Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The New Kid

We all know what it feels like to be the new kid. And we all ask ourselves the classic internal questions.  Will everyone like me?  What exactly am I supposed to be doing?  Will I totally embarrass myself on the very first day?  Who will I eat lunch with?  Am I wearing the right clothes for this?

I have been the new kid with each move that my family has made and with each new job that I have taken.  It doesn't get any easier.

I was the new kid when we moved from Albany, GA to Cincinnati, OH.  I remember everyone making fun of me because of my "twangy" accent.  One kid in my class didn't even believe that I was American.  He told his mother that they had one foreigner in their class and she was from Georgia!  Being the new kid isn't easy.

I was the new kid when we moved to Perry, FL midway through fifth grade.  On my first day of school I remember Amanda Wiles towering over me to see if I was a Florida fan or a Florida State fan.  Looking eye level at her FSU Seminole sweatshirt I immediately claimed allegiance to Florida State. I wore my new grey suede boots with plaid roll down cuffs that day and felt good about it.  Trey Howard laughed at me and said "Nice boots, Fancy Girl."  Well,  at least I had Amanda Wiles on my side! But the Fancy Girl nickname stuck for a while. (And I never wore those boots to school again!)

I was the new kid when we moved to Germantown, TN.  My best friend lived there too and I was so excited to have an instant friend.  After she introduced me to her friends I realized that she wasn't the person that I thought she was.  She was letting her friends read all of my notes that I wrote her during class.  They would memorize my notes and repeat them at lunch.  I was so embarrassed.  Lunchtime became so lonely.  I hated being the new kid.

I was the new kid when I started working for American Express.  I was lucky because Kelly Myers was the new kid with me.  At first she hurt my feelings on a daily basis with her dry-biting sence of humor, but then I realized that she was teaching me some valuable lessons.  She was honest, funny, and got me in lots of trouble.  I loved every second of it.  She toughened my skin and helped me find the humor in life.  Being the new kid is much easier when you have someone to share it with.

On January 3rd I will be the new kid again.  I got a new job working for the school district.  It is only part time, but I am asking myself all of those same internal questions.  Will everyone like me? What exactly am I supposed to be doing? Will I totally embarrass myself on the very first day? Who will I eat lunch with? Am I wearing the right clothes for this? 

We will see...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Good-bye Mini

Yesterday we traded in our minivan for a new car.  I have never been your typical car person.  I've always felt that a car just needs you get you from point A to point B.  It needs to be reliable, practical and safe.  I don't really care what color it is or if it has any bells or whistles.  Just want something to get me where I need to go.

In 2006 we had a 3 year old, a new baby, and an unreliable car.  Tod and I decided that it may be time to get a minivan.  I never thought I would be one of 'those minivan moms'.  After test driving just about every minivan that was on the market I decided on the Dodge Grand Caravan.  The dealership had 3 to chose from.  My decision basically came down to color and automatic doors.  If I was going to have to trade in my Cool Card for a minivan I was getting automatic doors/tailgate and it was going to be black (the coolest car color out there!).

Over the next couple of years I was so in awe over my power doors and tailgate.  My life of loading groceries, kids, and overall stuff became so much easier.  Press a button it opens. Press it again it closes.  Ahhh.

Then after another couple of years and I had burned the motor out of the automatic doors.  I was back to manually opening doors.  I have learned my lesson.  Bells and whistles can be more of a headache than a bonus. 

The minivan was a very reliable vehicle for us.  We only had one hiccup.  We broke down in Lexington, KY (only an hour away from our destination).  We were able to pull into a gas station and call our insurance company for a tow truck.    A very scary man with a giant tow truck came to rescue us.  With the four of us crammed in the cab with the scary driver, our minivan was taking the ride of its life.  We cut through rush hour traffic, did illegal U-turns, and took corners at top speed.  All with white knuckles in the cab, but you could almost hear the minivan saying, "wheeeeeee".

We ended up at the scary tow truck drivers shop.  As we drove into the car shop and the chain link fence gate closed behind us I got a little scared.  Three very frightening men took the minivan off the truck and quickly got to work.  These were the roughest men I had ever seen and none of them remembered to put their teeth in that morning.  They told us that it would take about 24 hours to fix.  We called Tod's parents and they came to our rescue.

