Tuesday, February 11, 2014


On Friday, Bethanie, our 9 year old, rode her bike for the first time without training wheels.  This was no small feat as Bethanie is mildly autistic and is just not athletic, she'd much rather be drawing or playing in her room than be outside on most days.  However, as Bethanie has proven many times, when she puts her mind to something there isn't anything she can't accomplish.  So, her Daddy took the training wheels off and away she went!
  When I arrived home from work yesterday, Zachary, our five year old, also wanted his training wheels off.  I was exhausted from not sleeping well the night before and tried to explain to him that we would take them off this weekend when I could help him learn to ride.  I told him, "Honey, you don't just take the training wheels off and then start riding, it takes practice. Lots of practice."  He was not happy with that answer.  Oh he fussed. And fussed.  Then, proceeded to go outside and wiggle one of the training wheels off.  He was so funny and determined that I got up, gathered the tools and resigned myself to a long evening of falls, running to keep up and helping him ride and wiping his tears when he fell.

Well.  As children like to do, Zach proved me wrong.  Once I took the other training wheel off, he got up on his bike and pedaled away. First try. No help from Mom. He fell a few times along the way when he would stop and try to get going again, but mostly, he was off to the races.
As I mentioned in my post about  Molly's first time riding without training wheels, this is a huge step towards independence.  I find it somewhat ironic Zach and Bethanie did this right before I turned 40.  My babies are now all finished with training wheels.  They are up and on their own.  They celebrated milestones just as I celebrate one today, 40. My babies are needing me less and less and, as these things sometimes go, I find I need them more and more.  I think I am clinging onto every minute, as they seem so fleeting. I soak in every hug, hold it a few seconds longer each time.  They grow up so fast. These milestones are moments and these moments are milestones. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Molly's SEVEN!

 Oh what a year! Our Molly-Pops is now seven. 
Some of her favorite things:
TV shows: Gator Boys, Austin & Ally, Power Rangers
Color: Purple and "Zebra-print"
Hobbies: Swimming, PS3, Running, Running, Running
Music: Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker, Sugarland
School! Molly LOVES school. Everything comes so easy to her. So far.  She gets in trouble for trying to "help" the other kids by giving answers and doing it for them.  But bless her, she really thinks she's "helping"!
This was Molly and me singing Sugarland "Stuck on You" at my 39th Birthday Party

 Zach and Molly continue to be so very close.  I snapped this picture of him cuddling with her during one of her many breathing treatments. 
 Molly graduated from Kindergarten this year. Hard to believe she's now half way through first grade!
 Picnic time! We love to go to the school playground across the street from our house and have picnics!
 The beach! Always a big hit!
Move favorites, Zachary and swimming in Nana's Pool! 
 Zach and Molly in one of my favorite pictures at Dorchester State Park.
As I mentioned, "Gator Boys" is one of Molly's favorite shows, therefore she couldn't pass up the opportunity to read to us about Alligators.  I really think she's going to be a Marine Biologist one day!
 I'm telling you, these two are unbelievably close! 
 A bit of Molly's artwork.  She drew this for, who else, Zachary.
 Molly finally (according to her) was able to have her first sleep over at a friend's house. Granted this "friend" lives right next door! And? It was New Year's Eve so it was only for a few hours. Much easier on Mommy, I mean Molly.
New Year's Eve on our Cul-de-Sac.  We had such a great time! Tons of kids to play with and lots of fireworks!
 Love their cuddles.
Right after Christmas the girls' and I went to Steak and Shake and did a little shopping at the outlets.  They had their gift cards and Christmas money burning holes in their pockets! Such a fun day! 
Lastly, we have Molly's favorite thing of the year: Uncle Will. Even Uncle Will has a hard time, sometimes, keeping up with the boundless energy that is Molly.  He is her favorite "jungle gym".  She lights up when she hears he's coming to visit.

What a year with my sweet Molly.  She loves hard, plays hard and cries hard.  She is a big ball of emotion and passion and isn't afraid to show it.  When Molly giggles, we all giggle, it's simply infectious.  I am so blessed to be her Mommy. She is a truly amazing kid and one I learn from every single day. I thank God for allowing me to be part of her life.

Happy Birthday, Molly!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


triskaidekaphobia: fear of the number 13

Yep. That's me. I have that. I hate "13". This year solidified it for me.

I can remember when I turned "13" my Mom said to me, "You will most likely cry almost every day of the next 365 days." She was right. Thirteen stunk. Fourteen was so much better.  Everything kind of began to even out, and I began to know what to expect of being a "teenager".  

If I could go back to the beginning of 2013 and give myself a bit of advice it would be very similar to my Mom's advice when I was 13, "You will most likely cry almost every day of the next 365 days."  2013 was not a year for the faint of heart. However, we surpassed every hurdle, survived every "bump" in the road and are now all the stronger for it.  2014 will even out. 

