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!!  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Summer Rec

I know we are in the throes of the school year already, but I feel like there's SO much of the summer I had wanted to capture here for posterity and yet I haven't.

So, please excuse me while I go back in time a couple months to share with you this snapshot in time.  :)

As I've shared before, Nate started Tee Ball when he was 5 (summer before he started Kindergarten).  He played again last summer (before 1st grade) and finally this year moved up to what is called (in these parts) "Coach Pitch" baseball.  It was quite the adjustment for him.  First of all, the people on his team take baseball very seriously.  And some of these kids have been living and breathing baseball since they were born.  So to say that Nate was a little behind the curve is a bit of an understatement.  But what he lacked in skill he definitely made up for in heart and passion.  What really hurt his game was that any practice he was getting at home was limited and, well, let's just say that Mommy pitching (at 4'10" tall) or Daddy pitching underhand is NOT the same as the 6' coach pitching overhand.  So there was some learning to do there.

Good news is, he got a LOT of individual practice with one of his two coaches or other parent helpers. The other thing I really liked was the variety of positions he got to experience.  They had him on 1st, outfield, and he even got to be catcher a few times.  It really was good for him to get a feel for the different positions and the tasks each position is responsible for.  I really think he'll continue to grow.

This year Alex got to join the Summer Rec ranks and play Tee Ball like his big brother.  I also signed him up for soccer because I knew he'd be good at it and I'm glad I did.  I really think he preferred soccer (it moved more than tee ball does).  But we'll give him another year in both to figure it out.  It was an adjustment for Nate who's never had to go and sit and watch at a game for his brother (we had a few words about that the first few practices because Alex did it for Nate's tee ball for two years, it was Nate's turn to learn the spectator role).  It all worked out in the end thanks to a nearby playground and friends of his at practices who he could go off and play with on empty fields.

We had a rough go of it for tee ball and soccer this year.  For the first 3 weeks or so, we kept getting rained out or cancelled for soggy fields.  But once the season finally kicked off (i.e. the weather cooperated), we had fun.

I really liked the way they coordinated the tee ball teams this year.  Instead of playing a long boring game that 4 & 5 year olds couldn't focus more than 5 minutes on, they rotated smaller groups of the kids through "stations" that worked on them with batting, fielding, and catching.  Then for the last part of practice they'd play a "game".  I really think it worked great and taught Alex a LOT more in one year than Nate learned on his teams for two years.  I hope we have these coaches again next year!!

 So, until next year....

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Letter to Alexander…as you start Kindergarten.

My dear, sweet Boo Boo (Alex),

I can't believe it, but today you woke up a Kindergartner.  How did that happen so quickly?!?  After all, you're still my BABY!  You'll always be my baby, even if you are stepping on the bus tomorrow to attend your first full day of school.  

As you take this big step into the world, I hope you know that I love you more than anything!  I have so much I want for you.  So many things I worry about for you.  

My sweet boy, I want you to dream big and for all of your dreams to come true.  I want you to remain innocent forever - to never lose your individual spunk and witty sense of humor.  I want you to keep your wide-eyed sense of wonder, learn everything you can, and ALWAYS use your head and make smart choices.  Be yourself -  for you are a wonderful, special, and fabulous little boy, just as you are.  Stay safe.  Always choose things that make you happy.  Be a good friend.  Stick up for the "little guy".  Give more than you take.  Be kind.  Never ever lose that smile!  Think before you speak.  Hold open the door for someone behind you.  Listen more than you talk.  Ask questions.  Pay it forward as often as you can.  

As you travel down this educational route for the next 12 years (or more!), I will be here, always.  I've got your back.  You can talk to me about anything.  Nothing is too small, too silly, too weird, or too uncomfortable.  I am your Mama.  I will always be here, no matter what.  Never forget that.