The next day Tod and I went to reclaim the minivan.  The shop manager (yes, he was toothless too) gave us a detailed list of everything that they had to do to the minivan.  He explained what happened and why. We chatted for a while with him and his mother.  We found out that this was a new family auto repair business and they were just getting their business started.  We were their first customer.  They were thankful, gracious and unexpectedly professional.  When I got back in the minivan I noticed that they had washed it and vacuumed the inside. After a 8 hour car ride you can imagine how dirty the INSIDE of the minivan was.  This "breakdown" taught me a valuable lesson on not judging a book by it's cover.

So I say goodbye to our beloved minivan.  It taught me that going back to the basics just makes life easier and that there is a simple goodness in people no matter what package they come in.   

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Just Dreaming

Have you ever had one of those dreams that just stick with you?   It is a little too strange to ignore.  Well the other night I had one of those dreams.

My Great Uncle Harold was in my dream.  We always called him Uncle Brother because my Grandmother called him Brother her whole life.  It just seemed so natural to have an Uncle Brother and I never thought it was weird until one of my friends pointed out how odd it truly was. dream took place at my Uncle Brother and Aunt June's back yard.  Uncle Brother approached me with his horse Pepper in tow.  I remember Pepper.  He was a tall white horse with back specks on his back end.  Uncle Brother handed me the reins and said to me in his slow Southern accent, "It is now your turn to take over."  I took the reins and he tipped his hat to me and strolled away. 

That is it.  It may be nothing but the dream was so vivid.  I even did some research to find some possible meanings to my dream. 

To dream of Horses -

To see a horse in your dream symbolizes strength, power, endurance.  It also represents a strong, physical energy. You need to tame the wild forces within. The dream may also be a pun that you are "horsing around". Alternatively, to see a horse in your dream indicates that you need to be less arrogant and "get off your high horse".

If the horse is white, then it signifies purity, prosperity and good fortunes.

To dream of an Uncle -

To see your uncle in your dream represents some aspect of your family heritage and trait. It also symbolizes new ideas and emerging awareness. Consider the idiom "say uncle" to mean surrender or admit defeat.

I am not sure how to put these pieces together and not sure if I really want to know it's specific meaning.  I just can't get the image of this dream out of my head. 

Last night Uncle Brother and Pepper crept into my dreams again.  This time he said to me, "Please take care of everything." Then handed me the reins, tipped his hat, and strolled away.  


Now I really can't stop thinking about what this dream could possibly mean.

Today at lunch, Brady and I went to Panda Express.    After eating I cracked open my fortune cookie.  My message : YOU WILL RECEIVE A MESSAGE FROM A GREAT DISTANCE.  Ok. Now I am completely freaked out.  I need to figure out what this message is and how to handle it.  What am I supposed to do with the reins. 

Maybe tonight I will get some answers.....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Proud Moment

There are many moments when I am proud of my kids.  Their grades and effort at school always sends me beaming.  The way they treat their family and friends is with such kindness.  When someone compliments me on my kids it always makes me proud.  Whether it is because of their manners or their spirit it always fills my heart to hear someone boast about them.

When Jacob was little I would get so frustrated because I wanted and expected so much from him.  I wanted him to be on his best behavior at all times thinking that what he did or said reflected on my parenting.  I guess that is one of the fears with becoming a new parent.  Finally, Tod sat me down and gave me a very honest lesson in "lowering my expectations".  At first I thought he was crazy and he didn't know what he was talking about.  I am the mother.  I am the one that people will judge if my kids do anything wrong.  What does he know.

Over the last couple of years I have taken his advice.  I have "lowered my expectations" in a way.  I have learned to just step back and allow my boys to learn from their mistakes and take note on others behavior both good and bad.  We continue to have conversations on what is acceptable and expected, but we are very loose on the interpretation.  My apron strings are not as tight as they used to be.  Don't get me wrong...I still hover....a lot.

