A blessed life …

I woke up in one of my favorite cities this morning and I am spending the day with some of my most favorite people. I don’t know what I did to deserve this life, but I sure am thankful it’s mine.

Well, I hope you all have a blessed life!!!

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Tragedy and loyalty …

Sixteen years ago today the U.S. faced a very ugly day. But what happened after that was something I will never forget. We came together as a country. People hung their flags. We became neighbors and family. We were proud to be Americans. There was a patriotism that emerged that I had never seen before in my life time. And it was beautiful. We didn't scatter and become concerned only for ourselves. There was a huge sense of community. We actually loved each other!

Our country is pretty divided right now. But those memories really give me hope. We have weathered some pretty nasty times together. We pulled together before, and we can do it again now. I believe in us. And I won't ever stop.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you remain loyal!!!

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!!!

Feeling very special …

My kids are honestly incredible people. Yesterday was another busy day for us. With two kids moving out this week and trying to coordinate travel plans and accommodations for everyone it's been NUTS. Every time I felt like I could set a sold plan in place someone had a problem or something didn't work. Ugh. Then I had all the finalizing of paperwork. When you have four kids, trust me, there will always be one more form to complete and an email to write. ALWAYS. Especially right before school starts. Again, ugh. I got a lot done yesterday and I was a little frazzled, to say the least. But last night, these kids of mine, made my entire day better. Heck, they made it great!

I was about to make dinner when they told me that they wanted me to stop and go get ready because George was going to take me out to dinner and a movie. They had planned it all out together. Libs and Sid were going to watch Reese and I was going to have a nice night out with my son before he leaves for college. WOW! I was honestly so taken back I could hardly speak. It was one of those silent shocked moments. Never did I expect them to do something like that for me. In the midst of all our craziness, life changes and moving boxes, my kids made sure that they thought of me. I know they see how much I struggle sometimes. My burdens. My pain. And they definitely know how emotional I've been lately. But as a mom, I never think about those things. I just do what has to be done (and probably go a little overboard) to make sure their lives go smoothly and that their needs are taken care of. It's just a natural mom function. Like blinking, but with your heart. Last night my kids took care of me and gave me a night to relax and enjoy myself. It was so kind. And I can't think of a moment that it was more needed. And appreciated. I know I say it a lot, but I really do have the greatest kids in the world.

Well, I hope you all have a day where the people you love most make you feel very special!!!

I’m going to miss this (boxes and bags included) …

Our house is a disaster. Moving Sid and George out of the house on the same day is just NUTS. But it is the only way it all makes sense logistically and with the time frames we have been given. So, we have two people who are cleaning out their rooms and closets. They are also, at the same time, boxing up things that they will take with them, things they will leave here and things they will donate. Then you have me who keeps buying things to make sure they have exactly what they need to actually move out. We also Libs who is getting ready to start her sophomore year of high school and a busy tennis season. And we have an excited Reese who is eager to "help" with everything. Oh! And let's not forget the online orders that are starting to arrive. You know, the stuff I thought should be ordered for school for the younger girls to save time as summer draws to an end. Yep, this house is an explosion of boxes and bags. And you know what?

I love it.

I look around and I see FAMILY and LIFE and LOVE. I see ADVENTURE and NEW BEGINNINGS. It's what's happening NOW to and for my most favorite people in the world. It is a snapshot in our lives. A time that will pass quickly but will have lasting memories. This is US. And our US is on the verge of another major change. It excites my soul and breaks my heart all at once. I want to keep my children little and safe and with me. But I also want them to grow and experience life and learn every lesson they can even if that takes them away from me.

I will always look back at this time in our lives as truly special. An unexpected gift from God. When Sid moved out I wasn't sure if we would ever get this much time together again. I accepted that. But when I got sick last Fall it's all that I could think of. US. Together again. These past few months with everyone home has been exactly what I had hoped for … and needed. To see it all change again is hard. But I refuse to be greedy. I got my heart's desire. Now it's time for these amazing young souls, that I had the privilege to raise, to venture out into the world. I can't wait to see what is in store for them. For me. For us.

Thursday is coming quickly. The day all this change goes into motion. I'm ready. More importantly, THEY are ready. I am consumed with every mom emotion I have ever felt. I am blessed to feel so much and experience this unusual balance between loss and gain again. Life will take on a new shape for us. I know this and it's OK. Our time together will be altered by distance, schedules, and responsibilities. But we will figure it all out. Love just does. A new normal will soon set in and this transition will become another notch on our family belt. The hardness of this will all fade away. But for now, I will just cherish every last familiar messy moment we get spend together. Boxes and bags included.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you're going to miss this!!!

K-Cups and some tears …

We all drink different coffees in the house, which is why I feel that the Keurig is just about the best invention ever made for a busy family of coffee drinkers. We use that thing of beauty ALL day long. So you could image that yesterday when I found K-cups on sale for $5.99 a box I got quite excited. I even found my son George’s favorite, Starbucks Italian Roast. We have actually had a hard time finding it lately so I bought three boxes, one for home and two to pack in his things for college. I did all this without really thinking about it. Until this morning. And the it hit me hard. REAL hard.

I woke up early this morning and decided to make a big breakfast for my family. As I was busy preparing things I decided to stop and stock our K-Cup holder. I started with George’s Italian Roast … and I began to cry. The box contained just enough K-Cups to get him through until the day he leaves for college. Oh, yeah. I cried.

It’s moments like these that I question my sanity. How can K-Cups reduce a grown woman to tears? Clearly this can’t be even remotely normal! I ultimately calmed my insanity worries by remembering that a mother’s love knows no boundaries. This love is THE REAL DEAL. We love over time. Across the miles. Through joy and laughter. And in sadness and tears. We LOVE a BIG love. It’s shocking when you first experience it too. I believe that prior to having children women can only fathom this love. They know it will be strong and forever. But HOLY MOLY, when that baby becomes your reality, you are CONSUMED with a love you have never known. Understatedly, it’s wonderful. And once you have experienced this MOM LOVE you wouldn’t know what to do without it … because that love seeps into EVERY aspect of your being. Even into your morning coffee.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you share a cup of coffee with someone who gave you the gift of love!!!