Thursday, July 16, 2015

Open Note to all our Cancer Slayers...Thank you

You hear your child's first cry, you feel the greatest sense of relief and then love ... the one you will never be able to explain...comes over you.  I remember it, I had the blessing of hearing and feeling it 4 times, "Irish Quads" of sorts (being born 4 in 5 years) I remember saying many times, in the last 12 years. to myself that I am so thankful that I have healthy children. 

I didn't dream that we would ever be touched by Pediatric Cancer... Sydney who is 12 has Cell B Burkett's Lymphoma...and what I didn't know is when the "C"Word comes into your life there are so many feelings.  Some very obvious... and others so completely unexpected that you don't even realize what is happening when they are happening.  

Any of you that know me can guess the first feeling I had...anyone?   "I have to be Brave!"  I have to be brave for Sydney, for Ray, for Logan, Mirada and Dillon...I have to be oh so Brave.  The next, yep you guessed it, Strong...I have to be the pillar, the island in the storm, the Teddy Bear Blankie that makes it all ok.  I tried to do all of that but there were days... Days that I screamed WHY? Why her and not me?
I had a very hard time asking for help, I felt it was a sign of weakness,  and a dear friend reminded me, I needed help, and that so many wanted to do something... anything, because they were feeling the same way we were.  I couldn't believe the outpouring of love and support.
Helplessness, that one was a doozy, I would sit and listen to Doctors and Nurses talk, I would watch them hang bags and bags of fluids on her pole as that "medicine" was going into her veins, I held the blue throw up bag and still carry one every where I go, I watched her come out of surgery and press that morphine button so many times, each time breaking my heart a little more.  But her little smile was always there...ALWAYS
Thankfullness I call it the grasp for the outstretched hand.  I had a sea of hands to grab and I will never, ever be able to thank each and every person who helped.  I do have a renewed faith in humanity though.  I still can't get over that every single moment that I spent my baby girls side was donated leave from my amazing friends at work, Thank you just doesn't seem like enough. 
My family was always there with prayers and thoughts and finances and love... Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I didn't even need to ask everyone just pitched in.  Now on to my friends, those that I went to High School with, Those I have known since I was 3 or 4... Those I have known for mere months... WOW I am humbled, sometimes humbled to tears...crazy uncontrollable tears.
Teacher One of the most important thing I wanted her to learn is that, this is HER body, HER Cancer and HER treatment.  She became her own advocate and knows exactly how to tell any Doctor or Nurse what she has and how she wants to be treated.  You can't imagine how that empowered her!
Fear took over, and I just took that fear and spent every single moment with Sydney, doing treatments, Chemo (pronounced CH-emo in our house) Clinic Visits, fundraising, loving and exploring.  It is all I knew.  Because when fear was there the day began with me reaching over to make sure that my baby was still breathing, and then embracing that day doing whatever she wanted, eating whatever she wanted even exploring our new home base if she felt up to it. 
 Guilt Now this one is the worst, I didn't give my other kids or my husband the attention, information, phone calls, texts or even really existed for them.  I have insane guilt.  I felt that I had to focus all of my energy, as well as, keep Sydney's Energy in the right place to even keep going.  I will never ever be able to make that time up with them.  I missed Dillon's 16th Birthday, man that sucked! Poor Dillon he always seems to get the worst of it, I WAS able to get to town for Mirada's Graduation and Birthday but during that time I felt riddled with guilt that I had just missed Dillon's 30 days before.  Ray would call craving information about how Syd was doing and many times I had to just disengage because either a Doctor or Nurse was coming in or I just didn't know what to say or how to say it.  Do I speculate, do I wait for tests, sometimes I would just fall apart on the other end of the phone and why the hell did I do that to him?  Poor guy completely helpless 12 hours away listening to crying on the other end of a phone.  Good God! Thank goodness he understands me...don't get me wrong there were some days that we both just wanted to jump thru the phone at each other unable to understand what was going on at each others end of the phone.
Pain The physical pain I felt is indescribable and once again wanted to take her place so many times.
There were a few times I just wanted to grab her out of that bed and run... run home, run anywhere, anywhere but there.  Of course she has no idea that this was all going on... We just kept everything positive and really for the first time in her life enjoyed being an only child for those 110 days
Pride I am so proud of the girl she is, brave, The bravest of the brave... Slayer of Cancer Cells and the girl who says "I got this" and "Its only Cancer" can only make a Mothers heart sing with pride. 
She never shed a tear when she had her head shaved and we even skyped with Mirada so she could be a part of it.  Braveheart and Slayer of Slayers.
Love It takes a lot of love and a lot of people to make an experience like this come out positive.  She is an Ambassador for Childrens Cancer Research Fund, She is and always will be a advocate for "Love your Melon" who make sure all kids with cancer have hats to keep their heads warm and make them all feel like Superheros.  Sydney is now part of the North Dakota Make a Wish Chapter and has made it very clear what she wishes for... Stay tuned for that...Its exciting and lifechanging.  She was interviewed for the Minneapolis CBS News Morning Show about how she remaed positive during her journey that is still not over yet... but we are on smoother seas. 
There are many trips back and forth to Minneapolis for Syd, Ray and I for tests, scans and clinic visits... and one day we will be able to utter the words, cured and cancer free... but until then keep the positive vibes coming.  Kepp her in your thoughts and p[prayers and always keep the Slaying Spirit.
Give you wife or husband a huge hug or kiss today and tell them how much you love them.  LEt you kids know that they are your most precious gift in the entire world.  Because I know my precious gifts are Ray and the kids.... My amazing trophies that I am so proud to have and cherish them every single day! 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

