My Boy and his Passion for Hockey

How fast they grow up.  We, as parents often think this and say this to other parents.  I am the mother of 4 wonderful kids and my only boy is the youngest of the crew.  He is almost 9 and in 3rd grade.  He also has ADHD which makes life interesting to say the least.

There are days when I think I want to just throw in the towel and call it quits on this whole parenting gig because no one will listen to me, but even those days I go to bed at night feeling like this is the best job in the world.  It’s definitely the toughest one though.  My girls are growing up so fast.  It seems like yesterday that I was bringing my oldest daughter home for the first time.  She will be 20 in just a few months which is so hard to believe.  Where did the time go? Her sisters are 18 and 14, so life is still very busy in our house. As I said before, just where did the time go?

This post isn’t about time passing though.  This is about my little guy and his passion for hockey.  He has played soccer and baseball.  He dreams of playing football ALL the time, but last fall, he started “Learn to Play” at our local ice rink.  It’s a great program for kids ages 3-14 to learn to play hockey.  We were able to rent the equipment, thankfully, and he gets to keep the stick!  Good thing, although he already wants a curved stick!  There is a test that is given at the end of each session.  Each session is 7 weeks and he’s now completed both of the learning to play sessions! He loves it!

I have never had to bribe him to go to hockey.  I’ve had to call him off the rink so that he didn’t stay out there for the entirety of the second session at times.  He has just eaten this one up.  Even though he has to take Metadate for his ADHD to help him focus, he’s been able to perform on the ice without taking it.  We tried this and he is so focused on what he is doing on the ice that I can’t wait to see what he does next!  He practices at home with his rollerblades, his stick, and a tennis ball.  He practices with a miniature stick and tiny foam ball from a set made for little kids.  He just can’t get enough!

He knows that this is my favorite sport to watch which might be part of the reason he is into it, but I have never seen him focus on any sport he’s played like he does when he is on the ice.  He will be playing games next, but not on the whole rink, much to his dismay.  He is fast and he actually fights for the puck which he really didn’t do very much of with the soccer ball.  I’ve seen something light up in this child like never before.  I can’t wait for the next chapter as a hockey mom.

He will still be playing other sports as well, but I think he has found HIS sport.  His ADHD is controlled well when he needs help to focus on something with his medication, but it’s so nice for him to have something that he truly loves that he doesn’t need that medication for.  He’s a great boy.  He is full of shenanigans at times, but is also my loving, snuggly boy when he wants to be.  If your child has ADHD, try finding some activity that he or she loves and you will see a different child.  I promise.  It took us 8 years, but I wish he had hockey everyday!

Best Friend

Ever vigilant by your side

Ever happiest near you

Protective, playful, energetic

Expressive eyes, cold nose, wet kisses,

Faithful love for life.



It’s a Battle Out There

wash your hands

Being sick isn’t something on a mom’s agenda, but it still happens. With the weather unsure what it wants to do right now, the best thing you can do is try your best to prevent yourself from getting sick in the first place.

With that being said, your first and best defense is always washing your hands. I know your mother always told you to wash your hands, but she had it right. Not only does it get the visible dirt off, but it is still the best way to relieve your skin, your best and biggest defender, of those pesky little unseen germs that will make you sick.

Of course, if you have little ones, you will want to read on.  Washing your hands is imperative to keeping them healthy too and they are usually the culprits of the germ factory.  Once they are touching things and exploring their worlds, teaching them to wash their hands is so important, too!  Even using hand sanitizer is acceptable when there is no visible dirt, but there are times when that just doesn’t cut it.  An example of when not to use hand sanitizer is after going to the bathroom!  Ewww! Feces is just something that can carry some bacteria you don’t want to mess around with and certainly aren’t susceptible to our fabulous alcohol-based hand sanitizers.  Good old soap and water for that one is the only way to go.  

The other important thing to remember about washing your hands is that you need to wash them in soap and water for at least 15 seconds.  That means scrubbing them.  No, you don’t have to prepare them for going into surgery.  Just teach your kids to sing either their ABC’s or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”.  That will help them know that they have washed them long enough to get them good and clean.  Believe it or not, even my 8 year old son always washes his hands.  He may not want to brush his teeth or take a shower sometimes, but at least he has clean hands!


