This is the story of my journey as I attempt to establish roots and do more than just "Live on the Surface".

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On to happier things...

I am pleased to announce the opening of the Kyla Starks Costume Shop!  The kids have decided to be pirates AND cowboys this year for Halloween.  We have enough events to go to that we actually need two costumes and after looking around I REFUSE to pay $20 per costume for a bunch of cheap crap.

So instead I invested that $20 per costume into supplies to make our own!  Cross your fingers....I have never sewed.  My mom gave me her sewing machine years ago and I have been hauling it all over the country for the last 10 years.

It was a gift to my mother for her bridal shower when she married my father.  This sewing machine is older than me.  Which means it will work like a charm and better than a new Singer.

In addition to my costume projects, my friend Tamlyn and I have decided to co-host a toddler party at her house.  We are both in desperate need to meet more families so I have solicited the mom's group I belong to and invited 10 kids to attend.  Plus our 4, plus the additional 3 or 4 from random people Tamlyn and I have met along the way and we are in for serious trouble.

I will document our progress and make sure and get photos of the madness!

Here are some of my sewing pictures thus far...

Rowan's Pirate vest.  I found store bought pantaloons (don't tell daddy but they came from the girls department) and a red and black striped shirt.

 Now just to be brave enough to fire up the old White

 Sloanies Pirate Princess TuTu before the trim

 After the trim and trying to get a photo.  This photo scares me for so many reasons....

 You think she loves her brother?

 PS Rowan has a diaper on because he has tender tummy and I am tired of cleaning poop up off of carpet.

and finally I present to you....Mr. White

Monday, September 27, 2010

The coffers are running low...

OK, so I went back and forth on if I should write about this or not.  It is immensely personal but at the same time a part of my story and evolution.  I promised to be upfront and honest so here it is.

We are broke.

Not with a little b but a big one.  B to the roke.

I have posted before about AJ's base in his mostly commission job being lower than we were comfortable with.  Unfortunately the sales process is longer and harder than we originally thought and we have had to dip into our reserves each month just to cover bills.  Not to mention my extras that I could have done with out.

So now here I am reviewing every dollar I have spent since May and questioning why I spent it and if I hadn't how much longer could we have gone.

One thing I have neglected to discuss is AJ's story.  His is entwined into mine and I have completely over looked it.

When he went into college he knew what he wanted.  He was going to graduate with his poli-sci degree and enter law school where he would become a litigator and marry an equally educated woman and live the life of a couple of DINKs.

Yeah well.  Life doesn't always go as planned and after receiving his undergrad in four years (which was an achievement considering he was president of his frat and VP of the student body association) decided he needed a year off before entering law school.

Of course, once you start earning some money it is hard to go back to being a full time student.  He bought a house, Kaia came along and shortly there after I showed up.

When we married we weren't going to have kids.  I had my career he had his.  Pretty close to the DINK lifestyle he had wanted.

Then the twins changed everything.

So now here is a man who never imagined he would be solely responsible for an entire family of 5.  That is a lot of pressure.  He is bound and determined to make it work.  He believes in what we are doing as much as I do.

Now we just need a little prayer.

I am tapping into the last of our stash to carry us over for a little while longer. 

AJ is fiendishly working to close sales and bring in some consistent commission while at the same time looking for a position that may either give him the salary he needs or a higher base so we can at least cover the basics.

I  KNOW this will work.  God has led us to this path and we need to have the faith and commitment to follow it.

Not to mention I can't give my father the satisfaction of being right.  By telling me that my husband can't provide for us on his own and calling my lifestyle change a vacation is a big motivator.

Stress?  What's that?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday - The Great Church Search Update

Weather 1 Church 0

So when you have gone years without church being a part of your week, how do  you transition back into it?  The weather was beautiful if not a little hot and there were not one but TWO outdoor festivals within walking distance to each other. 

Much like last weekend, it is really hard to make that decision to go church instead of going to play.  The kids still nap in the afternoon so mornings are our only free time.

I know we need to just bite the bullet and do it.  It is something that is important to us yet we aren't making it a priority.

I would like to say that as winter sets in it will be easier to go.....hmmmm, maybe.

