Friday, November 20, 2015

Six years later

I was looking at the calendar and thinking back to the days Wy came home.  I realized that the dates and days match up exactly this year as in 2009. Wy came on an extended visit this day six years ago- Friday, November, 20, 2009. He went back for one night to his foster home and then came home for good on Monday the 23.
  Kind of surreal to think back on this day. I remember it vividly. The fear of the unknown, the happiness, the ten thousand questions going through my mind. Thinking of this little child who had no clue who we were or what we were doing with him. He was 18 months old. He was a baby. We were strangers to him. 
I think of how flawless he meshed into our family. How readily Anna accepted and loved him.
How open our family was to loving someone they had never met. He literally walked through the door and his life completely started over. He didn't have a choice in the matter, he didn't fuss or cry, he just started living. God had His hand in all of these things 
Sometimes I don't give Wy the benefit of the doubt enough.
I don't like to think about his past before us, because it was not a good place. I look at him now and I see this amazingly sweet kid who is so eager to please.
This funny, happy and always ornery boy. This silly and sensitive kid who has a thousand questions and so much to say.
 I sometimes forget where he has come from. I forget how far he has come. From the moment we met him making us smile and always keeping us on our toes. He has empathy deep within him and a sensitivity beyond his years. 
I see this when I see him with his baby sister. I can feel the love he has for her.
The way he tends to her and makes her smile. I pray that at some point he had that as a baby. I pray that someone held him when I wasn't there to. The truth is, he probably didn't. There are many things he didn't get in his first 14 months of life, most of which we will never know. But, I do know that every time he asks to snuggle- I will snuggle. If it makes him feel better to be in our bed to fall asleep, he will come in our bed.
If there are questions he has or answers he needs, I will try to help find them. As he gets older I will do all I can to help him make good choices. To know that no matter what he is a good boy and he is always loved.
That sometimes (well many times;) we yell and he will get in trouble, but that doesn't change how much we love him. We are just trying to help him to be the best Wy he can be. 

Six years ago today we brought this little boy into our home for the first time. Virtual strangers to a toddler who had known nothing but loss and change. We brought him into a home with hugs and kisses and an open pantry door. With apple juice and snuggling. Blankets and stuffed animals. Things he had never really known before. 
When you look back at where he has come from, the little man he has become today is an absolute miracle . Sometimes I forget that he wasn't always mine. Days like today are the perfect reminder of where his life has brought him and what an incredible little person he is now. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why we love American Girl...

Why do I like American Girl Dolls...
Wow- such a question. I get giddy with excitement just thinking of everything I want to say about these dolls! 
I should start by saying I am a 35 year old woman. A woman, who as a child, dreamed of having my own American Girl Doll. I had the catalogues and a select few friends who had them, back then they were not very common in my neighborhood. As my daughter reached about the age of 5 she discovered the catalogues. She studied them over and over. We would sit and talk about the pictures that covered the pages. The detail in each and every thing, the price not yet a concern of course, because we hadn't purchased anything. Four years later it is like a mini Christmas when the catalogue comes in the mail.

Her grandma bought her first doll for her the Christmas she was 5.
We ordered it through the beloved catalogue and receiving it was unparallel to any other gift.
She named her doll Wendy, after her favorite restaurant. Wendy has been so many places and loved beyond measure. After she got Wendy the catalogues meant even more. Finding her doll in the pages and set in the scenes that filled them.
Over the next few years we were so excited to get our very own American Girl Place only 2 hours away.
The first trip was with grandma and papa for a soon to be retired Molly and the next with her best friend, and Wendy of course, for lunch.
A third trip with her cousin and a fourth one planned for next week. 
There is nothing like the store. In my daughter's words it is the next best place to Disney World! Walking through the doors and seeing the catalogue come to life is such an experience. Being able to see each doll in "person" and each accessory and animal. Having personal shoppers, a cafe, a hair salon and more.
 As my daughter has grown and become an avid reader she has seen a whole new world of history open in the American Girl books and movies. She has spent countless hours imagining up so many amazing stories for her dolls to live out. 
She has learned about cultural differences and had history lessons she would never have known if it hadn't been for meeting these dolls and their stories. 
We have made crafts and used our imaginations to make everything for our dolls from coffee to movies.
They have become a part of our family. 
As a person who considers myself thrifty I admit there is a high cost to the dolls. But, the quality and durability of the dolls makes them well worth the money. We have bought the knockoff dolls and there really isn't any comparison.
If anything I consider them an investment for my daughter and whomever she decides to pass them on to when she grows up, my future granddaughters I hope! 
We have many at this point, 5 dolls and bitty twins. She plays with them and cares for them and knows their stories. 
The next one she buys she is saving for herself. She is learning even more to appreciate them because she has been saving for so long. 
To be quite honest these dolls just make me happy. They make my daughter happy.
They let me live a part of my childhood that I have always wanted and they have given my daughter and I something we both love to do together. 
She won't always be little and she won't always want me to play dolls with her. I will take these moment and soak them in for as long as I can. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Blessed, beautiful girl...

