Monday, April 29, 2013


Anyone who has ever gone through heartache or has come out of an unhealthy situation, can tell you one of the hardest parts of it all, is simply to heal.  I have tried so many different things, including trying  nothing at all and the truth is that it simply takes time.  Today my sister and I were talking about some pretty intense, painful feelings and God came up.  To be honest I feel like I have prayed myself into a hole.  I am trying to be a good Catholic girl and leave it all to God, but I feel like it's more than that.  My sister said something that made sense, that God isn't going to necessarily change the tough things about your life, but he is there while you are going through them.  The funny thing is after she said that, my eyes opened a bit and while we were talking, I actually felt God.  I told my sister that he gave her to me, he gave all of us (my siblings) to each other.  He knew what we would face and he made sure to give us a small army of unconditional love.

We re-emphasized what we both already knew, healing is hard.  I began to believe all the negative bull shit that was fed to me for most of my life.  It started to cover me and then slowly seep into my soul.  Removing all of that takes time, support, patience and the hardest kind of forgiveness, forgiving yourself.  My sister and I also discussed some techniques of how to deal with all of this.  As we were talking, one thing became clear; we could often be supportive to each other, to other family and friends in need, but we couldn't find the strength to give that same support to ourselves.  Do as I say, not as I do.  Forgive everyone but not yourself.  Love others, but not always yourself.  My husband also helps me with this a lot.  He reminds me that I wouldn't stand by and let someone talk bad about my children, family or friends, so why allow self deprecation?  It's something I need to continue to work on, something that many of the loved ones in my life who have been through the wringer need to work on, it's called healing.

There is a movie that my whole family loves, Prince of Tides and there is one scene in particular that exemplifies our relationship.  It's where the brother and sister (tired of all the fighting and pain in their lives) run and jump off a dock and stay under the water, where it is peaceful.

They are in their own world of quiet and harmony that only they can understand.  That is what my siblings are for me, what my sister and I experienced today.  That unbreakable bond that comes when two people truly know each other and love one another, no mater what.
That is where the healing begins.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Savannah's Shoes.

Dear Savannah,

Yesterday while I was cleaning and packing, I came across a pair of your baby shoes. They're little, size five and carry the stains and residues of fabulous toddler adventures.  Looking at those tiny shoes and thinking of the little one who wore them, just about overwhelmed me.  I can't believe in one week you'll be fifteen, my baby girl is growing up.  Our conversations now revolve around  high-school, track, girlfriend sagas and how your boyfriend asked you out (very sweet by the way.)  I realize I could pretend that you're not yet at this stage, but then I would be alienating you and shutting myself out of your world.  As a result of the physical distance between us at times, I believe we have grown closer on an emotional level.  Every little second that I get with you, even if it is via FaceTime or snap-chat is precious to me.  I can't go back in time to when your little feet filled those tiny shoes, but I can remind you of something that will never change... how very much I love you.  You are my sunshine.  I miss you. I love you.  I wish you were here.

Love, Momma

P.S. Kiss and hug your brother and have him kiss and hug you back, (from me!)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sam's Socks

Hand me downs are bittersweet I decided today as I put Sam's socks on Max. I could still picture Sam wearing them and his cute little toddler grin. He loved new socks, new anything and would sit them neatly at the foot of his bed. Sometimes he would hold off wearing the new item for days. I smile and think of Sam every single time I see the socks or sweatshirt that were once his and in a way always will be. The time will come when the hand me downs (there are only a few) won't fit Max anymore. However, I won't be able to donate them like the other items that he no longer wears. Instead, they'll find a special place in a drawer or a box so every so often I can pull them out and remember not one, but two little toddlers who once wore them. Until then, I will smile when I pull out Sam's socks and will try to put them on his little brother every chance I get. It's not often in life that you're lucky enough to fill socks not once, but twice, with with such sweet little toddler toes.

You don't remember...

As my oldest baby nears her fifteenth birthday, I have been looking through old photographs and remembering all those sweet, precious baby days. I realize she doesn't remember these moments, but I hope the love I enveloped her in, stays with her forever.

