Dec 31, 2008

end of 2008 questionnaire

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Went to Disney World.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
As I mentioned previously, I don't really make them. I am more of a "make up my mind and do it for me on my own schedule" kind of person, and don't really rely on the calendar to tell me when that is going to happen.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I actually can't think of anyone. This blows my mind because there was a bit of a streak going there in the previous years.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I am happy to report no to this, as we were having a streak with this too prior to 2008.

5. What countries did you visit?
Canada, England, Mexico, China, France, Germany, Japan, .... Oh, you mean NOT at EPCOT? Then just the good ol' US of A.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
A fun new car.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 27 - February 6: Disney Trip #1
May 3: Freshies win Platinum
November 4: Presidential Election
September 19 - September 27: Disney Trip #2

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Figuring myself out.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Losing touch with everyone.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Strep throat. Back injury. Nothing I couldn't live through.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A big bag. BB Bold.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
FIL. He made huge, difficult changes.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Sometimes people don't consider me. It doesn't make me appalled, but certainly depressed.

14. Where did most of your money go?
The house, bills, and the trips. There are worse things, for sure.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My new job. Love it!

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Considering I was in the throes of intense PPD then, I'd say I am definitely happier now.
b) thinner or fatter? Unfortunately fatter. Best side effect of PPD? Not eating.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer. Blah.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eating. Stressing.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Happily at home with my family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
Every day.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Big Bang Theory

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read?
The Deathly Hallows. Can you believe it took me until 2008 to get to it???

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
my old skool playlist

26. What did you want and get?
A good haircut and color.

27. What did you want and not get?
New glasses.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I can't even think of one. Guess I haven't seen anything that really stuck with me.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Worked, had dinner out with my family. Low key, but cool. I am 32.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being better understood.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Accessories, accessories, accessories.

32. What kept you sane?
Quality time.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Barack Obama.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Not really any specific issue. Extremists stirred me up a bit though.

35. Who did you miss?
Steven. I don't get my daily fix anymore.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Kelli. She is such a go-with-the-flow girl. I like that quality in a person.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Bring myself to the happiness - nobody will bring it to me.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
All by myself. Don't wanna be. All by myself. Anymore!


Dec 29, 2008

holiday hangover

Does anyone else have a Christmas hangover???

We had a really great week. Lots of fun. Saw everybody. Laughed. ATE.

And let me tell you, it turns out that the cookies for breakfast diet is not the best eating plan I've ever come up with, if you know what I mean.

So, now I am in the detox period. And it is awful. Just dreadful. Everyone is gone, cookies are gone, and I am just left with sleepiness and sad. Boo hoo for me, right? :(

I sure hope I can shake this Christmas hangover in time to rally for the new year!

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What is the biggest mistake you made in 2008 and will not make again in 2009?
Not taking better care of myself. I am working on that.

Do you make New Year's resolutions? Why or why not?
I don't really believe in them. I don't think people stick to them at all. I don't need a date on the calendar to tell me when to be motivated. I am generally motivated when I want to be, and not when I don't.

Who do you nominate as “Man or Woman of the Year” for 2008?
No question. Barack Obama.

What was your greatest accomplishment in 2008?
Finding a job I enjoy, and spending more time with my family doing things together.

Happy New Year to you all!

Dec 26, 2008

friday fill-in 104 we go!


1. I must gain financial security before I die.

2. You can't stop 96% of the things you worry about.

3. I wish I never had to buy tampons again. (Haha!)

4. Being a surrogate mother has helped me change my life.

5. I know the song Jesus Loves Me by heart.

6. If I weren't so afraid, I would call people more. Share more feelings. Finish things more.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out with my brothers, tomorrow my plans include a big family holiday party and Sunday, I want to play with my Christmas toys!

Dec 19, 2008

friday fill-in 103

Holiday Fun Friday Fill-in!

Fill in the lyrics...with the correct ones or ones of your own :-) Have fun with this, don't worry if you don't know 'em...just make up something silly or do a silly one and a serious one! The most important part is to have fun with it.

Here we go!

1. Said the night wind to the little lamb, "Brrr. Baaaaa. Baby, It's Cold Outside!"
2. The first Noel, the angel did say, "Hey! I said, Hey! Unto you a child is born!"
3. Eighteen inches of yucky New England ice and snow, Over the hills and everywhere.
4. It came upon the midnight clear, sleepless night after sleepless night.
5. It's a snow day! Let your heart be light.
6. And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas...."
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to being snowed in with my family, tomorrow my plans include cookies, crafts, and laughs and Sunday, I want to hug my family when they arrive safely!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Dec 15, 2008

manic monday 146

Manic Monday Questions of the Week:

Have you ever returned an item to a store for a refund after having used it?
Most definitely I have. For several reasons I'm sure - used it and didn't like it, used it and it didn't work, used it and changed my mind.....

You are going out for the evening. If your partner objects to what you are wearing, would you change your clothing?
I'm not sure. I guess it would depend on the nature of the objection. Does he think I look frumpy? I'm changing. Does he think I look mismatched, overdressed, underdressed? Sure. Does he think I'm showing too much cleavage? Yeah, right! Like he would ever think there's too much cleavage! :)
I think mostly I'd just be so surprised that he even noticed what I was wearing that I might just be inclined to listen to his opinion.

What item that you don’t currently possess would you most like to have in your home?

Happy Monday, Y'all!!

Dec 12, 2008

friday fill-in 102 we go!


1. Friends are precious gifts.

2. Taking care of your health; it's a full-time job.

3. I'm ready for all of the joys of the holiday season.

4. Whatever my husband wears is one of my favorite aftershaves.

5. The oldest ornament I have is a ceramic stocking ornament I made in third grade, and my husband's "Baby's First Christmas" ornament.

6. Take some lights, chocolate, reverence, candles, carols, snow, family, innocence, laughter, and love - mix it all together and you have a Merry Christmas.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a quiet night in, tomorrow my plans include date night and Sunday, I want to trim the tree!

Dec 10, 2008

the non-art of the letter

What has happened to mail? Obviously the art of the letter is dead. Can you remember the last time you sent or received an actual handwritten letter from someone? I used to be a huge letter writer in my day. I moved a lot growing up, and always kept in touch with old friends by mail. I would love to find the perfect little something to include in the letter to make it fun. I would decorate the envelope, and put the stamp on upside down. In school we had programs where you could sign up for a penpal. I had two that I corresponded with for quite a while - one in Sweden and one in Japan. I have a Christmas ornament from the one in Japan on my Christmas tree to this day.

