The Leisure Time of a Mom

June 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm (Eating Out, Family, House, Marriage, Opinion, Parenting, Shopping, Sleep, Toddler, Uncategorized)

As I was catching up on my DVR last night, I came across an episode of Dr. Phil which was very interesting.   There was a study conducted by a sociologist at the University of Maryland which claims that moms have an extra 30-40 hours of leisure time a week!! HUH?  He counts things that I would not necessarily include in “leisure time”.  Things like waiting for a tow truck, going to the dentist, etc doesn’t that sound leisurely?  Normally I would think that leisure time involves a beach, a frozen drink, a cabana boy to bring me said drink, and someone trustworthy watching my daughter so that I can actually relax!!!!

I am a stay at home mom.  Relaxing right?  No need to wake up early, get dressed, schlep my daughter to school, sit in traffic, work, then do it all backwards?  My “job” is taking care of my 2 year old.  I am on call all the time.  It does not end.  The time that I can sneak away to check emails is peppered with calls of “Mommy!!!” or little hands on the keyboard.  Maybe I can check emails or facebook from my iphone right?  Well, as soon as she sees me pull that out, she wants to play with it – so out of my hands it goes.  Getting her dressed is a battle, getting myself dressed is done with one ear constantly making sure I don’t hear any crashes or screaming from the other room where she’s playing.  Driving in a car included listening to Mickey or Laurie Berkner, don’t get me wrong, I love Laurie but I really do miss driving along singing to MY music! Then there are the books strewn around the back of my car which she wants.  I go shopping!! that’s leisure right?  Pushing a stroller through a mall at warp speed.  if I’m lucky I can avert her eyes to something else while we pass the Disney Store or Build A Bear otherwise the screaming ensues and invariably we walk out with a new Mickey “thing” or a new bear.   IF I get to shop for myself it’s while entertaining her with stickers, snacks, or my iphone.  making sure she doesn’t grab things off racks, this is all if she’s in a good mood.  If she’s not is a good mood – all bets are off.  I will normally just have to hightail it out of the mall while she is screaming and trying to imitate houdini and escape from her stroller.   I also get to eat out – yay!? No leisurely lunch for me anymore.  Hurrying to order for me and for Alexis.  Keeping her entertained with crayons or whatever until the food arrives.  First getting her food ready, making sure it’s not too hot, cutting things into toddler sized pieces.  Then I scarf down my food with half my attention on her, my mommy reflexes always on edge ready to jump and prevent any spills or splashes, or if it’s a really fun lunch – anything from being launched.  Ok she’s done eating, let’s get the check, clean her off and go.  That was so relaxing!!!!

Back home.  Play time again.  This is where I can maybe jump on the computer again with the “mommy!” cries in the background or the little hands on the keyboard.  Then it’s naptime.  Ahhhhh.  Nap time.  Time for me to relax!!!! Wait – what’s that I hear?  Oh she doesn’t want to sleep.  She’s wants up.  But she’s so tired, why won’t she just fall asleep!!??!!  Ok so an hour later of tears, bribes, rocking, singing, and sometimes driving in a car she is asleep.  Ok, now I can relax.  But I’m so terrified of waking her that I need to  make sure that any TV I watch is so low that I almost need to read lips.  And I really do need to get around to the laundry and washing the dishes, and oh yeah maybe catch up on a tv show also.  No matter what I’m doing I am always listening to the monitor and therefore my “leisure time” is always tempered with the knowledge that at best she will sleep for 3 hours, but more than likely it will be 2 hours.

