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My Mother’s Day Presents

8 May

Mother’s Day doesn’t look the same for all of us. As a Stay at Home Mom, I am with my kids all day, every day. My ideal Mother’s Day would be me, alone, sitting in a comfortable chair on a beach somewhere with a good book in my hand and a jug of water with lime slices in it. Alone. It would then be followed up with a pedicure. Alone. I would then go home to my family, completely refreshed and thankful for the “mommy time” and we would eat their favorite meal to avoid any dinner-time complications. Together.

But that’s not what Mother’s Day looks like for me. Mother’s Day, for me, looks like any other day. My dear, hardworking husband is a restaurant manager in a swanky restaurant in a posh hotel, and is therefore required to work all of the big, busy holiday-days. So for me, Mother’s Day looks a little like any other day. Yet still, I have already received three very different gifts from my three very different children.

Styles.

1. Styles: He woke up around 8:30, came into my room and asked if he could watch TV. I happily obliged so that I could have a few more uninterrupted minutes of sleep. He came back in at 9:15 and told me that he wanted waffles for breakfast. I laid in bed a few more minutes, finally drug myself out of the warm covers, and made him some waffles and a glass of orange juice. While he ate we talked and when he was done, he gave me a hug and told me “Happy Mother’s Day”. His gift to me was speech. And a hug. He is old enough to know that the day is significant and celebrates his mom who loves him unconditionally. His age makes him sensitive to the fact that today is my day but it is because of HIM that I am even able to celebrate this day. His gift of speech drives me nuts sometimes but it enables my job as a mother to be a little bit easier because I rarely have to guess at what he wants. Except for when he mumbles. Which is kind of a lot. I wish he’d stop doing that….

Grady.

2. Grady: He woke up at 5:30 this morning and nursed for a phenomenally long time then went back to sleep after a few burps and farts. He then slept until 9:45 which enabled me to spend time with Styles. Once he woke up, he was all smiles and coos. His gifts to me were time and talks. Last night was the first time that Grady had ever cooed at me. Well, it wasn’t really at me, it was at the writing on my t-shirt but nonetheless, I was wearing the t-shirt so by default, he was talking to me. But this morning. THIS morning was different. He looked into my eyes and smiled FIRST. He spoke FIRST. Without any prompting or making ridiculous faces at him first. I have been told that the first 6 months of having 2 under 2 is really difficult and sleep-deprived. I am so blessed that Grady is the easiest baby I could have possibly asked for. He has very distinct whines (not even cries, just whines) for his needs. He is easier to read than a picture book and the past two months have been some of the most fulfilling, wonderful, and easy months for me. Although if you were to ask my husband he’d tell you that these two months have been horrible because he comes home to a tornado of toys, laundry, pots, and pans all over the house. I digress….

Madilyn.

Madilyn: Slept until 11:40 this morning. NO. LIE. Her gifts to me today were time and laughs. Before she woke, I was able to take a shower. A good, quality shower where my hair got washed and my legs were shaved. It was absolutely glorious. When she woke up, Styles was on his computer and Grady was taking a nap. So Madilyn and I sat outside while she ate breakfast/lunch and I drank my coffee. She is becoming so animated and I love how excited she gets over the simplest of things. She is now on my phone having a very intense conversation with the person on the other end.

So though my husband may be at work, and I am literally stuck at home (his car got a flat so he had to take my van to work today), I am thankful for my three kids. I am grateful that despite being told that I’d never have any more kids on my own after Styles, that I had two more children. I am blessed to be able to be home with them every day, even on Mother’s Day. The littlest two might not know what today is about, but I do so today I am going to relish them a little more than I normally do.

What did you get for Mother’s Day? What did you do for Mother’s Day? Tell me about you, your family, and what Mother’s Day looks like for you.

Insights From a Genius (not me)

14 Feb

I have no idea where my blog is going, or if it will be read by anyone, ever. I thought I knew where it was going, then just started writing about anything and everything. In a couple of short months, life has taken some drastic turns for me, #1 being my Postpartum Depression diagnosis. That in and of itself was intense but it has brought on some problems, or forks in the road so to speak.  After writing my weekly mURPHY’S lAW mONDAY today, I wondered where on earth I was going with this whole thing.  I intended to write about kinda green living.  But I can’t do that every day, because it’s not 100% of who I am.  I’m a whole lotta’ different things all rolled up into one (currently) pregnant, blonde-topped package.  All I did know, was that I can only write in my voice.  I don’t like writing in someone else’s voice.  Or not in a voice.  I like writing as though I’m talking to you.  But about what?  That I do not know.  Er…I mean…I DO know, but it’s a lot of things, not just one or two.