This week Jacob has been in basketball camp at our local YMCA.  He loves it.  Every afternoon he shows me what all he has learned and wakes up early to practice in the garage before we go.  Today when I picked him up he was very quiet.  I asked if anything was wrong and he said, "No. Can I watch some TV when we get home.  I'm tired."  Sure.  It has been a long week.

We were only home a few minutes when I get a call from the Y.  His basketball coach called me to tell me about an incident that happened at camp today.  I went in the next room and listened in private.  Jacob overheard a conversation between two boys.  An older boy told a  younger boy that he was going to bring a gun to camp tomorrow and someone was going to die.  I was beside myself with shock when I heard this.  The younger boy was so afraid.  Jacob took the younger boy to the coach and told him everything he heard.  The older boy admitted what he said.  The Y has a zero tolerance in these matters (this is actually the first time this has happened there) and this child has been permanently released from camp and can no longer attend the Y. 

The coach was calling me to tell me how proud she was of Jacob.  She said that he certainly did the right thing and should be proud of himself for informing the coach right away.  She said that it took courage to stand up to an older kid and stick up for someone else.  I was teary when I hung up.

I asked Jacob what happened today at camp.  He retold the same story the coach did.  I gave him a big hug and told him how proud I was of him.  He said that he knew he had to tell on the older boy, but felt bad because he was getting in so much trouble.  He felt like it was his fault.  Oh...this is why he was so quiet.

We had a talk about sometimes doing the right thing can be a very hard thing to do.  I am so very proud of him. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Louisiana 2012

Every summer we head to Louisiana to visit my Grandmother.  The boys love going and were so good on the 12 hour drive down (and back)!  Each time we go there is always a new adventure.  This year we were able to see a logging operation!!!  I think I was more excited about this than the boys!  It was such a neat experience!

Here are the boys in front of the tree saw.

Brady in the Skidder

Jacob in the Skidder



Jacob, Brady, and Mimi

One of my Grandmother's friends has a pool.  The SAME pool that I swam in each summer as a little girl.  Every day we headed over to the pool to cool off and splash around.  Brady and my Mom had water gun fights and I was able to teach Jacob how to of an actual diving board!!  Yep...not many pools left with diving boards!  He loved it!

Jacob....loving the diving board!

When it was time to leave there was a very loud "NO!!!" from the boys.  Makes me feel good that I am not just dragging them around to my summer haunts!  They are having just as much fun as I had!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Toot! Toot!

This blog post has been a year in the making.  I've had several titles rolling around in my head including -  365, I Did It!, and Run! Kat! Run!  I decided to go with Toot!  Toot! because this is the best place for me to just toot my own horn.

Well, today I did it.  I ran every day for one year.  Every day.  Running.  For a whole year.  I have to admit it is a little anti-climactic...until I looked back at what a year it has been.

I ran through pouring rain, 100 degree heat, 40 mph wind gusts, and a Christmas fog so thick that I almost got lost.

I ran through sinus infections, respiratory infections, massive hangovers, and two broken toes.

I ran through cities like Charlotte and Washington, DC.   Mostly I ran through small towns like, Gatlinburg, TN, Warsaw, KY, Morganton, NC, Rayville, LA, Hilton Head Island, SC, and Nokomis, FL.

I fell once - pretty bad.  I was chased by barking dogs.  I was almost hit by a car and have learned NEVER run in the neighborhood on Garage Sale Day!  

I have also learned a lot on my runs.  Not only about myself but about my surroundings.  Here is what I have learned...

*I love my Brooks running shoes
*The serious dog walkers are out at 5:30am
*Running is a great way to see a city
*People in small towns love to wave at you as you pass them on their porches
*I can never EVER be a foot model - even if I wanted to
*I no longer have back aches
*I feel like I am being a good role model for my kids
*I am stronger than I thought I was

Tomorrow, Tod and I are going out to celebrate our (yes, he has been running for a year too!) one year anniversary.  And, yes...we will keep running...every day.

Friday, May 18, 2012

An Opportunity

For the past few weeks I have been watching two little brown birds build a nest inside the flowerpot on my back porch.  At first I was a little disgruntled.  I know my flowers will die because I cannot water it anymore.  And these little brown birds have made a huge mess digging out the dirt and piling the small pot with pine straw.

