Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two words for "The List"


That word is hilarious. It came to mind when we got up super early on Sunday morning to pay a visit to this donut shop called Donut Haus. This place got amazing reviews (5 stars across the board), and we were told that they make the best maple bars in the world. Well... being a realist, I wasn't completely convinced. That's an awfully big claim to make and, really, how could you really know that? But, it was motivating on a Sunday morning, so after a family snuggle in bed, we all put some pants on and headed out the door. Once in the car, I realized that Jeffrey's hair was a complete mess. I looked at him and said, "That's quite the bed head you're rockin', kiddo." And then it occurred to me that it was worse than bed head. It was nappy.

And that made us laugh. And, then, of course in true Matkovich form, it spiraled out of control.

Now that I've been writing this, I've forgotten the second word.

Dangit! This ALWAYS happens. I never remember the funny words long enough to get them written down.

Oh, well. So we have one more word for the funny word list.


That's funny.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pinch me

Wow... It has been 5 or so weeks since I last posted anything. There have been times I actually had things to say, but my life is so packed-full right now, the thought of actually cutting into any down time I might have doesn't really compel me. And, if I'm being honest, I'm not all that inspired at the moment.

My new office - a blank slate
My sweet ride
I started my new job on July 1st. I work for Mountain View Fire Protection District as their first-ever HR manager. (It dawned on me that every HR position I have ever had has been a first-ever position. There may have been people functioning in that position, but not technically an "HR" person.) I'm back to working 40+ hours per week, with a 20 minute commute from home (more like an hour in the winter when you take snow into consideration). The job itself is (**expletive**) AWESOME. I have forgotten what it felt like to be challenged, stretched, consulted and appreciated in a professional capacity. This is a very busy environment - not just from an employee standpoint (we have about 85 employees and volunteers), but also from the perspective that it uses all (and I mean all) of my training and experience, and then some. We're government, we're represented by a union, we're a 24/7/365 operation, we provide emergency services.... Never mind all the other employment law stuff like FMLA, COBRA, labor relations, etc. Then on top of that, there are a LOT of issues that need to be resolved. (I won't list those here, but just suffice it to say, I have my work cut out for me.) I just love it. I mean, ok, yes, I'm definitely being used professionally. That's awesome. It makes the time I'm away from my family worth it because I'm in a role that is highly valued by the organization. But what's really cool is that I work in a freakin' fire house! Who doesn't want to hang around fire fighters and fire trucks all day? (I'm not sure if that's more cool for me or for my son, but I seriously get giddy every time I pull up to our building.)

The view from my office.
I love everything about this job. I love the location. We're in rural Longmont, basically out in the middle of a corn field with a perfect view of the Rockies. Every morning I drive directly west, facing the mountains, and oh, boy what a gorgeous site to behold. Some mornings, there is a hot air balloon that hovers in between me and the mountains. Almost every afternoon, from my office window I get the privilege of watching storms clouds form over the the mountains and blow into town, pummeling us with rain, wind, thunder, lightening and sometimes some hail. I love a good thunderstorm. (The lightening storms here are just breathtaking. There is hardly a pause in between strikes. Just this constant stream of flickering light. Sometimes Scott and I stand on our patio and watch.... Extraordinary.)

I love the people. I love that everyone is so service-oriented. If they didn't respect life and love people, they wouldn't do this kind of work. These guys and gals put their lives on the line every single day - for strangers. Brilliant! I love their sense of humor, their passion for their work, and the honesty of their hearts as they share their lives with me; their struggles in their positions and the dynamics between the "line" and "admin" sides of the organization.

One of my co-workers (her name is Sheri, but I call her "Shree", which is really more like "SHREEEEE!!!!" - think "Weeeeeee!") is just a doll. I'm pretty sure we were separated at birth. We laugh all the time. And we walk together during lunch. (Soon we'll be working out together 3x each week, which the department pays for - to keep us physically fit and healthy!) My boss is a hoot. She's been here for 18 years, and has a ton of knowledge and history that she's just pouring into me right now. Our Fire Chief is such a great guy. He's been here for about 28 years - started as a volunteer and worked his way up the ranks to the highest position. I respect him such a great deal. He's in a tough, tough position. There's politics at play every day. (We're accountable to the taxpayers, after all.) He is responsible for the financial stability of the department, as well as the health of the staff. He says he's not a touchy-feely guy, but I don't buy that for a second. Maybe he's not in physical terms. But emotionally, the guy obviously loves the staff with a passion I have rarely seen in a position such as his. He genuinely cares about them. (I can't share all the details, but trust me when I say that being in this position has cost him a great deal in the 18 months or so that's he's been doing this job.) He's hilarious on top of that.... He tries to be all professional and stuffy, but he has a gleam in his eye (and a huge dimple on his cheek) that just screams friendliness. I love teasing him. He's such a good sport. Our EMS coordinator, Twink (short for "Twinkle Toes"), is one of the friendliest, smile-est people I've ever met. She even shared her lunch with me the other day when I didn't bring one. I was headed out to pick something up when she called me over and split her meal with me. And then there's Patty.... She does our payroll and accounting. She's from Texas. She has the best accent. She's so motherly, kind, hospitable and trustworthy. I just want to hug her all the time.