Tonight as I was reading one of my absolute favorite blogs, I ran across a post that the author wrote the day before Madilyn’s 1st birthday, (not that, that really matters).  It is about 10 Important Things she had learned about blogging. All 10 spoke to me.  And I’m eternally grateful for this posting.  And for Ree, for that matter.  She has NO clue who I am but I adore her.  As do the masses.  And you should too.

The Pioneer Woman is seriously an inspiration to me as a mother, a blogger, a wife, a photographer, a cook, and as a woman.  I LOVE her voice.

So yes, the insights she gives in the Ten Important Things I’ve Learned About Blogging, are awesome.  Especially for a budding blogger like myself.

Thanks, Ree!

Christmas Tree Traditions

13 Dec

I absolutely LOVE Christmas.  I love everything about it: the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree, the scent of baking that lingers in my kitchen for over a month, the warmth of a fuzzy snowman-adorned blanket, the crisp air that stings your nose when you breathe in, the lights, the decor, AND the music.  Christmas makes me happy. The kind of happy that you felt as a kid as you waited for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve.  The kind of happy that you feel when you discover something new in a world of familiarity.  I feel just pure bliss when surrounded by snowflakes, snowmen, moose, reindeer, and Santa.

One of my favorite things during Christmas, is getting the Christmas tree put up and decorated.  I also love going to stores and other people’s homes to see how they decorate their trees.  I envy the Martha Stewart-types who put up beautifully trimmed trees with ribbons, sprigs of sea oats, beads, and white lights.  I ogle over the trees that look like they just jumped from the pages of “Southern Living” into someone’s random living room.  I lust after the trimmings and trappings of country-inspired decorum placed thoughtfully here and there.

But my tree is one of memory.  Each and every ornament on our tree is inspired and brings back memories.  We sit around the tree with Christmas music playing, sipping hot cocoa, while we unwrap each ornament individually, then guide the ornament to its temporary home on our tree.  We briefly talk about each ornament every single year, walking down memory lane as we trim.  We remember the person who gave it to us, and almost always the very specifics of the gift.  Our lights are multi-colored because white would not match the vibrant and eclectic personality of our tree.  I look forward to this walk down memory lane every year and it is a tradition I hope never fades.  I would love to have so many ornaments on our tree some day that each branch is weighed down with a memory.

Our favorite this year was an ornament given to my husband by the family dog as a Christmas gift last year.  It is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with a halo and angel wings.  “Farley” passed on to greener pastures and softer rugs this year, and the irony of the gift did not escape us as we had a laugh and then a moment of silence when the ornament was unwrapped.

Maybe some day we’ll have a house big enough to have an elegant tree and our tree of memories, but if given the choice I’d always choose our Christmas Memory Tree.  Unfortunately, in the haste of moving a few years ago most of my ornaments were lost.  I now live vicariously through my husband’s ornaments while I slowly rebuild my own collection.  The tradition is no less wonderful now, though.  I love hearing his stories and recollecting my favorite, now lost ornaments and their tales.

What are your Christmas tree traditions?  I’d love to hear about what goes into decorating your trees and maybe even see some pictures.

Wordless Wednesday: A Blast from the past

1 Dec

STELLAR Discount Site

19 Nov

I am all about discount sites such as ZulilyTotsy, & Green Baby Bargains (just to name a few).  But today I would specifically like to tell you about my experience today with Zulily.  About two weeks ago, I ordered a pair of maternity jeans and a maternity shirt for a ginormous discount.  I received the package today and was very disappointed to find that my shirt had been sent on the hanger, and said hanger had somehow punctured the thin cotton shirt during shipping.  I immediately called Zulily (after tearing up for a second) to [skeptically] see what they would do for me.  I was not on hold for even one second when a gentleman answered the phone.  I told him my problem and he apologized profusely before asking me 3 simple account questions to verify that it was actually me.  Because Zulily is a discount site, he explained that they do not usually have the same item in stock but that he would check and ship it to me if they did.  Unfortunately, they did not have my shirt in stock but he offered to refund me the cost of the shirt PLUS an additional $10 for the “inconvenience”.  He also explained that because Zulily does not accept returns, (most major-discount sites don’t), that I could also keep the shirt.  The hole is right in the bicep but I think that with my creative juices flowing, I will be able to find a cute “fix” for the hole.  Perhaps I’ll mend the hole (not on a seam) and sew some buttons on the mended portion.  The credit showed up in my account within 10 minutes and I was able to purchase 2 Charlie Banana cloth diapers and only had to pay $7.95  PLUS, I get to keep my shirt.

ANYWAYS, I just wanted to share what an awesome experience I had with Zulily today.  The products that they offer are always quality and their discounts are seriously stellar.  I only receive one email per day so they are not at all overwhelming.  I am still in awe of the superior customer service that I received today.  I hope that everyone reading this will check them out, if not already signed up.

Three-Cent Thursday: 2 (19) kids and counting…(?)

