Sunday, August 13, 2017

Hello Old Friend.....

Hello all.  Wow......2 years.  I can't believe it's been 2 years since we've last connected.  There's been a lot that has happened here.  I'll tell you all about it, but try to make it short.

I've been hemming and hawing over what to do with this blog.  I wanted to talk about my journey, but I knew that a big part of that would probably alienate most of my current (or former) audience with all the technical jargon.  And I don't really want to be a technical blogger.  Blogging for me was always a way to share my knowledge to help others, share my story so others know they aren't alone in theirs, and sometimes to process my thoughts when things get murky in my head.  I couldn't quite figure out where my niche was anymore.  However, this Spring, we finally found out that Little Man tested high on the gifted scale and Peanut is Autistic.  RacDad and I are pretty good when it comes to parenting gifted kids.  We are both "gifted" and have our own school experiences with that, plus Sweet Pea is gifted too.  However, the autism diagnosis kinda spun my head.  It wasn't even on my radar.  And we're pretty sure that Little Man is autistic too, now that we're learning more about it.   After learning this, we we're sure how to talk to people about it.  Or if we should talk to people about it because of the misunderstanding that most people have.  Then we realized....these are our kids.  We're proud of them.  And this is all apart of what makes them the special little people that we love so much.  So, we're going to share.  We have SO MUCH to learn about all of this.  We don't know exactly where to start.  But we're going to share our journey with all of you and hopefully some of you might be able to help us learn more too.  

Last we talked, I had just finished my degree in Computer Securities and I was searching for my path that summer.  I played around with my own business of being a specialty seamstress.  Shortly after that, and one reason why I stopped blogging, was because I got a job as a programmer for an international company.  It was fun and gave me a lot of critical experience that helped shape me for my current position.  I now work for a really amazing company that is locally based in their security department.  The position is a perfect balance of analytics, programming, research, and individual and team work.  I really love it and the people I work with.  I am having some health problems with my heart.  I'm at the beginning of this journey, trying to find the cause and solution to it, but happily we are making some progress.  I will share more about that when I get more info, but it all is making me reassess priorities and take a hold of my interests again.

RacDad finally got out of the casino industry!  He found a job that is very fulfilling for him.  Not only that, but he is working a normal schedule....he's home at night, on weekends, and holidays.  It's wonderful for the whole family.  And we not have time again to do activities, and hang out with family and friends.  It's wonderful to see him happy and well rested again.

Sweet Pea is in High School!  Yep.  She's a bonafide driver and everything.  She's also my saving grace with Little Man and Peanut.  She goes to an alternative high school that is project based learning with high technical access.  She is following in my footsteps and is very interested in Computer Securities and Programming.  I'm pretty proud.

Little Man is going into Second Grade this year.  His last two years were quite the struggle in school.  He gets very bored in class and gets too active and wiggly in the classroom.  His teacher last year was really good with him, but it was quite the struggle for her.  We're hoping the extra gifted classes will help him find his focus.

Peanut will be in Kindergarten.  We are very excited for her to start and we really hope that she will have a successful year.  Her verbal abilities have soared since January and we are really happy with her progress.  I'll be sharing more about all of that another day.

I have missed you all, and I am going to try really hard to get back to blogging on a regular basis.  Especially since I've finally found my groove and have something to share with everyone again.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

GenCyber Girls

Hello all!!!  It's been a while, but I've been a crazy busy chickadee this summer.  I've been playing catch-up with the kids since this is the first summer that I haven't had a full load of college classes.  I'm also working from home as a hobby seamstress making wonderful creations out of Ju-ju-be materials and altering Ju-ju-be bags.  It's been a lot of fun being creative and taking a little technical break.

But that only lasted a few weeks because now I'm at camp!!  I know, right?  So much fun seeing 100 girls from 7 different states all coming together to geek out.  Well, all of them are not the stereotypical geek.  There's so many different types of girls from different backgrounds.  It's really inspiring to see such a blend, and I'm honored to be able to meet and work with all of them to get them excited about this crazy passion of mine. of the crazy passions.  And yes, I'm getting them all excited about Ju-ju-be and TokiDoki too.  I did have to bring a bag for every occasion.

It's really impressive to see all my former instructors coming together and working with all the girls.  I'm really enjoying assisting them, and being able to jump in and apply this knowledge that I just spent the last 2 years working on.  It's lighting a fire under my belly to not give up my job search and just throw in the towel.  I'm still not employed yet, and the search was getting really disheartening because everyone preaches about how easy it is to get a lucrative job in this industry, especially if you're a girl.  But nope.  That hasn't been my experience yet.  I keep thinking maybe I'm just not doing it right or maybe I'm not as good as I thought I was.  But after these last few days working with these awesome people, I'm bound and determined that I just need to keep plugging along to find that right job with that right company.

