Thankful for my Health

slice-of-life_individualEarlier in the week I stayed home from school to care for my sick 2 year old. We all know how that usually ends up- well today was my turn. It had started last night and I tried to talk myself out of it. Like if I said, “You are not getting sick. You are not getting sick”, it was going to magically disappear. Wishful thinking!

It has only been one day. But it has been awful. I don’t need to go into detail because we all understand how the tummy bug feels. I asked my husband to stay home from work today too so he could bring our son to school and tend to the dog who would need to TLC today as well. He graciously stayed home and did whatever he could for me. I was so thankful for him.

It made me stop and think about those whose life consists of sickness and doctors visits, chemo, whatever the case may be. My heart goes out to them. I couldn’t handle just one day of feeling like this, let alone battling a disease such as cancer.

I heard on the radio yesterday after school that they were raising money for the Barbara Bush Hospital. There were children talking on air about their experiences. They sounded so strong. I am sure there are lots of feelings they encounter, but to be able to speak publicly about what they are going through amazes me. They are the bravest people I know.

Here’s to my health and reminding myself that it could always be worse.

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A Best Friend

slice-of-life_individualMy son has always loved seeing animals from a distance. He enjoys going to the zoo, animal kingdom, whatever it may be. However, when you would get him face to face with an animal that is a pet, he would freak out. It would get so bad that he would grab his father or I and try to climb up us.

Sometimes when we went to the park someone would have a dog on a leash. My husband and I would look at each other and pray that Carson didn’t notice it, otherwise he would want to leave or he would worry that somehow the dog would get loose. Other times we would prep him and say, “Look, there is a dog coming but it is on a leash and it isn’t going to bother you. Please don’t scream and cry.”

He is now 6 years old. So it went on for a while. Last year a friend of my husbands posted about her cousin selling lab puppies once they were born. We always talked about getting a dog so that maybe it would help him overcome his fear. It would have to be a puppy though. We wanted him to see it small and then have it grow with him.

The puppies were born June 1st and up until that day we had talked to him about getting a dog and he was really excited about it. He loved watching videos of the puppies running around and playing together. Since I have the summers off, Carson and I were usually together and when we had our chance to pick a puppy, it was up to him and I since his dad was working during the week.

We picked up Lexi on Swan Island on a hot summer day in July. My father-in-law came with us so that she could help with the ride home. It took us about 2.5 hours. It was an all day event. I was surprised how well my 1.5 year old did riding for so long.

The next morning when we woke up, the kids would not walk with the puppy running around. My daughter was scared, which I understand because Lexi wasn’t much smaller than she was. And Carson, well I kind of expected it to be a little challenging at first, but I didn’t think I would have to carry my kids around the house for the first day. I was not excited. I called my husband and told him I couldn’t do this all summer. I wasn’t going to have my kids petrified of walking around in their own home. But Carson got so upset when I brought up the idea of giving Lexi back. “She is the best dog ever. I love her so much and I will never love another dog!” he said. Oh boy.

So we kept Lexi. And it has done wonders for Carson. He is no longer afraid of dogs. He doesn’t run and scream or try to climb up my leg anymore. He is even able to go to a friend’s house with a dog and not have to play in one room so that the dog doesn’t bother him. He approaches the dog and pets him. And Kenzie… well she is just as much in love as Carson is. Lexi is so good with her. She lets Kenzie grab her around the neck for hugs and tries to get comfortable when Kenzie thinks she has to sit right on top of her.

I am so glad we decided to stick it out with Lexi. I am thankful for the words Carson shared with me so that we didn’t get rid of her and actually gave it a chance. I can’t imagine our life without Lexi now. My heart is full.

Sometimes we just have to wait

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Your wedding day is one of those special days some girls dream about. The proposal, what the ring will look like, what the style of dress will be, etc. I loved every part of my wedding, from the small little details to dress shopping and just a night out at the lake with girls for the bachelorette party.

I asked my sister to be my maid-of-honor. I am 4 years older than she. Growing up we fought like siblings do but there is no one else I wanted to have standing beside me than her. At the time she was dating someone. They had been together for a year or so. He didn’t have any interest in getting married.