Dear Savannah,

You don't remember, but I loved you at first sight. Nothing prepares you for the first time you see your baby, especially your first born. I say this only because its the first time you feel this kind of love, the kind that is so pure, so true that you didn't even believe it existed.

You don't remember, but I couldn't get you to sleep in your bassinet. I called the nurse after several sleepless nights and told her you'd cry as soon as I'd put you back in your bed after I'd nursed you. She suggested that I sleep with you and explained how to lay with you and nurse you in bed. It worked and you slept with me for weeks! We both slept so much better just because we were near one another. It's always so hard on my heart to be away from you.

I remember when you were three weeks old and we went to the lake with Kevin and Cara. I already felt like the time was flying by and I didn't want to put you down all day, so I carried you in my pouch, close to my heart.

I remember when you were four weeks old and you came to work with me. I was a full time nanny for three kids and had to use your dad's car with no air conditioning because my truck didn't have enough seats to drive them to horse lessons, ect... It was a hot summer, El NiƱo, and well over 100 degrees for several days. I had my first test as a mother when I had to refuse one day to drive the kids to the mall and elsewhere. It was too hot and you were so little. Thankfully the mom understood and agreed, but the kids moped around all day. I didn't care, I couldn't risk your health.

We were a team, you and I. I took you everywhere and loved to watch you grow and thrive. You were such a smiley baby, absolutely gorgeous and perfect in every way... Just like today.

What I want you to remember and never forget, is that I love you. You are my sunshine and I feel blessed everyday that you are mine.

I miss you! I love you! I wish you were here!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A day in my life...

Periodically I like to blog my days.  I think back to when my oldest four were little and some of those days, weeks and even months are a blur because of how busy I was.  I wish I had noted more so I could look back and remember some of that craziness!

Today was one of those crazy days.  I woke up in a start and had the bright idea to mow the lawn and try the mulching function.  Well I didn't know that a frost covered lawn would just clump, not mulch.  Note to self, don't mow at 7:15 am when there is still frost on your grass, all that happens is a messy mow and then your dog tracks it in all over your floor.  So I quit halfway through the backyard and came in to get the girls off to school and Max and I ready for the YMCA.

I was able to get in an hour of mom time and take a circuit (aka kick your butt) class before Max's swim lesson at 9:30.  It was nice to catch up with my circuit friends.  Max did awesome in child care, yeah for him!   Swimming went well and he was excited to even get some time in the toddler pool, his very favorite thing.  Off we headed to the arctic blast locker room to freeze, shower and then freeze again.  I swear they make it super cold so we hurry faster.  He was funny and wanted to sit on a stool, naked and have his snack and then get dressed.  As I noticed all the other naked butts that used the stools for the same thing, I convinced him to stay on his clean and sanitary towel instead.

After we got dressed, we chatted with the sports director about the soccer game schedule (thankfully the girl's games are at the same field in case they have a game at the same time) and then played some soccer in the racquet ball courts for a little while.  Max is hilarious and already a really good dribbler and kicker after watching his older siblings play.

Our next stop was the collision repair.  Our little car that we have had for a whole month got bit in the back yesterday by a bigger car driven by a distracted 16 year old driver.  (We traded in Jerry's beloved truck in order to buy our house.)  He didn't see that everyone was stopped for school busses and rear ended me on the way home from getting the girls.  All were okay and he was super sad and apologetic.  Thankfully he was also insured, but I still have to go through the pain of getting the car fixed.  Max was entertained by an elderly gentleman who lost his voice and spoke through a voice box and sounded like a robot, utterly fascinating to a two year old.

After we got our estimate, we only had a few minutes until the girls got out of school (half day Wednesdays),  we headed to the house and watched as they dug our sewer line.  We have been going over almost everyday and yesterday they finally poured the foundation!  (We wrote in the cement  last night, our own little messages that will be hidden under the floor.)   Max was entertained by the "huge crane."  He loved it and was so cute!

Off to get the girls and then home to get Max to bed.  Nap for him and cleaning and some Garden Critters work for me.

Fast forward two hours and I have to call a customer back (she was super sweet and understanding that I work from home) so the kids and I can go pick up Brayden from school.

We brought our glass recycling, so after we got Brayden, we had glass throwing therapy as we catapulted several dozen bottles and jars into the bins.  The kids love it!  Everyone should try it!

