Monday, June 16, 2008

Once Upon A Stormy Night

...a young mother is home with her one year old son, all snuggly asleep in his bed, while she roams the house trying to find something to do. The cable has gone out due to either the thunder or lightening, or both, which means that there is no TV or computer to entertain her until she turns in for the night. Cleaning is her forte, but she is tired of cleaning. Organizing seems like a good idea, so upstairs she heads to put some clothes away and dilly dally around the 2nd floor.

She spots a stack of baby books she's been collecting for quite some time, leaning against the dresser in the guest room. Amongst them are baby journals given as gifts, some are chock full of baby names, and some are just "what to expect" while expecting. Out of curiosity, she sits on the guest bed with the stack of books and starts to thumb through the pages in one of the journals, since she'd been too busy to ever sit and look through it before. Or so she thought...

The world stops spinning and everything comes to a complete standstill. The shaky words begin..."I can't believe I'm pregnant already. I can tell Matt is a little stressed about it, I mean, we've got a massive hole in our backyard and there is no way our house will be finished by the time this baby is born. There's just no way. I should be happy, but I'm kind of...not. Is that bad?" Time suddenly reversed back to the summer of 2006 and she let the memory just flow, like a dam breaking over a waterfall.

Just a few days later she went in for her first ultrasound with her mother-in-law for some support. Little did she know, she'd need it. The technician gouped the gel all over her belly and proceeded with the ultrasound, like she'd done it a million times that day already. She's supposed to be a pro. But how come this pro couldn't find the baby's heartbeat? She tried, but couldn't find it. Some words were spoken..."it's probably too early to tell....maybe you've got your period dates all mixed's just too soon in the pregnancy...." She had stopped listening at "I can't find a heartbeat."

The ride home was dull compared to the ride down. On the ride down, her belly was doing flip flops as she'd finally gathered up some excitement for this pregnancy, for this child. She had a handful of baby names she liked that she'd later run by her husband. She had the pregnancy journal her father-in-law picked out at some store. She had a yellow onesie that her best friend gave her as a congrats gift. Even though the house was far from ready, everything was lining up. It was all falling into place. Everything felt perfect on the ride down. Now the car felt foreign. She didn't want to be in that car anymore, she wanted to be in a different car, in a better mood, with a healthy baby growing inside of her.

She was told to wait another week, for another ultrasound. That, was the longest week of her life. Laying in bed for six nights, next to her husband, wondering if it was just the 2 of them, or if a third little person was listening to them chat about their day. Keeping busy was key, or else she'd drive herself crazy with the wonder of it all. "Are you there baby? It's me, Mommy." As if she was going to get an answer...but it was worth a shot when nothing else was making any sense at all.

The second ultrasound. This time, her husband is present. He sits at the end of the bed while she prays for the technician to work her magic. "Please, find something. Look harder this time. Don't miss my baby's heartbeat." And yet, nothing. She sits up and wipes the gel off her belly, as if she's trying to erase the pregnancy altogether. She wishes she could. She wishes she hadn't gotten pregnant at all. She wishes....she doesn't know what she wishes. She just knows she didn't wish for this.

Another drive home with no baby. In just a matter of weeks, her life went from expecting, to nervously expecting, to happily expecting, to scared to death, to completely crushed, to a Mother who had to say goodbye before she got to say hello. She knew there would be a reason for all of this one day, and people tried to reassure of the exact same thing, but her heart wouldn't truly accept it. At least that is until...

This little person came along to make her a true believer in "everything happens for a reason."

Maybe that's why she didn't bother keeping up with the pregnancy journal that time around. Who needs a journal to remind her of all the precious moments she had while carrying him for so long? Who needs a few scribbled words to recollect what it felt like to hear the words "We have a heartbeat, and it's excellent." Who needs a specific date to mark when and where she was when she felt him move for the first time? It was January 15th, 2007, at her in-laws house by the way. Who needs that first journal of that first pregnancy, when she will always know deep down in her heart, who that baby gave up it's place for?

It had been so long since she dug out that part of her, and it felt good. It will always be there, it's just put away now. The journal is put away, her son is lying in his crib, and she is a Mom who continues to roam the house, looking for something to do on a stormy night.

What I Pray For

I've recently become a church-goer. I may not go every week, but I go. I was baptized in March and have found a parish that I love, and try to frequent as much as I can. My reason for choosing a faith is personal, and you'd really have to walk a mile in my shoes or catch a long glimpse of my life to understand exactly why at this point in my life, I chose to add some religion to my world. Let's just say it has something to do with how blessed I've always been, as well as becoming a mother. There is someone greater looking out for me, and I felt it was time to start giving back a little.