She’s up.  This is usually the most difficult part of the day.  From the time she wakes up from her nap until bedtime.  She still wants to play but is usually more cranky than the pre-nap hours.  I have to figure out what’s for dinner and try to cook while keeping her away from anything that could be dangerous in the kitchen.  When Marc is in town he will come home right before dinner time so then there are 2 of us.  When he’s home he will handle her bath after dinner while I clean up the kitchen and table.  If he’s not home, then it’s all me.  Then bedtime.  This is unpredictable.  She can be a great sleeper and go right to sleep, but then there are other nights where it’s a battle of wills and could take up to an hour to fall asleep.  An hour much like nap time, she doesn’t just lie there contentedly listening to music when she doesn’t want to be there.  Most of the time she falls asleep with no problem, but every few months there is a phase, it lasts anywhere from 10 days – 2 weeks where it’s every night that she cries and does not want to sleep.  Last night, I was alone with her and by the time she fell asleep it was 9:20.  Usually I don’t eat dinner with her, I wait until she’s asleep.  So last night, I found myself having a PB&J at 9:30.  Then trying to straighten up the house.  And, hey maybe a shower.  That’s leisure right?  Yeah I’m laughing too.  The shower with the monitor on the bathroom counter.  Then and only then can I relax finally.  Again, always with the monitor and always listening.  So, I stay up late because it’s the only quiet time I get just for me.

Even sleep is not the same anymore.  I’m sure that all moms can attest to this.  Once you become a mom, you just don’t sleep as soundly because part of your subconscious is always listening to the monitor, ready to spring up at any moment.  Hopefully, she sleeps fitfully and fully through the night, but hey you never know.  She could wake up in the middle of the night and go right back to sleep or she may not.  I may bring her to bed with me because I’m too tired to fight this battle and then I have little feet kicking me and sleep is definitely compromised.  So, you see, even when I can do things “of leisure” it’s not really.  It’s always in little snippets and with a million other things floating around in my brain.

What about vacations or when I go out to dinner with a friend?  Well, not the same either.  Gone are the carefree days of really getting away.  Because, I am always thinking of Alexis and what she should be doing at the time or if she’s ok.  I will get calls and texts with updates and/or questions.  So, even those times when i do get away, my mind is not completely away.  I may not have a “job”, but I definitely work.  My job is a 24 hour a day one.  One that will be like this for as long as I can imagine.  So, please clarify your 30-40 hours of leisure time a week that I week, Mr. Sociologist, I’m not sure that you fully understand the job of a mom.

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Life list

June 15, 2010 at 10:22 am (Random, Travel, Uncategorized)

I know this is commonly referred to as a “bucket list” but I find the term a bit macabre, so I’m just going to say that  these are things that I want to do.

I have been fortunate enough that I have been able to do some things that were on my list so I’ll start with just a few of those.

Denali (Mt. McKinley) – the highest peak in N. America.  I did not actually climb, however we took a teeny 4 person airplane and landed on a glacier high in the mountain range, a terrifying but amazing experience.

Stonehenge – it was a little disappointing.  I’m glad I saw it, but I was a little let down.

Mt. Kilauea – went to Hawaii and saw the volcano erupting.  Had to hike at night in the pitch black with only a flashlight illuminating the path laid out by reflective tape across the now hardened lava to the viewing area.  It was amazing to see the glowing reds and oranges  from the lava flowing out to meet the ocean.

Now, the list of things to do:

Attend the Olympics – Preferably summer, though it would be great to go to both.

Major sporting events: attend the 4 Grand Slams (US Open, French Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon), World Cup,  Super Bowl

Machu Picchu – I would love to go there and see it

Mt. Everest – much like McKinley, I have no interest in actually climbing it, just seeing it.

Pyramids in Egypt

Great Wall of China

Antarctic –  I want to take a cruise, there are some that leave from Argentina that take you to see the glaciers and the penguins in Antarctica.

U2 in Ireland – I think this is like Mecca for u2 fans and I am one, so I do plan on making this happen!!

Skydive

See a space shuttle launch.  *quick side story: When I was in elementary school, I went with my parents on a family vacation and our intention was to see a launch.  Well the weather was bad, so the launch was delayed, we extended our trip by a day to see the launch.  Well, it was delayed again and my parents had to get back to work and I had school, so we were not able to stay.  The next day the shuttle launched – and then exploded mid-air.  It was the Challenger.  We have photos of it sitting on the launch pad the day before it ended in tragedy.

