Last year, Thanksgiving put life into perspective.
Last year, my father had a heart attack Thanksgiving morning and drove himself to the hospital.
Last year, my father almost died....but, he didn't.
After multiple surgeries, life support, and months of rehab, my father is alive, functional, and very much still a HUGE part of my life. Today, while I am thankful for the 'usual' stuff, I am totally giving thanks because my father lives, and walks, and sings!
I learned to appreciate the 'little' things in life. With all we went through, I learned to love my sister, even more than I thought I ever could have loved her.
I also learned to grieve. I lost my best friend, but I learned that if you love someone with all your heart, while they are here, and are thankful for them while they are with you, you can deal with their death so much easier and can even make wonderful things happen in their memory. I am so thankful I had a best friend like her...and I am so glad I cherished her while she was here. I am most thankful that I am able to continue to spend time with her family and continue to grow with everything that she taught me.
...and of course, I learned that another Thanksgiving meant another year alive!
Today, I am celebrating life...and everything in it...and I am celebrating my love for our God....for without Him, none of anything would be possible.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Last year, Thanksgiving put life into perspective.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Ok, so as if my post yesterday didn't reflect enough confusion...I am even more confused today.
My biggest fear in life is losing a child. My heart truly breaks for those who have lost children. My heart is breaking now for someone I know who just lost a child.
My heart is breaking all over the place and I just can't figure some things out.
However, for roughly the last 24 hours, I have had spent time with the youngest daughter of my dearly, loved best friend who passed away...and the time I have spent with her has been so amazing. We looked at pictures, some of which had her mom in them and some of which were actually taken by her mom. She didn't cry at all...she actually smiled quite a few times as we reminisced...all the while, I tried my best to hold back tears.
So, today, I am going to focus on the smile of a child who lost her mother just 8 months ago...for, if she can smile today, then I should, too...though, in times like this, it's definitely hard to do.
Today, I accept that I can't understand or fix everything...but, I can try my hardest to focus on the positive, which today, happens to be the smile of a beautiful 8 year old girl.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Life, that is.
I don't get why some women can have children without even really trying, only to abandon them by not wanting to love, nurture or guide them through life.
I don't get how a mother, who loved her children with all her heart, could be tragically taken away from her family due to an awful accident.
I don't get how a woman, who desires to be a mother so badly, can't bear children on her own....despite trying with all her might.
I am not angry, or mad...I am just confused and hurt.
I would have given anything to have had a mother that wanted to love, nurture and guide me through life...I would have loved to have mother like Beth or SIF...I just don't get why things happen the way that they do...but, I pray that one day I will be at peace with it.
For now, I just don't get it...
Sunday, October 31, 2010
10,955 - The # of times in the last year my blog has been viewed (probably by myself more than anyone else, but hey)
118 - Number of posts I have written in the last year
100% - My level of satisfaction with the time I have spent on my blog and the fact that I have kept it 'alive' for one whole year even through the busiest times of my life...and also with people I have 'met' along the way...people who I have learned to care deeply about since I began this blogging journey.
Initially, I started this blog to keep in touch with friends and family...never did I expect that I would meet so many of you who I respect and admire so deeply. Your stories, every one of them, continue to touch my own life on regular basis. The following are three people who I have deep respect and admiration for, and who have continued to show my little blog love along the way:
Angie, you are simply an amazing mother...your love for your daughters is beyond what I ever expected any mother could ever have for their children. You are such an inspiration to me and I want you to know that.
SIF, you know I respect how honest and open you are about yourself. You truly remind me that we all have our own stories and our own struggles in life. You have also been here for me during some VERY hard times and I will always cherish your friendship. I know you will make an amazing mother.
Deborah, you have no idea how much I appreciate your story. I can't begin to tell you how much I admire your willingness to make changes in your life that my own mother has never made. Your daughters are so blessed to have you as their mommy.
There are so many more of you like these three women and I hope you continue sharing your stories...each of us has a story to tell...and our blogs should always be a reflection of who we are.
Here's to my first year blogging!!!
Oh, and Happy Halloween!!!!
