Happy New Year to all! My blog is a bit late due to the holidays, but I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that this year brings much health, happiness and prosperity!

In looking back at the past year, I have to say that 2007 was a very exciting and eventful year! Personal choices and circumstances made last year one of the most life style changing experiences I have had in a long, long time.

December of 2006 brought immediate changes in the workforce which in turn created changes for me personally. The company I worked for was selling off part of their company and employees were chosen to work for either the new company or stay with the existing company. I was chosen to move with the new company. The new company would start in January 2007 with new management and a new home. As with the start of any new company, there was a lot of transition and change that was taking place. Customers needed to be notified, files needed to be transitioned, systems needed to be set up, etc. We were also moving to a new building so the task of physically moving needed to be completed. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately!) the physical move was taking place when I was attending Lotusphere. So when I returned from Lotusphere, my new work home was in another building (I wasn’t even sure where I would be sitting!) with my new workmates. Being with a new company didn’t guarantee that we had the same positions and that we would be doing the exact same job description we had before. Our workforce was basically cut in half, however, the workload and commitment to our customers were still the same. Needless to say there was a lot of adjustment for everyone.

The next few months were basically adapting to the changes in the company and establishing new guidelines, processes and procedures, and ramping up the workforce to handle the demands of the customer. I went to training in SLC, UT in February to train on a new system put in place to manage our customers requests. Over the next few months, we were tasked with retaining our existing customers (who were very unhappy due to the lack of service they were receiving from when we were the old business) and gaining new customers.

I continued to work for the new company until the end of June when I decided that it was time for a change. By my choice, I quit my job. I did not have another job lined up nor did I have any idea of what or when I would return to work. This was a personal decision of mine to quit. Bruce supported me 100% and actually helped me with making my decision. I have worked pretty much all my life (my first job was when I was a Freshman in HS) and have never NOT worked. So this was a HUGE decision for me. But after many years of working and dealing with the politics of the workforce, the high stresses and demands on my time, etc. I felt that I needed a change. My life was too precious and too short for me to continue with the stresses of work and the demands that companies want from their employees. I was not advancing in my career and due to the unfortunate circumstances with the company I had worked for, I had not had a raise (nor did anyone else in the company) in over 2 years, yet the demands of my time, etc. were still expected (over and above). Hence, my choice in quitting my job and staying at home with my kids.

With the summer months coming around, I thought it was perfect timing. I had never had a full summer off with the kids. With me always working, I was unable to spend the time I wanted with them in school activities and extra curricular activities. Here was my chance! (Unfortunately due to the snow make up days, my kid’s summer didn’t start until the end of June!).

My kids and I spent July just “hanging”, going to movies, driving them to and from their friend’s houses, etc. Normal kid stuff. Bruce and I also celebrated our 1 year anniversary in July. We celebrated at the very same place (and room) where he proposed to me (well…kind of proposed…that is another story) and where we got married. It was very nice and relaxing!

August, Erin decided that she wanted to try out for the volleyball team. We sent her to a volleyball camp in July and August which required practice 3 times a day. From that camp, the Prairie HS volleyball team members were chosen. She was chosen to be on the Freshman team! After camp, they had volleyball practice everyday (except weekends) until school started. August was also when we were looking at getting another English Springer Spaniel. A litter was born in July. We went to see the puppies in August to check out which puppy we might want to take home. Such a hard decision! August also is the month of my children’s birthday. Brandon turned 17 years old and Erin turned 14 years old.

September was back to school for my children. This would be Erin’s first year in HS and Brandon’s last. Erin was busy with volleyball and Brandon was busy with his band schedule. I was still undecided about going back to work now that the summer was over. I was on the fence and would find myself going back and forth on this. If you were to ask me if/when I was going back to work, you would have received a different answer any given day. We also brought our new puppy home in mid-September. We named her Bella Luna for the half moon shaped blaze she has on her head. The fact that we got her made the decision that I would not be going back to work anytime soon! The rest of September was spent potty training Bella and enjoying the companionship between Bella and Domino.

October brought volleyball games for Erin and band concerts for Brandon. Bella was also starting to attend puppy classes. We soon found out that Bella has a ornery side of her, but also a very fun one! October also brought on Homecoming. Erin was asked out on her first formal dance. It was very cute to see her all dressed up with her date. Definitely a milestone for all of us!

November brought on the beginning of the holidays and the hectic schedule of getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. November also marks when Brandon finally gets his driver’s license. He is now driving himself to and from school every day! (a blessing for mom since he has to be at school by 6:30 a.m. every day!). He also joined Science Olympiad and Knowledge Bowl which requires him to attend meetings and compete after school. Volleyball season is over for Erin so she is concentrating on her school work and of course, her social life! Both kids are doing very well in school, both with over a 3.0 cumulative GPA (Erin with a 3.783 and Brandon with a 3.262). Bella is growing fast and has graduated puppy school. Julian and Candace Robichaux visited for their first time in mid-November.

Thanksgiving was very enjoyable. I was happy that I did not have to worry about work and getting to take the time to enjoy the holiday season and actually getting to shop for Christmas in leisure! This would be the first time in over 4 years that I didn’t have to work after Thanksgiving and after Christmas!!!! We had Bruce’s parents visiting. We all enjoyed a very nice time and spent the day with family and friends.

November also brought on some hardship. My grandma has some large gall stones that needed removing. She underwent treatment but her health started to fail after her surgery and it was hit and miss on whether or not she was going to make it. Fortunately, she is doing fantastic now! I was also experiencing some health issues in November. I had to have an endometriosis biopsy to determine why I was experiencing some irregular bleeding. Ends up that the biopsy was negative and that my hormones are all whacked! I am now taking drugs to help get them back to normal.

December was a blur. The kids were taking their finals before school went on break. The 1st trimester ends.

I have been busy with helping Brandon apply for colleges and scholarships. He has been accepted to Montana State University and the University of Portland. We are still waiting for answers from University of Washington Seattle, Western Washington University, Washington State Pullman and Oregon State.

December also brings us the time to remember Dani Elgort. It is always a tough time for Bruce and I. However, we take comfort knowing that she is in a happier place.

Christmas was very nice and quiet. We celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve with my kids since they were spending Christmas day with their dad. I believe/hope that Santa gave everyone what they wanted!!! We also celebrated many birthdays in December. My dad’s birthday is on Christmas day and my father-in-law’s is the day after. My twin nieces celebrate their birthdays on New Years Eve. And Bruce’s sister celebrated her birthday on New Years day!

So here we are the 2nd day of January and the beginning of a new year! I am still undecided about work. I am definitely going to postpone any decision until after Lotusphere. With the development of our new product, IdeaJam, who knows, I may not need to go back to work! I’ll be busy selling IdeaJam from home!!!

I am definitely going to do some volunteering this year. I am seriously thinking of volunteering at the Humane Society and possibly the CCA (Children’s Cancer Association). It will all depend on how successful IdeaJam becomes and how much time I will need to dedicate to helping sell the product.

At any rate, the decision to quit my job was definitely the right one! The lifestyle change has been good to me and now I can spend my time on the things I consider important in my life…my family, my friends and my community!

I hope you all had a wonderful year that has brought you significant positive change in your lives!

Bruce and I wish you the best in 2008!

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