Sunday, October 29, 2017

Jes2cu:)


This is my beautiful friend, Jes.  To know her is to love her.  She always brought an infectious energy to the room.  Her laugh was unforgettable and her smile was as radiant as her spirit.  She taught me so much in life over the last 25 years of friendship.  (Jes even gave me the name for this blog many years ago in a conversation we had wherein she was commiserating with me about being the Mom of all boys.)  

Unfortunately, she has taught me a lot about death and loss, as well.  Jes passed away on August 4, 2017 from metastatic breast cancer.  She fought ridiculously hard to hold on for all who loved her - her friends, family, and mostly for her husband and three young boys.  But God wanted her home.


In the weeks that have followed I have found myself thinking of her constantly - even more than usual. I often find myself wishing she were here to ask a question of, give advice, or just hang out with a cup of coffee and a lesson on her latest craft.  What I've learned (the hard way) is that life is too damn short.  I know people say that all the time, but I guess I'm slow and stubborn and it took losing someone (my age!) who was (until recently) ALWAYS there when I needed her, to learn this lesson first hand.  

The problem is/was that I let life get in the way too often.  Looking back over emails, text messages or G-chats Jes and I would send back and forth, there was a resonating repetition in our messages.  "Let's get together when the weather gets better" or "the next couple weeks are crazy so let's try after the holidays" or "I miss you, when can I see you?" (with no response from one or the other of us for WEEKS or MONTHS to set up a date).  There was no conscious realization that we'd NOT have a chance to reschedule or NOT have a chance in the future to set something up LATER.  The unfortunate result of this was that I found myself saying, "I really thought we'd have more time",  A LOT at her bedside in Hospice and ultimately at her funeral.  

Well, time ran out.  And now I'm kicking myself for not making better use of the time we had.

Rewind a few years...

When Jes called me to tell me the devastating news she had just received, I remember getting off the phone and calling my mother - My Aunt had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer so I wanted to know how my Mom was helping her.  Through tears I asked my Mom, "What can I do!?!" and "How can I help?".  With the confident wisdom that only a mother can impart, she said the best thing to do was to let Jes know she wasn't alone and that I was here and thinking of her.  My mom did that for my Aunt by sending her cards to keep in touch.  

So I went out and bought a bunch of cards.  Thinking of you.  Miss you.  Friendship.  Get well soon.  You name it, I picked them up everywhere I went.  I stocked up on them in droves so I'd have just the card needed for just the right time.  At first I was good at sending them.  I'd drop Jes a card or a note or a text to tell her she was in my thoughts.  I'd let her know I was here if she needed anything.  But as time went on and as she seemed to be handling everything with the strength and ease I honestly expected from her anyway, I got lazy (?), complacent (?), COMFORTABLE with the idea that she was strong and would kick cancer's butt and be just FINE.  Meanwhile, LIFE got busy, my check-ins were met with a confident and positive Jes telling me things were good and scans were showing positive news.  Life continued to get in the way and before long it would be weeks or even months between my contact.  Like I said before, I really felt like TIME was on our side.  Boy was I was wrong.

So, as I walked around my house after Jes passed away I found myself staring at this stockpile of cards I had bought to send to her and wondered, "Now what?".  I totally screwed that up.  Now I had this visual reminder of what a crappy friend I had been and how short life really is.  I was remembering on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis how easily opportunities can slip away from you and how we DON'T always have MORE TIME.  

So, I decided to take that lesson and make sure I never took my friends and loved ones for granted again.  If I was thinking of them, I wanted them to know.  If they had done something I was grateful for, I was going to tell them.  As silly as it is, I didn't want anyone else to die without knowing exactly what they meant to me.

I started sending those cards I had stockpiled to friends and family (far and wide).  I sent them to friends I see often and those I haven't seen or talked to in ages.  A few at a time, every week or so I'd have the names of people that had crept into my thoughts throughout the week.  (My list is longer now than my stamp budget, but I'll get to everyone.  I promise.) 

