Friday, May 25, 2007

Homeward bound

Chicago is nice to visit, but I'm ready to get home to my beautiful wife, and family. The first two weeks of my training have been very eye opening, very encouraging, and very successful. We have tests every week to see what we have retained, so far my scores are great.....wk #1 95%, wk#2 100%. It is a challenge to learn the systems, and accronyms of a new company. I am finding all involved are very committed to seeing the re-invention of the company to be a big success, and any and all suggestions from my past experiences are being welcomed with open arms. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity for improving the sales, and profits of our stores, and I am finding that just getting back to the basics of discount retail, and the basics of grocery 101 ie. stores that are friendly, clean, in-stock, signed well, and offering fast checkouts....just to name a few, are the elements our customers are looking for.

The better that we get at taking care of the above mentioned areas, the more chances we have to take market share from the competition. With the power brands and more, (merging with that "other" company has made our brand recognition much stronger), we have all the tools we need to recapture the dominance we once held in the marketplace. There is however a great need to see day in day out consistency in sustaining superior store conditions to increase customer confidence and build the loyalty that we need to move forward. That is where I come on the scene.

Needless to say I am very excited to be a part of the leadership team of the new Sears Holdings Company.

I am even more excited that I get to see DW and the girls tomorrow afternoon, and spend the entire weekend with them. I will be back in Chicago on Tuesday.

Until then,

In Christ,


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Boo Boo the comedian...

Any of you that know me--and I'm thinking that would be anyone reading this--knows that I'll talk about my cats sooner or later. They're my first kids, and such an interesting addition to my life! Wulfgang was formerly known as "Lumpy," because he slept so much that I used to ponder: "Gee, if only he would get up! He bears such a lifelike resemblance to an actual living, breathing cat, that might get up and do something..." Okay, I used to have two cats. Wulfie is now my husband's cat--he actually goes to him more than to me these days. Well, since DH is in Chicago, the Wulfman has kind of adopted Princess #2... There may be round one of WWF in our house for the cat-rights when he gets back!

Then there's Binky. (Beaujolais, aka Boo Boo, aka about a hundred other "pet" names, no pun intended, but it's there so just go with it) She came to me when she was about a week old--her eyes were only beginning to open. Needless to say, I am her Mummy, and she thinks (well, I don't try to convince her otherwise) that she is my baby. Just over a year ago, she developed a new technique for laying down. She uses this most interesting technique no matter where she is--outside on the concrete, on the floor under the window--pretty much anywhere. She's very vigorous in her getting lazy: DH has affectionately coined her technique the "stop and plop." She pretty much throws herself over or down--sometimes quite forcefully! She's quite the bully when she wants some affection too--she'll throw herself on me when I'm in bed, because for some reason, that's her favorite place to snuggle. Anywhere else, and you gotta watch out for those razors--it could be playtime with little or no warning!

Okay, so, my cat and I have a morning routine. I generally don't like to get up in the morning, and so when I have to (which is most days), I generaly like to do so slowly. I don't recommend being awakened by the house alarm going off--that kinda jolts a body out of comfort in a rather rude fashion. I also remember as a kid my dad waking me up by pouring a little water on my neck as I was sleeping--wow, did that put me in a good mood. Anyway, I'm a "snoozer." You know, the alarm goes off and so you hit the snooze button. Well, if you're like me, you're a "multiple snoozer" and I find that I actually have some great naps and extremely vivid dreams between snoozes. That is, when Snuggle Chunks isn't around. Generally, she hears that alarm go off, and before I can settle back in, she's right up next to me, asserting her wet nose on the closest hand. I generally comply with her demands for attention, because if I don't she'll verbally command the hand to come to life--not an annoying yowl, but quite the cutest little "heya, I'm here!" noise. And of course, the infamous stop and plop--it's quite an irresistable combination.