When I do go to church, I find myself looking around at everyone with their heads bowed. I find myself wondering what they're praying for. A loved one in pain? A deceased child? A dear friend going through hard times? A daughter in Iraq? A son struggling with addiction? A grandchild with cancer? Or maybe they're just praying to pray, because I guess you don't necessarily have to pray for someone. You can just bow your head and talk to God about how lucky you feel to finally be so close to Him.

I do that, but I also like to pray for those who asked God "Why is this happening to me? What did I do wrong?" and never get an answer. I pray for the neglected and abused children who did nothing wrong, yet are abused by cowards who direct their anger at defenseless, innocent little human beings. I pray for all of the homeless people in the world who need just a little bit of help getting on their feet, yet cannot seem to find one person who cares just enough. I pray for all of the abused animals who are still loyal to their attackers, because that's just how they are made. Our old dog Spike is the perfect example of this. So severely abused judging by all of the scars on his body, yet he came into our home and gave us nothing but love and security. I pray for all of these people, children, and animals who need a voice, but can't find one. Who need shelter, but can't find it. Who need one person to look at them and say "I love you" but have never heard it. Who need someone to pray for them, but no one has. I am praying for you.

I have lived a charmed life if I do say so myself, but it's so hard to look around sometimes at all the pain and sufferering in the world, and be grateful. Why me? Why am I so lucky? Why are some people chosen to suffer and to live their lives in total despair, while I sit in church and pray about it all?

I can only hope that with every single minute I spend sitting there, talking to God, that my thoughts are strong enough to reach just one person. One person who feels so alone. One child who continues to suffer at the hands of someone who is supposed to love him. One person willing to take the saddest of the shelter dogs home.

I hope that it's working. I hope that what I pray for, is working, one moment at a time. That's all I can do.

*this post follows yet another article on, in which a baby boy was beaten to death on the side of the road by a 27 year old man. I pray for that little boy*

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day, John

So, I know that I mention my mother-in-law Susan all the time, but I might not mention John as much. He's my father-in-law. I don't mention him as much because he doesn't let me gab his ear off on the phone, or listen to me whine about Brendan getting into everything, and he doesn't let me drop Brendan off for hours with him so that I can catch up on some "me" time. Susan lets me do all that. Of course I'm more than grateful to her, but I am also so grateful for John, so I thought I'd tell you all a little bit about him.

He's tall, dark, and handsome. I am allowed to say that, because my husband resembles him. He's very funny and is always making us laugh, without even trying really. He's one of the most passionate men I know. He is a true believer in what he believes in- know what I mean? He loves his office. If you can't find John, he's in his office. I would love to be a fly on the wall just to be snoopy and see what he does in there exactly. He's a little daring these days. He fell in love with a car on eBay, and bought it. We were all cringing at the thought of it, wondering if he'd been scammed as we waited for the truck to deliver the car. But it came, and he's been sitting in that car ever since. (kidding.) He wears his heart on his sleeve and cried at our wedding. Many times. I am still hoping that it was a good cry! *wink wink* He loooooves golf. He would leave Susan and run away with a golf club if it would cook for him. He also looooooves to bargain shop and can find him at Marshall's or TJ Maxx on any given weekday. "It was only $5. I couldn't just leave it there. You can wear it to wash the car." That's an inside joke, had to be there. He's always on the lookout for the next new gadget, so one of his many nicknames is now "Grandpa Gadget." Just today, on Father's Day, he dragged us all out to the verizon store to switch cell phone companies for me in the interest of saving us some money. Who's father-in-law would do that? Mine. My father-in-law would. He's always looking out for us in any way that he can. He's like the Pappa Bear of the family. Comforting, safe, secure, caring, generous, loving, and all of those other mushy words that will make him blush. He's the Pappa Bear that watches over all of us and without him, I would feel very lost. I am not so sure I could ever imagine my world without him. It wouldn't be the same place I've called home for the past few years, that's for certain.

Last year he became a Grandfather for the first time. From the moment he laid eyes on Brendan, he's had a different look about him. He's always been soft, but now he's softer. He's always been caring, but now he's careful. He's always been generous, but now Brendan is set to inherit the "family fortune." He's always been loving, but is now so in love with his little "cheekers." He's always been humble, but now is just so proud to be called Grandpa. Grandpa Jack. The best Grandpa in the world.

Happy Father's Day to someone who makes the family go 'round. We love you.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Brendan!