These days it is all about speed and technology. Instant communication is clearly the way of the day. Being a techno geek, I can certainly appreciate both the convenience and speed that being able to jot a quick email, text, or IM affords me. However, I wonder what it will be like for the next generation to have never received an actual letter? On my last vacation my kids looked at me like I had three heads when I sat them down one morning to write out postcards. For heaven's sakes - what will they have instead of love letters from their future mates - printouts of a text that reads "143 - <3" ??? Oooh. How romantic! :)

I think one of the reasons I lean towards being non-responsive via email sometimes is simply that I feel bombarded. With the convenience comes responsibility, and the expectation of immediate action! At my old job I was receiving approximately 200 emails per day. On top of personal email, texts, IMs, news, tickers... it is too much media coming at a person all at once. Talk about circuit overload!

So, now it is Christmas card season. I don't know if it is because this and wedding invitations are the last remaining pieces of non-cash soliciting snail mail that anyone receives anymore, but I was having a big laugh at all the rules and regulations I have read recently regarding the tradition. Timeliness, content, originality, intent.... Too much pressure! I certainly can appreciate the lack of etiquette in general these days for any correspondence, but sometimes rules can go too far.

Personally, I make a scrapbook page with pics of the family from the year with journaling of some sort and scan it in to be printed as photos. I hand write the envelopes, mostly because I like to write by hand and find the need less and less in everyday life. I send them out as early in December as humanly possible which ensures that anyone who wants to send a card in return has my current address.

One of my favorite cards that I receive is from friends of ours who do not even celebrate Christmas. (They are Jewish.) Their card just shows up randomly at some point. Never in December, it used to come right after the holidays but now it just arrives whenever - March, June, who knows?! It is always funny, includes pictures and a great update of what the family is up to. I love it!!

I will admit to receiving less and less cards every year. I can certainly appreciate that times are tough, and cutting out sending cards can give someone a few extra pennies for somewhere it can be more wisely spent.

I wouldn't mind though receiving a card this year from someone other than my realtor, my lawyer, and my dentist. I don't really care if it's store bought, printed on a printer, has a personalized note or not, a letter (wordy, not wordy enough), pics of your dog in a sweater, hand made or commemorates a holiday I don't celebrate. I would just love to have a card to hang next to my "Have a sparkling year! Don't forget to floss!" card.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!! Your card will be in the mail shortly!

Dec 8, 2008

manic monday 145

What is the most expensive meal you've ever eaten?

I believe it was a kobe ribeye, with sweet potatoes and broccoli au gratin, and a cabernet sauvignon. I drool just thinking back on that meal. Good grief, that was good eats!

What is the fastest speed you've ever traveled in a car?

I am embarrassed to admit that it was well over 100 mph. I think we topped out at around 120 mph, but we were close to burying the needle at that point so.... Man, what stooopid kids we were!!

Here's another story for you - once a friend and I put her van on cruise control going 80 mph and then switched drivers. That was one of the stupidest things I've ever done, and also one of the reasons I am terrified of my own children becoming teenagers. Because if they are anything like their mother...... HELP!!!

What is the highest building you've ever been to the top floor of?

I think it was the Empire State Building? Nothing else is coming to mind.

Happy Monday, Everyone!!

Nov 30, 2008

month of gratitude #30

Today is the last day of this challenge. I have really appreciated the opportunity to stop and reflect on all of the little things in my life for which I am grateful. I haven't delved too deeply into some of the more personal issues as that just isn't my nature most of the time. I did want to acknowledge though that I am of course grateful each and every day for all of those things big and small. I have had to work hard for what I have and I try never to take that for granted, even when all I have is love and prayer. I also believe that it is important to take the time to enjoy it. If we don't, then what is the point?

Thank you, Sherry! This has been fun! What do you have for us next?

Nov 29, 2008

month of gratitude #29

This may sound strange, but I am grateful for online shopping. As much as I have always loved going out in the holiday madness, I have become much more reliant on the conveniences afforded me by doing my shopping from the comfort of living room. Last year I found that all of the Black Friday deals and then some can be found online. I was able to breeze through stores at speeds never achievable by going out in the shopping craze of after-Thanksgiving sales. Plus, I don't have to fight for a parking space and everything is delivered right to my front door! How can you beat it?

Nov 28, 2008

month of gratitude #28

I am grateful for pumpkin pie. And apple pie. And whipped cream.
And mashed potatoes, and gravy, and stuffing and turkey.

I am grateful that my mom is a wonderful cook.

I am not very grateful for all the overeating I have done, but I am grateful that we were all here to sit around the table together and break bread.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 27, 2008

month of gratitude #27

I am grateful to be spending today with my family. We are all here together for the first time in a long time. I could go on and on, but I could never do it justice with my meager words. I am having a wonderful time and I am very very grateful.

Nov 26, 2008

month of gratitude #26

Today I am grateful for all the modern conveniences that are making our long car ride more comfortable. Back when I was growing up my parents would never hesitate to jump in the car and drive for hours to get to wherever we were going. We were left with not much more entertainment than sleep and the license plate game. That was all fine and good at the time, but I was glad to be able to pack more than imaginations to get us through the 30 hours of driving we are going to be doing over the next week!

Nov 25, 2008

month of gratitude #25

Today I am grateful for my feline friends. They have not always been so appreciative of each other, but they are best buds now. Well mostly. They still have the occasional battle around the living room here and there, but I'm pretty sure they're just playing.

They have been really great pets and companions. I am grateful for them!

Nov 24, 2008

month of gratitude #24

My coworker is out today and I miss having her here. I am grateful for her!

manic monday 143

Do you ever talk to yourself out loud? What do you talk about? \I do this all the time at work. Mostly I am just working out a problem, but out loud. I also talk back to the tv. I was yelling at Grey's so loud on tivo, DH thought something was wrong and came running! (But seriously!! That whole Denny thing..... ?!?!) What the???

What stresses you out?

Abstract issues. Food. Deadlines. Whining. Traffic. Indecisiveness. People who complain but aren't willing to do anything to change the situation. Being on time. Nightmares. Too many details.

What are your secret talents?
I have good intuition. I am able to size people up quickly and accurately. I am a creative problem solver. I can think outside the box and find solutions. I can also be pretty convincing when I want to be.

Nov 23, 2008

month of gratitude #23

Today I am grateful for teamwork.

We have a lot to do as we move into the holiday season. It is easier if we take it a piece at a time, instead of being overwhelmed all at once. We have all been working together to get things done, and it feels good. We are all itching to cover the house in Christmas cheer, but since we go the live tree route, it is just too soon. As soon as the turkey is gobbled, we will at least be setting up everything else while we wait for the right day to get the tree.

The timing feels off this year with Thanksgiving so late, but with all the amazing teamwork happening at our house, the pressure isn't there and we are just enjoying the process. The way it should be!

Nov 22, 2008

month of gratitude #22

It is so ridiculously cold today!! I can't stand it!!

Now that I have that off my chest, let's focus on being grateful. :)

Today was just a really nice day. The girls went to a party with some good friends, and I got to see some friends I haven't run into in a bit there. That was great! We made plans for December, which gives me something to look forward to.

