Saturday, August 31, 2013

"You are missing from me"

Savannah tweeted this picture today and reading it literally brought tears to my eyes.  The words speaking volumes.  
I'm not sure who wrote this, but I thank them for describing a feeling that sometimes is too immense that even I have a hard time expressing. 

"You are missing from me."

Savannah and Sam, when you are not here that is how I feel.  A part of my heart, my soul is gone.  

The other day Saxton and I had a conversation about how each of your children hold a special place in your heart.  One can't replace another.  The only time I truly feel whole is when they're all with me, under one roof.  

That's heaven.  

Some days are harder than others, but most days the wishes are simple, to see Savannah smile in the way that truly lights up her whole face and brings sunshine to a room and to my life.  To have Sam there to just hug and share a quiet moment.  He's always been a momma's boy and I miss him like crazy!  They're my babies and my heart truly aches every second they're gone.  

I love you my sweet Savannah and Sam to the moon and stars and back...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Twitter My Life.

"I try my hardest to just not let it bother me"
"Ew why is that your twitter picture?"
"I just don't get you sometimes"
"I feel miserable"
"Ha and you think I care"
"the conversations I have with some people >"
"You hide your feelings but end up regretting share your feelings
but somehow the world finds a way to make you regret it even more"
Savannah's Tweets

As I watch my Fifteen year old struggle with this insane world of social media, I become thankful that it wasn't part of my generation.  It was hard enough being a teenager, especially living in a dysfunctional house.  I imagine at times the ability to vent to the virtual world would have been helpful (it is now) but I'm a lot more mature and emotionally capable to deal with any ensuing bull shit.  Sadly I have seen first hand how brutal and heartless cyber bullying has truly gotten.  It isn't just teenagers anymore who throw virtual punches to helpless victims, most of the time without any repercussions.  After all it's easy to hide away in a room and attack someone who is not physically there to defend themselves.  At times a sort of "kick em' while they're down mentality.  I wish I could protect my loved ones from such things, but sadly, short of cutting them off from all forms of technology, there isn't an ability to do so.  All I can do is remind them what wonderful people they are and just because someone says it, doesn't make it true.

As I follow my daughter's tweets and those of her friends, I can visibly see the pain, hurt, happiness and frustration that they are feeling.   However, often her tweets are short, vague and many times it's hard to truly know who they are about.  Is she frustrated with friends, a teacher, family or some boy?  Often times I think she goes between sending out a message and pulling one back.  It's a true art learning how to twitterfy your life.

You might think I am attacking the institute of such social medias, I am not, just those who use it to bully.  In my life, without things such as twitter,  I would have less windows into my daughter's world.  With us being hundreds of miles apart, social media has become invaluable to me while Savannah and even Sam are away.  Between Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram I can usually paint a picture of their world.  These "pictures," tweets and messages are priceless to a mom who misses her two oldest babies like crazy.  Sam doesn't twitter, so only Savannah falls victim to my barrage of tweets.  I had a realization about my own tweets and tweeted this, "As I look back on my #tweets, I realize my #twitter account is basically a #love letter to @savannah... #youaremysunshine!"

The other day my sweet little Savannah told me that hardly any moms are accepted into her friend's twitter world.  This made me happy that she felt comfortable enough to let me into hers.  I imagine she realizes that it helps my aching mommy heart to know when I am missing her, and if she's too busy to call, I can at least catch a glimpse of her via her twittering tweets.

I love you my sweet babies to the moon and stars, the moon and stars, across the twitter world and back!

You can find and follow me at @33connelly on the twitter.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pandora Radio's Box.

My blogs come to me in funny ways sometimes.  Today it was while listening to Dave Matthews Band on Pandora Internet Radio.  My two favorite stations are DMB and Michael Buble'.  They tend to have a variety of songs that I just love and also tend to elicit all kinds of memories, sort of like opening Pandora's Box.

I am a music person.  This might be a cliche' phrase, but I truly live by the soundtrack of all kinds of music.  I run to it, bike, do laundry, work in the yard, paint benches, pack, move and unpack to music.  I started all of my little ones young, Savannah being the first, with all kinds of music.  For example I used to dance with her to DMB during the evening when she was fussy.  When I was pregnant with Saxton, I frequently listened to , Time to Say Goodbye, by Andrea Bocelli (which is probably one of my top five favorite songs of all time.)  After she was born, if she got fussy in the car, I would blast it and she'd quiet right down.  I remember once while we lived in Albuquerque, blaring it in grocery parking lot because she was fussing and I was trying to get Sage, Sam and Savannah in the van (at one point I had four in carseats) and the groceries loaded up.  People were driving by giving me strange looks, but I didn't care, music was saving my sanity.

