Joy in the journey …

Today we celebrated my son George! He is 19 years old and all I keep asking myself is HOW?!?! No matter how old he becomes or how tall he grows, George will always be my precious little baby. And the sweetest little boy who gave me the best and tightest hugs in the world. But as much as I have enjoyed watching George grow up, I’m finding it absolutely wonderful to see him take on the world and become the man he has envisioned. Being his mom has been one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever known. And I am so grateful that God chose me to walk through life with him.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you find joy in the journey!!!

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Our summer story …

It’s (almost) the most WONDERFUL time of the year! Tomorrow is Libs’ and Reese’s last day of school. Thank you SWEET BABY JESUS! It has been a long DOOZY of a school year and these girls need and deserve a break.

Summers look a lot different around here now. With Sid in San Francisco full time and George home from college but working, it’s definitely not the summers of our past. Gone are their days of early childhood. Thankfully, because of Reese, we are still allowed glimpses of them peppered into our every evolving lives. I cherish these moments that keep us connected to those carefree times. I wish that they were as abundant as they were, but I have learned to take what I can get. And trust me, I am grateful. Because even though they occur differently now, they are all still so precious to me. So. So. Precious.

As I look back over the past school year I am reminded of how quickly time passes. People grow out of routines. Life simply changes. Again, I am thankful. And even more so that this family of mine, just seems to roll with it. I am the one who hangs on tighter to the past. Which is silly because, as painful as I find all of this sometimes, I have found that change has never let me down. I have learned that as the pages of time continue to turn, it allows us to write new and adventurous tales into our family history. It is a perspective that has not come easy for me. But I’m continually feeling the comfort it brings me. It is nice to know that nothing is truly ending … it’s just the beginning of another new chapter.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you begin to write your summer story!!!

It’s just not the same …

Yesterday my son George headed back to his university ready to start the Spring semester. Again, I don’t do any of this “letting go” thing gracefully. I am sad he left. I love my kids and every second I get to spend with them is a gift. George is such a presence in our home, especially in the morning. He wakes up in a great mood. He always greets me with a cheerful “good morning, Mom” and an “I love you”. He usually has me laughing within minutes. He has such a sweet and genuine smile. His heart, GOLD. And this morning, I am missing all of it.

Well, I hope you all don’t have a day that just isn’t the same!!!

The beauty and joy of growth …

Yesterday I had a telephone conversation with Sid while she was on her way to meet her boyfriend. She was taking the BART in San Francisco and telling me departure times and other little details. She was a pro at San Francisco public transit. I remembered our first time on BART together while we were touring colleges. This was several years go and I worried that this type of transportation would be too overwhelming for her. I was wrong to have worried. My, how times have changed.

Yesterday I had a telephone conversation with George while he was out picking out some luggage at a store in Petaluma. LUGGAGE. My son was buying LUGGAGE. He drives himself to stores, buys luggage, gets himself to airports and flies alone now. This is my child who NEVER paid attention to details or his surroundings. The one I worried about for the longest when he crossed streets. My, how times have changed.

Yesterday when I picked Libs up from school she got into my car. We looked at each other with relief and gave a “high -five”. We discussed how WE MADE IT through this HELLA crazy week. When Libs was little she was my LAZIEST child. She and I always joke that she sat on the couch for five years. Ah, the good ole days, HA! Now she takes AP classes, is in her school’s Digital Media Program, volunteers, sings and performs with the Women’s Advanced Choir and is on the tennis team. My, how times have changed.

I bought Reese a Barbie Accessory Advent Calendar this year. She has loved it! Every morning she opens it along with her advent book box and puts a new number ornament on her little wooden tree. We were in a rush yesterday morning so we decided to wait until later when she had time to enjoy it. Last night after her bath she did her Christmas countdown regime. She was very happy about the new Barbie running shoes she just opened up and was excitedly telling everyone. She was standing down the hallway and I had to stop. Her past and present collided. I remembered a scene from last Christmas Eve that I took a picture of and put in a photobook. It was of Reese as she excitedly stood in the same hallway as we were leaving to go see Christmas lights. She seemed so much taller than the little girl I remembered last year. Her speech has immensely improved. And her capabilities have grown by leaps and bounds. My, how times have changed.

Yesterday, was filled with precious memories of years past and of the beauty that comes with change. I am STRUCK by moments like these. I’m so grateful to experience them. They are a treasure. I love being MOM to these four incredible souls. They truly complete me. And their growth brings me nothing but pure JOY.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you grow!!!