Well, a couple of days ago a neighbor was driving by and she stopped to talk with us.  We asked about her family and she told us their sad news that her pregnant daughter is going to lose the baby because of a genetic disorder.  Tod and I instantly teared up.  We shared our story with her about losing a baby between Jacob and Brady.  I offered to speak with her daughter if she had any questions or needed anything else.  Later that night I get a text from her daughter saying "Can we talk tomorrow?"  I have to admit I was a little nervous, but was more than willing to sit with her.

Yesterday I sat across from a very beautiful teenage girl going through something so very adult.  She is having to make decisions that will effect the rest of her life.  We talked for about half an hour and I realized that it doesn't matter what stage we are in our lives that we become a mother, but it is the instinctive notion to protect our children that unites all mothers.  She has accepted the fate of her child but struggles with the continuous pain her child will go through.  We ended our conversation with a hug.

When I got home I watched the two little brown birds continue their nest building.  They are so focused and it is a constant flow of pine straw, leaves and twigs to finish this nest.  Soon we will have some little eggs to watch and hope to find some little baby birds hatching.  I will allow them to make a mess of my back porch.  Life is messy and we need to cherish all of it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Favorite Quote

My new obsession is Pinterest.  I can get lost in this website.  We even painted our living room black...yep...BLACK after seeing some gorgeous pictures of black rooms.  It looks beautiful and was glad a daring decision turned out so beautifully.

Yesterday I came across this quote (not sure who the author is) - 

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming, "Whoo Hoo, what a ride!"                          

I LOVE this.

I am not one to take risks, to seek danger, or to live a life of excess.  I do like to live my life though.  I am still learning to not be so careful all of the time, not be the one who sits on the sideline, and not to be the parent who wraps their children in bubble wrap every time they go out of the house.  Again - I am still learning NOT to be this person.

This quote is going to be my new motto in life.  I want to enjoy this ride.  I want to be able to tell the stories instead of listening to them.  I want to show my kids that there are joys in life to be experienced and we may skin our knees and elbows in the process.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


When I was in high school a friend of mine talked me into donating blood with her. She was very passionate about it. I reluctantly agreed and allowed them to take my one pint of blood. The best part was drinking OJ and having a cookie afterwards. We did this every three months together. It was just something we did without even thinking about it. We had it on our school calendars and would meet after school and head on over to the blood bank.

I even continued to donate blood while in college. Every three months. This is where I was asked if I wanted to be registered to be a bone marrow donor. After reading the information I said, "Why not?" So in 1994 I registered to be a bone marrow donor.

Fast forward 18 years.

While helping the boys with homework a few weeks ago I got a phone call from a number that I didn't recognize. Normally I would let this go through to voicemail, but for some reason I answered it. A very nice lady on the other end said, "Hello Mrs. O'Donnell, I am Linda with the National Marrow Donor Program and you are a 'potential' match. Do you remember registering for the Donor Program back in 1994?" Uhh....

Yes. I do remember but I truly thought that it was like the lottery. My "number" would NEVER be picked. Right? Wrong! My number was picked??? My number was picked!!!!!

The very nice Linda sent me some information via email and some forms to send back to her. She told me that it could take up to 60 days to find out if I am a "true match" for this gentleman who is in need of a bone marrow transplant.

Sixty days to wait. I was surprised that I was so panicky. I felt so much pressure. It is like I didn't want to fail this ultimate test. Of course I was going to go through with it if I am a true match,! There is a person out there that I have never met before that my bone marrow could possible save his life. That is a lot to take in.

Well, I have been (not so) patiently waiting for my letter to come in the mail. It came. And, yes, I am a true match! I am a true match!!! I cannot believe it. I am a true match....

The letter states that the gentleman that will need my bone marrow is not ready for the procedure yet, but I will be contacted once he is ready.

I will be giving my bone marrow many pep talks in the next few days/weeks/months...however long it takes. I am still in a little shock over this. I guess I always new I had potential...

Monday, March 12, 2012

What's on the inside?

My son Brady is the most inquisitive kid I know. And the question he asks most is "What's on the inside of _______?"

