Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Brother, My Friend

Well, the day that seemed so far away is now here. My brother E is leaving for Iraq today. 

I'm almost so full of words that I don't know what to say. On one hand, I'm SO crazy proud of him for what he's doing for not only our country, but for the future of his children. On the other, I hate that he has to go over there and leave his kids and his new (awesome) girlfriend. But the sooner he leaves, the sooner he'll be back, so I guess it's time to get this show on the road. (Or as he says "It's time to just get it done".)

E and I have always been close. No matter what craziness life brought us through the years, we've almost always been in contact. We share so many hilarious and happy childhood memories and can go on for hours reminiscing. We both have a deep appreciation for music of the 80's and 90's (the 'soundtrack' of our youths), so I made him a couple CD's of 'old school' music to burn to his iPod for while he's over there and plan to send him new 'installments' if the postal service will allow it. (If he's lucky, I'll throw in some Slim Jims and granola bars as well.) 

On that note, I'll miss hearing "We Are the World" on my phone, signaling that he's calling.

I'm thankful for technology though. Once he's settled in, he should (hopefully) have access to the internet again, so we'll be able to at least email and if we're lucky, talk and see each other via Skype. (The good folks at Skype will be my main source of contact with both E and Michael for a month this summer while he's studying in England! I do admit to some frustration with them in the past week, but it's really more the speed (or lack of) my laptop processor, so I'll try to remember that so as not to tick them off. It's not a good idea to tick off the ones who allow you access to your loved ones, right?) 

I will think of and pray for E's safety and strength every day he's away. Come home soon, Baby Erie. I love you, Bro. =)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Family Day

Today was the first truly amazing day of spring and we took full advantage of it! It was sunny and warm and the perfect day to be outside, so we loaded the jogging stroller and the Boy into the car and headed to campus. Our first goal was to get a picture of him sitting on the infamous Nittany Lion Shrine, but there was a long line so we decided to wait until we were leaving campus. Then we headed to the bookstore to find a drawing pad for Michael. There was some sort of concert/festival type thing going on the big lawn in front of the HUB and a guitarist/singer was performing. The whole lawn was filled with pasty white coeds on blankets enjoying the day. Then we headed down to the main strip, browsed around a few stores and made a stop at the library where yours truly signed up for her own library card. We spent a good deal of time in the library and Max even fell asleep at one point in the stroller. By this point, I was getting hungry (and it's bad news bears on the grump factor when that happens!) so we decided to head to Mad Mex for dinner & margaritas on the outside patio so we could keep enjoying the weather. Everyone else and their mothers apparently had the same thought though, so we headed back towards home and went to another restaurant with a deck.  All in all, it was a fantastic day spent with my favorite guys!

Monday, April 13, 2009


If there's one thing I've learned since becoming a mother, it's that I can't handle hearing/seeing littles in pain. In addition to the aforementioned final episode of E.R., I've recently watched some movies that broke my heart (Slumdog Millionaire and The Secret Life of Bees to name just a couple) with the way children were treated. Yes, I realize they're not real, but the feelings certainly were/are. (This coming from the woman who can hardly stand to leave her son crying on his playmat to run to the restroom... but that's another story.)

This past week something very real happened to two separate families- two families I do not know, but my heart breaks for them nonetheless. The first is the Spohr's of California. Their beautiful 17 month old daughter Madeline passed away unexpectedly on April 7th. Like our son, Maddie was born premature and spent her first months of life in the NICU. Her final days were spent in the PICU, where she struggled with respiratory problems. Her parents (Heather & Mike) will bury their child tomorrow, April 14.

There has been a world wide web outpouring of donations to the March of Dimes and to her parents to help pay for the funeral costs. All the mom (and dad) bloggers of the world have rallied together to make sure that everything is covered for her parents during their time of loss. Heather had been fundraising for the March of Dimes March for Babies later this month and her goal had been $3,000. Since Maddie's death, she has raised over $25,000 in donations! Their website (linked above) was temporarily shut down due to traffic overload. Her story has been seen on blogs all across the web, in the L.A. Times and on TV.

I personally have been very affected by Maddie's story. As a NICU parent, there are certain things you'll just never forget from your time there and to lose your child is the worst nightmare of them all. We came so close... so close that it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. Neither Michael or I will ever be able to forget waking up to the nurse practitioner telling us to come to the NICU to say goodbye to our son. I have read many other parent's shocked responses and it seems that we all have pretty much the same thoughts: "Ohmygod, it could have been MY child!". We've all spent more time and have held our kids a little (okay, a lot) closer since. I can hardly take my eyes off Max!

The second horrible loss happened only yesterday. Thalon Myers, the four month old son of
Shana passed away after fighting for his life in the hospital. I do not know many in-depth details about him so far, but his death has shocked the community nonetheless. It's heartwarming to see the outpouring of support for the family and the blogosphere is making donations again.
I send my deepest condolances to Heather & Mike and Shana and all of their families. No parents should ever have to bury their children.
Over the past week I have been constantly reminded of the outpouring of love and support WE received from friends, family (and in the case of Shana and the Spohr's) from complete strangers. It was so appreciated and helped us through the darkest of days, so I would like to say thank you to everyone again. Our little man is thriving and we are grateful for every day with him. Thank you all from the bottom of this mom's heart.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bawk bawk, Easter Bunny!

Happy Easter from our home to yours! Here's our big guy all dressed up ready for church. He spit up mere minutes later. Must have been all the peeps! (Haha!)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Attack of the Mommarazzi!

I know he won't be happy with me when he's a teenager... but I couldn't resist posting this! 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Too Close For Comfort

** CAUTION: E.R. final episode plot spoiler!!! **

I haven't watched E.R. in years, but I felt compelled to watch the final episode earlier this evening. My mom and I used to watch the show every week back when it started 15 years ago and it just felt wrong to not tune in. (Hi, sucker?!) I'm a fan of the 'Old School' years: Doctors Green, Ross, Benton, Lewis and the little scrapper resident, Carter. I felt that watching the final episode would be like saying goodbye to old friends. (I'm admittedly cheesy like that.)

The one hour flashback episode was just that (waterworks at ANY reference to Dr. Greene!), but the actual final episode... was another story. Sure, I didn't recognize most of the characters and was confused why Uncle Jesse had disbanded from the Rippers and Rory Gilmore had thrown away her promising career as a journalist to work in the E.R. (ha!), but after all these years, it still had the same old E.R. feeling. 

Then came the plotline of the woman giving birth to a baby who was born septic... and it just hit waaaay too close to home. It brought back too many terrifying memories of the night of Max's birth when we were called into the NICU to say goodbye to our (septic) little boy. It made me realize that even though it was 'just a TV show' that the writers definitely did their jobs- the feelings were too realistic for someone who had actually lived through the nightmare. It was a little too much to handle, so I changed the channel. 

Thankfully, we were blessed with a real life happy ending. Our little guy is just two days shy of 7 months (5 adjusted) and is a thriving and amazing little person! He squeals, jumps, slobbers and has a million dollar smile that melts my heart a million times a day. (I have since learned that the mother on the show did not survive, so we've got another one-up on them as well.)

And yet I'm still extremely disturbed... it's almost 4am and I can't fall asleep. My mind is racing and I just want to go pick up my baby and hold and cuddle him, but I know that he's enjoying a peaceful slumber and don't want to rouse him from it. A fussy baby tomorrow is a reality that would hit home if I did!