Monday, April 27, 2009

What $10 can buy your child

T-shirt - $7
Water bottle - $2
Pen - $1
Lots of coupons from local vendors - Over $20 value
An experience that has your child feel like she is on top of the world - priceless.

This past weekend, our family participated at a 5K and a 1-mile fun run that a local high school was sponsoring. The event was a fundraiser for the high school's booster, perhaps some much needed funds for those participating in sports. The 5K was for the adults and kids 10 and up in age, and the fun run was for any age. I signed up for the 5K and signed up my oldest, who is 5, for the fun run.

She was all excited about it. She was telling all of her friends at school about it, and telling me "Mommy, I am going to beat you in a race!" About a week before the race she was saying, "I really need to practice my running!" So, she would run around the backyard, around the neighborhood, any chance she could get. Granted, it never amounted to a mile, but it was an adequate amount of energy she needed to burn.

Then came race day. She was saying as she and I were approaching the starting line of the race. "Mommy, everyone here is going to try their best to win!" I said that everyone was a winner. But she said "I am going to win, Mommy!" The gun was fired at the starting line, and we are all off. The older children, and a couple of parents, were well ahead of my daughter and me. She was coming along a curve in the route and she was saying "Mommy, I am tired. I want to walk." I said that it was okay. We can walk a little bit. As the second to last parent and child were getting out of site, she began to charge ahead. "Mommy, I am going to beat them!" I said that that was not so much important as finishing the race. She slowed down again and said "My side hurts!" I said that it was okay, we could walk.

We were going around the next bend in the route, and we saw everyone running past the half mile mark, and getting further out of sight. She said "Let's run, Mommy" So we ran as far as we could, again, and then we saw Daddy and little sister. My youngest was crying for me, according to my husband the whole time the race started. Then my oldest said with a cry "I want Daddy!" I said that if you go with Daddy then you won't get a ribbon at the end of the race. At this point, it was halfway in the race. she was complaining about every part of her little 5-year-old body. I could sympathize with her, because I remember having those feelings when I started running. But, at the same time, as a parent, I encouraged her to finish the race.

Fortunately, some of the nice high school girls, who were volunteering, began running with us. This gave my daughter a lot of encouragement. She started running again, and she was not complaining. When we approached the last lap on the track, the volunteers dropped off, and it was just my daughter and I. The announcer at the event came out to us as we were coming around the last curve in the course, and asked for my daughter's name. The announcer then called out her name to the crowd and said "Let's give her a big hand!!" My daughter was running the fastest that she could. I was even trying to keep up with her. The crowd was screaming and clapping, which added fuel to my daughter's fire. We crossed the finish line at 16:39. We were the last one's to finish.

Even though we were the last one's to finish the race, I think she learned some valuable lessons. She learned that no matter how hard things get, we need to finish what we started. At the end, there will be applause and the self-satisfaction that it was a job well done. Though we did not finish first, being last is not that bad either. Plus look at all the cool stuff you get when you run this race. A t-shirt, waterbottle, pen, a ribbon, and one of the best experiences you will ever have in your little life.

She later told her daddy, "Daddy! They were cheering for me!" Wow, what you can buy your child with $10 these days.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Looking forward on this dreary day.

Today was a big day, at least for my daughter. We went to an orientation at what will be her Kindergarten. Her father and I were not really sure of what to expect at the school, considering that we live in a highly diverse area of town. After meeting the principal and some of the Kindergarten teachers, we were very impressed with the school, and its up and coming reputation in Fairfax County. It was rated a Blue Ribbon School in Virginia last year, which eased our thoughts on the level of education she was going to receive. During our time talking with the principal and teachers, both of our daughters took advantage of the care that was provided. MB went into an actual Kindergarten classroom and E went into a Head Start room. Booth of them really enjoyed their time there, which makes both hubby and I very happy about our decision to stay in the area, at least for now.

Another big item, at least for me today, was that I finally got results from my first test and writing assignment from my distance learning paralegal course. I got a 90 on the writing assignment and an 82 on the test. Not my best, but considering I have not taken an academic class in over 11 years, might be okay. I have a B, which is not terrible. But with this being a distance learning class taking at my leisure makes me feel like I should have done better. If anything, I am more driven to study and get a definitive A on both my next assignment and test.

On top of this paralegal class, I am considering taking another class, but not right now. I am thinking about taking a couple of classes in international trade, both in International Traffic in Arms Regulations and Export Administrative Regulations. Since I have my customs broker license, and I have been out of the loop on the export side of trade for a while, I was thinking this help me get some insight into that side of trade. Trade is one of those areas that is constantly changing, and every bit of training in that area will help.

I think all of this looking forward, at least for the next few months, is making me feel very optimistic about what will be coming.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Looking at all of my options - what can I do?

As I am looking at job listings on the internet, I am constantly bombarded with "What am I going to do with my life?" Trust me, it is something I think and pray about everyday. I often wonder where things may lead, and opportunities that may arise. In addition, could I afford to take big leaps and bounds, like moving or even taking on another degree.

My biggest priority right now are my two young daughters. I have one about to go to into kindergarten in the Fall and my youngest is embracing her preschool very well. I enjoy the free time I spend with them. Being a mom will be a role that will remain constant as I look for different work. I have to think about them with every decision that I make.

Since I am still looking for employment, starting a full-time gig of self-employment does run through my mind constantly. I have already joined a freelance site and seeing if my skill set matches with people's needs. I had already worked on a freelance project, and I think something like that would best fit in my life right now. However, I would need to be able to do it constantly, and finding that kind of work all the time would almost be the same as me scouting out the want-ads.

I am also, though perhaps with some hesitation, looking at online law schools. I know that they are only approved for the California Bar, but at least it is a JD. I think I am one of a few folks who would like to go to law school, but not to be a lawyer. I think doing online study would be more convenient and more cost effective. Going to one of those schools would cost between $35,000 to $40,000 for the 4 years rather than paying that for one year at private school around here. Granted, I am in the Mecca of law schools around here. But who is to say that I can't swing by Georgetown to study in the law library, right?

Anyway, I have been thinking about all of these options and wondering what to do with my life - at least while I am still looking!