Then I got a few texts or messages from friends saying they had received my card(s) and that it made them smile.  A couple friends mentioned that they had been having a bad day or a hellish week and that my card was just what they needed.  One friend even said that it meant a lot to know that she "mattered if in some small way" and that it was a "much needed pick me up...in this chaotic adult life that can be boring, routine, complicated and so very harsh".  THIS is exactly what I needed and just what I wanted to spread.  I want to make sure the people in my life who have made me who I am never question the impact they have on the world.  

So I decided to make this my mission (?) or project of sorts.  It's a work in progress but it makes me happy to spread smiles, I guess.  So I asked my sister to come up with a logo for my project.  I call it my "Jes2cu:)" (Just to see you smile) project.  


The "Jes" in the logo is Jes's actual signature which makes me happy every time I see it.  


And so I will spread love and smiles whenever I can, in honor of my beloved Jes.  It sucks that I had to learn this lesson by losing her.  But I hope to never make the mistake of letting a moment go by without letting the people I care most about know they are important and loved.  Every time I stick a stamp on a card being sent to someone special, I can almost see her beautiful smile!

Bundles of note cards I put together to give to friends so they, too, can spread the love to people THEY care about.  

Monday, July 31, 2017

Community

 
     com·mu·ni·ty
         kəˈmyo͞onədē/
        noun











  1.    1.
       a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

       "the sense of community that organized religion can provide"
 
A dear friend of mine, David, used to say "you build community wherever you go".  He was a world traveler with fascinating experiences to share and valuable life lessons to teach.  He was brilliant and undeniably left an indelible mark on this world before Cancer took him in 2013.

This phrase has always stuck with me...yet until this week I never fully understood its impact and power.
 
I got word on Tuesday that another lifelong friend, Jes, was moved to Hospice after an all too long and difficult fight with Cancer.  It has finally taken its toll on her amazingly strong body and spirit.  I sat there in a daze trying to figure out what to do, how to help, why any of this was happening.  I felt lost and confused and full of dread for what was to come.
 
As I walked into Hospice that first day after getting the news, my anxiety was at an all time high.  Here I was in a beautiful, yet somber building, in an unfamiliar town, not knowing what to expect and definitely not wanting to be there in the first place.  As I stepped through the doors of her room, I was greeted by a room full of faces, both familiar and new.  Some of these people I had known for a lifetime yet hadn't seen in years, some I knew more superficially, but most I had never even met until that moment.  
 
As the hours and days have worn on, I have spent a LOT of time in that room with these people.  I have learned their names, their stories, who they "belong" to/with. I have slowly figured out their connections.  And they have learned mine.  Each of them has welcomed me in with (literal) open arms.  As the only "past" person there in a room full of blood relatives, family, and friends who live richly in her "present", I haven't once felt like an outsider.  Instead, I have come to count on these people for strength, updates, and support.  I look forward to seeing them again every day.  Hospice has since become a place of love and camaraderie, jokes and playfulness (as odd as that sounds).  I have found solace there in this group of people feeling the same feelings and walking the same path.  We each have our role to play - caregiver, meal planner, information sharer, medical expert, shift scheduler, comic relief...Our contributions are all different but each part makes up a whole.  Each of us is a piece in the puzzle of community that we have built around Jes, her family and each other
 
We are no longer strangers from different towns, backgrounds and times in Jes's life.  We are suddenly a COMMUNITY of friends, united by a common love for this amazing woman and a shared sadness for the journey we were traveling with her.  This amazing community she has built around her makes me both proud and sad.  I am so proud (and not surprised in the least) that Jes has this rich group of amazing people that love and adore her as much as I do.  However, I am sad that I didn't know many of them until now.  I am also immensely relieved to know that her husband and three wonderful boys will continue to have the love and support of these fabulous people to carry them through the next few weeks, months and years.
 
Shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer, I was talking online with Jes and wrote, "We'll get through this, my dear. You're not alone. Now is when all your years of being wonderful to everyone else will come back to provide strength and support for you!  Because you have earned all the love that we will now shower on you :)".  These words were genuine and sincere at the time yet somehow I never quite knew just HOW true and genuine they would become. 

Our journey together is not yet over, though the end does appear to draw near.  Please pray for peace for my dear Jes.   

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This is Anxiety

Tonight has been pure hell.  I know people don't understand.  And plenty of people think I've created a monster, or that the way I choose to handle things only exacerbates the situation, or worse yet, that I am being manipulated and controlled by some sort of 8-year-old sociopath.  I assure you, however, I am trying my damnedest to navigate this road as gracefully and sensitively as possible.

For those wondering what I'm talking about, my 8-year-old, Alex, has developed a nasty "case" of anxiety.  It started in the last 6 months or so and focuses itself primarily on weather but more generally on safety (feeling safe, being healthy, etc.).  Leaving the house suddenly makes him feel unsafe and uneasy, especially if there is any chance of wind, precipitation, or heck, a change in barometric pressure of any kind (I exaggerated there a smidge.)   I have seen this anxiousness surface in situations where people are sick or hurt (e.g. Daddy had surgery for a hernia a few weeks ago and Alex was uber concerned that Dad "was ok" and would "be ok" indefinitely).  Of course this increased nervousness also increases his need to be attached to me in true Velcro Boy fashion.  But the most frustrating part is that it manifests in the most unexpected places and times (e.g. on board a naval battleship for a Scout overnight that we've done twice before wherein Alex suddenly expressed a serious fear of small places and wasn't at ease unless he had a direct and well-memorized escape plan at all times).
In the car traveling on a rainy day.
Of course, I don't have all of the answers.  Heck, I don't think I have any of them, really.  I will fully admit I'm winging it every day.  But I am trying to help him the best way(s) I know how.  Afterall, I am the one living this nightmare along side him.  I'm the one who sees the pain in my precious 8-year-old's eyes when he insists, er, demands we stay home or GO home (immediately!).  The point is, I know my kid and I can tell the difference between a fake "I want something" cry and and a real truly scared gut-wrenching sob.  And I know people don't agree.  But I'd like to think that as his mother I can see through the crap and tell the real deal.  I am probably wrong.  But if I'm being totally honest, I would rather err on the side of caution and not risk damaging his emotional well being simply because I didn't "believe him".

I walk a very thin line.  Every. Single. Day.  I weigh the signs, the reactions, the underlying messages and the unspoken emotions.  I try to always think about what the true reason for his outbursts of anger and jerkiness (which seem to be his favorite way to express his anxiety) might be.  Never to assume his behavior is what it outwardly appears to be (for example, he's not REALLY mad at his brother for eating the last banana when the sky just darkened up and he may just be worried about the change in weather).  His behaviors are usually out of left field, or don't make sense in the context of the situation.    I know I'm not a professional and I have come to the realization that he needs one.  I'm working on that.

I just wish other people could see my point of view and try to understand my position.  I'm his Mom.  I'm supposed to fix this.  I'm supposed to make him feel safe and ease his fears.  But with this ugly monster called Anxiety I simply can not seem to do that.  At least not alone.





Tuesday, June 7, 2016

#thisis40

As much as I wish I could change it, I will turn 40 in ten days.  Ten Days until I turn the big 4-0.  I'm trying to be positive and embrace the number.  Really, I am.  I am doing my best to channel my BFF and focus on my many blessings.  I attempt every day to remember accomplishments made over the past 14,600 days.

I'm struggling though.  2016 has been the year of all my friends turning 40.  They all seem to be embracing it.  So many of my friends have been posting photos taken on fabulous trips to exotic places to commemorate their 40th.  They've taken on big goals, done amazing things, accomplished fascinating dreams, or simply just embraced the fabulous people they are.  All under the hashtag, "thisis40".  It has me really trying to figure out, what is 40 for ME?  I'm not planning any trips anywhere amazing.  I haven't accomplished any grand dream or even made a huge impact on the world around me.  I'm not even sure what I want to be when I grow up yet.