Go to Germany during Oktoberfest

This list is not set in stone and I’m sure there are things that I will add to it or that I’m forgetting.

So – what are some of YOUR things?  I’m curious to see what is on other people’s lists of things to do!!

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A post on readiness

April 21, 2010 at 11:00 am (Family, Opinion, Parenting, Toddler, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This age seems to come with a lot of judgment.  Yes, I know I’ve said that before, but now, at 2 years old there seems to be a whole new set of “things” that need to be accomplished in a certain time frame.  I am once again wondering who makes up these rules and why people care so much.  I am referring to: potty training, big kid bed, pacifier, and school.  One more lesson to add to my book of things I’ve learned as a mom: take their lead, trying to force things or push because other people do it, will backfire.  Oh, and other people see what you’re doing and why.

Potty Training.  I got Alexis a potty chair about 6 months ago and she uses it off and on.  She sometimes sits on it by herself and I always encourage it, sometimes she goes sometimes she just unspools the toilet paper roll.  I am pretty consistent about putting her on there a couple times a day and I praise her when she goes.  But, I know she’s not ready to really potty train.  She doesn’t tell me before she has to go and doesn’t really care if she walks around with a wet diaper.  I know that I could put her on the potty every 15 or 20 minutes and keep her in panties and claim she’s potty trained, but to me, that’s cheating.  In my opinion, real potty training is when they tell you they have to go, of course with reminders from us, but not constant timed trips to the bathroom.  That’s a good way of teaching them and helping them once they show signs of being ready, but its not being potty trained.  When she’s ready (hopefully soon) I’ll know it and it’ll be easy.

Big Kid Bed. This is one thing that I actually don’t want to do.  I want to keep her in a crib as long as I possibly can.  She’s a great sleeper so why mess with a good thing?  Well, safety.  At 36″ tall, it has now become unsafe for her to remain in her crib.  She has not yet attempted to escape, but she can hang over the top rail and she jumps on the mattress like its a trampoline.  And I hold my breath.  Since I’m not too keen on waiting until she falls out and gets potentially injured, we purchased a toddler bed.  I should mention that something happened about a week before the purchase, she started fighting us to go to sleep – crying, hysterical fits about being left alone and waking once or twice at night.  I figured, she’s sleeping like crap, can’t be any worse, let’s take her crib away!  We took the crib down, put the toddler bed together, along with pretty new sheets with butterflies and ladybugs on it.  Babyproofed her room so she couldn’t injure herself if she decided to wander in the middle of the night.  She loved the bed, climbed right in, covered herself and seemed content.  Success I thought!  Wrong.  When it came time to go to sleep, I sat with her because I figured it would take a couple nights to get used to it.  It took her a long time to fall asleep.  Then she proceeded to wake up 3 or 4 times at night (can’t remember).  Around 6am, I gave up and brought her to bed with us and she slept there.  Fast forward 4 nights later, now the sleeping is turning into hysterics.  I tried letting her cry it out, which I’ve never been a fan of but has worked successfully in the recent past after one night and not a lot of crying.  This did not work.  It took an hour the first night and it included banging on the walls and door and saying “owie”.   Middle of the night was no better.  I gave up after the 3rd time around 5am she came to bed with us.  The next night was no better, actually it was worse.  I couldn’t do it.  After an hour and no improvement and me totally stressed out.  I knew she was tired, she hadn’t napped that day, I threw in the towel.  We put the crib back up and I planned to take her to the dr the following day.  She slept in her crib but still slept horribly.  The next day at the dr I found out why – 2 back molars coming in, me not giving her enough motrin for her weight, ear pain, and ringworm rash on her ankle, I’m sure these things were messing with her sleep and making her uncomfortable and not herself.  She was trying to tell me, but didn’t know how.  So, the crib is still up, she’s not sleeping great yet, but better.  Once she returns to normal, then we will give the toddler bed another shot.