Well, this morning, our routine took a slightly different turn. I don't remember ever waking up laughing, but that's pretty much what happened. No, not at the alarm clock, and not because of a dream, but because as soon as I hit that snooze, there she was, affectionate as ever. Now, she's not as polite about her claws as her compatriot is, so I have one of those fuzzy acrylic blankets that serves as a great barrier between her kneading and my ... uh... pyjamas (don't want to snag them, you know!). She has, for as long as I can remember, loved on that blanket (but only when I'm around and loving on her) with her claws; she even takes a piece of it in her mouth and sucks on it as if she was nursing. I had heard about cats that "suck wool" (I guess someone had a sweater that some Fluffy enjoyed tasting), but had never experienced it. Anyway, it's pretty cute, and if we get it just right, she'll lay there and look at me while she snuggles. Except for this morning. She decided to try a twist on the old stop and plop after I had hit the snooze button after she jumped up to join me. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody's there, does it make a sound? Well, if there's bear poop in the road but nobody saw the bear make a deposit, does that mean a bear didn't put it there? Oh, wait... getting off subject. I tend to ramble sometimes...

Okay, so here's me, getting settled in for the a.m. snuggle--it does help me wake up. Pulling the "magic" blanket up in a protective manner, squishing it in all the right places, I prepare for a comfy snuggle. And that's when I started laughing. It's like she thought she was plopping onto the pillow and didn't have far to fall or something, but it was less like "plop" and more like (picture the aforementioned tree falling in the forest) "TIMMMMMMMMMMMMMM-BERRRRRRR!!!!" I cracked up laughing, and could only laugh harder when she gave me the dirtiest look! Poor thing (oh, yeah, she's so abused and neglected), she gave me the "I meant to do that" look for which cats are infamous, and then sauntered off. If it helps, she's over it now.

Oh, and I never hit the snooze button again this morning! We'll see if we have a similarly amusing story tomorrow... Sorry if this one bored you, I just had to get something in there about Monkey Chunk!

Catcha all later!


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday, again!

Well, we made it through Monday, and now Tuesday's almost over... Where does the time go? I will say this, though: it seems like DH has been gone for a month already, and it's only just over a week. I can't wait for Saturday!!!

Did you catch American Idol tonight? Wow, Blake had a rough night--he had some really tough songs to sing. I wish he could have sung his first song last, and not have sung that last song (or the second one, for that matter!) at all. Jordan did well--I didn't agree with the judges though; I thought she was "pitchy," although I don't agree with the screeching that Simon accused her of. She's good, but I really do think Blake has more stage presence and confidence. I guess America will decide who they like best! Then, to add insult to injury (I have really been rooting for Blake--he's just so strong in who he is as an artist!), there was no House afterwards. I can't STAND the show, but I love the medical mysteries that they face, and I have a couple times even beat them to the next "guess" in their diagnosis process--Princess #3 thinks that I should write their scripts or something. Anyway, we'll be watching next week for the season finale. #3's a little upset because we had planned to have an American Idol Finals Party and make pizza and have friends over, but their Mom wants to have all the girls over because it's Princess #1's one night off this week. I had to ... uh... help her deal? with her frustration (she cries when she gets upset; I just get mad and snipey) and remind her that we can do a pizza party some other time with friends. If next week's House wasn't so late on a school night, we could do it then... we'll figure something out.

Work has been insane for me lately--I'm going to be getting some help soon I hope; the boss knows that we certainly need it on our team! I think my favorite part of my job is telling attorneys how to do theirs... I even had one ask me yesterday if I was an attorney. I'm thinking... no, but maybe I should be! We had a full-building evacuation today--that was interesting. I don't think I've participated in a fire drill since I was a kid. This was different than anything I've ever experienced--for those of you that don't know, I work in a downtown metropolitan area in a building that's probably 45 stories tall. After September 11, the fire departments are required to do these drills. Anyway, after Sept 11, our company has decided to evacuate far enough away from the building that if it topples, we'l be clear from the initial impact. Interesting that other floors/companies only evacuate to the front step, though... After we were cleared to go back into the building, it took us longer to get back to the office--our bank of 6 elevators services the first 18 floors, and you can imagine how long it takes to repopulate 18 floors, one box-car at a time! At least we were able to get out of the building for a while...

