Tag Archives: family

An Ordinary Life

Some days I wake up and I think that I have to save the world. Or that I need to write the great novel. Or at least have a blog good enough to receive 20+ comments. Or that I must do crafts with my kids. Or create magical experiences day in and day out. Or use the same safe cleaners that Jessica Alba uses. Or wear the same shoes as Gwen Stefani. The thought sometimes whispers, but most the time shouts, don’t be ordinary. Ordinary isn’t perfect. Ordinary isn’t good enough.

As I was reading Brene Brown’s book, The Gift of Imperfection, I read this line and had one of those moments where I couldn’t catch my breath and I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing: What if we’re normal and quiet and happy? Does that count?

What if I don’t save the world, but I save my family? I focus on my tiny, ordinary family of five and make sure that everyone feels love, feels joy and is happy. Why isn’t that enough? Is that even ordinary? When I stop and think about it, I actually think THAT is extraordinarily ordinary.

What if I just keep writing my blog because I want to? I started my blog to provide hope to those who have ths same diagnosis as Olivia. I didn’t start it to get 20+ comments or have people love it. I wrote it because I felt like my daughter’s story was worth sharing. Isn’t that enough?

What if, at the end of my life, all you can say about me is that I was a good wife who loved her husband and he loved me back? Or that I was a good mother who loved her kids and they knew it every day of their lives? Or that we had a family who felt worthy and loved and full of joy? Isn’t that enough?

To me, that doesn’t sound ordinary. It sounds like exactly what I’m trying to do with my life. It’s so easy to lose sight of what are true goals are in life. To just be. And to love. And to experience and share joy. And that’s enough. Even if it’s ordinary.



Cream and Sugar

When I was little, all the way through my teen years even, my favorite thing was going to Grandma’s. When I was a baby, and both my parents were working, my Dad dropped me off at my Grandma G’s house in the morning. It’s weird how much I can remember about those days given that I was so young. He’d carry me in like “a sack of potatoes” and put me in her arms and I felt so happy and safe. She’d put me in my highchair, even though I was probably a little big for it at the time, and feed me breakfast. There were three standard choices: eggs over easy with toast, graham crackers broken up in a bowl and covered with milk (like cereal), or powdered donuts dipped in coffee. I still remember it like it was yesterday…and those would be three of my favorite things to eat in this world to this day. But my absolute favorite? Donuts in coffee.

She’d break the donut up into bite-size pieces, put a piece on a spoon, dip it the perfectly warm coffee and feed it to me. It was heaven. We always started our days this way. After breakfast it was time to play either outside with the dog that looked like Lassie, inside jumping on the bed, watching Ryan’s Hope after lunch in the living room or singing songs. She was the Grandma that wouldn’t yell if I had an accident, but would laugh and smile and assure me it was ok. She was the Grandma that would let me eat chip dip right out of the container because it was yummy. She was the Grandma that made me feel so loved. I always wonder what it would have been like to have her in my life for longer than 4 short years, but I’ll never know. But she certainly did start my love affair with coffee.

My other Grandma was just as special but in a different way. She was the FUN Grandma, the always laughing Grandma, the ball of energy Grandma. I loved going to her house on the weekend. She had tons of magazines–The Enquirer, People, all of those crazy celebrity mags—my favorite cottage cheese, diet pepsi…and coffee. We would play cards—Hearts usually—and drink coffee. I, of course, loved mine sweet with lots of cream and sugar. My aunt and Grandma would always tease my Mom that she liked it so strong it would “put hair on their chest” and I always giggled even though I didn’t know what it meant. I only knew that I loved being in that room, with my Grandma, my aunt, my Mom and my sister, playing cards and drinking coffee. I felt safe and loved and cherished.

In high school, I was one of few in my circle of friends who loved the taste of coffee. In the 90’s, coffeehouses were just becoming a “thing” in our town and I often wanted to go there with my friends go there on a Friday night. Some of them thought it was a place for stoners and weirdos, but all I knew was I loved the way it made me feel. There was a special feeling that came with being at a coffeehouse, drinking coffee and sharing laughs with friends.

In college, I was lucky enough to have friends who liked to party, for sure, but who also liked to go to a hockey game and then out for coffee. We’d smoke (sorry, Mom!), drink coffee, talk about life and laugh. These were my favorite times. I felt so lucky to have friends who understood me, who loved me and who loved coffee. During these years my morning cup of joe also became a necessity. I was working full-time and taking a full class-load so there was little to no sleep for me. Coffee was not only a continued source of comfort and familiarity, but a necessity to start my day.

During my first pregnancy, I denied myself coffee because I had read that caffeine wasn’t good for the baby. During the first few weeks, when I had nausea, it didn’t sound good anyway. But after that subsided, I craved it like crazy but didn’t want to do anything to put my baby in jeopardy. It was, and still is, a tradition that my Mom and sister and I always have coffee when we’re together. We just do. And so it was weird to not partake. After my miscarriage, when my Mom and I went to visit my sister at college, we went out to lunch and I was able to order coffee. I started bawling over my dessert and coffee and looked at the two women who know me best and said “I would give up coffee forever if I could have my baby back.” It was the first time that coffee didn’t bring me feelings of nostalgia and comfort, but pain.

