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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Innocence & Purity

So I thought I had whittled my insomnia down to where I may be able to get some rest before Kat inevitably woke up for her dead-of-night feeding, but alas.....

Innocence & Purity- those words came to mind as I mulled over my day with my children. While I frequently find myself with fists clenching and temple veins throbbing in an attempt to rein in my frustration at yet another temper tantrum or display of willful disobiedience from Henry, I also deeply cherish this stage because he still has that tenuous wholly-innocent and pure aura about him only found in small children. I read somewhere mothers' auras cover their children too under they are three. Not sure why that stuck with me, but now that Henry has turned three, I do sense that subtle shift away from me.

Henry's world, now between toddler & preschool, seems to be largely a selfish world with the overarching theme of "What's in it for me?" The merest suggestion of doing something he's the least bit opposed to sets off nuclear-powerworthy tantrums. Even everyday things like getting dressed, eating breakfast (I gave up on enforcing structured naptimes), brushing teeth, combing hair, washing hands, going potty.... It's a constant stream of encouraging, cajoling, pleading & threatening.

Yet I see touching displays of childish innocence like when he gently strokes his baby sister's cheek with one finger, softly cups her face to look into her wide blue eyes and laughs for no apparent reason, his delight mirrored in her face as well. Or when he wraps his arms around our enormous dog's neck to hug her tight. He finds simple joy in this world that as adults, we seldom even see anymore.

Henry's not in a rush to get to an appointment or submit that paper on time. He's not consumed with thoughts of paying bills and job-searching. He has not developed that bitter disillusionment we acquire through the realization that life is not fair and working hard does not guarantee success.

I try to step back when in the midst of those frustrating moments and remember what veteran-mothers have told me. It's only for a minute. They grow up so fast. Treasure each stage. Pretty soon he won't be needing you anymore. You cannot get this time with your children back. No one said on their deathbed that they wished they had spent more time at work.

I thought of that tonight while hammering out a rough draft for a paper due tomorrow. My husband was putting Henry to bed to give me a precious few minutes of writing-time. Henry was crying for Mama to rock him to sleep and I felt that overwhelming maternal response. Nothing else matters, my child needs me, as in get-in-my-way-and-I-WILL-knock-you-over. We wrapped up in cosy fleece blankets and tucked in together in the  rocking chair. As I sat there rocking in the dim nursery, his breathing slowed and he sank into sleep in my arms, and I realized just how numbered those nights are. Before I know it, he will be too grown up to be rocked to sleep by Mama.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Dish is Cracked

I said this to my Mom the other day in reference to the mild insanity present in every sleep-deprived parent and since then thought about how appropriate that phrase is right now. First a little context: I used Grandma's bowls when I served homemade ham & corn chowder for dinner tonight.

Growing up next door to my Italian/Albanian grandmother meant that I had constant exposure to a way of cooking we seldom appreciate anymore. I realize I'm generalizing here so all you foodies can calm down. I know this is not the all-encompassing attitude of our society but it prevails enough for me to generalize about it. Our culture has mainstreamed cooking to fit within our busy schedules with minimum amount of effort. Not so in Grandma Helen's kitchen.

Helen Virginia was the youngest of 12 born to Delia and Dennis in Clyde, NY. She recalled her earliest memories of when she learned about WWI while standing on a fence next to her sister, watching their neighbor come home in a flag-covered casket. Her sister explained to her that there was a War on and that was why there was no more sugar.

Grandma learned to cook from memory and not recipe books, using a coal stove. She had to practice and practice before she got her piecrust recipe right and they ate the mistakes anyway so as not to waste food. The family would splurge on cupcakes from the local bakery for the men's lunches when they went off to work.

Grandma worked as a housekeeper & nanny to wealthy families in Tonawanda before she got married in 1946. She worked the night shift cleaning dorms at SUNY Brockport while caring for her only son during the day, making meals and doing the housework while my grandfather maintained the family farm. No pizza nights or Chinese takeout for them. She put a home-cooked meal on the table every night, cooking during her days off and stocking up meals for the rest of the week.

I have so many cherished memories of her cooking and would dearly love to be back in her kitchen as she kneaded out the dough for her 3000th apple pie or stirred her umpteenth pot of homemade soup, the prettily painted china bowls neatly set out around the table.