While the kids were at the party, I got to have a date with my husband. It was such a wonderful time! We didn't do anything particularly noteworthy, but we spent time together and enjoyed each other's company. That's really what matters.

Back when we were young and silly and had no money whatsoever, this time of year we would bundle up our little one, and head to the mall. We couldn't really afford to buy anything, but we would walk around and poke around in stores. I love to people watch. We spent a good chunk of time absorbed into the bookstore flipping through the pages. Our first child would sleep through anything when she was being pushed in her stroller. We could stay out with her for hours and hours. We would have lunch or ice cream or a mall cookie or something, and call it a day. Those were good times!

I am grateful that after all these years we still enjoy spending an afternoon together doing nothing as much as we did back then! Those little moments make a life.

Nov 21, 2008

friday fill-in 99


1. The last band I saw live was (nkotb. But I don't feel good about classifying them as a band.) So, let's go with a band that plays instruments and writes music. In that case, it would be Barenaked Ladies.
2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving is the whole weekend. Eating the yummy foods. The crazy shopping. Seeing my family, It's going to be great!!
3. My Christmas/holiday shopping is in full swing, and will hopefully be close to done after next week.
4. Thoughts of sleep fill my head.
5. I wish I could wear cool shoes. My feet aren't shaped right.
6. Bagpipes are probably the most annoying instrument that exists.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out, tomorrow my plans include a date with my man! and Sunday, I want to relax!

month of gratitude #21

I am grateful for taco salad day. Taco salad day is a goooooood day.

A co-worker has a wife who loves to cook. She sends in lunch for us everyday. It's ridiculous actually. I have never been so spoiled!

Today was taco salad. It was sooooo yummy! What a treat - not just today, but every day! She is a special person, and I certainly appreciate her!

Nov 20, 2008

month of gratitude #20

Today was interview day. I was extremely grateful to be on the other side of the table. It was fun and educational to be a part of the process. It is challenging and important to choose the right candidate and to examine all attributes and shortcomings. By the time I got home that night I didn't want to talk or listen. I was so drained from the experience, I had nothing left! It was rewarding though, and I am grateful to have been a part of it.

Nov 19, 2008

month of gratitude #19

I am thankful for quiet time. I had some quiet time to think and read and organize today. It was well needed!

Nov 18, 2008

month of gratitude #18

Today I am grateful for the courage to stand up for myself and to articulate what I want. Those who know me may not believe that this is a challenge for me ever, but it often is. Many times I just let things go by until it builds up and then I just blurt out my thoughts in an unkind manner. This rarely brings me the results I am looking for, and is why I would probably not be accused of holding back what I am thinking. Truth is - I often do, and most people don't take the time or effort to dig deep enough to see the inner truth. I can certainly be very closed.

Today however, I was able to clearly ask for what I want, and I am going to get it. That is a big thing, and I am thankful for it!

Nov 17, 2008

month of gratitude #17

Today I am grateful for employment. Just straight up steady employment. I have been involved in the hiring process for a new position at work, and it has had me in touch with those who are job seeking in such difficult times. I can't imagine not having the security of knowing when the next paycheck will come or if Christmas will be possible this year. I am certainly fortunate in a time when many others are not.

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Do you believe people are basically good?
I do, but I think everyone has a bad side too. I think people are capable of making the right decision if they choose to.

If you could change the custom of shaking hands, what would you replace it with?
How about high fives? (J/K - I hate high fives.) I don't know, - How about bowing, like they do in Asia?

What is something that you enjoy that is a chore for most other people?
I like balancing my checkbook and paying bills. It always feels good to have it done, and I like the process of writing out the checks, reconciling the accounts, figuring out how to make it all work. It's strange, but I enjoy it!

Nov 16, 2008

month of gratitude #16

Today I am thankful for our mystery ingredient - pumpkin. I am impressed by the creativity of the group, and could not believe there was no overlap.

We had a fun time with our friends laughing and sharing and competing and trying to follow the logic that gets a group from Murphy Brown to the Sopranos (you know who you are!). It was just what I needed when I needed it. If you are too busy to get together with friends once in a while, then not only are your priorities out of whack, but what's the point?

We had a wonderful time, and I am thankful that everyone did what they had to do to be there. I am so grateful for each of you!

Nov 15, 2008

month of gratitude #15

Today I am thankful for.... all-night girl chats!

Nov 14, 2008

month of gratitude #14

Today I am grateful for movie classics.

Right now we are watching this:

We were all excited to watch. I was explaining to the kidlets that when I was little (back in the olden days? *smack!*) I used to get to stay up late to watch this movie every year. That one and this one:

Then I had to explain to them that we couldn't watch these movies anytime we wanted to because we didn't have a DVD player. I didn't even have a VCR. (A what? Is that the thing that plays those things that aren't discs?) And it was a big event at our house to get to stay up and watch the movie and we would make popcorn on the stove. (On the stove? Why didn't you just make it in the microwave? What do you mean you didn't have a microwave? How did you make things HOT??? Oh - and can WE make some popcorn right now? In the microwave?)

Two seconds in my little one wants to know why it looks like that. (It's in black & white.) But that just said it's in "technicolor." (What does "technicolor" mean? Does that mean when it changes from looking like that to the other way? Why did they call it "technicolor" anyways instead of just calling it color?)

After we get all the technicalities out of the way we are all into it and singing along. Then my oldest realizes that they are all having quite a good time celebrating killing someone. We haven't even touched on the "special" effects at this point.

The thing was, we were all cuddled up together, enjoying our quiet night in. We were sharing in the joy of watching one of my favorite movies. We were laughing and having a good time. We were regaling in tales of the "olden days." (Seriously, I am not that old! I resent all this olden days nonsense!) My oldest does a really good "I'm mellllltinggggggg!" while dissolving into a puddle on the floor. And those flying monkeys still creep me out a bit!

What a great evening!! And I am grateful for that. There really is no place like home.

friday fill-in 98


1. Please feel free to leave me a comment. Seriously, I let this thing lapse too long and I don't even know if anyone is reading it anymore. So consider this my official plea for comments. (Shameless begging, I know).
2. When I brush DDs' hair I can't help sniffing it occasionally.
3. My favorite thing to cook is turkey dinner. It's my favorite thing to eat, too!
4. A really good latte is something I can't get enough of.
5. That's the thing I love most about The Office - the "That's what she said" jokes.
6. Bad toupees always makes me think to myself, what the heck?
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to shopping, tomorrow my plans include a pumpkin contest and good times with great friends and Sunday, I want to relax and rest!

Nov 13, 2008

month of gratitude #13

Today I am grateful for soft tissues to wipe my tears. Today was a rough day. But tomorrow is another day, and I am grateful for that too.

