Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy 14th Birthday Sinobia!

14 years ago today, April 11, 2000, my Sinobia was born!  She did not come into this world quietly.  There was lots of screaming, crying, huffing, puffing and pushing as she entered into our lives.  Her reputation for drama and fanfare has stayed true throughout these 14 years.  Every day, since the moment my water broke has been an adventure with Sinobia. Life is never dull with her around.

As our iPhones turned to midnight today, Sinobia's phone began buzzing and ringing.  She was flooded with birthday messages from her friends.  I realized that the same crazy, weird, hilarious moods she brings to our house, she also brings to all of those around her.  She is "SO Sinobia" all of the time.  In her 14 years she has learned to love herself for who she is and embrace all that she has to offer to others.  She stays constant and true to herself all of the time, never changing or compromising her values and self-worth for others.  She is a gift to all that have the pleasure of knowing her and a treasure to those who have her as a friend, sister, cousin, niece, granddaughter and daughter.

Happy Birthday Sinobia!  We love you!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Swim Marathon 2014

"If you think your sport is hard, try doing it while holding your breath"


After nearly a month off from swimming because of her asthma, Sinobia jumped back into the pool on Tuesday to participate in the 19th Annual Flying Fish Swim Marathon, an one hour continuous swim with her swim team.

Eric and I sat at the side of the pool, with inhaler in hand, prepared to pull her out of the pool if her breathing got bad.  As we started counting laps at the beginning of the hour, it became clear to us that she was not going to stop swimming.  Her pace was great, her breathing was relaxed and she was in the swimming zone. 

Last year she swam 138 lengths in an hour. This year she did not let the asthma keep her down and away from raising funds for her beloved swim team. She emerged from the pool having swam 144 lengths in the one hour!  

(These funds help the YWCA continue to provide healthy aquatic programming, provide financial assistance to families who cannot afford the cost of swim lessons or swim team participation, and support YWCA services in the areas domestic violence and violence prevention.)

This was Sinobia's 5th year participating in the swim marathon and the first year that Gabby was not here to count her little sister's laps.  We sent Gabby a text right after Sinobia got out of the pool to report the 144.  "Dang, is that a record?" was her response.  This year, I think I am the one in awe of Sinobia (and relieved that her breathing stayed strong).  She was pretty sick for a while there, but she got through it and got herself strong again, just in time for marathon.  She definitely has the willpower and discipline that I don't.  She is determined and strong all of the time. Traits that will continue to serve her well in her life.

There is still time to sponsor Sinobia and her Swim Marathon cause (you have until February 28th).  The YWCA has made it so easy this year, they set up web pages for each kid, so you can click on the link below, it will take you straight to Sinobia's web page, where you can make a donation (and/or see her cute picture), or you can just send her a check:)

Follow This Link to visit Sinobia's personal web page and help me in my efforts to support YWCA 
- Evanston/North Shore

Thank you to everyone who has helped her meet (and possibly exceed) her goal!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014....Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!

I'm sitting at swim team practice right now.  It's my first carpool night of 2014.  Sinobia has been out from swimming for about 3 weeks.  What started as "just a cold" ended up being close to 2 weeks out of school and 3 weeks from swimming after her asthma resurfaced from a 2 year hiatus.  I am thankful that 2014 has greeted all of us in good spirits and in good health.

2013 was a year of changes and transitions for our family.  We made it through the college process and shed less tears than expected during our Senior year moments, watched Sinobia become a beast in the water as she mastered her butterfly stroke,  hosted our first exchange student and then sent Gabby to Spain to be hosted by a family,  graduated our first born from high school and sent her across the country to college and attended "Freshman Information Night" for our "Class of 2018" Sinobia!

2013 was the first year that we let Sinobia travel without us, sending her on two trips, one to Italy and one to Virginia Beach.

It was the first time we spent a New Years eve without our children...Sinobia was in Italy and Gabby was at her first concert without me.

2013 validated that our family is strong and resilient; as we stuck together through thick and thin.

2013 was the year that Eric and I realized that, although challenging at times, we've kinda got this parenting thing under control.