Friday, October 29, 2010
Today, we celebrate two wonderful years with our baby boy, who is now a healthy, handsome little guy. I promise to spend every single moment of my life loving him.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Sometimes, life comes at you rather quickly...over the last two years, life has had some very unexpected twists and turns. I had a son in the NICU, while I was admitted to a different hospital with post partum pre eclampsia....then, one of my VERY close family members had a surgery with a scare of cancer...after that, my father had a heart attack Thanksgiving morning of last year, followed by another heart attack, a half dozen surgeries and almost 2 weeks of life support....my precious, dearly loved, cherished best friend, Beth passed away...as did Joe's grandma, who raised him from a wee babe...to tell the truth, it just hasn't seemed to end...although, despite it all, I feel as if I have been so resilient the last two years, I have somehow remained so strong.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
I am always impressed when people choose to give of themselves so selflessly.
When people donate blood...they are saving lives while expecting nothing in return except for a few sugary snacks and some soda.
When people donate blood...they are saving lives of people whom they have never met.
When people donate blood...someone, somewhere will appreciate that person whom they have never, ever met.
When I donate blood...I feel amazing knowing that I, alone, helped to save up to 3 lives.
When we held our blood drive Thursday night in Memory of our Dearest, Beloved, Beth Kearse...we raised over 30 pints of blood.
When we held our blood drive...we potentially saved 90 lives.
I am so proud of our girls, our community and our parents....without this group, without Beth choosing to do this last year...none of this would have been possible.
Thanks to EVERYONE who came out in support of our blood drive. You guys truly ROCK!!!!
By the way, our troop is going to sponsor this drive every year from here on out...I can't help but think if we do this every year, in 10 years we can save at least 900 lives. What an awesome feeling!
Oh, and if you aren't local, please consider donating your blood today at a local blood drive.
Thanks and I hope everyone has a GREAT weekend!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
A few weeks ago, Eva failed her vision screening (she was 20/30, 20/40 and 20/50) during her physical.
She finally got in to see vision doctor today (I think it was called an optometrist)....and well, she failed her eye exam.
So, she gets glasses...she is far sighted, but it is bad enough that she will still need to wear glasses all the time for now...maybe forever...and I am a little envious.
I must admit, I faked an eye exam when I was 11 because I wanted glasses so badly (I wanted to not only BE smart, but LOOK smart, too). I was diagnosed as being far sighted, and I probably am a little bit, but man, I really pretended like I couldn't focus when I read. I got a nice pair of glasses that I was supposed to wear when I read...I looked so smart...but, they were so strong that when I wore them, I had to really focus hard and I would get a seriously bad headache. So, needless to say, I did a lot of homework in my room so that my father wouldn't ask why I wasn't wearing my glasses.
Fortunately, Eva is super happy about it...we ordered her a nice pink pair of glasses (which will be ready next week just in time for school) and bought her a princess case for them (which she brought home today).
At least my baby will see now..not that I had ever realized she couldn't see before. I had no clue! So, aside from being a little jealous that she gets to wear glasses, I also feel a little bad that I never realized she needed them.
Well, I guess I will get over it...both the envy and the guilt. :)
Sunday, August 22, 2010
So, after a long night of ups and downs, highs and lows, and then more lows, I felt the need to express, again, my undying loyalty to my most favorite football team, the Redskins.
As the regular season approaches, and we are still seeing double digit losses, I felt the need to remind everyone why, exactly, I love the REDSKINS!
I did this gues post a few months ago over at Ian's blog, so I thought I would post it here...now that we have had our first official loss of the pre season:
I am sure most of you have birth stories of your own you like to tell…most of which are probably stories of how your own children were born.
Me, I like to tell me own birth story (narcissistic any?)…it is a story that contains deep ties to a life long commitment of trust, loyalty, and undying love.
Here it is…in a very big nutshell…
It was September 1979…my mother was 2 weeks over due with her second child, me.
Miserable, hugely overweight, swollen, and, more than likely in her worst mood ever, my mother decided, being the avid ‘Skins fan she is, to spend her Sunday afternoon watching the Redskins first season game versus the Houston Oilers.