After a trip to Discovery Place he was able to have some of his questions answered. We got to see what the inside of the heart, the brain, bones, and the planet Earth looks like. He is now asking questions about things like mushrooms, rocks, and dirt. Our usual answer is , "just more dirt", or "just more mushroom".

His most resent question had us trying desperately not to laugh and hurt his feelings. "What is on the inside of testicles?" Our answer...."just more testicles!!!"

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cheers From the Playroom

Sometimes going on my daily run can be a challenge. Rain, cold, sickness, and even wind can play a huge factor in outdoor running. Well, today's challenge was....I needed to run, but who was going to watch the boys??

I decided to leave them in the house for the first time by themselves. Jacob is 9 so I figured this was OK to run in the neighborhood and leave him in charge. I left strict instructions and had them both repeat them back to me so I knew they were paying attention...then off I went.

Usually I wind my way around the neighborhood and eventually end up back at the house two miles later. Today was different. I didn't want to be too far from the house just-in-case I am needed. So I ran a small loop then back and forth and up and down my street. Never out of sight for more than a couple of minutes.

On my first pass of the house all was quiet. On my next pass the playroom window opened and the boys started shouting at me. I quickly turned off my ipod and yelled, "You OK?" They both started yelling, "Great job, Mom!" "WaHoo!" I got a huge smile on my face and kept running back and forth and up and down my street. Each time I approached the house the window would shoot up and the cheers would begin. "You can do it!" "Awesome!" "WaHoo!" "Go! Mom! Go!" I was beside my self with pride.

When I finished my run I ran upstairs to the playroom and told the boys that their cheers meant so much to me!

Me: Man, You guys are great! That was so sweet and you kept me going!
Jacob: Yeah! It was cool!
Brady: Mom, we are so proud of you!

Oh, my gosh! I couldn't speak because I got so choked up. I gave them each a kiss on the head and went downstairs to cool off.

Today I felt like a champion!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Knowledge is Power

Yesterday I found out that I hurt a friends feelings. Even though it was inadvertently...feelings were still hurt...and I caused it.

Knowing that I hurt a friend hurt me. Severely. I believe within a half hour I experienced every emotion. I was sad that I hurt them, embarrassed that I hurt them, angry that they were even hurt, surprised because I had no idea that I hurt them, and then back to sad.

I have to hand it to my friend because it took courage to even tell me that I had done something that hurt her feelings. When someone hurts my feelings I usually internalize it and then poor Tod gets an ear full at a later date. Then I feel better and move on. (Not sure if Tod has moved on or not....) The other person never knows that they even effected me.

The benefit of my friend telling me is that I was able to apologize. I was able to tell them how much their friendship means to me. I was able to realize that knowing that I hurt them was so much better then NOT knowing.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Would I be revealing too much if I admit that I love to check the mail? This is truly one of my high points of the day.

I absolutely love the distinctive sound of the mail truck slowly making its way to our house. I do wait for our blue gloved mail carrier to get out of view before I eagerly waltz to the mailbox. No need to completely embarrass myself.....everyday.

My favorite mail day is Magazine Day. It is that one day of the month that every magazine is delivered. Opening the mailbox and seeing it completely stuffed gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.

The worst mail day is Tuesday. Every Tuesday we get the Super Saver Ads. That's it. Just the Super Saver Ads full of discounted gutter cleaning, outdoor fireplaces, and hard wood flooring. I should just take Tuesday's off from my mail gathering, but I have that just-in-case feeling that maybe, just maybe there may be a little something extra in Tuesday's delivery.

We never get bills anymore thanks to online bill pay. We rarely get junk mail - an odd Geico or AAA membership may sneak through. This limits our mail to personal letters (which are rare thanks to email which isn't nearly as fun checking!), magazines, promotional ads, and Netflix movies.

There is talk that the USPS will stop Saturday delivery. I have mixed feelings about this. I like Saturday delivery because it comes earlier in the day. I don't have to wait until 4:30pm for the mail to get here. I also like Saturday delivery because I can time my Netflix movies for a Saturday movie night. I understand that the post office is losing money and they need to make cuts somewhere. Might I suggest stopping Tuesday delivery??

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Celebration!!!

