Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Merry Christmas from the Austin Family 2017!

Merry Christmas!

It has been yet another busy year for us!

Chris has been a working fool this year. Okay, he works every year, but this year was exceptionally chaotic. He left Nelnet to take a contract position at ProKarma in May. Having worked as a contracter for 3 years myself, I kinda pushed him into it. Chris liked the contract position, but decided to take a position at InEight, a close partner of Kiewet, in Omaha. I was happy he found a place in Omaha he could be happy with. He is a lead UX designer for him working closely with a fair sized team, many of which are located in India. He told me at first that he may have to travel to India, but has been able to do his work with them remotely luckily. Chris continues to set his alarm for 4 something AM almost daily to hit crossfit Papio. He loves it! He also completed his SECOND 1/2 marathon this fall with a killer time!

Alivia is now a big old teenager at 13 and in the 8th grade at Papillion Middle School. Alivia is active in many things. She loves to run and ran track last spring and cross country again this fall. She did pretty well in cross country and really loves the sport. She keeps up her running with me on weekends and is in running club at school. Alivia ran her first half marathon this fall in Omaha. Chris, Alivia and I all finished together. It was a fun moment for her. When she is not running, she is still out for soccer on the Papillion Soccer Club. She has become a little more aggressive this year, which has been fun to watch. She now likes to score goals! Alivia remains quite particular with her homework, often working ahead when she can. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her close friends, playing soccer in the backyard with Asher, or taking long bike rides.

Addison is now 11 years old and in the 6th Grade at Bell. Addison is quite busy now adays teaching herself musical instruments. She is currently working on playing the ukulele. She gets on YouTube and teaches herself! She plays the guitar that way too. She does, however, take piano lessons and is quite a good piano player. It amazing us how quickly she can pick it up! Addison is very thoughtful, often making clay works or paintings for family for gifts. Thanks to Addison, we did have to recarpet the upstairs, though. No more paint in her room now. :) Addison's friend, Sidney, moved away this year, which has been hard on Addi as she transitions to the mean girl stage of middle school. Gees, girls are brutal. We are hoping it gets easier for her soon. Addi loves dogs, too, and we will get to that later.

Asher is now 10 years old and in the 4th grade at Bell. Asher plays a lot of soccer, now at the Papillion soccer club, too. We hope this is his last soccer club. I tell you, these soccer clubs around here are crazy! Asher is always on the go, rarely sitting still. He likes to jump on the trampoline, play basketball, or play soccer in the backyard with his friends. He always loves Netflix!

I had a little career change of my own in 2017, but mine did not turn out as well as Chris' did. I left Noll in May after 3 years to take a float position with CHI. I did this because I only wanted to float in one place, at Lasting Hope Recovery Center.  I loved working in one building, figuring out where everything was, and getting to know my co workers. Well, that was short lived. In November, they started floating me all over the CHI Hospitals again, just as I had done with Noll. So, I switched jobs just to be doing the same thing. The job does offer me the flexibility to select my own schedule. So, that may be hard to beat. We shall see what 2018 brings. When not working, I am just sitting on my arse at home (LOL!!). I work 2 to 3 12.5 hour night shifts a week and find little free time between running the kids to 2 schools, laundry, grocery shopping and house cleaning. But when I am not doing all that fun stuff, I still run and do BBG for strength training.

For Christmas this year, Addison only asked for a dog. We kept telling her, we already have a dog, Pippa, our Papillon. Addison said she wanted a lab, a dog she could play fetch with. After much encouragement, I caved. We adopted Coco on 12-9. Coco is a Lab, Doberman mix. She is playful like a lab but a guard dog like a doberman. We have A LOT of training ahead of us. Addi is usually the one who knows what she wants. I just hope she knows that she is going to be helping out with Coco.:)

