Saturday, September 28, 2013

#6 Grateful for peace in my home tonight

Popular blogger Ann Voskamp always writes about how she see's God's grace in the simplicity of her life. I like that and her.

Tonight I was washing dishes. There was a lot because I'd slacked on them yesterday and most of today. I allowed myself to because as you know we put our dog down yesterday.

So I was washing the dishes. My husband was playing his video game. He put his headphones on so I wasn't subjected to the gunfire and explosions. I had the baby monitor sitting on the kitchen counter. My son was asleep and his CD player was playing lullaby renditions of Pink Floyd.

As I washed dishes I felt happy.

Our family had a fantastic day today. We had a good breakfast. We all tried some turkey bacon for the first time. I made myself and my son some apricot orange oatmeal with a little bit of cream I had left over in the fridge.

After breakfast my husband went upstairs to watch a lecture for school. I played with Tino on the floor for a bit and we watched A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures. While he was occupied I decided to straighten up and vacuum.

Earlier, I'd posted on facebook that we were going to Milburn Orchards later in the morning. My husband made the suggestion the night before that we should all get out of the house as a family. My sister saw the post and texted to see if she and her boyfriend could come. Sure! We don't see enough of each other. I miss her and I like her boyfriend a lot. He has a great sense of humor and reminds me of my husband.

On a side note I asked if she could pop over a bit earlier and keep and eye on Tino while I got showered and dressed. She jumped in the shower, got dressed and came right over.

We all got up and out the door. Milburn Orchards was fantastic. Tino ran around. He loved the goats but didn't like the chickens. Nice family outing for less then $30, admission and a dozen apple cider donuts included. We got some fantastic photos.

My sister, although she might not know it, was such a big help today. I sometimes feel like I'm stuck by the stroller with my purse while my husband and son run off. So many times today she kept an eye on our stuff, the stroller, diaper bag and my purse so I could go snap a picture of my son. Half the time she pushed it for me so I could have my hands free. Her boyfriend took a couple really nice family shots of us for me. I'm sure it's not always fun hanging out with a couple with a kid when you're young and childless but these two are troopers. We all had a really nice time.

Once home we had some grilled cheese and soup for lunch. Ryan took a nap. Tino rested in his crib for a while and I uploaded all the photos to facebook, emailed them to my mother and chatted with her about them on the phone.

Tino was up from his nap and we finished the turtle movie, had some dinner and played some more. Ryan gave him a bath and got him in bed. He's no doubt exhausted from such an exciting day. I know I am.

I cleaned up our kitchen and now I'm spending a few minutes typing this out.

I'm sure to some this doesn't sound like a very exciting day but for me it was perfect. I love our little family so much. Our weeks are so busy with work, school, daycare and home. I crave days like these.

I think Ann is saying that you don't need to look hard to see God on days like these even if from the outside looking in they don't seem to exciting. You can feel him even while wrist deep in dirty dishes, barefoot in the kitchen feeling the night air drop in temperature and reminiscing about the day. I think if we spoke she would tell me this and I think she'd be absolutely right.

God is so great!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pinky Floyd & Shelby aka Burt

Some of you know that Sunday, March 31, 2013, Easter Sunday in fact, our pug Pinky Floyd died. Pinky went blind a few months before our son Tino was born. We took her to the vet who confirmed she was blind and wanted to send her to a specialist. She was diagnosed with Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) which is an incurable disease in dogs causing sudden blindness. 

Although blind she did very well getting around our house. Saturday, March 30th she suddenly was not herself. She wasn’t getting around. She was very wobbly and she stopped eating and drinking. I planned to call and make her a vet appointment first thing Monday morning. However, that next morning, Easter morning, she still refused to eat and struggled to even stand. Ryan actually laid her in her bed and went to get a shower and when he came down she was gone. It was very quick and peaceful. We buried her in our backyard wrapped in a blanket and planted a garden with a blackberry bush over her. 

Her last year was a tough one. I have some regrets. And, I miss her.

Sadly, this upcoming Friday, September 27, 2013 we will be putting our pug Shelby to sleep. We made the decision yesterday and it’s not been an easy one.