...You can't imagine, I hope you never ever have to!

No, you can't imagine...In about every single message that I receive from loved ones, acquaintances, family... the sentiment is the same; they can't imagine what we are going through...

I certainly hope not...

I do not ever want anyone else, to ever have to look Childhood Cancer in the face, much less have to imagine what it is like.  Our lives changed immediately when I heard the words that my 12 year old baby girl, Sydney, has Non-Hodgkin's Cell B Burkett's Lymphoma.  She is one who looks at the world though different eyes.  She loves deeply and strives to make the world a better place
Sydney with her best friend Kayla going to the Middle School Dance
Unfortunately I CAN imagine many things...  things I have been through in my 45 years on this Planet.  The loss of, not just one parent to Cancer, but 2.  My Dad lost his battle with Lung Cancer 24 hours before my first child(Logan)was born.  My Mom fought a good fight against Colon Cancer and lost (Sydney was 9 months old).  My oldest brother,Danny, passed away in 1991 from AIDS, and my brother David struggled for a very long time with addiction, and after many rehabs and programs lost that fight.  I figured I had been given the lions share of fights and loss, disease and caretaking, helpless feelings and moments in time when life stands still.  But no...  

Syd had been complaining about a pain in her tummy, I thought it was probably a pulled muscle or something but she was consistently hurting so I made her a Dr. appt and went in on March 19th at 10am, after a quick exam the Dr. (not our regular Dr, since our PCP was having surgery the following day herself) decided Sydney should have an abdominal Ultrasound.  When the Ultrasound tech started measuring things on the screen I knew it wasn't good, but thought it was probably appendicitis or something simple like that.  When the test was read we, still not knowing what was wrong, were to report to the CT Scan Department at 8am March 20th (Friday) and have a scan done. 
When we didn't hear anything by 2 that afternoon we "camped" in the Dr office and waited for the results of the scan.  Our Dr who was on her way into surgery was actually reading the scans as they came in elsewhere and working in tandem with this new Dr (we have the best Primary Care Physician in Williston) We were told that we had to have an MRI Monday morning at 8am, that they see a mass in her abdomen and there wasn't more that they could tell us...That was the longest weekend in our lives. Monday morning March 23rd we went in for the MRI and went in to have it read around 3 that afternoon...Both Doctors were there, and they had said that there was a grapefruit size mass in her abdomen and it had to come out...they said it was very "complicated" I felt like I had been hit in the head with a baseball bat...and then the word was said... "It could be Cancer" It wasn't a baseball bat that hit was Thor's Hammer!  We didn't hear much except that, she needed to go to a specialized hospital...They called and we had an appt with a Surgeon in 24 hours in Minneapolis, MN...

So our adventure began: Sydney and I jumped on the train that evening, rode it through the night and went to the appointment with the surgeon at 4:20 March 24th.  She had an appointment to be in surgery the following day at 9am...all I really heard was it has to come out right away.  So off she went into surgery, right on time, I walked her to the door of the surgery room and was strong...I was oh so strong for her, I held her hand, and I told her everything was going to be ok, That the whole family loved her and I would be by her side the moment she opened her eyes.  They took her inside that freezing cold room and I crumbled, lost all sense of where I was, where I was supposed to go and wait and I don't really remember exactly what happened, someone found me and helped me to the waiting room where I stared at a clock, by myself for about 5 or 6 hours
My baby has always as a brilliant smile thru this whole thing!

