Saturday, December 15, 2012

Just Me Trying To Make Sense Of The Tragedy

Yesterday, December 14, 2012,  I spent my afternoon working in my oldest son's middle school helping out at the 8th grade Christmas dinner.  While filling water glasses and admiring how these 8th graders "cleaned up", I was unaware that in a small town to the north of us, the unspeakable was unfolding.  I was unaware that a man until yesterday we wouldn't have known if we bumped into him on the street who we now have nightmares of, was forcing his nightmare onto the most innocent of us all, little children all 6 and 7 years old.  I look at my own 7 year old and can NOT imagine the thought for even a second.  As I learned what was happening in Connecticut, tears ran down my face.  We will  never fully understand how someone could inflict this kind of horror onto others.  We will come to learn of whatever mental illness he was plagued with and what signs were missed.  None of this will change what has happened but the hope is it may stop another tragedy and we have to try.
In all of this, I am reminded of a quote from Mr. Rogers that is all over social media now and I have seen it before.  Where he tells of his mother telling him as a child when he sees sad things on the news to look for the helpers.  What a simple and true piece of advice for children and us adults.  Along with this floating through the different channels of the Internet, we see pictures of lit candles, pictures of Jesus and little children and verses from the Bible fitting for times such as these.  But there us something else floating through the channels that I don't agree with.  I keep seeing a "letter" from God, where, when asked why bad things have happened in schools and such, He supposedly answers with I'm not allowed there anymore.  While it is true that prayer has been removed from public places like school, God did not leave.  There are prayers uttered by countless parents daily as they take their children to and from school.  There are prayers uttered by many teachers and staff as they start their day.  While they may not pray as a class, prayers are prayed everyday and God hears them.  Besides that, I believe just because we as a society in general may turn away from God, He NEVER turns away from us.  He is always there. I do not believe that prayer in school would have stopped this tragedy.  I believe that God was with those children guiding them home to heaven.  We live in a fallen world, a world that has been that way since the fall of man with the first sin.  I think we need to look for God in this tragedy.  I believe He  is in the church with the families and loved ones as they prayed during a vigil that very night.  I believe He was with the officers as they led the children out of the nightmare.  I believe He was with the families holding onto each other and  holding each other up as they learned if their loved one had survived or not.  I believe He was with the priests as they prayed with these families.  I believe He is with us now as we try to come to grips with the horrors that we have seen and as we hug our loved ones a little closer too.  I believe He is with us during the good and the bad.  Would it be better if we allowed God into all areas of our life, yes. I believe people should be able to see Jesus through us in all things and we should never stop trying.  I know this is something I need a lot of work on.  It is easy to love those who are kind and good and hard to love those who are not.  I believe that a person who sees God's love through another can change them for the better.  My hope is we can all look for the helpers as the wisdom in the now famous quote tells us but when we find the helpers, we need to recognize Jesus shining through them.  We need to continue to pray for the people directly affected by this tragedy and as it moves from the forefront of our conversations, we need to continue to pray for God's guidance in our lives.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone in the blog world a Happy Thanksgiving.  May your holiday be filled with family and friends  and so many blessings  that you can't even begin to count.  May your travels be safe and the food fill your belly.  Be present in the moment and ponder the memories in your heart.  From my home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veterans Day

I sit here today, typing on my blog where I am allowed to write what I choose.  I can disagree with our leaders in Washington, I can not like the election results or I can like them.  I have so many rights in this country we call home.  I went to mass today without the fear of being arrested or someone blowing up our parish.  Monday I will send one child to public school for which I pay very little in taxes for.  I will send one child to a private school, and I will home school another child.  It is my right to choose what I feel is the best fit for my children.  I am thankful for all of these rights. I am thankful that I don't hear bombs going off outside our house, because I know that there are mothers who rock their children to sleep with that very sound out their windows.