We continued the Austin Adventures in 2017. I took a quick trip to visit my parents in Florida last January. I love Florida, especially in the winter. So this year, I am visiting my parents again, but I am bringing Addison with me. We are both looking forward to that! Over spring break last year, we took a trip to see the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Vegas. The trip was pretty but the kids were sick the entire time. I am pretty sure they will never visit the Grand Canyon again. We also took our annual trip to the Lake of the Ozarks. Chris brought friends for each kid this year over the 4th of July. That was crazy. I am not sure we will do that again, either. :). And Chris has been trying to get me to do things out of the box, like see scary movies and go camping kinda stuff. So for our anniversary, we slept in a tent and tried to hike a 14er in Colorado. I did not make it. I got elevation sickness and had to turn back. But, I am looking forward to going back and trying again. We loved visiting Aspen, too. We are already planning some fun trips in 2018.

From our family to yours, we wish you health and happiness in 2018!

Chris, Krista, Alivia, Addison, Asher, Pippa and Coco

Introducing Coco!


Girl Drama

Middle school is so hard. I mean the mean girls. We have found the boys to not be much better, either!

Addison is in the 6th grade. Officially, she is still in Elementary. But, she is in portables, her classrooms are separated from the school, the bell rings and they have to go to different teachers for different classes, so they are a work in progress middle school. And, the kids act like middle schoolers.

Let's be frank, Addi has some mean girls in her class. Honestly, I do not know how Addi behaves when I am not there. I only see what I see when I visit. And when I visit, these mean girls can not even fake being nice. They walk by and GIVE ME DIRTY LOOKS. Seriously. I can not even avoid the middle school girl drama.

And it is not just the girls, either. Asher had a very good friend that entered the 6th grade this year. This friend went many places with us and spent a lot of time here. He now refuses to speak to Asher. It is like he will fall off the cool planet if he speaks to a 4th grader or maybe just to Asher. I say good morning to him some mornings while walking to school and the kid looks down at his phone pretending not to hear me. I am surprised every morning he makes it to school without hitting a pole because he walks with his head in his phone, oblivious to his surroundings. Thankfully, I will not let my kids have a phone until they can prove to me they will not stare at it 24/7. And this child is the poster child for why my kids do not have phones. And, he is in fact, a mean boy now. How you can go to being my kids best friend to not speaking overnight without an explanation is insane to me.

Every day, Addi has a new story to tell about these girls doing things, bickering, bullying, leaving each other out, and just being plain hurtful. For example, I ate lunch with Addi on Asher's birthday a couple weeks ago. Addi picked a girl who is routinely picked on by others and Addi calls her a friend. When she did not select another girl to lunch, this girl went up to Addi and said, "Friends pick their friends to eat lunch with them Addi," and walked away. The very next day, this same girl had her mom visit for lunch and clearly intentionally, selected another friend to have lunch with her. So obviously the rule only applies when Addi does not invite her. Same said girl dropped the meanest look at me today. I really wanted to walk up to her and say something but I did not. I am not her parent, thankfully. I can only teach Addi to be kind to all the girls, and I hope she is. I like that she selects a girl who is maybe being picked on in school. Addi does not care if she is popular. Because let's face it, popular girls generally are not the most successful in life. So, popularity should not matter.

This is what matters.

Be kind. Be nice. Be thoughtful.

"Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you."

The Golden Rule really should be taught in middle school.

Monday, December 04, 2017

From SAHM to Working Mom

Since the kids all started school (several years ago now as Asher is in the 4th grade!), I have progressively been working more and more. This summer, Chris had a little comment that caught me off guard, something about me not working. In all fairness, I do not work much in the summer. I work my requirement of 24 hours a month then ride off to the Lake to enjoy summer with the kids. In the winter, I was working part time, or 2 12.5 hour shifts a week.

Well, this year, having taken a new job working directly with CHI (BIG mistake), I have been working closer to 3 12hr shifts per week. YIKES! Initially, I liked my job working at one CHI facility. I was just working in ONE building, so I always knew where I was going but just did not know what unit until an hour before my shift started. Then, out of the blue, they decided to have me float all over the city and into Iowa like I was doing before with Noll. Funny, they totally lied to get me hired (actually, not funny at all!). I would have never taken the job to do the same exact thing as I was doing elsewhere. I have not worked in the building I was hired to work in since before Thanksgiving. That, I hate.