When I was in my 20s people older than me would tell me when I got to be in my 30s and 40s I'd care less what people think, I'd find a self confidence I was then lacking.  Forty sounded so liberating.  I always figured by my thirties and forties I would finally know who I am, what I was supposed to do in this world and where I belonged.  I am so not there.

Forty has me physically out of shape, emotionally exhausted and seemingly messing up everything I touch.  My house is a mess, my brain is just as cluttered, and I never quite have it all together.  This isn't the grace and style I was hoping to have by now.  

Will I ever get there?  I guess I have 10 days to figure that out.  Wish me luck.    

Monday, March 21, 2016

Double Digits

In the blink of an eye my Bug has turned 10.  While I can't imagine my life without him in it, it seems impossible to think that he has been in my world for a whole decade!


Three years ago, when he was turning seven, I wrote the following:

"Suddenly, you appear before me, this boy who can make his own lunches and get himself ready for school.  You have friends and a social schedule and plans that aren't always mine.  You have homework and chores and responsibilities that you take care of with some gentle reminding.  You're mature, and polite, and kind.  Temper tantrums have begun to give way and therefore have made time for more philosophical conversations and fun play.  As if out of nowhere, you know things - smart things - that I didn't teach you.  You read and learn and listen and soak in the world around you - the good, the bad, and the ugly.  You worry more.  You parent a lot.  You fight like heck for the little person but forget to stand up for the person you should be protecting the most (you!)."

It hasn't changed at all.  Nate is still my independent, mature, and responsible "old man".  He follows the rules and makes sure everyone else does, too.  He's helpful and kind.  

He is smart and has brilliant ideas and actual opinions about important stuff.  At nine he thinks more about other people and their feelings than most adults I know.  He's raised money for the ASPCA, studies about World War II like it's his job, and even started a business, Inventors, Inc.  He's written bylaws for his business, and has a "staff" of 14 of his classmates.  He even asked his school principal if he could set up a table for his business at the PTSA's Family Fun Night next month.  

Nate reads everything he can get his hands on.  When I'm having a bad day or am beyond frustrated with his little brother's behavior, he is the first to offer a hug, a kiss or will make me a cup of tea just to ease the tension.  His imagination is still stellar and he'll disappear into scenes in his mind.  It's fascinating.  



As a 4th-grader he's still singing in chorus, taken up playing the trumpet, gotten braces, and still lives and breathes fire fighting. He's gotten really good at cooking.  Thanks to loving friends and family, he has a few cookbooks from which he'll pick a recipe and go to town.  He's made some delicious meals and desserts!    



















He is definitely a one of a kind kid.  I don't know how I got so lucky to be his Mom...but I cherish every moment!


Friday, March 11, 2016

Therapy

I have had an overwhelming need to write lately.  Not about anything profound or even all that important...just to "talk" in an effort to purge the words, emotions, and thoughts in my head.  I miss it.  I miss sharing our stories and photos and adventures.  It's not that we haven't had anything to share...it's quite the opposite, actually.  We've been so busy I haven't had the TIME to share.

And that makes me sad.  As I've mentioned before, so many moments have fallen through the cracks in my memory.  So many stories have gone untold and will undoubtedly be forgotten until such time in the distant future when some random event sparks a flicker of remembrance.  Even then the memory will be fleeting, as many of my memories are these days.

As I sit here in my new pink camo recliner the wood stove is cranking at about 80 degrees.  My wine, which was once chilled, is now lukewarm and my cat is insisting on garnering all of my attention.