Okay, so now the news is on, and the headlines are interesting: Snow in the forecast (which made both girls moan and groan about no more snow, I hate snow!!!), a panty-bandit in Fort Collins (laundromats just aren't safe these days!), and then the usual bad news--including those boys that lost their legs in a car accident might have been drinking when they got hit.

Well, I have to go do the parenting thing now... someone needs this, the other one needs that. It's been an education, learning that kids think parents are 20-dollar bill dispensers!

Ciao for now, and we'll catcha later!


Sunday, May 20, 2007

What an awesome weekend, and it isn't over yet!

Well, Princess #2, Princess #3, and I have been really enjoying each other's company this weekend. We went to see Shrek 3 on Friday night--we all laughed alot. Afterwards, we each tried to name our favorite parts--wow, it moved so fast that I can't even remember it! #2 thinks her favorite part is where Donkey had a baby ogre face; #3's favorite part was when Shrek had a nightmare, and my favorite part is where Donkey and Puss N Boots were thrown into the dungeon and "Puss" hissed. If you haven't seen it yet, you'll have to check it out!

Saturday morning we went garage sale-ing ("saling" looked weird, so I spelled it out--work with me on this, 'kay?). Princess #2 really didn't want to go, but before we were finished, she was pointing them out to me so we could go check out another one. We had fun, and Princess #2 got a "new" bike and Princess #3 got some movies and some beads--oh, and a "dresser." We also got a bird-bath for our front yard. Then we came home and had some lunch, tea-party style, on the front lawn under a shady tree. Beaujolais (the cat) was the fourth attendee at our impromptu gathering, and Wulfgang (the other cat) provided entertainment when he got brave and wandered off to the check out the neighbor's front lawn area--until someone came out and scared him! He came at a dead run (okay, he's kinda old; it was more a "purposeful lope") and hid behind a rose bush to peek out at the neighbors coming out to get in their car and take off for some errand.

Princess #2 had a friend who was in a dance recital/competition last night, and she said it was fun. Princess #2 had picked up a couple of silly necklaces at one of our garage sales, and gave the second one to her friend--I don't understand why they like the bright, simple beads (they kinda look "kiddie" to me), but then, I'm sure there was a time when I wasn't all about the fancy or elegant-looking stuff... Which reminds me, I'm hosting a jewelry party in June... Please let me know if you want to attend; I'm compiling names and addresses for the invitations to go out.

Church on Sunday was good--the new series is titled 2 Much 2 Do. Wow, I gotta wonder if the preacher has a hidden camera on my life--I am guilty as charged of not honoring the gift of the Sabbath that God has given to all of us. I do try to fit a little Sabbath into every day, and it was great for the kids to hear (from someone other than us parents) what the purpose of Sabbath is as well as what it isn't. Princess #2 especially wanted her Dad to hear the message, and so he's planning on listening online. You can too, at:

Well, we have an indoor picnic to prepare for; I'll have to touch base again later.

Have a blessed day, friends and family!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Update from Chicago

Hi Everyone!

A very special Thank you to my beautiful wife for taking the time to keep me informed of what is going on back home. We get to talk on the phone a couple of times a day, and then getting back to the room to find her dedicating part of her day to documenting the daily events is as close to sitting around the dinner table with family as I can get.

Things are going GREAT here in Chicago. I am actually in Elgin, and my training is most days at the Sears Holdings corporate headquarters in Hoffman Estates (about 7 miles away). I just yesterday finally figured out how to get to training without having to use the toll road. It sometimes takes 30 minutes plus to go just a mile or so.

The headquarters is a beautiful first class facility. I can't wait for DW and Princess #3 to visit so I can show them around. All of the guys/gals I am training with are looking forward to meeting them as well. I am very excited about the opportunity in front of me from a career standpoint. The Company has an executive leadership team that is dead set on reinventing the culture, and the leadership team of the company branch that I work for. I have been hired as a Store Coach in training so that I could as an external manager, come in and learn the culture, and systems for 6 wks, then have a district manager project assigned by my Divisional manager for 6 weeks after which time I go in front of the executive panel for promotion to District manager. This company is very eager to use my experience from both prior places of employment to capitalize on the opportunity for growth in the division.