Friday, September 24, 2010

My mom left today

I wasn't able to keep up the "perfect stay at home mom" routine for very long.  After a couple of days my addiction to the computer became evident and the kids addiction to the TV started to seep out.

The kids are sad she is gone.  Grandma left lots of good presents and they are spoiled rotten.  I came home from the store today and Rowan started tearing the bags off my arm saying "Bubba present?".

I have to get back to reality and start doing my dishes and cleaning my kitchen again.  So sad.

I guess laundry is back on my to do list again too.

Thanks mom for all your help!

Breakfast In Bed

Yes please.

Really, it doesn't even have to be in bed.  I just don't want to make it.  I would prefer not to clean up after it and actually it would be great if it wasn't consumed in my home.  Specifically, I want to go out to breakfast.

I don't even want a big breakfast.  I want 1/2 a muffin and some fruit. 

The monotony of fixing breakfast for the kids every morning is wearing on me.  It goes like this.

Rowan comes into our room and snuggles for a bit.  Everything is fine, dandy, lovely, cozy and then WHAMMO.  Rowan starts screaming for breakfast. 

Now here is were the fun starts.  Shortly after this happens, Sloane hears the ruckus and gets up screaming for breakfast too.  Mommy becomes a short order cook scrambling to get these two little leg leaches to shake loose so I can scramble their eggs.

I try to distract by throwing some dry Cheerios out there but alas that only lasts so long. 

So mommy scrambles, kids cry and daddy does his best to manage.  Finally breakfast is served.

They eat two bites.

Le sigh.

At least I get to hear "thank you momma".

Makes everything worth it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy First Day of Fall!

Is it fall already?  I never thought I would admit this but I kind of miss the change of weather we would be having in TN right now.  As I pack my bag for the beach today I am dreaming of the Shelby County Fair food and the Pink Palace Craft Festival.

I am excited however because rumor has it, the "season" is about to get started here.  Unlike most of the country, Florida actually gets better from October through April.  We will have lots of farms to visit.  Festivals to attend and outdoor concerts to check out.

We have been very happy so far with the free/low cost family events we have been able to attend.  I joined a local Mom's group and it is helping me to keep busy.  I am looking forward to developing relationships with some of the women in the group and am hoping to make some lasting bonds.

I have to tell you though, being the new "mom" on the block is HARD!  Everyone checking each other out, checking your kids out, what are you wearing, what are they wearing, how big are your kids, how well behaved are your kids and most importantly are your kids advanced for their age.

Example A:

I promise you, I went through 4 different outfits to wear to baby gym.  BABY GYM!  Who knows how I rated.  Probably fit in for some, probably tried too hard for others.  Either way, I had fun and the kids had fun.  Hopefully the rest will work itself out.

Now to figure out what to wear to story time.....THE PRESSURE!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Family Table

We truly believe that in order to have a strong presence in any community you first need to be a strong family.

In today's society there are many different dynamics that make up a family unit but one thing has remained the same.  The location of the dining table.  What has changed is how often it is used.

We make a  point to eat as a family every night.  When I was working we tried to do this but honestly it just didn't happen very often.  As much as I love all of the other experiences I get to have staying home with the kids, this one by far is my favorite.

Not only are my toddlers learning table manners at a very young age but we are also developing a habit that will carry through into their teenage years.  It is much easier to get a two year old to have a meal with you than trying to convince a 15 year old that they need to not eat in their room.

The kids help me set the table.  I prep and cook dinner before AJ gets home.  The TV goes off and music comes on.  We get to talk about every one's day AND as a bonus I have found the kids are much more likely to try something new if they see mommy and daddy eating it.

When AJ has to work late the kids and I still sit down and eat.  Daddy's place is still set and we fix him a plate and cover it with foil.  When he gets home I sit down with him while he eats and more often than not the kids join us.

I know that because of life schedules it may not be possible for a "family meal" for everyone every night but what ever you can work out, try it!

I probably sound like a PSA for eating together and maybe I am.  Right now, it is my favorite thing we do as a family and it costs us nothing.

I suppose I will check back in with you guys in about 13 years when the kids are 15 and see what they think.  In between football practice, cheer squad and boyfriend/girlfriends I am hoping they will still have time for me and our "tradition".  ;)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I almost forgot! It is SUNDAY!