18 Nov

Please tell me you’ve heard of the Duggar family?  I first heard about them when I accidentally ran across their TLC TV show “18 Kids and Counting”.  They have since added another child to the mix making their show, “19 Kids and Counting”.  And counting?  Seriously?  Their last child, Josie was born seriously premature and fought for her life for 6 months before being allowed to go home.the 19th child She is now 11 months old but still has to be hooked up to oxygen at night to sleep.  Her siblings have to tiptoe around her and the family is constantly worried about germs.  During a chicken pox outbreak at the Duggar compound earlier this year, Josie and her mom had to spend a couple of weeks at a rental near the hospital where Josie was born so that she wouldn’t be exposed to the virus.  Soon after, the family shared a cold and hand sanitizer became a way of life.  I’m all for sanitary conditions but this just compounds the way that I feel about this family reproducing any more.

Who am I to judge, you ask?  I’m a mom who survived 3 months of bed rest with my second pregnancy due to a 50% effacement at 26 weeks.  After living on my sofa for 2 months, I began to go crazy.  I thought about taking myself off of bed rest and just living life as regularly as I could without doing too much (more) harm to my fragile cervix.  Luckily I have a very supportive husband and mother-in-law who both took care of me in their spare time and who also insisted that I stay off of my feet.  My doctor did let me have one hour on my feet a day at that point (for another month).  Sounds great, huh?  Nope.  I can equate it to giving a diabetic a 2-lb bag of their favorite candy and telling them they can have 1/2 a bite per day.  It sucked and I swore I’d never get pregnant again, despite the fact that bed rest was successful and my daughter was born full term.  I didn’t want to put myself through the hell that was bed rest again.  That might sound selfish to you but it’s not.  I also have an older son who was 7 years old while I was on bed rest.  I couldn’t spend any time with him other than watching television (yay) and even that wasn’t a fun pastime for me.  I couldn’t bring myself to smile, laugh, or even feign interest in…anything.  I slipped, very quickly, into a pretty dark place with which I was not familiar.  I cried all day, every day that I was alone.  On the days that my mother-in-law came over, I was fine until she left.  Upon her departure I would bawl my eyes out until my husband got home around midnight.  That depression hasn’t left me 14 months after giving birth to my daughter.  I still find myself crying over nothing when I’m alone.  I still have to (almost quite literally), wind myself up to do housework or even get myself out of the house.  I can’t find the drive to write anymore.  I don’t have any desire to go to school. The thought of going to a PTA meeting makes my skin crawl.  Hell, I don’t even want to spend time with my friends because I have some (paranoid, I’m sure) delusion that they all quietly hate me and don’t really want me around.  None of this is me.  NONE of it.  Not one single word of it.  My point?  I’m not as good of a mommy right now as I could be.  This whole bed rest situation put me in a really bad position to be able to raise my children with the love, care, and attention that I think they should be raised with.  And guess what?  I’m pregnant again and facing possible bed rest situations…again.

I will be 24 weeks pregnant on Saturday and as of today, my cervix has shortened 2cm in 4 weeks.  It’s not as grim as it sounds; I was 5cm thick 4 weeks ago and am only 3cm now.  My doctor is only concerned because I shrunk 2 cm in a matter of 4 weeks and I am feeling the same pelvic pressure that I felt with my daughter before going on bed rest with her.  I have options if it comes to that but I’d rather not even discuss those right  now.  I’d rather discuss the fact that Michelle Duggar had 18 successful pregnancies before she had her nearly-fatal 19th pregnancy.  How must have that experience left her?  I have a difficult time believing that she is perfectly fine after that.  I know she has her faith whereas mine is on more shaky ground but c’mon!  Let’s be real.  Having a child born weighing just over 1lb and having to spend 6 months in the hospital is enough to change any parent.  I know that I would be absolutely nuts and I would probably have my tubes tied immediately to prevent any further heartache and/or wrongdoing to my children.  I knew that getting pregnant again was a risk but the biggest risk that I face, is having to spend a few months on bed rest.  I don’t have to worry about the fact that my body has already weathered 19 previous pregnancies and is tired, worn out, and older.

This will be my last pregnancy.  Why?  Because I don’t want to go through this worry and concern again.  After this baby is born, I want to get myself “right” and become the Summer that I was before I was put on bed rest.  I owe it to myself but more than anyone, I owe it to my kids.  I owe it to them to be available to them at the drop of a hat when they need me and to not have to mentally prepare myself just to be in their presence.

And THAT’S why I have a problem with the Duggars wanting more children.  So that’s my 2 (3) cents for today.

A Triumphant Return

15 Nov

I hadn’t planned on my first post being sappy or political in nature but life sometimes takes us places that we don’t expect to go.