Now, take your cute butt out into the world and show everyone what a wonderful force you are.  Keep your attitude in check but use your wit wisely.  Keep your anger under control and always remember to breathe.  Stick with your brother and remember how much we love you!!

Big, big, big, big, big, big HUGS!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Black Cloud

It's been months since I posted anything here.  It's not because there hasn't been anything noteworthy happening.  Quite the opposite, actually.  We've had big stuff going on.  Lots of firsts to report.  Memories made, big adventures to share.  It certainly isn't that I haven't had the words running around in my head.  Lord knows I am never in short supply of random thoughts, worries, concerns, memories I want to remember and stories I'm itching to share.

What I'm lacking (lately) is clarity.  Focus.  The want and desire is there...but the follow through and the coherent thought and motivation needed to get the words out is conveniently missing.

Today, however, was one of those days.  One of those days that compounds everything I've been feeling for months and makes it bubble over.  I've had many of these days lately, but today had a face (or faces), and stories of sadness, loss, and heartache.  So many friends suffering.  So many of my friends receiving bad news and struggling through their own journeys.

And it wasn't just close, personal friends, it was friends of friends.  National news stories.  Local news stories.  So much pain and sorrow.  Marital conflict, messy, ugly divorces, freak accidents, untimely deaths, health issues in babies too young to know even have a start in life, tragic losses and horrible circumstances that make you question God, people, society....everything.  

Today was a Bad News Day.

As I sit here typing this, Alex is laying in my lap sleeping.  I look down at him and can't help but count my blessings.  Sure I've got my fair share of issues.  Stuff is far from perfect in my world...but my family is all HERE, we're all HEALTHY, and SAFE.

Life is short and fragile.  That's for sure.  It's my one hope that while I'm here I can make a difference, leave my mark, and create a legacy of some sort that lives on long after I'm gone.  If I can do that, then I will have done my part.  Until then, I'm off to hug my babies just a little tighter.  I suggest you do the same.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Dear Bug, er, Nate,

As I sit here, in the dark, in the last few minutes before the clock ticks away the precious few remaining moments of you being just SIX, I think of you.  You are soundly sleeping in the other room.  Your sweet snores remind me that you are near and tell me you are in peaceful slumber, dreaming pleasantly of ladder trucks and cookie cakes, I hope.

Seven to me seems like such a big number.  Such an impossibly large number.  How is it that you became SEVEN in the mere blink of an eye?  It's also a scary number.  It seems like seven is so much closer to the real world.  One step closer to the harsh realities of hurt, disappointment, danger, life lessons, and fear.  One step farther away from the safety of my arms.

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!).

I often miss the little boy you were, but I have to stop myself and focus on the amazing young MAN you are becoming.  You are strong, independent, funny, caring, kind, creative, loving, witty, smart, and incredibly handsome!!  I am so proud to be your Mom and blessed to have you in my heart and in my world every single minute of the last seven years!!  Happy birthday, Bug!

P.S.  Now, can you slow down this growing up thing, a little...for ME?  Please?  :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hop Hop

Just thought I'd hop in to say hello!!  It's been quite a while since I've shared any happenings and quite a lot has been going on!  We have been BUSY!  The boys and I are constantly on the go with boy scouts, swimming lessons, judo, school work, and social activities.  I've barely had time to keep up!!

But I did want to (quickly!) introduce you to the newest members of our family!!  As of today we have three new members, actually...

Meet Ashur (Hebrew for "Black"):

Smokey (Alex's Bunny)

and Reeses (Nate's)

They are our six-week-old New Zealand rabbits (mine, Ashur, is a New Zealand/Californian mix) and the boys love them already!!  They are so good with them!  They have snuggled them all day!  

I love how laid back and relaxed Smokey looks with Alex...he seems so calm with him.  Alex is either the Bunny Whisperer or Smokey knows he can trust him already. 

Alex "donated" his baby comb to the bunnies to help care for them.

Nate could hang out and watch TV with Reeses all day long.  Two buds, just hanging.