After the kids were born, I needed coffee like I needed air. Having three kids under four is no easy or energy-filled task. There were days when I honestly didn’t think I’d make it. It became a life-line most days and still is today. If I’m having a rough day, or just need a little cheering up, nothing makes me feel better like a steaming hot cup of the good stuff with cream and sugar. Every morning, when Matt brings me my first steaming hot cup of coffee fixed just the way I like it, I feel loved and special. I can’t imagine giving it up. Not just because I need it, but because in a weird and beautiful way, it’s part of me.

Source: squidoo.com via Paula on Pinterest

**From MamaKat’s writing workshop prompt: How did your love affair with Coffee begin?**

I Feel

I feel deeply and strongly and overwhelmingly and constantly. There are days when my feelings threaten to overwhelm me…because of joy or despair. My friends and loved ones know, if you look at my face, you know how I feel. I don’t have a mask.

At times I fall into the why-me-life-is-too-hard-I-can’t-take-this-anymore despair and I feel like I won’t be able to come up for air. Why is everything so hard? Why can’t one thing in my life be easy? Why? Why? Why?

I take a deep breath. I let the pain and the anguish wash over me. I feel. I don’t fight it. Fighting it does nothing for me except delay the inevitable breakdown. So I feel it. I let the anger, the fear, the unknown, the pain, the anxiety, the bitterness wash over me like a pounding summer rain. Then I take another deep breath and let it out. The pain is behind me and, although it’s not gone, it’s diminished.

Then I let a little light in. Then more. Then more. And before I know it, I have forgotten the knives of pain and all I feel is overwhelming joy. I have everything I need. I am blessed beyond measure. I look around at my amazing husband, my marvelous children, my wonderful mother and I smile. We are healthy, we are fed, we have a roof over our heads and, most important of all, we are deeply, deeply loved. In this moment, the only one that matters, there is love. Nothing else matters.

I feel…and I’m ok with that.

We’re In This Together—Tuesday Tunes

I am in love with this song by Alicia Keys. I know, it’s not new. But I’ve been listening to it all the time lately and I love it. I love the lyrics, I love her voice, I love the beat.

Take a look…

I’m feeling a little protective of my family these days. We just had major tornadoes rip through this area and they just missed us. My sister’s friend’s sister (got that?) and her son were killed by the tornadoes…and they live about 20 minutes away from here. It hit the town where I grew up pretty badly. Somehow, it went right around our town. But it could have just as easily been us. From all the reports I’ve been reading, it sounds as though many people were asleep and weren’t able to hear the sirens so they could take shelter. It’s just so heartbreaking…and another reminder of how precious life is.

I feel as though my little family of five fits so well together. We were out to dinner last night to celebrate my MIL’s retirment and I was sitting with the kids and just marveling at how well my kids get along and behave. Now don’t get me wrong, they argue and fight. But not very often. The boys are best buddies; they include their sister; they love each other. Olivia gets the boys laughing, she gives them kisses, she reminds them that it’s ok to be loving and sweet even though they’re boys. They’re all respectful to Matt and I…they’re just sweet and all-around good kids. When I listen to this song, I think of my family; I think of how perfectly we were all put together and how wrong it would be if we were ever separated.

We’re in this together, all 5 of us work to make it better and no one can ever get in the way of what I’m feeling.

I’m so very thankful for my precious little family.

It’s Official…I said yes

It’s Official…we had our first yes day yesterday! Remember when Momalom had their Yes! day? And CK’s awesome post about yes? And my post last week about Yes! day? Well, we did it.

I didn’t plan on it being yes day; I was going to wait until Saturday. But it was just one of those days where the opportunity presented itself…and I just couldn’t say no.

Yes, Matty, I will get you a Shrek happy meal to take to your end of pre-school picnic.

Yes, Matty, you can take a midday bath before your nap. (It’s 90 degrees for goodness sakes…and we were just at a park for your picnic!)

Yes, Gabe, you can have a friend over after school.

Yes, Gabe, you can borrow 3 weeks of allowance to buy that new Webkinz so you can match your 2 best buddies on stuffed animal day on Friday.

Yes, Olivia, you can watch TV in your room for a little while even though it’s a beautiful day outside. You’re “whooped” as you say; I get it.

Yes, Olivia, Grandma is here to take you to horseback riding. Yes, I’m sure you can have pancakes and take a bath at her house.

Yes, Gabe, your friend can stay for dinner.

Yes, Matty, you can have a friend over too.

Yes, boys, I’ll turn on the sprinkler so it hits the trampoline. Yes, you can put dish soap on it to make it slippery.

Yes, I hear the ice cream truck. Yes, I have cash for once. Yes, you can all get something.

Yes, I will jump on the trampoline with you.

Yes, Daddy will jump too.

Yes, Honey, I will have a margarita…or two.

Yes, Honey, I will have Cold Stone with you after the kids go to bed.

Yes day isn’t just for kids you know!!

It was awesome. No one fought. No one whined. I’m so glad I said yes. And I plan on doing it again soon!!