Monthly Archives: March 2014

My Mom

My mom and I have been through many moments in our life.  We went through the typical I can’t live without my mom stage.  Then I got a little older, and I thought she was just out to get me and catch me doing everything wrong and nothing right.  Then I became the teenager and I thought she was impossible, and she wouldn’t allow me to do ANYTHING just because she was mean.  Then I went away to college and realized just how much I miss and need my mom.  I graduated college, came home, found a place of my own, got engaged, married, have a baby of my own and could never have done it without my mom.

I look up to that woman like no other.  She is the best listener, she is kind, compassionate, loving, a wonderful giver of advice, so selfless, and one heck of a fun time.  Now when I look back I realize there were reasons she wouldn’t allow me to do certain things, and would make me suffer a consequence for some of my chosen mistakes, but yet was my biggest cheerleader, and always steered me in the right direction.

She still does things for me that a mother would do for her child when they are a teenager.  “You need a new dress for that wedding?  Let’s go shopping.”  I do have a job mom.  You’re not buying me a new dress.  But yet, there just happened to be a fantastic sale at Carson’s and she happened to walk past a great dress.  “You’re not paying for dinner.  Never.  When you’re rich then you can buy us dinner.”  I can afford to buy you a dinner once in awhile mom.  “Ava has to go pick out a new toy.”  She’s got more toys than she knows what to do with right now, mom.  We all went to a nice lunch over the weekend and my husband snuck off to pay the bill.  You would’ve thought we just bought her a new car.  Boy was she mad.  She’s coming here tomorrow to babysit Ava, and I’m sure I’ll come home to a new wardrobe for her along with some toys and probably a new appliance or two for me.

She just loves doing things for others.  She can’t help it.  It’s just the person she is.  I’m sure glad I have the relationship that I do with my mom because I’ve learned lots from her through the years, and I could only hope to be the mom to Ava that she is to me.


Road Rage Rehab

When my husband drives I often wonder if we’re ever going to get there.  Sometimes I think he stops at the yellow lights just to teach me patience.  I’ve learned to stay quiet and just deal with it.  What’s the rush?  There is no rush.

When I drive my husband often asks why I’m pulling over the person in front of us.  I do admit I was this person always.  I am changing though.  Slowly.  But I’m changing.  I don’t do it to because I’m trying to be rude or unsafe.  I  literally get anxiety over being late.  However, I don’t think you can be late to the grocery store.  I’ve been known to flip a bird or two in a few directions when people do these sort of things to me.   I know this is totally unfair to do, not to mention rude and unsafe.  I do not drive in a reckless manner though (minus the speeding).  I do not bob and weave in and out of lanes or cut people off.  In fact, I was able to renew my license online this year due to my perfect driving record. I just go a little too fast.

I know I’ve given many of you sweaty palms or an angry feeling just thinking of the kind of driver you all know and dislike.  I am working on it though.  I promise.



Dogs are companions, love endlessly, are forgiving, and really are members of the family.  Sometimes they get pushed aside when a new family member comes along, but they love you regardless.  This is what happened to our dog, Max.

He is a giant baby.  He’s all bark with no bite.  He looks the part but definitely does not act it.  He will stand guard at the window all day and bark, but if hears a suspicious noise he will run behind the couch or one of us.  He cries at night for attention after Ava’s in bed.  He will whine until one of us crawls on the floor to lay next to him and scratch his ears.  If we’re on the floor laughing too loudly with Ava he’ll let out a whiny howl as if to tell us to pipe down over there.  If our attention is on Ava too much for him to handle that day he stares longingly out the window, with his head over his shoulder and resting it on the sill.  He looks as if he’s reminiscing about what life once was before Ava came along.  Max does not mind Ava, he just doesn’t care to have much to do with her.  He’ll let her pet him for a few minutes but that’s it.  He gets up and walks away while huffing and puffing.  Ava does not give up though.  She will follow him everywhere until she’s had adequate time to pet him.  She loves her dog.  She asks about him every morning when we go to rescue her from her crib.

Max also thinks he’s human.  He tries to sit on chairs like us humans do.  He thinks he deserves a bedroom of his own with a bed.  Trying to keep him off the bed in the spare bedroom has been quite a job.  However, when he does sneak up there he  thinks he’s entitled to pillows and blankets.  We’ll often wake up to him still asleep with his head on a pillow and somehow has gotten the bottom half of himself under the covers.  How does he do this?  He is often the last to wake up and join us in the kitchen for breakfast.  He usually wakes with a giant stretch and a loud announcing yawn.  Too funny.