Well, enjoy your summer and I'll be checking in periodically!


Monday, May 4, 2015

Dahling Bag

My internet besties are amazing.  We've been connected for well over a year now and we talk regularly.  We celebrate our joys and we commiserate our troubles together.  We also share about our obsessions, from bags to planners and everything in between.  They've been a wonderful group to be with.

Today, I received a generous surprise in the mail.  A wonderful card and a beautiful bag that I will treasure.  I was so blown away by the thoughtfulness.  I had to get online and share with them my surprise and my gratitude.  Then I sat down across the table from The RacDad for lunch and we had this conversation.

Me:  I am so grateful for these amazing women.

RacDad:  Yep.  They're pretty awesome.

Me:  Why is the word grateful spelled g-r-a-t-e?  Shouldn't it be g-r-e-a-t?  Because grate is to cut something into small pieces by running it over a slotted sharp object.  Great is good.

RacDad:  Well, grateful is derived from the word "gratitude".

Me:  Oh, yeah.  Well then shouldn't it be gratiful?  That would make more sense.

RacDad (with a suspicious look on his face):  Yes dear, you're right.  It should be gratiful.

This is a common type of conversation around our house; random tangents that have nothing to do with the actual conversation.  I call them our "squirrel moments".  And I guess this is my way of saying "Thank you so much" to my wonderful ladies that I treasure.  And I look forward to the adventures I'll have with my Dahling new bag.....starting with graduation next weekend.  This will be fun to document and share with you all.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Opening a can of worms

I had a good friend this week bring up the topic of "feminism".  Now, I've never been the type of person that needs to label things.  Before The RacDad and I were married, we were "just best friends" (which still gets brought up in jest by my parents.)  This conversation, however, piqued my interest and brought a lot of good and interesting ideas into play.

I personally will never say that people need to be treated equal.  Individuals are not equal.  Men really are different than women.  The varying generations are all different from each other.  So, it's really impossible for everyone to be equal.  What is important though, is fairness.  People deserve to be treated fairly.  Life isn't black and white and people are not made with cookie cutters.

What is feminism?  Who can be a feminist?  Is this a bad thing or a good thing?  These are all thoughts that ran through my head at the introduction of the topic.  I've never thought of myself as a feminist.  I guess it's because when I think feminism, I think of hippies putting on their "power suits", trying to break through the glass ceiling in the 80s.  I think of bra burning, "damn the man" types of extremists.  Turns out though, I've always been a feminist.  And so is my husband.  What?  Yeah, I would say that my husband is a feminist too.  What I learned from this very enlightening debate, is that people of any sex can be a feminist.  Feminism is really supporting and empowering women in a way that encourages fairness.  A feminist is anyone who supports women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.  Feminists can be working parents or stay at home parents too.  We can celebrate the differences while treating each other like humans in a fair manner.

Now many people will argue that feminism isn't important or needed anymore.  They will say that it's turned into a bad thing.  I wonder if it's just because they have been fortunate enough to experience fairness in their lives and live around fair-minded people.  Personally, I have not been so sheltered.  That's another post for another day though.  Not to say that my experiences have been bad; they have just shaped how I view the world around me.   These experiences have broken me out of my shell and provoked me to be an advocate for fairness.


Monday, March 9, 2015

The New "Lock Your Doors"

People had to learn to lock their doors to increase the protection of their homes or cars.  This is just like that.  People need to learn what to do with any information that can identify who they are.  Let me talk to you about Personal Identity Information (PII).  PII is anything that can be used to identify you.  It includes name, address, phone number, email address, birthdate, zip code, log in usernames, passwords, fingerprints, DNA, and more.

Everything has gone digital: bank records, voting records, medical records, school records, social media, etc.  You are out there in the world, exposed more now than ever before.  Your information is literally at anyone's fingertips.  This is why it is so important to be more cautious about who you share that information with and how you share it.

Companies are always asking for more, but their policies do not protect you as a consumer.  So, when you are standing in person at the check out and they ask for your phone number or email address, they are trying to get more of your information to use to market or even SELL to other companies to use to try to target you as a consumer.  You do not need to give out this information.  Plus, you don't gain from doing it.  They tell you that it's to get coupons or special promotions in the mail, but you can find those if you are looking.  They don't need your information for you to get theirs.  So, just politely decline.  Or, set up a dummy email account that is used strictly for companies to target.  Just don't use that email for financial or personal interactions.

