Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I haven't held him for a decade...

Ten years ago today we lost our precious son.

I've been wanting to write about my sweet Aidan for a long time, but haven't known where to start. So today, on the anniversary of his heavenly homegoing, it's time. I must confess that I'm afraid to write about him in some ways, because I know there is no way to capture in words how special he was, all his life has meant to me, how I've grown because I was his mom. I don't think I'll ever be able to articulate how proud I am to be his mommy. My utterings will not do him I trust that you will read between the lines and get to know him, us, and the God who sustains us a little better. Perhaps. Most of all, I pray our story is one that gives HOPE, to others walking their own difficult path...that God is faithful. That He really can redeem a terrible situation and make it Good.

This is bound to be a series of posts. So today I guess I'll start with an overview. Aidan David was born at 35 weeks with multiple birth defects on May 24, 1999. A few of his problems we knew about in advance through ultrasound. Many more were discovered at birth. It had been a rough pregnancy--as we tried to prepare our hearts to meet this little guy who would be so different than our dreams for a healthy baby, as well as navigate all that his problems meant for me physically while he was in the womb. I had many tests, ultrasounds, two amnios, many doctors appointments, surgeon consultations, debates over delivery methods, pre-term labor, bedrest, meds, late night trips to the hospital and worst of all, two hospital admissions complete with iv magnesium sulfate (if you've had it, you's like being microwaved) desperately trying to keep him in.

We were told that everything that was wrong with his little body was "fixable" or things he could live with. So, within a day of being born, Aidan began his journey of many procedures and surgeries to "fix" his little body. He spent his entire life in the hospital, and eventually died from complications of open heart surgery at age 4 months, six days. Ten years ago today.

And although we were SO scared and unsure about our life to come with a special needs child, there wasn't the slightest doubt in our hearts that we wanted him. We loved him so much. Everyone did. His fighting spirit and bright eyes endeared him to all he met. We looked forward to the day where we could tell him his story. The story of how God performed miracles on his behalf. The story of what a fighter he was. Of the challenges overcome. We looked forward to having him tell us what it was like to be Aidan. And to sharing the days ahead--challenging as they might be--together. Trusting God together. And holding him. Yeah...and holding him.

It was not to be. Instead, he completed his earthly tour in just over 4 months. He accomplished the purpose for his life in that short time.

Since that day, he is the only one of my children that I don't need to worry about. I take great comfort in knowing he is eternally safe and completely whole. But I miss him so.

10 years. wow.

To read more about Aidan, click here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

scooby-dooby-doo, where are you?

In my purse. That's right. Scooby is in my purse. least his head is. Right next to my wallet and lip balm and the silly putty, of course.

On Tuesdays, Emily at Chatting at the Sky challenges us to unwrap the blessings in the midst of the ordinariness of life. Today I am unwrapping these little silly reminders that Bubba isn't totally all grown up yet.

My kids are old enough now (13 and 8) that the days of shoving a pull up, some wipes, a snack and a sippy cup into my bag in order to leave the house are long gone...I'm happy to say that they both use the bathroom themselves, and they are able to be content (ish) at the grocery store without a little baggie of cheerios. While the good outweighs the bad of this stage of's a little sad just the same.

So, as I dig around in my purse under my seat in the dark at the Women of Faith conference this past weekend in pursuit of a pen and my hand grasps a plastic silly putty egg...I smile. My little guy isn't so little anymore...but he still shoves a toy or two in my purse. In case of a boredom emergency I guess. He's always prepared. He should be a boy scout.

I could get frustrated that I am carrying around an ever-increasing collection of boy-stuff--or I could choose to smile, and embrace these mini Bubba souveniers. I choose to smile.

And every now and then, remove a few little treasures from my purse.

And hope Scooby's head is reunited with his body soon...cause it's just a wee bit creepy.

ps. I invite you back tomorrow. It's a special day for me and I'm posting about it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

all fancy-schmancy

I added a little signature to my blog using this tutorial from Funky Junk Interiors. Thanks for the tutorial, I am not too good with all this new-fangled technology stuff. :)

How do you like it?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Operation Organization--Week Seven and counting...

