May Blog Challenge

Friday, May 31, 2013

A vivid memory...Feb 19, 1999

Day 31, Friday: A vivid memory

Ok, I am getting ready to get to some extremely raw emotion for me.  My memory I am getting ready to share is not going to be an easy one for me to write. I am going to write about the day I found out about Trisomy 18. 

A little back story before the memory:  My husband had just graduated college and accepted a job at NASA.  We packed up our dalmatian and our Chihuahua and headed 9 hours south.  This was December 27th.  Two weeks prior we had found out we were pregnant with our first baby.  My cycles were never regular, so I didn't think anything of it that I hadn't had a period in a couple months.  Turns out I was about 3 months along.  We were excited and so were our parents.  Moving to Houston was fun at first.  We were excited to explore a new city (even though it was HUGE).  We lived right by the NASA base in Clear Lake.  We were starting to make friends.  I found a great OB/GYN.  She is a no nonsense straight shooter; no sugar coating.  We figured out my due date by my last known period.  She scheduled us for an ultrasound for mid-Feb.  We were going to see a ultrasound specialist because my husband was born with a bilateral cleft lip and we wanted to make sure our baby didn't have that.  This was before all the high tech 3D technology out there now.  We were also going to find out the sex of our baby.  

February 19, 1999

We woke up very excited about finding out the sex of our baby.  We were happy to get to see our baby on the screen.  We drove an hour to get to the ultrasound place.  My appointment was at 2.  I happily filled out all of the paperwork and we were just generally excited.  Finally, they called our names.  I went back and laid on the chair.  There was a tv monitor in front of me and the machine was to my right.  The ultrasound specialist Dr. Adam came in.  She was a tall woman with a pixie haircut and British accent.  I loved her already.  She spreads the cold gel on my stomach and gets out the doppler.  I am laying there with a smile plastered on my face looking at my baby on the screen.  I couldn't believe that I had another life growing in me.  She pushed some buttons and moved the doppler around and pushed some more buttons.  She didn't speak for what seemed like a half hour but was really about 7 or 8 minutes.  I will never forget the first words she said to us: "How do you feel about terminating this pregnancy?"  

At first I thought I had misheard her and she was asking if I had ever terminated a pregnancy before.  I said no, I had never been pregnant before.  Then she repeated the question.  All I can remember is busting into silent tears and my heart stop beating.  I was stunned and shocked to say the least.  She proceed to tell us that she couldn't even see our baby's facial features because of the extreme swelling called edema.  She couldn't tell us if the baby had a cleft lip or not, but she said that would be the least of the baby's problems IF it made it full term.  She couldn't tell us the baby's sex either.  Devastated is an understatement.  What she could tell us about our baby is the heart was underdeveloped.  The left side of the heart basically was not developed at all.  Our baby had half a heart.  The heart rate indicated that the baby was in distress and the part of her heart that was developed was doing triple the work.  There was extreme swelling around her kidneys and the abdominal area.  Dr. Adam recommended for us to get an amniocentesis (all I had ever heard about this is that it is an extremely long needle that goes in your stomach).  By this time we had been there for about an hour and a half.  I had cried until I was empty.  How quickly one phrase can change your entire life.  

Dr. Adam sent us to see a genetic counselor before we agreed to the amniocentesis.  We talked with this really nice lady about what the doctor had suspected our baby had.  Trisomy 18.  This was pre-google (which I am glad for now).  She gave us literature.  Trisomy 18 is a chromosome abnormality where there is an extra chromosome in the 18th pair.  Other Trisomy's are 13 and 21.  Trisomy 21 is Down's Syndrome.  Trisomy 18 and 13 prognosis is: Incompatible with Life.  Another life changing phrase.

We went back to Dr. Adam and signed the forms to get the amniocentesis.  I laid on the chair again, this time flat on my back.  Tears are rolling down the sides of my face.  this woman brings out the largest needle I have ever seen.  The needle part was at least 9 inches long.  My husband almost passed out from the sight.  She put a numbing medicine on the area where she was going to insert the needle.  I felt slight pressure, but it didn't hurt.  She collected the amniotic fluid that she was going to use and it was over.  We would have our results in 5 to 7 days.  We drove home in silence.  Both of us trapped in our own private prison on how this could be.  We were both young and they usually found these things in older women who have babies.  We got home and I basically could do nothing for the first 24 hours.  I didn't want to do anything anyway.  I just wanted to cry, which I did, a lot.  We called our families and broke the news.  My mom was pretty much distraught.  This would have been her first grandchild.  My mother-in-law didn't understand so she wasn't that emotional.  She called back later and it had hit her what we were saying, that our baby was not going to live, if it even made it to the due date.  