Don't be this person!
When on social media, be cautious.  Make your security settings private, and check in on them every few months (because things do change.)  On your own page, do not post things like your phone number, email address, physical address, even geolocation.  Wait to post your vacation pictures until you are back home.  I know it's neat to share, but if you are away from home, the last thing you want to do is tell people "Hey!  There's an empty house, and here's the address!"  You don't know who the "friends of your friends" are and who can see what you wrote when someone else "likes" it.  When you are on a public page, do not post your paypal address, zip code, phone numbers, or physical address.  You don't know who else is watching and who can gain that information.  If you need to get that information to one person/company for whatever reason, then send it in a Private Message (PM.)  That way, you have a record of who you gave that information to and why.

Try to keep a record of who you give information to.  When you are in person, write down what companies you used your credit card at, which ones asked for your phone number or email address, and who you gave a business card to.  When online, print screen, print screen, print screen.  Keep a picture file on your computer (and back it up somewhere else) and dump all the print screens there.  That way, if something goes wrong, you have a record of when and who has your information.

The only way to protect yourself is to protect your PII.  The internet has made many things faster and more convenient, but protecting your information is not one of those things.  The internet has made that harder and more tedious.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Technically Yours

I've been spooling for months, okay, closer to a full year.  I just didn't know where to start.  My life has changed drastically since I was last talking to all of you on a regular basis.  The kids are growing up, fully potty learned, and gaining independence.  My attention has been focused on finishing a degree in a completely new career field for me.  And because of all this, I have left you all in the dark.

I wasn't exactly sure how to proceed with this adventure that I started 5 years ago.  I watched it grow, worked hard to market it, worked with some really wonderful people/companies/fellow bloggers.  It was amazing.  I don't want to let that go, but at the same time, my life is different now.  When I first started OTTW, I specifically named it so that it could grow with me as my life grew.  I never expected to be a "mommy blogger" or "cloth diaper blogger" specifically.  That's just what filled my attention at that time.  And, of course, I still have a lot to say on a lot of different subjects.

So, it is time for OTTW to evolve.  I hope you all stick around, meet new people, explore new adventures with me.  I'll still talk about kids, and family life.  I'm just letting you all know that it could be filled with some more technical information too.

I am set to graduate this May with my degree in Computer and Networking Security with an emphasis in Information Assurance.  As I've been learning more and more about this field and getting a chance to meet some industry giants, I've learned that the biggest hurdle to this industry is social awareness.  So, that's what I'm going to do.  I will strive to not get too techy, geeky, technical.  (I have a knack for speaking in lay terms from working in the automotive industry for over a decade.)  But there's some really, really important stuff that all of you should know.  Stuff on how to protect yourself, and more importantly, how to protect your family and your kids.

We're all reaching a turning point in our lives where, like many years ago, we had to learn to lock the door of the car when we walk away, or lock up the house when we leave.  It's simple stuff that people just don't quite think about all the time.  But it's important to make it a part of your everyday online life.  But, I'll get more into that as we go along........


Monday, May 12, 2014

Birth Experience Regrets

I have been very active over the years on forums for mothers to talk, get advice and support, and to share their stories.  One thing that I have always told women, especially first time moms, is to share their birth stories.  Every birth is different and unique.  Birth can be very traumatizing though.  It's wonderful, painful, stressful, joyous, and a plethora of other emotions all rolled into one.  Any person that goes through an experience where they have that many things going on at the same time need to talk about it to help them process what it is that they went through.  Whether it was a good experience or a bad experience.

I have shared my birth stories here.  I even live blogged Peanut's delivery for two days, up to the point where I was whisked away into an operating room.  Then I wrote about it on a friend's blog as a guest poster.  Now, come to find out, because of my genetic disorder, there is a reason why I had strange complications with all three of my births.  My normal is not the regular normal.  But to me, I just felt that everyone is different and unique so what really is "normal" when it comes to the miracle of birth?

I, unfortunately, have heard time and time again over the years about women who have had cesarean sections, and how they felt like less of a person, or how their body had failed to do the one thing that it was built to do, or how they were "assaulted" or "robbed" of their natural experience.  I have also seen women talk about others that have had cesarean sections like they all carelessly planned it to be that way, they are ignorant or lesser people, or that they are not "real women".  Now, I agree that the US definitely does not have a good track record with treating pregnant women and not rushing things when it comes to delivery.  (Seriously doctors, this really is up to the babies and God!  Not you!  But that's another tangent for another day.)  Women need to support each other, not berate each other or even ourselves.  Using these harsh words like assault when it comes to birth is not a healthy way to feel.  And holding onto those negative feelings is not healthy.

