Monday, February 16, 2009

Finding My Voice

Today I woke up to find I had no voice. It seems like it happens every year, I get a cold that runs through various symptoms and eventually settles in my throat and I end up not being able to talk. My job requires me to take calls and provide answers - today I was able to squeak out a greeting and communicate, but I was very frustrated trying to make myself heard. You would probably ask: Why not take a sick day? And I would reassure you: I feel fine - very good actually, and we only get so many days each year - what if I really need this day later? So I went to work, did my job and helped others.

This voiceless day reinforces my new respect and appreciation for the Web 2.0 technologies. Much of my work interaction today took place through email. On the personal side, I was able to text my daughters and not worry about being heard. Twitter allowed me to converse with friends, colleagues and even my husband. And my Facebook provided me with the social interaction that would have had to wait till my voice came back.

My day with no voice may actually provide additional insight as I continue to encourage my office to engage in these new technologies. It definitely reinforces my motivation for staying current.

Whether I have anything to say or not, and despite not having a voice to say it, I have the means and connections to make myself heard.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

You Needed Us...

It was 16 years ago today that I first saw your face. Your entry into our lives was eventful to say the least. We loved you and took care of you. You needed us...for everything.

As you got older, you became mobile and started to communicate. We loved you and picked you up when you fell, and helped you learn words to express yourself. You needed us...for support.

Preschool started your formal education, learning your colors, ABC's, counting and socialization. We loved you and showed you how to tie your shoes, taught you right from wrong, and what you needed to know to be a good person. You needed us...for knowledge.

Different activities provided various learning experiences. Sports provided coordination, competition and lessons in sportsmanship. Girl Scouts helped develop your self-esteem and offered new insight and friendships. Daddy as your coach, and I as your leader, we loved you and helped you find your interests and become more independent. You needed us...for guidance.

You stretched your wings and your voice - choir and drama provided you with an outlet for expressing yourself. We applauded you and became your biggest fans. You needed us...sometimes.

For 16 years - every step, each word, your performances, activities and interests - we were there for you. You needed us. And do you know what? Just because you're 16 now, nothing really changes. We are here for you, no matter what you do, no matter how old you are, everything you try - we'll be there cheering you on. You may not always need us...but we're here whenever you do.

Happy Birthday K! We love you!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Snow Days

Now that I have all of our photos scanned in and stored electronically, I'm able to easily look back at memorable times and events. We had a big snowstorm last week, and another is predicted this week as well. So I thought I'd share some of our snow pictures through the years.

K is our snow shoveler now. She earns extra spending money by clearing the driveway and sidewalks anytime we get a significant snow. We started her early - these pictures are from 1995 when she was almost 2 years old.

She really does not like the cold though, even now that she's older.

For D, her first big snowfall was just after Christmas in 1998. She was 2 1/2 years old. She never even made it outside - just getting her ready to head out to play sent her into hysterics. (I know, what kind of parent am I that I took a picture of this "memorable" event?) But K had fun outside without her.

The snow stayed around till after the first of the year. We still didn't manage to get D out to experience it, so I played with K and built a pretty awesome snowfort (if I do say so myself!).

Between Christmas and New Years 1999, we had a big snowfall - and D finally took part in the fun, even making a great snow angel.

February of 2000 brought a big snow and the girls made a cool snowman - complete with a carrot nose and actual coal for the eyes and mouth. And they had a great time making a big fort (with some help from Daddy).

These are pictures from 2003, February again. (Yikes, lots of February snowstorms and today is just February 1st!) A lot of snow meant a lot of shoveling, and a trip to the sledding hill.

Daddy took D down the hill - once. That's it, she didn't go down again. Of course, who am I to talk? I didn't even make it all the way down - I fell off the sled, grabbed it and walked the few feet back to the top and that was it for me too.

K and Daddy went down the hill on every kind of sled we had, and were exhausted when it was time to head home.

Another snowman picture, taken just after Christmas in 2004. K and D both worked on this guy, K just got sick of the cold, so D and "Snowy" make a happy couple.

These days as the girls are getting older, they limit their snow activities. When the snow starts falling, K's only concern is for the money she'll make from shoveling, and D hopes for a snow day so she doesn't have to make her way through the snow-covered sidewalks to her bus stop. Then they take Mulligan, our dog, out in the backyard and throw the ball for him, chase him, and throw a couple of snowballs at each other. Mulligan loves the snow - he leaps and tries to bite the flakes as they fall from the sky, he runs around and rolls in it until his long fur gets full of snow and he can hardly walk from the weight of it. But he's in the minority in the family - the rest of us are ready for Spring.