That is how I learned about Trisomy 18.  I can still relive every single emotion and see the doctors office down to the green kleenex box.  I will eventually write about what happened after that, but this was hard enough.  Very very few people in my real life know about these events.  These emotions are very raw.  I didn't want to end the challenge on such a sad note, but it is something I wanted to share.  Thank you for reading.  

I have really enjoyed this challenge.  I have met a few new people and got to know my other friends even better.  I cannot wait to continue reading your blogs well after the challenge.  If you are interested I am joining my friends Paula over at Paula's Place and Allison over at What if this is as good as it gets? for a pretty informal June challenge and Photo Challenge. Those can be found here and here.  I like having prompts to write about each day.  It keeps me in check and from neglecting my blog.  

This is the final entry for the Blog Everyday in May Challenge found at Story of my life.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Letting go...

Day 30, Thursday: React to this term: Letting Go

Letting go is hard.  I confess, I struggle with it a lot.  I tend to hold on to anger the longest.  I tell myself to let it go, but then I find myself thinking about it a few days later.  I keep a journal filled with my thoughts on the situation.  I also read my Bible and pray a lot.  

Contrary to what people think of me (mainly my real life friends and family) because I am a very extroverted, will talk to anyone and make friends; I am a very private person.  I don't really talk about my feelings a lot because it leaves me vulnerable.  When I leave myself vulnerable, people take advantage and I get hurt.  When I get hurt, I tend to hold on to that hurt and shut myself off from that person.  

I can say my biggest success in letting go is talking to my dad after 9 years of being estranged.  He didn't meet my daughter until she was 7.  It was when my brother was sent to Iraq that I decided that the hurt he caused me wasn't worth the regret I would maybe have later in life if I didn't just forgive and move on.  I have a good relationship with him now.  It just took letting go and healing to begin.  

All I can really say; for me, letting go is hard but I am trying.  I can say that I am confident I have let go ever having a well kept house and being the perfect wife and mom.  There is no such thing.  I am okay with being the mom that makes my kid laugh on a daily basis (hard to do when they are

This is part of the Blog Everyday in May Challenge found at Story of my life.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lyrics that make my heart sing

Day 29, Wednesday: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories.

I really had to think about this.  I love music.  There are a lot of songs that make me just want to get up and dance.  I may do a separate post on that.  I dance and sing in my car.  I love it.  Anyway, I digress.  Here are 5 (okay 6) songs that speak to me.  

1. Over You - Miranda Lambert  
Losing someone very close to you is heartbreaking.  This song makes me cry every time I hear it.  When I am ready to sit down and have a good cry, I will replay this song over and over.  After I have my good cry (which isn't pretty), I feel so much better.

2.  This Fragile Breathe - Todd Agnew
A wonderfully powerful song about God speaking to us and us listening.  My favorite line of the song: You speak with thunder and lightning  Your voice shakes the mountains  The foundations of the earth.  How true is that.  I love this song.  

This Fragile Breath by Todd Agnew on Grooveshark

3. It's Your Love - Tim McGraw with Faith Hill
This is my husband's and I song.  It was our wedding song.  When we fight, that is our make up song.  The lyrics still speak to me.  This is engraved in my husband's wedding band.  We couldn't fit it in mine.  :(  This will forever be our song.

4. Just the Way You Are - Bruno Mars
Every girl should have a guy that thinks this way.  The one line that sticks out is "You know I would never ask you to change, if perfect is what your searching for then just stay the same. "  Yes!!  Every girl needs this confidence.  Thanks Bruno for reaffirming it.

5.  God Gave Me You - Blake Shelton or Dave Barnes
My ringtone for my husband.  This song gives me goosebumps when I listen to it.  The line I love from this song is "On my own I'm only half of what I could be I can't do without you.  We are stitched together and what love has tethered I pray we never undo."  So true for us.  

Okay - and for my bonus song (look at me being a rule breaker...)

 6. It's My Life - Bon Jovi
This is my anthem on life.  Period. It really is now or never.  When I need to feel empowered I put this song on and pump my fist!  Yes, it is my life.

There are my songs.  It looks like I listen to a lot of country, but I don't.  These songs just speak to me.  I can't wait to see what songs speak to you.