I sent my family, mother, father and sister a long email laying it all out for them. I copied my husband on it as well. It stated what we are dealing with at home with her and her quality of life. I talked a lot about my feelings; frustrations and guilt at letting her go on like this. I was honest with them that with our without their support I’d made the decision that it was time to put her down. 

I sent a similar email to Shelby’s vet who confirmed that we’d done everything we could and that yes it does sound like it’s time. Dr. Flanagan at VCA Animal Hospital in Glasgow is amazing, professional and tenderhearted. He said to call and make an appointment for Friday.

I think after reading my email everyone finally understood that it’s time. I got a nice email back from my mom telling me she loves and supports me. My sister also sent me a nice text. My husband, Ryan, and I talked when I got home from work and he also agreed that it’s time.

Last night I was sitting at our computer and I was looking through old pictures of Shelby to share on facebook and it hit me that she is just not the dog she used to be. She doesn’t jump on my leg with her silly face and airplane ears perked for a treat. She doesn’t freak out and run all over the house and jump on the furniture and bark her high pitch bar. She doesn’t talk when it’s time of her dinner. She just struggles to walk and lies around. And because Tino doesn’t understand that she’s in a delicate state he’s not gentle with her. To protect her we keep her in the kitchen alone all the time. It’s such a sad life for her. After looking at her life two years or so ago and her life now I feel much better about this decision.

Also, Ryan made a great point that Tino’s still little and he’s such a busy body. He probably won’t even notice she’s gone. If we wait another six months or a year he might put two and two together and be sad. If I can spare him of that for now I will.

Friday will be a hard day. I’m taking the day off from work. I’m taking Tino to daycare. I’m going to give Shelby a bath and brush her well and maybe take her down to the park. She can do her best to walk around in the fresh air for some time. I might even make her something to eat, some table food she’s not normally allowed to have before we head up to the vet.

I’m praying for peaceful day Friday. Please keep me in your thoughts.

She loved to be outside!

Always had her tongue out!

Airplane ears perked up for a treat!

The tongue again!

Did you say food? This dog was ruled by her stomach!



Funny sitter!

The two best dogs ever! Having just one pug is like eating just one potato chip!

What a pair uh?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

God Forgive Me

So the horrible story about little Evan has really just broken my heart. I don’t know why this hits so close to home with me. Maybe because it’s a boy and he’s so close in age to Tino. Maybe because it happened here in my home state. 

I read his mother’s description of her last hours with him and even though I won the battle of fighting back tears all day at work I completely lost the war after I picked Tino up from daycare. I kissed him and hugged him tight by the car. Then I strapped him in. Once I got in the car I put some music on for him and cried the 15 minutes home. The tears were cleansing.

My last few hours with my son I would also need to be the one to take him off life support. I would craddle him for hours. I would bathe him one last time. I would dress him in warm clothes. I would place him gently in the bag, kiss him one last time, zip him up and watch them wheel him away. Even after his beautiful and boisterous little spirit left this world I'd care for his little body with the love, respect and dignity it deserves. After all I’m his mother.

In those moments when the tears just streamed down my face I thanked God for my son. I begged Him to always keep him safe. In the darkness of my human heart I sinned and swore vengeance, justice and murder on any evil that would ever dare harm my child. And I clung to the hope that if anything horrible happened to our family that God is strong enough to get us through it.

However, a very tenderhearted person told me yesterday that if she ever lost her child in that way she’d never want to smile again. I can’t help but feel the exact same way. I’m not sure I’d want to live another moment without my beautiful baby boy. God forgive me for such thoughts.

#5 Grateful for Honest Mothers

Today, I am grateful for honest Mothers!
Mothers like this:
They make me feel like:
1. I'm not alone
2. These feelings are normal
3. I don't need to feel guilty
4. I'm doing my best
5. I'm a good mother
I don't think there is anything worse then having these feelings and someone making you feel guilty about them.
We do a huge disservice to one another pretending it's kisses and giggles 24/7.
I'm convinced it doesn't get easier. It just gets different.
But still, it's

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Mexican Stuffed Shells

This recipe is making it's way around on facebook. I changed it for ingredients my family likes. You can do the same. This recipe made a lot. Much more then I thought it would. I'm thinking of freezing one of these for another evening.


