The Most Magical Time of the Year

Well, I was just done posting this and somehow deleted the whole thing! Ugghhhh! Yes, it was an accident. I was happy with my writing only to have to recreate the post in its entirety. That being said, what a wonderful theme to write  about, the holidays. 

Holidays are times for family and friends to gather and be merry. I’m nearly done with my interior decorations but we haven’t done much outside yet. I have shared some of my Christmas crafting in a previous post, and I am able to enjoy some of the fruits of my labor. I’ve also made gifts for friends this year, but I’m not quite done. does it ever seem like you are never quite done, or is that only me? 


Decorations are a big thing in our house and it’s so nice to enjoy them for those few weeks before we take them down and decorate for the next much smaller holiday of valentine’s day. With the discerning eyes of my 15 year old and myself, we have managed to whip this place into shape for Christmas but we have more plans, or rather, I have more plans. Bringing them into fruition is the next challenge. 

Our next big holiday tradition is baking cookies, or course. The 15 year old wanted to make cut out sugar cookies yesterday but alas, the 1nswer was a resounding NO! Am I a mean and cruel mom? No, but the 18 year old will be home Monday and would be so upset if we made those without her. That’s a family affair in this house! if you don’t like to war these cookies, you must have something wrong with you genetically! They are the best cookie in the world hands down. Granted, we make many other ones like Swedish spice cookies, peanut blossoms, and a variety of others. These 3 are the staples of our Christmas baking.

I can’t wait to have most of the family together. Tomorrow is the day I’ll get to pick up my baby girl from school!  She’s coming  home for a month ya’ll! My oldest girl will be in California for the holidays and my dad and brother will be in sunny Florida.  I will still have the boy and my minime. I will also have my sweet and dear father-in-law for Christmas.  He has to be the easiest guest ever! 

Being together and celebrating Christmas us such a special tradition. We celebrate the birth of Jesus by heading out to midnight mass each year. Usually, my girls are singing but this year they will not be which will be strange. With one in California and the 18 and 15 year olds at their dad’s Christmas eve, you will find me with my remaining  boys in our usual spot are the church listening to the joyous and holy music and liturgy, all the while I will be thinking of my mom and nanan who have passed from this earth to join in the heavenly celebrations with the saints. I will be thinking of my daughters, my son, my dad and my brother, praying for their joy and health. I will be thinking and praying for my friends and relatives hoping their Christmas is blessed by happiness and love. I will pray for those without home, family or friends to be with at this time of year. I will try to make a difference in someone’s life this year as a always try to do each year. I will try to be joyous and bring joy and peace to those around me and to those whose lives I’ve been blessed to touch, if only for a moment. This is my Christmas wish. What’s yours?

Can I Please Have Another One?

“She’s so perfect. I’d go through it all again right now to have another one just like her,” I said to my then husband while still laying on the surgical table right after seeing my first born daughter. I had a very hard time having that child, but seeing her, here, in the flesh, made everything right. She was perfect. Blond hair and blue eyes. Eight pounds and 12 ounces of absolute love all wrapped up in a tiny bundle for me to love for the rest of my life. How could life be better? I wanted a second baby and I wanted one soon. 

Life with our newborn was blissful. She was the perfect baby. She wasn’t fussy and rarely cried. She was such a happy girl. I loved being a mom more than anything in the world. She was my world. I wanted more and I wanted more now. Unfortunately,  my now ex-husband was very happy with one. would he come.around? Ever?

One year after having our first daughter, I finally got the begrudging okay to start trying for number 2. It took several months to get pregnant. At one point I knew I was pregnant but the pregnancy didn’t take. All the symptoms were there. But if I had been, I wouldn’t have the daughter I have now. And I wouldn’t want anyone besides her. She’s special. 

I got away with having baby number two despite his misgivings about another baby but she has been such a joy I can’t imagine life with our her. She wasn’t the easy baby her sister was. In fact, she wanted what she wanted and would make it known until you figured it out! 