The reason I’m telling you all these things is because there is a very wretched respiratory virus that is very near and dear to my heart.  It’s called RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus.  It’s a virus that for you and me is just the common cold, but for little ones, especially under the age of 2, can land them in the hospital pediatric intensive care unit and at times on a ventilator, a machine that breathes for them.  There is no cure for it, since a virus, but there are medications to treat the symptoms.  Premmature babies, babies with congenital heart and lung defects are more likely to complications from this.  The symptoms can range from a common cold to pneumonia and respiratory arrest.  The changes happen very quickly.

This virus is everywhere and depending on where you live in the country, your season for RSV is different.  The RSV season usually coincides with the Influenza season.  The difference is that there is no magic prevention.  For those kids that are at highest risk, they may qualify for Synagis injections for the season, but the qualifications are strict and seem to be getting stricter each year.  With that being said, I’m sure the hospitalizations for RSV cases is going up.  Synagis is an immunoglobulin therapy which boosts the childs immune system, but doesn’t prevent RSV altogether, however, if they do get it, the virulence of it will be lessened.

That’s where handwashing comes into play.  The virus, like I said before lives everywhere.  You may be at the grocery store, pick up a can of soup and be the 4th person who has touched that same can.  The first person had a cold caused by the RSV virus.  If it was in the last 6 hours, you may get that cold.  Think of how easily you can spread that virus to your little one!  Yes, 6 hours and that virus is still active.  That’s how long it lasts.  If you touch your little one’s face after touching that can of soup or they hold your hand…

So, please, be careful not only to keep your home clean, doorknobs wiped down with Lysol, etc.  Please, please, wash your hands and teach your kids to do the same.  If they do have colds, make sure they use their tissues and hand sanitizer to keep their hands clean.  Keeping those germs from others is a war we fight every day.  Let’s do our best to teach our kids the first line of defense.  It’s a lesson that will last a lifetime.

War Within Me

I wake to cloudy skies, my mind at unease.

I wake to being all that has been taken from me.

No longer youthful or pretty.

No longer energetic or carefree.

I find no peace within, only chaos.

Where do I turn?  How do I cope with this day?

The same as before,

With that strength that I found

Somewhere deep inside me.

Will this battle within strengthen or kill me?

Today, I choose to live.

By Deirdre Conran

Poetry Day

I decided to share a poem I wrote today.  I just was in one of those moods today and had the notion to write a poem.  The words just came into my head and here they are.  I hope you enjoy it.  It’s not my best, but I believe it’s decent enough to share.  Please let me know what you think.  I really would enjoy hearing from you!

Days Gone By

I recall vividly those long days spent frolicking outside

Picking flowers as we made sure to smell each one.

Everything seemed bigger then than it does now.

We could play for hours and run to our heart’s content.

Fluffy clouds became elephants or bears as we lay in the fresh cut grass.

Those days are gone, my friend.

They’ve been replaced with different days though just as busy.

We buy flowers, not pick them.

The world has become so much smaller, more convenient.

Clouds are just clouds.

Just for today, I choose to pick the tulips and see if they smell good,

take a walk along the newly greened grass,

lay with my kids and see which animals we can spot flying in the sky.

Just for today, I remember those days gone by.

I am young again but just for today.


Happy Daydreaming!


Decorating DIY Diva or is that DYI?

I love a good project! How can I not want to work on some new idea for improving my home? The problem is that I often have so many projects going on at the same time! Well, I just have so many cool ideas floating around in my head and I want to try them all! Sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming and a bit daunting once I get into working on it. Most of the time I persevere and accomplish something that I’m pleased with, but not always.

One of the projects I’m working on right now is just one of those projects. It’s a great big ugly chair. It was once the most amazingly comfortable, oversized chair ever, but now, it’s a sad, old, partially disassembled mess. Who knew that those stupid staples would be giving me such fits of fury and frustration! I even purchased the material. I’m winging it on this one because I’m guessing how much material I’ll really need. I have recovered a chair before, just not attempted to disassemble one and rip every bit of fabric off of it first! AAgggghhhh! Calgon, take me away!