Nov 12, 2008

month of gratitude #12

Today I am grateful for a comfortable bed and a good night's sleep. I have serious sleep problems sometimes, and I haven't been able to rest well lately at all. One thing that helps is having a nice comfortable bed to curl up in. As it has gotten colder, we have made the bed up with the warmer bedding and down comforter. I even got out the body pillow from my pregnancy, hoping that it would help me to settle. I am having a hard time keeping the kids out of the bed - they keep making excuses to need to be in there. It truly is a respite. Now if I could just get my body and mind to settle down and rest, I might start to feel better!

wordless wednesday: webcam cuteness

Video clips at Ustream

Nov 11, 2008

month of gratitude #11

I am grateful today for all those who have defended our freedom past, present, and future. I am also grateful for those who support them and keep the home fires burning. Thank you.

Nov 10, 2008

month of gratitude #10

Today I am grateful for my friend Bridget. She is awesome. For one thing, she puts up with me as a friend. That is not easy, I can assure you. She is one of those people that you can call and say, "Hey Bridget, do you want to ______?" and then no matter what you fill in the blank with - go to a concert, have lunch, scrapbook, go shopping, rock climb, go to the movies, get a pedicure, babysit my kids, go camping, WHATEVER - she answers with "Sure!" I love that. I really love that. She is my "up for anything" friend. She is not afraid to try something new. She doesn't mind doing something old either!

She is my good luck charm. I always win stuff when we are together. (This is only fun for one of us, by the way.) She loves pictures the way I love pictures. She gets my ipod and crackberry addictions because she has them too.

She is funny. I mean really funny. Most of the time I am with her I can't catch my breath and then my sides hurt for a week afterwards from all the laughing. She listens too. I tell her all my vile crap that makes me a bad person. And then she doesn't even tell me I am a bad person! And she totally could, because my filter is completely off when I talk to her.

She knows that when I say stupid things like "OMG - you're not going to CRY, are you???" What I really mean is "I am sorry that you're hurting and he is a stupid jerk not worthy of the ground you walk on. And I pray for you every day."

She makes these cookies.... they are like little pieces of heaven in your mouth. I am picky when it comes to baked goods, but I considered for a brief second leaving my husband to marry these cookies.

We go through periods where we don't see each other enough, and I start to get the shakes a bit from the withdrawal. (Like now!) Then we go through periods when we see each too much - only because it gets expensive, not because I ever get sick of her! She is a total enabler. "Ooh, yeah! Buy that! You neeeeed that." When the receipt is longer than your arm and you are on your third trip to the car, you have been in the mall too long with Bridget.

I tried to coerce her into moving closer to me, but it didn't work out which makes me sad. Probably good for her though, since I would be making her meet me for coffee every ten minutes.

An afternoon with her is like a lifetime of therapy - good for the soul - I am so lucky and blessed to know her and to call her my friend.

Here we are dorking it out at a boy band concert....

manic monday 141

What was the first thing you thought when you looked at yourself in the mirror today?
I look pale. Why is my hair so fluffy today?

Do you have a recurring nightmare? If so, explain.
I go through spurts where I have insomnia and terrible and terrifying nightmares (especially when I am pregnant!). I am going through it now, and it is some of the worst nightmares I have ever had (no - I am not pregnant). The nightmares I have most often generally involve me being chased and someone trying to hurt me and my family. The worst ones are when these things are carried out. I wake up shaking and tired from being on the run all night and trying to protect my loved ones.
(Any dream analysts want to tackle that one?)

List three foods you can’t stand:
American Cheese

Any kind of melon
(I know I listed five instead of three - I kind of got on a roll! Plus, there isn't much more I can think of that I can't stand, so that's pretty much the whole list.)

Happy Monday, Everyone!

Nov 9, 2008

month of gratitude #9

I am really grateful for this gratitude challenge. It has been amazing on many levels. First of all, I have finally gotten my blog mojo back. It had been missing for a long, long time. Secondly, I have really enjoyed reading and discovering all the challenge participants' blogs. I have certainly added to my list this month. It has been interesting to see how different people have approached the challenge. Lastly, I am grateful for the opportunity to stop and marvel each day at how truly blessed I am. I am the type of person who always strives for more, but the truth of the matter is that I have everything I need and I am happy. I live the life that I want to live and I am surrounded by love and generosity and kindness and blessings over blessings over blessings. I am grateful for the reminder to stop and take it all in.

Thank you, Sherry!

Nov 8, 2008

month of gratitude #8

Today I am grateful for little girls. Right now there are a gaggle of them upstairs giggling and singing along to the High School Musical soundtrack. I am not sure how a lunch out turned into me getting roped into the mother of all sleepovers at our house, but you know how little girls can be when they start wheeling and dealing and plotting.

When one of the mothers dropped off clothes at our house for her girls, yes girlS, she asked me if I needed her to make a run to the liquor store. Then she looked at me like the fool that I am and took off running before I could change my mind about this whole thing. So had I taken her up on the offer, I would be writing my thankful post about wine right now. :)

But I really am thankful for little girls. It's how I grew up and what I've always known. They giggle and play and gossip and twirl and light up the whole house. What a blessing it is to have a houseful of happy little girls right now.

Nov 7, 2008

month of gratitude #7

Today I am grateful for my neighborhood. As long as my husband and I have lived together we have lived on busy roads with no neighbors. We have never lived where there weren't cars whizzing by at light speed. We have not lived where you could take a walk down the street without risking our very lives. Let our kids ride their bikes down the street? I don't think so.

Now we own our home in a quiet neighborhood in a town we love. We have friendly neighbors and safe streets where we can walk and ride bikes. We actually have trick-or-treaters! I can promise you that there wasn't much foot traffic on the Indy Speedway looking for fun size Snickers bars.

It is calm and peaceful, and I am glad we were able to make a home here!

friday fill-in 97 we go!


1. My blueprint for success includes always pushing myself to learn new things.
2. A Tootsie Roll was the last candy I ate.
3. The best facial moisturizer I've ever used is Botanisource. It is the first one I've found that works and doesn't irritate my hyper-sensitive skin. I love it!
4. A day with the girls, lunch with my Steven, or a scrap weekend in CNY can be good therapy. (All of which are long overdue!)
5. I'd like to tell you about how much growing and changing I have experienced this year, and how much more I still have to do.
6. Inner strength is my strongest characteristic.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to surprising someone with a gift, tomorrow my plans include cheering loudly and Sunday, I want to rest and create!

Nov 6, 2008

month of gratitude #6

I started a new job this year. It is a really great job! What makes it great for me is that it is an environment that nurtures my professional development goals. It is a place where I am given trust and value. It is a place that motivates me to do my best. I am challenged in a positive way. I enjoy what I do and I look forward to each new learning opportunity.

Today I am grateful for my job.

Nov 5, 2008

month of gratitude #5

Today I am grateful for this little gem.....

