Thursday, April 24, 2008

Big changes are on the horizon

I'm sure someone could have a heyday psychoanalyzing why I haven't posted about this yet. And not just the actual "doing" of this thing, but the year-plus that I've even been contemplating doing this thing. Maybe it was something I really needed to keep private, so as to make sure that moving toward this was of the Lord, and not just a whim of mine, sparked by emotion and fueled by the opinions of others. Regardless, what is done is done, and I guess now it's time to share.

Are you scared yet? I promise, it's not bad. It's great, actually. I'm not sure why my intro spilled forth so melodramatically....

I have taken the plunge into the direct sales arena, and become an independent distributor for a geat line of high fashion jewelry.


Well, what do you think?

Why I'm looking for validation from the cyberworld, I'm not sure. I think it's because this is SUCH A BIG DEAL to our family. I'm not even sure how or where to start talking about this, but bear with me as I work through a lot of what I'm thinking and feeling.

Last January (as in 2007), one of my coworkers (thanks, Tara -- if this is a disaster, I'm blaming you!) invited me to a jewelry party. I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of spending a wintry Tuesday night away from home, but Tara only lived a couple blocks from me, so I figured it wasn't too great a sacrifice on my part. So I went. I remember only 2 things about this night: I left Tara's , having somehow booked a show of my own with the jeweler, Kelly, for March 20; and being devastated to realize I'd started my period when I got home (devastated because this was month 3 of TTC, and there would be no baby-anticipation that month).

Fast forward to March. I have my party, get a ton of great jewelry, have a great time with Kelly, and briefly entertain the thought "Hmm, I could do this." The brief thought heads right out the door with Kelly, until I see her at my friend Ambre's house for a party. And I think again, "Hmm, I could do this." But of course, by now I'm pregnant and starting to have the first of many complications with Seth, so again, the thought gets buried.

But Kelly remains faithful. Faithful to the principles of the business, and in turn, faithful to me. She drops off a copy of the founders' biography (to read in my spare time once I was on bedrest), helps me pick out the perfect piece to wear to a PCC reunion, and drops a "thank heaven for little boys" bib in the mail when she learns of Seth's birth.

I see her in February 2008, again at Ambre's house, and this time, it's not just me going "Hmm, I could do this." It's more of a deep-resounding presence urging, "Monica, you should do this." Kelly and I made arrangements to "double date" -- what's better than business talk with a side of yummy Bravo pasta and decadent chocolate cake? Jim and I were able to ask all our final questions about Premier -- how it works (from both a family and financial standpoint), what they've learned, where to start...

Fast forward again, to finding ourselves at the crossroads that most young couples do: salaries, job contentment, the cost of childcare, Seth's happiness, our happiness. I know that I felt like I was standing in the midst of a whirlwind -- scared, tired, alone, confused, sad. And what do children of God often hear in the midst of a whirlwind? A still, small voice. And I heard, with utter clarity: not could, not should, but "do."

The company picks a verse every year, and for 2008, it is: "Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow." Psalm 25:4

Jim is Mr. Gung-ho Encouragement, which I desperately need, as I have to admit -- I'm scared of this. SCARED. I don't like confrontation, and I sure as heck don't like rejection. Two things I know I will have tried and tested in the coming months as I build my business. Not to mention the time and effort and sacrifice that will go into these first months.

While I'm working full-time, all my home shows will need to be in the evenings. Do you have any idea what a typical week of evenings looks like in our house? Here's a sample of the last 2 weeks:

Monday: me, home with Seth; Jim, running to and fro with final tax filings; dinner with Grammie and home by 9 pm
Tuesday: _________ I know! Nothing on the calendar, but I swear, we were busy last Tuesday
Wednesday: staff meetings with Jr High staff -- guys at BW3's, girls at Applebee's, home at 9:30
Thursday: Jim's birthday, so dinner at Red Robin -- home, but asleep on the couch, at 8:30
Friday: dinner with Bogner's and Wilson's -- all 6 of us drowsing by 9 -- Seth was wide awake
Saturday: Jim, craziness errands and mowing; me, PT rehearsal, grocery shopping, haircut, appt. w/ Kelly to sign PDJ contract; dinner with Gregory's
Sunday: full morning with praise team; Jim to Chicago on business; me, back to OnLine

Monday: me. dinner with Abby; Jim, travel back from Chicago
Tuesday: dinner and study with small group
Wednesday: me, home sick all day; Jim, golf
Thursday: Jim, mow; me, still sick
Friday: Jim, 24 hour famine, so at church from 6-10
Saturday: Famine -- at church from 7-2
Sunday: Fundraiser -- March of Dimes March for Babies 8-2

So, now you're thinking we're nuts, right? Maybe so. (I promise, Seth will get fed and bathed somewhere in all this madness.)

But the plan is for me to do one show a week, and try to toss one extra one a month in somewhere, and we'll go from there. Jim and our parents think this is a great opportunity that I'll thrive at. On my good days, I believe them. Maybe once my starter kit ($2,700 worth of jewelry!!!!) and training manual arrives, my nerves will settle.

But until then....please pray for us. This is a big deal, and I feel like I'm still reeling from the most gigantic leap of faith I've taken in a loooooong time.