As she grew into herself over the years, she has been nothing but joy. she is such a diligent worker. she’s always ready to conquer the impossible with grace and hard work. My life has been so blessed by this child and she continues to bless those having the pleasure of knowing her. 

Recently, she started her pre-med/sociology studies at St. Louis University. She loves it there and works very hard. She is very involved with a service program called Camp Kesem which provides a week of camp to children whose parents are suffering from cancer. She has been on the fundraising trail so that these kids are really able to attend such are really great experience are able to just be kids for a week, leaving the problems and worries of cancer and home for a week. She’s still trying to raise money. The cost of camp is free to these kids so all the money must be raised by others. if you would like to help her and these wonderful kids, just click the link, https://donate.kesem.org/fundraise?fcid=791355

I’ve never been prouder than  I am of my children. I often thank God for allowing me to have such amazing kids, but it could have ended with just one. Thankfully, I persisted and got number two. They will all do great things, but I got away with having number 2, my mini-me.
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This has been a Finish the sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence was “I got away with…”

Hi Mom, I Miss You

This used to be one one of my favorite times of year, wI think the weather changing to crisp, autumn days and nights in need of cuddles, but last year something happened that changed , your life forever. My mom, my best friend, my mentor, had a hemorrhagic stroke on October 21st.  That day will forever be the day my world was turned upside down, never to be the same again. 

My mom was a woman of great strength to all who met her. She exuded energy and ultimately life itself. Never did anyone imagine that in a blink of an eye all that life would be changed and then lost just 5 short weeks later when she would take her last breath.  This was the woman I looked up to always for guidance. She wasn’t allowed to just not be here anymore. What was I supposed to do now?

This year has seen many changes brought on by the catalyst of mom leaving this world for the glory of heaven. I have changed and I hope for the better. I don’t take days for granted anymore or the joy of my family. I’ve switched jobs and I am no longer scared of change like I once was. I am happier in some ways, but the fact still remains that I am now, a motherless child. 

It makes no difference how old you are when  you lose your mom, you always need her. I was very fortunate to have her as long as I did. I know, because of  her strength and teachings, that life goes on and that there is still beauty in this world. Last November I wasn’t quite so sure as the days turned into weeks in the hospital. 

I am blessed that mom was here for me when I graduated high school and college, got married, had kids, got divorced, got remarried and had another child. I am blessed now that she is in heaven watching over all of us, probably having a good laugh most of the time and shaking her head the rest. the bottom line is, I am truly blessed. 

I still cry just not so much anymore. It helps me get through the pain that lingers still and I’m sure always will. We have made it through all the firsts with the exception of just a couple coming up. Her birthday and the first anniversary of her death. I still want to pick up the phone and call her. I always will. I miss her voice so much. I wish I could talk to her and hear her reactions to my stories. I so miss her laugh and her little clearing of her throat. I just miss her, but she remains in my heart, always.

My mom always said she would be my best friend someday when I was a teenager and I never believed her. Funny, she was right as always! I wish I was that smart with my kids!

Since mom’s death, I treasure my family even more than before. I drive even more safely. I don’t take unnecessary risks,  not that I did before,  but I’m not in a hurry to leave planet earth for a long time yet.  Maybe when I’m 90. Maybe, if the kids are okay. 

Fall Has Arrived

It’s that time of year when school is back in full swing and the weather begins to turn cooler. It’s fall! This is one of my favorite times of year, before it gets too cold. 

I am a lover of warm weather and sunshine, but when the autumn chill hits the air, I love to snuggle under my blanket, grab my cup of coffee, and write. Watching the world around me change each day gives me new life and brings about new things to write about.

Have you ever looked at the leaves on an overcast day? The leaves changing color becoming so vibrant in the coolness of dusk or more vibrant still when it rains softly.  What a beauty to behold!

Fall also brings about Halloween which in our house means festivities and decorations. I used to go all out and then life got in the way. Well my friends, Pinterest and I have become good friends and I have plans for this year! We even hope to have one of our parties since my biggest Halloween fan, my 15 year old, will have practice for a show on Halloween itself. Let the good times roll.