I admit, I’m absolutely procrastinating on this one. I’ve got to just go for it, really am not looking forward to the frustration again. They’ve put material in places I can’t even imagine them being able to do! Did I mention that I have no upper body strength? That is no help whatsoever on this project. I need muscles right now. I know if I ask my saintly husband to help me, he will, after a certain amount of grumbling. He always grumbles about having time to sit down for 5 minutes which turns into 2-3 hours when he gets home from work. I’m always wanting things done right now. It’s amazing that we work as well as we do together, but we do!

You may be asking what the DYI is for? Do Yourself In instead of Do It Yourself! This happens to me, either when I have a project like said demon chair or when I work on 3-4 projects in one day! I’ve been known to do that too. I’ll sometimes stay up until the wee hours of the night working on something. It may even be researching how to do something, but it will do me in every time. I’ll be so tired the next day that I’m ready to kick myself in the backside for being so silly!

I suppose I’ve procrastinated enough for now. Back to doing myself in with either the chair or painting the china hutch. Either way, I’ve been procrastinating on both projects and today is the day to work on both! I’ll post pictures as soon as I have taken them!

Until next time, happy daydreaming!


Loved for Life, My Love Story

20150601_194851Many years ago, my husband’s family came to town. He is the middle of five children. The year was 1971. I’m those days, if there was a new doctor in town, our local newspaper might write an article about the physician and their family. That’s how we met. You see, My husband’s parents were both psychiatrists. His dad and mom met while going to med school in Dublin, Ireland at University College Dublin (UCD). They had moved to Newfoundland where my father-in-law was from for several years before coming to the U.S. and eventually settled here, in my hometown until my husband’s senior year of high school. They moved to the suburbs of Chicago in 1984, a very sad time for us.

Because my parents read that John and Helen had gone to school in Ireland, and my parents were both immigrants from Ireland, my parents decided to invite the newcomers over for dinner. Our date was sealed, but we didn’t know it then. In fact, we wouldn’t even become friends until several years later.

I have no recollection of even meeting my beloved until I was 10. That was the year he broke his leg and was in a cast for the summer. Silly boy! His younger sister and brother and I played in the pool nearly every day. Then, one day I noticed him. Jet black wavy hair, the longest eyelashes I’d ever seen, hazel eyes and a great big plaster cast on his leg. He looked so sad! If you met my husband and his siblings, you would know, without a doubt, they are all related! I asked what happened. His younger brother fell over on his bike and into my husband’s bike and just like that, a fanstastic fracture that placed him in the hospital for a month in traction. Yuck! But even with that four look on his face, he was cute!

I eventually got to know him as I would spend more time at their house. His sister and I were great friends! They had cool stuff at their house, like an Atari 2600 and the boys would play it. Jim, My husband, was really good! I started hanging out with them as much as I did with his sister after a couple years. By 6th grade, I decided I was going to marry this boy. I think everyone knew but him. Poor oblivious older guy! 

We dated all the way through high school and half way through college. I started thinking ridiculously that he must not love me because he wouldn’t hold my hand in public. How naive and silly! Even though we lived 200 miles from each other, we wrote just about everyday to each other and talked on the phone all the time. How innocent those conversations were though. The problem was that I was growing up in some ways and didn’t know how to talk about some of those things with him.

Then one fateful day in January, 1991, I broke things off with him. I was convinced the spark was gone. He didn’t take it well at all.  In fact, he sent me the most beautiful bouquet of red roses for Valentine’s Day a few weeks later.  I was not impressed, however.  No matter what he did, I would not listen. Is this the end? No, I said he’s my husband, not my ex-boyfriend, but how we came to that stage took many years.

Until then,

I bid you happy daydreams!


A True Story of Love

Once upon a time, in a land far away, or at least that’s how the fairy tales begin. My parents met many years ago growing up in Ireland. They met at the young age of 12, or so my mother said. My father says it was later, but I always liked my mother’s story so that’s the story I’d like to tell you.  My mother was born in Mullingar, County West Meath, Ireland.  She was the oldest of 5 children.  At the age of 12, her father got a better job in the west of Ireland, in the big town of Westport, so the family moved.  That’s where our story begins.

My mother had a very happy childhood.  She adored her father, as they were very much alike with the exception of stature.  He was 6’4″.  As an adult, my mother stood 5’5.5″, the smallest one in her family.  She was always small.  There was one particular nun who used to tell her “Now, Marie, good goods come in small parcels”.  Mom passed this one on to me since I was also tiny as a child.