The same but different …

Change … it ain’t easy! As my kids have gotten older and two have gone off to college, I’ve been worried that my younger girls wouldn’t have the same types of experiences we did when their siblings were home. Especially this time of year when we are ALL ABOUT family. I’m realizing now that’s just silly. Of course my girls are having the same experiences! Our traditions and adventures still happen they just don’t look the same. For instance, there are fewer people in the car and a lot less noise, HA! But in all seriousness, this took me a while to see. I had to grow into these changes and understand that everything was going to work out just fine. And it did. We still have fun and do everything we did before (and sometimes my big kids are able to join us via FaceTime) so this makes my mom heart very happy!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you see that everything is the same but different!!!

A story about faith, love and believing in miracles …

I post these words every year. I don't think I will ever be able to change them. To do so would be an injustice to her. To me. And to all our family and friends who stood by us then and who continue to share this life with us now. This story is about our beginning together. It is a story of faith and love … and believing in miracles.

We were told when I was about 11 weeks pregnant that she did not look quite so “typical” … I didn’t care. I loved our baby. And I prayed.

A few weeks later we were told that not only was our baby “not typical”, but that there was a chance I would be delivering her still born … I wanted our baby even more fiercely than I had before. And I prayed.

Several weeks later, we almost lost our baby … to which I screamed an adamant and angry “NO!” And I prayed.

A month later we were told that our baby had a “very large hole in her heart” … to which I said, “I don’t believe you.“ And I prayed.

Two months later we were told, “Your baby is small” … to which I laughed and said, “Of all the things that you have told us, this seems pretty manageable.” And I prayed.

Two weeks later, on what was supposed to be a brief doctor’s visit before we headed to our local water park, we were told that our baby was not growing, that she was too small and that she was not acting the way she should be. We were told that I would be given another amniocentesis to see if her lungs were developed. If they were, my doctor wanted to take her right away … I felt like my body was failing her. And I prayed.

My doctor gave me a drug to speed up our baby’s lung development. The results of the amniocentesis were not what we had hoped for. My doctor told us that our baby’s lungs were not developed, our baby could not breath on her own. Now we had a team of medical professionals. They hoped nothing would go wrong for the next 48 hours so that the steroid they had given me would have time to help our baby’s lungs grow … to which I said, “OK”. And I prayed.

Less than 24 hours later I had a hospital room full of people wearing blue who were running around and pumping my body full of fluids and drugs. We were told that we could no longer wait. We were told that our baby would not be breathing and that she would be very small and weak … to which I cried in her father’s arms and said, “I’m scared.” And I prayed.

Minutes later I was strapped to a table. I had refused anything that would alter my mental state. I wanted to be there for our baby. It took a long time to get her out. I was told that she was so small that she kept slipping through the doctor’s hands. I kept screaming, “Is she out?!?!” And I prayed.

Then, I heard a cry … to which I thought, “That is a loud cry for a baby who is supposed to be weak, small and not breathing.” And I prayed.

A few minutes later our baby was brought over to me, warmly swaddled, pink as could be, breathing on her own and with no hole in her heart. (Sure, she has some extra chromosomes, but who cares about that?) And when I saw her I thought, “You are my miracle and I love you.” And then, I praised God for our beautiful daughter.

Eight years ago today, through God’s amazing grace, Reese Lindsey Grace was born by emergency cesarean section. She was 6 weeks early. She weighed 2lbs 15oz and was 15 ½ inches long. My world has not been quite the same since … and I would have it no other way.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you celebrate a miracle … and always remember to pray!!!

Summer’s end and a change of pace …

It's our last Sunday of summer break. Sid and George are at college. Libs and Reese return to school on Tuesday. This summer has been a DOOZEY. Emotional and exciting don't even come close to describing it. The summer of 2017 will go down as one of my all time favorites.

I never want summer to end but there is something about the routine that comes with the start of a new school year that grounds me. Summer months tend to feel (and be) more spontaneous and frivolous. But the Fall, winter and Spring months have a coziness to them. Our days are filled with the orderliness of schedules, sports and school, and by the end of August I'm usually ready for it. Fall and winter around this house are filled with magic and traditions that I have come to love. This year we even have some different things planned as well. I'm looking forward to both the familiar back-to-school regimen and the new life we will carve out for ourselves. Our family dynamics are not the same with two of my four children out of the house now. Life will undoubtedly be different, but I know it will be good for all of us.

So am I ready to say "goodbye" to these incredible days of summer? Yes. I believe I am. I will tuck their memories away in my heart. And I will be grateful for each and every moment that I got to spend with the people I love most in this world. God blessed me with another summer … and I truly can't be more thankful.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are ready for a change of pace!!!