Another thing I’ve always loved about fall is the food. Comfort food. Chili and cornbread. I make the best cornbread. It’s sweet and tastes like heaven. Caramel apples, fruit cobblers, bread puddings. And there’s football and my favorite sport, hockey! God bless my St. Louis Blues! 

So as we begin this fall, take a moment to think about what you are grateful for. I have so much. No, ibdont have everything, but I have the most important things life has to offer. I have my health, my family and my friends. Let’s make this fall a fall to remember. 

When Your Child Leaves for College

Just yesterday we got our second daughter settled into her dorm room at her chosen university. What a joy to see such an already accomplished young woman begin her transition into college life. Was it difficult as her mother to say goodbye to my precious baby girl? You betcha! But knowing she is just beginning her journey into a whole new world full of great new exciting experiences helped me get through it. Her joy kept me steady throughout the day, too.

Sending a child off to school for the first time is scary for both parent and child. It is important to remember that you aren’t losing your child, but instead you are helping them realize their dreams and aspirations. Sure the dynamics of your house will change. I’m down from four kids in the house to two, but when they all come home, it’s as if they never left. The love and laughter is there. The loudness is deafening but would we have it any other way? I think not!

Having two daughters who have gone through this experience of moving away to college I’ve learned a lot. Hopefully, my experiences will help others going through this. Just remember that each child is different and will experience it differently. That, I believe is key.

Having said that, I will tell you that even with my daughters’ roomates their experiences were different. One daughter was ready for us to leave once she was unpacked and we had gone out to eat. She also ended up wanting frequent visits from me. She wasn’t happy where she was and eventually changed majors and schools. The other daughter knew how she wanted everything to be, wanted to do it herself, but wasn’t in a hurry for us to leave. One roommate had parents that hovered, a lot. The other roommate had her parents leave and she took care of herself for her dinner on the first night. As I said, such individuality among the students.

For the students, let your mom hover a little bit. They need to feel useful because you are growing up and will be on your own for the first time. Mom wants to show you her love on move in day. Just this one last time. It’s important for her. 

Moms need to let their student set up the room as they want it. This is their space, not yours. They are needing their independence so let them assert it today. Don’t stand in their way. I had to learn this. I got it right with number 2. I am ever the work in progress.

No matter how prepared you think you are, Wal-Mart and Target are your friends. You will need a trip there for those things you didbt think of. Things like a scissors, ice cube trays, command strips, a broom or a clock to put on the wall. 

Go out to eat as a family when it is all done. Make it special. Yes, you’ve spent all this money on college and the supplies needed to get them there, but even if it is just McDonald’s or a pizza, spend that time together, exhausted as you will be. It is totally worth the effort. It is a memory you will treasure forever. That’s what family is all about.

So, this fall, as the kids go back to school, I have 2 daughters now in college, 1 son in high school and a son in 4th grade. Where does the time go? Out babies grow up and chase their dreams whether we want them to or not. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to let our babies soar to new heights, where other parents will keep their babies safely tucked under their wings because their babies won’t be able to fly like mine can. I consider myself blessed. Someday I will have an empty nest and will have to remind myself that that, too is a blessing. Until then though, I’ll continue to raise my little chicks and do my best to raise them the best I know how to. I will count my blessings to see my older chicks soar to new heights and look forward to all their new stories when they come home.  T

Many Blessings

It is so easy to look around and see what is wrong with our life but this week I choose to focus on my blessings. I’m surrounded by blessings. Sometimes the things that seem most unlike a blessing brings the greatest joy to our otherwise mundane life.

Sure, not everything in life is the way I would like it to be, but usually that seems to be God’s uncanny way of answering prayers or getting me to be more tolerant of how things will be. It’s sort of how my relationship is with God. He opens my eyes in His way and I obediently say, “oh, now I get it”! I’m rather thick headed at times and so stubborn.

Ah, but I digress. My blessings. I have a husband that loves me and cares for me. No, our marriage is not a perfect marriage, but we are always working on it. We have come a long way from the kids we were and from the newlyweds we were. 