You had quite the celebration so far which unfortunately isn't documented with photographs because brainless Mommy hasn't taken the camera anywhere. But, the party officially started lastnight when we went to the diner for a little "Mommy and Me" date night. You had a grilled cheese and some fries and flirted with the waitresses while Mommy ate her grilled chicken sandwich and had a nice glass of cold beer. (you're too young for the beers my friend.) Then this morning, your actual birthday, you woke up very crabby with a tiny fever of 100 degrees, so Grandma and Grandpa babysat while Mommy ran errands to get things in order for the big birthday bash. (also got my nails done because I need to look pretty with my new 1 year old.) The best part of the day though, was going down to our neighbors house for what we thought, was just going to be pizza, but they surprised you with yummy cupcakes and a fun gift! Wasn't that sweet of them??? I sure thought it was. We had a very nice dinner outside and just enjoyed the rest of my little man's birthday.

Daddy is on his way back from Texas and won't see you until you're fast asleep in your crib, but that's okay. He thought of you over and over today, wishing he could've been here. We love Daddy, don't we.

So, Happy Birthday to the best little guy in the entire world. I cannot wait to celebrate many, many more special days like this with you! And since I don't have any photos of today (stupid Mommy!) I leave you with one of my all time faves. Love you Brendan!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bye Bye Baby...

Hello crazy toddler! My dear, sweet, precious baby boy is turning one year old on Thursday. How can this be? Just yesterday, I found out I was pregnant. Just yesterday, I found out I was having a little boy. Just yesterday, I felt the first flutter in my belly. Just yesterday, I had the worst heartburn, ever. Just yesterday, he had the hiccups and my whole body shook from the vibrations. Just yesterday, we laid in bed and watched my nightgown shift around from all the utero gymnastics. Just yesterday, my MIL threw me a beautiful baby shower and we celebrated with all of my closest and dearest friends. Just yesterday, I packed the suitcase for the hospital, knowing I would need it very soon. Just yesterday, I was jolted out of bed by the strangest feeling I'd ever had. Just yesterday, Matt drove me to the hospital where 10 hours later, we'd finally meet the love of our lives. It all feels like just yesterday and the fact that it's not, makes me kind of sad.

I don't want life to go by this quickly. I want to go back that moment when I felt you move in my belly for the first time. I want to go back to that moment when I felt my first contraction. I want to go back to that moment when the nurse first handed you to me. I want to go back to that moment when I looked over and saw Daddy holding you, like he was holding the most delicate piece of china that he wouldn't dare drop. I want to go back to that moment when we finally chose your name, Brendan Matthew. I want to go back to that moment when we were finally alone together in the hospital...I whispered "You and I are going to be together forever." And I swear you smiled. I want to go back to that first night at home with you, all snuggled up in your bassinet next to our bed. I remember thinking, "So...this is my family."

This past year has been indescribable. I don't think Daddy and I had ever known the power of love until you made your way into our lives. We dote on your every move and hang on your every...jibber jabber. Your simple little smile can make our hearts burst. The sound of your sweet voice, the touch of your soft little hand, the smell of your hair, the chubbiness of your feet, the legs that I could eat up all day long, the infamous round cheeks, the perfect little nose, the big, brilliant blue eyes, and the most amazing personality. You're perfect at only one year old, and you've got an entire lifetime to go.

Time is going to keep marching on, you're going to get older, and soon you won't be sitting at my feet with your little arms stretched up as if to say "Momma, I need you." I am writing this letter to tell you that you will never be too old to need me. You can sit with me any ol' time and stretch out your arms because that's what I will be best at. I will always be best at you needing me.

I am going to try to muddle through the week without crying as your birthday quickly approaches, but I can't make any promises. My sweet baby boy is fast asleep upstairs on his belly with his little tushy sticking straight up in the air, and I want so badly for him to stay up there forever. Where I can see him, protect him, and continue to need him, just as much as he needs me.

We love you Brendan Matthew. We will always, always love you.

What Will It Take?

The news just reported that a 3 year old boy was found beaten to death at his home in Brooklyn. He was living with his godmother and her boyfriend after his mother surrendered him months ago to keep feeding her crack addiction. They questioned neighbors who said they heard the boy screaming from time to time, but didn't think anything was "unusual." Brainless, stupid people! Is it so "usual" to hear a little boy screaming for his life?

My God. What is it going to take for human beings to stop taking their anger out on small, defenseless children? We're supposed to be adults who know better! I am so sick of hearing these horrific stories on the news, day after day. Literally sick to my stomach. They've charged the godmother and her boyfriend with murder. I can only hope and pray that they wind up in a small, suffocating cell with a guy named Butch who doesn't prey too kindly on child murderers.