I won't do full justice to my memories of Grandma Helen's cooking here so that will wait for another post. Whenever we did the dishes after lunch, she would tell me what the various obscure kitchen implements were for (for example: a handheld chopper for eggs & apples that looked like a lethal cookie-cutter). She would tell me that all her kitchen things would be mine someday and not to sell her iron skillets. Apparently a visitor wanted to buy them once and she refused to sell. I would roll my teenager eyes and sigh at the morbidity of bequething dishes to granddaughters.

Then Grandma died in 2006 and I found myself unable to go into her hauntingly empty kitchen. All her things were as she left them but they seemed to have lost their purpose, like they were merely faint echoes now.

Now I have the majority of her kitchenware crammed into my tiny apartment kitchen.
As much as I could fit in the cupboards. Every single time I dish something into one of her serving bowls or ladle soup or even mac & cheese into the cracked &chipped china bowls, I feel her presence next to me.

The older I get, the more I realize what truly matters. It's certainly not the pursuit of capitalist gain to make your mark in this world. How you treat others- your compassion, empathy, courage and conviction are what's going to matter at the end of the day.
It's also taken me until I was 30 to realize the importance of having confidence in yourself and not caring about what others think. I have yet to master this skill but I have a glimmer of realization which is a start.

Maybe it's the sleep deprivation, maybe the constant hovering just above the poverty-line that's pushed me to this point - my dish is cracked, but it is not broken.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The most commonly heard word around here, so I thought it fitting for the title of this post.

We woke up late yesterday (8am) and instead of scrambling to get Henry to preschool in time for the 8:30 breakfast, I thought why bother? So I called & said he would be late and we had breakfast here. Henry found the leftover pizza from Jim's football night and helped himself. Really must discourage him from going in the fridge alone. One of these times he might help himself to my stale wine or peppermint mocha coffee creamer. Don't know which would upset me more.

So we had a nice leisurely breakfast and watched "Curious George" while I gathered supplies for taking Kathryn on my errands run after dropping Henry off. Funny how I try now to consolidate trips so I have to wrangle kids into carseats as little as possible. Before kids, I thought nothing of doing things in bits and pieces, but not anymore. If we're going out, it usually entails mentally mapping out our route and stopping wherever we might need something along the way. Maybe it's more fuel-efficient now. Yeah, that's what I'll tell myself.

Henry is getting so independant- insists on buckling himself in every time, which while I applaude the move toward self-sufficiency, is frequently frustrating when we are constantly late going somewhere. "Sorry we're late. Henry HAD to buckle himself in." I know what some of you are thinking. "You're the parent. Say NO." Unless you have a willful 3yr old of your own, this seems like the obvious solution. Those of you who feel my pain know that response is guaranteed to propel your child into a bucking, writhing, screaming ball of fury. But I digress.

Dropped Henry off at school, proudly wearing his Bills jersey with a triangular cat's nose & whiskers painted on his face with my new black eyeliner. The sacrifices we make for our children. He has a lion costume but no way am I going to subject his teachers to a potty-training preschooler in a cumbersome costume. Stopped to pick up Grammy, Jim's suit and a refill on Mama's coffee and away we went, off on a whirlwind of adventure.

Dropped off Jim's suit to be pressed, went to Michael's for Grammy and I stayed in the car to change & nurse the ravenous infant. Off to treat Grammy to lunch with an Applebee's giftcard I unexpectedly unearthed from the office papers. Sweet. Kat turned heads wearing her little puppydog jacket, complete with floppy ears. Had to change her again. And rock her in her carseat to keep her amused during lunch. She nicely timed her meltdown as we were finishing up, so overall, a good meal.

Sleepy after a nice lunch of grilled shrimp & spinach salad, French onion soup and a brownie sundae. Again, sweet. But no time for naps. Off to 2 stores for grocery shopping and to nurse & change Kat again in the van. Debated over getting a petite cheesecake sampler on sale (24 bite-sized bits for $5) and decided this might very well be a sanity saver this week. Just hope I don't have a REALLY bad day and polish off the whole box in one sitting. Not too concerned about calories-it says "petite" after all and I'm taking advantage if one of the great benefits of nursing. Reminds me of an episode of "Desperate Housewives" where a woman working with Lynette nursed her son until he was 5 because it was like having treadmill strapped to her chest. But again, I digress.

Time to go home- depleted my stock of diapers. I thought the 3 diapers already in there  would be enough for 2 hours but I should have known better. If I pack 6, she won't go for hours but if my stock is low, she's a peeing machine.