Well we came REALLY close to going to church today.  Like, my mom got dressed and I was getting ready.  The kids clothes were laid out and AJ was just waiting on us.

Then the phone rang.......

Turns out my girlfriends husband caught his first keeper Snook of the season and she was throwing a brunch so they could share their bounty.

How can you refuse brunch right?

So yeah, we really suck at this.

Back from crazy town

OK, so my husband is no longer driving me crazy.  Honestly, I don't know what it was.  The old "It's not you, It's me" was in effect.  We had a date last night and really enjoyed ourselves.

We found a nice cozy place that offered 1/2 off apps and drinks until 7pm if you ate at the bar.  We were SOLD!  We had a chance to talk about how I was feeling and how he was feeling and it was a good pulse check.

After dinner we went for a walk on the beach.  Maybe kissed a little bit even!  After the beach we enjoyed the cool weather by taking a drive and then blowing my diet on a Dairy Queen sundae.

Today however after two martini's I have been dragging.  :(

Date night should be mandatory and subsidized by the government.  Just sayin.  Write your nearest Congressman!

Friday, September 17, 2010

My husband is driving me crazy.

That is all.

My mom is here

My posts will most likely be a little sporadic over the next week or so.  My mom is here and it is limiting my computer time.

I feel this unhealthy compulsion to be at the top of my game during her visit.  I want to make sure the house is spotless, the kids aren't in front of the TV and meals are prepared.

The funny thing is she really doesn't care.  She wouldn't judge me if any of those things happened or didn't.

I guess it is my need to show that leaving my career was worth it and resulted in more than me laying around eating Bonn bons.

Unfortunately she is stuck in the kids room and they have not been sleeping through the night.  Rowan wants to impress Grandma and is refusing to wear diapers at night.  So we are either getting up with him to pee or getting up with him to clean him up after he already peed.  The entire room smells like piss.

Mom says she is used to the waking up (my step dad) but I doubt he pisses on himself in the middle of the night.

The kids are so excited for her to be here and they won't give her a minutes rest.  They will be really sad when she goes home!

I will get some pics of her trip and post soon!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Discipline and how I suck at it.

Why could I manage a vendor, 2 locations, 800 employees, 12 million phone calls, 32 hotel contacts and 6 local employees but I cannot get my kids to listen to a GD thing I say?

I try.  I swear I do.  I have tried screaming.  I have tried redirecting.  I have tried ignoring.  I have tried bribing.  I have tried making expectations clear.  I give undivided attention when I can.  I get down at eye level and make eye contact keeping my voice clear and even without emotion.

What do I get in return?  Spit on.  Bit.  Hit.  Head butted and screamed at.

Most days are good but when the days are bad, they are REALLY bad.  Unfortunately we have had 3 bad days in a row.  Scratch that.  We have had 6 really bad episodes 3 days in a row.  Sunday was Rowan.  Monday was Sloane (twice both surrounding sleeping) and today was Rowan then Sloane.

I will say yesterday at nap was my fault.  I lost my temper and raised my voice and made Sloane cry.  Today though?  I changed my methods and REALLY did a good job.  It didn't matter. 

They crapped on my head and called it a Christmas present.  (I have no idea what that really means but it is the best I can do right now)

I am mentally exhausted.  Seriously.  Numb.

My mom comes for a visit tomorrow and I am mortified my children will continue to be possessed by the devil and she will see that maybe I am a better career woman than mentor for my children.

I did however make banana struesel muffins for her arrival hoping to keep her in a sugar coma and oblivious to their horns and little red tails.

Now I get to "shake it off" and try to get into a romantic frame of mind.

Valium anyone?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Can we talk for a minute about marriage?

OK.  Don't freak out.  I am not having marriage problems.  Everything is fine.

I really just want to talk a bit about what being married means.

I had being married all figured out before kids.  I was a GREAT wife.  Smoking hot.  Funny, witty and charming. 

Looking back now though, it almost doesn't feel like we were married before they came along.

Yeah we had made a commitment to each other and promised to be together forever through thick and thin but seriously, how thin was it?  Both working.  Bringing in the dough.  Big fancy vacations where money was no object.  Eating out was normal and eating at home was a treat.  Parties.  Galas.  To quote my husband "our biggest decision was who had to get out of bed to go buy the donuts and a paper on Sundays"

Now?  Kids Eat Free night at Applebees is a big deal to me.  Parties usually always include a bounce house and the only type of Galas I see now are in the produce section.