*I think we had to replace 45 gazillion tires. Yes, 45 gazillion. Every single time we replaced one we seemed to lose another one, it really became quite comical, well except to the wallet, anyway.  

* Julio was in a pretty bad car accident and totaled our Volvo.  However, he survived with only a few bruises and soreness. We credit the Volvo tremendously for that, it really took quite an impact.

*The loss of the Volvo (we only had minimum coverage, because although it looked pretty terrific it was about 12 years old) left us with only one vehicle for awhile. This was tremendously trying and stressful. However, with the assistance of some pretty terrific angels in our lives we were able to replace it with a Nissan Xterra.

*Finances were quite difficult this year. We took a couple of steps back in order to take some big steps forward in the coming years. This isn't unique to us, this is life, this is what a lot of people go through. I sold my favorite camera to help us through some tight spots. What I learned form that is, while I miss it terribly (oh so very much!), it will be replaced. It's just STUFF. I would do it again in a heartbeat. You do what you have to do to help your family. They are what matters. They are ALL that matters.  This too shall pass.

*Julio also had some pretty major health scares. I will never forget when he called me from his Dr's office to tell me if I didn't come get him they were going to be sending him by ambulance to the hospital.  They feared he was having a heart attack.  One heart cath and several other tests later we learned his arteries and heart were in excellent condition. This scare did have a pretty terrific side effect, however: Julio made the decision to have gastric bypass.  He is now down 50 pounds and off almost all his medications.  He will most likely be taken off his diabetic pump during 2014 and will also no longer need a CPAP machine. I am so over the moon proud of him, I cannot adequately put it into words.

Looking back over these tribulations I can't help but notice they did have silver linings. That is all one can ever hope for, isn't it?  

These trials and tribulations are all just a part of life. I am blessed beyond measure with amazing, talented, fun, loving children and a husband that lifts me up, supports me, loves me even when I am most difficult, and pushes me to be a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, employee and friend. 

2013 was not all bad, I did, finally, figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up: a funeral director. I went back to school and began enjoying my career more than I ever thought possible. I no longer get that sense of dread on Sunday nights that has plagued me much of my adult life.  I am fulfilled in ways I never dreamed possible.  I am surrounded at work by some of the most amazing people I have ever met. They are dedicated to serving, growing, learning and not only taking care of the families we serve, but taking care of each other.  I am fortunate to be part of an amazing team and do not take it for granted. I am grateful beyond words that I was lead to this career, with this company, at this time in my life. It is where I was meant to be and what I was meant to do.

What is my biggest "take away" from 2013? Always keep moving forward, it always gets better. As the song lyrics go: 

If your going through hell
Keep on going, don't slow down
If you're scared don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

Yeah, If you're going through hell
Keep on moving, face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

So come on 2014, give me your best shot, I am stronger, I am wiser, and I am ready for you.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Abigail's Eleventh Trip Around the Sun

"Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning 
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile 
I watch her go with a surge of that well known sadness 
And I have to sit down for a while 
The feeling that I'm losing her forever 
And without really entering her world 
I'm glad whenever I can share her laughter 
That funny little girl "

 So hard to believe it has been eleven years, already.  I remember the day she was born so very clearly. She was a Gamecock fan from day one, she came screaming into this world just in time for kickoff of the Georgia/Carolina game.  Unfortunately that game was a heart breaker (just like our Abs!) as we lost 13-7.

I knew from the moment I was pregnant I wanted a baby girl more than anything.  I have always had a wonderful relationship with my Mom and I wanted to share that bond with  my own daughter.  The day of my ultrasound, my husband had to work so, quite appropriately, my Mom went with me.  I remember I wore a pink sweater and I told the ultrasound tech, "Okay, tell me what we're having, but take special notice of the pink sweater I'm wearing!"  Moments later she confirmed I was, indeed, having my very own baby girl.  We drove across town to my husband's job site and when I told him, he and I both hugged and cried. We knew we were being blessed with our "Abigail".

"Slipping through my fingers all the time 
I try to capture every minute 
The feeling in it 
Slipping through my fingers all the time 
Do I really see what's in her mind 
Each time I think I'm close to knowing 
She keeps on growing 
Slipping through my fingers all the time"

For the first five years of Abby's life it was just the three of us.  We had many an adventure.  We lived with my Mom and step-dad for about a year. What a great year that was, Abby had the benefit of having four people directing her, raising her, doting on her and loving her.  During that time her and her Grandad developed a very special relationship and Abby gained an appreciate for Marmite (ick!). Abby learned her colors and numbers off of pool table balls, as Grandad would take her to the country club and they would play on the pool table.  Abby and Grandad talked to "Truck" and just had so many great adventures traveling in the golf cart around the golf course to visit the ducks, turtles and doggies along the path.  He truly made an impact in her life and I'm so grateful for the relationship they shared.

"Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table 
Barely awake I let precious time go by 
Then when she's gone, there's that odd melancholy feeling 
And a sense of guilt I can't deny 
What happened to the wonderful adventures 
The places I had planned for us to go 
Well, some of that we did, but most we didn't 
And why, I just don't know"

Abby and I have traveled to Arkansas to visit her cousins, I was able to take her on her first plane ride (along with my Mom), we visited Philadelphia for "Alopeciapalooza", traveled via ferry to New Jersey to visit a wonderful aquarium, plus numerous "local" adventures.  During the Summer Abby and I would attend her swim practices and swim meets together.  We just have always spent so much time with each other.  I feel I am doing a pretty good job of cultivating the kind of relationship with her as I've always had with my Mom.  It has always been my wish, my heart's desire, and to see it blossoming right before my eyes means more to me than I can express.

"Slipping through my fingers all the time 
I try to capture every minute 
The feeling in it 
Slipping through my fingers all the time 
Do I really see what's in her mind 
Each time I think I'm close to knowing 
She keeps on growing 
Slipping through my fingers all the time"

When my marriage with Abby's Dad fell apart and we agreed to share custody I thought my dreams had fallen apart. I was so distraught and afraid that Abby and I would never be as close as I had hoped. Fortunately we are closer than ever. I take advantage of every moment with her, our time is more precious because there is less of it. I find time for us to be alone, to share our heart, our struggles, our triumphs. I help her study and I also reprimand her, when needed. She is a great kid and I am so very proud of her and proud to be her Mom.

The lyrics I've posted are by Abba. "Mamma Mia" is one of our favorite movies. My Mom even took Abby, Becky and I to see it live at the Charleston Performing Arts Center. This particular song makes Abby cry every single time. I think she gets it. I know I do. Pardon me as I go wipe my tears now. Happy Birthday, sweet Abby Doodle.

"Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture

And save it from the funny tricks of time


Slipping through my fingers all the time"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Molly's First Taste of Independance

Molly achieved a big milestone today. She rode her bike, by herself, without training wheels. It didn't take her long to figure out how to balance and for me to let go. I thought I was ready, as I was exhausted from running beside her for about 30 minutes, but then, as I watched her going further and further away from me I realized this was a huge moment. This was Molly's first true taste of Independence. If she were to fall she would be too far away for me to get there immediately.  She was on her own. What a moment.  I am so very grateful I was there to help her achieve it. I helped her learn how to balance and I learned, just a little bit, how to let go.

Courage, determination, pride...that's what little girls are made of.
-Arthur Unknown

Friday, September 14, 2012

Abby's First Decade

Today my sweet Abigail Iris is 10 years old. A decade. Wow, where did it go? I remember every moment of the day she came into this world as if it just happened. It was quite an ordeal but it all turned out amazingly.  I still remember my first ultrasound. My Mom went with me because Ed had to work. I told the ultrasound tech I was wearing a pink sweater for a reason. When she confirmed I was, indeed, carrying a girl, I looked at my Mom and the tears just flowed. I had always wanted a little girl. I have always had a great relationship with my Mom and I could not imagine not sharing that with my own daughter.  We finished up and I drove across town to where Ed was working. I barely had the car in park when I jumped out and met him to tell him the news. He and I hugged and we both cried, a healthy baby girl!  Ed and I knew immediately this was our "Abigail". A few years before we were married Ed and I had gone out to get a bite to eat at "Lizard's Thicket" in Irmo, SC. As we were waiting for our table we noticed the prettiest little blond hair, blue eyed little girl playing with her grandparents, she had a backpack with her that said, "Abigail".  Ed and I loved the name, we went home and looked up the meaning and it said, "Father's Joy", we agreed, if we had a daughter, she would be our "Abigail".  We decided shortly thereafter her middle name would be "Iris", after my Mom.  
Abby and I have, thankfully, always been close. I have also enjoyed watching her develop a pretty special relationship with her stepdad.  He is always there to give her the big bear hugs a little girl sometimes needs, as well as the advice and guidance that all kids need.  She is my brave, strong, funny, courageous, smart "Doodlebug".  She has learned more in her short life than some people learn in a lifetime.  Abby's bout with alopecia taught her so very much about self esteem, self confidence, tolerance and life itself.  Abby is a "go-getter".  She loves life. She likes to giggle, goof off, play jokes, and have fun with her friends.  She loves to paint her finger and toe nails, but never less than two colors, usually at least three!  Peace signs, bright colors, Monster High, the book series "Katie Kazoo", musicals (especially "Mamma Mia") and lately she even claims to like that whole "Twilight" stuff! She is, undeniably growing up, even beginning to shave her legs...there are so many minutes I look back on fondly. I remember the first night she slept in a bed, not a crib, our trip to Arkansas, our trip to Pennsylvania, our trip to the mountains of Georgia, so many day trips around South Carolina, Halloweens, Christmases, Easters, Birthdays, and of course just our times at home. She is an amazing kid and I truly treasure every moment with her and enjoy watching her discover the world and herself.  She makes me very proud to be her Mom.

Friday, September 7, 2012

He stole my heart..
So, I stole his last name.