Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful (Still)

{Out of all of my blogs, the one that I received the most feedback from my close family and friends is my post "Thankful" which I posted last year before Thanksgiving. For whatever reason, that post touched many of the lives closest to me, and so I would like to share it again this year, with some updates. }

As I shared in my original post, Thanksgiving 2005 marked an ominous date for me. At the time pregnant with the little man, it was the date that my doctors said would be a miracle if I made it to. None of them were betting that I would be able to carry him much further than Thanksgiving. And while Thanksgiving was a better scenario than the one I faced just two months prior (the first time we were hospitalized), Thanksgiving was still much too soon.

Now, five years later, I felt the little man's arms around my neck early this morning as I hugged him. It still felt just as good as the very first moment I held him and he snuggled his little newborn head against me.

I will forever be thankful for my miracle.

I am thankful for another year of adventures in mommyhood and my awesome husband for sharing in each laugh and priceless moment along the way. I truly married my best friend and my soul mate. We celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss this year and I cannot wait to see what the next 10 have in store for us.

I am also thankful for my family, both immediate and extended; the older I get, the more I understand the true gift family is in our lives. I am blessed beyond mention by the fact that my mother and my mother-in-law are two of my greatest friends, mentors and confidants. They exemplify all that I, myself, hope to be as a mother.

I am thankful for my friends, near and far, and all that they bring to my life.

I am thankful for my niece, Avery, who made her big debut just a few days after my original Thankful post, on December 1, 2009. I am thankful that my big brother and his amazing wife, who did not have an easy road to parenthood, were able to finally hold their baby and forever be known as Mom and Dad.

And I am still thankful for you.

I began this blog at the suggestion of a dear friend of mine and fellow writer. It began as a way for me to expand my own writing horizons and branch out into a new style of writing for me. I had no idea that anyone would actually read it, and I had no idea that I would receive such amazing support in my blogging endeavors. Thank you for continuing to share in my adventures with me.

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Anyone who knows me personally knows that if there is something about UFOs, Bigfoot or the paranormal on TV, then I am watching it. I believe this fascination began as part of my mother's own fascination with all things Sci-Fi. She and I would spend Saturday afternoons watching any Sci-Fi movie that was on, most of which were laughable.

My husband often joked with me that he didn't want me to pass along my own love of aliens, Sasquatches, et. al. to our son. He became increasingly concerned when one afternoon the little man asked Daddy if he could "watch that movie with the bear that walks on two legs" again. My husband looked at me questioningly, without a clue as to what the little man was talking about. With a laugh I explained to him that "the bear that walks on two legs" was what the little man called Bigfoot.

However, you cannot shield your children from everything. Especially your own habits.

This became especially true two weekends ago. The little man woke up early Saturday morning and since my husband is a habitual early bird, the two boys got up and went downstairs. I awoke to squealing - the good kind. The little man was extremely excited about something, but I could not make it out. I got out of bed and walked downstairs to see what all the excitement was about.

"MOMMY!" the little man squealed as I walked down the stairs. "Look - ALIENS!"

I looked up to the television and saw three little green monsters.

"Aliens, mommy," the little man explained. "They are living in the attic!"

I looked at my husband, who was giving me the look.

"You did this," he said. "You officially warped our son."

Meanwhile, the little man was so excited about the aliens he could barely sit still. He sat with a wide grin on his face, bouncing on the couch as he watched the aliens' every move.

"It's Aliens in the Attic," my husband said. "And he LOVES it."

It was a cute children's movie about a group of aliens that crash land on Earth and take up residence in a summer home. The home is full of a group of kids who are staying there for the summer with their parents when they discover the aliens in the attic.

I couldn't help but to laugh as I saw how excited the little man was to be watching aliens. My husband had conceded in his fight to keep the alien-loving trait from our son.

"Well," I said to my husband. "What did you expect? He is at least half mine."

And with that I sat on the couch with my alien-loving son, loving every minute of Aliens in the Attic.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

One of the things I'm really trying to instill in the little man now that he is getting older is compassion for others and a sense of giving back and doing good. We live a fortunate life and while I am proud that we are able to provide the little man with a home in a great community, excellent schools, hoards of toys, etc. I still want him to grow up appreciating it.

An extraordinary opportunity to help instill this value in him came across my my way in a very ordinary manner - it was a busy day at work so I decided to grab a quick lunch at a nearby Chick-fil-A to take back to my office. As I reached into my bag, I found a small card. On it was an advertisement for Operation Christmas Child - a charitable event where you simply pack a shoebox and send it overseas to a child in need. You can even pick the age range and gender of the child and if you donate money to aid in the shipping of your box online, you even receive a barcode to put on your box so you can personally track your shoebox and see where it goes.

I had never heard of this organization, so I pulled them up online and found a great organization that is doing great things for people of all ages in need.

And so I saved that card - and on Friday afternoon the little man and I set off to fill his shoebox.