1 box of yellow rice
1 lb of ground beef
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 tbsp of tomato paste (I use the tube kind)
1 can of diced tomatoes w/ green chillies (Do NOT drain)
1 package of cream cheese
1 can of black beans drained and rinsed well
1-1/2 cups of frozen corn
1-1/2 cups of Mexican blend shredded cheese (inside)
1 box of large shells
Non stick spray
1 can of Enchilada sauce (topping)
1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese (topping)
2 - 13x9 pans


1. Cook rice in the microwave or on the stove according to package
2. Brown beef and added seasoning and tomato paste. Do NOT add water as packages instructs.
3. In a large mixing bowl combined tomatoes and cream cheese. Don't worry there will be lumps.
4. Add hot, browned beef mixture. This should help smooth out the cream cheese and make it creamy.
5. Fold in the black beans, corn, rice, and 1-1/2 cups of shredded cheese.
6. Refrigerate mixture.
7. Cook shells according to package.
8. Spray both pans with non stick spray.
9. Stuff each shell with a heaping tablespoon of filling and make a single layer in each pan.
10. Top each shell with one tbsp of Enchilada sauce
11. Sprinkle both pans of stuffed shells with 1 cup of shredded cheese
12. Refrigerate until 40 mins before dinner.
13. Cook for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees until heated through
14. Serve with sour cream and green onions (optional)









Friday, September 13, 2013

#4 I’m grateful that I can encourage young minds

My former instructor Chris from Del Tech contacted me last week. He told me he has a Computer Aided Engineering Drafting and Design student who had to interview someone in his field of study for an English Composition class. Chris asked if I’d be interested in meeting up with this student, Elliott, and be interviewed. I said sure and told him to give the “kid” my email and phone number. The next day he emailed me and I suggested he come out to Accudyne and I’d interview him and give him a tour. He was very excited. He even did some research before hand and checked out our website. He was a little late this morning because his daughter missed her bus but he called to let me know he was on his way. He showed up in a shirt and tie. He was very nice young man. He has an eight year old daughter. He works full time cutting plastics with a water jet cutter for a local manufacturer. His family owns a company that rents out moon bounces. He’s a full time student and is the music director at his church. He is a very ambitious young man and I think he is 26 years old. The interview was fun and I felt like it even helped me to appreciate my job all the more. The tour was a smashing success. He was shown some great examples of what we do here. I was very worried I overwhelmed him a little bit but he promised me he had a great time and was going to see if he could write a longer paper then was assigned because he had so much to say. Overall I think it was a great experience for both of us. Every semester at Del Tech I try to either go there and give a presentation about my experience at Del Tech and at Accudyne or I coordinate a tour for students at our facility. I love doing this. I’m going to start visiting high schools in the near future. I love doing this. I’m grateful that I can encourage young minds.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

#3 Grateful for the Comfort my Faith gives me

Twelve years ago today I was a receptionist for Bank of New York (DE) in Newark, Delaware. I remember I was working when the first tower was hit and an executive came walking quickly down the aisle near my desk. She went into the VP’s office and shut the door. Less than 20 minutes later two more of upper management came running down the same aisle. They opened the door and slammed it behind them. 

I could speculate and exaggerate but to be honest that’s all the specifics I remember. I’m not sure if an email was sent out or a verbal announcement was made or if it was just whispers throughout the office.

Soon everyone was on the internet looking at pictures. We soon heard about the Pentagon and the plane in Pennsylvania. There were stories of a fire at the DC Mall. Schools were being closed. Everyone was very upset. All the mothers wanted to go get their children and just get home. It's funny. I understand this more now as a mother. When the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary happened I just wanted to get to and hold Tino so badly and kiss him.

I think the one memory that stands out in my mind was when I got home. Ryan had left Buckley’s and was at my parent’s house getting a shower and changed out of his work clothes. He was sitting on my bed in my room putting his shoes on. I remember telling him that I was scared. That this was our generation’s Pearl Harbor. I remember asking him what if we went to war. I remember telling him I was afraid he’d be drafted. I remember fighting back tears and completely losing the battle. I remember Ryan holding my hands and having me sit in his lap and he told me that no matter what we would be okay. I think he took me out to dinner to Season’s Pizza in an attempt to relax and have some semblance of normalcy. 