I also know that heaven forbid, our country needs to defend itself, we have legions of bright, brave, and  well trained men and women who are willing to pick up their arms to defend me and my family.  In this country we call home, young men are simply asked to register their names at 18 in the event of worse case scenario.  I also know that so many men and women choose this life of service because they feel called to it.  I know that the different branches of military that serve this country are made up of men and women that we owe a debt to that we will never be able to repay.

I have many family members that have served and serve this country, including an Uncle I never met because he gave the ultimate sacrifice before I was born.  I am so proud of my Uncles that served, my cousins who have served and my Dad and Father in law that have served.  Along with my family, I have many friends that have served as well.

From my family to yours, We thank you for your time and your service.to this country that we call home.

My Dad in the USAF

Monday, November 5, 2012

Food Is Not Everything, But It Is Something

As so many of you out there, I am in the middle of starting to map things out for the upcoming celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The food table is what we will gather around with our loved ones.  We will do this at our parish, our homes, with our friends and family.  The true reason is of course  for thanksgiving and to celebrate the birth of our Savior.  Food is a large way we celebrate these things.  I love food.  I love the smells, the colors, textures, the way it tastes and the people I will share it with.  I will be embarking on the spirit store soon to purchase large quantities of rum for my rum cakes that we give to neighbors and friends and to take to various gatherings.  My boys are already talking about making gingerbread cookies again this year.  I am not a huge baker but the savory foods is where my tongue does its own little dance. The meats, sides...my moms dressing deserves its own category named heaven on earth.  I can hardly wait to taste my Aunt Louise's potato soup come Christmas Eve.  Oh and my Uncle Gilbert's fudge , you will find my boys including my husband in line for that.  If you watch, you will see their eyes roll every so slightly as they bite into the goodness of the itty bitty squares.

Preparing for these upcoming feasts are easy for most of us.  What is this sense of dread I feel you ask?  My dread comes from trying to make the upcoming season of food just as exciting for my daughter.  My little girl can't eat her Great Aunt's Soup nor can she have her Grannies dressing, it's a big fat no to the fudge also, along with all the other foods that fill up my memory.  I have done quite well if I do say so myself in making our weekday mealtime a place  that takes care of us all equally.  But the upcoming season gives me a big fat headache.  We work and intentionally push a positive attitude about food allergies and our life the entire year.  But during this season, you can hear me shout form the mountain tops, "FOOD ALLERGIES SUCK".  My cousin whose own grandson is on a restricted diet as well, is quick to reassure me that Lily Rose and her Cameron probably don't miss the foods like we do for them because they have never had them.  She is right about that.  My sadness comes more from what will be lacking years from now.  My Granny has been gone  almost 20 years and I can still taste the goodness of her caramel dumplings and her fried poke greens, oh her ribs and potatoes and the list goes on and on.  So my sadness comes from Lily Rose not having the memories of the food traditions the rest of us have.  My Uncle Tex passed away this past summer and since my boys were able to speak, they have  associated butterscotch candy with Uncle Tex.  We were in a gas station the other day and passed some by the register and one of my boys reminded me that Uncle Tex always gave them a piece when we went to see him. If you named each person in my family, I could most likely tell you a food I associate with that person.  Now maybe that is a sign my family has a small addiction with food or maybe it is just me.  But the memories are there just the same.  I hate American cheese but if I ate a piece, I would first fold it in little squares because that is how my mom would fix it for me along side a few saltines.  My kids will ask about Christmas when I was little.  They like to hear about the traditions of the past and I always mention breakfast on Christmas morning.  We use to get a country ham during the season and on Christmas morning, my Dad would pick every last scrap of ham off of the carcass and mix it with eggs and we would have the best scrambles eggs ever.  Really it was more of ham with some eggs mixed in. But they were soooo good.  If I close my eyes, I am in the avocado green kitchen of my childhood and can see clear as a bell the grease on his fingers as he gets every last piece of ham.
So, what do I need to do for Lily Rose.  Food will always be a large part of seasons of our life.  I have to work hard to find fun and good things to make every year for her.  I  need to find what will be her Christmas eggs, her special candy and so on.  And I need to intentionally look at the things that we do that she can recall and smile about with future generations.  This is not a bad thing, just not what I planned on.  So this year, we will make her cookies that no one else wants to eat but we will make ornaments that she can share with others instead of cookies.  I will take extra time to look at pictures of loved ones gone with her and the boys and tell the stories of who they were so they don't get lost.  We will concentrate on making her Thanksgiving meal to take with us that has all of her favorite veggies and fix some that she can share, but we will also concentrate on soaking in the stories that are happening in that moment.
As the new year rings in, food allergies will still suck.  But she will have wonderful memories of the season past to call on for years to come.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Learning to Love The Stage We Are In