The only time we are happy to  hear our children cry is that first moment that they are welcomed into this world.  When your baby is sick it is the worst sound ever when you are utterly helpless, your baby is crying (she hasn't cried in years) so hard that she cannot speak and you can see her gasp for air because she is in so much pain. I feel a pain I could never explain, I feel emotions that I wish I could shutdown.  I want to scoop my baby out of that hospital bed and run...Run as far as I can, but that isn't going to cure her of this thing! 
I try to comfort her and my words and my touch seem to hurt her just as much as the horrible pain she is in.  She had major surgery (Right Hemi colectomy).  When in your life do you think your 12 year old daughter would be hooked up to pain meds that she controls by a button.  To see her in that pain was almost more than I could take. She had to get out of bed right away and those first few days were horrendous.  Every time anyone tried to speak to her it was like the words hurt her...It was excruciating and my heart was in a million pieces
This was about 8 days after surgery; Sydney the Cancer Slayer was Born!
Don't Miss out on Getting your Cancer Slayer Tshirt
Thank God Ray came with Dillon and Mirada after the worst part...because I needed just a little break to process some of what was going on.  It was impossible to try to communicate what was going on here over the phone and they had a great visit... It really did boost her spirits. It's not just Sydney that has Cancer, it is the whole family.  Syd and I are here...Ray, Logan, Dillon and Mirada are home in Williston ND...It is difficult to be apart, Dillon had his 16th Birthday on April 24th, Logan had Prom Last weekend and Mirada has Graduation on May 26th.  Big milestones that are difficult to miss but this is where I need to be.  Thank to my unbelievable co-workers, they have donated their vacation and sick time to cover my time off for FMLA leave (12 weeks) (its a program where my work holds my job and insurance for 12 weeks if you are out with your child who is ill) My new community has embraced me and my family as one of their own and I am proud to be part of the Williston Family.  You all have no idea the feelings you have all provoked in me and I am ever SO grateful to you!
Sisters playing Legos and making faces!

On March 25th my baby girl Sydney who is only 12 years old was diagnosed with Cancer. It wasn't for about 10 days before we knew it was Lymphoma and what cell type and what the course of action was going to be.  I would not have made it through this if it wasn't for this support I have surrounding me.  Our medical team is phenomenal and University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital has the most caring staff.  It takes an entire hospital to make all of this happen from the Surgeons, Oncologists, Nursing Staff, Child Family Life Specialists (Who help talk to children about what is going on with them and teaches them to be their OWN medical advocate) and the volunteers.  Children's Hospitals have so many ways to help and I am so happy that we are here.  This is the right place for her treatment!  

But it s our friends who have been the support I can lean on, I am not one who asks for help very often, I think I can do it!  That I am Superwoman and I can do it all myself or I will find a way.  I had a friend from High School send me a message and there was something he said that made me realize that I need to take that outstretched hand and grab it...and hold on for dear life!  I Thank you all, we all draw strength from you!  We have our Cancer Slayers on Facebook who are always cheering Syssy on  .We are going to be here for a while, even though we have met that "goal" we didn't realize the length of our stay, every little bit is appreciated! ...Thank you to everyone, Friends/Family from near and far who have donated to our GoFundMe Campaign and our Paypal We have gotten many cards and gifts from all over the country and every single one makes her feel very special. We feel the love and all of the help and assistance that everyone has given us is so humbling! We are loved and could never ever thank everyone for doing their are all a gift, a treasure to us and we love and Thank you for each and every thought, prayer and extra strength that Sydney is returning to those around her 10fold,  she is an amazing child with strength and fortitude that I have never ever seen.  She isn't afraid of this... She is owning it!!!! She touches peoples lives every single day! I am so blessed to have this precious angle in my life and this is oing to be cured before we leave here!


Friday, January 30, 2015

Oil prices are down; is Moral too?