The next few weeks we had major issues at work. I think our company’s hub was near the blast and was down for a very long time. I know I worked extra hours and they provided a lot of comfort snacks for everyone. There were these giant trays of cookies. I know this because I was on Weight Watchers and the trays were by my desk and my will completely broke. We found out some of our customers were in the towers and were killed. Even two Bank of New York employees had been in the towers and died although I didn’t know them.

I remember the news papers all having these amazing front page photos of the devastation. My grandparents collected them all and my mother has them today.

I don’t remember my parents saying much. I can't even tell you if they had the tv and news on.

I remember spending time with Ryan at his parent’s house and lighting a candle on their front deck one night.

I remember a lot of people mounted American Flags to their cars and trucks.

I remember video of Osama bin Laden stating that he didn't expect the towers to fall after being hit but that he was thrilled and thought it a blessing from his god that they did.

I remember stories over the radio that suspects were arrested in connection with the attacks. I remember strong feelings of demanding justice and excitement at the thought of vengeance just flowing through me.

I’m grateful that we haven’t experienced anything to this magnitude in the 12 years I’ve been on this earth since that day. With that said, I guess I feel safer but I think our world is still in very bad shape. I can’t say that I feel protected or shielded from evil like this in the world. Even now being a believer. But I do find a lot of comfort in my faith.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

#2 Thankful for EVERY friendship

Oh I read this great blog post by Kristen Strong last week about finding yourself “in a season of changing friendships”. I think right now I’m in that season. I’m not friendless but I have had a lot friends move out of my life, some getting ready to move and some new friends moving in. It’s not a good or a bad time. It’s just a period of adjustment. I can’t say I love it. Friendships with other women have always been a particularly difficult area in my life. 

I have stayed in touch with some ladies who have moved on to new and better lives. I sure miss them. There is always facebook. Some friends I’ve not kept in touch with and I’m learning that is natural and even healthy. I often try to force something that may need to fade in its own natural way. I tighten my death grip, mulling over what I’ve done wrong, what I could do different. Why am I like that? Why did I say that? What’s wrong with me?

My husband is so good at this. This never fazes him. He just rides along with the current and I’ll admit I envy him in this regard. He never wonders if it ended because of something he said or did.

It’s times like these that I wonder if God wants my focus on other things like Him, my husband, my son, my home and job.

So, I’ll shrug my shoulders and wipe away the few tears. Every friendship I’ve ever had has blessed me and taught me.

My big prayer, in regards to all these friendships, is that hopefully, a few, I’ve blessed as well.

#1 Grateful for the mornings you're there

My husband, Ryan, is in school, fulltime to be a nurse. He has finished his academics and is now in the midst of his clinical rotation. He is in third week of his third semester. He will be done in May of 2014.
Mondays and Tuesdays, every week, he leaves the house very early and reports to a medical facility for on site, hands on training. This week he is at Meadow Wood Hospital. This is a behavioral health facility. They specialize is mental health and addiction treatment. He seems to really be enjoying this rotation. But on these two mornings he’s out of the house before 6 am.

Sometimes I consider myself a mom who requires a lot of help. Other times I like doing it all on my own. On the days that Ryan doesn’t need to be up and out the door before 6 am he still gets up and helps get Tino to daycare and me to work. He changes Tino and dresses him. He makes me a cup of coffee to go. He gives Tino a snack. He takes our dog out. He even walks us out to the car and gets Tino all strapped in. While he’s doing this I am able to take a shower and get dressed in peace.
I can do all these things on my own. In fact, I do all these things on my own two days a week when he’s up and out early. But, I like his help.

To me it says:

I’m raising this kid with you.

If you have to be up I’ll be up with you.

I know working and being away from Tino is hard so whatever I can do to make it easier, so be it.

I want to see you and our son before you leave for your day.

So today I’m grateful for the mornings that Ryan’s home to help. Even though he knows and I know that I can and do, do it without him. I want him to know that I appreciate those mornings he’s there.