I actually found Pandora while I was a student at Colorado State. I would put on classical and listen to it on my library days (Mon, Wed, Friday I would spend the entire day studying/researching while the kids were in school.)  I swear I should give the station credit for my grades and degree, after how much the music helped me to relax, concentrate and block out all distractions.

One of my favorite things about it is that I never know what song is going to come next.  It may be a Dave song from a decade ago, or something new that I haven't heard yet (often I hear songs on Pandora even before they hit the radio, sometimes months in advance.)  However, at times this experience can be bittersweet.  Songs are similar to photographs for me and often carry a memory with them.  They often transport me back to certain times in my life wether I want to go there or not.  I remember my counselor telling me once that memories and hurt from the past can be likened to bus stops on a regular route.  You may choose not to get off, but eventually you will circle back around again and the same "stop" will be waiting for you.  I still haven't quite mastered dealing with this concept, i'll let you know when I do.

As I approach the anniversary of a series of pinnacle moments in my life, I am back to many of those stops on a particularly painful route.   This morning a song stopped me dead in my tracks (I was working, typing orders on my computer).  It reminded me that I need to get off and confront some demons that I have been avoiding.  You might think that I see certain music as a negative for reminding me of such things.  Instead, I view it as a positive example that no matter what painful things you might have dealt with in the past, you are always offered a second chance to make the next memory beautiful.  Ironically, as I finish typing this, Dave Matthews' "Baby" is playing and it think his lyrics are strangely appropriate to end this blog...

Nothing is here to stay
Everything has to begin and end
A ship in a bottle won't sail
All we can do is dream that the
wind will blow us 
across the water
A ship in a bottle set sail

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Let's go for a walk. Let's turn the White House Yellow in September in order to bring Awareness to Childhood Cancer.

Several months ago via Rockstar Ronan's Facebook page I found out about the virtual Run for the White House for Childhood Cancer Awareness.  It is just as it sounds, a virtual run from the West Coast to the East Coast and on to the White House to bring light to the fact that so many little ones are battling cancer every day.  Brian Jones started the page in honor of his son Lincoln (read article in CNN) who fought cancer as a toddler.  He wanted to bring some insight to the current epidemic of childhood cancer, as well as turn the White House and the whole country yellow in September in honor of all these little ones.  As a woman (as well as having loved ones who have battled the disease) I appreciate all the recognition that Breast Cancer gets in October.  However, as a mother I want to fight to bring the same acknowledgment to September.  I want the football players to be yellow in September like they are pink in October.  Let's kick cancer's ass across the field and across the country!

The awesome thing about Brian's challenge is that it's so easy to do!  All he asks is for you to post your miles (from running, walking, biking, swimming... whatever movement you make) and he keeps track.  That's it!  What's so special is that as you follow everyone's posts, you also meet (via Facebook) all these sweet little ones who trying to beat cancer and you can cheer them on as well.  Brian's Facebook page has become a beacon of hope, honor and remembrance for those who have lost their babies, a place where they can come to get support, love and prayers.  While we may not know each other personally, I strongly believe we can feel a connection spiritually.

Ultimately these little warriors have become not only the inspiration for many walks/runs/bike-rides that I have done, but over time my family has also gotten involved as well.  All six of my children, my husband, my parents and siblings have all logged miles... and Puppy too!  My post yesterday on Facebook says it best:

My honey and I and puppy (Max was along for the ride) walked a mile (3 miles total) and then I went on a quick two mile run. (Five miles total).  It's then that I saw what looked to be an angel's wing in the sky.  I can only imagine the millions of angels watching over all the babies we're running/walking/biking for.  Brian, you started this movement to bring recognition and it's grown into this beautiful web of love that's become a part of our daily lives.  Even if I can't technically log miles, the little ones are with me each step I take.

Side Note:  If you haven't joined our cause, please consider doing so.  All you have to do is go to and say you're going and then begin to post your miles.  You don't have to be a runner, you can walk, bike and even swim.  The point is simple, whatever you decide to do in honor of these angels, the important part is that you do it while carrying them in your heart.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Back in Time

(This blog was started while we were still in O.S. and finished at home.)  I feel as if I have gone back in time upon arriving at our condo here near Ocean Shores.  It must be immediately noted that this is a positive realization and by no means a negative one.  When we arrived Friday night, we weren't quite sure what to expect.  We had won the condo in a fundraising auction last October and for some time because of the move, work schedules (I have my trade show for work this coming weekend) we weren't sure if we were even going to be able to make it over here.  However, thankfully we did and have been able to spend the last few days listening to the crash of the waves, enjoying the town, the pool, the beach and the sounds of 1985.