I moved to Savannah in April and have made some really fantastic friends.  One of those friends has a husband who has been in Afghanistan for 12.5 months.  She has been raising a positively spirited 16 month old by herself while maintaining her composure, a household, her (amazing) figure, a social life, and life in general.  I was a single mom for 5 years and it was a difficult job, but one that I managed just like any other single parent.  Being the wife of a soldier and mother of a child whose parent is deployed is unfathomable to me.  I’ve often sympathized with my friend because I thought I had been where she was, but the truth is that I haven’t.  I have no idea where she’s been the past year and I feel so shallow for thinking that my experiences as a single parent even remotely compare to the loneliness, hardships, and special missions that military spouses have to endure.

The ceremony was simple but emotional.  I don’t believe I have ever felt so much emotion in one hangar in my life.  The excitement before the soldiers came in was insurmountable.  You could feel people vibrating with nervous anticipation of their loved ones coming home after a long year in a hot war.  As the hangar doors opened and the soldiers marched in, the anxiety levels rose noticeably and climaxed with exhaled breaths, appreciative clapping, enthusiastic cheers, and happy tears.  I had a difficult time containing the flood gates as these war-torn men and women entered the room, and I didn’t even have a loved one coming home.  The ceremony was simple but patriotic and proud.  I witnessed everyone around me searching the formation with delighted eyes, feverishly trying to find their loved ones, my friend and her young daughter no exception.  The soldiers were finally released to join their families.  The anticipated moment was finally upon them and instead of the tears of happiness that I expected, I saw many families joining in laughter with huge sighs of relief.  I felt like I was witnessing over a hundred people breathe for the first time ever.  My friend’s husband finally found her.  I saw him before she did (for which I feel slightly guilty).  He came up behind her and grabbed her waist.  It took my breath away and I almost forgot the reason I was there: to capture their first moments together after his long deployment.  I got some great photographs of their emotional embrace and I am SO thankful and completely humbled to have been part of this experience.  I didn’t stay to meet him or thank him properly for his service to our country.  I couldn’t even wish him an excited “welcome home” because I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I couldn’t properly articulate my feelings.  I snuck out the best I could without disturbing their precious moments in time, and as I left I was struck with the realization that my friend had been through way more in the past year than I had in 5 years as a single parent.

 

As a single parent, you know that you are alone.  Your focus is always on taking care of your little one and making ends meet.  You work, you go to school, you spend time with your child(ren), and you do it knowing that you are alone.  Some single parents are okay with that.  It takes others a while to figure it out and to truly accept it, but eventually you do and it just becomes who you are and how you live your life.  Military spouses not only have their homes and families to maintain, they also constantly have their spouse to worry about.  They know that they are not alone, yet they are.  Their support systems are worlds away and many families are not fortunate to be able to talk to their loved ones every day or even each week.  (I’m focusing on moms here because that’s what I am and what I know but this obviously applies to any single parent – mom or dad).  These moms of children of ALL ages live their lives for X-amount of time not knowing if they will ever even see their loved one again.  Aside from this worry, they have to try to maintain a stable life for their children and to hold it all together for their benefit.  I can only imagine many sleepless, tearful nights where these women let all of their emotions out into the pillows with no one to lean on, holding everything together in hopes of a reunion with their loved ones.  These women have to instill a sense of security and stability into their children that “normal” single moms don’t have to worry about.  I really don’t think I can even scratch the surface of the emotional hardships that these women face every single day for 12 full months, sometimes longer.  I am so emotional right now that I can’t even remember all of the feelings that flooded me tonight as I drove home from witnessing this triumphant return.  I can’t pretend to know what these women go through and I don’t know how they do it.

I think that the most important thing for me to take away from tonight, and for you to take away from reading this, is to remember that we have absolutely no say in what happens during war-time or during peace-time.  You may not agree with the war, you may not agree with many things that our government does, but the truth is you have no idea what happens over there.  We have absolutely no idea what the families of soldiers go through, unless you have been there yourself.  We need to keep these things in mind and support the families of soldiers and the soldiers themselves.  Your stance on war has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that there are selfless men and women fighting for their country in dangerous and uncomfortable situations.  I am a highly patriotic person and although I may despise policy or disagree with the things that our leaders do, I always get goosebumps when I hear the National Anthem and I always without fail, tear up when I see a soldier in uniform.  I am proud of my country and the men and women who serve it.  I am grateful for their service and I am grateful to live in a country where I can have a voice, an opinion, a gun, and the ability to pursue happiness as I see fit.  I am thankful for both of my grandfathers who served this great country, one in WWII and the other during peace times.  I am humbled to have been part of this ceremony tonight and excited to have been so overwhelmed with emotions that I couldn’t see straight.  I hope that this experience has softened my heart for good, not only for a moment.  I am forever in debt to the soldiers who have served and who are currently serving my country.

And a HUGE thank you to my friend who chose me to share this evening with her, and to capture those memories for her.

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