He is our dog.  He is our protector (somewhat).  He is our family member.  We love him back endlessly also.  He’s just not number one anymore.  Poor Max.

personal pics 197                  Ava 14-15 months 017

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Our Journeys

Two years ago at this time I was in the emergency room.  Again.  Only it wasn’t supposed to happen this time.  It was supposed to be our time.  We were supposed to hear the cries of our first born in 7 1/2 months.  We were supposed to be able to look into the eyes of our newborn baby and feel everything you’re supposed to feel.   We were supposed to be able to hold our baby, count all her little toes and fingers, and bring her home this time.  So why are we here? Again?

As we drove that familiar drive to the hospital something did feel different this time than the others.   For some reason I felt maybe it will be okay.  Maybe things will work out.  For whatever reason, I don’t think this hospital visit will end like the others.  I kept this silent because we’d been down this road a few times now, and I didn’t want my husband holding on to any hope that wouldn’t be real.  Instead we drove in silence feeling the all too familiar panic, fright, and sorrow.

Lying in that room, in that bed, in that gown again feeling desperate to find some hope and strength.  Knowing this feeling all too well.  The guilt sets in.  What did I do wrong, what should I have done differently, I can’t believe my husband and family have to go through all the devastation again.   The selfishness sets in.  How can I go through this again, how do I get past this this time when it was supposed to be safe, how do we move forward, how do we not give up hope, how do I tell people what happened?  Again.

Tests were run, blood was drawn, things were being monitored.  It’s been over an hour.  Why can’t I just get an answer?  Will my baby be okay? 

We’re going to take you for an ultrasound now.  But just to assure you.  We almost never hear a heartbeat this early,”  says the stranger with some sadness already in her eyes.

I know this speech.  I’ve heard it a few times.  I’ve been to the ultrasound with no heartbeat.  And the one two weeks later.  I’ve been to the ultrasound with nothing to be seen growing.  I’ve been to the ultrasound where something is there, but  growth is not happening.  Will this be the same?  Do I still have hope that this time will be different?  I feel like I’ve already made a bond with this baby.  Please don’t take her from me.  Please.   Not Again. 

The hallway was stark white, endless, and cold.  So cold.  The wheel was squeaking and music was playing yet everything was silent.  The nurse and I had no conversation.  Why? Did she know?  Was she afraid of what we’d see?  Or what we wouldn’t see?   Or what we wouldn’t hear?  Was she preparing what she was going to say to me?  We reached the end of the hall and entered a room.  It was small, cluttered, dark, and colder than the hallways.  It was so dark in there.  The glow of the screen seemed to be the only light.  The screen that would tell me how the rest of my journey would go. As she was preparing for the ultrasound I wanted to ask her to stop.

I don’t want to do thisI’m not ready to hear what you’re about to tell me.  I want to hold on to this one for just one more day.  Just one more day.   I love this baby.  We’ve already bonded.  I don’t know how, but we did.  I’m not ready to say good-bye.  Please stop.  But I didn’t ask.

It was so quiet except for my heart beating.  Faster and faster.  Louder and louder. Swirling wind and stampeding horses.  It was loud, it was strong, it was happy.  It was not my heartbeat that I was hearing.  It was my baby’s heartbeat, and I was hearing it for the first time.    And that.  Is your baby’s strong heartbeat,” says the now smiling stranger with relief and happiness in her eyes while giving my hand a gentle squeeze.

I cannot put the feeling into words.  There aren’t any.  That moment was a moment where time stood still.  That feeling will never be forgotten.  Miracles do happen.

The nurse wheeled me back to the room where my husband was waiting.  The hall didn’t seem so long anymore.  Or so cold.  I will have more than just today with her.  I’m going to have a lot more days with her.    The only thing better than that moment was seeing my husband’s face when I was able to tell him that  “I heard the heartbeat!  I heard our baby’s heartbeat!”

Sometimes we’re taken down paths that we have no answers as to why.  Sometimes we may find out the answers and sometimes we don’t.  All I know is, if I didn’t go down the path I did, I wouldn’t be rocking Ava to sleep every night.  And that is a journey I couldn’t live without.

Cooking With Wine. A Must!

Push Play.

Ray LaMontagne station programmed on Pandora.

Wine poured.