Tod made me promise not to throw him a 40th birthday party. So... I reluctantly promised.

I have been thinking about his birthday for quite some time now. I wanted it to be special. I wanted it to be fun. I wanted him to remember this birthday. Well...I shouldn't have promised. I totally should have crossed my fingers like I did when I was little.

Then the light bulb clicked on.

There is nothing more important to Tod than his family. He cherishes the time he gets to spend with his parents and his brothers. Before Christmas I put the bug in his and my family's ear that I wanted everyone to come to our house to celebrate Tod's 40th birthday....and don't tell him because it is a surprise! Before I could blink, flights were scheduled and plans were made to come to South Carolina in January!! I couldn't be more excited!!

Then I thought, what in the world am I going to give to Tod for his birthday? I mean 40 is a big one, right?!

Another light bulb.

I wrote a letter to all of our friends and family and asked them to do a random act of kindness in honor of Tod's birthday. Tod doesn't like "things" or "stuff" so everyone contributed to putting a smile on someones face by doing something kind. Some bought lunch for others, some wrote letters of thanks, and others helped those in need. I was overwhelmed by the response!

Last Friday Tod walked into our crowded house to a loud, "SURPRISE"!!! He was noticeably shocked and he couldn't have been happier. The next day I presented him with a print out showing all of the acts of kindness that his friends and family did in his honor. He was just as overwhelmed and pleased that so many people participated.

Thank you to everyone who spent their time and money to make this birthday fun and memorable!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bear with me....

I started this blog to have a place to show off the kids. Both sets of grandparents live out of town plus we have extended family all across the country. I wanted them to see the boys grow and give everyone little tidbits of our daily lives. As time has gone on, my blog has progressed. Sometimes I use it as a platform, sometimes as a way to brag on myself, and, yes, I still like to show off my boys.

Today I need this blog as a form of therapy.

Today I witnessed the saddest thing I have ever experienced.

Today I will forever be changed.

Our friends and neighbors lost their son on Thursday. His funeral was today. Colin McConaughy was only 2 years old.

Sitting in the church I recognized about half of the people as neighbors. Jacob and I sat with my closest friend Tracy. In front of us two neighbors and their families that have become like family to us. None of us spoke. There were a couple of goofy faces between the kids, but the parents couldn't even look at each other.

The service started with the hymn "On Eagle's Wings". Even on a normal Sunday this song chokes me up. None of us could sing. Then a very small casket was slowly carried to the front of the church. The tiny silvery blue casket was adorned with white roses and blue carnations. It was beautifully sad. Colin was followed by his parents. Andrea and Rob had tears coming down their faces. So did the rest of us.

The mass was very sweet. Father John said perfect words to Colin's family. Words that just seemed appropriate. Words that they needed to hear.

When the mass was over Father John said that the parents would like to read a letter that they had written to their son. There was a sorrowful gasp throughout the church. Rob slowly approached the podium. Andrea couldn't find the strength to stand up and go with him. So Rob read their letter. After he said the words, "Dear Colin," the sobbing began. Not from Rob, but from every parent in the congregation. There was this blanket of saddness that came over every person there. I listened to every word that Rob read. This letter could have been written by any one of us. He talked about Colin's first words, his love of the letter Q, him being "Mommy's shadow". The most heart wrenching part was when he read Goodnight Moon and finished with "Goodnight Colin. Goodnight noises everywhere."

There wasn't a dry eye in the church.

This saddness was overwhelming.

We took them dinner tonight. I had to say a prayer for strength before we left the house. I didn't want to fall apart in front of them. We rang the doorbell and they welcomed us into their home with open arms. My small contribution to their awful day just didn't seem like enough. I wanted to cry and scream, "WHY? WHY! WHY?" We talked for about five minutes. I told them how much their letter ment to all of us and how much Colin has changed our lives. Andrea smiled and said that she was happy we had a chance to meet Colin and be part of thier lives.

Tonight I will hold on to my boys a little tighter and a little longer.

Tonight I want my friends and family to know how much I love them and care about them.

Like I said, today...I am forever changed.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Very Sad Neighborhood

It seems like when something bad happens time just stands still and the world just goes on around you.