What in the world did we do before Google? I admit it - I looooove me some Google. I use it as a verb. Google it. Admit it - you do too. My homepage is set to iGoogle. I love all the little apps and gadgets they come up with. I love the email which has the best spam filter I've ever experienced, the photo organizer, the satellite imagery, and of course the platform for me to spout off at the mouth! It is my primary information source. I mean, come on! What's the first thing you do when you want to know the capital of Bangladesh, or the lifespan of a ladybug, or the recipe for chicken marsala?

I don't know how I lived without you all those years, but I'm glad you're here now, Dear Google. My reliable little friend.

wordless wednesday: yes we can

Nov 4, 2008

month of gratitude #4

Something tells me there will be a lot of similarities to today's gratitudes.....

So, today I am grateful that MY VOTE COUNTS. I had a great conversation with the kiddos on what to expect at our polling place this morning from the last minute campaigners outside, to the solemnity inside. I made sure they noted the process of my identity being verified so that MY vote was MY vote and that no one else could have it. That I was given the privacy to make MY own decision. That I placed MY vote in the reader to be counted. That I had made MY choice known. So that no matter what the outcome is, that I had MY say and played MY part in the process. We talked about the things that made this particular election unique, and about some of the unique ones there have been in the past. Some of the things that I pray will be non-issues when the time comes for their votes to be counted.

It was a great day. Because no matter the outcome, MY VOTE COUNTED.

(Now if you haven't already, turn off the interwebs and get out there and have YOUR vote counted too!) :)

Nov 3, 2008

month of gratitude #3

Today I am grateful for my sister.

We have certainly had our share of ups and downs over the years, but no matter what I am still grateful for her. She is understated and quiet, yet strong and loud. She is someone that I genuinely enjoy being around. She probably understands me in a way that no one else does, and I bet she could say the same of me.

Yesterday she stood in line almost nine hours for what she believes in. She stood in line to have her voice heard. To have her opinion counted. To have her constitutionally given right TO VOTE.

Tomorrow morning I will go and do the same - and fully expect it to take about a tenth of the time that it took her. Because I have been granted the same right to have MY voice heard too. And that's the beauty of the thing.

So today I am grateful for my sister. And for the reminder of how great she is. And how lucky I am to have her!

manic monday 140

How many hours of TV do you watch per week? Do you feel that's too much, not enough or just right?
Too dang many, that's how many. Less probably than I have in the past, but I still have shows I like to catch. Tivo doesn't help. I tend to have shows on while I am getting other stuff done. And I like junky reality shows, cheesy dramas, and HGTV.

Which of the 5 senses do you feel is your strongest sense?
My eyes are going, and my hearing isn't the best either. So I'm going to go with my sense of touch. I am pretty sensitive to irritations and I can't stand to be uncomfortable. I can't bear to wear certain kinds of socks because of how they feel. On the flip side I love hugs, holding hands, massages. Yeah, I guess my sense of touch is the strongest.

What's the wackiest belief you held as a child?
If you breathe while driving past a cemetery you will breathe in the souls of the dead. WTH?? Yet, I still sometimes subconsciously hold my breath while driving past a cemetery. One of those silly car games gone horribly, horribly awry! :)

Nov 2, 2008

month of gratitude #2

Today I am grateful for a hometown for my children.

I grew up being bounced around from place to place. While there is something to be said for the sense of adventure involved in always meeting new people and experiencing new places, it is exceedingly painful to constantly be the new kid. It is not easy to not have a place where you are from. It is not easy to not have lifelong best friends.

My children have these things. I am so glad that we found a wonderful community for my children to grow up in. A place where they are from. A hometown.

Nov 1, 2008

month of gratitude #1

Today I am grateful for a husband who is so willing to go with the flow no matter where life leads us. Especially when it leads us to a crazy costume party with all of my wacky friends. :)

november: a month of gratitude

The challenge for November, as this is the month in which we shall all celebrate and give thanks, is to stop and give thought each day to that for which we are thankful. For me, I think this will be a return to the little moments that make life great - but we shall see as the month goes on.

Colossians 3:15-17

15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Oct 31, 2008

friday fill-in 96


1. My favorite food seasoning is fresh ground pepper. I also put Adobo on just about everything.
2. My girls' laughter is music to my ears.
3. Lucky is being happy with what you have.
4. Trust is something I take very seriously.
5. Many people are joining Facebook all of a sudden.
6. A USB cable was the last thing I bought at the store.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to trick-or-treat, smell my feet..., tomorrow my plans include a trip to the Apple store and Sunday, I want to not freeze at the playoff game!

Oct 27, 2008

manic monday meme

What is the greatest value that guides your life?
I would have to say honesty and trust. I am not a very trusting person by nature and tend to doubt until proven otherwise. I was challenged on this recently, and I think it is because I have been given plenty of reason not to trust over the years.
I think little white lies almost annoy me the most because I generally don't see the reason for it.
Please, please, please give me the benefit of the truth.

Fill in the blank: If I could be anybody besides myself, I would be ______.
Hmm. Maybe one of those "Real Housewives of..." women. They seem to have it made, and their biggest concern is being on the right guest list or that they have the right dress to wear to the gala. These are problems I could have.
(Yeah, I know. I'm turning off Bravo any second now...)

What is one item in your house that you should really throw out but probably never will?
I guess my endless pile of scrapbook magazines. I don't ever look at them, but I just don't seem to have the heart to throw them out. I have gotten rid of tons of stuff lately, but this isn't one of them.

Oct 26, 2008

what's on bravo?

So I hurt my back pretty badly which has left me couch-bound. This means I am now caught up on every show on Bravo. I have been watching Bravo non-stop! Any trash they want to put out there, I am willing to take in.

Anybody want to discuss?

Project Runway - Kenley is a bitch. For reals.

Top Design - Who gets that far and quits? That's crap. You stole a spot that someone else could've had. I wish she'd have left sooner so Natalie or Wisit could have gone farther. Maybe they're not the best, but at least they were interesting. Oh - and what the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks is Kelly Wearstler wearing this season??? She is really starting to scare me.

Tim Gunn's Guide to Style - I looove me some Tim Gunn. LOVE him. I wish someone would nominate me to go on his show so I could get some fabulous new clothes and shoes.

Swingtown - I think this is a CBS show, but there was a marathon on Bravo. Did I mention I was couch-ridden? This one was too funny, and I loved Janet. She made the show.

Real Housewives of Atlanta - I know, I know, - but I can't walk people! NeNe cracks me up, Kim is too naive, and Sheree irritates me. She seems too desperate. And maybe broke. She is counting on that divorce settlement a little too much, no? And where the heck are her children? Oh, that's right. We caught a quick glimpse of them interrupting her private shoe shopping experience. What were they thinking?

Top Chef New York - starts in two weeks! Woohoo! Can't wait!

Well, that's what's going on on Bravo. Clearly the sooner I get off the couch the better. I'm going to turn on IM now. For the love of Pete, somebody please talk to me. Or call. Or visit. HELP!!!!!