2013 was the first year that our family spent Thanksgiving without Gabby.

2013 is the year that I started to realize that my children didn't need me so much, and that I needed to start taking care of myself.

2013 is the year that I remembered to tell my colleagues how much I appreciate them, more often.

2013 was the year that, after 5 years, I finally let go of my iPhone 1 and upgraded to the iPhone 5.  With this upgrade, I discovered instagram and quickly became a part of the "social media" world.  I'm now addicted to instagram (but still not on Facebook)!

So many memories from 2013, but we are looking forward to making even more memories in 2014.  As our children continue to grow up, our lives will continue evolving and changing.  Eric and I are still growing as well.  Every year we discover new things about ourselves and begin to pay closer attention to the adults/people/parents/partners that we have become.  2014 will bring more growth for us as well.

In 2014 we will continue to be thankful for all the love and camaraderie that we have in our Aiden clan.  We will cherish our moments together and hope for many more memory making years together.

We wish all the best for you and your family in 2014.  Thanks for following our family's journey.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy 19th Birthday Gabrielle!

Gabby turned 19 today! 

I'm at a loss for words....19 years is a long time, but it has gone by so fast.  My little girl is a young woman now.  

Year 18 was full of transitions for our girl.  Gabby hosted an exchange student, traveled to Spain, completed the stressful college process, committed to a college, made it through her 4th and final year of Varsity gymnastics, attended prom, graduated with honors. started her freshman year at San Jose State University and spent her first Thanksgiving away from home in San Francisco.

Now she's home for her Winter break and I am soaking up every minute that she is here with us.  I know that there will come a day when she may not come home so much.  She will soon have a life of her own, so until then, I will cherish every moment we have together.  

We usually don't celebrate our kids birthdays in a big way, outside of their kiddie birthday parties (and the celebrated Sweet 16),  but this year we made an exception since our girl has been away from home for 4 months.  Her choice of restaurants....Carnivale!

We have a few more weeks with Gabby at home with us before she's back to California for her second semester.  We're all going to make the most of this time together....smother her with all of our love and affection.  

Happy 19th Birthday Gabby!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

thank·ful [thangk-fuhl]
feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative. grateful and appreciative

This weekend has been a weekend to slow down and reflect on all that I am thankful for.  I often just stop in my tracks, smile and give thanks for the amazing life I have, but this thanksgiving weekend was very deliberate.  It feels as if my life is changing every day.  Each morning I wake up and take a deep breath, ready to take on whatever comes my way.  I am ready for some of the changes and others are catching me by surprise, yet I am still thankful.

This was my first Thanksgiving in 18 years without Gabby.  I imagined this day would be a sad one; me crying and missing my big girl, but it was a good day.  I was thankful to hear her voice on the phone and know that she was enjoying her Thanksgiving in San Francisco with one of her best friends.   She was safe, had a place to stay and good food to eat.  She is enjoying California college life and will be home in a few weeks.

Sinobia kept us laughing and entertained most of the day.  Her "teenage" personality is evolving every day.  While this is an exhausting process, it's also quite fun to watch.  I'm thankful that she still allows us to be a part of her life, as this is the time when teenagers begin to push their parents away.  We had ourselves a movie date today and she actually sat right next to me.  She is growing up to be a great kid....big world look out!

Eric fried us an amazing turkey this year for thanksgiving; his best yet!  I wake up every day thankful to have him by my side.  I couldn't ask for a more patient and loving partner and father for my children.  Eric is learning to deal with my menopause craziness like a real trooper.  I can never predict my mood, temperature or sensitivity, but he is always ready for whatever emerges from the menopausal beast that lurks within me.

I am thankful that my mom and brother are in good health.  They are doing well in Louisiana.  I wish I could see them more often, but our constant phone calls keep us connected.  I am thankful for the great family that the Aiden's are to me.  Eric's parents are like my parents and his siblings are like my own as well.  When I cannot be with my mom and brother, they embrace me and surround me with love every minute that I am with them.