I have been organizing with Melinda for several weeks...tackling one small project each week. It's been fun and it's almost done (the challenge, not all the chaotic spots in my home)...maybe we need another 8 weeks, Melinda??

This week (actually today) I tackled my nightstand, which I had let explode all over the place the last few months. Once again, the sorting revealed too much stuff for the space (sensing a pattern here). So once that stuff was taken to it's new and more appropriate home...and a container or two were added from around the house...voila!!

Much better, oui? (throwing a little french at ya today apparently).

This week is full and I'm not going to be around next Friday or Saturday to I considered not commiting to a project this week...but why stop now, right? So I picked something medicine cabinet. Things regularly fall on me when I try to extract a package of medicine...and when you aren't feeling well, who really needs that??

Here is what it looks like now:

and I really want to replace it of course...but for now, I'll focus on straightening it out.

That's all for now my organizing friends...if you are playing along, keep up the good work! If you want to check out some other organizing befores and afters click here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

it's caffienated beverage time...

sipping my diet coke...catching up with the company girls

some tidbits from my week:

** Went to the parent/staff annual meeting at the Christian school my hubby works at now. He is the Business Manager and they have had some rough financial days and it is so stressful for him. However, it was so neat to hear reports of how the financial trials are making the community bond together. It was an encouraging night. It's often the struggles that make us stronger, huh?

** My new women's Bible Study at church started on Thursday. It's kinda like the first day of school! I even had to bring colored pencils...yay, I heart school supplies!! We are studying this (below) and it promises to be super awesome:

**I've been fretting over trying to help a hurting friend this week and perhaps pouring salt in a wound. Craft! I hate it when I'm not even close to perfect. Apology imminent.

**Bubba won a character award for diligence at school this week. He was recognized in front of all of the older grades. He's not always the fastest worker...but I'm so proud that he's working hard. He's doing great at his new school. Proud mama moment.

**I managed to find time to watch one of Pickle's dance classes this week...and it is such a blessing to see her loving it. I gave in last year (after much discussion) and let her quit ballet just two months before the performance. Ballet was just sucking the life out of her it seemed. All the preciseness, and discipline, and slow progress was just not my girl. Five years was enough I guess! We are so grateful that, much to our surprise, her ballet school started offering many more classes in different dance styles this fall. She is now happily boogying her way through musical theater/tap, jazz/hip hop, and worship dance classes. The day I watched, her instructor had her demonstrate the combo they were working on in front of the whole class...aah...the smile on her face brought me joy.

** Lastly, I should let you know...I will be missing our caffienated beverage time next week...cause I'll be here:

Wahoo! Looking forward to a great time with my mom and sister.

Enjoy your weekend, company girls and bloggies everywhere!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


When your kids are the silly kind, you just might come home and find pictures like these on your camera. I did.

you know I didn't take this one...mess in the background...yuck.

check out my little doggie on his tippie toes
looking out the window for me to come home.

and never to be pirate son
this one put me over the edge :)

Those kidderoos of mine make me smile every day. They regularly crack me up. (and are quite proud of themselves when they do, I might add.) My kids aren't just silly, they are actually pretty funny. And I am NOT biased at all. Okay, maybe a little biased...but that's a mom's perogative, right?

And although we have plenty of not-silly-AT-ALL moments...I'm so thankful that my kids have great senses of humor and make me laugh out loud (for real, not the LOL you text when you aren't really laughing...) on a regular basis. Laughter is a balm. And laughing together is a different kind of embrace.

unwrapping the everyday gifts with lovely Emily at Chatting at the Sky

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Week Six Done--Operation Organization

I'm still hanging in there with Melinda's Organizational Challenge. This week I tackled our coat closet. (When I say this week, I mean yesterday morning ). And now I'm finally posting after a very full day.