Anna and I talk often. She is so far very open with me and I pray as she gets older our relationship stays this way. She often brings up and talks about the hospital. She remains very aware of the care she was given and the circumstances surrounding her stay. She remembers every little thing and likes to discuss it. We often talk about how we feel now compared to then and how things make us think of being there. Especially The Muppets Most wanted, which we watched over and over during her stay. 

Today she came home from school with her 4th grade pictures. I told her I loved them and asked her what she thought of them. She said "I love them, but I can't believe how good my eye looks. It is normal!"  I said of course it is! She then said- "the last time I had my picture taken in that dress was when I came home from the hospital. I can't believe how different I look. When I look in the mirror you can't even tell where my surgery was."

She is right. You can't. My beautiful girl has not even a scar from her surgery that was just over 6 months ago! Not a day goes by that I don't think of the miracles of medicine that were performed on my child that night in March. As we went back to see her in post op I remember the nurse saying that the stitch was a "plastic surgeon's stitch" and we wouldn't see where it was soon. I thought to myself, yeah right! But, she was right.
 Dr. Nerad not only took the infection from her body, but he did such amazing work that the physical evidence is gone. These gorgeous baby blues are as perfect as they ever were. Not a moment goes by that I am not thankful for the care that Anna was given.  Now as I see the joy she has because her eye "looks normal" to her I am even more thankful. I told her today she is probably the only 4th grader who had a plastic surgeon do her surgery. Blessed, beautiful girl.... 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

New Opportunities...

A few months ago I was so excited to be chosen as a new contributor for the Cincy Moms Blog. Because I have been submitting my posts to the blog I haven't had many on my own blog.  So, I wanted to share the links to a few of my posts. 

Here is my intro -

Meet Sarah

 Beyond Color

No More smart phone shaming

Dear Mom who has never known loss

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Like Sands through the hourglass...


There aren't many constants in life. Many things you can count on day after day, without hesitation or worry. For the past 30 years I have had one of these things. It is something that makes me happy. Something that relaxes me. Something I look forward to 5 days a week. This something is- Days of our lives.

When I was in Elementary school I remember sitting on the couch with my mom after school. Fast forwarding through the commercials of her VHS tape she used everyday to record DOOL. I remember Marlena as the devil and Carly being buried alive. Stefano's many plots and plans and all 3 Roman Bradys. I grew up wanting to try Clam Chowder and longing for a ride on the Fancy Face. I knew every couple's love song and could hear MacDonald Carey's voice in my head.

As I got older and learned to use a VCR on my own I continued to watch my favorite show. I scheduled my college courses around it and eventually scheduled Naptime around it as a mom. Anytime my mother and sister and I are together we discuss what is happening in Salem. Who is leaving, dying, murdering or crying. On more than one occasion we have been overheard and questioned on who we were taking about. We talk about hanging ornaments at the Horton Christmas and the Brady picnic on 4th of July. About Aremid and the Dimera Mansion. About our old favorites and new faces of old characters. About plane crashes, hidden islands, princess and underground tunnels. About the Brady pub, club tbd, Horton town square, the police department and of course the Hospital with the one room everyone in Salem has stayed in at one time or another. Each time we see each other, which is daily, the first thing we ask one another is "did you watch days?!". Whether at a party, dinner or even once at a funeral. The topic that comes up first is our beloved Salemites.

It is a fete unheard of to have a show celebrating its 50th anniversary on Television. My mom has watched since its inception, my sister and myself for as long as we can remember.

We talk about Hope, Jennifer and Sami like they are friends of the family. Discuss what we think is going to happen and sometimes how we fast forwarded through an entire scene. There is nothing I can say has ever kept my attention as long as DOOL.

This is not just a show to my family, it is a part of our lives. It is one thing that can take us out of our reality and bring us closer together. It is the little part of our history that continues to grow with us. For as long as I can remember Salem has been an escape for the three of us.