I am thankful for all of my amazing friends that I have.  I have chosen to surround myself with people that are easy to love...they in return love me, my children and my family unconditionally.  I have had the opportunity to connect with some friends over the past few weeks.  It feels good to see them, hug them and enjoy their company while remembering why I love them so much.

I am thankful for my great job and my lovely classroom of children and parents this year.  My colleagues are constantly supporting me, pushing me to grow professionally and encouraging me to be the one and only "Authentic" Tracy.  I am thankful for my kindergarten grade-mate, tucked in the hallway corner with me (shout-out to Lizzy B), who always has my back.  Liz has jumped on my crazy menopausal roller-coaster and has learned to read my moods well.  She always makes me laugh when she predicts tears will start to flow from my eyes..she quickly jumps into action shouting "Don't cry! Don't cry!" and produces tissue at just the right time.

I am thankful for our simple, yet beautiful home, where we love each other fiercely, fight like cats and dogs, sing too loud, laugh even louder and cherish each moment we have together.

I hope that everyone takes the time to reflect on the things that they are thankful for in their lives.  Life is so fragile and many are not afforded much time on this earth.  Love who you are, what you have and be thankful.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Where Has The Time Gone?

So, a few weeks ago, I find myself sitting in an auditorium full of children and parents at ETHS.  I think I'm dreaming before I realize that I am at "Incoming Freshman" orientation for Sinobia.

Where has the time gone?  I still remember crying my eyes out at her 5th grade graduation a few years ago, so sad that she was leaving the elementary school nest and moving on to middle school.  Now she is talking about summer school, schedules, sports and college?!

With one of our girls gone away to college, it's hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that the next 4 years are going to go by so fast.  They went too fast with Gabby.  One day we were saying, "oh, we have plenty of time" and the next we were declaring a school and packing up her life to send her off to California.

I'm going to try to take the next 4 years really slow.  No one really remembers Sinobia as a little kid.  It seems as if she was just born this little mini-person and just kept on growing, evolving and maturing as each day went by.  I know now from experience that these days are to be cherished.  Our baby is not our little baby anymore.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Life Is Good

I have to admit...I've been cheating.  Since I upgraded from my iPhone1 to my iPhone5 this summer, I have been obsessed with all the great things it can do and I have become a big fan of instagram. I love, many of my cute captions, photos and moments have been my recent instagram posts.

Life is good in the Aiden house.

Sinobia is swimming like crazy and loving it.  She just completed a 4-day-in-a-row swim meet last weekend and is heading to another one this weekend.  Her room smells like chlorine, but she doesn't seem to notice, since it also oozes out of her pores.  Our hamper is always full of wet towels and soggy swimsuits and I trip over her swim bag a few times a week (since it lays in the middle of the dining room floor).

8th grade is going well.  We just got our high school registration forms in the mail this week.  Can you believe it?  Our baby will be in high school next year!

Gabby is doing well in San Jose.  She texts me often and calls home faithfully on Sunday nights.  Her auntie Stephanie sent her a flat screen TV just in time for the new season of Scandal.  I'm a little jealous, her TV is bigger and better than the one we have at home!  Thanks Steph!

 I check the San Jose weather every day.  It hasn't rained since she's been there.  So, sunny California is treating my girl well.  There have been moments when I have to stop and remember that she is not at home, then I start missing her.  This is the time of year when we like to bake.  She's my cooking partner.  This is Scandal season.  She's the only one in the house that watches it with me.  Moments like these really make me miss her.  She will be home for Christmas.

Eric is doing well.  Work keeps him busy.  He and Sinobia are a little gang.  They have been teaming up on me lately.  Sinobia is pretty quick witted and has some good jokes.  She and Eric tag-team with each other with the jokes (always at my expense).  They're pretty funny.  Most times I have to laugh with them.  Eric misses Gabby too.  He's trying to hold Sinobia close to home these days...attempting to stunt her social life and freedom.  I can tell the reality that, she too, will be gone in a few years has hit him.  She is pretty good a persuading him to let her loose, usually it's with the promise of constant texting and communication while she is away from home.