Oct 24, 2008

friday fill-in


1. Right now, I'm feeling a lot of pain - I threw out my back!
2. On an island sipping a cool drink is where I want to be.
3. How does one find the time (and energy) to do it all?
4. Writing things down (or setting reminders in my crackberry) keeps me on track.
5. Please don't give up on me.
6. Seeing my children succeed fills me with joy.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing at home with my little girl, tomorrow my plans include fun new haircuts and Sunday, I want to enjoy our last early morning game!

Oct 5, 2008

writing exercise

I've come to the conclusion that I need to write more. Not just here, but in general. A surefire way for me to know that things have become clouded or blocked is my ability or inability write. I guess that's why I'm writing here today.... To see if I can.

Fall is descending on us and I have taken the time to stop and admire the beauty of it as much as possible. The views from my windows at work are stunning, and I have really enjoyed watching the amazing displays of color each day. This is of course in sharp contrast to the unending construction that is going on in the area. I have yet to understand exactly what it is they are doing. I know it is related to utilities in some way (water, maybe?) but that's as clear as it gets. Getting to the building has turned into a life-sized game of Frogger and I'm not sure that I'm winning.

My youngest had an accident on Friday and ended up at the ER. She is ok, but it is always so nerve-wracking to see your babies in pain. She seems to require trips to the hospital every six months or so and I hate it. If she makes it to and through her teen years in one piece, it will be a minor miracle.

We just got back from a surprise Disney trip. The kids are the perfect age to enjoy and wonder and marvel in the Disney magic. It was such a great time for all of us. We all got to hit our favorite spots and rides. I wish we were able to take trips like this more often. I think I will make it a goal that we do. My sister and nephew were able to meet us there, which was such a treat. It's a shame that they are so far away and that we can't see each other more often.

Sadly not surprising to me, I am having trouble finding the words.... So that's it for now. I will try to write more soon...

Jun 26, 2008


I got this survey from Beth. Thought it was fun. Here you go!

What is in the back of your car?
A car seat. A dance bag. Probably some trash. A camp chair.

What color is your toothbrush? green

What were you doing at 8 am this morning? Making sure I had my shoes on before I locked myself out of the house. (Like I did yesterday.)

What Were you doing 45 minutes ago? Writing a memo for work.

What is your favorite candy bar? Take 5, Twix, or Heath

Have you ever been to a strip club? Yeppers, I have. The last time I was at one it turned out that I had gone to high school with one of the strippers. Figures.

What was the last thing you said aloud? "I don't know why they didn't just change everything out when they were here that last time. I am tired of dealing with these people."

What is the best ice cream flavor? Butter Crunch, Vienna Mocha Chunk, Moose Tracks (I seem to only be able to narrow favorites down to the top three.)

What was the last thing you had to drink? Cherry Pepsi

What are you wearing right now? CM jammies

What was the last thing you ate? a taco

Have you bought any new clothing items this week? jeans, shirts, bras, shorts for the girlies - can't wait for them to get here! (Love online shopping!)

What is your favorite flavor of popcorn? popped on the stove, lots of butter

Ever go camping? love, love, love it.

Do you take vitamins daily? Everyday. I need them.

Do you go to church every Sunday? No. But I should. DH always goes. I do have a deeply spiritual side that, although I tend not to put on display, I would never compromise on.

Do you have a tan? All year round. The kiddos have already out-tanned me this summer, as usual.

Do you like Chinese food over Pizza? Abso-frickin-lutely. I don't like pizza. That's right, I said it.

Do you drink your soda with a straw? If there is one available.

Are you someone's best friend? Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. (Or always a bridesmaid, never a maid-of-honor would be more appropriate here?)

What are you doing tomorrow? Work, laundry, clean, read. Woohoo!

Where is your dad? If he's not at home he is in Mexico. Not sure this week?

What color is your watch? It's black. As in blackberry. I haven't worn a watch since carrying around a cell phone.

Do you use Chapstick? Like an addict.

Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru? Who bothers to go in these days?

What is your favorite number? 3

Do you have a dog? No. Way.

Last person you talked to on the phone? Josh from Comcast. I HATE Comcast. HATE. Unreliable performance combined with extremely poor tech support and customer service. HATE Comcast.

Any plans today? Bed.

How many states have you lived in? Six.

Ever go to college? Like it's my job.

Do you dye your hair? I was highlighting for a while and loved the color but it dried the crap out of my hair. Couldn't take it anymore so I stopped. It is still growing out years later.

Biggest annoyance in your life right now? Not much to complain about.

Last song listened to? "Everyday People" by Arrested Development

Can you say the alphabet backwards? This is not a useful skill.

Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? Flip flops.

Are you jealous of anyone? Like Oprah? Then no.

Is anyone jealous of you? Doubt it.

Do you love anyone? I absolutely do.

Do any of your friends have children? Many do.

What do you usually do during the day? Work. Clean. Read. Play. Talk. Eat. Laugh.

Do you hate anyone that you know right now? Nobody comes to mind.

Do you use the word 'hello' daily? I'd say I do.

What color is your car? Champagne.

Do you like cats? They are interesting.

Have you ever been to Six Flags? I have been to a couple of them. I haven't been to the one near me lately because it isn't as much fun as it costs.

How did you get your worst scar? C-section scar? No? There is one on my leg where I fell on the pavement in the rain in the sixth grade. And I have an airbag burn scar from a car accident. That one is pretty ugly.

Jun 25, 2008


"Mom, is this guy a good guy or a bad guy?"

"I don't know? A good guy I guess?"

"Well, when he turns all green like this he sure looks like he has anger issues."

Huh. Anger issues?
Note to self - ask the babysitter if she has Dr. Phil on in the background...

Jun 19, 2008

dancing queen

My dd1 has been attending dance camp this week working hard to lead up to today's audition for the competing team at her dance studio. She decided to give it a shot last year for the first time and made it on the team. It was the absolute time of her life. She was on a team with an amazing group of girls who knew how to work hard and play hard. Their routine was fun and their costumes were cute. It was a wonderful experience for her.

This year the teams are going to be divided a little differently than last year, so she is having to work hard to discover exactly where she is going to fit. She has been practicing and knew what she had to do. She didn't take for granted that she made it last year, and wanted to show them that she has been working hard and improving.

She is not usually the type to show her nerves, but I could tell that in the last few moments before she was to go in for her tryout, she was starting to feel the butterflies. I built her up as much as I could, but I don't know that it made much difference.

When she came out between the first and second session, she had a much more relaxed demeanor. She had found her confidence. She went back in for the advanced level audition with head held high and ready to bring it.