Marriage is hard work, make no mistake. My mother always told me that. She said “you can never change a person… they must want to change.” I’ve changed so much over the years. I’ve grown up, not completely but in the important ways. It makes marriage better. I am blessed.

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My children are such a blessing to me. Children are God’s way of making your life both much more complicated when your children become teenagers, esoecially, and filling your heart full of a love you could never imagine having. It is a love that empowers you to do great and powerful things. 

Before I had children, I wouldn’t dare think of confronting others over feeling that I had been wronged but when and if someone messes with my child, my mama bear comes out and I will hunt you down and eat you alive after clawing your face. Its an instinct. 

Sound a bit harsh? You don’t have children. Talk to a mother who has a child that has been picked on unbidden. She will go to great lengths to protect and defend that child. I love my children with every fiber of my being. I may not like their views or choices at times, but I LOVE them and I will fight anyone that get a in the way of their happiness.

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I am so blessed by my dearest friends. I have a small circle of the very best friends a girl could ever have. All I had to say is, “I’m feeling so down and need some girl time”, and my best friend and I spent the day together. We didn’t do that much but we were together chatting like we always have for the last 29 years. My other best friend lives right near door and I just have to call her or knock on her door and she is always there for me too. Then there are my  old friends that I can call or text at a moment’s notice and they are simply there. 

Recently, one of my old friends that I hadn’t seen or heard from in many years found me after many years apart. What a glorious gift. Time vanishes and I return to feeling like that teenager again full of life and silliness once more. What a beautiful blessing I could never have imagined having been given. I cherish this gift tremendously.

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The gift of music. My house seems to always have music whether I want it or not. My third child plays piano so awesomely and by ear for the most part because sheet music is for sissies and requires one to read it. He doesn’t want to read it and we don’t have any up to date, cool music. He plays everyday, eberthing from video game music to popular music. Just don’t expect any Mozart! 

I sat at the piano last night and was reading some of my old sheet music because I actually can and do read it. I was classically trained but am so out of practice these days. I wasn’t so bad that I should never sit there again, but music is such a gift.

I love when my child plays and his sisters sing together, when everyone is home. They think I’m corny for mentioning this I’m sure, but it is such a blessing to me. I love when they sing “Hallelujah”. Granted, they’re stuck with me joining with them on that one. I only join in on the ones I know and half the time they don’t know because I’m not even out there with them. 

Having the gift of music is such a blessing. I know that I was given this gift but to see that all of my children were blessed by music as well in their own way has blessed me once again.

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This has been a FTSF post. This week was on blessings! Please visit www.findingninee.com for more posts. 

When Words Get in the Way

I am such an emotional person. I’ve wished a thousand times to be the cool, emotionless woman who keeps it all together and never cries. It would certainly help when in an emotional crisis and trying to get the right words to come out of my mouth. You know that feeling. That one when you know what you want to say but your emotions get the best of you and the words come out jumbled at best. What you wanted to say and what comes out are completely unrelated to each other.

Have yoenu ever known precisely what you were going to say because you had practiced the exchange in your head? But no matter how many times you practice, how many scenarios you think of, being in the moment is so utterly different.

I become a flustered mess whose emotions get the best of me every time. I either ending in tears of anger or sadness or frustration. Regardless, I’m the emotional mess who had great points 5 minutes earlier but now can’t speak because I’m so ridiculously emotional. 

It isn’t fair because no one takes me seriously either. Who would take a blubbering fool seriously? Would you, in all honesty? Probably not unless they were injured seriously. We aren’t crazy. We are passionate. We deserve to be heard and heeded. Our minds are full of compassion. This is why we feel so passionately about certan things. Enough to fight them! 

    We are honorable. If we say we will do something, it will be done. If I love something or someone enough to fight for them, I will fight till my last breath. The words get in the way, but I will always keep trying to use them!

    A Ripple in Time

    Life is funny. I was 16 thirty summers ago. Such a carefree time of my life. I had my first job working as a waitress that summer.

