belong to another great company for a contract that does some pretty awesome work. I'm pumped!

As I've sad before, my last day here is a bit weird and awkward, I know that tomorrow will be a whole new start for me. I believe in the power of your own personal hard work, prayer and the will of God that is leading me down this path. I know there are some uncertainties, but there are always a few uncertainties with life. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 22, 2010


This week is already shaping out to be pretty busy. Tomorrow is my son's school party. Thursday is the obvious Thanksgiving holiday. Then Friday is our annual tradition of watching the Reston Parade and getting a quick meal somewhere in the town center. This holiday also brings up distant memories.

Thanksgiving for me always sparks old memories of how I used to celebrate this holiday. I wrote quite a bit about it in my 2008 blog about Thanksgiving. It reminds me of a bitter sweet time that will never happen again. Gathering at my Nagypapa and Nagymama's little suburban, farm house. The cold crisp air of Cleveland. The smell of hot cashew nuts at the Nut Store downtown. The loud clanging of the moving rappies (aka metro for Clevelanders). No matter how many metros I've rode, none have ever sounded the same as the drive in on the orange line. I miss it.

I am starting to love the new traditions of Thanksgiving. I wish my grandparents were still alive but as much as I want nothing to change, it has. It is nice not having to travel. Its fun starting new traditions with my family. They may change, but as our family grows, it is nice to see everyone including both sets of Grandparents. My son is starting to have a pretty cool friendship with his cousin just like I had with my cousins. I'm looking forward to watching the parade yet again this year and to see my son's reaction with the floats and marching bands. Some traditions will stay the same, the time to be with family, which for this holiday as well as the next means the most.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

God I Love Him

Thankfully this pregnancy has made me more sentimental then going through some crazy mood swings. I'm reflecting a lot. I'm becoming more appreciative in my opinion then reaching out more. I've always been family oriented but feel even a closer bond then I ever imagined possible. My son and soon to be daughter are my world, my little sweet loves, my everything. However I wouldn't be here without my rock, the love of my life, my best friend and my team mate.

My husband is a quiet guy. He can surprise you with the most hilarious and funny things. His little Russian bad ass ways proves he doesn't take crap from anyone. He's blunt with the world and holds nothing back. He's genuine, real and observant. He is patient, calm and nonchalant. He surprises me with so many things from finishing projects around the house to ordering my favorite cheese off the internet as it is not available in stores just because he thought to. He's an honest, true friend and will always lend a helping hand. He loves his family above anything and will fight, protect and take on anyone that tries to hurt us. He is, as I have said before, the best person I have ever known.

This post isn't to talk about this or that event, which lately have been quite amazing in my life. Its another reflection piece to say what is on my mind. People (including myself) tends to look and talk about the negative side to whatever is happening in their life or just not say anything at all. I just want to honor the best friend I have ever had in saying what I truly feel about him. I love you babe. Thank you for everything ; )

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New JOB!!!!!

I got a job! A different position in a different company and I couldn't be more thrilled! I could of wrote about it yesterday, but until I have something in writing, I don't celebrate anything. That may sound a bit odd, but after having four verbal offers in the past two years fall through, I learned to not celebrate anything until you have something in writing and a start date.

I can't rave about this position enough. The commute is great and the entire office is even moving closer to my home starting early next year. The pay is pretty damn nice and the benefits are AMAZING. I will actually be spoiled by actually having paid holidays, vacation and sick leave. This was something I haven't had in two years. Gone are the days that I dread holidays due to lack of pay or feel guilty taking a vacation.

Obviously it was stressful knowing I was losing my job. I was pretty calm about it as I previously wrote because there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn't freak out because I'm also carrying a sweet little baby girl and have to think of her. So I made myself calm down. I planned out what could happen if this or that occurred. I had decidedly dug my heels in and was going to wait for the ride to stop. I was prepared for the worst, but prayed and fought for the best. It is wonderful to see hard work, persistence and God leading me down this path.

I could complain to God that I didn't get this until the last minute, but in all actuality I think it made me and my family stronger. In all the jobs I interviewed for and applied for, this was probably the most ideal position I have seen. Regardless of me getting this position right when we're down the wire, I am so damn thankful. I feel like I can finally breathe. I know more or less what is going to happen and I can't believe how much of a tremendous weight has finally been lifted off my shoulders.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Closing Another Chapter

Today marks the official end to my contract. While I have until the 30th to stick around and see if the other company needs help.....those who are left are all just sitting ducks. It feels a bit weird/awkward/nerve-wracking that really its all over. Sure I thankfully (unless I get some type of other news) get a pay check for a little while longer and I am employed, but after two years of working on my contract, learning the ins and outs, it is all over.

I have been through a huge range of emotions since I heard the news we lost the contract. I went from shock, to a bit mad, to sad, to FREAKING out and then finally I am calm. It really has been an experience. Not an experience I really want to go through again, but its the reality of the contracting world and the area I live in. I've been looking for a job....for a long, long time. WAY before I knew this contract was officially turning over to a new company. The economy stinks. Jobs aren't what they used to be even in this area and despite getting four verbal offers....they all one by one tanked for some reason or another. Before I had a Plan B, the planner part of my personality was literally freaking out at the unknown and what will be next. As I wrote in a previous post, my husband took me aside to tell me to chill out and we'll figure things out.

So I'm calm now. Not ecstatic about not having a job as of yet, but I think God has a plan for everyone. You put your best efforts in doing everything you can for yourself with the tools you have and LORD knows I have tried, and then its up to God's plan. Maybe I'll get this new stellar job that is waiting in the wings or maybe I need to be home for a while for some reason or another. I'm not sure what will happen next, but I have Plan A, Plan B and Plan C thought out. I'll be fine. My family will be fine. As long as we have our health and each other, then I am happy.

"When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window. "

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Indoor Play Places

Since the weather is getting cooler out and I am getting more pregnant, I was searching the other day for indoor areas to take my son. Low and behold Dulles Moms (seriously facebook friend them) comes up with amazing links to area events, things to do and lately just posted a link to indoor play places! I am so excited to try some of these out!