Once in Westport, my mother’s family settled in, for the most part.  Although her father and mother said that they always felt like “blow ins”, meaning that they never felt as if they truly belonged.  They did however, meet my dad’s parents.  As dad would tell it, his father had business in town one day and stopped by the Collins house, my mom’s family.  Who answered the door, but my grandmother stating that my grandfather was not at home but they were welcome to wait.  My mother made the tea (dinner for you Americans).  My father was extremely impressed with mom’s efficiency and delicious cooking, not to say anything about how cute she was! Ah, puppy love.  But they were kids. Regardless, that was their first meeting.

The families became better acquainted and invited my mother out to the Walsh farm for her holiday in the summer.  This happened to be where mom noticed my dad.  She was struck by how hard everyone worked on the farm.  In particular, my Aunt Bea, who was as strong as the boys and as smart as a whip, according to my mom.  Mom noticed dad’s wavy, black hair, hazel eyes hidden behind his spectacles and that when he wasn’t working his tail off on the farm, he always had his nose in a book.  Always studying.  He was quiet and reserved but very sharp.  She simply noticed, but that was it.

Mom was invited to spend more holidays out there at the Walsh farm.  She watched my grandmother brush out her long thick hair.  She worked on the farm, she cooked, she became very close to dad’s sisters.  Dad was one of 8 children, 5 girls and 3 boys.  Mom brought life to the farm as only mom could do.  Dad is the smartest man I have ever known.  Because of his incredible intelligence, he was eventually able to go off to university at University College Galway to study Medicine.  Mom was also very bright, but her family did not have a great deal of money to send her to university.  She wanted to continue to study very badly and luckily after some inquiries, her incredibly kind Aunt Lily in Manchester, England wrote saying why don’t you come to study here?

Mom left for England where she worked her way through nursing school. She sent much of her earnings home to help her family.  She and dad wrote back and forth during that time.  They had courted just prior to leaving for school, but education was always the priority in their lives.  Dad has always said, education is never wasted.  He’s right.  During the summers, mom was able to get dad a job as a porter on the railway in England to earn some money.  They dated during that time, but they were so very frugal.  While the other girls in the nurse’s home were going off to the dances every weekend having a good time, mom and dad had more sedate dates that didn’t cost a dime.  Dad always could stretch his penny.  If only we all had that gift!

When mom was finished with her nurse’s training, she went of to become a midwife.  That was the top field for nurses in those days.  She was the creme de la creme. She delivered  so many babies. Dad had to choose a residency and a make a life choice of where to live.  He had 3 sisters that emigrated to the US and he decided that he could make a better life here.  He packed his bag and off he flew.  He headed to do a residency in Ophthalmology in St. Louis while mom was back home.

Mom finished her midwifery and returned to the west of Ireland.  She started to make a life for herself again, but without him in it.  She wasn’t sure if she would ever see him again.  Her mother encouraged her to see other young men just to have something to do and to get out.  Mom knew her heart only belonged to one, however, and no matter how hard she might try, she couldn’t have feelings for anyone else like she did for my dad.

Dad finished up his long residency and although he didn’t write very often during those years, he did return to Ireland in 1960.  Mom was living in the nurse’s home in Castlebar where she was working at the time.  She always told me that when the girls came to get her, they were so excited to tell her the “Yankee Doc is here”.  She was convinced she could be cold and aloof towards him since she hadn’t seen or heard from him in some time, but when she walked into the parlor and saw him, her heart melted.  Several weeks later they were married.  She waited another 6 long weeks for her visa to come through so she too could emigrate to America to start a whole new life as an Irish-American doctor’s wife in 1960.

Mom and dad were married 55 beautiful years.  I never heard them raise their voices at each other.  They completed each other.  Dad refers to mom as his Wild, Irish Rose.  We lost mom November 25, 2015 and the world will never be the same. Dad doesn’t have his spunky other half to get him to move his “tootsies” as she was known to say.  There is less sparkle in his eyes, but I know she is somehow still in charge somehow! That was just her.