I almost don't know what to make of this "new" relationship with my husband.  I won't lie.  The first two years we were on complete survival mode.  Each of us did what we had to do to make sure the kids were clean, fed and well cared for.  There wasn't any room for much else.

As the twins get older we are allowed a little more "mommy & daddy" time which should really be "husband  wife" time but I don't know what that is.

The wife I was before doesn't exist anymore.  I am someone different.  My husband is someone different.

This is a crossroads people and I can understand how couples that don't recognize when they come to one develop separate hobbies then friends and drift apart until it becomes an unrepairable fissure.

How do you prepare for the effects children will have on your relationship with your husband.  How can you ever imagine how much it will change the both of you?

We have two little souls who are completely dependent on just him and I to provide for them.  To guide them and to always be there for them when they need us.

NOW the work begins.  NOW the marriage starts.  NOW is were the rubber hits the road.  We are in it now.  No turning back.

As I listen to my husband upstairs struggle with trying to get my children to use the potty before bedtime I know that we are supposed to do this together.  We will find ourselves again and who we are as a couple.

We are not only committed to our children but to each other and I look forward to discovering who we will become.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Great Church Hunt Week 1

In keeping my promises and keeping this blog as close to the truth as possible I must report on our search for a church.  It is Sunday after all (if the sounds of screaming fans blaring from the TV are any indicator).

Week One:  FAIL

Fail as in we didn't even try.

I am sick, the kids are just getting over it and we didn't even try.

We have a few on the list and we are excited about my mom coming to visit so we have an extra set of hands next week. 

I promise, next Sunday I will have more to report!

In the meantime back to my warm mug of TheraFlu.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Our lives changed forever 9 years ago today

Please take a moment to remember those who lost their lives and those whose lives as they knew it changed forever.

May ignorance and hate not cloud your vision.

May love and patience give you direction.

Never forget.

Friday, September 10, 2010

SAHM vs Working Mom difference #213

There is no sick time.

Rowan has been sick since Tuesday and we have been on lock down.  Just as he is coming out of it and we have a chance to get out of the house Sloane and I get it.  UGH.

I knew I was in trouble when I went to bed before Project Runway even started.  My husband is a saint and got up all night with Sloane as she had a rough night.  I feel more rested but my throat is KILLING me.

In the old days the sitter would take care of Sloane and Rowan for me and I could stay in bed and get better.  Today I will do my best to keep them in front of the TV (I know I know) and me on the sofa with my mug of Theraflu.

Thank goodness it is Friday.  Is it 5pm yet?

Our house is officially on quarantine.  This sucks.

Thank you snotty kid at Chik-fil-a.  I am glad Sloanie peed on the playground and you had to stop playing.  Oh yeah, your mom can go suck it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

When life gives you turd biscuits....

Make a sandwich!  I thought I would be nice this morning and make biscuits from scratch.  I had made drop biscuits on Sunday and they went well, why shouldn't these? 

It may have been the help of two 2 year olds

 or it could have been I cut them too big but for whatever reason I ended up with what looked like the new sandwich thins from Pepperidge Farms.

The good news is they tasted okay and were flaky, I just took the rest of breakfast (eggs and turkey bacon) shoved them between two wrapped it in foil and sent AJ to work with a sandwich. 

See example of said turds:

Now if only we were in England I could call them scones.  Baking for me has always been a challenge.  I can cook but baking?  Disasters had been a regular on the menu.  I am getting better and the kids seem to like what I do so I will keep trying.

I will keep you guys posted on my trials and tribulations regarding the oven!  I did manage to make a scratch cake the other day that didn't suck!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A place for everything?

Cleaning a house is bullshit.  There I said it.

I had myself convinced that I was too busy to clean house when I was working.  I mean, we didn't live in filth but cleaning was a secondary function for me.

Now, eh?  I have come to the realization that I just don't like cleaning.  There may be a place for everything but frankly I don't care where it is.

So, what should I be doing now instead of writing this?  Laundry.


There really is no point to this post other than to share with you my general contempt towards keeping house.  It wasn't a work thing.  It is a me thing.