Well enough about work, I had better sign off and call the DW and the girls before the girls turn in for the night. I thank God daily for giving DW to me, I miss you sweetheart and love you very much!


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What to WEAR???

Oh my goodness, it's another crazy day in the Non-Brady household!

DH is... ahem, learning his way around Chicago--the hard way. Maybe he's having a hard time understanding the funny way those Chicagoans talk when they give him directions, yuk yuk! Maybe one of these days he'll actually get to have dinner with some of the fellows in his training class. Of course, that involves nobody getting lost on the way back from training to the hotel, and then being able to find the rendezvous point for dinner... Well, at least he's not starving--there's plenty to eat in Elgin and the greater Chicago area.

It's been interesting, being the wife of a guy that likes to shop--or at least, likes to "walk shop," which is DW-speak for the equivalent of window-shopping to compare and contrast stores and see who is doing what right and wrong. There have been times I have been worn out! It always amazes me how much I have learned from him when we "shop" together. I have learned merchandising, cleanliness standards, and more--and he's always telling me what he sees, what could be done better, etc. He's just so good at what he does, and we're thrilled that his skills will be utilized in his new position with the company. There's one monstrous advantage the company now has since he is on the payroll: after 21 years with "the other guys", he knows how to compete with that mass-marketing/merchandising monster (and then some, thanks to what he subsequently learned at the grocery store, too), and that knowledge is a weapon that he is not afraid to use!

Princess #1 and I had a really interesting conversation about Heaven tonight on the way back from Youth Group. We started out by talking about the likelihood that people can't really see what's going on here on earth once they are absent from the body and present with the Lord. I know, there are all these "ideas" out there, but then really, where is it in the Bible that we'll all be floating around on clouds, wearing wings and playing harps? Well, I believe, contrary to what the cartoons would have us believe, that people do not turn into angels when they die. Okay, so that part wasn't in our discussion; I'm just giving you some background on how my thoughts for our discussion was directed. We did talk about people not being able to see us from heaven. She commented that she would want to see what's going on with her family and friends, and (I love her so much) her dogs. I told her that we will be so caught up with what's going on in heaven, and that I want everyone at my funeral to be jealous that I got to meet Jesus face-to-face before they did. And, that I can't wait to meet certain people we read about in Biblical history, like Moses, the apostles (I especially want to meet Matthew, the original "punk rocker," at least in my mind), Adam & Eve, and Mary. She wants to meet Noah, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington (okay, not all Biblical figures, but historically-asserted to be Bible-believing, God-fearing men). Isn't she precious? We have the most interesting conversations!

So, the girls tell me that they have a concert next week. Princess #2 and Princess #3 both play the violin, and there is a big she-bang going down next Thursday. Princess #3 is bummed that her Dad won't get to see her play, but we're going to send her out there with a mini tape-recorder so he can hear, up-close and personal, how much she has improved over the year. She says that they have worked really hard all year for what they'll be playing, and I can't wait to hear the results. Now, if we can just get that violin back from the repair shop before then... Sheesh, it looks like we're going to have to rent a violin for a month (they don't do a "day" rate or pro-rate it if you bring it back early), because there's no way the repairs will be completed in time. If only we had known about the fact that the violin was essentially useless before now, we could have taken it to the shop sooner... I'll get over it; I really will. Someday. Not soon, but someday. I love these girls!!! Now, whatever will they wear??? Hmm... we may just have to go shopping this weekend for some nifty spring duds!

***** doo-doo-de-doo-doot... (intermission--sing yourself some goofy elevator music for a moment!)*******

Well, that was an interesting conversation. Princess #2 has decided that she wants no part of the aforementioned spring concert. Gee, if her BFF (Best Female Friend) isn't going, that's reason enough that she shouldn't have to go, too, right? Uh, well, I for one am not so sure about that. I'll duly note her desires, discuss it with the appropriate authority figures (namely, DAD!), and meanwhile, she'll be sorting through her suitcase (which promptly pukes all over her bedroom when she gets here from her Mom's) to see if she has anything suitable to wear. Would it be bribery to get her to go if I buy her some nifty spring duds? If so, is that necessarily a bad thing? Apparently, she and her class have not been working as hard as Princess #3...