Find more songs at Story of my life.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A picture is worth a thousand words...sometimes no words at all

Day 28, Tuesday: Only pictures

I have to give captions.  These are my tornado aftermath pictures.  Pictures don't do it justice.  Some of these are photojournalist and some are artistic perspective.  Warning - There are a lot of pictures.  I have even more that I am working on editing and I will post to my flickr account.  

Hospital that was hit

Closer view of the hospital.  The cars embedded in the building.

Keys left on the hood of a demolished car.

Street signs from next to the bowling alley.

The sense of community - helping each other out.  

News crews from everywhere.

The 7-11 I went to at least twice a week.

There used to be houses here.

Just because I found it humorous

The bowling alley - the aerial view you can see the lanes.

Twisted metal around a tree.

A billboard sign

Cars from the interstate were brought to the Warren Movie Theatre parking lot.

I felt very sorry for this Santa hat.

Where the most intense part of the tornado hit.

Orr Family Farm.  Right next door 88 horses were killed.  It was a riding school.

Air Force One - Sunday

It flew right over my house and landed at the Air Force Base my husband worked at.

Daycare - 2 workers and three kids survived from here.
See more pictures at Story of my life.

Monday, May 27, 2013

To my readers...

Day 27, Monday: A letter to your readers

Dear Readers (all handful of you...haha!)

I am truly thankful for each of your friendships we are developing.  I love meeting new people and this blog has taken that beyond what I have ever expected.  I have gotten to know some of you very well, and some that I just met.  I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for our friendships.  I love when I get a comment.  I like being able to respond and find out more about you.  I always visit blogs from the comments that are left on mine.  

Doing these challenges have really helped my writing.  I over use commas a lot!! I also love my parentheses.  I try to proofread as I go, but sometimes I miss something.  I am not perfect, nor am I the grammar and spelling nazi.  I know your lives are as busy as mine and sometimes the brain goes faster than the fingers (case in point I typed brian instead of brain the first time...ha!).

All I can really say is: I truly appreciate every single one of you.  You make me feel special and knowing you are out there in all different states and countries is simply amazing to me.  I can honestly say in the 6 short months that I have been blogging I have become a better person because of you guys.  I know I am way more educated.  I love laughing at your stories and your comments (when  I think you all are wonderful, and I am blessed.  


Find more letters here.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Have you read that article....

I decided to keep it light hearted today.  I found an article that I found humorous. I hope you do too, don't take it too serious.  There is a few foul references and a little bit of language.  

The article is about 5 things that restaurants do that annoy people and they should stop doing.  All I can say is: Yes!  I find most of these things very annoying, but I kind of like the birthday embarrassment and I sometimes like complex menus that have a lot on them (great for places to have birthday party because you can please everyone).  

What do you think should be added to the list?  

This is part of the Blog Everyday in May Challenge (which I can't believe is almost over).  You can find more posts here.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I will never forget

Day 25, Saturday: Something someone told you about yourself that you'll never forget (good or bad)

I have had a really great day helping out the people in Moore with clean-up.  After helping my husband's cousin clean the side of their house (which is thankfully still standing...heavily damaged but still standing); my husband, brother-in-law and I went around the block just to look at the damage.  We wound up stopping and asking complete strangers if they needed help with anything.  We helped clean the room of a 12 year old girl.  They rode out the storm in their storm shelter.  I asked the girl what she thought when she got out of the shelter and her house had been ripped in half; she said "this isn't my house".  

I got to hug another home owner who just got back from burying his mom in Virginia and is still supposed to be there to help get his dad settled in an assisted living center.  I hugged a firefighter from New York who was down there passing out gatorade and water.  I hugged another home owner who had N.O.T.H.I.N.G. left of his house.  It went from being a two story house to a pile of sticks.  Luckily he and his wife checked their children out of school early because of the storms, and headed to his parents' house in Newcastle (where the tornado started).  

I saw more devastation than I ever want to see again in my life, but I also saw hope, compassion, community, laughter, family.  Every three to five minutes someone was coming around offering water, food, sunscreen, heck even a tetanus shot (which I got because I was due for one).  A church ministry from Missouri was there with bobcats and chainsaws just helping people.  Little kids, big kids, teens, people from every age bracket out there just pitching in where they could.  