I have so many good memories of my boys when they were little.  They are only 22 months apart, so they really grew up together.  I loved watching them become the best of friends.  They still are today.  I loved taking them to the local library story hour and to the park for picnic lunches afterwards.  I miss having Disney's "Peter Pan" playing daily on the VCR.  I miss my kids being in diapers and dressing them in cute baby and toddler clothes.  I also know those times were filled with lots of things I was probably wishing away at the time.  I do remember longing for the day when I didn't have to buy diapers or pull ups at the store each week.  I remember longing for the day when each of my 3 kids would sleep through the night.  It seemed like we are always wishing for the next stage.  Looking back, the thing I wish I had done more of was savor the stage we were in more at the time.  I do have sweet memories of nursing each of my kids.  I always enjoyed the 6am feeding.  I was awake enough that I was able to enjoy looking into their eyes more while the house was quiet.  I remember funny things they each use to do.  Funny how the toys all over the floor and messy meal times and dirty diapers don't really cross your mind when you look back.
With all the good memories, I wouldn't skip the stage we are in now and go back even if I could.  My oldest is 14, a teenager.  My middle one is 12 and my youngest one is 7.  I don't have "babies" anymore.  But the other day after picking up my oldest from an academic team meet, he and I had an intellectual conversation about education today.  Not something I ever talked to him about when he was 4.  I love talking with my kids and seeing what they think about things.  They are pretty smart kids and I couldn't be more impressed with their thoughts and views on life.  I am really enjoying this stage.  Are there things about teenagers that are driving me crazy...yes.  Every time I see an eye roll out of the corner of my eye, I want to scream and sometimes I do.  When they sass me, I have to refrain from loosing it and remind them that they will never be that big.  But I have a feeling that when they fly this nest, I won't dwell on that but remember with fondness the conversations and the hugs they still need from me when no one is looking.  My daughter who is 7 is growing so fast too.  She is also not a "baby" anymore.  Though, being the youngest, she stayed there a little longer.  But I love watching her learn to read and ace her math work, (something I never did).  I love watching her play with her brothers or her guys as she calls them.  I miss holding the sweet baby that she was.  It is a little different with her because she was so sick as a baby that there are parts I wouldn't wish to go back to because she was in pain with some of it and I would still wish to move past that quickly.  We know the issues now and how to avoid the pain and know how to handle anaphylaxic and how to avoid it.  For that, I am glad we are past that scary time.  But I miss her wild hair when she would wake up and jump in her crib and the way she would squeal when she saw her guys in the pick up line at school.  But this stage is a good one too and I am working very hard to be present in it.  Because one thing I have learned,  is it will pass in a blink of an eye. And I don't want to miss a thing.

a picture of my "babies" on a very fun week long camping trip back in  '08 or '09