In the midst of all these great things, we have been struggling. Our home has not yet sold. We lowered the price - we're practically giving it away. We want so badly to just cut ties with Oregon and be done with it. I feel like the page hasn't quite turned and for whatever reason, we're not free to write a new chapter. I can't tell you how frustrating this is. But... again God is teaching us to rely fully on Him; to trust Him with everything. Sure, things are tight financially - I mean... how could they not be? We're paying mortgage and rent... And child care costs in Colorado are one of the highest in the nation. (For full time care, we have to pay about $1800 per month for both kids.) It's crazy. But, we're trusting God with our finances. We're making ends meet, and praying that soon this burden will be lifted.

We haven't even discussed church. We were extremely hurt by our last church in so many different ways. There is much more to that than I can talk about here. We just have a lot of healing to do over things that were said, things there weren't said, and relationships that were fractured. (I keep deleting everything I write after that last sentence, so I think it's best to just stop at that.)

Scott goes back to work this weekend for the first time since February. These past several months have been a blessing and a curse. He has had all this time to bond with his children, but, let me tell you in no uncertain terms, Scott was not created to be a stay at home dad. Especially after moving here into a tiny 2-bedroom rental and all the stress of new schedules, new places, new faces, Scott has had to deal with a tremendous amount of stress caring for our kids. I have come home to a pretty unhappy family after work on some occasions. And being the introvert that he is, not having any alone time to recharge has taken its toll. Luckily, he has had the opportunity to get away on a couple of occasions to fish, but... that's just not enough. I love my introvert. I appreciate so much about him. But he is not whole when he doesn't get enough sleep, enough time to himself, enough silence to think, enough space around him.... God still has us on some crazy journey. He has called us to a place of suffering and sacrifice, and it continues. We find ourselves constantly giving more and more in the name of God's Kingdom to a point where we often wonder what more there is to give. But we just keep finding the willingness to give. We're exhausted. Physically, emotionally, spiritually... We're not at the end of the journey by any means, so we keep just pressing on. And God continues to be faithful.

Pickebean is 3!
My baby boy turned 3 on July 4th. I can't believe what a young man he is becoming. He's so polite and sweet. He adores his baby sister. And she adores him. 

Baby has her daddy's eyes.

She's almost walking. She stands on her own, and can walk holding on with one hand. (Yesterday she was leaning on Jeffrey's Tonka truck and booked it across the living room. We all cheered for her. Jeffrey was so excited, he turned the truck around and helped her back on, and she cruised back to the other side of the room. He just kept jumping up and down yelling, "She's walking! She's walking!" Ahhhh, my Picklebean. He's such an encourager.) Jeffrey is almost potty trained, and Eden is saying "mama" and "dada". She'll be 10 months on Wednesday. Where has the time gone?

I've lost about 12 pounds since we moved here. We're much more active than we've been in years. It's sunny all the time, and our home is surrounded by miles of walking trails. (It's called a "suburbitat" - isn't that funny?) 

The river by our house.

Standing at the edge of the lake
There's a lake and a reservoir, and acres of farmland, with the Rockies looming in the near distance. We walk from our front door to a path that takes us to a little bridge over a creek, then leads us to this awesome trail that goes around both bodies of water. There's a little community garden where the path splits. I pack my 25 pound baby on my back, and push Jeffrey in the stroller (unless he wants to run or walk), and we're off! Scott started running again, and I'm just walking when I have the baby on my back, but sometimes Scott takes her so I can run, too. Depending on the path we take, we'll walk / run for 3-5 miles. 

Jeffrey watching the pelicans

Jeffrey likes to throw rocks into the lake and count the frogs. Every time we pass someone, they wave and say hello. Jeffrey is thrilled that everyone is so friendly. He just waves like crazy and says, "HI!!! What's your name?"

Fishing in the Rockies
There is so much to do and see. Lakes and parks all over the place. (I seriously have never in my life seen so many parks... They are everywhere - even at the mall.) Free Friday night concerts, community farms, festivals, rodeos, farmers markets, water parks... 

Scott's first try at fly-fishing
Fishing, hiking, camping... Skiing (water and snow), biking, swimming, tennis, and every other sport you can think of. If you're ever bored here, you're in big trouble. We actually find quite the opposite to be true. We're always so busy doing stuff that we forget the time and end up getting home way later than planned, or having to put off other errands and chores because something else is more fun.

Oh, God, we're so blessed and grateful to be here. We were walking to this little park by our house last night (Jeffrey rode his bike). Scott and I held hands and just shared how thankful we are that we live in this place. Yes, it's stressful as we're putting the pieces of our lives back together again, but through it all, we still find comfort in one another, love each other more deeply than ever before, and enjoy a quality of life that we only dreamed of just a year ago. 
I love this place!

I keep pinching myself to see if this is real.