So back to the challenge...a few people have told me and it sticks with me that I am a great mom.  Sometimes I need reminding of that when I feel those parent failures.  But, then I do remember that people watch my child who is a reflection of me.  I try to bring her up to be a good decent human.  Its nice when people remind me that I am a great mom.  

Tomorrow I will be back in Moore, but I am hoping to get my post up earlier than 11:15 at night.  Have a blessed day.  I know I had one today.  

This is part of this challenge.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The worst in me

Day 24, Friday: Your top 3 worst traits

I can only pick three...hmmm

I am a terrible procrastinator...proof positive, I am not writing this blog post until 6pm.  I often clean it up by saying I work best under pressure, but really I am just a procrastinator.  Like right now, I should be working on a costume list, but I'm not.  Until an hour ago I wasn't even sure we were going to have a show.  The theatre is in Moore just a mile south of the most destruction.  The theatre called yesterday and canceled our event due to helping with relief efforts and their parking lot being full of equipment.  After many many phone calls we were able to reach a compromise and bus people to the theatre.  

I am not a tidy person.  What that house is "lived in".  I have a few piles of papers I need to deal with, and last night's dishes still in the sink.  My house isn't dirty; the floors are swept 3 times a week and bathrooms cleaned at least once a week, but my bedroom has stuff piled on the dresser and dirty clothes sitting next to the bed.  I am desperately working on this horrible quality.  But, I am keeping it real on here....housework sucks!!  

Last, I am impatient.  I can't stand traffic.  I don't like waiting on people namely my family when I tell them we should have left the house 10 minutes ago.  I am one of those people who hurry up and wait, or lets hurry and get it over with so I can move on to the next thing.  

I hope this doesn't scare any of you away from being my blog friend.  I promise I have a lot of good qualities too.  :) 

This is part of the Blog everyday in May found over at Story of my life.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What I didn't learn in school

Day 23 - things you've learned that school won't teach you

I think one thing that I have learned, but not from's okay to be different.  People in real life (for the most part) don't make fun of you because of the clothes you wear, or how you wear your hair, or that you have a weird birthmark, or talk different.  People are too worried about paying their bills, working, and taking care of their family to care.  In school people get made fun of because of being different.  

Speaking of paying bills.  They need to have a mandatory realistic budget class.  Kids need to be able to have a class that is a semester long that they have a "job" and they have to pay their monthly bills and budget accordingly.  I know I got a week of teaching on that subject in an elective class, but it didn't stick.  To me personally, that is a life skill many people lack and desperately need.  

This is part of the May Blog Everyday Challenge found here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My rant...

Day 22. Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel.

Let me just step up on my soapbox.  It has some grooves in it by now...I am up here a lot. lol

Today I will talk about entitlement junkies.  People who think they should get more than everyone else because they deserve it without putting in the work.  

I usually get really worked up about this around the first of the month when I go to the grocery store and see all of the Escalades and Navigators with custom wheels and paint jobs sitting in the parking lot.  Inside, people and their children (some will pull their older kids out of school for the day just to shop) with 2 or 3 baskets full of things like steak, boxes of kool-aid, boxes of little debbie snack cakes, frozen prepared meals, huge multiple cases of Coke (pop or soda for you
They will get to the check out and their bill will be in the $300-$400 range and they will pay with their food stamp benefits.  They will then take these baskets and load them up into their cars that cost twice as much as mine.  They will usually be in some designer clothing and carrying the latest smart phone.  

Now my rant isn't about the welfare system (I could write plenty on that), but about the people who abuse it.  I know there are people who genuinely need those benefits (which are supposed to be temporary). But, a lot of people think they deserve those benefits just because they don't want to work.  And, the food stamp program should be redesigned to exclude certain things like pop and overpriced snack cakes.  Those are luxuries, they are not necessities.  They are also a leading cause to childhood obesity.  Ok, so I think this did turn into a rant on the welfare system, sorry.  I have seen people who truly use every penny of their benefits for trying to better themselves.  They will use coupons and not use all of the money all at once.  My dear friend found herself in a position with an infant and her boyfriend left her.  She had no job or no further education to provide for this baby.  She applied for benefits and then proceeded to put herself through nursing school on an accelerated program.  She was on the assistance program for 11 months.  She used the assistance for what it was there for not as a long term solution.  She also wasn't eating junk.  She used her money for stuff to make from scratch meals and water and juice.  Ok , off this soapbox on to the original topic. 