Monday, October 1, 2012

31 Days...31 Bags..Ready, Set, Go


I'm linking up to get control of the stuff in our house.  My plan is for the next 31 days to get 31 bags (at least) of stuff we do not need out of this house, that = 1 bag a day, surly I can handle that.  Not sure when it went from I'll save this for later to not being able to find anything in the closets and drawers because it is such a jumbled mess.  I'm queen of I'll sit this here and get to it later, sadly later never comes.  Then it is a rush of a school morning and a child needs a permission slip signed and I have not a clue where it went.  Clearly, someone is breaking into our house and stealing coupons and permission slips and things of that nature, must be what all the cool crooks take these days.  I'm done with it all ready, that jar of glitter that has an 1/8 of a tsp left in it, you know the one in the back of my silverware drawer..gone, along with so much else that is not serving us any purpose but stress.  What a perfect time to do this.  Get on board now and my house might be ready for the holiday which will be here in the blink of an eye.
I'll post a few before and after pictures, not many, I don't want to embarrass my self too much.  Who wants to join me on my crazy train, always room for one more.

Friday, September 21, 2012

16 Years and Counting

September 21, 1996

16 Years ago, in the pouring rain, we are talking Noah and the Ark kind of rain, the kind that leaks right through the church roof rain; I took Mark to be my husband and he took me to be his wife.  Months of finding the right dress and head piece, the guys getting fitted into tuxes, flower and cake choices and on and on, we thought we were all ready to start our life together.  Looking back, the only ideas we stayed on track with was loving each other.  16 years ago, we had our future planned out.  Then came life, you know, jobs, bills, house buying, babies and our own growing up. Apparently you don't know everything in your early twenties, who knew.  Over the years, we've learned to give and take and we have learned to hang on to each other because this life road we are on can be very bumpy.

I am so glad Mark is who he is, I think we even each other out.  I loved who he was and I love who he is now and I know he feels the same.  I love the father he is to our children, taking the time to teach them the things he knows.  He still makes my heart skip a beat when I see him working with the boys or having a tea party with our daughter.  I am humbled at his work ethic and how much he does so I can be home with our kids.  I love his determination when he wants to do something, like how he went back to finish college despite working a full time job and having us at home.  I still love it when he sits down beside me and slips his arm around me just as much as the first time he slipped his arm around me when we were dating.  I love that he doesn't worry what people say or think, I could take a lesson in that.  I love that on him, camo and flannel go together. 

I love that our life did not turn out like we planned, because we wouldn't be who we are today and wouldn't have the blessings that we do in our life now.  Mark, thank you for loving me these past 16 years and I am looking forward to the next 16.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Steven

Steven (vacation 2012)

Today my oldest son is 14 years old.  14 years ago, my husband Mark and I were 20 somethings,  we had purchased our first home and we pretty much thought we had this world figured out. 14 years ago, our lives changed forever, and in a way I never imagined was possible. On September 14th 1998 at 7:26 in the morning, we became parents.  After all the months of preparing and waiting, I was finally holding our son.  We named him Steven Hayward.  He is named after his grandfathers on both sides and his Dad, who by the way he looks just like.

I do believe first born children are made a bit stronger than their younger siblings.  They have to be to handle the mistakes their parents make.  After two days in the hospital and the nurses telling me when to nurse him, they were sending us home to care for this child on our own. On one hand we were so excited, on the other hand, we were scared and  did not know what we were doing.  Sink or swim is how it's done.  We got our discharge papers and set out on the hour drive back home.  We had to stop half way home because he was screaming so much.  You see, my milk hadn't come in yet and they did not tell me to nurse him before we left.  It finally occurred to me that he hadn't eaten in several hours and that might be it.  IT was.  I remember sitting there nursing him in that gas station parking lot telling him we would just have to figure this out together.  And that is just what we did.

Over the last 14 years, my love for him has only grown with each passing day.  I am so proud of the young man he is becoming.  I cherish the days when he was small but I so enjoy watching him explore this world and find his place in it.  