Our realization of our trip via the DeLorean happened Saturday morning while we were at the pool watching the kids swim.  Jerry came out and commented how he heard a strange sound, he couldn't quite tell if he was hearing right at first, but realized soon that yes, it was indeed the click clack of an actual type writer.  Pre spell-check, manual paper load and all.  We were back in time.

The trip continued when I found the video rental room full of none other than VHS tapes.  There were no rental fees, only the honor system of writing down the name of the movie on a pad of notebook paper.  As I ventured off to tell the gang of my discovery, I passed by a ping pong table that reminded me of one long ago that I played on as a child.  We went a few summers to Notre Dame for Alumni Family Week and stayed in the dorm rooms.  My days consisted of swimming, biking, fishing and playing ping pong with my siblings and new friends.  I hadn't happened upon such an environment since then and the nostalgia felt good.  I almost expected to see my big brother Matt pop out of the water calling for me to jump in with him like we used to when we were kids.  Instead it was now my own children, smiling and happy.

After a few games of tether ball, which is much like bike riding, the familiar sting as I hit the ball hard off my hand brought me back to elementary school days.  Sage put up quite a fight, but ultimately my size won me my victory.  I loved it, not the win, but the feeling of being a kid again.  This whole trip has been that way.  For instance, Sunday, jumping in the ocean with my shorts on, hand washing dishes and brushing your teeth with five people all using one sink.  (Yesterday, Kate, Saxton and Sage and I went swimming for almost an hour  in the ocean.  The Pacific NW isn't the warmest of waters, but that made the experience all the more memorable!)

Life is funny and sometimes a bit unusual, but I think for all of us these have been good things the last few days.  I hope that Jerry, out adopted family member Kate, Sage, Saxton and Max are able to take away the same happy feelings as I have this trip.  In the words of Max in describing the "pool" our time here has been pretty "cool!"    

Side Note:  I now understand why people go to remote areas to write.  My head has been such a traffic jam of thoughts over the last few weeks.  I have wanted to write more, but I just haven't been able to organize my thoughts into words.

Additional side note:  As we drove around the main street of Ocean Shores, I listened to Jerry and Kate talk about how the town truly hasn't changed in years and I realized that isn't such a bad thing.  I know I love the ability to revisit certain places and have them remain (for the most part) unchanged.  It's almost like stepping back into a photograph or a home video and having a true scene to replay a memory.  Often times the feelings are bittersweet, but the memory still beautiful.  Personally, I have just been recently introduced to the quaint, coastal town of Ocean Shores.   None the less, in just a short time, my sweet memories are already piling up and hopefully will continue to do so for years to come.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Silent Noise

I beleive The sea allows for a peaceful quiet by creating an immortal lull.  

After we arrived last night, we quickly unpacked so we could attempt a long awaited visit to the ocean.  It was just before dark and the marine layer was heavy.  As we came through the dunes, an erie mist prevented a clear view of the water, but the constant crash of the waves told us we had arrived. My heart was happy, my soul was calm.

As I stand here, the tide slowly buries my feet.  The only sound that is playing, is my favorite one of all.  With the hectic pace of life left behind, I literally feel the last remnants of stress being washed away out to sea.  

I love that this summer I have been blessed to bring all my babies to the ocean.  Hear their laughter and witness their smiles.  Life is better by the ocean and I'm grateful for the gift it has given to me. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Love of a family

Today after a long chat with my sister, before we hung up, we told each other how much we loved one another, how grateful we were that we had siblings.  After all, things aren't always easy and life can break your heart.  What keeps you going is those people in your life that can pick you up off the floor, or better yet, are able to get down on the floor with you and just be. 

I can only speak on the behalf of my family, but to me the word family represents an almost indescribable unconditional love.  The kind where a voice can melt sadness and a smell elicit tears. 

Recently when my parents arrived at the airport, we played out a familiar scene of squeals, dancing hugs and happy tears.  Their visit went way to fast and their absence hung heavy.  There is always an sadness felt when family leaves, but the gift left behind is their presence in your heart. 

During their visit, I took a picture of my four youngest that I believe exemplified how a family can form into this wonderful little unit.  No matter how siblings come to be, love trumps all.  I love the photo because it was spontaneous.  We were at dinner with my parents at Max's favorite restaurant, The Hanger Inn.  After a beautiful day of hiking on Mt. Rainier we were all relaxed and now full.  The kids were checking out the planes and while at first the picture included just two, it slowly blended into all four.  Their smiles were genuine and their happiness clear.  They were "love."

Families can be complicated and unusual.  There is no one definition for what truly makes up a family, it's just a combination of many things and in the end always includes love.  My family is scattered over several states, but no matter where we are, we still feel one another's presence.  As I have told my Savannah and Sam, love can cross mountains, hills and seas, love will always find you.  

Good night my family, I love you all to the moon and stars and back!