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.