Who is Steven.  Steven smart.  He is serious and thinks about things that never occurred to me at his age.  He is a perfectionist.  Things have to be a certain way.  He loves science and wants to know how everything works.  He is reserved but will come out of his shell and surprise you sometimes.  He prefers old, classic shows  and old comics to the new ones.  He will watch the how the movie was made part of the DVD as much as the movie itself.  The boy loves to read and thinks that a once a week trip to the library is not enough.  Steven is a great big brother.  He is a protector of both his brother and his sister.  He is caring, considerate, respectful and hardworking.  He is an alter server at church and takes such pride in doing that job well along with any job he is given. 

playing the cello
He is growing up fast and will be spreading his wings before I know it.  But he will always be my baby.  As I think about these upcoming years, I feel hesitation and anticipation at the same time.  My prayer is that he learns to trust his gut, God gave that to him for a reason.  I pray that he learns to lean on God and go to him often out of love and desire.  I pray he finds his God given gifts and runs with it.  I pray as he finishes middle school and heads into high school next year that he continues to be true to himself and know that God made him who he is.

on a hiking trail
I am so thankful and proud to be his Mom and I love him to the moon and back and will continue to with every breath I take.  Happy Birthday my son.

yes he is flying a real plane in the real sky.

Monday, September 10, 2012

He Has The Whole World In His Hands

from on top of Sky Bridge

family pic under the bridge

Under Sky Bridge in the Red River Gorge

Yesterday my family and I went hiking after Mass in the Red River Gorge.  It is a beautiful area in Kentucky that we are blessed to live very close to and we are able to visit often.  The picture above is one of the many rock formations that are throughout the Gorge.  When we walk these trails, I can physically feel the stress and worries of my life removed.  It is as real as removing a heavy pack from your back and feeling the weight gone.  My entire body relaxes and I breathe easier and feel  a peace I have trouble feeling elsewhere.  I believe that there must be a part of heaven that will look like this area.  I can picture God molding these formations  like an artist and his sculpture.  I look at these rocks that God designed with the rain and time and know that He sees a much bigger picture than we do.  The detail that is in every leaf, plant, flower, and rock show the love for beauty that our Father has.  Since He took so much care to make these rocks and mountains and hills so beautiful and breathtaking, think of the beauty He must see in us.  He created us in His image.  The design of these rocks is no mistake, they were built to last generation to generation and they are rocks.  Just think of the plans he has for us.  These hills were made to last people, wind, rain, and storms of great power and when things get knocked down, they have the ability to rebuild themselves.  He thought of everything.

The week has started anew, but these hikes in God's Art gallery and the blessing of receiving the blessed sacrament  make the stresses in my life manageable.  They give me the  strength   and peace that I need and that God knows I need.  No, it doesn't remove the illness of family members and friends nor does it change job struggles or bank accounts but it does remind me that God is looking at a much bigger picture and He has it all in His hands.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Soaking It All In

walking a trail at a local state park

My family loves to get outside and hike.  We are very grateful to live in Kentucky where we have so many nice state parks and lots of different trails to choose from.  We normally like to hike in the mountains but this past Sunday after Mass, we went to another state park.  I love history and this park had an assortment of old war history.  But aside from that, it was a day to just be with my husband and kiddos.  I had packed a picnic lunch and after, we walked the park to see what we could see.  While I loved the history, my love of watching my family just be who they are takes the cake.  I snapped the picture above because I wanted to remember what I was feeling.  My boys were way up ahead talking about who knows what.  Mark and his shadow, Lily Rose were right behind them, she was, I'm sure telling her Daddy where to walk next.  I could have jumped up there with them but I didn't.  I did later but for the moment, I just wanted to watch them.  

I am the first to admit that I suffer from the green eyed monster syndrome sometimes.  I see other peoples nicer houses and the big trips they go on.  But it doesn't last too long.  You see, I have found the cure.  The cure is to step back and just watch.  When I do that, my eyes are open to the riches I have.  No, my bank account is very small and our house won't  be found in a  style magazines.  But my riches are worth far more.  My riches make chipped paint look like what chipped paint.  My riches are what you see in the picture above.  My family!  I watch as they walk and be themselves and  it becomes as clear as can be.  I love watching my boys carry on with each other.  Sometimes they fight and bicker but they are the first to lookout for the other all while looking out for there sister too.  I love watching my little girl learn more and more about the world we live in.  I love watching my husband teach them all how to read the trail maps and show them things as we walk these trails.  I soak it all in.  I jump back in and join my crew.  But I have found that in order to be truly present, you sometimes have to step back for just a minute to see exactly where you are and to give thanks to God for the riches in your life.