Pacifier.  I know I said it would be gone by age 2, and it’s not.  See above for my reasons why.  I have prioritized.  The pacifier is not a big enough deal to me right now and I won’t do it before she moves to a toddler bed.  She mainly uses it for sleeping and the car only.  I keep one with me when we’re out for true emergencies.  I am just not willing to deal with the trauma that it will cause just yet.  It will be gone soon, but I’m not ready and I don’t think she is either.  It comforts her and helps her sleep, so what is the big deal?  Because other moms will judge me?  Oh well.  I’m sure it wouldn’t be the first time.

School.  I looked at schools.  I tried to like them.  Can’t do it, sorry.  I would LOVE to have a few hours  to myself a week, I really really would.  But I just could not see leaving her yet.  I’m a stay at home mom.  This is my job.  I am responsible for her education, entertainment, feeding, changing, etc and I don’t want to share that responsibility.  She gets one on one attention from me and would not get that at school and it really breaks my heart to think of her being upset or crying or scared and just being one of 10 kids in a class.  For the time being, she gets her socialization from the classes we go to and the playdates and the park and that will just have to be enough.  I’m thinking of starting her this fall when she’s 2.5, but I may change my mind and wait until she’s 3, we’ll see.  As for her speech which was slow at first, when I took her to the dr (not my usual one, a new one) this week for her sleep issues the dr mentioned how great her speech is.  So, even without school she has learned to speak just fine, it happened after she turned 2, it was like a faucet turned on.

For all the things she’s not ready for yet, there have been plenty that she is ready for.  She walked before her first birthday, she was jumping like a bunny way before kids are “supposed” to be able to jump.  She has excellent coordination and can walk a balance beam in gym class like kids older than her, can ride a tricycle.  She does puzzles meant for 3 year olds, counts to 20, spells her name, knows all the letters, etc.  She is also a fabulous eater, the list of foods she won’t eat is very short.  Loves fruits and veggies and is the opposite of picky.

So, for all the holier than thou moms out there, or the ones that feel the need to keep up with the Joneses, or be competitive, do what works for you.  And, especially, all the not yet parents who love to say “I would never” or “can you believe she still…”  I’m not talking about all mommies.  I know some whose kids have been ready and have done the above things already and I am so happy for them! (and a little jealous).  I think they should brag about it, but I can tell the difference between the moms who do it out of a sense of pride and those that do it to compete.  And if anyone is judging me for my choices, go right ahead.  I’m the mommy, I make the decisions.  She will only be little once and I am confident that she will not go to high school with a pacifier or a diaper and that she will be sleeping in a big bed soon enough.  So, judge away.  While you’re at it I can give you other things to be judgey about – I give my kid sweets, keep the tv on all day because I can’t stand quiet, I have no problem bribing her in a store with a toy or food so i can get some shopping done, oh yeah and she’s spoiled.  But, she’s happy and so am I and to me that’s what’s important.

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My two cents: Veggie Stix

March 4, 2010 at 2:02 pm (Uncategorized)

I first has these when I took Alexis to one of those indoor play places that also serves lunch, they had them as a side with the sandwiches.  They were yummy.  I saw them again at the grocery store in the organic foods section so I bought them.  Alexis loves them.  They look like french fries which is definitely a plus for her but they are actually healthy so i can give them to her with her sandwich for lunch.  I got a lot of “mmmmm”s from her, so they passed the Alexis test.  And I like them too!!

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Two years old!!!!!

February 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm (Uncategorized)

Time flies.  I really can’t believe it’s been 2 years that I’ve been a mom.  2 years since those first early sleepless nights and days spent in a fog.  Now I have a running, jumping (little) PERSON!!!!! It’s so much fun.