After glass chucking, they talked me into getting donuts (for Max) and apple fritters (for the older three) at the Orting Bakery.  It was buy one get one free fritter day so the kids were happy and we even brought home two for tomorrow (they're huge)!

Car ride = Music time!  Can't hear exact cause of fussing when your listening to the tunes.  Embarrassed Sage at a stop light as I boogied to a tune while we waited for our go sign.  Then I blasted some Opera to embarrass them all as we pulled into our neighborhood.  Love it!

Home.  Crazyness! Wrote a much needed email, finished mowing the grass and then had to get the girls ready for their first YMCA Soccer practice at 6:30 (different teams, same time- my second trip to the Y!)  A quick dinner that dad brought home and then the four kids and I were off!  (Dad had just gotten home and I left him for some P & Q)

Soccer practice was also crazy!  I attempted to watch both girl's practice while wrangling a running two year old.  Brayden came too and was really good (other than teaching Max how to tip a goal, literally!) Side note:  Thank goodness it was gorgeous out (we topped 70 degrees today).  Anyway, we ran around the fields, up the hills, watched the girls and had several trips to the playground to slide down the slide and cause small heart-attacks for me. (I am still a nervous wreck from Max's femur break last year and climbing causes me minor cardiac episodes.)

Practice over!  Find soccer balls then head home to hit the showers.   Dad takes over so I can call a customer back and begin typing up an order. Yeah! Happy to get those!  I am just about finished, but take a break to kiss good-night and finally take a shower (the second of the day, but the only one where I actually cleaned myself... the other was after swimming and I just got more wet while I washed Max.)

Dinner for the parents somewhere around 8:30 (normally we all eat together, but not in the cards today).  Then Survivor.  Ironic, I felt like I was on my own version of the show today.

That was my crazy Wednesday... just a day in my life, but because I typed it out, I'll get to remember this one.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Judgement, we are all guilty of it. We meet someone, we hear about somebody's crazy story, relationships, choices and we pass on our own set of judgements.

"Walk a mile in my shoes..." Have a conversation with me. Talk to me. Ask me questions. I'll answer. If you have the courage to speak before judgement or in the face of it, I'll give you the promise if an honest reply.

Ask about my past. It doesn't define me, but it helped to create the person I am today. I'm not perfect. Perfection is a lie upon which people stand because they can't be honest with themselves. If you can't be honest with yourself, deal with the rawness of your true self, then no one will be able to know the true you.

Love and then forgive and then move on.

Be yourself. Stand up for yourself. Don't allow others define who you are by their twisted and unhealthy perceptions.

Don't tolerate manipulation, it's a form of abuse.

Be grateful for friendship. I have been amazingly blessed by many angels who have walked through my life and literally stood by my side in my darkest hours.

Cherish family. My gorgeous, perfectly imperfect family. I love you and the unconditional love you have given to me time and time again.

My babies. I love you. I promise to never judge you, but instead, appreciate you in your most beautiful light.

Judgement. I won't tolerate it. Life is too short and I'm tired of a mis drawn conclusion without reading the whole story.

Remember... Things aren't always what they seem or how you perceive them to be.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Running, Peace, Boston and My Momma.

I started running competitively in middle school.  Running has always been an outlet for me and even at that young age, I found peace in the sport.  Looking back on all the meets in both track and cross-country, my mom was by far my biggest fan.  She literally blew out her vocal chords cheering on my siblings and I during our sporting events and I will always be grateful for her loving and unconditional support.   Win or lose, my mom was there with a smile on her face at the end of each race.

At some point in time, around the end of my high school career, my mom started running with me.  Maybe you could say that my mom taught me to love and I taught her to run.  We started walking together at first, then jogging and then slowly but surely we began to run.  Looking back and remembering those runs up and down the back-country roads of Indiana makes my heart happy.  We would talk, laugh and even sometimes cry as we dealt with both the happy and the heartbreak in our lives.