Home to unload the groceries and baby, say goodbye to Grammy and put everything away. Change baby again. I'm sure there was another nursing episode in there somewhere too. Then a frenzy of cleaning and tidying before Henry gets home @ 4:30. Tackled his toyboxes in the living room. Yes, that's toyBOXES. Whittled away his collection to 1 toybox with a box filled with things for the MOMS Club giftaway. 2 Aldi's bags full of crumpled construction paper, broken crayons and random bits of 3 yr old toybox junk destined for the trash. So glad I'm not trying to do that with him hovering over my shoulder.

To be continued.....Jim & Henry on their way home from THEIR adventure. I kept trying to think of errands to do to keep them out longer. Mean Mama.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Day in the Life of....

* Heated my coffee up in the microwave for a few seconds this morning and didn't get to it right away. Henry heard the beeping and ran to it- "I checking the microwave!!"
I wasn't worried because it's up high and out of his I thought....
He was standing on the tops of the iced tea bottles and pushing the "open" button when I got to him. Freakin' innovative kid.

* Henry talking to Kathryn who was fussing in her crib.
"It's OK Baby Kathryn....Maggie's here....Mama's here....Dada coming home....Me still here."
I love that the dog was first on his comfort list.

* Kat is definitely my little Piglet. She has taken to eating solid food like she's been doing it her whole life.
I was holding her & eating a pear and she was eyeing it so i let her lick it to see what she would do. Her face lit up and she started kicking excitedly, reached out, grabbed the pear and tried to shove it in her mouth.
Piglet indeed.

* Kathryn has officially found an independant means of being mobile. Look out! Rolling baby! (She just rolled to her diaper bag and started chewing on the strap).

* a mother's love: what you feel after your infant keeps you up night after night until you are dead tired....but then when they see you in the morning, they smile a completely joyful toothless grin.

*Me: Henry, what do you want to drink with lunch?
Henry: Maple juice!!
Took me a minute to figure out that he was not in fact asking to drink maple syrup and really wanted grape juice.

* So that rice cereal worked- tided her over until morning and we got almost a full night's sleep- aside from staying up past midnight studying and Henry coming into our room in the middle of the night. Still... was a good night. :o)

* She was driving me crazy getting up at midnight, 2 and 4 every night to eat. Then Jim would get up between 4-7am to go to work and Henry was up by 8am. soooo tired....

* Still hard to wake up this morning. Henry jumped on the bed all bright-eyed and chippper- "I awake Mama!" Yeah, no kidding. Wish I didn't have to limit my coffee intake but I don't want Kat vibrating in her chair even when it's off!

* So Kat had her first solid food tonight- rice cereal mixed with breastmilk. She was a little piglet- seemed more hungry and determined than Henry was @ 4 months. Maybe she'll give me a few weeks of sleeping through the night....before she starts teething!

* Me: "Henry, what did you do at school today?"
Henry: "Drank water."

* Did not see that one coming!It's so hard to keep a straight face. I usually have to cover my mouth and turn around. Especially when I have to discipline. So freakin precocious.

* Kat got her shots today and is hating life. Poor baby.
So the stats are: 13 lbs 14 oz, 24 1/4 inches and her head is 16 inches. Doing well.
Ready to start solid food- maybe she'll stop getting up 3x a night wanting to eat.

* Kat has her 4 month checkup today. Great, except that because they kept rescheduling it.... she'll be 5 months next week.

* just finished the most adorable lilac bonnet with white ruffles for Kat. So many compliments on it today- made me feel so proud of her. :o)

* Can't find the camera!!! Last time I saw it, Henry had it.......... Could be anywhere.
* I did ask Henry. He spread out his hands and said, "I don't know!"
* Jim found it- fell behind the desk drawer. My hero.

* Jim took away Henry's football when it was time to brush teeth for bed.
Henry: "No Dada! You don't take footballs away from FOOTBALL GUYS!!"
Jim (who is actually a football referee): Yeah, buddy. I kind of do."

* Me: "Henry, please stop jumping on the couch" (OK, I admit I was not calmly polite)
Henry: "No Mama! I jumping on the trampoline like Cousin Jack!"
Breathe in....Breathe out.... It's gonna be a great day!

* Have discovered a guaranteed way to make Kathryn laugh....Henry!
Whenever he laughs, so does she. Love it.