Just to keep it all real, we aren't out there singing Zipity Do Da.  They are kids and they don't always look so innocent.

a certain little girl protesting reading the names on the statue and having her picture taken.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer Reading

Right now I am in the midst of getting all things school ready for our youngest. I have been reading and rereading this book over the summer and cannot tell you what a blessing it has been.  I have followed Elizabeth Foss  on the Internet for a while and love everything she posts.  This book has so many good ideas for learning at home and has helped me tremendously as I put together the year ahead of us.
If you are a homeschooling mom or know one, get this book.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Vacation memories

Just wanted to share some vacation pictures and memories before the summer season is gone.  This year we were very blessed to have been able to spend a week in Florida in July.  My husbands parents and sister live down in the sunshine state, so we were able to spend time with them as well.  I was very glad I was able to stay the night with my cousin during our trip as well. She married a year ago and moved to Florida too.

We had a wonderful trip and it was so nice to just relax and remove ourselves from our everyday.  The place we stayed has a wonderful complementary breakfast.  Do you know how nice it is to walk over for breakfast and not have to get it cooked or clean up after.  Lily Rose and I put a dent in the number of strawberries the state of Florida has.  And to have someone else make the beds and clean the bathrooms up was a treat.  The first day after returning from the pool, we walked into our room and Lily Rose gasped and shouted, "Mom, someone cleaned our room."  The shock in her face was so funny.

our room for the week.

We visited the beach the first night down there and watched a drum circle on the beach.  So many sights and sounds and the fire twirler was icing on the cake.  But lets not forget the beautiful sunset.  The sunsets are so peaceful over the water.

drum circle

fire twirler


We visited Tarpon Springs, Fl.  If you are down there, you have to try to take a few hours to tour this very neat town.  We shopped in very neat, locally owned shops, ate desserts that were to die for, and went on a dolphin cruise to a beautiful island.  It was a wonderful day.  Watching the kids, especially my oldest watch as dolphins swam next to the boat would have been enough to make the day perfect by itself.  I would love to go back again sometime.

bringing in the sponges that were harvested

so yummy

this pic is getting enlarged and hung in our bedroom

watching the dolphins

ready to board the boat

Love this of the boys walking together.  Would love to know what they were talking about.

Lily Rose collecting every shell she  finds
She could not get enough of the boat

zooming in on a lighthouse while docked on anclote island

Of course you don't go to Florida without hitting the beach.  The boys stayed in the water the entire time.  The waves were so much fun.  Lily Rose enjoyed playing on the beach and even met another little girl named Lily. 

The rest of the trip included lots of visiting with family and just relaxing and taking in every colorful sunset there was.

My husbands family

My cousin and her new husband

So thankful for time with my family and time to take a step back and relax.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Finding Solutions to Life with Food Allergies

I never knew I could hurt without having anything wrong with me.  I never truly understood the saying, "it broke my heart".  I never fully understood wanting to take on another persons pain for them.  Sure, I have compassion for others. I empathize when others are sad, I have felt grief through  a loss.  But when my child hurts, it is like nothing I have felt before.  Before I worry folks, everybody is OK here.  Everybody is healthy and enjoying the rest of summer.  The pain I felt came on the eve of my beautiful daughters 7th birthday.  She was lying in bed with me, and we were talking about all the very cool things a 7 year old gets to do.  We were discussing birthday present wishes and parties at the lake.  We said our bedtime prayer and after we finished, she looked at me with her beautiful eyes and said the words that made my heart hurt to the core.  She looked at me and said, "Mommy, when I turn 7, me don't want allergies anymore."  I looked at her while taking in a shaky, hold in your tears kind of breath and watched as a tear ran down her cheek.  I said a silent prayer for help because I didn't have the words to make this better.