Okay, gotta go. It's bedtime, and I expect to be hearing from my husband soon so I can tuck him into bed over the phone... It reminds me of before we were married when we used to fall asleep on the phone reading Bible verses to each other... Maybe we'll do that tonight!

Ciao for now!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Year's Eve, 2005-2006. The man now known as DH had just surprised the gal now knowns as DW with a knock-your-socks off ring and proposal. She was the only person that didn't know what was going on! (maybe the "D" stands for duh?)
Guess what? She said yes. Oh, and she got back at him surprising her with the engagement ring by surprising him--with a surprise wedding! Now THAT'S a story to be told!


Like sands through the hourglass, I am counting the days until I get to see my husband again! I have been sending him text messages throughout my day--this is almost like a "business arrangement" as much as anything! Yes, there's the fun married part of it--the romance, the dates, the goofy little names we have for each other and the memories of snuggling until Beaujolais snuggles up against me and puts her bum right in DH' face! But there's also the day-to-day stuff: Princess #2's phone is broken, and I don't have authorization to activate the replacement phone that came in yesterday; the same Princess #2 was home "sick" from school yesterday (we think she's trying to convince us all that she needs to stay at her Mom's this week, but that is directly against her father's direction); Princess #3 is taking care of the dogs (hmm... except for the poop part; we'll have to work on that together!); it's raining in our neck of the woods today, so we can delay turning our sprinklers on for yet another week--and thank goodness I sprayed for weeds on Sunday so the stuff had some time to work!

I wonder what life was like B.C. (that's before DH for those of you that... never mind!). I don't function well without him!

Anyway, he tells me that Chicago is an interesting place, from what he's seen so far. He says that it's pretty green there right now, and a bit cooler than here at home. He's actually staying in Elgin, which is about 55 miles from where they have him training--which I think is the Sears Headquarters. He said it's a pretty impressive place (HQ), and he was very much looking forward to meeting some of the folks with whom he'll be spending some time in the coming weeks. He also mentioned that everything is all closed up and put to bed by 10:00 at night--which made it tough for him to find a late dinner on Sunday when he got in, due to the fact that by the time he got a rental car, found his hotel & put on some long pants (he says it's not quite shorts weather there), it was well past 10 and he could hardly find an open store! I checked this morning on tickets to Chicago, and for Princess #3 and me to head out there on June 9th and return with him on the 15th, it's gonna be about $720. OUCH, but I would love to see Chicago. Oh, and of course, I would love to see the guy that's staying there for a while!

You're probably wondering, where are those pictures I promised to post? Well, that's an interesting question. They're out there, somewhere; I just have to find some time when I'm at home to post them--maybe tonight, between coaching with homework, managing dinner, and American Idol. I can't stand that I'm hooked on a TV show now--I hate the time wasted that I can never get back! Interesting, given how much TV I watch when nobody else is around... Hmm... something psychosomatic going on there, I'm sure.

Well, I'm going to sign off for now--please everybody keep in touch! I have heard from my Uncle Rich since starting this blog... Can't wait to hear from the rest of you! ~DW

Sunday, May 13, 2007

testing the email blog for DH's trip

Gotta make it easy for him to post so he can keep us all up-to-date on what's going on in Chicago!

I love you, Honey, and I miss you already!

Friday, May 11, 2007

What's up with those kids?

Well, we have so much going on in our lives, I just can't keep track of it all! Maybe blogging will help me get it down so that when I don't remember, I can at least look it up! Okay, so Princess #1 will be graduating High School in just a few weeks. We're wondering how long her commencement ceremonies will be, because she has a friend (and an "adopted" family member) also graduating that same day. The Friend's graduation starts only 1 1/2 hours after Princess #1's, so we could have a tough time seeing both girls march. It's so hard to believe that they're graduating already!