Everyone I know keeps asking me, “Are you staring to see the effects of Oil Prices dropping?” It’s a valid question… 2 years ago, (Feb 3rd and coincidentally, this year, my 19th Wedding anniversary) many of my friends thought I was brave…an adventurer.  Many know Ray is a risk taker and very unselfish…His first year here was NO picnic.  Now some of them are wondering if we were crazy!   There is a cycle, if there is a boom there will be a bust! 
Well ladies and gentlemen, we are all in!  We have a home here, We are entrenched in our new community, I am on the Rural (NPSD8) School Board and committed to be a positive role model for those in transition, Ray is a plant operator at a new gas plant coming online in March and we are all still embracing our new home.  I am one of the lucky ones, I have my partner, my children and 4 of us have great jobs!  Not everyone can say that! 
I look at this upcoming holiday coming up thru different eyes,
This guy is looking for someone to spend Valentine’s Day with, I like to think he is a good guy (I have never met him nor do I know anyone who knows him) but it makes me realize how lucky I am.  There are many here who have no one to come home to, each night, not only on the Holidays...but EVRY single night.  I can’t imagine.  This Facebook page called “Williston Connections” people buy and sell cars, clothing, put up notices about things to be aware of etc.  Sometimes it can get a little catty, but all in all, entertaining to say the least.  I hope he finds someone or some people to connect with to help him thru this holiday that focuses on the land of mancamps, I think this is not one place that will be selling out of chocolates and roses!  My heart goes out to him, but even when I was young and crazy, I would not have met some stranger for Valentine’s Dinner and the movie 50 Shades... even if he said its just a platonic dinner!  I’m just saying.

Now with Oil Dropping (plummeting whatever you want to call it) some people are nervous… that makes for tension… then the domino effect.  We have not seen the oil prices effect any of our friends, no one has lost their job (If anything Ray might have been on the chopping block, in a recent article Halcon Resources, his past employer, is #7 on “The Death List”) Eeeeek, that is the closest to home it has been.  In my opinion, it could be a nice catch up time, hopefully some of the infrastructure items can be taken care of, roads be brought up to standard and some additional housing be built.  I heard, before the price drop there were over 30,000 job openings, now that has abruptly been cut in half.  There are still jobs available, and it is still the same story…you have to work hard for your money in the Bakken…that is still the case and maybe even more so now.  I do not believe it is forever, from all signs and conversations I have had, it will recover, it may not be as high as it was before… but in time (hopefully Fall of this year) we could be seeing prices come back up.  Many of the big players have a hiring freeze, I had a friend who got a job one week and was called the following Monday and was informed that they were not hiring anymore.  She found another job elsewhere but that a little startling.

People are still packing up their car, coming to Williston (the Boomtown and Mecca of jobs) without a plan.  I just don’t get it.  I see people on Williston Connections saying they do not have money to gas up their car to keep warm through the night, much less be able to make it back home to where they came from.  They thought they would have a job in a couple of days.  They came without a plan!  I understand that when you are desperate you do desperate things, but we are an area that doesn’t have affordable housing (we still have a housing crisis) and not as many jobs available.  In that desperation sometimes you make rash decisions, everyone needs to consider those who love them and think about how you are going to make it back to them.  Make a plan, check out your options and make an informed decision. Everyone deserves a chance to make a better life for themselves, do a little research before you come, and try to time your life change when the bitter -20 degree weather won’t kill you (sometimes timing isn't on your side, I get that) Spring here is beautiful and a little magical.  It is a little different now, at least for the time being, those risk takers are always in my thoughts.   
I love this picture, Ray was at work so I got the moment all to myself  (Photo Cred. Michael Cera)

Our family is fine, so you can all stop worrying for now, I thank you all for joining us on our journey and I will never regret Ray pushing us off that cliff of self-limitations, these experiences are shaping each one of us in different ways and not one of them is bad!  With love from the Bakken…The Senior Family is doing well...even though there are days we freeze our butts off!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