Come on people. If you suspect child abuse, you must report it. These defenseless children need us to give them a voice. This shouldn't of happened. None of these cases should ever have to happen. Open your eyes and ears, it's more common than you think. Only the ugliest of stories make the headlines, but it happens every. single. day. Pay attention and watch for the signs, maybe you can save a child from enduring the hell that little boy went through.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

30 Days

Have you seen this show? It's called "30 Days" and it's on the FX channel. I caught it lastnight just as I was crawling into bed, and I couldn't take my eyes off of it. In a nutshell, it's a show that documents some of the worlds most dangerous jobs and lastnight, they documented coal mining. I am a miner's daughter, did you know that? This is where my Daddy works:

That is his office. My Dad has been an underground miner for roughly 35 years now, maybe even a little longer. He has worked in several different mines throughout his life, including mines in Washington, Nevada, and Michigan. He's not a coal miner though, as many get confused, and yes- there is a difference. My Dad mines for mainly silver and zinc. Oh, and of course gold if you can find it, and oil if you shall strike it! But that rarely happens.

He now works at the Lucky Friday Mine (pictured above) and he will probably remain there until he retires in 5 years. The depth of this mine reaches 6200 feet, and you can bet, most miners have touched the bottom at one point or another. There is literally an elevator shaft (not what you're imagining) that takes them up and down, and there are hundreds of tunnels that they work in. Hundreds. It boggles my mind that my Dad goes into the ground, every day, in extreme weather conditions where anything can happen, anything, and he has never even flinched. He wears what they call "diggers." His fancy work outfit consists of grimy old t-shirts, long johns, overalls, wool socks, boots, goggles, and of course, a hard hat. He gets so filthy that Dawn dishsoap is his shampoo of choice. He rubs vaseline over his eyes to get the gunk out, and then scrubs his nails with a brillow pad if he's taking my stepmom out to dinner. He eats his lunch and even drinks coffee down there. (I used to pack his lunches for him and would put notes in his lunch box with knock knock jokes, figured he needed some sort of entertainment!) But beyond all that, he works his behind off and always has. I didn't grow up in a huge house and he may not have sent me to college, but I'll tell you something, I never went without a good meal, the best healthcare, or a cozy home. He made damn sure of that. That's my Dad.

I am truly ashamed to admit this, but sometimes it's difficult to tell people what he does for a living...what he has done all his life to take care of his family. I mean, it's not the most glamorous job to say the very least. But then, I catch myself feeling guilty for the tiny twinge of shame I might experience, because I shouldn't ever feel that way about what he does. It's by far the most dangerous job on earth in my opinion, and my Dad does it without worry, without complaint, and most of all, without shame. I don't think he's ever felt ashamed. How many people can say that?

30 Days highlighted some coal miners in West Virginia. Some of them were fresh out of high school, some were middle aged with young children, and some were in their own words,"I'll probably die right here in this mine." These were honest, hard working, dedicated men who never miss a shift, never call in sick, don't expect vacation days, and certainly don't talk back to the boss. They take pride in their work and are true providers for their families. I know that some people heckle them for the way the look, covered in black dust from head to toe. People call them "stupid" and think that coal mining should be "done away with" and "who needs it?" It's those people who are stupid. It's those people who simply don't realize that without coal, and without the minerals that my Dad busts his ass for, we wouldn't have the technology and other luxuries that we have and take for granted. Imagine leaving your spouse a "just incase note" every morning before walking out the door. "Just incase, you know....I love you. Always have." If any kind of mining was so unnecessary, do you really think these men would risk their lives doing it? Would my own Dad after 35 years continue to put his health and life at risk, just to plunge a mile or deeper underground, anxious to spend the day surrounded by walls that with one wrong move could collapse at any second, because he's got nothing better to do?

I have always been proud of my Dad, always. It just made me that much prouder to see that documentary. I am a miner's daughter. Thanks Dad.

PS- Major props to my father-in-law who went down into the mine with my Dad to get the experience. Not too many people have the b*lls! Especially if they're not even getting paid!

Monday, June 2, 2008

America's Most Wanted

Breaking News: Mess-making criminal on the loose

Physical Description:

Infant Male, soon to be classified as crazy toddler
Roughly 24 lbs, 32 inches
Dark blonde hair, rather curly in humid weather
Big, gorgeous, yet sometimes deceiving blue eyes
Two bottom teeth
Cheeks fit for a squirrel

Security captured these images as the suspect exited the scene:

We believe he's using this as the getaway vehicle:

Suspect was last spotted at the beach, using innocent Grandma as an accomplice:

If you have any information on the whereabouts of this guy, please contact Mommy immediately. We're confident he will strike again.