Big Life Changes

*UPDATE* This opportunity didn’t work out for many reasons and Mark decided to move on to a different job. He is happily employed at a large, widely known company whose main operations are local. Thank you for continued prayers and support as we journey through life! 

I have been holding on to a piece of information for over 2 weeks. While some suspect the secret, or even sort of know what it is, only some people are in on the details of this secret. These people are so close to me. They have been a constant support during both good and bad times. These people are not fair weather friends. These people are hard core “walk through the hurricane holding our hands” kind of friends. They have our trust and know our secret. The time has come for me to let the rest of the world in on this news.

So what is this information that I hold? It involves my entire family but mostly it is about my husband.
**Drum roll**

Mark accepted a new position with a different company! I will not give details about who he will be working for because I feel that would not be beneficial to him. I will say that it is a better job. It doesn’t bring us back to where we were, not really even close, but it is a very positive step forward and upward with potential for growth and a future. It is a new career path that will use past skills in a new way. He will be challenged; something he is very excited about. He is a very smart guy so the challenge is welcome.

A tid bit from his letter accepting his new job.

A tid bit from his letter accepting his new job.

I am very excited. I am also cautiously optimistic. I have been burned too many times over the past year and a half to be full fledged optimistic. What makes me most excited is this run down:

~In all the years I have known Mark he has always worked an unusual schedule. It was unpredictable and ever changing.
This job is a 5 day a week job without constant changes. I know what to expect.
~In all the years I have known Mark 40 hours a week was a pipe dream. 60 was the norm and often more than that. Even now he works 45 so that we can pay bills (minimum wage is NOT livable income for a family).
This is a 40 hour a week job. Period.
~He has never had weekends off.
He will have weekends off, except every other Saturday will be a half day, but those weeks he gets a half day during the week. This is huge for us and really exciting as we have swim meets, martial arts tournaments, boy scout events, volunteer hours, and church on the weekends. He can finally be a part of it all.
~He has always had to sacrifice family time for his job.
He no longer has to sacrifice family time for his job.

We are so excited but I would be lying if I said there wasn’t some fear. I so desperately want this to be everything we are hoping for it to be. On paper it sounds and looks perfect. Will the reality be the same? I sure hope so. I really feel like Mark deserves it. He is a hard worker. He is a fast learner. He is a likable guy. He is loyal. If hard work alone indicated wealth he would be a millionaire easily. Too bad that isn’t always the case.

So we are embarking on a new journey. Pray and hope for us please, especially for Mark! Thank you to everyone who has been there for us. Most of you don’t know us, but you have helped us. Kind words, support, love, and friendships. You have let me see glimmers of who you are. One kind word has meant a thousand to us. You are not forgotten to us. We pray for all of you and value your lives. Thank you for sticking by us. We are not out of the woods but we can see the sun. The darkest depths seem to be behind us. I hope you stick around and watch all of this unfold.

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Peace and love
~Andrea

**Mark is into his first week. He is learning a lot and very busy. YAY!

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Swim Life

The smell of chlorine never completely washes away when you are a swimmer. I have 3 children on the local YMCA swim team and one who takes swim lessons. We are at the pool at least 5 days a week. We have swim meets once a month until summer when it changes to once a week for 6 weeks.
The kids shower at the YMCA immediately following swim practice. It doesn’t matter. The smell of pool follows us home. This has become our lives. We are a swim family. We talk about seed times and strokes. The terms dry land practice, pool deck, drag, and flip turns are common words for us. We say things like “Fly fast” and “Breast is best.” Speedo and TYR are favorite brands.
Ask me what I think about goggles and I will immediately tell you to order bungees. They are by far worth every last cent. I will tell you what brands to avoid and to not let price scare you. Sometimes they cost more for a very good reason; they are better. I have had moms whose children are in swim lessons come up to me and asked me to help get goggles on their child. I have fixed more goggles than I can remember. Goggles are our “go to” accessory, or so it seems.
Each child has a preference for swim cap material; latex, rubber, silicone. I know the tricks of getting each strand of hair under the cap. I can whip a cap onto a head so fast it is a blur of motion.
Swim suits litter our bathroom. Towel bars are for jammers and hooks are for suits. Towels get slug over the shower bar. We have backpacks for swim only. They are each filled with extra goggles, caps, suits, swim team shirts, water bottles, and all the shower items needed. Yes, I bought 4 of every shower item so each bag would always be stocked.
We miss events because “Sorry but we have swim.” We have been late because “Sorry, swim went over.” Dinner is often after 8 because, well, we were at the pool. I do not think we can manage a conversation without some version of the word “swim.”

We love it though. The kids jabber about practice and what was hard and what was easy and what number they were during practice (first to go is always fastest so this is important) and what their goals are.
I am a fixture on the sidelines and I talk with other parents. Our conversations are diverse, but swim always trickles back in; “Are you going to this month’s meet?” “Did you see the video Coach made?” “Did your kid get a qualifying area time?” We are a swim family. We cheer for each other’s kids, we know when people are sick, we know who is struggling with what, and we know who has beaten their best. We support each other. It doesn’t matter that I want my kid to be faster than your kid, in the end we are a team.

This is our life, swim life, and we wouldn’t change it for anything.

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Bug, C-Dog, Elf waiting for swim practice to start.

~Andrea