Nate will be turning 10 (!) in less than 2 weeks and Dave and I are trying to plan a special trip to commemorate this big birthday (double digits!).  I figured at 10 he's over the whole "party" thing (or at least I am!).  So instead of spending the money to have a magician come entertain 20 of his "closest" friends, we're looking to provide an adventure and build some lifelong memories.  In true Nate fashion, we're going to bring him to NYC to tour the 9/11 memorial and maybe visit FDNY.  It'll be perfect for our little Fire Bug.  I cant' wait!  I hope he doesn't miss out too much on the chance to celebrate with his friends, but I want to make it special in a new way this year.








Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A "Lucky" New Direction

A little over a week ago I got news that I never saw coming.  The kind of news that sucks the wind out of your sails and sends you reeling.  My job, the position I have loyally held for nearly 9 years, is being eliminated.  HR did the best they could to reassure me - they reminded me that I still have my job until June; that they will do the best they can to help me in any way I see fit; they assured me (rather emptily) that everyone who "touched this decision in any way feels horrible about it".  At the time, with tears streaming down my face, as I struggled just to suck air, not to mention try (rather unsuccessfully) to make eye contact, all I really heard was "blah, blah, no job, blah, blah, no money, blah, blah, no purpose".

I took a day to feel sorry for myself.  I cried.  I got angry.  I made immature and bitter remarks.  I had a pity party, felt like a loser, questioned my self worth.

Then I picked myself up, brushed myself off and started making lists.  I made "plans".  I did research.  I dusted off my resume and I started applying for jobs.     

Don't get me wrong.  I still feel like a loser,  I worry every second about what will happen or what I'm going to do...but I can't let this get me down (for long).  My husband needs me to be positive.  My kids need to know that nothing is wrong and that even if Mommy is talking about new jobs for whatever reason, that they don't have anything to worry about and their world will not change in any noticeably drastic ways.  I just can't allow myself to have to say "No, Nate...you can't play football this year because Mommy lost her job and we can't afford it",  or "I know all the other kids are going to the roller skating party but it's expensive so you can't join them".  That, to me, would be the ultimate failure...letting my boys down.  So I have to do whatever I can to make sure those words never have to be uttered. 

The good news is, I am pretty "marketable" as far as having a wide variety of "skills" that should afford me the opportunity to land SOME job, doing something, somewhere.  Sure, I'd love to take this opportunity to find something I love...to really figure out what I'm good at and do what makes me happy.  But that is (and really should be, I suppose) trumped by the necessity simply to ensure that I continue to have a paycheck in 10 short weeks when my job ends.

So, if you are so inclined, prayers are welcome.  If you know of any openings, please share.  Otherwise, just wish me luck.  I'm going to need it.  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The revolving door of parenthood.

You know the scene...you're going through a revolving door at your local restaurant, shopping plaza or hotel lobby.  You hustle your littles into the all-too-tight space ahead of you and then squeeze in behind them, go a half turn through the door and then lead them out safely on the other side.   It's our job.  That's what we as Moms, Dads, PARENTS, do. 

The other day my boys, ages 6 and 8, and I were traveling through one of these doors when they rushed in ahead of me.  They filed into the section before me and I followed, one compartment behind.  Well, I got out on the other side and they did not...they kept going.  And going.  And going.  They were having the time of their lives just spinning around.  Of course I ushered them back through as soon as their fun became distruptive to others trying to get in, but until then, they carried on without me.  This has become a metaphor for my life with these boys lately. 

I understand that's how it works.  We guide them and steer them - Teach them, enourage them, support them.  Then they get independent and disappear into the revolving door only to come out on the other side unassisted.  With me standing on the outside watching them through the glass but unable to reach them.  I'm just not sure I am fully prepared for this new back seat "supervisory" role that I've inevitably been assigned. 

I love that my boys are growing up, don't get me wrong.  Besides, Nate has always been an old soul anyway...light years ahead of his age in maturity and self reliance.  I (half) joke all the time that Nate has never really needed me.  As a baby, he would crawl to his bedroom door when he was tired and sit outside it until I put him to bed. 