  Lily Rose has never seemed to resent her food allergies, she doesn't remember  life without food allergies.  We have been very intentional in staying positive about food.  I have taken a proactive approach in finding foods that are healthy  and fun to eat, not just for her but for our entire family.  When folks give her that sad look, we are quick to correct them that she can eat so many wonderful foods, that they might just be different than what is on their plate.  We have also been proactive in making sure Lily Rose understands that she can only eat her "safe foods".

I don't know where her plea came from.  I suppose it was only a matter of time before she wished for things to be different.  Maybe she recognized the extra work safe foods can be when traveling and at other peoples homes.  Maybe she just got sick and tired of me saying, "I'm sorry, it is not allergy safe."  It doesn't matter where it came from, I just had to find a way to turn it around.  I told her that her allergies and celiac won't just go away, that just isn't how it works.  I told her how sorry I was that she was sad.  I told her how happy I was that we know what she can't have and know what she can have, because that keeps her healthy.  I told her how much we all love her.  I held her for a moment and kissed her head.  I took a deep breath and told her I had an idea.  She perked up and excitedly asked what?  I said that when we returned home, the two of us would come up with new recipes and find some new foods to eat.  We talked about what we could plant in the fall garden and what we could fix with it.  We are home now and that is exactly what we have been doing. Lily Rose loves to cook and she loves to eat.  We have some good ideas going and we will share later how some of them turn out.

I am looking at this as a learning experience.  I would take her food allergies away from her in a second if I could, but I can't.  I would take them on myself if it worked that way, but it doesn't.  I am sure that this won't be the last go around she has while she grows up with what are dangers (unsafe foods) all around her.  But I don't want her to look at food as the enemy.  I want her to know her body and the limitations that are there and that are there for all of us in one form or fashion.  I want her to accept the things she cannot change and change the things she can.  I want her to know that God created her for a purpose and know how much our heavenly Father loves her.  I also want her to know how much her Daddy and I love her; part of the way I can do that is to help her when she needs help.

  I know that there are parents out there who are dealing with things so much harder than food allergies.  There are too many children cancer centers and hospitals.  So many of those parents have wiped the tears of a child facing great sickness and so many have felt the unimaginable pain of loosing a child.  I pray for these parents and when I do I am so grateful that our cross is "just food".  How many would give their right arm to only have food allergies.  I am so thankful to have my daughter in the time of epi pens and Er's and knowledge of food allergies.  What a blessing that is.  I thought of that blessing after giving her an epi pen shot in the thigh when she couldn't catch her breath after breathing in an allergen this past Christmas season.   Yes, this burden is small compared to some, but it is the cross she bears.  It is one that we will continue to learn from. And that night, it was the cause of her tear.

She is excited to try new things and is loving coming up with new recipes.  She is especially looking forward to her special birthday party treat this coming weekend.  Her tear is gone, but not before leaving a stain on my heart.  That stain will be a reminder of the blessings in my life and the blessing of my  children who have been entrusted to our care.  The stain will be a reminder to remember and to pray for the parents whose stain runs much deeper than mine.  My stain will be one of many that comes from being a parent.  Oh, but the joy they give me.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Jacob

Sunday the 22nd, our middle son turned 12 years old. We arrived home from a family vacation in Florida around 3 in the morning, so we will have a small party for him and his sister at a local lake this coming weekend.  But I wanted to share with you what an amazing son I have.

Jacob on Easter morning before Mass, 2012

Jacob was born an old man.  He was a content baby who cried only when ready to nurse.  He was and is a sleeper.  I actually took him to the doctor as an infant because I was afraid something was wrong when he didn't cry out all the time, Our first born had colic and I assumed all babies did.  Our pediatrician laughed and sent me home assuring me that he was just fine.