At today’s Dr visit, she measured 29lbs and 35 inches, both of which are in the 75% for her age.  This is pretty consistent for where she’s been, she has always been around the 75%.   She is right on track developmentally, nothing to worry about.  She got one shot and they took blood.  She barely cried and did really well playing with her stickers most of the time.

Onto the fun part – the PARTY!!  Only a few small glitches but overall the party was fabulous.  And i have a lot of returning to do.  We arrived at the park to decorate.  We had rented a pavilion next to a playground.   It was a very windy day and we were right next to a lake which made it even windier.  The table were those iron ones with the holes.  So immediately i decided to ditch the tablecloths.  Even if I had used clips, the wind would have come from underneath and made the them billow which would have sent all the food and drinks flying.  I also decided to forget the Happy Birthday banner and centerpieces I had.  Now balloons were a different story since they were all blown up.  We tied them really low but still had some casualties.  I started out with 24 latex balloons and 6 mylar, ended up with all 6 mylars and about 7 latex by the end of the party.  So, even though it didn’t look as nice as I had hoped and planned, no one cares about that (except me).  And now I can return all the unused party supplies.

Next was Minnie Mouse.  Oh Minnie.  We had scheduled a Minnie Mouse character to arrive at noon and entertain for an hour.  Well noon came and went.  Soon it was 12:30, I left messages for the company but got no phone call back.  Finally at 12:45 they showed up.  Well, it was too late.  The party was only until 2, by the time Minnie got ready and started it would have been 1 and if she performed for an hour that left mo time for cake, etc.  So we asked them to perform for an hour at half price, they said they couldn’t do that.  Further, they said they got lost.  No phone call.  They had both my and Marc’s cell phone number written down though.  No apology.   Couldn’t have cared less.  Not to mention when we called to book Minnie, they told us that they perform at  this park all the time.  i don’t think they got lost.  But whatever, I wasn’t going to argue, so they left.   No Minnie.  It would have been nice, but we definitely didn’t need it.  I think the kids had a great time playing in the playground.

Overall the party was a success.  Alexis had fun and got a lot of cute clothes and great gifts.  Although I’m going to start assigning someone to be party photographer.  I hardly have any pictures from the day b/c I was so busy doing other things, I didn’t really walk around enough taking pictures.

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Daycares, nannies, SAHMs, Oh MY!!

February 15, 2010 at 6:47 pm (Uncategorized)

I had a hard time coming up with a title for this post.  I’m a little irked and needed to get this off my chest.

I feel, and have felt for a while now, judged.  Why? Because of my decision to stay home with my daughter.  I know a lot of people think it’s great that I get to stay home and raise my daughter on a daily basis.  Well, that’s how I feel about it.  But, there are some mommies who feel as though unless your child is in daycare they are missing out.  Like my child is not learning as much or socializing as much because she is home with me.  I haven’t said anything because I didn’t want to bring it up, but it bothers me.

My feeling is that everyone does what is best for them.  I think daycare is a great option for families where both parents either have to or choose to work.  I think its great.  I also think that if parents choose to have a nanny watch their child, that too is wonderful if everyone is happy.  But I also think that my decision to stay home is great.  It works for us.  I love doing it.  I know it’s not for everyone.  I know its hard and exhausting, but I love it.  I have LOVED being home with my daughter every day of her 2 years.  I have loved seeing all her milestones, knowing her better than anyone else does.  I love being the one to set her schedule, know what she eats and when, and teaching her things.  At 2, she is right on track.  She counts to 10, knows colors, shapes, letters, plays pretend, she can do any puzzle you put in front of her (age appropriate, of course), etc.  Oh, and yes, she plays independently very well.  I loved when she was a brand new baby, giving her the one on one attention that i thought she needed.  I make sure to take her out every day.  We go to classes twice a week and to playdates or the park more often that that.  Even a trip to Target can be educational.   We do crafts, play with play-doh, color, paint, and play a lot!