* Kathryn started laughing today. Love it- she's been doing the huge open-mouthed grin and now I get to hear her adorable joyful baby-giggles.

* ‎3 years ago today- I was achy & sore, but content holding my 5-hour-old son, calling in to work & telling them Henry came 2 weeks early (on the full moon!)
Learning that breastfeeding is an acquired skill and also seeing my own mother in a whole new light. Nothing like childbirth to change that relationship. :o)
Thanks to my amazing husband, mother & midwife for staying by my side throughout Henry's wonderful birth!

* Henry told Jim that "He was done playing games" while getting ready for bed tonight.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Bring up the subject of vaccines and you have undoubtedly touched a nerve with many mothers. At first I did not see what the issue was. We had all these terrible diseases and through the hard work of medical professionals, our children will not suffer from debilitating and/or deadly illnesses.

But has our society taken vaccines too far? Do we really need to inject chemicals into our children to protect them? Smallpox, sure but chickenpox?!

How safe are these injections anyway? I remember mercury levels was a hot subject not too long ago but I have been assured by our doctor that that issue has been addressed.
As a well-educated parent, my instinct is to research an unknown into the ground until I have a thorough understanding of the risks and benefits. I have found that this approach is exhausting when it comes to raising a child in our modern Western society. The plethora of information and misinformation is overwhelming with the "right" answer frequently left to the parent to decipher.

Other matters are dictated by laws and standards, however. I recently learned that the chickenpox vaccine is mandatory for children entering school. Good luck successfully objecting to that on whatever basis. One mother I know was told she had to keep her unvaccinated child home.

How thorough have these vaccines been tested? How dangerous is the disease itself? An article defending the necessity of CP vaccines asserted that children were developing secondary infections from scratching the pox-spots and being hospitalized.

How effective are these vaccines, anyway? My son's daycare just experienced an outbreak involving a vaccinated child. Not exactly reassuring, medical people. Apparently they either wear off or carry the risk of incomplete protection. I also read that children under 1 year old will not carry the immunity which terrifies me on several levels.

Not to undermine serious health threats, but I went through my itchy rites of initiation when I was 8. I remember lots of chicken soup, pink calomine swirls on my skin and slippery-wet baking soda baths. And a lot of daytime soap operas since we spent the majority of our convalescence on our grandmother's couches.
So to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. That is the question.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bella's Engagement Ring

Because I have nothing better to do at 11pm than write about Bella Swan's disappointing engagement ring. Seriously, it's obviously an impractical choice.

Being untrained in jewelry design and its historical accuracy, I nevertheless found the ring shown in Eclipse to be a let-down. People waited with anticipation akin to that of the later royal wedding for the first look at her ring. It was a big, gaudy oval disc, overshadowing her hand and most likely her upcoming wedding band as well.

So I've included some rings that I feel would have been the better choice. As for the historical accuracy, I have no idea if they're from the Edwardian period or not, but they sure look like antiques.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Flowers and Fall

Breathtakingly beautiful harvest moon recently and I've been thinking about the impending arrival of my favorite time of year- Autumn. Such a powerful time of year for me, when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, most transparent.
I love when the weather gets chilly and I can unpack my heaps of sweaters, snuggle down with a good book and a hot cup of tea, heavy on the milk and honey. Hay rides, apple cider, donuts, crisp fresh air and crunching brittle leaves underfoot. Love the primitive power of the violent thunderstorms, all wind and rain.

It brings me back to my childhood on my family's farm and harvesting the corn crop. The tractor slowly meandering through the fields pulling a trailer stacked with corn stalks thrown off the side for the cattle to eat. The air was cool and dusky after suppertime. My brothers and I would make a little cave for ourselves by piling the stalks across the wooden boxes covering the flatbed trailer's wheels and just lie there under the wet, earthy smell of the corn, listening to the cow's impatient moos as they walked beside their "meals on wheels." Our enclave would slowly come apart as more and more stalks were thrown over the side until the starlit sky was laid bare overhead.

My favorite childhood movie, "Robin Hood" played incessantly on our old VCR. The best scene was when Robin Hood gave Maid Marian her water lily ring lit with a firefly at its center. Ever since then, I've always wanted to find a flower ring like hers. My own version of princess-fixation, I suppose.  Chanel made this rose which immediately caught my eye. Diamond Harmony also has a version of a rose ring which I love. Just a girlhood connection with meaningful jewelry.