Now, just to make it perfectly clear.  I had two vaginal deliveries.  My last baby was an emergency csection.  So, I really do know what I'm talking about when I talk about experiencing birth.  I have been pregnant seven times, so I really do know what it's like to think that you can never have kids.  Personally, through all of my life changing experiences, the one thing that I learned was to love what you have been blessed with and live on.  It's not easy to do.  And it's impossible if you are depressed (I know what that's like too.)  The first step is to keep that as the goal to reach; being thankful for what you have.

For the women that can't stand the phrases, "At least you have a healthy baby." and "It doesn't matter how baby came into the world, they got to come into the world."  You really need to seek professional help.  Because you DO have a healthy baby, and you are healthy and able to be alive to enjoy that bundle of joy.  That is why we have csections.  So that mom and baby can survive birth.

Now before you jump to conclusions and think that I'm being flippant, I am not.  If you can't get over the feelings of regret, pain, hate, and anger, then you really do need help.  You cannot be the best person that you can be, the best mother that you can be, or even the best wife that you can be if you are angry, hurt, regretful, and full of hate.  Having that level of regret that you will cry if anyone says the word csection, or if you can't stand the idea of walking into a hospital because you break down at the sight of an operating room, it will leave you a shell of the person that you once were.  We all know that you love your baby.  But if you can't look at that scar in the mirror without having that feeling that something is squeezing your heart, then you need to talk to someone about it.  You need to let that hate, anger, and regret go.

I understand that hate.  I understand that anger.  I understand the "what ifs" that go through your mind.  I understand that deep in your heart pain that is covered by the love that you have for this beautiful baby.  My csection took 45 minutes, two sets of doctors hands, taking my organs out of my body, to reach my child.  Then another 1.5 hours to put me back together again.  It was 8 days in the hospital and more than 4 months of recovery.  And I am left, 2.5 years later, with a scar that feels like pins and needles if anything touches it.  If I had my doctor that delivered Little Man, none of this would have happened.  She would have physically turned Peanut before my water broke.  She would have known that there was something wrong the first day of labor instead of sending me home.  She would have listened to my worries that first day instead of trying to reassure me that it wasn't time.  But that didn't happen.  And there's nothing that I can do about it now.

That's the thing.  You can't change the decision.  It was the best decision that you could have made for yourself in the moment with the options that you had.  You can't change that now.  All you can do, is tell your story.  Heal your heart, and not dwell on the things that you can't change.  I'm not saying that you have to be joyous that things didn't turn out the way that you wanted.  But at the same time, you can't hold onto the pain of it either.  It's okay to feel about this; to work through the grieving period.  It's not okay to say, "I love my child, but...."  That "but" should not be there.  If you can't get through the grieving process, you need someone who can help you get through it.

Very few women who give birth naturally have things happen the way that they wanted.  I had complications with both of my vaginal deliveries that have left me scarred inside and out.  I was terrified to give birth a second time after my first horrible birth experience.  So, every delivery is a miraculous, life changing event, but not every delivery is exactly what you want or what you expect.  That's okay.  That's normal.  No one will tell you this because they don't want you to worry, but that's how it works more often than those picture perfect, made for TV deliveries.

There are a lot of unrealistic expectations when it comes to giving birth these days.  Women think that if they "do all the research" and "learn everything" that they will be fully prepared when the time comes and nothing will go wrong.  That's extremely unrealistic.  Birth is unexpected.  It is uncontrollable.  People really have to learn what they can to make educated decisions, but not expect everything to go according to plan.  Don't set yourself up for disappointment.  And when things do go off plan, don't hate yourself for it because you have no control over that.  You didn't fail.

These feelings of hate, regret, anger, and disappointment are not normal after the first few months.  Of course, you need time to process and time to feel.  But you can't hold onto it.  Just like with Postpartum Depression, you really need to tell a doctor about these feelings and get some help to work through them.  These feelings are normal, and they do happen, but it is not normal to hold the grudges.  It is not healthy to hold onto the grudges.  Please, if you still feel this hurt from your birth experience, please see someone who can help you get through it so you can be fully happy again.  Then, you'll really learn to understand and embrace the phrase, "Be Grateful."