I liked my job when I was just floating in one building. I kinda felt like I knew what the hay I was doing. So, since I liked it, I signed up for more shifts. I started doing one week a month pulling 3 shifts. Then I increased it to 2-3 a month. Now, I am scheduled for 4 weeks in a row full time.

I am not entirely sure what I was thinking. Now that I am floating all over the place, I no longer like my job. For example, tonight I am working. It is 4 pm. I have no idea where I will be working. I do not know what hospital, what state, or what unit. Nice, right? Nope. Not nice. I am constantly trying to rush out the door, calling to see where I am rushing to. I arrive to the unit, usually dumped with an admission waiting (because float staff get dumped on often), do my job knowing that it is different in every unit I work in. Management keeps saying, "It is the same everywhere." But that is not the case. Some units use one set of admit forms while other places do not use them. Some units chart some things while other units do not. Keeping it all straight gives me a giant headache.

So now I am left with the question. Should I keep working FT, PT or just do my minimum of 24 hours a month while I look for other employment? For one, I do not like working for someone who lies to get me employed, and then changes my job description so often I am not even sure what I am doing anymore. 

And, working FT, is very complicated. I do not sleep more than 4 hours between shifts. So, 12.5 hour shifts get quite long on no sleep. By the third night, I just stop talking to my family because I need to save energy and I am a total witch. After the third night, I get up, work out, pick up the kids, and return to bed. I am a hot mess!! I do not know how full time moms do it. I told Chris when I got pregnant with Asher, I AM NOT WORKING ANYMORE. I know my limits, and working FT and being any kind of mom is not possible for me. I just get too overwhelmed.

I am scheduled to work until Christmas break. Then, I am not sure. This float nurse is on the look out for a new home. It may just be home. :)

Friday, December 01, 2017

Asher's 10th Birthday!

On Wednesday, Asher turned 10 years old! Hard to believe that the "baby" of the family is 10! Gees! Where does the time go?

A couple weeks ago, Asher celebrated with his close friends with a sleepover movie party. We went to see the movie "Wonder" before the boys crashed in a tent in the basement. It was not as bad as I thought. Maybe working the night before and being exhausted without sleep helped me just not to hear them. :) They were actually pretty well behaved. We had pizza, cake, ice cream and donuts for breakfast. After filling the up with junk food, we sent them home. HA!

Asher's 10th Birthday Questions:
1. Favorite Color:Blue
2. Toy: Nerf Guns
3: fruit: Strawberries
4. TV show: Would be Kickin It, but Netflix pulled it, so "Flash"
5. Thing to eat for lunch: Which Wich  Turkey Sandwich
6. Outfit: Anything Nike or Under Armour
7. game: Soccer
8. snack: Popcorn
9. animal: Rattlesnake
10. song:Castle on the Hill Ed Sheeran
11. book:  Diary of the Wimpy Kid
12 best friend: Toss up between Michael and Peyton
13. cereal: Cocoa Krispies
14. favorite thing to do outside:  Play soccer or basketball
15. drink: Rootbeer
16. Holiday: Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night: He shouldn't, but he does take his ipad to bed with him! Asher says his 2 snakes.
18. Favorite thing to eat for breakfast: Daddy's full breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and hashbrowns.
19. Birthday dinner: Baked chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, fruit, and chocolate pudding cake
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A home builder...??

Asher is our dare devil, soccer loving, active boy. When he is not running around with his endless energy and odd sense of humor or yelling Mom, you can find him watching Netflix. For his birthday, he got his room redone, soccer themed. We wanted the walls Dorian Gray, got him a new desk, lamp, chair, posters and he was good to go. He will get more for Christmas to make his room complete.

Happy Birthday Asher!