Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Before heading off to the airport, Kelley took me to the Botanical Gardens in Richmond.  BEAUTIFUL!  And it's only the beginning of spring.  I can only imagine what that place must look like in full bloom.  I couldn't help but think of my mom the whole time I was there.  I wished she could have been there with us to smell the aroma of those sweet flowers and to enjoy the beauty and creation of our loving Heavenly Father.  They also had a garden of Pin Wheels for the Prevention of Child Abuse.  It was humbling to see and read about.  Thanks so much Kelley!  Love you.

Monday, March 29, 2010


I'm in Virginia.
With my best childhood friend.
It's been a trip two years in the making.
Ben's hospital stays have made getting this trip to happen hard.
But you know what?
It was TOTALLY worth it.
Kelley has completely spoiled me.
We've seen the Broadway show "WICKED".
We had wicked awesome seats too.
She treated me to a FEAST at "The Hard Shell" restaurant,
a deluxe pedicare.
My toes?  They're cute.
And another night out at "The Cheesecake Factory".
We even had time for a fun game of basketball PIG.
Played on a kids indoor hoop with a mini ball.
Good times.
It was a close, heated game.
We're competitive that way.
(always have been)
I'm scheduled to leave tomorrow.
It's been a FUN getaway.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


So after getting the kids off to school yesterday I decided I would hop back into bed and read.  I had just ended another hospital stay the night before and I was TIRED.  I knew there was a potential Respiratory Therapist visit later that morning and so I was awaiting the phone call for the actual time of arrival.  The more I layed there reading, the more I thought how much I would love to cancel said appointment.  When I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, I decided I would take a short nap until that phone call came.  I always keep my phone on vibrate so I held it in one of my hands for fear I'd miss the call.  As soon as I had drifted under, my hand vibrates.  It startles me awake and my heart starts pounding.  I look at the number and see that it's NOT the Respiratory Therapist, it's my husband.  Surely he'd understand me hitting the silence button, right?  So that's what I did.  I silenced his call and attempted to sleep once more.  Just as I was just hitting the brink of my happy place, Ben's feeding pump went off.  DARN that pump.  "Ben...." I whine...."help a girl out.  Reach over and turn your pump off...pleeeaaassse?!?"  Nothing...he pretends not to hear me because it's still beeping.  I climb back out of bed, kiss his cute cheeks and turn his pump off.  I crawled back into my warm bed for attempt number three.  (sigh)  I'm so tired.  Please make everything go away, just for a little while?  Phone in hand once more I start to drift off...again.  Not sure how long I was asleep but I know it wasn't long.  I was JOLTED awake by a LOUD knock on my door.  I jump out of bed in my dazed state, trying to control my balance as I fall sideways into my closet door while thinking, "They were supposed to CALL first...what the HECK?!?"  My hair!  I'm remembering how pretty my hair must look since I haven't yet gotten ready for the day.  I run to the bathroom to see what kind of damage control I need to do before running down to let him in.  I happened to look out the bathroom window and see a UPS driver pulling away.  False alarm.  I'm annoyed.  WHY do they need to bang on the door?  I crawl back into bed wondering if I should just give up.  But I can't.  My body is magnetically pulled towards my bed.  I think if Ben could...he would be laughing at me.  He probably was.  I know I would be.  I close my eyes again.  Moments later Ben starts coughing.  I peek at him.  He coughs again.  "NURSE!"  I shout before realizing I'm not in the PICU anymore.  UGH!  There's no nurse.  I get up and give Ben a good suction, pat his back and smile at him.  "It's a good thing I love you Ben."  I tell him.  This attempt at a nap seems futile but I WON'T give up.  I can't.  My body won't let me.  Back to bed I go.  Another 15 minutes later the phone vibrates..."AAAAAHHHHH!"   I'm starting to think homicidal thoughts.  It's a txt message.  I ignore it and fall back asleep.  The phone.  It's merciless.  I think there were three more calls that I totally ignored.  (sorry people)  Then it came.  The phone call I was waiting for.  "Hi Dan" I say.  "Look, I'm gonna be completely honest with you.  I'm exhausted and was hoping to take a nap.  How 'bout we reschedule for tomorrow?"   He was copasetic and I was HAPPY.  I turned my phone off and FINALLY got my nap.  The End.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


My Dad came to visit us today.  
It was good for our souls.
Got whipped in Scrabble...twice.
Not so good for the soul. ;)
Thanks for making the journey Dad.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Yesterday I left THIS cute boy...