I have always said that if anyone wanted to know what true love looks like, just look at my parents.  Their love was the perfect love if ever there was such a thing.  It’s what I want for my own marriage.  I know what I observed for all of my life.  I can only hope to be half as blessed as my parents were.  Always united, always in love and only needing that one other person to complete you.

Two Dogs, One Adventure

I am the proud owner of three dogs, Duncan, a lab/retriever mix, Gizmo, a shih-tzu, and Ellie, a pomeranian.  Why then is this called Two Dogs, One Adventure you might ask.  The answer to that is very simple.  One of these lovely little sweethearts is exceedingly lazy.  Lazy to the point of sleeping 80% of the day lazy.  The other two fur balls, not so much. This is a story about Duncan and Ellie and their great overnight adventure as seen by me, their fabulous frenzied owner who was unaware of the great escape until 7AM the next morning.

The other night, I was very tired.  It was a long day spent putting my kitchen mostly back together after the countertops were finally completed (on the top aspect anyway).  More on that adventure next time.  My husband and I were exhausted.  Gizmo had been outside to do his business, for his full 35 seconds, but Duncan and Ellie decided that it was so nice outside, they weren’t quite ready to come in yet.  Per usual in our crazy  house, kids were staying up later than we were so they were asked to let the two hooligans back in when they were ready to come back in.  I didn’t give it another thought.  That was my first mistake.

The kids had been playing outside most of the day on Saturday since the weather was so unseasonably warm.  It’s February in Illinois so you never know what’s going to happen.  The 14th we had a good snow.  The 20th, we had 63 degree weather.  We always say, “if you don’t like the weather just wait 5 minutes, it’ll change”.  The dogs were enjoying the weather as much as the kids were.  It’s the kind of weather that in Florida, they wear a parka and here in the spring, we are in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops!

As I said, my husband and I went to bed. I fell blissfully asleep until I was woken up before 7AM by not 1 phone call, but 4 phone calls.  I had no idea! I didn’t even hear my phone ring.  When I finally heard it and answered it, there was a very kind woman on the other end asking me if I was Duncan and Ellie’s mom.  Of course I am!  What the heck is going on, I thought.  It’s 6:50AM! It took some time to process this, but my crazy adventurers had escaped from the open gate and had taken their own very LONG walk until this kind woman picked them up and took them home!  Thank God I had their tags on with my phone number. Those two little miscreants!

I couldn’t tell you her name.  I just know that she had my dogs at her home.  She said that she had picked them up as they walked happily down the middle of the street and she was afraid they would get hit.  She could tell they were well cared for and not used to being out on their own.  Can you imagine an 88 pound black lab mix with a fluffy 6 pound pomerania trotting along a fairly busy road looking for home?

Thankfully, at that hour on a Sunday, that particular road is not busy.  They could have gone anywhere in the 7 hours they were out.  They could have gotten hit or killed.  Who knows what mischief they got into.  But alas, as I have seen these two hooligans trot beside each other on other occasions when they have escaped their home ground prison, they never leave each other’s side.  They simply gallop, trot or stop to sniff the world at the side of the road.  This is the furthest they have ever traveled and never have they escaped for such a long time.

We love our pets very much.  They are just as important as any member of this family.  When we lose a pet, we grieve.  Last year, we lost our first dog, a former escape artist, Sasha.  She was 14 and the best mixed bred dog and friend this girl could ever have.  She came into our lives at age 2 from our best estimate.  She brought so much joy into our hearts and losing her was heart wrenching.  She was the great adventurer in her day, too.

They don’t escape often, but this adventure reminds me of how lucky I am that there are such wonderful people in this world that truly care about animals and their welfare.  My pooches are members of this family.  They are my furbabies.  I can’t imagine my life without dogs.  Yes, they are work, but what you get back is golden and can not be measured. After this mighty adventure, I will tell you I had exhausted pups who didn’t move more than a muscle or two for the remainder of the day! I even brought Ellie some food as I was concerned her blood sugar may be a bit low from such a great excursion.  Small dogs are prone to hypoglycemia as a sidenote.  Ellie was limping as well once she was home, but today is back to herself, just a little more sedated.  I think she knows she shouldn’t have done what she did.  She and Duncan have even been quieter since their return.  I won’t complain about that either.  I would hope that they learned that this is truly home and there’s no place like home.  If only we could know what they were thinking!