I have figured out that, it was evident years ago, Sinobia is a free spirit.  She cannot be contained.  She needs some reigning in from time to time, but for the most part we have done a good job with giving her the skills she needs to be school smart, street smart and use common sense.   I love watching her grow up in her teenage years.  She is not the girl I lived with a few years ago. She is constantly morphing into this person that I am in awe of.  Her maturity takes me by surprise as does her need to be silly and just a kid.

The cat, the dog and the snake are all alive and doing well!  Nothing has changed with them.

That's it for now...Life is good.  I will try to spread my love and attention evenly between Abundantly Aiden and Instagram.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Person That I Am...

Sorry that it has been a few weeks since my last post.  I've been a little lazy.  A little tired.  A little blah.

Last week I turned 45 years old.  I'm starting to think about the person I am.  The person I still want to be.  The person I will evolve into.

I would like to be the person that comes home and sits on the couch all night in front of the TV.
I would like to be the person that stays up late surfing the Internet or browsing through Facebook.
I would like to be the person that gets to sleep late and doesn't have to walk the dog.

I am not that person.

I want to be the person that doesn't have to carpool.
I want to be the person that doesn't volunteer.
I want to be the person that has nothing on her calendar.

I am not that person.

I want to be the person that doesn't care if the trash gets taken out.
I want to be the person that doesn't care if her house is clean.
I want to be the person that doesn't fully commit to everything that she does.

I am not that person.

I want to be the person that has "just a job".
I want to be the person that does "just enough" to get by.
I want to be the person that takes hand-outs, asks for favors and waits for others to do things for her.

I am not that person.

I was reminded the other day, while talking to an old childhood friend that I was not that person.  "That is not the kind of person you are Tracy."  "You are not bred that way."  He is right.

I am not designed that way.  I was raised and bred to be active in my children's lives and in the community.  I was taught to make my own path, hold my own and have a purpose in life.  I was taught to make a difference everyday I am blessed to wake up.  I was bred to be hard working, resilient and strong.

I was taught well by my parents.  Many of these "life lessons"came from my dad.  He lead by example.  I never saw him quit, give-up or turn his back on someone in need.  He was supportive and active in the community.  He was an amazing role model to all that knew him.  He was exactly the person he wanted to be.

I want to be that person.

It's hard to be that person.  You get tired.  I get tired.  I wonder if I am raising my children well and breeding another generation of strong women that will make a difference to others everyday.  Will they want to be that person?  Will they too get tired of being that person? I don't know.

Hmmm, maybe it's a "phase of life" that I am going through.  Could this be my mid-life crisis...rebelling against the ways in which I was raised?  I 'm not sure, but I hope it doesn't last long.  I don't like feeling this way.  I feel guilty wanting a more leisurely, laid-back, care-free life. I feel guilty about just wanting to do nothing.   My life is is blessed. I've got to snap out of this soon!

I will go on being the person that I am.  I will probably continue to daydream about that other person that is not me.  I will crave the life of little or no responsibility.  I will figure it all out.

The weird thing, that makes no sense at all, is that I love being me, the person that I am.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

The School Year Has Begun.

First day of school style.

Our 2013-2014 school year has begun.  Sinobia started 8th grade last Monday!  It blows my mind at how fast her middle school years have gone by.  Seems like yesterday that she was heading off to 6th grade with her bright yellow "first day of school" jeans on.  This year, as a veteran middle-schooler, she embraced a more laid back outfit for the return to school.  So cute, so cool, so hipster, so Sinobia!

She returned home after the first day of school, pleased with her new teachers and pleasantly surprised to, for the first time, have one of Gabby's teachers.  Sinobia academic path so far, has been designed for her not to have any teachers that her big sister had.  Following the foot-steps of a sibling can be a difficult thing.  We learned early on that our two girls were so significantly different from each other, that they deserved a chance to not have to be compared all of the time.  I believe that most teachers wouldn't realize they were related to each other unless they were told.  They look absolutely nothing alike, their personalities and temperaments are so different as well as how they approach school and life.  Our parenting styles change between the two of them too.  What works for one, will pretty much not work for the other.  No re-using or recycling parenting strategies for us.