At swimming over the weekend I was chatting with a mom-friend of mine who is still very much in the throes of all things baby and toddler.  As she stepped out of the water with her infant in one hand and her toddler on her heels, she noted that I had been relieved of my "going in the water duties" now that the boys were older and could swim on their own.  I agreed, pointing out it was just one of many new breaks I'd finally earned as a result of their growing up.  I smile on the outside.  But inside I cried a little.

Sure, it's great to send them outside (with very little assistance needed beyond "Mom, where's my hat?" and "Help!  I can't get my boots on over my thick snowpants with my gloves already firmly installed on my hands" - ok, so they don't actually talk like that but you get the point...) but I never quite know where I stand.  When my needed assistance will be replaced with their new found confidence and skill.  Who can guess when my advice will be put out of business with wisdom of their own.

I don't know that I'll ever get used to this ever-changing "normal".  Just when I think I have it down, something changes. I will always beam with pride as new achievements are realized and skills are learned, of course.  But inside, I also realize that the end of my parenting job is one step closer.  That before I know it I may read my last goodnight story or hear my last "MOM!" holler for assistance in the bathroom.  And that makes me sad.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cuckoo

Ugh.  I'm doing it again...I have so many thoughts jumping around in my head...there are so many things happening.  Yet I sit down, start a post to share my thoughts or feelings and then I get stuck.  My words suddenly make no sense...my initial concept just isn't being communicated.  It's so frustrating. 

I need this venue.  It helps clear my head, organize my thoughts, and reinforces my sanity.  Yet I can't seem to effectively write a coherent sentence.  I think it's a vicious cycle.  Too many thoughts are overwhelming so when I sit down for my "therapy" everything sort of falls out in crazy and chaotic ways. 

Yet I have to keep trying.  It's important.  I don't want to let another year go by without sharing anything.  I'll go crazy. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A lesson learned...through his eyes

My 6-year-old keeps a photo of me in a frame on his shelf above his bed.  It's a ceramic frame he and his friends painted, decorated, and put their names on for his 5th birthday party at one of those paint-your-own-pottery places.  The photo of me is from 1994, my senior year of high school.

Tonight at bedtime, we were doing our nightly routine of "Day Talk" (where we tell each other, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, about our days) and Alex said something about how he loves that photo.  I asked him if he even knew who it was and he said, without hesitation, "It's you, Mommy".

Now, I look at that photo and I don't see me.  I see a 17-year-old version of who I used to be.  I see a young, thin, pretty girl, with the whole world in front of her.  She had adventures to go on, wild animals to tame, and dreams to conquer.  A far cry from the frumpy, old, haggard version of me before him.

But here was my sweet, innocent, 6-year-old saying, without skipping a beat, "It's you, Mommy!"

I jokingly responded, "How do you know that's me?!?"

"Because I see your same eyes."

"The same smile"

"The same hair"

"The same teeth"

"The same..."

He looked at this picture of me from 20+ years ago and he saw me just as he sees me now.  He didn't see the absence of wrinkles then vs. today's dull, lack luster skin.  Instead he looks past my greying hair and the no-longer-straight and certainly no-longer sparkling white teeth I once sported in my youth.  It didn't even phase him that the girl in that picture is easily 100 lbs lighter.  That she saw hope and promise in a world she has since become skeptical of.  He simply saw ME.  He saw his Mom.  He sees the same person NOW that I was back then.  And in that moment...so did I.  Now to practice holding on to that...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Catch Up

Seeing as I only posted once (ONCE!) in all of 2014 (with the excption of my "getting back on the horse" post from the other day), there is so much to catch up on!! I'm realistic that there is no way I'll ever cover evrything though so consider this a highlights reel. :) In January we brought home a kitten, we promptly named him Kirby...and then he spent the next week sleeping in husband's firefighter bunkers (pants) so the boys renamed him "Bunkers" and it stuck. Bunkers is a big cat now, but he's so sweet and we all love him so much. He's a great "mouser", loves to be outside stalking things (he's even gotten scrappy with a fox), and is a HUGE cuddler (especially with me...at 3 AM) :)