Obviously, I don’t recall exactly how the game went (after all, I wasn’t even born yet), but I know the Redskins were leading by a point or two in the last few minutes of the game….apparently, Houston scored a last minute field goal to take the lead.
In that moment, my mother jumped up out of anger and disappointment. When she hit the ground on her way back down her water broke…I was born the next day, following the Redskins first loss of the season.
Now, without going into too much detail, let’s just say my mother isn’t the ‘most pleasant person’ to be around…So, along with a lifetime of traditions, there is one thing Redskin’s losses have done for me…I credit this particular ‘Skins loss with getting me ‘the hell up out my mamma!” So, I don’t mind them losing…consistently…or, that they haven’t led their division since my first child was born, in 1999. That’s all OK…and I still consider myself a true fan.
With that, you have the realest, most genuine reasoning behind being a true, die hard Redskins fan…win or lose (preferably lose)!
Monday, August 9, 2010
I must say, it was well worth the $65 we paid ($80 including tip....$100 including the nice shampoo and conditioner I got her). I love it...and so does she. I think she felt like a princess.
While she was getting her hair done, the rest of us decided to shop. First, I got Eva this awesome pink skirt that she adores...then, I decided I needed to grab a few new bras for myself. Well, after about five minutes in the bra section, Bub barfed...all over the place, all over the carpets, all over the bras, all over himself. How long can GERD really last in a child anyways?
Let's just say, while we had planned on eating at Chili's, we opted for carryout instead.
But, Victoria does look beautiful!
What she doesn't know, is I also decided to get her a cell phone..*Shhhhh* don't tell her!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
So, I know it's been like, FOREVER, since I wrote a post. It isn't that I don't LOVE blogging, it is just that I haven't had much time to write anything.
Let's see...in the last month and a half we have done so much.
We started our Summer break!
We went to Pennsylvania to visit my Nana and her family.
We went to Savannah, GA.
We battled fleas in and around our house (we have won that battle, so far).
The girls went to Vacation Bible School.
I got COMPLETELY caught up on work...something I haven't been able to accomplish since my father's heart attacks last Thanksgiving, and got even harder to do after Beth passed away.
We planned a trip to take my father to Ohio to his class reunion, which will happen next Friday. He still can't drive long distances, and he really wants to go, and I am so pleased that I get to do a little 'pay back' for all he has done for me and my family. So, we are going on a good old family road trip..with grandpa. We are going to ride a sightseeing train while we are there and get to see where my dad grew up. I am very excited about taking this trip with him!
On a final note...it's Birthday season around these parts. We had or will have, in order, a July Birthday (Joe), an August Birthday (Vic), a September birthday (Your's Truly) and an October Baby (Jr)....yup, and Eva, our March babe, is our only non monthly sequential birthday. ...and yes, only a true nerd like me would even pay attention to that.
Well, it's good to be back...and I hope to be around more frequently.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Today is a BIG day...my first baby is graduating from 5th grade today! Woohoo!!!!
I am so excited for her....as for me, yeah, I feel a little (ok,a LOT) old today!
We went out yesterday to buy her a new dress/shoes for the BIG day! I also let her pick out her own graduation present. She chose a beautiful set of pearl jewelry (thank goodness it was on sale for 40% off...gotta love good old JCPenney) that matched her dress.
I think she looked like a princess this morning...and I am pretty sure she felt like one, too.
Here's to many more graduations in our future!
Way to go baby!!! Mommy is SOOOOO proud of you!!!!
Monday, June 14, 2010
I don't have much time to write this, but I wanted to write this right away.
This morning I found out that a 17 year old local girl died yesterday in a car accident. From what the reports said, the girl's father was driving his vehicle when he swerved right, then over-corrected, then rolled. The girl was ejected from the vehicle and she died at the scene. Reports also note the girl was not wearing a seat belt.
This is all too familiar in our community.
I have to admit something...I have admitted it before to people, but haven't yet on my blog.
Beth never wore her seatbelt. She always said, "I'm too fat to wear my seatbelt." She wasn't wearing one the night of her accident.