When it was all over, I asked her how it went. "I nailed it, Mom!" She was so excited and proud! And I was proud of her too. We went out to celebrate tonight. Not because she made the team (we won't even know until Sunday), but because we were proud of her confidence and positive attitude. We were celebrating the fact that she worked hard, did her best, and gave it her all. These are the things that will serve her well in life, and I am glad that it is a lesson she is learning now.

Jun 15, 2008


You can see the true measure of man by watching him with his children. I fall in love with you all over again every single day when I get to see the special kind of father you are to our beautiful girls. How I was ever lucky enough to end up with someone so giving and loving I will never know. I am so very blessed that we get to share our lives together and have a family that I love and am proud of. If I don't say it enough (and I'm sure I don't) please know how humbled and thankful I am that you are the father of my children. Your are an amazing man and a wonderful father, and I love you with all my heart.
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May 7, 2008

out of the mouths of babes

"M is not my friend anymore. My arm touched her arm when we were reading and she started yelling at me. I don't know why. She probably won't even invite me to her birthday party anymore and I wouldn't go anyways even if she did. I learned this from my sister - Treat people the way you want to be treated. So if she wants to be mean and not like me than I'm going to do the same to her."

Oh. I think something about the Golden Rule was a little lost in the translation. Soooo close. I almost thought I was doing a good job there for a second. I was almost touched.

Apr 28, 2008

two askew can work for you

I would like to thank everyone who was able to attend the recent bi-annual meeting of Two Askew Publishing. Its seems that momentum has really been gathering, and there is quite a bit of buzz out there for our upcoming publication. Sadly, our initial release date has been pushed out a bit due to some delays in our Research and Development department. It turns out that "living the formula" is going to be a crucial element to the book's success, and it seems that some people are resisting their natural inclination to adopt this mantra. In addition, we have unfortunately been made aware of some possible copyright infringement which is being handled by our legal team.

Beta testing has provided us with some promising results, and we are proud to announce that we have received our very first testimonial! This beta tester has gladly agreed to be included in our national infomercial, and is currently in negotiations with our PR group to see if she will be a good fit for our Design Team. On that note, please remember everyone that applications are now being accepted for the TIARATA Design Team. Because of the overwhelming response we have received, we have had to restrict the entry guidelines. You will now need to submit an album showing how the formula is applicable to all of your photo needs along with a brief essay describing how living the formula has worked for you.

Finance has predicted that the profit margin will be enormous, and that the aftermarket potential will be endless. We are already projecting an Advanced Formula book, as well as anticipating various product line and seminar opportunities. It is not too soon to become an investor, please contact our Sales and Finance team for more information.

Thanks again to the J-Team for their contributions and endless dedication. Without them Two Askew would not be possible.

In conclusion, I just want to again remind you that Two Askew can work for you.
You can try One Straight, but it won't be that great.
Three in a Row, and Two Askew. Don't think, just do.

yeah, i'm talking to you

Dear Princess Meghan,

In response to all of your recent comments.......



Apr 7, 2008

mindless meme

1) Right now I want: My kiddos home. I miss them soooooo much.

2) I wish I knew how to: Play piano. We are getting a piano, as soon as I figure out how to get it moved. I hope someday I will be able to take lessons.

3) When I want to indulge myself, I: Eat something I shouldn't. Shop. Mani/Pedi. Ahhhhh.

4) You’ll never see me: Satisfied and settled. Always striving for more....

5) A childhood memory that I love: My sisters and I loved the water so much. When we went to the freezing New England ocean we wouldn't ever want to get out of the icy water. After wearing ourselves out swimming, we would still stay in the water floating around. To entertain ourselves we would start singing "California Dreaming" by the Mamas and the Papas. I'm not sure why we even knew that song at the time, but we would stand in that water singing that song for hours!

6) 2 things I do every single day: take my vitamins, check my email

7) Happiest moment of 2009, so far: Time spent with my family and time spent with my friends has all been great.

8) Describe yourself in 3 words: nothing comes easy

9) 2 scrap related goals for this year: Organize my photos. It is MOSTLY done. But it needs to be all the way done. Then I can start printing my digi stuff and get working on that. I have been holding back on printing for that reason. Secondly, I would like to start the Disney stuff. I will be very excited to work on that.

10) You have $40 that you MUST spend on yourself – what do you do with it? I would probably get a pedicure. Flip flop season is here! - here's hoping this mandatory 40 bucks falls out of the sky soon!

Mar 30, 2008

six word memoir

I was given the blog challenge to write my memoir in six words. Not so easy, I'll tell you that. My first instinct was the phrase "Not the bitch you think I am." Turns out that is seven words. So, I was left to think on it for a few days. Here is what I have come up with....

Tragedy, Triumph, Laughter.
Happily Ever After.

So, there you have it.

Mar 26, 2008

wordless wednesday - my pride and joy

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super bug

I have some kind of sickness thing and I just can't shake it. It must be Super Bug, or Pneumonia or Bird Flu or something. (I'm clearly over-diagnosing myself - it's a joke, people!) I caught this in Florida where the only people on vacation were us and a bunch of Europeans. So I blame Europe. I have some crazy Mad Cow kind of uncurable overseas disease.

So it goes like this - I feel fine, then I get the sniffles, then I can't breath, then I am too weak to stand and a little nauseated. Then I sleep for two days straight and feel better for a few days and then start the cycle all over again. I want off this ride cause I'm getting dizzy.

Meanwhile, I am still hanging in there with school. Because one of my courses meets in four hour blocks it ends earlier in the semester than the other courses. We had our final last night. If I didn't get a B+ or an A in this course I will be surprised. So all is well on that front. Now I am working on a group project for another class. I hate group projects. They are such a waste of time. I'm sure all of you teachers out there can justify why this is a necessary exercise, and I'm sure your points are valid - But I still don't like it, and find it to be a great waste of MY time. Unfortunately though, sometimes you just have to play the game, so to speak. Six or so more weeks to go!!

Mar 6, 2008

break time

I got an email from my professor cancelling class tonight. Apparently she has the flu. Fine with me - I wasn't really looking forward to that class anyway.

So, it seems that I am on Spring Break.
Does anyone want to go to Cancun?

Wahoo!!! Moms Gone Wild, here I come!!!

Mar 3, 2008

final plan of study

When I registered for a class this semester, my advisor sent me an email to let me know which classes I needed to complete my degree. Requirements had changed since I began, and because I haven't been attending on a continuous basis I needed to conform to the current guidelines for graduation. Although I had enough credits, they need to be in the right combination as well. This meant that I would need six courses to finish.

I was planning to take two now and two in the summer, but hearing this news I was overcome by temporary insanity. Smelling the finish line, I decided to go full throttle and take four classes now. This means that I work full-time and go to school full time. I leave everyday from work and head straight to class, getting home late in the evening.

Six weeks in, I am starting to wonder what in the hell I was thinking. That wave of insanity must surely have been powerful. The good news is that I am just taking the leftover crap that I have managed to avoid thus far, which means that these courses are much less intense than some that I have taken previously. The bad news, it seems, is that I am not a carefree eighteen year old with no responsibilities. Someone should have sat me down and explained this to me six weeks ago.