Four years later, there still wasn’t a ring on her finger. My family and I kept asking her “when is he going to do it?”. I believe his family also gave him a hard time. Every Christmas or Valentine’s day there would be a small box for her to open and we would think, “here it is!”, only to see that it was a pandora charm for her bracelet. Ouch. She handled it very well though. Much better than I would have. I suspect you would have sen the disappointment on my face for days. Not Morgan. She didn’t let it bother her.

A couple of years later she called me and said, “I have some news for you”. Oh my gosh, I thought. FINALLY! “You’re engaged?!” I asked frantically. The answer was “no”. Instead, she told me I was going to be an aunt! I was speechless. Somehow we just skipped the idea of marriage and now we are talking about babies! How could I not be excited for her. But how I wanted her to have the experience of being a bride still.

A year or two after Ayson (my nephew) was born, my sister started receiving a dozen roses the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, my sister’s birthday IS on Valentine’s Day. I thought, “This is it. There has to be a ring on her birthday. Why would someone send a dozen roses for a week and then nothing.” I think my sister got her hopes up as well because on Valentine’s Day, her birthday, there was no sign of a ring.

At this point I am starting to get upset. I am sad for my sister because I want her to have this experience. I know that marriage isn’t for everyone. But I also know that my sister would like to get married. However, at this point, she said she didn’t really care about getting a ring.

This past year my sister and her boyfriend welcomed another baby boy into the world. With Adam working away for his job, often gone for 1 – 2 weeks at a time, my sister is super mom. She works, takes care of a home, and is the best mom to her two boys. I am in awe of her everyday. I don’t know how she does it.

This year, after Valentine’s Day, I got a text from her. Honestly, I thought it was going to be her giving me crap for not ordering her Mary Kay yet. Instead, this is what I got…

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Supportive Working Environment

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So yesterday I had to take a sick day to stay home with my daughter. She has been feeling under the weather and not really eating for the past 5 days or so. Saturday night my mother-in-law came down with it and my father-in-law wasn’t feeling any better. Since they are our day-care providers I thought it would be best to keep her with me.

Sunday night at 7:30 I sit at the table and write out my plans while my 2-year old is crying for mommy to take her. It was so hard to not be able to comfort her right then and there but if I didn’t get my work done then I couldn’t have stayed home with her. Luckily, I have master plans all ready on my computer and so I just need to plug in a few things here and there. Within 30-45 minutes I was done. Phew!

The one thing that is frustrating about teaching is that it takes so much extra work to try and prepare for a sub and then I worry about my kids and the routine being out of place, etc. I am fortunate for a wonderful group of co-workers who are willing to help in any way that they can.

In order to prevent myself from getting my daughter dressed in the morning and taking her out when her eyes and nose were like a faucet, I asked a couple of co-workers to print my plans, give my sub some information and I even had a chance to have a good friend of mine pick up my son and take him to school and drop him off.

What a blessing. I hope they know that if they are ever in the same situation they can absolutely ask me to help them!

The Love of a Sibling

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My husband and I got married in August 2009. I had started a new teaching job in September and in November we bought our first home. Later in November we found out that we were expecting our first child. We had planned on having children, but didn’t expect for it to happen so fast. Nevertheless, we were so excited for this next stage in our life.

Our son was born and life felt perfect. I don’t think I knew the depths of unconditional love until I became a Mom. He could make the most difficult days better and I would have loved to do nothing more than stay with him during his first few years of life. We were, however, very fortunate to have family care for him while we both worked. My husbands parents were both retired and offered to be our “day care”. What a wonderful gift for all of us.

Four years later we discussed the possibility of adding another addition to our family. In March of 2014 we found out we were pregnant again. Our son was so very excited and was determined that we were having a girl because he was already a brother and didn’t need another one. Fair point of view. 1780835_10101542244626259_1398626879_n

In November of 2016 we welcome a baby girl into the world. Once Mackenzie arrived we invited Carson into the room with just us so he could  meet his sister for the first time. She had brought him a big brother gift of ninja turtles and as he looked at her he whispered, “Hi Mackenzie. I’m your big brother Carson and I am going to take care of your forever.” Melt. My. Heart. I am so sad that I didn’t get that on video. But I have the memory to visualize whenever I want. 10647002_10102103534017819_8408011538153713893_n

They are the best of friends and she is at the point now that she wants to do any and everything he does. As I mom, I couldn’t be more blessed. Blessed with the life I have been given and those I get to experience it with.