She only rode with me a few times, but each time she did I would say something to her about it....but, there isn't a part of me that feels like I pushed her enough to wear her seatbelt. Since she has been gone, I have had an overwhelming sense of wanting to start a campaign in our community to promote the consistent use of seat belts.
I will not say that had Beth been wearing her seatbelt that she wouldn't have died...I know seat belts don't ALWAYS work...but, I still can't help but wonder, had she been wearing it, would she have lived.
What I will say, is that now, knowing our community has lost a child (yes, a 17 year old child) to another auto accident where seat belts weren't in use, I feel the need to start this campaign more than ever.
My heart goes out to the father who just lost his daughter...I will be praying for him and his entire family as they mourn this loss. I will pray that he doesn't live in constant guilt and blame. I will pray that he has comfort and that he knows his daughter is in the BEST hands she could possibly be in.
For all of those reading this, please please err on the side of caution...choose to protect your life as best as you can when you get in a car.
Just, Buckle up...if not for yourself, then for Beth and for this child and their families...and for your own family.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
So, a few weeks ago my friend Shawnee asked me to look at some pictures of hers on Facebook.
After years of going against the societal grain of joining such a social network, I caved (Thanks Shawnee)...well, if you don't know already, when I moved to the country I moved from my hometown and left an 'old' life behind me. There was so much stuff I wanted to leave behind and not have to subject my children to...you know, that fast paced, suburban world that can open you up to too much at a young age. So, I sold the townhouse and bought a nice little house in the country.
I love it here...really...and since I have been here, I haven't had much of any knowledge of a prior life (except for family, of course).
However, the other day on Facebook, I got a friend request. It was from Victoria's Dad...nothing big there...I am already friend's with his wife (who is an awesome lady expecting their second child in a few months). I accepted his request...but, then, about 10 minutes later, I got a message. It was from a guy that was/is a good friend of his. Well, to put it nicely, this friend of his and I didn't get along too well towards the end of our relationship...and, well, he asked me if I still "hated' him...LOL! *For the record, no, I don't hate him, or ANYONE, for that matter...hate is such a vile thing to carry with you through life, and I REFUSE to have any of it! Although, I do really hate liver and sauerkraut!!*
Then, not even 15 minute after I responded to him, I got another friend request...from a guy who dated my ex best friend...in MIDDLE SCHOOL. Well, I mean, I have known him for a long time, but still...HOW THE HECK did all this come about in a matter of 20 minutes?
So much for being incognito in a Facebook world!!!
Monday, May 31, 2010
I am not someone who has lost a loved one directly due to war, but I have lost a loved one who fought in a war...my Pap was a veteran of WWII...he was one of the the most important men of my life and he lost a battle to cancer a few years ago. He fought for and risked his life for our country...and today, men and women like him are being honored all over our country.
Though my grandfather was able to safely return home from war, and lived many years beyond his military career, so many other soldiers don't come home safely, or at all...so many families sacrifice..so many families lose someone they love...so many soldiers risk it all, and lose.
Happy Memorial Day!
Oh, and I think I have a future grill mate in my son!!!
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I can hardly believe there's less than five weeks until our Girl Scout Troops depart for Savannah, GA to visit the Birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Over the last few weeks, our troop leader and I have been working hard putting together the final touches on this 5 day/4 night trip.
Before Beth passed, she was working very hard preparing for this trip...she had began gathering information and making plans over a year ago. When I spoke at Beth's vigil, it was made public that our troops would be taking this trip in her honor.
...I just can't believe we will be there in less than five weeks...and I still have moments where I am sad that she won't be there. Even though I know she will be there in spirit, I just felt like this trip was her project, her way to give these girls an amazing, educational trip, and I want her to be able to see what she worked so hard for. She was always looking to enhance the lives of everyone she knew.
Last September, she also coordinated a blood drive as a service project for our troop. I can't recall the exact number of pints we collected, but I think it was around 30 or so (which, is enough blood to give to over 100 people). I donated blood at that drive and I also registered with Virginia Blood Services (VBS) to donate blood in the future. Well, on Wednesday evening I received a phone call from VBS asking if I could donate blood as there was a shortage in our area. Of course, I was willing to give my own blood...but, while I was talking to the representative, I had an ever better idea. I wanted to coordinate another blood drive with them for our troops.