Here is the closet before:

And now:

It may not look different, but I feel much better. :)

I've started to notice a pattern with my little organization projects. The most unorganized spots simply have too much stuff in them!! So far, each of my projects has involved a lot of tossing, as well as a lot of "reassigning homes" for things. Once I sort things out...I realize that half the mess doesn't even belong there! I think Flylady says "you can't organize clutter". Oh, so true bloggies. I need to stop trying to fit too much in one spot! I need to be realistic with how much stuff can fit in a space and make choices if I have too much--it's our only hope of keeping it semi-funcitonal.

In our coat closet, I got rid of a few coats that were too small or out of style, and moved a bunch more that are only used occasionally to our guest room closet. We had way too many crammed in there. The drawers you see on the bottom left are for hats and gloves. The bottom drawer for bubba, the middle for pickle, an the top for hubby and I. The thing is, if the drawer is stuffed can't be organized. Searching for things in the mess just creates more mess.

So...a bubba hat and pair of gloves were moved to his soccer bag for cold games, a few pairs of gloves to the car glove compartment (ooohhh, that is why it's called that) for those days we didn't bring any. Several extras to GoodWill. And hubby and I no longer share a was too he now has his very own bin on the top shelf just like a big boy. :) I also took all of the scarves out of the drawers and hung them on a hook we had on the door. I bought two more hooks to use there too, so we can spread them out. Just haven't had a chance to stick em on yet. And lastly, made sure everything was hung with full-size sturdy hangers. We had winter coats on wire dry-cleaning hangers and plastic store hangers in there...bent, broken, the whole deal.

So that's it. It took 45 minutes. WHY did I wait months to do this?

Okay bloggies, I must really trust you not to judge...cause my next before picture isn't pretty. It is my nightstand. Seriously....I know.

Can't blame the kids or hubby for the mess that has exploded there over recent weeks. It comes from my love for being in my bed and having lots of things near me, and that I mean to read tons of books, and that I store travel toiletries stuff under my bed...and they never made it back there after our summer trips. And that apparently, I'm a slob. SO, this week it is getting fixed. I think I'll need to make some choices again...there is no way all of that stuff can fit there neatly. So, here's to organizing--more than straightening--and a neat functional nightstand to come!

If you want to see other week six organizational victories...hope over to Melinda's post here. Happy Weekend!

Friday, September 11, 2009


Last night, Bubba innocently asked me,
"Mom, what is the big deal about 9/11 anyway?"

How do you answer that? He was an infant at the time and has grown up in the post 9/11 world. So as I tried to explain it to him...I remembered once again:

waking up that morning thinking it was a regular day

seeing the second plane hit as we watched the TV and realizing this was not an accident

the jaw-dropping shock that we were "under attack"

the feeling of confusion as events unfurled

yelling OHNO! as my car radio announced the first tower fell as we drove to school

dropping off my daughter at kindergarten and wondering if I was nuts to leave her somewhere other than home that day.

meeting a mom in the kindergarten line who hadn't heard what was happening and telling her

meeting another mom who was trying to keep it together in front of her kids because her husband was at the pentagon and she hadn't heard from him yet

seeing people at school in tears

the overwhelming feeling of vulnerability

the need to call everyone I loved

the amazing footage and images

being glued to the TV for days and days

the connection I felt to my New York heritage

the heartbreak of seeing all the flyers posted of people looking for loved ones

my daughter asking that afternoon if we could please watch something else...

the patriotism I saw demonstrated all around me

the patriotism I felt (maybe for the first time)

the flags...everywhere

being moved by the inspiring story of those who crashed their own plane in PA to save others

feeling so angry that there were those who thought of this plan and were able to carry it out

the lingering feeling that we are not as safe in America as we thought we were...

feeling SO grateful for the service of firefighters, police officers, good samaritans and our military

wishing I could do more...

I am remembering all of that and then some today. I try to explain it to my kids. They can understand the facts--but the feelings of it all are hard to pass on. I'm realizing now why former generations can be frustrated why we don't "understand" the Great Depression, the country-wide war effort during WWII, the emotions of the Vietnam War crisis...we get the facts, but it's hard to feel it. We are the on the other side of it all.

My kids live on the other side of 9/11.