FAQ on Relocating to Williston ND

Williston the land of the jobs for everyone! And everyone makes over 100k per year!  WRONG! With all the attention out there I thought I would update my blog and then over the holiday update my YouTube video.  So much information needs to be cleared up… I hear the “mis-information” from family, friends and individuals that relocate…they wish they had some more info, on a personal level.  Much has changed since I recorded FAQ on Relocating to Williston ND.  I think I should do a little housekeeping.  I guess I am going to start by reminding everyone: Nothing EVER comes for free.  Hard work, Long Days and commitment go a long way.  It is a way of life here! The other thing that was not even on my radar when we were considering our relocation was, how my presence in this town might affect others. Everyone is different and change especially when you didn’t expect it is hard to deal with. I was so wrapped up in the thought of ruining my children’s lives that I didn’t think much about those lives I would touch once I arrived.  …I had nothing to worry about with my kids! They are resilient and have learned quite a bit.  They have good and bad days but I am so proud.  See last Blog called Inspiration!
Respect!  I am going to address this early on, I have met people from all different levels of residency here in Williston and I am so lucky to say I have made some life long friends.  I am honored to know you and that you have allowed me in!  Those who have lived here and had family who homestead the area and they are carrying on the lifestyle and tradition from their ancestors, I admire. Those who lived and stayed through the last Boom/Bust period are flourishing and have learned many life lessons they are influencing this new type of boom, I am inspired.  Those who are have been here for 2-4 years and have brought their family here and are trying to become part of the community, I say get involved and be heard.  Those who are here to work their days and go home on their days off, I commend you and your love and commitment to family, this boom would not be possible without your service.  Those who are just arriving, and have decided to make this home, are going thru changes and challenges, Be Strong, we need good people to form a strong bond and a community we can be proud of.  Most of all be respectful… This is your home too, if only for your "days on" or full time, we are all in this together.  Remember we are all irritated by the traffic, and lack of services and the high prices…but if we try to do it as a united front…then that my friends, is half the battle!
Yes, I had preconceived notions about… moving to a small town, much less a micropolitan area (that is the official term).  You travel about 6 miles in any direction and you are in what I would consider a “rural” area.  Most of the time when we are traveling or exploring other areas of Williams County we travel on Dirt, gravel, Chip Seal roads.  When you come from an area that is very urbanized and has been planned out down to the last blade of grass, this is most certainly a shock.  But now that our 2 year anniversary date is coming up there are many things that are normal now that were in the least bit normal in that, during our first few months here. 
Lets talk about SALARIES and how much money “EVERYONE” makes here:  Don’t believe everything you see on television.  Reporters have come to Williston “Boomtown” North Dakota to get a “scoop”  If they were to say that the average household makes nearly, the same as the average American household… now that wouldn’t be exciting? Or a “story”… I have checked the numbers; happily, it is slightly higher than the average AMERICAN household.  In 2014 the Average American household income was $52,000.00 per year.   2014 Williston is $72,000.00 PER HOUSEHOLD PER YEAR according to  Yes there are jobs/careers, for men and women, that pay more, much more!...yes they pay $100k a year or more!  I work for the County so I am not making a boatload of money!  We need 2 incomes to raise our 4 children and secure their future, college is just around the corner!  I love my job and could, most likely, get paid more in the oilfield but I do prefer to make a difference in my new hometown.  I know my family is not banking $200k a year!  Add the cost of living opposed to what we bring home, well…. That’s for another paragraph.  I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I do want to inform those who are researching moving to our fine Boomtown!  Kuddos to those trying to be prepared!
High Paying Jobs: Be warned and prepared! Yes, any men or women can get a high paying job. Yes you can get a job pretty quick after arriving in Williston North Dakota… but these are very specific jobs, and generally companies want people with some experience (and a current CDL is helpful as well as an OSHA 10 class or some safety certifications).  If you are a go getter who is determined and tenacious, I have faith that you could come to Williston, find a job and make it all work out!  When I arrived 2 years ago there weren't as many jobs for women, there are jobs for everyone...I have 2 sons that work and make a very good wage!  So really man, woman, child (15 and over) Please do your homework, be prepared and please do not come with your criminal record, suspended license and last 40 bucks...  For every story that is positive there are another 10 (probably more) That doesn’t NOT turn out that way. Some end in tragedy, I am still touched when I think about the young man who was fatally stabbed about 6 months ago at the local gentlemen's club...He came here to work and find the golden goose, instead he was sent home to his family, to grieve and lay him to rest.  I still have a hard time with it!  I didn't even know him, but heart breaks for all who did.  I go back to nothing comes for free.  In my experience (2 years and being close to the heartbeat of the county) and talking with many people who have relocated here, their journey was not the easiest.  Some were desperate… and after hearing about a small Northern Plains town that has 35,000 jobs to offer ,how could they not find employment right off the train?  The media makes it sound like there are people standing at the train station with applications to fill out and keys to housing units ready for you to move right in with your rucksack.  FYI, that’s not the case!