So, I had the guy I spoke with send me an email, which I then responded to with our information asking him if he could find the contact she had worked with. Well, by Friday afternoon I had an email from the woman Beth worked with. I informed her of Beth's death and that I wanted to coordinate another blood drive in the fall. I explained that I wanted to not only help raise more blood than I could give myself, but that I also wanted to do this in Beth's honor.
Sooooo....after all of this looooong drawn out post, I just want to say that....1) We will be going to Savannah Ga (because of Beth) in less than five weeks...and...2) In September, our troops will be holding another blood drive to help save more lives (also because of Beth).
I am just amazed that even after she is gone, her goodwill continues to live on...her love, her kindness, her willingness to give back...it still lives...because it lives in those who knew and loved her and those who continue to be touched by her spirit.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
This post is about me...all about me...and, warning, it is LONG!!!!
Rarely do I write about myself, but I wanted to today because for once, I have faced a huge fear of mine head on...and I am really proud of myself.
As a child, at the age of seven, I was abruptly removed from my mothers home. The situation I was removed from wasn't good. There was abuse and neglect in our home, and my mother and my stepfather were alcoholics and I even expect my stepfather may have done other drugs as well. After months of hell, my sister, who is almost eight years older than me, decided it was time to take action and began informing adults of our situation. She saved us from hell.
As hard as our living situation had been, being taken away from my mother was the hardest thing that had ever happened to me emotionally. Despite the abuse and neglect, I loved her...I needed her....I yearned for her once I was away from her...even though I had my Nana, who I loved very much, it wasn't my mom.
My Nana and Pap worked very hard to get my physical condition back on track. I was extremely underweight (about 45 pounds at 7 years old) and my teeth were rotting out of my mouth. Within a month of being taken from my mom, I had 7 caps, 3 fillings and a spacer put in my mouth. All of that work was done in a course of 4 weeks and it was so hard for me to go through...especially being that I was just taken from my mom. Not to mention, on the last trip, my Pap's SUV broke down, and we were stranded on the side of the road for about 20 minutes!!!!
I have always associated the dentist with both emotional and physical pain. I even wrote a short story about it in college that I got an A+ on...it has been a huge part of who I am and I have allowed my fear to prevent me from getting my wisdom teeth removed.
Well, this past Thursday, I conquered my fears...I had oral surgery to remove my wisdom teeth and I am so happy to say I am no longer letting the fear control me. I am now in control of that fear.
To be honest, it wasn't bad at all...I was really impressed with how well it all went...and the dentist, his nurse, my dad and my sister, all told me how proud they were of me....of course, I had a Valium or two before the big event, which helped...but, in the end, I did it. I did it!!!!!
...and I am so proud of myself!!!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I truly cannot express how I felt as I was taking these pictures. To see my father standing up on that stage today, singing...doing what he loves...after fearing he would never be able to walk, or talk, or sing, or even live again...was just AMAZING!
Here, you can see what I saw...you may never understand the emotions involved behind these pictures, but if you have ever experienced something like this or this, you could understand. I felt joy...true joy. After a long time of being sad, I felt joy...although I have had great moments of happiness, of feeling blessed, of being grateful, I really hadn't felt true joy since Beth died. I had been in such a stage of sadness...I would have highs, and lows, but I would never get high enough to experience true joy...until today...until I saw this...
If you don't know this already, my father had a heart attack this past Thanksgiving Day. He was having chest pains in the morning, and actually drove himself to the ER and walked in on his own while having it.
He was given a catheterization procedure and scheduled for bypass. Well, the night before his scheduled bypass he had another heart attack (worse than the first) and they had to rush him in to surgery.
After his bypass, his chest was so enlarged, they could not close him up. We (my sister and I) thought he was going to die. He had about a 70% chance of survival.
After 10 days of being in multiple forms of life support (one of which being a ventricular assist that actually pumped his blood for him), a mild stroke, and many blood transfusions, he was finally closed back up and began healing.