(linking up with Company Girl Coffee today...hi girls! If you would like to read a more light hearted post from my week, click here. I'm off to clean out a closet, prepare for Sunday School to kick off this weekend...and have a diet coke in a mug in your honor )

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

we committed the unpardonable food sin

I value transparency. I believe in the power of bringing things into the light. So, although not without some fear and trepidation, I have a confession to make before God and blogland.

I feel the need to give the back story first. Hubby and I went away for a night this past weekend. Just to a hotel about 45 minutes away. We had things to talk about—some financial planning, etc.—and wanted some uninterrupted time to talk. (read here: we had to treat ourselves to a night away to make ourselves talk about our least favorite subject.). We had a lovely productive afternoon, and were ready for a late dinner and movie on our big flat screen tv in our room. Our hotel was very near The Cheesecake Factory. We don’t have one in our town. We LOVE The Cheesecake Factory. So it was pretty easy to decide that’s what we wanted for dinner…and to make it even more kicked back and fun, we decided to bring the deliciousness in to our room to devour there. Oh yes, we live life on the edge.

But alas, what to have from their monstruous menu?? We decided to skip the entrees, cause we absolutely wanted appetizers and wanted to save room for dessert. Cause the cheesecake from The Factory is like a taste of heaven. Particularly the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. It’s perfect with diet coke too, in case you are wondering. J


So we are online, looking at the menu and deciding what to order. Here is where the sin first started to sprout in our hearts. (you know, like when Eve started to listen to the serpent in the Garden…)We couldn’t decide and ordered WAY too much. We got us some delicioso corn cakes, and some fried calamari (or as Bubba calls it—crunchy dead squid). Yummmm. Then we ordered an appetizer salad (sounds small, right?) for each of us. And cheesecake for each of us...even though we often split a piece.


Our first clue that we overdid it was that when hubby brought the multiple bags of food into our room, he looked like he had been grocery shopping for a family of four for a week. We laughed—it must be the large packaging— lots of air in those bags.

Our second clue was that there were EIGHT sets of plastic silverware in the bags. This much food? Must be for eight. Oh my goodness. The corn cakes were heavenly and the calamari was all crunchy dead squids should be. The salads were huge (I’m guessing each was to be a salad for several people to appetize on.) We couldn’t finish the salads, but we did some damage.

So, it’s time for the best part—cheesecake!! Yummm. Uh Oh—WAY too full. Hubby too. So we put the cheesecake in the room’s mini fridge for later. We never got over the full. So they stayed in the fridge til morning. Now, I know what you are thinking…the cheesecake made a great breakfast, right? Good thought. Nope—Chick-Fil-A was across the parking lot and was calling our name. We brought that in too, so we could finish our financial stuff. We figured the cheesecake could be for dessert. Again, kinda full. Decided to wait.

And here is my (our) confession. We NEVER ATE THE CHEESECAKE. What a sin! There are people out there who don't have cheesecake! Please don't judge us! At some point in the afternoon as we were shopping we realized that we had checked out of the hotel and the cheesecake was still in the fridge in our room! You could just cry, couldn't you? The little slices of heaven gone to waste! We never get a chance to get cheesecake from The Factory! And it’s quite a treat at $20.00 a slice!! (actually, I don’t think it’s nearly that much, but it is a splurge…especially TWO pieces!!)

I am being somewhat silly here, but in all seriousness, when we discovered what we had left behind, we told each other we could NOT tell ANYONE. We felt so stupid and wasteful. Later we realized we would not be able to quiet our souls until we fessed up. So, thank you bloggies, for reading our tale of over-indulgence and forgotten goodness. Thanks for not judging us. If you ever need to fess up to throwing away good guacamole or leaving a full ice cream container out on the counter to melt, or other such food-sin--I'm totally here for you.

And here's hoping the housekeeping staff was smart enough to sit down and eat the yumminess. Maybe we should have left them the extra forks. We had plenty.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesdays Unwrapped: little traditions

I don't know if we even call it a tradition. But it is one.

It's just not one of the big ones--like turkey on Thanksgiving or church on Christmas Eve. Those are non-negotiable. It's more of a little tradition. We have all sorts of them...many of which seem so normal we don't think of them as traditions. They are just what we do.

This weekend we participated in a once a year tradition. On the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, we get up early and get our sleepyheads down to a large park about 20 minutes away to see the Balloon Classic. Between 80 and 100 hot air balloons hit the beautiful Colorado blue sky at 7 am. With the mountains in the background and a little lake for the balloons to touch their baskets down in, and the bright colorful balloons...the sites are just breathtaking. We get close enough to touch them as they inflate, and applaud with the crowd as they each take their flight.

At least that is how it is supposed to go. How it goes most years. However, this was one of the other years. Where the weather doesn't cooperate. We woke to fog...and when 7 am rolled around, the scheduled mass ascension was scrapped due to a low ceiling. They did "stand up" some of the balloons, so we could see them.

But instead of seeing this:

we saw this:

It really didn't matter too much. It was just good that we did it. We didn't mind getting up early and not seeing the balloons lift off. It would have felt worse (somehow) to have stayed in bed. We would have felt we missed out. We went, we wove our way through the inflating balloons. We enjoyed being with friends and family. We went out to breakfast afterwards. (that is another very important part of the tradition). It wasn't the perfect morning, but it was great, because we did what we do. I did get two pictures I like from my camera before the batteries died:

I love the colors.

Pickle with her little energizer bunny cousin.

Traditions are some of the thicker threads that make up the fabric of life. They serve to provide some pattern and consistency, whether they are woven in everyday or once a year. And they add to the beauty of it all.

I read this quote on Facebook today-"my dear, my life is made up of these small things. I gather them up and they make a life." (shout out to Phoebe who posted this quote from a coworker). I read it and thought--this quote goes with Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting At The Sky. I'm linked up there today--click over to read more of the wonderful and ordinary unwrapped as the gifts they are.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Operation Organization--Week Five. Check.

Week five of Melinda's Operation Organization Challenge is complete and I'm still on board. I think the reason I've been able to stick with it is because I've picked really reasonable projects. Not whole rooms. Not file cabinets. Just little drawers, closets, messy spots.

Last week I planned to do my linen closet, and I'm tickled to say I did it. It wasn't hard, because it has been organized before--so I went with a similar arrangement. AND, it gave me another opportunity to use my beloved label maker with hopes of the whole family knowing where things go. One can hope, right?

Here it is:

No major discoveries in there, except several duplicate cleaning supplies I didn't know I had, and enough "plug-ins" (fragrance makes me happy) to fill a shoebox. Labeled the shoebox too. Yippee!

I didn't work hard to make it perfect--just GOOD ENOUGH. Good Enough. Something I've been working on saying to my perfectionist self. Something I've learned to be OK with. Cause I've learned from Flylady and others that sometimes my perfectionism keeps me from doing anything at all. Cause I don't think I the have the time, the creative ideas, the cute container, whatever I think I need to make it PERFECT. So I don't bother to do anything. Good enough is way better than not done at all, and almost as good as perfect. I mean, I'll admit, there is a part of me that wants to go out and buy all new towels and color coordinate the closet and put things in size order. But this is good enough. Good Enough is good enough for me. At least I want it to be...

This next week I plan to take on our coat closet. Since it's the summer, we haven't been using it daily, but all sorts of things have been shoved in and thrown on the floor. Time to straighten and purge and be ready for the season of coats to come. Again, not a big project...but this way I know I'll get it done...and a good-enough-straightened-closet will make me happy. :)

Here it is today in all of it's glory...

It's never to late to join in and take the challenge to organize one spot in your home each week. You don't have to make it perfect. Just good enough, baby.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

there's nothing to see here folks

This is my third week joining the Company Girls for a coffee blog-chat...and I have a confession to make. Just feel like I should be up front and honest with my new coffee friends. I don't like coffee. There. I said it. I don't want to hide behind the laptop any longer...I am not drinking coffee. I don't like it. I realize that makes me a social misfit of sorts in the starbucks generation. To make matters worse, I also don't like tea....ooooh, how I wish I liked tea. It's good for you they say--especially if it's green. I've tried. Don't like it. Not even the iced version. No secrets here--my caffienated beverage of choice is diet coke. But since it's coffee-time, I'll put it in a mug and try to fit in. :)

it even looks like coffee, huh? I'm so sneaky.

Well, this week has been fairly uneventful, and for this I'm happy. Nothing to take for granted, right? I posted a tribute to Panera Bread Company, and a link to a-hit-you-in-your-gut-post I read this week. Other than that, and the normal craziness, it's been smooth sailing.

Although, there was one thing this week that was a little out of the ordinary. My jaw hurt. The muscles hurt, it spread to my neck, my ears, then my head...totally impossible to ignore. The short version of the story is that I am now sporting a nifty night guard in my mouth as I sleep. It really helps! I didn't think I'd like it, but although I can't quite describe why...I really do. And I think I'm starting to feel better (today I may even walk on the wild side and go down to two ibuprofen at a time!) And I look amazingly good in it. (Right.) Let's just say if I was going to add something transparent to my nightly wardrobe...this wouldn't be hubby's first choice!

I am looking forward to the long weekend. Tomorrow we will get up early and head to the park to watch the mass hot air balloon ascension as is our labor day weekend tradition. So beautiful. Maybe I'll take some pics to post here. We have a neighborhood party in the afternoon. Sunday - Monday will be some quality time with my hubby. YAY.

Enjoy your weekend, bloggies!


Hi bloggies. If you know me, you know I'm rarely speechless. But this post, today, has left me speechless. Convicted? pretty much. Heartbroken? definitely. Overwhelmed? absolutely. And speechless.

Read this post from someone I don't know, but in one post has completely earned my admiration, and inspired my prayers, and touched my heart.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

it's good for my soul

what is, you ask?

Panera Bread.

It's coffee shop-bakery-soup-sandwich-bread-salad yumminess. But beyond the yumminess, Panera has become one of my settle-my-soul places. I usually go on Tuesday soon as I'm done with kids-off-to-school stuff (today was about 8)...and stay until the lunch crowd starts piling in around 11.

Why is it a settle-my-soul place? I go by myself. There are tons of people there...and sometimes I know some of them, but we don't chat (much). I bring my journal and colored pen (a colored pen is a must--more fun to write with), my Bible, my devotional book (right now I am loving The One Year Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie), my work notebook and my computer. I get a yummy cinnamon crunch bagel or a spinach artichoke souffle and a diet pepsi (the one downfall of the place is they don't have coke products, but I forgive it).

I grab a table--preferably one of the two that have access to an outlet for my computer with the lame-o-battery. If those tables are taken...I sit nearby and pretty much stalk them. You know, in the non-obnoxious way of stalking. When one is vacated, I pounce on it! I mean (ahem) I calmly walk over and put something down to claim it.

Many things happen on my Panera mornings. I have extended time to write in my journal. I write pages (today orange was the ink color of choice). I spill out all of the things that are weighing on my heart and mind. I read my Bible and devotional and see what God has to say to those things. What He wants to say to me. I don't rush. I journal some more. Sometimes I write lengthy prayers--although more often my entry ends with a simple "help!". God often works in my heart through those entries and through His word. I look at my calendar. I get myself organized. I write lists in my notebook. I think through things I need to work on at church. I catch up on some emails. I write a card or two. I read ministry stuff online. I think. I don't talk.

The noise around me helps me most of the time. My mind is less apt to wander when I'm concentrating on tuning others out. I'm weird like that.

My soul settles. It takes a deep breath. It lets go of the troublesome feeling that I'm forgetting something. I drink in Peace from God's words, which is more satisfying than those diet pepsis I also drink plenty of.

aaah....Panera. I think I love you. Even if you don't have diet coke.

after writing and posting this...I came across the walk with Him wednesday community and decided to link up...since my panera time is a practice that draws me closer to Him. Check out the wonderful post today at a holy experience about building a house of prayer. wonderful. A peaceful blog I plan to revisit often.

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