Chicago Marathon 2012
Unfortunately I also dealt with a lot of injury and sickness as a result of running.  Over the years I had knee and back injuries as well as chronic bronchitis and sports induced asthma.  Ironically these issues led my mom and I to running our first half marathon.  In the spring of 1996, I was running track for Indiana University and came down with walking pneumonia and was forced to take leave from the team.  I was heartbroken, but was not cleared to continue the grueling three hours of sprint conditioning I had been undertaking.  So my mom, knowing how disappointed I was, came up with the idea of running the Indy Mini, a half marathon held around the Indy 500 every year.  During that race, my mom the runner, was truly born.  She has gone on to run multiple Marathons and had even qualified to run Boston this year.  However, at the urging of her family as a result of the toll that the October Chicago Marathon took on her, she didn't.  None the less, I know her heart was there that day and aches for all of her fellow runners and their supporters who were mercilessly attacked during one of the most peaceful sporting events that graces our country.

Today President Barack Obama spoke of the resilience of those in Boston by paralleling the runner who fell, only to get back up again and finish the race.  I really related to that, as I am sure many did.  He also spoke of Martin Richard, the eight year old little boy who was killed during the Boston Bombings and his symbolic picture of Peace as seen in the Boston Globe.  So today, my mom's birthday, I decided to run for her, Martin and all those affected by the Boston Bombings.  My mom is known in Placitas as "Our Lady of the open road" because she waves to all those she passes.  This inspired me to greet everyone who passed me tonight with a salutation of my own, a peace sign.  With Martin and my mom in my heart I smiled and said "Peace" to each and every car that went by. 

As I said, I may have taught my mom to run, but she taught me to love.  I believe that the ability I have to love deeply, talk to strangers like friends and even feel their pain like they were my own family, is a gift from my mom.  She carries the weight of the world on her shoulders and has been my own inspirational example of how to get back up when you've been knocked down.  I could have just run for me tonight, but because of my mom I ran for more, I ran for peace, for healing and for love.

I love you momma!  You are a true light in the lives of everyone you know... and even those you don't!
Happy Birthday!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Boston Attack through the eyes of a child.

Tonight as we were tucking our littles into bed, they talked about being scared by the attack today during the Boston Marathon.  As I heard the somewhat erie sound of planes frequently flying overhead (having been diverted from flying over Seattle's airspace), I too felt uneasy and could only imagine how my children saw these events.  It was then that my Catholic upbringing kicked into high gear and we calmed them the best we could and said our prayers.  After Jerry and I tucked in Brayden and said good-night, we went into the girls room.  I could tell that my wise old Sage was thinking overtime about the events today in Boston.  We told her the best thing to do was to pray tonight for all those affected and then tomorrow, simply spread good into the world.  Kill evil with love.  Find that lonely classmate and talk to them, be extra kind, be the good that is needed right now, all in honor of the victims of this horrendous attack.

Sage and Saxton both asked to pray the Our Father one more time, and as we finished the prayer I emphasized the line, "deliver us from evil."  It is truly senseless evil that was behind these attacks today and trying to explain such horrors to children is very difficult.  Tonight I concurred that unfortunatly things like this do happen, sadly almost everyday, around the world despicable atrocities take place.  However, we can't live in fear, nor turn our backs.  Instead we need to fight back with peaceful and loving acts.  This might sound utopian and idealistic, but as a parent, it is all I can hope for.  The alternative after all, the thought that things are just going to get worse, that this is our new reality and that life is hopeless, isn't an option.  If we allow it to be, then those who commit these acts have won.

Our hearts and prayers are with all those affected today by the Boston attack.  The whole country truly is behind the city of Boston, the marathon runners and their families.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

8.01 miles for Childhood Cancer.

Children are a blessing and a spirit that lights up a household.  I remember one night when Max was literally bouncing off things, he was pile driving his dad and I, jumping on the couch, wanting to play catch with the football and kick the soccer ball. "Past the defense," he said and "into the net." He was full of vim and vigor as my grandma would say.

Then he went with his dad to pick up his brother and the house went quiet. No more giggles and gumption. I was sad. The time he was gone was a quiet I didn't like. I was truly greatful for his return and his exuberant hug and "hi mommy!"  Not having him and his siblings in my life is unimaginable and this memory brings me to a cause that has become deeply imbedded in my heart, the fight against childhood cancer.