I was so happy to see the relationship with Jacob and his big brother by 22 months form.  They became friends fast and are to this day.  Of course that doesn't mean they don't fight, believe me they do. But they are the first to defend each other.  When one is gone the other is lost.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Jacob loves classic cartoons and old books.  He has read every book written by L. Frank Baum.  He loves to collect junk and build and create new things.  It amazes me what he can make out of bottle caps, string and other such things.  He is so funny and quick with his comebacks.  He has us rolling sometimes.  He is a protector of his sister and her food allergies.  He has a heart for God and takes his catholic faith quite seriously.  Jacob is very smart.  I know all moms say that about their children but he does have numerous awards from academic team and honor roll certificates to back me up.

He is quick to help others and sometimes he catches me off guard with it.  While on vacation, we were caught in a sudden rain storm that came our of no where.  While we were taking shelter under a store sun shade, I look and couldn't find Jacob only to find him a few minutes later, soaking wet.  I fussed at him for taking off and purposefully getting soaked.  He looked at me with those big blue eyes and told me he was just helping the store keepers get their stuff covered up.  A lady running one of the shops waved and told him thank you.  I was embarrassed by my harsh tone.  I looked at him and told him I was sorry and how happy I was that he thought to help out.  I guess we should all take a lesson in his actions.  

Yes, he does get in trouble sometimes but it is not often.  Jacob makes my heart melt and I could not imagine our life without him.

Happy Birthday Jacob, I will love you till the rivers and creeks run dry then I will love you some more because that is what Momma's do.
Enjoy being 12, it is a pretty cool age.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy Birthday To My Daughter

I can hardly believe that this little girl turns 7 this week.  Lily Rose came into our life and filled a hole that we didn't even know was there.  I suppose every new baby completes a family in a way they never even expected.  She came into this world a fighter.  Her body fought food allergies before real food ever touched her lips. Trace amounts in my milk turned her body into a battle ground.  How thankful we were to find what was hurting her and removing it from my diet so she could nurse and begin to heal.  People find out that she cannot have milk, eggs, peanuts, gluten, red dye and many corn products and they think it is a bad thing.  I am hear to tell you, it is not.  She has never had them, so she really doesn't miss them.  Our entire families diet has improved because of our introduction into life with food allergies.  She is a little girl who happens to have food allergies; they do not define her.
 Who is she?  She loves to be outside, walls truly confine her.  We do many of her school lessons outside, she retains so much more this way.  She is determined and strong willed.  She does things on her time.  She has reminded us how to look at the things we so often overlook.  She delights in finding new rocks for her collections, and new weeds for her picked flower bunches.  She prefers the weeds to the flowers, she sees a  beauty in them.  

She is the number one fan of her Daddy.  In her eyes, he hangs the moon just for her.  And isn't that the way it should be.  If you spend  any time with my husband, you would see he feels the same about her.

She loves the lake and any day spent there is a good day in her book.

She makes my eyes light up.  The funny things she says and her ability to turn any frown upside down.  If I had to narrow down my favorite things to do with Lily Rose, they would include reading to her, craft time, for sure snuggle time, but I think more than anything, it would be watching her explore this world.   She is my girl too.

She keeps her brothers on their toes.  My heart melts as I watch the bond between the three of them.

Any man who wants to come into her life will have quite the interview process.

I am pretty sure that this picture above and the one below were just taken days apart, but I know they weren't.

Lily Rose, You have made the last seven years happy ones.  You have taught me that change isn't impossible.  You have brought love, laughter, and great joy into our family.  I have so many dreams for you but my prayer is you will find God's purpose for you and fill that purpose with all your heart.  I want you to always choose to dance, and to go for it.  Never let fear keep you down.  You can do all things with God and I pray that you learn to call upon him daily.
And for the record, you will always be my sweet baby girl, even when you are celebrating your 70th. And don't you ever forget it.  I am so glad God sent you to be apart of our family.