We grilled Princess #1 the other day, and she has no idea what she wants to do after high school. But then, really, does anyone? She is doing extremely well in her job, and has already had a couple of promotions, with a promise of promotion to Assistant Manager after graduation. She seems to enjoy the work, and she and I had discussed a possible future there. She certainly looks up to the various management members with whom she has worked, and they have given her some valuable advice--especially as she now finds herself managing some of her peers and good friends. You know, retail is kind of in her blood (her Dad has run retail stores for more than half of his life), so maybe she'll be a district manager for them someday! Meanwhile, she's going to be attending the local Community College and getting her basics out of the way as she examines what she wants to do with her future.

Princess #2 is about the most social person I have ever met. She knows full well that her priorities are supposed to line friends up somewhere behind God, Family & School, but somehow, that often gets conveniently forgotten. She has been talking with her friends, and they are wanting to take driver's education together--I can't even believe that she's going to be 15 this summer! She has always made friends easily--we're constantly meeting her new friends. She is definitely in the throes of teenager-hood, and I can only imagine how she'll be in the next couple of years. She has always done one thing well (sometimes a little too well!), and that's speak her mind. She isn't afraid to tell us when she disagrees with something; we know that this will also give her the strength to stand up to her peers when they are pressuring her to do something that she knows isn't right. She has recently made a decision that she is going to give her best to school--her teachers definitely know that she is capable, we know that she's capable, heck, even she knows she can do the work. Now, she's going to show the world (via grades, we pray) that she is capable of the tasks she is assigned.

Princess #3 has just wrapped up a couple of absolutely fantastic weeks. I have a habit of asking the girls at dinner, "What happened in school today?" Or, "What was your high today?" Well, this young lady has a very long list! She has been doing some testing at school--the law requires literacy testing, and they test every fall and spring. Well, her scores were below the acceptable level last fall, and so she has been working diligently this school year to improve her reading skills. She has even found a couple books that she likes--I find that she favors the ones that have shorter stories, because she can read for 15-20 minutes and then be finished with that story. The longer books sometimes get a little involved, and she gets a sense of accomplishment when she can finish a shorter story in a longer book. Anyway, she recently re-tested, and was very confident that she had done well. She also read a passage orally to her reading teacher (all the kids did), and found that she is now reading above her grade level! She also has done some comprehensive testing to determine her overall level regarding vocabulary, grammar, spelling, comprehension, etc., and her score jumped from a 26 to 77 in just this school year! Her teachers recognize the extra effort that she puts forth, and recently she was honored by them with special Award for her efforts. Oh, she's also the queen of sleepovers now, having had them with multiple friends for more than one weekend running.

Finally, and our favorite high for her, she was baptized this past Sunday. We had a fantastic time watching her prepare for this--she has such a gentle heart, but it is filled with (not-so-quiet) passion. She was baptized by her Dad and her Mom in church (I'll post some pictures soon), and she continues to pepper us with questions--and bring her friends to us with their questions! You should have heard the questions she came up with when she was reading Revelation; she was understandably frightened by some of the stuff that she read. Isn't it great to know what's going to happen before it happens! Yes, Princess #3 has had a great week--she even got to have lunch with Dad on Wednesday--he came to the school and had cafeteria food (now that's love!) with her!

We will be spending a little time together today since DH leaves tomorrow--we look forward to dinner with all the girls before we drop them off at their Mom's house for Mother's Day. He is such a great Dad, and while none of us on earth is perfect, I don't think there's any doubt in any of these girls' minds that he loves them absolutely. Okay, I think I have used enough exclamation points for one blog--I'll have to catch up later. Hope all the friends and family are doing well!

New Blog and Family Update

Hello family and friends!

As you know, we have been looking for some time for a new employer for Chris. His days with Safeway were shortened when we realized late last year that Chris' career with them was not going to be using his talents to their full potential. Chris recently accepted a position as a Store Coach (in training) for Super K Centers--the K-Marts that have added a full grocery section to their stores.