Alex with Bunkers

A week or so later we got a new puppy, Rosie (named by Nate after Rose from the Titanic movie he was then obsessed with). She was so beautiful, sweet and added a whole new dynamic to our crazy household. Truth be told, she was a bit much for us though. We had definitely bitten off more than we could chew. Six months or so later, after much dissention, many conversations and a whole ton of tears, Rosie went to live with a friend of a friend who had the time and love Rosie so much needed and deserved. 
Rosie

We've had our share of fun scouting adventures - zoo sleepovers, an overnight (with Uncle Noah!) on a battleship, a fun night sleeping at the Niagara Aquarium, Pinewood Derby, Rocket launch, and the highly anticipated "ceremony" making Alex an official Tiger Cub (after 2 years of tagging along with his big brother, it was very exciting for him to receive his very own cub scout shirt!).


July marked our bi-annual summer camping trip to the 1000 Islands. This year we traveled with some fire department friends and their granddaughter who was visiting from California. The boys loved having a new friend to play with for the week and it was a great time (that could be a post all its own!).

Nate is in the 3rd grade and is such a sweet, responsible, RELIABLE, 8-year-old. He truly is my grumbly old man and definitely my rock. He's so helpful and independent. He's doing beyond fabulous in school! His biggest issue is that he worries way too much and is way too hard on himself. He's a bit of a perfectionist at times. This year Nate has joined intramurals and chorus, both of which allow him the distinct privilege (?) of being able to ride the early run bus twice a week. We were able to attend his first chorus concert in December and I am so proud to watch him. He loves to sing!

Alex is in 1st grade and is doing very well. His teacher is great and has figured out a way to keep him in check while still allowing him the opportunity to "be a crazy little boy". He is definitely my little character. He's always funning, being goofy, making faces, and never quite takes much of anything seriously. Even when he's in trouble he is trying to crack a smile. It's part charming and part evil.

Earlier in 2014 we found out that Alex has a moderate high frequency hearing loss in his left ear which essentially means nothing except to say he will never respond well to a dog whistle - ha! Seriously though, after seeing many audiologists, an olaryngologist and an ENT specialist, all have concluded that this will not cause him any long term detriment. It has obviously not impacted his learning or his speech in any way so now we monitor it every 6 months to make sure the loss isn't progressive and move on.

Both boys are keeping very busy with their activities (Gymnastics, soccer, baseball, scouts, swimming for Alex and Baseball, archery, BB gun, scouts, and swimming for Nate).


I am (still) Treasurer for the fire department and Daddy is a Captain so we spend a lot of time up at the fire hall for monthly meetings, training, raffles, events, fund drive, and general paperwork. The boys, of course, don't mind as the fire hall is their second home :) Nate especially loves it...he'll bring his gear with him to the hall, put it with Daddy's and wait for "the call". He even has a number (he calls himself Hulberton 3) and department friends have dubbed our house "Hulberton Station 2".

The biggest event for us in 2014 was our much anticipated trip to DISNEY!!! We had talked about it for years so the reality was long awaited! The details and photos of our trip I'd like to save for another post but it was so much fun!

So, in an effort to actually post this before 2015 has come and gone, I will consider this as thorough an update as I can for now...moving forward from here :) Can't wait to share more in the new year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Refocus

Hey, remember me?  It is a bit of an understatement to say that I have neglected this blog significantly over the last year or so...not on purpose or with any statement to be made by doing so.  Life just sort of....took over.  It does that.  

But it makes me sad all that I've missed out on capturing and documenting for posterity by making this journal of my life less of a priority.  So, as we approach 2015, I'd like to share my renewed commitment to sharing and telling the stories of my life.  I won't stress over it.  I won't worry if I don't have the best story to tell or the perfect photo to share for the topic (that's not the real point, anyway)..,I will fret less that my story may not be "worth sharing" for it's ALL worth REMEMBERING.  And that is the point.  