My advisor submitted my final plan of study to degree auditing last week, which means I am in the home stretch. She let me know that I can walk in the May graduation ceremony. I have been chipping away at this and working on it so slowly, piece by piece, that it hardly seems real that the end is here. I'm not sure I have let myself see to the next level for so long. I have spent the last decade with my loving DH struggling and working and finding our way. As we've entered the next decade I feel as though we may finally get to relax a bit and enjoy ourselves and what we have accomplished. I am proud of us.

Jan 11, 2008

the gift of family

The Gift of Family

One year ago today I was at a fertility clinic. I was not there for myself – I was there for and with my best friend. Seven years before that she found out that she had cancer, and that she would need a hysterectomy to save her life. As a girl in her early twenties, this was devastating on so many levels. She was just starting out on her adult life. Just figuring out who she was. She had just begun dating a goofy guy who was fun to be around. A man who knew all that she was going through and only wanted to be there for her. He wasn’t scared off and stood by her side the whole time.

I watched her as she went through the stages of grief. I always saw that it was easier for her to process and deal with the cancer than it was for her to digest the loss of her future children. Being a mother was her life’s dream. In our high school yearbook she listed her ambition as “To work with children, get married, have a family, and be successful.” Knowing that she would not be able to bear her own children was not something that she could accept. Everyone encouraged her to look to adoption, but she felt strongly that if she were to have children that they would have her eyes. His sense of humor. Her drive. His artistic talent.

It is hard to know exactly how to help someone in a situation like this. You care for them, stand by their side. But there really is no way to take the pain away. She had to do that herself. And the only thing that would heal these deep wounds was time. Distance. Whenever the subject of children came up she would brush it aside. She would say that children were not meant to be. No matter what road she chose to have children would be hard. Expensive. Beyond any capabilities she thought she might have.

From the beginning I let her know that when the time was right that I would help her to become a parent. Her relationship with the goofy guy was strengthening in ways I don’t think they even realized. They are a complete yin and yang. His strengths are her weaknesses and his weaknesses are her strengths. Together they form a dynamic force- a circle. I could see that they would forever be joined.

The fall after their wedding her mother began to not feel well. It began as a mild irritation that would not go away. She just did not get better. Soon enough they discovered that she had pancreatic cancer. By the time she received a diagnosis it had spread. It was a raging wildfire beyond anyone’s control. Her mother was a young vital woman who lived each day with gusto, with dignity. She possessed a love for life like almost no one else I’ve ever known. Watching what this disease did to her, and to her entire family was incomprehensible. Cancer affects people and families in so many difficult ways. My friend was so strong. Sitting by her mother’s bedside, caring for her. Seeing to the minute details and helping her to get her life in order. This was again a tragedy no young girl in her twenties should have to face. It was so hard to understand a world in which one stupid disease could affect a family so profoundly.

I received a call from my friend on a Sunday morning in April. She was exhausted. Distraught. Trying to sound strong. I hung up the phone with her and got right in the car. I didn’t know what else to do but be there for her, and pray. It was all I had to give. I sat with her and her family in the waiting room as they each took turns with her mother saying their goodbyes. We all knew she had reached the end of her valiant fight. She had given it all she could, but it was time to let go.

I was taken completely by surprise when she told me that she had promised her mother that she would have children. That she was finally ready to take the next step toward her dream of motherhood. It had been so long since we had even discussed the possibility. The last I knew, she was still experiencing the grief. I did not realize that she had become ready to move forward. I’m not sure if I said much beyond expressing my surprise.

After her mother passed, researching and learning about surrogacy was something that helped her to cope. It gave her a positive focus. Something to look forward to. The expense was one of the biggest factors concerning her, one that had scared her from the prospect all these years. For those who are not able to naturally conceive their children, time and money are required in copious quantities. Unexpectedly, she received a small sum of money from her mother’s estate. Enough to make her comfortable enough to move forward. She was weighing her options, examining the process from every angle. She could use a surrogate that was hired from an agency or call on someone that she knew. She is blessed by a large circle of family and friends who love her and her husband, and had many offers of help. She was in the rare position to have options.

As soon as she had declared her intentions to me at the hospital, I began to discuss with my husband the possibility of helping them. He has been with me through all of this, and considers her a part of our family as I do. His desire to help them was as strong as mine. We did some research of our own to see how this would affect us and our family. This was not a commitment that I would make alone, it would require my entire family to be dedicated to the decision.

She began working with a fertility clinic and was preparing to make her decision. We reminded her that we would be honored to help. After much conversation between all of us, we decided that we would take this journey on together. We all, husbands included, had to go through extensive testing, followed by lawyers, contracts, and more doctors. Finally it was time to begin. She and I started a regimen of medication. It did not go as planned at first, and there was some trial and error. After several months the doctors informed us that we were ready for the embryo transfer. I spent the night at their house and tried to quiet my mind enough to sleep. The magnitude of what we were about to do was more than my mind could handle.

One year ago today, we left the house in the wee morning hours to make our way to the fertility clinic. She held my hand as they implanted three embryos. Three embryos were all they had, and if they did not take, it would mean starting over from the beginning. Financially, physically, and emotionally, this would be a huge challenge. As we waited in recovery to be released, I was overwhelmed with the enormity of the moment. It was not something I was even able to express. The sunlight in the room was warm and beautiful, and we could feel the presence of her mother all around us.

The pregnancy was typical for me – a few months of sickness, followed by a few months of discomfort and anxiety. The only difference was having so many sets of eyes on me at once. It was certainly more attention than I was used to, and took a lot for me to be comfortable with.

After eight months of ups and downs my water broke and we were admitted to the hospital. It was five weeks before the due date, so the doctor did not want to induce me. She felt that it was best to let my body work the way it was supposed to, to allow the baby time to develop as much as possible before delivery. Time passed very slowly as we waited for the baby’s arrival. My friend and her husband passed the time with me and my husband at the hospital while their family stayed at my house with my children. At this point we had melded all of our family’s together in a way that was only making sense to us, but it worked. There was such a strong bond of family and community amongst us all.

When the time came I held my friend’s hand, as we had during the transfer, as their daughter was born. Despite being premature, she was healthy and beautiful. To say it was an emotional moment is a complete understatement, but it is impossible to put into words the mood of the day. Tears were shed by us all.

As I look back on all that the last year has encompassed, I am filled with the sense of having fulfilled my purpose on this earth. So many times I have gone through the day not able to see the big picture, not able to understand my station in life. But now I do. In life, I know now that it is not the gifts you receive, but the gifts you give that are the most meaningful. For my family to help them create their family was an amazing honor and accomplishment. One that I would never hesitate to do again.

Happy anniversary to us all.


To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.