Cost of Living:  What no one talks about, it is the silent downside to living here.  Everything has a “Williston tax” on it, really it’s a phrase we have coined, there is no real tax that it implemented.  It seems goods and services in this area have a premium attached to them.  Any normal cost of living item or service is at least 30% more than what you find in “Anytown USA”.  Groceries are insanely expensive and there are no Big Box stores like Sam’s or Costco (well… There are but you have to drive to Bismarck, 4 hours, or Billing Montana 6 hours) to buy in bulk and get a savings.  There is Walmart but the prices there are in line with everything else in the area.  I pay $5.75 for a gallon of milk.  Produce sucks (I miss California produce) I know people who need vehicle repairs.  It takes 3-4 weeks to get an appt then sometimes (especially body work) it could take 8 to 10 weeks to get your vehicle back and to rent a car here it is generally $100 per day…so off to Minot or Bismarck to even find a rental to get you thru the 8-10 week stint.  SO you see everything here is just a little more of a challenge.  Oh, and that body repair will cost you an additional 40%!  What was once a sleepy little town is slowly growing into a larger city and that is sometimes met with resistance.  But growth is the necessary evil when it comes to the individuals that have made this their home getting the day to day services just to keep things going.  The oil field is a 24/7 business and it wears on everyone.  There is other industry here, like farming and ranching and those are not jobs, they are lifestyles and they do not stop for holidays or weekends either.  Williston is a non-stop town (except for Sunday morning from 5am to noon, most everything is closed! we have that going for us)
Housing is a challenge; we now have more options and there are places to live but the prices are still sky high.  I have touched on this before and not much has changed…except you CAN find housing its just if you want to pay the price they are asking.  We are lucky enough to own a home and our mortgage is nothing near what some are paying to rent an apartment!
Job Hunting is always the biggest question I get when asked about the area.  I have found that the job fair is a wonderful way to get facetime with the HR professionals that are seeking, not good, but exemplary job seekers.  You can visit JobND and get a feel for whats available but really it is important to know the area and the companies that are looking for outstanding individuals who have clean driving records, clean criminal records and can pass a drug test as well as have some experience in the field they are searching.  Keep in mind you will not just come to town and be able to access the HR department of any large company.  Most, if not all applications are done online so get them done before you head to town.  Try to do all of your applying and resume building before you leave your home base and also clean up your background and even your financials so you have the opportunity to buy instead of rent.
Schools:  There are a couple of Districts and one of my first revelations was that this area has some of the most wonderful teachers on the planet.  They have a challenge that is far different that other schools and districts in most of the United States.  You find that families move in to town and then are transferred or decide that this might not be the place for them and off they go, taking their children with them!  (similar with Military Families without the Military part) The transient style of life here is difficult for teachers, families and kids and so I wanted to be a part of the solution.  I ran to be a School Board Member for New Public School District 8; and won, after living here for about 9 months! I quickly realized that this takes a lot of hard work and dedication, every decision I make I take into consideration the children that attend that school and move forward the best way to assist them in achieving their goals!  District 8 is the rural district that covers many, many miles of Williams County and we have a revolving door type population in our schools.  When I arrived and realized I was going to put my children in a school that is considered a “Prairie School”… I was not sure about it, I had serious reservations!  I even had one of the kids say it reminded him of his Daycare back in California(he was from a Middle School that had about 1500 kids!) big change!  What we found is that these teachers care deeply for these children and did the best they could with what they were given.  These classrooms are way behind in Technology and some other areas.  But these teachers and students make the best of it.  My children are better people now and I attribute some of that to their teachers and most students making them feel welcome and part of their new community!  I am proud to be a District 8 Parent and most of all Board Member.
I have really taken to my new home and hope we will become a thriving community, there is a lot of work to be done and it is a full time job keeping our “Boomtown” in check.  It is no easy task coming to Williston North Dakota to find work and making all of the pieces come together.  I would be happy to answer anyone’s question but I do not have the magic answer to the burning question “Where do I find work there”…There are many ways, one of them is NOT coming here on a wing and a prayer.  There are message boards, JobsND, TrainND, Apply online at all the major employers in the area.  But just imagine: You are one of thousands looking to get work here… it can take months before your information gets in front of the right person.  You might be the perfect person for the position but the person on the other end has to sift through all of that info.  Be patient, I hear it’s a virtue!
Thank you Williston!  I know you didn't ask for me, but you got me!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Boomtown Family Williston ND from Palm Trees to Prairie Pipelines: Inspiration...on the Prairie of Williston North Da...