Today, less than 6 months since his heart attack, my father is having his first concert performance and he even has
a solo and a duet (I was wrong, he just had a duet). I can't believe he has come so far, and I feel so blessed that he is still here and singing.
He has sang his entire life, even in prestigious groups such as the National Philharmonic, so when we found out he had a mild stroke, we feared he would never sing again, even if he lived.
But, today, we get to witness the miracles of medical technology, God's ability to heal, and our Dad's will to live! I am just soooo excited!!!
Anyhow, just wanted to share how very proud I am of my dad, and how grateful I am to his doctors, and to God, for working a miracle in our lives...and how grateful I am to my daddy for fighting so hard to stay here with us a little longer...he is truly our very own walking (and now driving, too) miracle! ;)
I love my daddy!!!
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Now, things have been kind of crazy the last month and a half. But going to the Father-Daughter Dance, and getting to see all the fun and excitement, was a true treat!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Generally, I don't go around chopping up baby animals into little pieces, but today, I made an exception...Um, yeah, I won this battle!!! This baby copperhead didn't stand a chance...and I wasn't giving him a chance!
Now, for the record, I would only do this to a copperhead...I always leave our black snakes alone, because they actually eat copperhead eggs, along with rodents.
I have to admit, this snake sure did scare the crap out of me as I got out of my van today...and I also broke my hoe.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I got this in my work inbox...yes, I get URGENT news from the Washington Post! What do you say?
News Alert: D.C. marijuana bill heads to mayor for signature
12:47 PM EDT Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The D.C. Council has given final approval to legalized medical marijuana. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) is now expected to sign the legislation, after which Congress will get 30 days to review it before it becomes law.
For more information, visit washingtonpost.com:
Slowly but surely,things are falling back into place.
We are adjusting to a new normal...
I am almost caught up on work...almost!
Eva had a preK concert last night that was amazing. I am going to post pictures this weekend, once I have time to upload them on to my computer.
After her concert we went to Girl Scouts...and I cried last night...in front of just a few girls and adults (after most of everyone had left). I just couldn't help it. Eva and Beth's youngest daughter (who looks just like Beth) were playing red light/green light...and I just lost it. I don't know why, but I just started crying. Beth's oldest daughter looked at me and asked, "Are you crying because you miss my mommy?" I replied a very solemn, "Yes, baby." Then, the other girl who was in the accident said, "Oh, Sam, let it all out...I do it all the time." Funny how an 11 year old girl can make you feel all better.
Anyhow, I am sure I will still have tears from time to time...and I am sure I will always miss my friend, but I am so glad I can cry when I need to, and know that others have cried and will cry again, too....I am not alone in this.
On another note, our Girl Scout Council has nominated Beth for the Appreciation Pin at this year's Honoring Excellence Dinner. I was honored to write a letter on recommendation for her. I am also going to attend the dinner with our troop leader and hopefully Beth's family.
Anyhow, hope to write more soon. For now, back to work!!! Bye!
Monday, April 19, 2010
I mean, I am doing better today than I was this time last week.
We did have a great time at our Girl Scout's Father/Daughter Dance (yes, Bub and I went along to 'help' at the dance). Really, it was a great evening. I still need to weed through the gazillion pictures I took, but I hope to post some this week (you know, if time permits).
On another note, the baby woke up with a fever this morning (101.5 aux)...which is his first fever in about 8 months. He used to get them all the time when he was a baby (when he cut a tooth, when he got shots, when he had a cold), but he has gone a while without one. I think he has a small cold now, as he has a slight runny nose and has been sneezing. It has broke for now, but I will be taking him in if it comes back again in the next 24 hours.
And, one last thing...I read this today in a daily prayer I get every morning (it was ironic, because the pastor who sends out these prayers actually mentioned not knowing why this particular quote had come to mind this morning...I could only think how he always seems to say things that touch me deeply at times when I need to hear them the most, and I thought, "perhaps he is writing them just for me"...and I am glad I get a daily dose of prayer in the morning)...here it is: