If Only...

This past weekend, my Sidekick and I went on our first romantic getaway in over 4 years. We left the boys with friends (thanks!), and headed for the hills (literally- we went to a nice, quiet resort town in the mountains). It was beautiful, our suite was beautiful and it was fanastic eating whatever we wanted, sleeping however long we wanted, and going where ever we wanted. It was the perfect weekend, right up until we loaded up the trunk and walked around to unlock the doors. That was the moment that we realized we had just locked BOTH sets of keys in the trunk. The trunk of the convertible mustang (which has no trunk release anywhere in the car- you either needed the keyfob or the key- ALL of which were IN THE TRUNK).

We were over 100 miles from home, out in the middle of no where, with no way in the trunk. We had My Sidekick's wallet, our phones and a bottle of water (and a pack of Mamba candy- thank heavens!) It was pretty stressful, but we took a deep breath and jumped into gear, looking up numbers on our phones with the help of google and making calls. After an hour and half a dozen phone calls, we found a locksmith that could drive out and make us a new key for $150. A little over an hour later, we were on our way, with a new key and the info we needed to get reinbursed from our insurance.

As we were driving home after our mini crisis, we passed a road sign that said, "50 Days Since the Last Serious Accident. Please Drive Safely." The number on the sign was electronic and it obviously updated daily and had the ability to be reset. 50 Days ago, some one was in a serious accident on that same road. The sign was most likely there because there had been many serious accidents on that road. Possibly even fatalities. It made me start thinking, what if our mini crisis had saved our lives? What if this irritating and uncomfortable experience had put us on the road 2ish hours later to avoid a serious accident or some other tragedy?

I've seen lives forever changed in an instant and quite often when there is a tragedy, we say, "If only...". "If only they had taken another route home." "If only her mom had found her sooner." "If only the driver had had one less beer." "If only..." Have you ever stopped to wonder how many times "If only" did happen. Once we were staying in our familys' cabin. I put Rascal, who was not yet 1, down for a nap while the adults did work updating the cabin. Halfway into his nap, an annoying alarm kept going off through the monitor that I had luckily ("if only") brought. It turned out that it was the carbon monoxide detector that my aunt and uncle had luckily ("if only") brought to the cabin. It had been set off by the generator that was running right next to Rascal's room. He would have died that day, but instead, by divine intervention, "if only" happened. I will be eternally grateful to the baby monitor and the aunt and uncle that saved my baby's life.

I'm sure this is not the only time "if only" has happened in my life. It's just one of the only times that I was aware of it. So, instead of being all upset that our weekend getaway and subsequent evening was ruined and altered (we had a babysitter that we had to cancel, we missed a meeting we had wanted to attend, and we had to impose on our friends to keep our kids longer than originally planned), I am grateful that sometimes "if only" happens, even if it is irritating at the time. Chances are, we would have driven home just fine, without incident, but you never know... I imagine all of the near misses are recorded on the other side, and I bet we'll all be really surprised when we get there and see just how many times there actually were in our lives.



I am not usually at a loss for words, but recently I've been informed of something that has left me pondering more than talking.

Our good friends, Don and Joan, have suffered a loss in their lives. Their conjoined twin grand-daughters have completed their time on earth after almost four years of fighting. Every time I would hear of these little girls, the word "miracle" comes to mind.

Emma and Taylor Bailey were born almost four years ago and the doctors never gave them much hope. The doctors speculated that they would survive only a few hours. These precious little girls were joined from the waist to the sternum and shared a heart. A heart that was not large enough to sustain both of them.

I've pondered lately what exactly it is about these girls that automatically makes me think "miracle". What exactly is the miracle here? Is it that they lived almost until the age of four when they were given only minutes? Or maybe that they actually grew and thrived in spite of the odds they were given? Or possibly that they were able to touch as many lives as they did in their short time? Or was it simple that they left when they did, that the miracle was actually the fact that they were finally relieved of the pain and torment this life held for them?

I'd like to think that the miracle is that they were here and touched the lives that they came in contact with. Just like every other child who is born, the miracle is the gift of life itself, regardless of how long or short it was. I personally think it is amazing that these two little girls, who were best friends, maybe even because they had to be, were here and lived their life together. They came into this world together and they left it together, and that is the most miraculous thing of all.

Emma and Taylor Bailey

Whaddya think?


Button Error

If you have copied and added (or tried to copy and add) our adoption button to your blog or website, it turns out there was an error in the code. It's working now, so you could copy and repost the button now, I'd appreciate it! Sorry and thanks!!


How Will You Serve?

Before I had any of my kids, I had a tubal pregnancy. After 3 long weeks pain, ER and doctor visits, it ruptured. It took 5 days for the doctors to determine what had happened and by that point I had lost half of my blood volume. I was rushed to the hospital for a blood transfusion and emergency surgery.

I remember sitting in the doctor's office having the ultrasound. I was soo excited to see my little peanut on the screen. It would have made all of the pain and nausea worth it. I remember the nurse saying, "Is that the baby right there?" and then the doctor replying, "No,there is no baby, I'm not sure what that is." (It turns out it was a ball of blood.) I was shocked. As the doctor was caught up in the emergency of the situation, I was finding out, in a matter of seconds, the baby that I thought was growing inside of me, was not there. As I recovered from my surgery in the maternity ward, I could hear babies crying in the rooms surrounding mine.

After I was released from the hospital, physically I recovered quite well, but emotionally, I was sad and lonely. We were in school, at a new place and my family was hundreds of miles away. We would have had to deal with our grief all alone, if it wasn't for our church family. For a whole week, at lunch time, a "sister" from our church showed up with lunch and ate with me. Sometimes she did the dishes or took out the trash, but mostly, she took an hour out of her day to let me know that others were aware of my pain and I was loved. I didn't have great physical needs, but emotionally, this was just what I needed. I've often thought of that time in my life, mostly because if I had been asked what I needed, I would have never asked for that, because I didn't know I needed it. It took the insight of someone on the outside, to stop, look and think. I was changed by that experience. Not only did I indeed make it through this hard time (and end up with 3 adorable, although BUSY boys) but also I learned that often times, the person who needs service the most doesn't really know what they need and it is up to me (or everyone else) to stop, look and listen.

This year marks the 9th anniversary of September 11th, the day that America came together as one and we all became "brothers" and "sisters". Appropriately so, it has also been decided that in order to remember what happened that day, it has become a National Day of Service. There are countless organizations all across the country that are coming together to find ways to serve others. My family (even Rascal, my 2 year) has been collecting school supplies for less fortunate children and supplies for our troops. We will spend the Saturday assembling boxes of goodies for those who keep us safe and letting our friends, loved ones and those who will become our friends, "shop" for the things they need as school begins.

As a society we could all benefit from thinking less about ourselves and more about how we can help those around us. So, I challenge you to stop, look, listen and plan the ways your family can serve on 9/11. There is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and lifting someone up.

Whaddya think?


I am a SAHM

I had someone lately, refer to my current occupation as a "Domestic Goddess". Hmmm. I guess so.

I don't have a fancy law degree, although I settle disputes every day. I never went to med school, but I can butterfly a cut like the best of them and diagnose a multitude of illnesses from ear infections to pink eye. I never got an accounting degree, but I balance the budget every month, much better than the government. My psychology classes never ended with any kind of fancy certificate, but I listen to problems and offer advice on a regular basis.

I am a Mom. Everyday.

My day starts in the wee hours of the morning and goes until the wee hours of the next morning. I don't get vacation time, paid or otherwise and I don't get holidays. The pay is nonexistant and I get peed on, pooped on and thrown up on more than I care to admit.
I have to make it a conscience decision to close the restroom door in public, because I haven't used the bathroom alone in 8 years. I stay up late folding mounds of laundry while everyone else watches tv. I am constantly on the go and get the "you have your hands full" comment from strangers on a regular basis.

BUT, I get to play in the playland at McDonalds. I get to make a fool of myself dancing in my family room until I'm too tired to move. I can play kick ball in the backyard and swing so high that my feet touch the sky. I can go for a walk and marvel at the frogs, baby bunnies and birds. I can walk across a log and not care when I fall into the stream below. I can play at the beach until I am covered in sand. I can go to bed without having the dishes done because I was too busy playing games. I can read stories every day. I get paid in kisses.

I am a Mom. You can call it a "Domestic Godess" and I'll probably buy whatever you are selling if you do. But, the fact is, I am just a Stay At Home Mom. And I couldn't be more prouder or more thrilled because being a mom... rocks.


A Low Cost Year

I decided a few weeks ago, that my family spends too much money. Partly because things cost too much and partly because we've been buying too many things. It seems that holidays (like anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, Easter, etc) have become less about the celebration of the holiday and more about the presents you buy for the holiday. When did birthdays cost hundreds of dollars a piece? First you have to rent the bouncy house ($150- $350), then buy the party games ($50+), then the party favor bags ($50+), and themed paper goods ($75+), and then on top of all that, you have to buy the new expensive toy that is out ($100+). Who can afford that? But, my kids go to parties like this ALL THE TIME! This year I told them that they could either have a pricey party/cheap gift or a pricey gift/cheap party, but since their birthdays are a month apart, it still cost like $450! OUCH! And pretty soon, Rascal will realize his party was a $10 cake and a $15 gift and he'll protest the unfairness! With so many of us, it seems there is one holiday after another. Somehow, we (and I mean my family along with society) have moved from the celebration of the event to this high cost extravagant life. So, after receiving a couple of credit card bills, I put the kibosh on our family's spending. I decided to try an experiment. For the rest of this year, we are having a low cost year. That means, that birthdays can not cost more than $20 (luckily for the boys- they've already had their parties- but even if they hadn't- I would have figured out how to make a creative, awesome, low cost party!) Anything over, MUST come out of the monthly budget! Our anniversary in Aug- $20 per person for gifts. We may head out of town for a night, in that event, we'll swap a night of babysitting and pay for the hotel out of the monthly budget (which means saving up and going without some leisurely luxuries.) Christmas has a $20 per person budget and everything must have a hand made part. (Santa will still come. He's separate) But, hopefully, this will help us get back to the family togetherness part of the holiday and focus more on the creative giving instead of the receiving part of the holidays. It will take a little more thinking, a little more creativity and and lot less money. But, I hope it will be lots of fun as we work together to find the perfect gifts. It will take a lot more time, to think, to plan, to work, but that's why I'm starting NOW!

I realized the other day as I was making my mental list of all the things we "need" (new desktop computer, movie making computer software, new camping gear) that life would be utterly boring and sad if we could just go immediately buy everything we "needed". There would be no saving, no sacrifice and ultimately no joy in the new item if everytime we wanted something, we ran out and just bought it. I hope I never have that much money.

This anniversary, will be remembered, because we sacrificed to make it happen. This Christmas, will be remembered because it wasn't about what we received but rather what we shared (without being tainted by financial stress).

I challenge you to join us. In this time of economic uncertainty and stress, what will you do to bring the joy back to your holidays? How will you bring the focus back to the art of giving instead of the oogle eyes of receiving? What will you do make the holidays less about money and more about family togetherness? I'd love to hear your ideas as well. Here are some sites for homemade gifts:

Not Made of Money

Family Crafts

Easy Homemade Crafts

Whaddya think?