Anyway, Sinobia has the privilege to have one of Gabby's favorite middle school teachers this year.  Gabby is excited for Sinobia to have a chance to work with this teacher and of course, Sinobia is excited to take on the challenge of letting this teacher know she is nothing like her sister:)

Speaking of Gabby, she seems to be adjusting well to life in California.  What's so hard about adjusting to life in an area where it never rains and is always sunny?  She is getting settled into her classes and college life. She has gone to SJSU's first football game, a few parties and road the train to find the Mall! I feel less sad about her being gone every time I hear her voice on the phone.  She sounds happy, she's doing fine, she's going to be OK.

So it has all TV, early wake-ups, making lunches, homework, carpooling and more socializing with friends.  Life is good.  No complaints.

Two thumbs is good!

Monday, August 19, 2013

College Girl.

I have a college student now.  I'm currently sitting in the San Jose airport trying not to start sobbing, for fear that people will think I am crazy.  Well, I am crazy.  I'm crazy for thinking that I could drop Gabby off at school and not feel sad.  Crazy to think that I had it all together and was stronger than every other mom in the world that has dropped her kid off at school.  Crazy to think that a hug, a smile, a pat on the back and a high-five with a "kick some ass in college" chant would be enough.

We moved Gabby into her dorm room on Saturday morning.  I was fine, totally in work mode.

I cried Saturday night.  It finally hit me that the room we had spent all day decorating and filling with some comforts of home, was in fact going to be Gabby's new home.

I think I also cried on Saturday night because for the first time in 18 years, I realized that this journey Gabby was embarking on was completely out of my control.  I won't be there to help her make friends, this isn't the first day of kindergarten.  I am leaving her in a new place, in a new situation where she knows not a single person.  I won't be there to read her mind and decode her moods.  I won't be in control of anything.  I am leaving my girl on her own to grow up, mature and create her future.  I have to step back and be less of a participant and more of a spectator in this process.  My tears on Saturday were for the loss of my smothering-mothering phase in Gabby's life.

The final touches went into Gabby's dorm room on Sunday.  Lunch and dinner together and then the final goodbye.  We dropped her off in front of her dorm building. Sinobia at first gave a little "see ya later" pat on the back and then went back for more of a hug.  Eric...I'll let him Facebook about his goodbye.  Gabby is his first born, our Guinea pig child. He is beyond proud of her (and himself for being such a great dad).

I kept it together.  I told Gabby I didn't want to cry, I wanted to be strong for her, I am so happy for her, so very proud of her.  I gave her a huge hug, she hugged me back (I almost lost it then).  "Do you want me to walk you in?"  I was getting soft.  "No mom, I'll be OK."

Another hug and then she went walking in to her new home, her college dorm.  As soon as she disappeared around the corner, I lost it.  A moan and a wail, then the tears started to was ugly.  Sinobia was stunned.  "I've never heard you cry out loud" is what she told me later.

This has to be one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my parenting life...let my kid go.  It probably wouldn't be so bad if she were in Iowa or Indiana, but she is all the way across the country.  Now I  understand why fellow parents and friends have told me to "Hang in there", "I'll be there for you", "Call me if you need me", "It will all be OK".  My heart is aching, I can't describe it.  Only a parent that has done this can understand.

I hear it gets better, easier with time.  I think once I hear her voice in a few days or weeks and hear the comfort and confidence in her voice of a somewhat-transitioned college student, then I will feel a little better.  I'll keep you posted.

I am so very happy for Gabby.  She has wanted to be in California for so long.  I know she will get the hang of college life very quickly.  I am so very proud of Eric and I for being the parents that we have been.  It hasn't been easy, but these proud/sad moments make it all worth while.

Oh, poor Sinobia.  She doesn't know what she is in for.  She is now an only child at home, all eyes on her:)

Good Luck Gabby!  Miss you already!