Boomtown Family Williston ND from Palm Trees to Prairie Pipelines: Inspiration...on the Prairie of Williston North Da...:   Inspiration… where does yours come from?   I am inspired by my children each and every day ...(and Ray,my husband, but that...

Inspiration...on the Prairie of Williston North Dakota

Inspiration… where does yours come from?  I am inspired by my children each and every day...(and Ray,my husband, but that's for another post) They are all so different and I see each of them growing and changing each and every day.  They were all very fine 2 years ago, with our new “adventure” to Williston North Dakota and now that the novelty has worn off they are finally back to normal.  I think we were all on eggshells for some time… I know, that sounds crazy!  But I think we were all afraid to say that we were scared of the change and so desperately wanted to make it into that adventure we spoke of.  I think that I was worried about the fragility of my kids and the guilt won me over more times than I care to admit!  I felt terrible making my children move and have all of these changes forced on them.  There is strength in numbers and if the name Senior is in any way associated with that number you have Super Strength!  Yes, I know there are military families that move often and yes, people move all the time. But I did not sign up for that! As a matter of fact Ray and I did not date while he was in the Navy for precisely that reason!  This move and all of these changes are shaping our lives and making us better people, I am inspired everyday by my children, they are resilient and incredible little people…
Logan, he is the epitome of first child syndrome, he is an over achiever, it helps that he is the first to do everything so it becomes a big deal. How could it not.  Now that he is a Junior in High School I am struggling with how to build him up and get him ready to face the world without setting him up to fail because in our eyes he has gotten so many accolades.  They are not misplaced, he works hard, he learned that from his Dad (he would never admit that)he knows that hard work pays off in the end.  Logan…Clever, diligent and obstinate.  He will go far, we will always be proud and will always worry, he will be the first to be on his own and we will send him off with love and pride, knowing he will succeed.  My worst fear is that in this big world he is going out into will eat him up and spit him out a couple of times before he gets it...with his tenacity he will be able to dust himself off and try again! 
Dillon, 2nd child but also (one of the) middle child, He and Logan are only 15 months apart so the milestones for Dillon come right after Logan.  He doesn’t know it any differently I tend to say to myself (to make myself feel better) but he is the one I think suffers because of it.  He is such a beautiful child!  He has the biggest heart and always the people pleaser.  Ask… for help or anything… and he is there, loyal and loving.  Everything that happens in Dillon’s world affects him deeply.  He tries so hard in school but good grades don’t come easy for him.  Whatever the grade we are proud.  But what I am most proud of is his inner light.  He cares deeply and in turn everything hurts just a deep.  He is always inside himself and Never Ever wants to be a burden.  He is anything but, Dillon is a joy and his sweet and carefree interior is what makes him one of the most genuine people you will ever meet.  This move has taught him that he really can do anything, just put his mind to it… it will happen.  He is not in his brother’s shadow… He is the light that makes the shadow, and his heart is what creates the blinding brightness that Dillon glows!
Mirada, 3rd child, first daughter and also middle child.  Wow that right there says so much.  I remember when I found out she was a girl! I was so excited to buy pink girly things… Oh that bedroom looked like Pink threw up in it!  Now she wants to throw up of the thought of the color pink!  Ironic right?  Oh to be a girl and 13… She doesn’t want to fit in, but she does… I remember it but I had no idea what it would look like from a Moms perspective.  She loves to laugh and make others laugh too, she gets that from her Dad, but would never EVER admit it.  I am not sure I have ever met anyone her age that was so funny.  Her quick wit and sensitivity makes her one of a kind.  Because of her humor, she is less in the background, she is beautiful and that puts her right in the forefront sometimes…she would rather not be anywhere near the front, at this time in her life, I hope that one day she embraces her beauty wears it proudly…She loves everyone and is learning that she deserves respect as well,  I hope that she will always demand that!   She could easily be the classic middle child…but I have spent many hours of my life showing my daughters that you have to be strong.  Sometimes this gets Mirada in a little trouble because she will stand up for what she believes in.  Until the end!  It is so frustrating, but quietly I beam with pride because I see the inner strength and fortitude she has.  This generation has it harder than we did and I watch her struggle with it all.  If you are able to break thru the hard outer crust she has built around her, you are in for one of the most wonderful treats of belly laughs and acts of kindness that will ever be bestowed upon you! This is going to be the hardest time of your life, my sweet girl, keep doing what you are and “You be you”  that’s all we can ask for! 
Sydney, baby Sissy, the fourth, the last, the Baby.  Wow, she can’t stand being called the baby but wants to curl up in a ball sit on my lap still.  She wants to be a big girl but give her the chance and she will pull the baby card as often as she can. She is so headstrong.  She never gives up (I have no idea where she gets that from) from the day she was born she has been trying to wear me down and one day she just might win.  She is the classic redhead, green/hazel eyes and freckles, with one glance you know she is into mischief.  She has many nicknames and Hurricane Sydney is one of them.  I have no idea how one little, tiny skinny girl can make such a mess!  She is a Hot mess!  She loves her brothers and sister so much and strives to be just like them!  But in the next few years I know she is going to give us a run for our money!  She is just starting to realize who Sydney is and she is a pretty great person.  She loves to help, wants to try just about anything and loves being the center of attention.  That’s not easy being the last of 4 kids all born in 5 years!  She has always had an angelic beauty but once you see past that you know there is a little demon in there somewhere.  (Yes, I said demon!) Sydney has a persona that is all her own, I know she is going to be ok in the long run because of her strength and determination, anyone lucky enough to be part of Sydney's inner circle is a blessed & lucky person.  Stay the baby for a little while longer my child, being one of the big kids isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!
 (Me, Dana Baby Brother, Debi and Donna Big Sisters)
When I was younger I assume that inspiration came from my parents.  They inspired me in many ways to be the woman I am today. 
The one thing I was taught and I hope my children to carry on is:  Treat everyone equally, This has been my mantra before I even knew what a mantra was... It doesn't matter what you do for a living, what color your skin is or who you decide to date or marry... treat everyone the same, your life will be more rewarding if you are genuine and not only care for others, but show them. 
Today, I am inspired by my beautiful family.  Of course there are good days and bad, but if we didn’t have those bad days, we wouldn’t be the people we are now.  I find that on the bad days I tend to look inward or backward.  I glance inward and ask myself who holds me up when I am down. I do.  I glance backward and ask who held me up when I was struggling.  I did.  But not without the love and support of my family.  While I was growing up my Dad worked hard, he was rarely home at night and if he was he was dozing in the recliner with the news on the TV.  My mom was always carting us around, making sure we were safe or making dinner or folding laundry, you know doing all that Mom stuff...I remember how strong she was, WOW she went through many things and always with such dignity, I don't think I would ever be as strong as she was after losing 2 Adult children.  No one should ever have to go thru that, she fought cancer with a vengeance, twice...Once for my Dad and once for herself.  The Strength she had was indescribable, if I am only half the woman she was, I will be happy!   When we were growing up she kept my Dad up to date on what was going on and he was always quick to offer a hug or a victory dance in the living room.  (Usually to the sounds he was making with his mouth, he had no idea he was beat boxing at the time, the term didn’t even exist) 
I know that each of us kids were their inspiration.  I don’t remember them going out with friends or having many date nights.  What I do remember is: my Dad always making sure that once a year they went on a phenomenal vacation somewhere across the globe. They took that time to celebrate their achievements that year!  When we got older they would be gone for 2 weeks and we would hold some of the most epic parties that Palm Springs High School had ever seen.  Thank goodness YouTube didn’t exist or I would have been in HUGE trouble!  Nonetheless, I know we were their focus, their world, their inspiration.  I know I was loved, so very much and I have my brother and sisters to remind me of that.  I am convinced that my children will be better people because of our move to Williston, North Dakota…I know I am!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Emotional Basketcase!