    I had always loved everyone I met. I was also the most trusting and naive 16 year old thinking that people were naturally good. The people that. I worked with sprayed me with a hose and dumped me in a fountain just for the hell of it because they were bigger and stronger than me. I also had one of these co-workers keep bugging me for a date regardless of me telling him no repeatedly. That got ugly and I complained to my manager who just sort of laughed it off. Needless to say, I didn’t stay there long.

    I learned a lot though, all things being said. I learned to be stronger and how to deal with people very, very different from myself. I learned to be independent and to sort of manage money, well a little bit. I was really good at the spending part. 

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    Twenty years ago I was a brand new mom. I was married and was so excited to show off my beautiful baby girl to the world, all nearly 9 pounds. I felt like I had everything I could ever dream of having. A great husband, adorable baby, a home, and I would be starting a new job as an RN. How lucky could a girl be? 

     The summer of 1996 was magical indeed! Nothing could take away that kind of magic. I just wanted to keep that magic going. All the firsts out baby would and was performing. The hours of motherhood were tough, but I was tougher. My world was completely turned upside down by my little sweet bundle! 

    All the hopes and dreams that come along with becoming a mother for the first time fueled me. We try not to live our own unseen dreams through our children, but it’s hard not to sometimes. You see so many possibilities in this new life but they become their own individual over time.

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    Ten years ago this summer, I married my best friend. Together, we can conquer so much. I told Hubs once that I needed him to be my knight in shining armour. He, very casually, agreed. He is my fearless knight. He took on marriage full steam ahead and never looked back. Not only did he take on marriage to me, but he took on being a stepdad to 3 kids. Brave soul!

    We added to our newly formed family the following year with our little bundle of joy, our little 8 pound boy.  I talk about Hubs all the time, but truly we have learned through our own trials and tribulations that marriage is work, very hard work. It’s the work that brings us closer though. I know without a doubt that I could never be who I am now without the unending support of my number one fan, my husband. 

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    This summer has had it’s own trials and tribulations. My health over the last few months has been nothing short of mind boggling for me. I’m now finally on the upswing! If I didn’t have my husband and my family, I would have been more depressed than ever. My good friends checked in on me and visited. My support has been outstanding. This is all because of the ripples left behind of things I’ve done, people I’ve met, places I’ve seen.

    We all leave ripples in our lives. Wee touch the lives of everyone we meet. It can be good or bad, even indifferent. You never know how the ripple will evolve. 

    I married that boyfriend from 30 years ago, but not until 10 years ago. The little baby that changed my life 20 years ago is all grown up and living her own life away from home. She has flown from my coop. Little ripples of life that change your destiny? Sometimes, perhaps. I just like to think of it as God’s plan for us. 

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    This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Our host, Kristi, from findingninee.com came up with this week’s sentence about “ripples”.  Go check out the other great posts!

    Summer Is…

    Summer is my favorite season. It always has been. With the exception of this summer, it means swimming, playing outside, spending warm summer evenings with friends and kids outside. In essence, it’s a time for renewal and reconnection that we aren’t afforded while we are stuck indoors on cold winter days.

    Summer is a time to play in my garden and watch things grow. I love watching things grow.This year, due to my health, I didn’t even get my tomatoes in the garden and my entire garden looks like a den of weeds, as I’ve been unable to tend my beautiful pride and joy. I do miss sitting there in the mornings to have my coffee, but I hope to be able to tend it soon.
    Summer is a time to spend with family. When I was growing up, I was very fortunate to be able to go on holidays with my family. We went to my family’s home in Ireland. I learned to work on the farm and I loved every moment. I not only got to meet my cousins far away, I got to have wonderful relationships with them. I have to tell you that family truly is everything to me. Growing up in a town where I had no cousins, I loved and appreciated those holidays to make the special bonds with my cousins more than you could imagine. Probably even more so since I had no sister growing up. I have only the one older brother who means the world to me, but I always longed for a sister. I saw the bonds with my cousins as if I had sisters for those weeks we were together. I know they couldn’t understand that since they all had sisters of their own, but I treasured their “sisterhood” in those summers more than anything you could put a price tag on.