To go on a date with THIS cute boy.
It's been awhile.  Maybe a few months even.  I spontaneously stopped at the Outlets on the way home and picked me up a sassy new outfit...because I could.  I love surprising Steve.  When I got home, he greeted me with his infamous BEAR hugs.  How I love his hugs.  I told him we were going out.  He was giddy.  I snuck upstairs and got dressed.  I came down and the house went wild.  "WOW" they all said.  "Where'd THAT come from?" asks Steve.  I tell him I've had it for forever and blow it off like it was nothing.  (that's my favorite answer to that question...makes Steve laugh everytime)  Stevie spotted the tag hanging out the back that I forgot to cut off.  "It's BRAND NEW!" she tells me.  Darn, she's smart.  ;)  Steve was feeling a little under-dressed and left in a hurry to go change.  We kissed the kids goodbye and headed out for date night.  Fratello's.  It's my favorite local restaurant.  We happened to have a $50 gift card, even better.  Paul Warnick was there.  He's a music/band teacher at my children's middle school and an EXCELLENT performer.  I love to hear him sing/perform.  He was playing at Fratello's that night.  Even BETTER!  While we were sitting at dinner, talking about the past week as single parent's...trying to catch the other one up on the other half of the family, Paul walks over to see us.  He proceeds to tell Steve and I how much he LOVES having Stevie in band.  You see...she's a music nut.  I started her in piano a few years ago.  (like the rest of my kids)  She's loved it the most.  She would have me give her a lesson daily vs. weekly if I gave in.  She could be a lot better if I were more diligent in teaching her.  Last year she was allowed to start playing an instrument at school.  I had the flute and clarinet lying around but she wanted to play trombone.  Thankfully my mom had one of those lying around.  She excelled.  This year she's not only playing band for HER grade, but also SIXTH grade.  A few weeks ago she snuck the clarinet out my door and to school.  She's been wanting to play that too.  I told her no.  Mostly because I didn't think she'd be allowed to play two instruments.  Paul told us about how she forgot her trombone instrument for her lessons one day but she mentioned that she had a clarinet and told him she knew how to play it.  He of course was skeptical, gave her a book and sent her to a practice room to try it out while he finished trombone lessons with the other kids.  30 minutes later he came back to check on her...thinking she might be able to figure out the first few songs in the book.  She was already HALF.WAY.THROUGH the book at that point and played the songs better than some of his students that have been playing for a couple years.  From that day on she continues to attend her trombone lessons after school on Monday's and now attends clarinet lessons before school on Wednesday's. band class?  She plays BOTH.  He says she faithfully sets out both instruments in front of her at the beginning of class and when Paul works with the brass section, she's picks up her trombone and when he works with the wood wind section, out comes the clarinet.  He LOVES it.  Thinks it's so cool.  Remember the flute that I mentioned we had sitting around?  It's no longer sitting around.  This child has a serious musical drive.  I'm thinking I might have to hide Kaleb's trumpet that's now sitting dormant or else she might start to overwhelm her band teacher. We left with full bellies and full hearts.  It's always nice to witness success in your children's lives.  We spent the rest of the night socializing with some dear friends and fell into bed exhausted.  Today I made the long drive back to be with Benjamin.  Back to our second home.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Once upon a time I used to live in an apartment above my parents home early in my marriage.  We had three young children at the time and it was the middle of summer when we had been warned about a possible tornado and big thunder storm.  We hunkered down in our little apartment with the kids asleep.  I remembered that long before that storm we always talked about what we would do in the event of an emergency.  You see, my parents home does not have a basement.  That's usually where you would go if a tornado were to hit.  Thankfully we lived in an area that it was very unusual for that to happen.  Our backup plan was to evacuate to our neighbor's home next door, the Braverman's.  This particular night we received a phone call from downstairs.  My sister Amy called and told us that if the storm gets really bad, we will all meet next door.  "Okay" I answered and hung up.  Did I forget to mention that we had a virtual stranger in our apartment that night?  My poor memory can't recall why there was a young lady sitting with us in our living room, but she was there and we barely knew her.  This is where the story gets interesting.  As we sat there conversing (somewhat awkwardly) with this girl, the storm continued to get worse and worse.  You could hear the wind whipping outside the windows and the thunder seemed to be right over our heads.  It was loud and intimidating.  Our apartment connected to the long upstairs hallway of my parents house and I remember windows being open because at some point during the evening, instead of calling us Amy made her way upstairs and down the long hallway to our apartment.  (her family was living in the house at the time)  When she opened our door she began to yell to us "GO TO THE BRAVERMAN'S...GO TO THE BRAVERMAN'S".  She seemed desperate and of course things seemed much more dramatic because the wind was SO loud coming through the open windows of the hallway that it was nearly blowing her over as she was trying to deliver this emergent message.  We could barely hear her as she screamed over and over..."GO TO THE BRAVERMAN'S".  I remember asking her if everyone downstairs had gone over yet.  "NO...JUST GO AND WE'LL MEET YOU THERE" she tells me.  Quickly (and panicking) we gathered up our small, sleeping children along with this virtual stranger and started heading for the door.  Steve went to start the car and then loaded us one by one.  The storm was HUGE and SCARY and I remember thinking that we were going to die trying to GET to the Braverman's.  After we were all loaded, we took the short drive down our driveway and into theirs.  Steve had me run to the door and knock.  The wind was whipping and the lightning was crashing.  I knock and wait.  No answer.  I knocked louder wondering why they weren't ready and waiting for us.  After all, I assumed they had been forewarned.  After the third or fourth desperate knock...a sleepy Mr. Braverman answers the door.  There I stood with my 3 year old daughter looking for shelter from the storm.  "My dad told me to come over...there is a tornado coming, we all need to get to the basement" I tell him.  He looks at me like I have three heads.  This time I speak louder and MORE desperate.  "Mr. Braverman...don't you understand?  We're all going to DIE unless we get to the basement.  The TORNADO is coming!"   He quickly ushers me in and Steve sees the green light and starts unloading sleeping children into my arms while Mr. Braverman starts gathering HIS sleeping (all 5 of them) children and wife to the basement.  Steve leaves the stranger girl with me and heads back to the homestead to help chauffeur the rest of the family to safety.  There I the basement with this neighbor family that we were friendly with, but not chummy with.  I kept reassuring them that we were in the right from that storm out there.  Besides...if my dad tells me to go, it must be bad, right?  It was awkward.  Nobody had called this poor family ahead of time to let them know we were coming.  I'm not sure that they were let in on our family 'back-up' plan of using their basement for such a time as this.  We sat there making small talk while I was patiently waiting for the REST of the family to show up.  5 minutes go by.  10 minutes.  Then 25.  I was feeling really uncomfortable and maybe slightly worried that no one else had showed up.  Not believing that I was actually being stranded, I continued to make excuses as to WHY the others hadn't shown up yet.  (can we say awkward?)  Finally I beg to use their phone.  I call home base.  "WHY aren't you HERE?" I ask.  All I hear is LAUGHING in the background.  Come to find out, Steve went home to get everybody else.  There was a slight misunderstanding.  Dad never ordered us to the Braverman's house and he wasn't going.  Therefore nobody else was going either.  But there I sat.  With my 3 small children AND the virtual stranger girl.  WITH the 7 Braverman's whom we had woken and rudely descended upon.  What was WORSE?  My husband was LAUGHING WITH THEM.  He abandoned me.  I politely excused myself....told them the worst of the storm was over, thanked them for the use of their basement and RAN out the door.  The End. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I believe in this motto.  It's a good one to stand by.  I'm doing just that tomorrow night when it's time for our family movie bonding time.  You see...a long, long time ago my older sister Jenny rented a movie called "The Watcher in the Woods" for our family to see when I was about 9 years old.  I wanted to be JUST like my sisters when I grew up.  (both of them)  This particular sister never pre-warned us about this movie, just popped it in and there we sat.  
HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THIS MOVIE? It's put out by Disney.  Even at the young age of 9 I knew that Disney was pretty safe.  Sure they have some scary moments in each of their movies, but for the most part...very family friendly, right?  This movie was C.R.E.E.P.Y to the 'nth' degree. (whatever that means)  I don't think I've ever been the same.  I blame Jenny.  A couple of months ago when I was with her I suggested that we rent this same movie so that we can now torture our OWN girls.  Unfortunately we couldn't find it with such short notice.  Last week I remembered that I wanted to buy this movie so I looked it up online and BOUGHT it.  It came today.  I told my family we were watching it.  My big, tough husband almost had a panic attack when he saw the cover.  You see...he had a similar experience as mine.  It made us laugh.  He claims that this movie puts the "E" in CREEPY.  Tomorrow night we will watch it.  I will have PAYED IT FORWARD.  
And I will have officially grown up to be JUST like my sister.  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


These girls were TOUGH.
Stevie was one of two 5th graders to make the team.
The rest were 7th graders.


(she shot her freethrows from way behind the line because she was afraid of a violation.  We're working on her strength so she doesn't have to take the running shot.)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


(heaven help me)