About a week ago I was a mess, I realized that everyone is growing up and there are so many milestones that they are difficult to list, but here goes; Logan is going to be a Jr in High School, Dillon Graduated from Middle School Mirada is in her last year of Middle School and Sydney is in her last year of Elementary!  Logan got his Driver License June 20th and that's questionable if I am going to allow him on these Semi Infested, Lifted Pick-up traffic lined roads!  We spent over $400 for Drivers Ed and I am not sure I am ready for him to be ready, But am I finished with driving to and from work!  SO I guess sanity prevails! Gotta let go sometime!
 Spring is here and we all got spring fever the moment we saw green leaves!  I am in Love with North Dakota especially in the Spring!  It seems everything comes to life at the same time and so quickly!  I never experienced this in Cali because it was always spring there, but what we didn't have is the lilacs...This is how you know Spring is officially here.  They are everywhere, and explosion of these delicate purple flowers makes me smile.  They also make me pull over to the edge of the road and snip them every chance I get. 
A couple of weeks ago a tornado touched down in Watford City about 46.5 miles away.  I have joked with the kids so many times that they will probably never believe about a real tornado... The lightening and thunder starts and I start claiming a tornado is coming and they just completely ignore me.  I mainly stared doing this hoping they would disappear into the basement for some desperate needed solace!  The storm was crazy and I now know what raining buckets are.  Your windshield wipers wipe and then its like a bucket of water is thrown immediately! The good thing about our extreme storms here is that the after math is the beautiful sunrise the following day...
This post has been long over due and there is so much going on I will have to keep the masses updates As much as possible.  We are just loving the beautiful weather between the rain storms I just cant seem to find the time to sit still!  So as always... until next time and next time is always with less sanity and more non-sense!