Zucchini and asparagus trimmed, cut, sprinkled carefully, and drizzled with olive oil.

Tuna steaks marinated to perfection.

Grill is warmed and oven preheated.

Smells are overwhelming.

The only thing missing is having the breeze of spring and the smells from the grill coming through the windows.

Laughter and talk of the day at the table.  Nothing’s better.

Except the fact that it’s spring break and I can finish the bottle of wine!


The Noticings

Being on spring break I’m noticing different things.  Maybe it’s having more time to notice these things.  Like my previous post noticing less traffic, less crowded stores, the fresher produce during the week, the quiet of the daytime.   I’ve also noticed things at home too.  My dog, Max’s schedules for instance.  He seems to run to the window at the same time every day, he eats at the same times, naps at the same time too.  Same with all the mysterious noises of the house that seem to make their sounds at the same times every day.

This past week I’ve also gotten to pay more attention to the way my husband and daughter interact.  It’s priceless. Max is usually the first to hear his car so naturally he barks.  Ava’s eyebrows raise and looks at me and looks at Max and lets out a little gasp.  She must’ve taken count of her family members in her head and realized it must be her dad.  As soon as the door opens she lets out a loud, “Daddy!’ When she sees his face and is sure it’s him she gets up as quickly as she can and runs to him, quicker than her feet can handle, with arms outstretched waiting for his big bear hug.

As they play downstairs while I make dinner I get to listen in on their conversations while they build things with blocks, talk about shapes and colors, and read a few books.  I love hearing them laugh together and hear him plead with her not to do something and why she can’t.  He explains it to her like she’s completely understanding what he’s saying too.  So funny and cute.   I love her screams while he chases her, and I love listening to him talk to her about how to play catch as if she’s a thirteen year-old.

I love these little moments, and I love that I get some extra time to notice and take them all in.

Getting to be the Aunt

My Aunt Shanna is the best because she brings the fun to the party(2nd grade someone you admire project), 

I am thankful for my Aunt Shanna (Kindergarten Thanksgiving project),

My Aunt Shanna is my role model because she’s responsible and always laughing (3rd grade role model project),

I chose my Aunt Shanna to be my Confirmation sponsor because I look up to her and admire the things she’s done (8th grade project on choosing a sponsor for Confirmation).

These are lines lifted from some of the school projects my nieces and nephew have written about me.  How do you not feel special after they write things like this about you?  At the present moment Kelsey is 13, Jackson is 11, and Caitlyn is 9.  I have a great relationship with these kids. I’ve attended many soccer, volleyball, and baseball games along with many school events.  I adore their innocent little personalities, the kids they are, and the young little adults they’re becoming.

Caitlyn is in third grade and has a heart of gold with an eccentric personality.  The girl will wear her purple cowboy boots in 90 degree weather just because she wants to and doesn’t care what anybody says about her.  She is hard working, determined, silly and goofy and a frisky little thing.  She’s tough.  She will never leave anyone out and is friends with everyone.  If someone is upset then she is upset.  She once gave her toy that she won during her classroom party to a boy that really wanted it.  She didn’t even second guess her decision.  Just graciously handed it over.  When asked what made her do that she just simply responded, “He wanted it more than I did.”  She is so outgoing and can hold a conversation with anyone and is bound to make you laugh.  Her parents are going to have a tough time with that one’s personality.

Jackson is in 6th grade and is a guy’s guy.  He is so kind, heartfelt in everything he does, he’s confident, and such a little gentleman.  He’ll be the first one out to my car helping me carry bags, holding the doors for me, and always the first one to say hello with a kiss and a giant hug.  He’s got friends galore.  He’s a well-liked kid without trying to be the center of attention and when he finds an interest in something he’s 100% committed.  Right now it’s cars.  He can tell you just about anything about them.  The girl that gets this kid in the future will be one lucky lady.  He’s also really handsome.

Kelsey is in 8th grade and is a girl after my heart.  She’s my godchild and she is one of the kindest 13 year-olds I’ve ever met. She volunteers every summer for some kind of charity. She asks to do this for her birthday. She is an animal lover to the core, she is protective over her younger brother and sister, and would do anything for  even a stranger. She is smart and strong yet very sensitive. She is going to be one successful young lady. I see her as my little traveler.

Being an aunt is a pretty awesome job.  You get to love like a parent yet are trusted like a friend.  I cannot wait for my spring break sleepover with these little guys!