So, I do resent the implication that because my daughter has not been in daycare she has not “learned” as much.  That is simply not true.  This is my choice and it has worked for us.  If I was in a position where I had to work outside the home then of course I would have to find alternate arrangements.  I am now ready for her to be in school.  I have a found a wonderful place to put her that is a school environment.  She will start this summer 2 half days a week.  I know it will be good for her, and I know that she will not be behind other kids who have been taken care of outside the home.

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Beautiful Blogger Award!!

February 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm (Uncategorized)

Mommyof1 has been nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award 🙂

A huge thanks to Jenn at And Baby Makes 6 for the nomination!!

The rules for the award are as follows:
1. Thank the person(s) who nominated you and link to their blog(s). Done.
2. Copy the award and paste it to your blog. Look up. There it is.
3. Tell us 7 interesting things about yourself. Poo. I was never good at sharing.
4. Nominate 7 bloggers that you love and link to their blogs. Yes, yes. After #3.

Here we go:

1. I collect snails – not real ones, stuffed, glass, etc

2. I’m afraid of ballons.  Not the mylar ones, those don’t bother me.  The latex kind.  I hate them.

3.  I can’t eat a sandwich without chips in it.  If I have to I will, but I really prefer my sandwiches to have chips.

4. I can ski and ice skate (interesting b/c I was born and raised in S. FL)

5. I have a thing about holidays.  I celebrate them all, I like to decorate for all of them and I like cards.

6. I’m a huge Stephen King fan and have first edition hard cover copies of all his books.

7. :::gasp::: I’m not a dog person.  I know I know it’s not cool to admit that, but I’m not.  i like other people’s dogs, I just don’t want one of my own, they are too much work for me.  I prefer cats.

Not sure if those are all interesting, but they are me:)

Now, let me nominate seven phenomenal blogs.

1. From Mrs To Momma
2. My World, My Words
3. Jenuinely Inspired
4. Thyme For Food
5. Vega Family
6. Samantha’s Blog
7. siren.org

Again, don’t forget to visit And Baby Makes 6!!

I believe the producers are telling me to wrap it up now, so I must get off stage before the music starts…

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The importance of shoes.

January 11, 2010 at 1:33 pm (fashion, Opinion, Random, Uncategorized, Weight Loss) (, , , , , , , , )

I am a shoe-holic, or is it shoe-a-holic?  Whatever.  What is it about shoes that women love so much, I’ll clue you in on the secret.  They always fit.  Of course there are exceptions to this, but I can gain 5 pounds and my jeans will be tight, but my shoes, they still fit.  No judgment from them.  I can usually be seen wearing flip flops.  I love  them and have endless pairs.  I have all kinds, casual hanging out ones, and nicer going out ones.  I have cheap Target ones and I have Coach and Stuart Weitzman ones, I love them all equally and wear them all.  They make me happy.  They’re comfortable, easy to put on and take off and I can always show off my pedicure! I am fortunate to live in South Florida so I can wear flip flops year round, except for a few cold days.

But, flip flops are not always appropriate foot wear.  For those times when they are not it’s time for fancy shoes.  And nothing makes me feel better than wearing a pair of fabulous super high heels.  I am short so I have always preferred my heels high.  Even for my wedding I went with a pair of 4″ heels.  They are not always comfortable, but always worth it.  Since I don’t own as many heels as flip flops, I do tend to buy pricey ones.  I have the usual variety of strappy heels, closed toe, black, ivory, and the one impractical fuchsia strappy heels.  I love looking at them in my closet.  I do have a particular fondness for Stuart Weitzman.  I have quite a few of those, including the afore-mentioned wedding shoes.  I just got my first pair of Manolos and I’m waiting for the perfect occasion to wear them!  My dream shoes are Mary Jane heels, I have been searching for just the right pair for a long time and haven’t found them yet.  They’re either too low, or the heel is too chunky, I know I sound like Goldilocks, but it’s true.  I will keep searching until I find ones that are just right.  When I wear these fancy shoes, I know I have them on, even if no one else does.  It makes me feel sexier, walk taller, and I’m happy 🙂

Then there are the in-betweens.  The low heels that can be worn casually with a pair of jeans or with dress pants.  These shoes are very important.  They can dress up an outfit or be dressy enough when needed without the discomfort of the heels.  I have these in lots of colors.  They are all basically the same – strappy sandal types.  They get a lot of use with me.  As I mentioned, I’m short so I do like to wear at least a small heel when I go out to make me a little taller.

