By 1998, our oldest boys were in high school and they were helpful with driving themselves and their younger brother and sister, when needed.  We were working hard at the office to improve the business and were doing a good job at it.  I was working more hours than at my previous job plus I was traveling, so while Julia was in elementary school and middle school, I wasn’t around as much as when the boys were that age.  In the meantime, I can remember times that each of our children would say “do you always have to talk about work?”  It was true.  We spent a lot of time talking about our business plans, strategies and staff. 

             As Joe mentioned, one time, when we were visiting Matthew in Philadelphia on a good four hour ride, Julia was in the back seat and after about two hours of office talk, she finally said, “Please, can you two stop talking about the office for the rest of the trip?”  We agreed, but a few minutes later we went right back to it.  I think our children have come to realize that being a business owner, you almost never stop working. 

             Since Julia was only 8 years old when I started working at USFSB, and I was working longer hours and traveling, I always worried that Julia was ‘short-changed’ because I was less involved in her elementary school activities than I was with the boys.  I tried to make up for it by being involved in her other activities, like travel soccer.  We always made time for family trips with the boys when they played travel soccer and we continued to do this for Julia.  Having this business made it possible for us to sponsor each of their teams, at times, so it gave them more reason to be proud of being part of a family business whose name was part of their activities. 

             For a few summers in a row, beginning in 1997, we really made an effort to create more family time and as a family, we took 3 weeks each summer on trips to California, Italy, England, Scotland and France.  This traveling was very enriching for our children and to this day, they all love to travel whenever they have the opportunity. 

            Another reason for so much conversation at home was that I did not want to discuss some things in the office.  Some of those things included the interaction of the employees and also topics that Joe and I disagreed upon.  I never wanted to make it appear in the office that we ‘argued’.  If we did disagree on something, it was easier for me to drop the conversation in the office and continue it at home, so that we could present a united front in the office.