Yesterday, I was in Wal-Mart (a necessary evil).  A woman was yelling very rudely at one of the workers that she didn't want to walk down to the other side that had cashiers on it (we were at the self checkout side), and that he would need to ring her up.  She was puffing away on an electronic cigarette and complaining she needed a real one.  She also had a muzzled dachshund in her basket. She was complaining very loudly and a lot.  I wanted to ask her what made her so special.  I usually try to give people benefit of the doubt, but she was being particularly crappy.  

When I used to work at Starbucks, we had some of the worst entitlement junkies.  One lady asked us to make her drink using a brand new milk jug from the back freezer.  Our store was an extremely busy store.  We used a gallon of milk in about 10 minutes (faster than that during rushes).  Our milk was never bad, she just wanted to be difficult because she was a former worker at a different store. We just used our regular milk and she said that was one of the best drinks she has had.  

I will step down now and end it here.  I will say for the most part I try not to judge because I don't know people's situations, but I am human.  I am working on trying not to be.

I hope everyone has a great day!  All of our studio kids have been accounted for and safe.  Now we begin rebuilding.  

Part of the Blog Everyday in May Challenge at Story of my life.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Great Saddness

Day 20 - A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives

Instead of linking to my favorite posts in my archives, I am going to concentrate my post today on the tornado that went through Moore, OK.  I have personal connection to this place.  My husband's cousin and her family lost their home.  Her kids go to Plaza Towers, one of the two schools leveled by the tornado.  Her husband checked the kids out right before the tornado hit and they took cover in a stranger's basement.  My sister also lives in Moore, she and her family are good.  I have many many friends who live in Moore.  My daughter goes to a musical theatre academy there.  We have heard that at least two of our studio families have lost their houses.  We also have two studio families we haven't heard from, who's kids go to the Plaza Towers.  Many many of our families are without power and water.  

The death toll reported last night was 91.  Praise God that the number was dropped to at least 24 when they found people last night.  At least seven of those deaths were children at the school.  They were in a lower part of the school and they drowned.  My heart broke when I heard that.  The news reporter, Lance West, choked up on air when he made the announcement.  

My daughter's school district put out a phone call at 11:45 that we were encouraged to come pick up our children before 1.  After 1:00 they would not release any students until the threat was over.  I am thankful that our district did that for us.  The tornado that hit the Moore schools intensified very quickly.  Within 16 minutes it was an F5 (the strongest) and grown into a 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 mile wide tornado.  Those parents did not have time to get to their children's school.  We have tornado drills all the time in Oklahoma for this very reason.  I want to thank those teachers from the very bottom of my heart for throwing their own bodies on top of children to save them.  Teacher's deserve so much more pay than what they get.  Same thing with police, firefighters, EMSA workers, even dispatchers.  

I am so very proud of my state.  We really pull together in times like these.  The outpouring of volunteers is huge.  The Red Cross is turning away volunteers because they have too many.  In the many weeks to come, I know they will need more.  I have already signed up for the Red Cross and will just wait on my phone call.  My daughter and I will be taking dog food, cat food and towels to a temporary animal shelter for animals that are displaced.  I am really hoping we can just cuddle these pets and let them know I am sure their owners are worried about them.  

I cried and prayed all night.  I got maybe 3 hours of sleep.  I have cried all morning.  I am just emotionally drained.  What makes this even a little bit more scary for me is: my husband is out of town.  He left Sunday right before all this scary weather has happened.  We got tornados 5 miles north of us and 8 miles south of us on Sunday.  Yesterday was headed toward us before it dissipated.  We have a storm plan in place.  We personally do not have a shelter because my mother in law lives 30 seconds by car away from us and she does.  But, I had to get a freaked out kid, all of our emergency kits, and three freaked out animals in a car and to my mother in laws in torrential downpours.  I can say I did it, and I was calm about it.  I was very proud of myself for holding it all together and getting us to safety.  I think that is why my nerves are fried today.  I feel extremely bad for my husband because he had to watch all of this happen on TV.  I couldn't answer his texts while I was trying to get our stuff in the car and he was freaking out. 

Thank you for staying with me through this very long brain dump.  It has been very therapeutic writing about it.  I just ask that you pray for my great state as we rebuild after these three horrific tornados.  

So I don't cheat on the challenge, here is a link to my post from yesterday.  I am OK.