Before shopping, I reminded the little man about all the places we went to just last summer on our cruise - places like Haiti. I explained that those other countries had many children, just like him, who unfortunately don't have a home, school or even toys like him. I explained that they lived in a beautiful - but poor - country and asked if he would like to help a little boy just like him in one of those countries have a special Christmas, too.

"Yeah," he said, smiling. "I wanna help!"

"Mommy will help you, but I want you to pick out the things for the box,"
I said. "Can you do that?"

The little man smiled and nodded his head.

The rules were simple: pack a shoebox with a combination of fun and useful items. The recommended items included things like small toys and hard candy, paired with other items like toothpaste, a washcloth and school supplies. To my surprise, the little man understood that the not-so-fun items were just as important as the toys and candy. He understood much more than I thought he would, which made me even prouder seeing how proud he was.

We bought colorful crayons, a green harmonica (just like the little man's), pencils, a Wall-E toothbrush (also just like his), his favorite hard candies (Smarties), a bright red race car toy and more. We stuffed the shoebox until it could be stuffed no more. We topped it off with a note from the little man, wishing his new friend a very merry Christmas. We then closed the box and affixed our label.

"Mamma, does my new friend like Smarties?" the little man asked as he himself munched on some candies.

"I think he will love them," I replied.

"Yeah, I think he will, too," the little man said matter-of-factly as he proudly looked at his box.

{We will be tracking our box online and will update you on the travels of our box as we know them. Where will it go? The answer is yet unknown and sadly, there are many possible destinations. However, all that matters is that somewhere, some other little man is able to share in some Christmas joy. And somewhere, some other mother will also be able to see the excitement and magic of Christmas wash across her little man's face.}

November 15-22 is the national pick-up week for this nationwide event. If you would also like to participate in Operation Christmas Child, visit

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween Spoils

As a first-time mom, I remember the very first cold the little man got. I was convinced it was much more than a cold and rushed him off to the doctor.

"It's just a cold," the pediatrician assured me. "Put a humidifier in his room."

And so the same set of actions also went into motion for at least the next 20 colds. Now, as the little man is approaching the age of 5, I thought I felt a bit more confidence in myself as a mother to know the difference between just a cold and something much more.

At least I thought so.

Halloween is undoubtedly a favorite holiday for the little man. As the summer slowly ended, the little man welcomed fall in by asking on nearly a daily basis if it was Halloween yet. The days drifted by at an agonizing slow pace for the little man, who could not wait for Halloween to arrive.

As we woke up Sunday morning, we were greeted with a somewhat cranky little man. I wasn't too surprised, for we had spent Friday and Saturday at Papa and Grammy Jo's house and figured the little man was just tired from his big fun weekend and mad to be going home ... even if it was Halloween.

As the day ticked by the little man continued his crankiness and he complained that he didn't feel well.

"It's just a cold," I told myself. After all, he didn't have a fever and looked perfectly fine. You would never tell by looking at him that he was sick.

As night came and the little man was finally able to dawn his costume (a police officer) we set out to fill his bag with candy. We had barely made it around the block when the little man asked if we could just go home - he wanted to sit on the couch and watch some TV.

"Wow, that's strange," I said to my husband. "He must really not be feeling well."

That night the little man woke up, coughing. I assured myself once again it was just a cold.

That morning the little man looked and sounded even worse. We decided I would stay home with him that day since he hadn't slept well the night before. I asked my husband what he thought about the doctor.

"It's probably just a cold," I said to him. "Probably just a waste of time and money to take him in."

However, later that morning I felt the same little urge I had felt so many times before. The questioning whether or not it really was just a cold. The urge to take him to the doctor. I knew that for the little man to forgo trick-or-treating it must be much more.

And so we went.

As I was explaining to the doctor his symptoms I awaited the usual "It's just a cold" speech. I began to feel bad for wasting her time. I told her that he didn't even want to go trick-or-treating the night before, which piqued her interest.

"We've been seeing a lot of strep lately," the doctor said to my surprise. "And it isn't presenting itself with the usual symptoms, I would like to take a swab and test him for it. Especially since he wasn't interested in Halloween, that tells me he really isn't feeling too well."

A short wait later and the test was confirmed. The little man had strep throat.

"Mommy?" the little man asked as we waited for the pharmacist to fill his prescription. "Is my medicine going to make my thwoat all better?"

"Yes, it is buddy," I replied. "It will make the owies go away." I felt bad that the little man had waited the whole year for Halloween to arrive, just to have the fun ripped from him by sickness.

"Good," he mumbled. "I want to eat my candy."

And so he did ... that is, after the antibiotics took hold and he could swallow without pain once again.

And mommy vowed to stick to writing ... and leave the diagnosing to the doctors from now on.

Even if it is just a cold.

The Ghosts of Halloween Past ...

{Halloween 2009}

{Halloween 2008}

{Halloween 2007}

{Halloween 2006}