Hoping Salem sticks around for another 50 years. Or at least until all of the story lines come to a close, whichever comes first.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Happy 65th mom

My mom- 

One of my closest friends.
One of my biggest supporters.
The One I go to for advice.
The One I sound like.
The One I look like.
The one whose body I somehow have gotten in the past few years. 
One of my first phone calls when something is good.
One of my first phone calls when something is bad. 
The one who has stood by my side, through every decision. 
The one Who has whole heartedly loved each of the children I have brought into our family. 
The one who has helped me become the mother I am. 
The one who has helped me learn to grieve.
One of my favorite people. 
One of the people I look up to most. 
So thankful that the one that God gave me is the best Mom I could ever imagine. 

Happy Birthday mom...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

School board choices....

I am not a political person. I am not going to lie when i say I have voted in many elections just by listening to my dad or my husband. There aren't many things I am invested enough personally to have a strong opinion on when it comes to voting, except the Oak Hills School Board.

 In the last election I knew who I was voting for and I was a proud backer of each of those people. This time around there are 3 opponents running for 2 open spots. To me, there are really only 2 choices.
You see I spend a lot of time in the district. I attend events and volunteer.  I am at meetings and I have been around awhile now. I pay close attention to who does what, I know who cares about our schools and our kids. I can't tell you the last time I have attended anything for our district where Jan Hunter wasn't there. She is at everything and is a positive voice for our district. She was on our original levy committee and is one of the first people I go to with questions for anything PTA. She has spent years invested in our district and the last few years as a board member. She is up for re-election. 

Another face (and voice;) who is at everything is Linus Ryland. He is the PTA dad. He is more knowledgable on Robert's Rules than anyone I know. He attends and reports back at every oak hills board meeting. He has children in the schools and a vested interest in the future of the district.  I have always looked to him as someone who not only knows the district, but cares. He is a volunteer like me, yet he has the knowledge and the drive to be so much more! 

I am sorry to say I do not know the third candidate. I have heard his name a few times, Cooper, I believe. This in of itself speaks volumes to me. If I am in a place where I have had countless interactions with both Linus and Jan, but have yet to meet the third candidate, I believe that speaks of his concern for our district on some level. 

I will be at the meet the candidates forum on October 21 at RRMS at 7 pm and I urge you to go as well. The best thing we can do for the future of our schools is make an informed decision on who is in charge.

 This is that chance. 

I know this is only the two cents of a parent in the district. But, if anyone is voting for school board like I have voted in the past and needs a little help with their choices, Ryland and Hunter are getting my votes. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Filling fifty stockings... We need your help!!

Earlier this week Anna, Wy, Sam and I took a van load of stuff to Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
We took new costumes, clothes and toys. When we talked about what we wanted to donate the kids decided that the kids in the hospital may not have costumes and would want one to wear at the hospital. 
After we left we started talking about what we could do next. We thought about what a child who has to spend Christmas in the hospital may be missing. Wy said they probably miss their Christmas tree and from there Anna said what about a stocking? So our idea was born with that. 
                Filling fifty stockings. 

We are unable to donate anything edible, so we are going to stick with small toys, play doh, word searches, fun pens and markers. When I spoke with Miss Jane at CCHMC she said the best thing to donate would be gift cards. Something new that we learned is that we can get gift cards to the hospital gift shop! So not only will the kids get a gift card, but they Can go shopping themselves! 
Our goal is a big one- hoping to fill our 50 stockings with $10 gift cards each- so we need to raise $500! If you are at the hospital and would like to purchase a gift card that is great! If you would like to donate money we will purchase them with our final amount and split it 50 ways!  Our family will be taking care of the 50 stockings and we are hoping a few classes at school could help and collect pencils, markers, word searches, soduku books, pocket puzzle books and small stuffed animals. If you could help by purchasing just a few things we would appreciate this so much! 

We know we just asked for help in May, but what a great reason to get your heart ready for the Christmas Season!

 We will plan on making our delivery in early December. We would like all donations by December 5.  Please let us know if you would like to be a part of helping make Christmas a little brighter for the inpatient kids at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. 

****************update 11-12-15***********
We are on our way! Thanks to Grandma and Papa Cox we have 50 stockings! We have also received 50 cans of play dough from the Willetts, a box of toys from the Hetzels and our first gift cards from the Williams family! We have purchased small prizes and books for each stocking and have door hangers to donate as well! We have Anna's 4th grade class making cards to put in each stocking! 
We still need you! We are in need of gift cards for the gift shop at CCHMC. Please help if you can!!