Monday, May 20, 2013

I am OK

We did seek shelter at my mother-in-law's.  A two and a half mile wide tornado ripped through the area where my daughter does musical theatre.  The studio is still standing.  Two elementary schools were leveled.  Seventy-five students and faculty are still trapped in one school.  A hospital hit.  Multiple fatalities all around and multiple injuries too. I have been crying and praying for everyone in Moore.  We are supposed to have the same type of weather tomorrow too.  I just ask if you are the praying type to please pray.  I don't normally get worked up with storms like these, but today really shook me.


Day 20, Monday: Get real. Share something you're struggling with right now

Anxiety.  My ugly little "A" word.

I am a person that likes structure and order and predictable.  When there are unknowns, it throws me for a loop.  I don't sleep well with anxiety and my mind often wonders, usually to the problem I am anxious about.  

I had a mild panic attack last night.  I am the costume designer for The Music Man musical my daughter is in.  I pretty much have two and half weeks to get costumes done and I haven't even started (cue heart palpitations).  In my defense I do not have access to the storage where all the costumes are and I wont be able to go until Wednesday.  I am hoping and praying that there are the majority of costumes in there and I only have to make a few pieces.  I am also still waiting on a final cast list.  Agh!  Huge source of frustration and struggle right now.  Too many unknowns.  Come mid-June I will be good again.  Last year I outfitted 60 + people in three different costumes for Hairspray in about 3 weeks.  Apparently I work best under pressure.  I still don't like having to wait on other people to do my job.  

I am also struggling with wanting to get up and around these last two days of school.  I am ready to just sleep in.  

Those are my struggles.  I feel like a 'debbie downer' now.  So I leave you with something a little more uplifting.  My daughter in her dance recital number.  She was in a tap routine to a song called Trickle Trickle.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Fave Five

Day 19, Sunday: Five of your favorite blogs and what you love about them

Yay, I like easy days in the challenge.  My favorite five (or more...I don't want to leave anyone out) blogs are (in random order):

Paula's Place - What can I say about this lady except that she is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  I met her through a March Blog Challenge (what?? it's only been 2 months since I discovered her?? it feels like I've been reading forever).  She is a true inspiration.  She is the primary caregiver of her husband who is at the end stages of Parkinson's.  She is also raising two of her grandchildren as her own.  She has been some amazing places and wonderful stories.  She is also my state neighbor to the North.

Ramsay Grace - One of my favorite people.  I honestly believe we could be soul sisters.  I have loved every minute of reading about her Mississippi life.  I also discovered her through the March Blog Challenge and have been reading every day since.  She is hilarious!!!  Her daughter turns 5 today, so Happy Birthday Ramsay.  One day I will make the 12 hour drive (yes, I googled it) to visit her and her nice little beach community.

Boss Nurse Speaks - Another of my March Challenge survivors.  I have recently started reading her archives (so Lisa, if you get random comments on 2 year old posts, you will know why).  She has been through so much.  I believe right now she is in a very happy spot.  She is living with her wonderful husband in a state she loves and recently reconnected with her daughter.  I cannot wait to hear more about all of her adventures.

What if this is as good as it gets? - yes, yet another March Challenge.  I only know her name as Kwizgiver.  I like the air of mystery.  She is a strong, independent teacher that I would have loved to have in school.  I love her lists (I am a fellow lister) and her poetry.  I have really enjoyed getting to know her more through this May Challenge.

Wrangling Chaos - I accidentally found her blog through another blog.  She is hilarious.  She has 4 kids, one being special needs.  Jess is very candid about her life and she keeps it real.  I have read through all of her archives and I loved it.  I have just now broken out of my shell to comment on some of her posts.

The Chronicles of Ruthie Hart - I have recently started reading her blog after she was on an episode of House Hunters.  She lives in Austin and is getting ready to have her first baby.  She and her husband look like very fun people to be around.  She also speaks about her relationship with the Lord and how much of a presence he is in their lives.  She also has the cutest French bulldog named Ernie.  I love dogs with squishy faces because we have one of our own; my pug Delilah.

Two new blogs that are quickly becoming favorites through this challenge are:

The Happy Sloths - I found Jasmine through the May challenge.  I was randomly clicking the links and I really really liked the name of the blog.  I love sloths, they are just so laid back and chill.  Anyway, back to her blog... She blogs about makeup and nail polish and pretty much all things girly.  I love the way she does her nails.  She has inspired me to start wearing more nail polish.  Her product reviews have gotten me interested in a few new things.  I definitely will be keeping up with her.