    One of my favorite Summertime activities is to play with my son in the back by my garden while having my coffee in the mornings. You see, he’s a secret agent and I’m headquarters. I’m base command with the computer. He’s going to save the world and sniper the bad guys with his stick rifles. Ah, his imagination. Sometimes it’s an alien invasion. It’s how boys think. You can not change that. He wants to protect and serve. I miss that this summer very, very much. I don’t miss the silly game, I miss spending the quality time with the boy I love most, my boy. He, like all boys, grows too fast. He’s my baby boy and he’s the only boy I have. He’s my youngest child. Now, he’s been reduced to getting things for me This summer. He’s been caring for me instead of the other way around. He’s wonderful too, just like his father. 

    Summertime is generally healthy time. This year? Well, it’s more of a let’s not succumb to these wretched pancreatic surgery post-op complications summer. It technically is a get healthy summer, although I’m unable to swim and unable to even walk very far. I’m finally on the mend, I think, provided there are no more complications. I was even able to stay up past 9:30 PM last night. Not much longer, but I’m beginning to heal I think. 

    Summer will remain my favorite season. I long to take a nice dip in the pool. I’d love to get on the tennis court. After all that I’ve been through this summer, I appreciate summer and life even more. 

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    This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence was “Summer is…” and as usual, our host is the extraordinary, Kristi. Check out everyone else’s posts! It’s always a fun read!


    I Wish the World Knew Patience

    It’s the middle of the night.  I should be asleep, but alas, I’m in my peaceful time.  It’s my time of night when the house is asleep, but here I am, awake and full of “thinks”.

    I’ve been thinking about what this world needs and what I would teach the world if given the opportunity.  I’ve thought about it for so long, I should have posted this several hours ago, but, I didn’t yet have the words.

    Remember the old Coke commercial?   I’d like to give the world a Coke? Well, I’d like to give the world patience.  I’ve had that old commercial running on a loop in my head since I decided that patience is what I’d give to the world.  It’s a good thing I always liked that song.  Regardless, patience is something this world needs.  It’s something we could all use more of.

    I have great patience when it comes to some things, but not when it comes to myself.  I’ve never been as ill as I have this last month.  Going into my surgery, I thought, or rather, I presumed, everything would go according to plan because it always had.  I’m young enough, okay, I’m in my mid-forties, I’m healthy, or I was leading up to the surgery.  Nothing would go wrong.  How wrong I was.  Everything but the initial surgery went wrong.  I have had to learn patience from a new perspective.  I still await being myself.  It will be here, eventually.

    As things are, I’m stuck at home most of the time.  I have such a renewed sense of freedom and exhilaration when I leave my house and go to an appointment, or a drive in the car.  It takes so little now to make me happy.

    Why have we all forgotten how to be patient?  I look at my family.  None of them are patient.  They have lived in this world that wants and expects everything now.  The current generation really want instant gratification.  They never seemed to have any patience to begin with.  Even playing games, they want success now.

    I have always been somewhat patient with people, but I have had learn extreme patience with myself.  It hasn’t been easy to do.  In my current state, I am exhausted, have pain and a drain stuck in my abdomen.  It’s only a temporary state.  I know that, yet it often feels like forever.

    I miss my mom.  It’s been 7 long months and yet it seems like yesterday.  I just want to pick up the phone and call her, but I can’t.  Again, I have to be patient with myself.  I have cried realizing that mom can’t help me through this from the physical aspect of things.  I know she is in heaven and that she’s watching out for me.

    My family has to be patient with me as I heal.  I have to be patient with myself, too.   Another week will go by.  I will get through it.  If’s a better place than where I was one week ago.  If only the world could see and learn patience.

    Imagine what would happen to this world if the governments were patient and would actually think before acting like they do.  Imagine a more thoughtful, peaceful world.  If you can, just for a moment.   I can. Can you?


    This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday Post.  Our host this week, the ever lovely, Kristi from www.findingninee.com

    simple ftsf