Good thing AJ didn't marry me for my housekeeping skills!  ;)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fiscally speaking...

Okay, I know I asked for this.  BUT, being broke is NO joke.

Seriously, I am struggling mentally with having such a tight budget.  I am coupon clipping, stacking deals, buying only on sale, buying used when I can and eating at home as much as possible.

Here's the deal.  After 15+ years of spending my money on what I want when I want to not being able to spend $20 on my kids to go to Bounce U is a tough adjustment. 

I hate feeling guilty after the family goes to dinner even at a "kids eat free" night.  I know the guilt is driven by fear.  The knowledge that we have severely eaten into our savings scares the living hell out of me.

Our income currently does not cover our normal expenses let alone the extras that it seems I can't let go of.  Once the commissions start coming in we will be in a much better place but for now I wake up in the middle of the night with worry.

I am a supportive wife and don't want to burden my husband with my concerns.  He is working really hard to make sure we are taken care of.

I have to wonder though, how much of this fear is based on the fact that I have no control over it.  Is this just a control issue?  Possibly.

I REALLY need to budget and set aside money for the "extra" things so that when we do spend it I don't feel bad about it.  That is one way I can take some control over the situation.

We will get there.  I know we will. 

In the mean I need to do some serious soul searching to figure out how to let go of the old life I had and adjust to this new one.

Le sigh....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Momma's tired....and some God stuff.

Oh my gosh am I tired.  Rough night.  Rowan woke us at 3am to tell us his toy snake was broken and he wouldn't go back down.  Neighbor thought tuning his guitar at 5am would be a great idea.  Needless to say, long day.

I have decided to dedicate Sunday's to my faith.  AJ and I are both firm believers that finding and joining a church is the first step to establishing yourself in a community.  We were both raised the church and want the children to grow up knowing God.

When we lived in Memphis AJ and I searched for years (literally) for a church that fit both of us.  You name it, we went there.  AJ found the churches I liked stuffy and I found the churches he liked uncomfortable.  Right before we left Memphis we found a church we thought we could join.  We liked the congregation, they had a married persons program, a good youth program for Kaia and it was a nice balance of old and new.  Everything was perfect except for the pastor.  Yeah, snoozeville. 

When we moved to Henderson the twins were only 2 months old and finding a church was put on the back burner.  Between my travels, the exhaustion of having twins and not a ton of options we decided to wait until they were older.

So now, they are older.  We are in a town we seriously see ourselves settling down in and want to start to grow those roots.  Unlike our search in Memphis though, it isn't just AJ and I schlepping to church spending a couple of hours and going to lunch.

The stakes are higher.  The kids won't sit through service.  We aren't crazy about them going in the nursery and they are a shade too young for bible school.  God bless em, they are two. 

We need to be very targeted about our search.  We don't want them to be subjected to church after church and no real home.

So dear reader, you can look forward to the misadventures of the Starks clan as we attempt to find a church that has a congregation with members our age (may be difficult to do in the area), services for the twins, marriage programs and a service that isn't boring but not too "touchy feely".

Good luck you say?  Thanks we need it.

Sunday's will never be the same.  ;)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Good morning Mrs. Mushbrain.

So one of the hardest adjustments I have had making the transition from career to stay at home has been the lack of cerebral stimulation.  I know MANY mothers face this challenge.  Seriously, when your day consists of cooking meals, feeding children, wiping butts, sweeping messes, fighting naptimes, breaking up fights and still trying to look attractive for my husband it is difficult not to feel under utilized.

We try to get out of the house once a day and turn it into a learning adventure.  Luckily Jupiter is full of opprotunities for my kids to explore and is very family/toddler friendly.  I can't imgaine having the same experiences in Vegas.  This helps but after a while also becomes just a part of the routine.

I joined a Mom's group last week.  There are 169 moms that are members and it seems that they have a good mix of activities.  They also do couples events as well so hopefully AJ and I will be able to expand our social circle.  We are lucky enough to have our friends Tamlyn and Scott who introduced us to another couple we like to spend time with.

I am also bound and determined to teach my self Spansh.  Como you say?  Yeah.  My mom bought me a self taught course for my birthday and I am going to conquer it.

The plans for January include me enrolling in school to get an advanced degree in nutrition.  It has been MANY moons since I have been in a class but I am really looking forward to it. 