Travel Gourmande - I also found Arni through this challenge.  Her photographs are breath taking.  She blogs about traveling and experiences.  I really wish I could go to some of the places she has been.  I want to jump in her pictures.  I have really loved getting to know her through this challenge and will happily follow along virtually on her next adventure.

These blogs I will read every day (even if it is their archives).  I joined the March Challenge because I had only been blogging for about a month and I needed more structure to my posts.  Never did I realize I would find a group of amazing women I really wanted to get to know.  I am so happy I joined the May Challenge too.  I got to meet even more wonderful people and discover more about my March Challenge buddies.  You girls do not know how much you have enriched my life.  I really do look forward to reading about your lives for many years.  One of these years, I really hope to zig zag across America (and then jump overseas) to meet you fabulous women.

This is part of the May Blog Everyday Challenge hosted by Story of my life.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The day my cousin fell out of the tree.

Day 18, Saturday: Tell a story from your childhood. Dig deep and try to be descriptive about what you remember and how you felt

I was 10.  It was summer.  It was hot!  I lived with my grandma at the time, and my cousins would visit a lot.  My cousins, both boys 9 and 7, my brother 8 and I used to climb this magnificent climbing tree my grandma had out behind her house.  The tree was about 150 yards from my grandma's house and it stood between her house and the parking lot to the school baseball fields.  This tree was grand.  It had a good split in the trunk to get our footing started.  The tree had some really thick lower branches that pretty much stair stepped to the higher branches.  We spent a lot of time in this tree.  It was our favorite tree.  We would sit on the branches and sometimes watch the baseball games.  We all used to have our favorite branch.  That is until the day my cousin fell out of it.

It was Tuesday, my cousins were there for the week.  After watching cartoons until they turned to the boring old news, we got on our play clothes.  We all headed out to our tree and began climbing. My cousin, Kevin ( the 9 year old and a fairly big boy) always wanted a lower branch because he was a bigger kid.  My brother being the skinny runt he was always monkey climbed his way up to the near top of the tree.  My youngest cousin, Stephen, always went somewhere in the middle.  ON this particular day we were playing office and I was on the ground bossing them around (which I did on a daily basis).  Kevin decided to move to a higher branch for his new office.  He was straddling the branch about 10 to 15 feet off the ground.  All of a sudden we heard this small popping sound followed by a really loud CRAAAACK.  The branch that held my cousin had broke.  He landed about 3 feet down on the next branch.  He was still straddling the first branch.  The force of the 90 pound boy and branch caused the second branch to also snap and he fell the rest of the way down on top of the two branches.  This happened in probably about 30 to 45 seconds, but when your a kid it seemed like slow motion.  He got up, immediately busted into tears holding his boy parts in both hands and screaming and crying all the way back to my grandma's about "his nards are going to fall off, his nards are going to fall off".  We all took off after him.  When we got to the house, my grandma looked him over.  He didn't even have a scratch on him.  His "nards" turned out fine too.  About 30 minutes after it happened, we were all laughing about the shocked expression on his face and that his "nards were going to fall off".  Unfortunately, that was the last time we got to play in our tree.  Every once in a while, we would sneak off into it.  My cousin always made sure he stayed on a lower branch.   

This was part of the Blog everyday in May challenge found here.

Friday, May 17, 2013

My favorite photo of me

Day 17 - A favorite photo of yourself and why

Today is much easier as far as topics go.  I love pictures.  I love the memory behind the picture.  One of my favorite pictures of just me by myself was taken in Philadelphia last summer.  My husband and I went there on our 15th anniversary.  We were visiting the 5 squares of the city and in Rittenhouse Square we found a giant frog.  He was so fun and just begging to be "kissed".  I set up the picture and had my husband push the button.  I love it.  It is my profile picture for blogger.  I also love it because when my daughter was 7, the local Sears Studio had a fairy day.  My fairy obsessed daughter had to have these done even though we had just had her 7th birthday portraits 2 weeks before.  They had this cute little frog they used as a prop in the mushroom scene setup.  I asked my photographer (who had taken my daughter's pictures since she was born) if we could get a picture of her "kissing" the frog.  My photographer loved the idea.  My so much.  The picture is priceless and after our session, that pose became a signature pose during that promotion.  Here are the pictures.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

More pictures from the challenge can be found at Story of my life.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My "Lot in LIfe"

Day 16 - Something difficult in my "lot in life" that I worked on to overcome.

Today's blog challenge was just that...a challenge. I spent all day thinking about it.  I wanted to skip it, but then I wouldn't feel right.