:::Deep breath:::

Hugs to Aunt Joyce and Uncle Paul

I'm a little sketchy on the details (once they get passed from Joyce to Grammie to Linda to me, I think there is something a little lost in translation), so I won't try to expound, but the gist is that Jim's uncle Paul will be undergoing a slew of tests and serious operations the remainder of this week. Please keep him especially, and Aunt Joyce and the rest of our families, in your prayers this week.

And Aunt Joyce, if you have a spare second and find yourself reading this, I just wanted to say that I love you SO much for the wonderful cards you send off to your great-nephew, "Master" Seth James Sprout Gregory. I am keeping each one of them in a special place for him; I hope he loves them as much as I do. Keep 'em coming! They always brighten our days -- the M&M one, especially. ;)

Thursday, April 17, 2008


It was faint, but it was there.

The beginning of Seth.

It was only 2 months after our miscarriage, but I just knew that this was it. So, even though I was early, early, early (just barely 3 weeks pregnant), I decided to take an HPT (home pregnancy test), in the hopes that I'd be able to give Jim the best birthday present ever -- the news that he was going to be a father.

Sure enough....April 17, 2007, was the day day Seth became real to us. Oh, I know some would argue that he wasn't "real" until we saw a heartbeat, knew the gender, felt him kick, or even welcomed him in December. But I knew on this day last year that I was going to be a mommy. I've never been more happy to be right about something. ;)

And I have to add this in closing. As we are getting ready for bed last night, Jim says to me, "You're not going to pee on anything tomorrow, are you?" Heehehehe. Maybe next year.

Monday, April 14, 2008

quick post..more later

I just couldn't wait to share these with everybody. I wish I would have had time to upload them before Jim and I went to Nashville, but....anyway.

Please excuse the poor quality. I took pictures OF the pictures with my camera phone (impatient, I was!!), and emailed them to myself just so I could send them out to people before I mail out the real ones.

These are the shots we chose from the Portrait Innovations package. Seth did sooooo well with the shoot. He only cooperated (with smiles) for about the first 10 minutes, and then he just got bored. Most of the end shots were with the "get that thing outta my face, lady" look. But the smiles we DID get were priceless, as you can see.

I have to admit, there was one other pose that I really liked, but it wasn't Jim's favorite, and I didn't love it SO much to pay the extra money just for that pose. I actually was proud of myself for not succumbing to a larger package -- they really know how to work the "rookie new parent" angle. =)

This pose to the left -- the one with the black background -- was Jim's favorite, so we have the most prints of this one. Please let me know if you'd like one, and I'll get a wallet in the mail to whomever wants one.

Okay, I realize now I'm just trying to come up with things to say to fill in the space next to the pictures, which is fine, unless you're the one reading it. ;) I'll just quit now and leave you in peace to stare at my beautiful baby.

One more thing...this one is my favorite. =)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Update on us

Seth is starting to get such a little personality. Or maybe I should rephrase that: little Seth is starting to get such a big personality. If I had to summarize our son in just one-word responses, I'd say that Seth is: inquisitive, talkative, flirtatious, energetic, determined, and (as you'll see from the photos below) focused.

This one, to the right, was taken last Sunday morning. Jim and I had the privilege to publicly dedicate Seth at our church. I was on praise team that morning, so I wasn't too sure what kind of mood Seth would be in at 10:15. While not his usual bubbly self, he seemed content to merely look around and take it all in (all the while wondering, I'm sure, why he had so many pieces of clothing on!). It wasn't until Dad sent me this picture today that I saw this new side of Seth. I have to say, kiddo, your Italian is showing. Can't you just see how badly he's trying to say "You talkin' to me?!"

He stayed awake through all the preliminary activities, went willingly into Pastor Carey's arms for his prayer, and didn't utter a peep the whole time we were on stage (unusual for him -- he talks like Mommy!). In fact, I've been trying to upload a video for several days now, of him chattering away in his car seat one day. Y'all wouldn't believe it -- this kid can talk and talk and talk. (Hmm....wonder where he gets that!)

I just love the look on his face in this shot. He sat in his high chair so well, all through our Sunday meal. I couldn't believe it. He was just taking it all in. I have to say, though, it certainly looked as though he was a little miffed that we weren't sharing our casserole and pie. ;) I can just imagine he is sitting here, going, "so here's what I'm thinking: we do away with this whole milk thing," (to which I say, "I hear ya!"), "and start in on the solids...I want me a piece of that!"

I really hope that I'm able to upload the videos soon...Seth is such a ham when he gets chattering away. He has been such a good baby this week, even though his nose hasn't quit running since Tuesday. Smiles galore.

In fact, we are going to attempt our first professional photos at Portrait Innovations on Sunday. If that doesn't go over too hot, I may work with a girl I know locally who is a fabulous photographer, to see what we can get. Oh! And keep your fingers crossed: just for kicks, I submitted the picture of Seth smiling in his SwaddleMe (a few posts down) for a local photo contest -- he could essentially become the 2008 Toledo Baby. We'll see! We find out on Sunday, and I'll be sure to post!

Until then, I'm going to close with a shout-out to Aunt Cathi and Uncle Mert: we love you guys and wish we could come to your vow renewal tomorrow. You are a wonderful picture of what marriage is all about. May Jim and I be as lucky and blessed as you, to have a such a wonderful life together! xoxoxo