Back in February,  I joined a Facebook group that are participating in a virtual Run to the White House.  The purpose of this, is to bring awareness to the epidemic of childhood cancer and hopefully turn the White House yellow for September in honor of childhood cancer awareness month. Maybe, if we're lucky, we can get some football players to wear yellow shoes and gloves!

Each day on the Run for the White House for Childhood Cancer Facebook page there are children who are struggling with treatment and parents who are dealing with a sick baby or possibly the tragic loss of a beautiful child.  As a parent, the idea of any of my little ones being sick, is my worse nightmare.   Even though I have read posts and blogs from parents who been affected my childhood cancer, I can hardly imagine what they are all going through.

While I, like many, have always been concerned about and donated towards childhood cancer, my passion really jumpstarted last fall when my husband turned me onto Taylor Swift's song Ronan, about the loss of a little boy to cancer.  Since then, I have been following Ronan's Mom's Blog, Rockstar Ronan and following her struggles with dealing with the loss of her baby boy.  Ronan's story, as well as the many other little ones who I have come to know, have really opened my eyes concerning the epidemic of childhood cancer, as well as re-emphasized the fragility of life.  We truly don't know what is around the corner.

So today, in honor of all these little ones battling for there lives, I ran 8.01 miles.  Brian Jones, the head of Run for the Whitehouse, challenged us to run 7 on the 7th "for the average of 7 children who will not survive cancer today, April 7."  I haven't run this far since the 90's due to old track injuries and birthing five babies, so when my Map My Run link came on my iPhone and informed me I had reached 7 miles, I loudly whooped several times.  As silly as it may sound, I literally was telling myself out loud, "You got this!" More importantly, I was willing my support for all the little ones battling cancer to know that we are here, we are supporting them, loving them, praying for them, cheering for them from all over the country and telling them, "You Got This!"

Walking home from school for miles!
When I arrived back in my neighborhood, my eight year old son was waiting to finish my run with me.  He had ran a few blocks with me as I started and helped to support me as I looped around an extra cul-de-sac to reach my 8 miles.  My family knows of my quest and has been very supportive, even helping to add a few miles of their own.  My mom and a few of my friends have joined Brian's cause and now I am hoping that some of my beloved readers will join it too! It's free and is as simple as liking Run for the White House for Childhood Cancer  on Facebook.  Then you write a message and post how far you have Run (or walked, biked or even swam.)  Brian keeps track of all the miles.

Life is a blessing and children are our greatest gift, we owe it to them to support any obstacle they may encounter, big or small.  If you can't join us and even if you can, please consider making a donation to fight childhood cancer.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

I miss you. I love you. I wish you were here.

Dear Savannah and Sam,

It's late, 1:31 am to be exact, but you are heavy on my mind and so I am typing this instead of sleeping. Jerry understands, he has been up with me, listening to me tell him how much I miss you.  I am blessed to have such an amazing, loving and supportive partner who knows what you mean to me.

I just wanted you to know how much I miss you, how very deeply I love you and how desperately  I want for you to be here with me.  It's no secret, I know your dad knows it because he watched me carry you, give birth to you, raise you and love you.  He knows what you mean to me.

Today we went to the zoo and it made me think of you and miss you at the same time.  As soon as we arrived, there was a peacock there to greet us and it made me think of you Savannah and the time we came and he or she followed you all the way to the entrance.  I knew you would have laughed at how Max called it a "tu-tock."  Sam, I thought of you when we went by the tigers and how he came right up to the glass and you held Max to show it to him.  You were and are so sweet.  

Right when you turned four.
At the Albuquerque zoo.
The Polar Bear exhibit
is in the background.
Savannah, I realized today why you love Polar Bears so much.  When you were little, we had a season pass to the Albuquerque zoo.  I used to take you, Sam, Sage and Saxton all the time.  You could be free there, run around and play.  We knew every square inch of the zoo and always spent a lot of time at the Polar Bears.  When Sage and Saxton were newborns, I used to go in the darker area where you could watch them swim under water to nurse.  You and Sam would stand at the glass and just watch them play in the water.  You were so cute.  Sam used to wear himself out to the point that he would always fall asleep on the way home and I still remember lifting him out of his carseat and he'd snuggle, still sleepy, on my shoulder.