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Comfortable in your own skin

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In today’s society I feel like there is so much pressure on girls/women and how they look. Women in magazines and even young girls are “fit”. They fall within a certain size category that not all women/girls fall into.

Growing up I was always involved in sports, which carried over into my college career. I never had to worry about what I was eating and how many days I was working out because I was constantly exercising and practicing for the sport that was in season. I vividly remember going to my apartment after basketball practice in college and eating from a tub of vanilla frosting for my “lunch”. I could never dream (yes, I could!), of doing this now because I don’t make time for myself to work out but also because it is absolutely not healthy… lol.

I have daily struggles with my image now. Not so much because I don’t work out as often as I’d like but because my confidence was striped from me when I was a sophomore in college. I was engaged to someone who went to school at USM and one night he told me that I was overweight and needed to run everyday and only eat salad for lunch and dinner. I couldn’t imagine how someone I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with could say such hurtful and harmful things to the person he loved. I broke the engagement off that year, but the damage by his words still haunt me today.

I have a daughter now. I wish I could count how many times I say, “Hi Beautiful”, “Good Morning Beautiful”, “Yes Beautiful”, etc. It is important to me that she grows up knowing that beauty comes from within and shouldn’t be judged by what your physical appearance looks like. Just as we preach to our students not to judge a book by its cover.

I still have some work to do, but I hope to one day not think about the one negative comment that I received about my appearance, and instead, celebrate that my body was blessed to give my husband and I two beautiful children.

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Living With Anxiety

slice-of-life_individualI have never considered myself an anxious person. Just like I didn’t consider myself a person with OCD tendencies, which the pizza post proves!

Every February is hard for me because it brings back a memory I wish I never had. My son was 18 months old. My in-laws have been wonderful to us and offered to watch our kids so that my husband and I didn’t have to pay for daycare. During this time we were living with them because we had just sold our house within a week and didn’t have a plan of where to go next.

It was a Friday afternoon and I was stopping by the bank after school. I was on the phone with one of my girlfriends and was receiving a call from my in-laws. I didn’t answer it. I had just spoken to them and I figured it was about what we were having for dinner. I said to myself, “I will call them back.” Then my phone rang again. Voicemail this time. I said goodbye to my girlfriend and checked my voicemail.

I can still remember the calm panic on the other end of the phone. It was my father-in-law. “Carson has had a seizure. He is okay, but the ambulance is here and we are taking him to the hospital. Call me back.” The 2 mile drive to my in-laws on a camp road never seemed so long.

I cried, I sped, I screamed. I don’t know how I made it there safely. As I turned the corner before their house I saw the ambulance. My heart sank. No one wants to see that vehicle parked in their driveway.

I swear I didn’t even have the car put in park before I unbuckled and swung the door open. I ran to the back of the ambulance hysterical. There was my 18-month old. Strapped down in the back of the ambulance not coherent. The paramedics put me in the front seat and tried calming me down.

I remember driving too fast for comfort, listening to the sirens of the emergency vehicle and just asking questions to the driver about how my son was doing. I made the mistake of asking if he stopped breathing and she told me that he did for a little while. Finally, 6-7 minutes into our drive I finally heard my son let out a cry. I never felt so thankful to hear that sound!

After tests were done, we found out that he had pneumonia and the seizure was due to a spike in his fever. We took him home that night and I watched him sleep. The next day we tried to keep his fever down and before we had gotten the 2nd dose of medicine into him he went into another seizure. I froze. He was sitting in his high chair eating lunch and I couldn’t get him out. I felt helpless as I screamed to my mother-in-law asking what was happening. Thankfully she was able to get him out and lay him on his side. The seizure didn’t last long but when it was over his body was so tired. He was limp and barely awake.

That was the last time he has had a seizure. But from that moment on I have been a nervous wreck about my children getting sick. If they have a fever or even a cough I start to feel sick to my stomach. I worry that the worse is going to happen to them. Most of my thoughts and worries are absurd but I can’t help to think of the series of events our family went through that day. I am not sure if I will ever overcome this anxiety I feel with sickness, but I have a great support system (my husband) who is with me every step of the way.