I also have a million sneakers, but not because I work out a lot, it’s just a side effect of having worked for a tennis tournament for almost 10 years.   And I also have a few closed toe flats, these are my least favorite but sometimes necessary.

I know not everyone has this obsession with shoes.  Some people like purses, sunglasses, clothes, etc.  But, me?  Shoes are my vice.  The thing that I would spend a lot of money on and not feel guilty.  For me they are a necessity and they are important to my psyche.  They can cheer me up.  Even when they hurt, they make me happy!!!

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Directing your attention…

January 11, 2010 at 10:06 am (Uncategorized)

My friend Canewife who is a blogger friend as well as a real life friend, has recently made some changes to her blog and I wanted to direct your attention over to her because I think she’s awesome 🙂  She is the mom of a toddler, as well as 3 pugs.  She has begun adding fabulous craft ideas, recipes, and tips to her blog.  So for all of us who want some super cute crafty things to do with our little ones, check her out.  You can also see crafts for the home, mommy tips, and more.   I get great ideas from her and you know what they say, sharing is caring…

And Baby Makes 6

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A new decade has begun… can we go back?

January 2, 2010 at 10:49 am (Family, Friends, Marriage, Uncategorized)

This is a blog post I didn’t think I would be writing.  This is not a reality I thought I would be facing.  It should not be.  People my age should not be widows.  It’s not right.  Little 2 year old boys should not lose fathers.  Something in the universe did not work properly yesterday to allow this to happen.

My friend Gary had been battling Lymphoma courageously and had completed his course of chemo.   He was declared basically cancer-free.  He and his wife, Samantha believed they were in the home stretch of their battle.

Until Christmas Day.  Of all days.

Samantha had to take Gary to the ER believing that he was suffering from dehydration and needed IV fluids.  Never in her worst nightmares did she think that he would not walk out of the hospital, like he had done numerous times before.  Nothing prepared her for the week that would follow.  Gary was taken from the ER to ICU in kidney failure and diagnosed with pneumonia.  He did not show symptoms of being so sick.  The night before he was having fun at a Christmas Eve celebration with friends!  It came out of left field.  From there the roller coaster began- no need to detail the ups and downs that would become the way of life for Sam in the coming week.  She spent the final minutes of 2009 holding his hand welcoming in a new year, a new decade.  When she went home, she believed that New Year’s Day would be a new day.  She did not imagine the phone would ring in the early dawn hours.  She did not expect the call from the hospital to come right away.

When my phone rang before 7am and I saw the caller ID, I knew it wasn’t good.  I was at the hospital in minutes.  As I was walking into ICU as I had done several times in the past week, I heard it.  I heard crying.  Not just sad cries.  The cries of something tragic.  I knew.  I didn’t need to be told.  My friend Sam had just become a widow, Gary’s mother had lost her only child.  They, along with Sam’s mom, were destroyed.  It was a terrible scene.

Now the really hard part begins for Sam.  Planning a funeral for her 33 year-old husband.  Picking up the pieces.  Starting a new life as a single mom.  Raising her son without his dad.  I, along with so many other friends, will be by her side helping to support her and helping her figure out her new place, but it will not be easy.  And it’s not something that I thought that one of my friends would have to go through.

Gary will be missed.  He was very smart, funny, caring, kind.  He was a wonderful husband to Samantha and an excellent father to Mikey.

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