We had been discussing some options for some time, but right after the first of the year, he got serious about finding new employment. It was sparked, interestingly enough, by phone calls from potential employers that had viewed his resume that he had posted to three years ago when Safeway picked him up. Well, after several unsolicited contacts, we decided that we needed to update his resume and begin seriously seeking some offers. You would never believe it, but while renewing his contacts at Wal-Mart, he was contacted by Winn-Dixie (a grocery chain in Florida), Home Depot (who wanted us to relocate to Gallup, NM--dead center in the middle of nowhere), and several others. He also contacted Target, Circuit City, Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, and others. Some nibbled, some grabbed the bait, and some swam off to other waters.

When he telephone interviewed with K-Mart for a Store Director ("manager") position, it became evident immediately that he was overqualified for what they needed, and the interviewer suggested that he should consider discussing a District Manager position, and so the interview was set up. Chris did a little homework before the face-to-face interview with Sears Holding Company (they own K-Mart now) executives, and he pulled no punches telling them how they could get more business into the stores, what could be done from a merchandising standpoint to improve the appearance (and sales!) of the stores, etc. The team interviewing him appeared to enjoy his feedback, and were very excited to offer him a position. One thing remained a hold-up from making the offer official: he had to pass a background check. Now, Chris' legal name is John, and since he goes by both, they had to run two very common name-checks, and it took a little while longer than we would have hoped to get the official go-ahead.

Here's the kicker: in order to accept the position (heck, before they even ran the aforementioned background check), he had to sign an acceptance of willingness to relocate. This was a really tough part for us, because the girls (and we!) have quite a life and roots put down here in Colorado. We can't bear the thought of being away from the kids for any length of time, so it was a really difficult decision to make because we knew we would have them either during school or during summers. We knew back when he started looking for jobs that it was a very real possibility, given his skillset, that we would be relocated. We had discussed it with each other and with God, and Chris also discussed it at length with his parents. I also discussed it with Mom, and we talked about what happens with the kids when you can't have them around all the time. She told me exactly what I needed to hear, even it if will be difficult to accept: whatever happens, it will be okay. Chris and I keep thanking God that He is the one in control and that He knows what the final outcome will be--heck, there's a very outside chance that we will be able to stay in Colorado! If we don't, we don't have the first clue as to where they might send us--maybe Chicago or Detroit, maybe the Carolinas... We just don't know.

Meanwhile, we broke the news to the girls last Thursday, and needless to say, there were tears and fears, questions and qualms. Either way (whether they go with us or stay here with their Mom), Kaitlyn and Lauren both will be going to a new school next year, because their Mom lives in a different school district than they are currently enrolled. You know, it wasn't just yesterday that I was 14 or 12, but I do remember some of what it was like; these girls are having a really tough time--we knew they would. We took that into consideration, and have asked them to examine the possibilities and try to figure out what they would like to do. Immediately, they both wanted to stay here and go to school locally--the social little butterflies that they are can't even begin to imagine not being here where their friends are. They both claim that it's very hard for them to make friends, which isn't true but they feel that way in light of being in a place where they don't know anybody (yet!). They're also thinking that since they definitely have to go to a new school next year, maybe it wouldn't be so bad to go with Dad & Dani--that way, when they come to visit their Mom in the summer, they can catch up with their old friends. Sheesh--summers would be horrible if they didn't know anybody! Anyway, I would ask for all your prayers as we move forward with this new part of our lives, and decisions are made that will affect our whole family.

Finally, Chris leaves SUNDAY (May 13) for Chicago to begin his training. He'll be rubbing shoulders with the company execs in Chicago, and going through some classes to indoctrinate him into the Super K mindset. He will be gone except for a couple of weekends until the end of June. We have decided that we are going to sell our house, whether we stay in Colorado or not, so we need to get it on the market. Gee, I wish we had had more time in this place--I sure love the house and the location, but I guess God has other plans for us.

Chris will be home in Colorado for Kristin's graduation (!) on June 2nd, and then back also for Father's Day. I will be trying to scoop up some work and take it with me, and hopefully join him for a week in Chicago. Lauren has said that she would like to go on that trip--sounds like we might be able to work something out, so we're praying for that.

I will write more on the kids next time--I gotta get back to work now. Lunch is almost over--and my boss (uh, that would be me) is such a slave-driver!