Friday, March 21, 2014

Two, Four, Six, EIGHT...who do we appreciate?!?!?! NATE!

I know people say it all the time, and I, myself, bemoan the passage of time all too often, but seriously...WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?!?!  Today, my first born...the little man that made me a MOM, is 8 years old (!).  I can't help but still think of him as that strong-willed, independent little 2-year-old, or that pig-headed, determined little 3-year-old, or that smart, ingenious, and imaginative, 4,5, or 6-year-old.  Even looking back on him last year at this time, he was a totally different Bug.  His toothless grin has been replaced by adult teeth and a taller, more mature little MAN face. 

Suddenly, he is responsible, reliable, capable, and far too old to be caught dead getting kisses from his Mama.  His favorite response to "I love you", "I missed you", or "Have a great day!" is..."Ok.".  Doing anything with his baby brother in tow is suddenly "embarrassing".  And he rebels against any and everything that might portray him to be a "baby" of any kind (going to bed before 8 PM, having to sit with his brother, holding my hand anywhere outside the house, etc.).

Nate is such an old man, too.  He's curmudgeon-y, cranky, and loves to grumble.  He'll be the first one to curse Mother Nature if it's too cold or snows too much.  He even got mad at the school administrators once for "making young children stand out in the cold to wait for the bus".  He loves to parent everyone (especially the dogs and his brother!).  And rules are his best friends....stray from them at all and he's thrown for a loop and doesn't quite know how to cope.  He tends to be a bit of a perfectionist and the slightest hurdle or bump in the road sends his self esteem into a tailspin.  At eight, we're learning a lot about being more positive, handling stress with more grace, and utilizing some coping skills that he forgets all too quickly when things don't go his way.

I look back on pictures of Nate from years ago and can't help but feel a pang of sadness at how quickly he's growing up.  I miss that blanket sniffing, crazy ensemble wearing, free spirit!  But I am also ridiculously proud of the sweet, sensitive, smart, and responsible young man he is becoming. 





Now, do me a favor, Nate....Slow DOWN!  
Happy birthday, Bug-a-boo!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Go, Fight, WIN!

On July 19th, 2013 one of my oldest and dearest friends, Jes, got a call from her doctor and heard three little words no one ever wants or expects to hear..."You've got cancer."

At 37 years old, she now bravely travels along a road many of us dread.  Suddenly, words like "chemo", "radiation", "malignant", "biopsy", "Stage 2" and "invasive ductal carcinoma" are everyday lingo.  She's had her hand forced to begin talking to her young children about very difficult things...explaining that Mommy is sick and having to come to terms with the reality that (at least temporarily) she won't be able to be as strong for THEM as they will have to be for HER.

Despite this disease that weakens the body, Jes is one of the strongest women I know.  Chemo might take away her energy, and challenge her thoughts, but she does not let it steal what makes her so wonderful - HER SPIRIT.  She has dealt with this "new normal" so well...with courage, grace, and unbelievable RESILIENCY.  I know she struggles at times to remain upbeat and positive, but she is amazing and is a true fighter!!  She has taken this diagnosis and turned it around.  Through her blog, she shares her story to help and encourage others in her situation and infuses SO many with her light and positivity.
So fitting - Jes's husband, Gary, is chief of their fire department.
As a Firefighter Wife myself, I, too, will FIGHT!!

Unfortunately she lives 40 miles away so swinging over every day to check in (like I'd prefer) isn't realistic.  But I do want to help in any/every way I can...I know she would do the same for me.

SO, on October 20th, I (and my family) will be walking for Team Jes in our local Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk to raise money for research to end this horrible disease.  I will NOT let cancer disrupt my family anymore (my Aunt fought - and WON! - this battle very recently) and/or threaten my friends!

If you are moved to support me in any way, great or small, please click this link to sponsor me/Team Jes and help raise money to fight back!  Any donation will help...OR consider joining Team Jes and walk with us!!