I will keep my brain from rotting.  I will remain an interesting person who can talk about more then how many times I had to take the kids potty.

I know that I am just getting into the thick of it.  The new feeling is wearing off and I am realizing this is NOT an extending vacation.

This is hard work people.  Working moms have it tough too but I never really appreciated the division in my day.  I was literally split into two.  Now I have one long run on day that ends at 9pm.

One whole woman that desperately wants to feel utilized to my potential,  come up with clever ways to solve a crisis and receive a performance review.

My feedback comes on a daily basis in the form of  "I love you mamma's" and my bonuses are paid in kisses and hugs.

That my friends is enough.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dear Readers, there is pee on the playground

I am absolutely convinced now that all those stories are true.  Public playgrounds are disgusting nasty breeding grounds for disgusting nastiness.  BOTH of my children have urinated on a play ground.  Isn't potty training grand?

Tonight, my stable one, the one I never worry about, the one who hasn't had an accident in a week (well if you don't count her pooping her pants at T's house) peed.  Right there on the 3rd deck of the indoor, Chik-fil-a play yard.

Yep.  I was THAT mom who had to walk to the counter and tell them they needed to close the play area because my daughter peed.

What does this have to do with switching professions or establishing roots? 


Other than to tell you that is yet another place I can never go back to.

Just to keep you up to speed we have checked off our list:

Payless Shoes (Rowan peed on their floor near the check out counter)
Pollo Tropical (Rowan did the dead mans drop in the middle of the parking lot and got a public spanking)
Chik-fil-a (see above)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Today reminded me how lucky I have it

Sloane, Rowan and I met our friends Tamlyn, Cooper and Colton at Bush Wildlife Sanctuary this morning.  None of us had ever been there but we heard good things and since number one it was free and number two we had nothing else to do we went.

If I can use a bit of Internet slang for a minute OMG was it fun.  It is a small sanctuary that takes in injured animals.  It releases everyone of them it can but the ones that are too domestic or disabled stay there for us to enjoy.

The kids had so much fun watching the deer eat breakfast, hearing the turkeys gobble, seeing "Digger" the tunneling owl and Sloane even got to touch a snake (Rowan wanted no part of it).  The kids got to see bobcats, panthers and bears up close and personal.  A docent was walking around the park with different animals to educate the kids and told us that their larger animals were actually confiscated from peoples homes were they were kept as domestic pets.  Ummm....yeah.  I can barely handle a dog.

So by 12:30 I convinced my kids that we HAD to leave (we had been there for 2.5 hours) and we got to meet daddy for lunch.  A TREAT!

I tell myself that I am taking the kids to these cool places to prepare them for school but I think I may learn more from it then they do.

This is the type of stuff I was missing out on.  I am SO lucky to be able to enjoy it now.  My goal is for every time I say "ugh, they are making me want to go back to work" I create 5 experiences where I can say "see if I was working I would have missed this".

Hold me to it people.

PS, we are smack dab in the middle of potty training.  I haven't stepped in poop for over a week.  Progress my friends.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Amazing how your perspective changes....

So, I was trying to decide what to blog about today and was having a really hard time.  I didn't like ANYTHING I was writing.  I feel emotionally spent and it is zapping my creativity.

See the thing is, I had a disagreement with a friend today.  Just some stupid girl stuff.  Stuff that 6 months ago wouldn't have made me blink an eye.  Today it had me blinking tears.  What is this wet stuff leaking from my eyes?

I really think that now that I don't have the corporate politics to wrap my self around it leaves room for other things.  More important things.  Like people.

So when a minor disagreement happens with someone you are personally connected with it seems SO much bigger.  So much more important.  You know what?  It is.  It always has been.  I have just been too busy or too above it all to realize. 

My friend Nikki's daughter says "Mom, you better recognize".  I have.

I guess the moral of my post today for everyone reading is no matter how busy you are or how much above things you are, take a step back.  Do a relationship check.  Are you comfortable with where they are?  If so be thankful.  If not, do something about it.  NOW.  Get off the computer and make a phone call.  Go give your kids, husband, mom or who ever a kiss.

For my friends who listened to me cry today, thank you.  Thank you for being there for me for the last three years.  I love you all.