I think I have lived a really good life to this point.  I have had some minor bumps in the road, but who hasn't.  I guess I will talk about how I was an agoraphobic for about a year.  When my daughter was about 18 months old, I had a dream that my daughter fell through the railings at a mall close to us and died.  I was paralyzed with fear.  I remember waking up in a cold sweat thinking that the dream was real.  So, I stopped going to the mall...all malls (even though the mall I dreamed about doesn't the type of rails I dreamed about).  Then I read one of those email chains about kids being taken out of baskets at Walmart and the people were shaving their heads to sneak them out (where was back then...ahh). So, uh yeah, I stopped going to Walmart or really anyplace that had baskets.  I then became extremely paranoid that my kid was going to be abducted anywhere I went, so I stopped going places.  I went to the grocery store when my husband could watch the baby and I could only be gone for about 20 minutes at a time because I would have panic attacks.  I do not really remember how I snapped out of it, but I knew it was gradual.  I think it is when I would take her to gymnastics and other "safe" places.  I knew that I couldn't live my life in fear anymore, because I wasn't living.

I did a lot of praying and a lot of baby steps, but she is very active outside of the house now.  She is also very well educated on personal safety.  We go to the mall all the time now (she is a 13 year old girl).  I still walk closest to the glass barrier separating her and falling two or three stories.  I don't want to tempt fate... :)

I am glad I got this written.  I started it 5 or 6 times.  There are other things I want to blog about, but they will come in their own time.

See more at Story of my life.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A day in my life

Day 15 - A day in my life

I will describe my day today and what the proposed rest of the day is going to be like.

6:15 - Maroon 5 sings me awake.  I love you Maroon 5, but some mornings I really do not want to answer your wake up call.
6:30 - Wake the sleeping dragon beauty.
6:45 - Fix breakfast for Elexis
7:00 - Prod her along to finish getting ready for school
7:17 - Out the door, drop off at school, home by 7:40
7:45 - Start first load of laundry of the day
7:50 - Start the coffee pot
8:00 - Drink 1 cup of coffee, get dressed to go watch my friend's baby.
8:30 - 11 - Watch an 8 month old baby who has recently become mobile.  It's a crap shoot with this baby on whether he is going to be happy or whiny.  Today he was happy.  Last time I watched him, he screamed cried for a solid 45 minutes (with me trying EVERYTHING to soothe him), before finally falling asleep on my arm.
11:10 - Fold laundry already out of the dryer.
11:30 - Shower
12:00 - Start another load of laundry and fold more
12:15 - Finally sit down at the computer.  Start blog post
12:30 - Clean bathroom
12:45 - Finish blog post ~ Now proposed rest of the day hopefully goes.
1:00 - Hopefully switch out laundry
Sweep living room, bathroom and kitchen
Put away laundry
Pick Elexis and friend up from school
Go to store
Teach sewing class
Watch a 3 year old for about an hour
Take Elexis to dress rehearsal for recital this weekend
Feed children
Take Elexis' friend home
More laundry
Dinner for me
Bedtime for the kiddo
Watch a little tv and catch up on blogs
Collapse in bed to get ready for tomorrow.

Wednesdays are usually a busy day for me, but today seems exceptionally busy.  I am ready for a little bit of laid back days of summer.

Read about other's day at Story of my life.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It makes me happy!!

Day 14 - List 10 things that make you happy

1.  Coffee - I can't have caffeine so I drink decaf.  I strictly drink coffee for the taste. Yum...

2. Mickey Mouse - Every time I see the ears I can't help but smile.

3. Going anywhere Disney (world or land) - Every time I see the castle I cry happy tears.  I spend the entire day like I am in a dream.

4. My daughter - The most joy (and heartache) I can ever imagine come because of her.
forgive my appearance, this was taken first thing Mother's Day morning.

5. My pups and kitty - I love those little furry creatures.  They bring a smile to my face and lots of laughter at their antics.  Perpetual 2 year olds all the time.

6. Traveling - I love to travel.  I like road trips and destinations (though I don't like the flying part).
Independence Hall - Philadelphia

7. My camera - Finding that great shot makes me giddy.

8. Laughing with my husband - need I say more.

9. Baking - It is a great stress relief.  I am going to start trying new recipes and I can hardly contain my happiness.

10. This blog and my blogging friends - I never in a million years thought that I would love it as much as I do.

Head over to Story of my life for more challenge answers.