We have new neighbors that moved in last summer. Our older boys are the same age and play well together. Andrea and I have joined a small neighborhood book club. It has been so fun getting to know her ... she is a very interesting person.

Yesterday her youngest son (2 years old) passed away. He got sick on Tuesday, they found that he had a brain tumor on Wednesday, and he died on Thursday morning. All of the neighbors are in shock.

Today I will go over to Andrea's house to offer my help and support. I don't know what to say. There is nothing that I can say to make anything better or easier. I believe just saying, "I don't know what to say" is better than saying nothing at all though. I cannot begin to imagine her pain and sadness. The ultimate grief is the loss of a child.

It will be a very hard year for my new friend. I will pray for her and her family and hope our friendship will provide her an outlet to grieve.

Friday, January 6, 2012


On Christmas morning Jacob was so excited to get a new scooter. It is the type that has a lever on the back that you pump and it will propel you forward. Very cool. He loved it and rode it in the cold Kentucky weather. The next day we went to North Carolina to spend Christmas with my family and he rode it in their driveway and at the park. He loved his new scooter. This made Santa very happy!

The day we left North Carolina Jacob came up the steps of the basement and was crying out in pain. He said that his leg hurt. Let me tell you something about Jacob. He is NEVER sick. And when he is sick you would NEVER know. He is just such a happy-go-lucky kind of kid. Tod and I were instantly concerned and gave him some ibuprofen and headed home. We asked Jacob all kinds of questions and we decided he must have pulled a muscle from pumping the scooter.

Jacob rested all that day and the next day. The pain didn't get any better. Tod and I didn't sleep or eat much for two days. We were so worried about him. Saturday morning (New Year's Eve) we all hopped in the car and headed to the doctor. The doc agreed with us that Jacob had a pulled muscle and it will take about 3 weeks to heal. Three weeks! Jacob felt terrible that it would take that long to heal and now hated his new scooter.

That evening we were headed to a New Year's Eve party. I got the boys in the shower before we left. Jacob is 9 and I no longer supervise his bath time, however I was getting Brady dressed and I noticed all of these red bumps on Jacob's butt and lower back. It looked like little spider bites. All I could think of was what else can this kid get himself into?

The next morning there was no change. The pain was still in his leg and the bites were still there.

The next morning everything changed. Jacob had these little "bites" all over his right leg and the pain was still there. We headed back to the doctor. After the doc examined him and asked a hundred questions he asked us to wait a minute and left the room. He came back with another doctor and she examined him as well. I kept making goofy faces at Jacob to keep everything light, but inside I had this heavy sinking feeling that something was REALLY wrong.

The diagnosis...shingles. Yep, shingles. It took two doctors to diagnose shingles. Why? Only 5% of shingles cases are in children and Jacob is the first patient both of these doctors have had in their office to have shingles. We found out that there is nothing we can do to treat him except ibuprofen. The side effects of the medicine is so severe for children that they won't even prescribe it for them. They kind of have to suffer through it and it will take about 10 days to clear up and he isn't contagious.

On the ride home I asked Jacob how he is feeling. He said that he was happy. Happy? What makes you happy? He said that he was happy because it wasn't his scooter that hurt his leg. Well, that put things into perspective for me. We need to focus on the positive....always.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Safe Place

About a month ago one of my friends had their home broken into. Luckily they were not home and only electronics were taken. The burglars did leave a big mess. Now they are left with the clean up but the bigger mess is they are now missing that feeling of safety in their own home.

I have to admit I have such a strong sense of safety in my own home. I know all of it's little creaks and sounds. Whenever I close the door behind me I just feel like I am in a safe place. I cannot imagine having that taken away from me. Having a stranger go through my belongings gives me the creeps.

I have been thinking a lot about this safe feeling. I remember as a kid I always felt safe wherever my parents were. Didn't matter where we were, just as long as they were there. Even after having a bad dream I knew they were just down the hall. I would pull my sheet over my head and disappear under its safeness and fall back to sleep.

What do you do after your one safe place is disrupted? How do you sleep? How do you get that strangeness out of the house?

I may just put my sheet over my head and remain in my little safe cocoon.