I remember when you were three and Sam was just one, taking you both on Mother's Day to the zoo by myself.  We had such a great day and I have a picture somewhere of all three of us that a stranger offered to take.  I was so proud to be your mom.  You are my greatest accomplishments.

I think of you all the time, as soon as I wake up and as I'm drifting off to sleep.  I worry about you and wonder how you're doing.  We talk, Skype, FaceTime, text and even snap chat, but that's not the same.

Divorce sucks!  I am sorry that you had to go through all that you did.  I too felt fear and heartbreak as a child and it was my biggest hope to shelter you from that and  I am sorry that I wasn't able to.  My wish is for your happiness now and in the future, you deserve that so much.  I wanted to break the cycle and unfortunately there is no perfect guidebook to that.

To be honest, I never imagined that we'd be apart this long, never in my wildest dream or worse nightmare.  As the days pass and weeks go by, my missing you doesn't fade, it only grows stronger.  People say that technology is breaking people apart, I say they're crazy!  Technology keeps me sane.  Every little message, phone call or picture I get brings me closer to you.  It's pure gold to me.

I believe in God and I have faith in him that he is listening to my prayers.  I can not wait to see you again and I want you to know that I love you!  I love you to the moon and stars and moon and stars and back again!  Good-night my babies, sweet dreams.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Holy Cornstarch!

It's spring break and so we were all home this morning hanging out. (We were at the beach all day yesterday enjoying the gorgeous weather and were all a bit tired.)  Jerry and I were upstairs on the computer dealing with Turbo Tax and the frustration that was causing when we heard Saxton yell from downstairs, "Max no!"  We asked her what happened (Max had maybe been downstairs five minutes and the girls were both down with him) and we were told that Max got some flour on the floor.  Thinking it wasn't that big of a deal and the fact that we were on hold with Turbo Tax we didn't go right down.  Our mistake.  A few minutes later her and Max came up and he was covered in what we thought was flour.  We knew we were in trouble.

Before I go any further, you must know, after this happened, Saxton was just walking through the mess, oblivious at the tracking she was doing downstairs, looking for the mail key.  Sage, just inches away from it all, was still staring zombie like at the television.  Jerry likened it to a massacre that had taken place and they were acting as if nothing happened.

Anyhow, after seeing Max, I jumped up and ran to the top of the stairs and saw this!

What you don't see, is the fine film of what I soon discovered was corn starch, not flour, that covered the entire kitchen and surrounding areas.  Max had gotten into Grandma's Costco sized jug of corn starch and tried to "make eggs and coffee" for us, at least that is what Sage recounted his words were.  Corn starch was everywhere!  This is where the mess originated, but Saxton, Max and Puppy traipsed it through the rest of the kitchen, down the hall, out in the garage and up the stairs!  You can tell by the look on Saxton's face that she realized, maybe she should have told us immediately the magnitude of the mess.

One other small fact is that we were supposed to be on vacation, sunning ourselves in California right about now.  However, Jerry and I are proud to announce we have decided to build a new home (so that we can have a new canvas for such messes.)  We have outgrown this one (Jerry bought it when he was single and the father of just one child, instead of the six he now has.)  This was a hard decision to make, we love our neighbors and our neighborhood!  And with big decisions, comes financial responsibility and so it was either Disneyland or a new home, and the kids chose the house!  (Yes, we gave them a choice and they didn't even pause with their answer, not sure what we would have decided if they chose the other way around.

So now we have been preparing our house for it's new renters and  have been working like crazy to clean all the nooks and crannies.  Therefore, you can imagine what such a mess led to... cleaning under ovens and underneath baseboards.  The freezer even found itself completely cleaned out, although I am not sure how that sequence happened.

But all is well again and Max is sitting on my lap giving me kisses and sharing his pretzels. (I just noticed the lid to the pretzels is also covered in a fine white film... )  This is life with a two year old and while he did get a time out and got to hear mommy exclaim a few choice words (to the corn starch of course!)  he was quickly forgiven.  Saxton and I even looked at each other as we began to clean up and giggled.  Hey, don't they say, "life gets messy, so you just have to clean it up!"