I know I'll most likely never buy one of these, but just looking at them brings to mind the nostalgia and comforting moments from my childhood that I will never experience again. I may ride through the bumpy fields feeding the cattle now in the dim twilight, but my son Henry's grandfather, not mine, will be driving the tractor.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Who am I: Pick a Persona

I literally just dragged myself out of bed to write this. I had just collapsed into my pillows after slogging through 100 pages of grad school reading (and I'm not done yet) when my mind decided to compose a posting. Seriously? So in hopes of getting this out of my system and returning to a blissful and all-too-brief period of rest, here it goes...
When I was an undergrad, academia was my life, my passion. I went to my first OAH history conference in Memphis and ended up buying so many books, I had to pay the airline extra to get my luggage home. I attended lectures, took copious, detailed notes, went to my professors' office hours, did the majority of my readings, rarely skipped class. I loved being a student.
I proudly graduated suma cum laude in 2007, took some time off to work, had a baby in 2008 and finally landed a full-time job as a library clerk in an elementary school in 2009. I decided to resume my academic regime so I would not make $10/hr for the rest of my life and applied and was accepted to the Master's program in History at my alma mater in the fall of 2010. Shortly after grad school acceptance, I learned that we were expecting a second child in June. Academia immediately lost its premiere standing in my life, as well it should.
But I miss it. The focus, the dedication, the hours of uninterrupted reading in the library, endless cups of coffee and all-night paper-writing. Instead of being the sharp academic instrument it once was, my mind is more akin to a blunt, plastic baby-food spoon now.
I envy the grad students I interact with briefly on campus who go to those lectures, attend those meetings to discuss career options, who have the time and the means for doing internships and conference travel. They must have jobs and families too. How do they do it without sacrificing one for the other?
My young family is my priority right now. If it means I didn't thoroughly read a 200 page book and take detailed notes on every issue I would like to discuss because I was reading "Charlie the Ranch Dog" for the four-hundredth time with my son, I suppose I should get used to it. It still goes against the grain not to invest myself fully in my education, like I'm holding something back. However, with 2 kids under 3 years old and an extremely busy husband, I realize that things are not the same as they were in 2007. I'm still getting used to being "grad-school Mama."
I thought about putting grad school off until the kids were in school but I'm already 30. How much longer am I willing to wait? Besides, no one knows how long we have anyway, so I'm going for it!
Maybe by the time I'm ready to write my thesis, I'll be comfortable in that role and by then it will be time to try on another hat.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Patience and Faith

No, these aren't just the names of Puritan children. Lately these two words have been my mantra because they certainly are not my strong suit.

It's been a difficult year and the words "trials and tribulations" have cropped up in my mind more than once. I have to be thankful though that it wasn't much worse. This year clearly demonstrated to me the power of God's presence in my life. Everything that happened has been difficult but always manageable.

Everything seemed wonderfully, perfectly in order that fall 2010. I had a beautiful son, Henry, who would turn 2 in October. I was accepted into the Master's program at my alma mater, and would return to their amazing History Department to continue my education with the eventual goal of becoming a school librarian. Sure, it was going to be a long road, but I knew if I got my MLS first, I would have a hard time finding a job with the local library science field flooded with graduates. I figured a second Master's would greatly help my chances of finding a decent job and if I was going to teach students how to use the library and do research, I might as well be as proficient as possible in that regard. Plus, I would have an added incentive to continue with my history of childbirth research.
My husband was completing his Computer Information Systems degree after losing his job in February 2009 and was offered a position, albeit one oustide his field, only a few days after we learned that we were expecting. Hey, we'll take it. Everything seemed to be neatly in its place. I should have known better.

In December 2010, I was in my first car accident and also happened to be 14 weeks pregnant. I hit someone on their passenger side while on my way to our church's ladies brunch. No one was hurt, thank God. The other driver was kindness itself to me and I still get tears of gratitude for his true example of Christian behavior. He didn't yell or swear as I would have expected and showed concern for me, even though I had hit him. He even sat with me while we waited for the police and ambulance and I was terrified that my split-second blind spot could have cost me my baby. Even though I only met him for a few minutes, I will remember his example to me for the rest of my life.

In January 2011, my ultrasound showed a cyst on my daughter's brain that could have indicated a rare chromosome disorder. I felt an ice-cold fear that she would be stillborn or that I would have to experience that agony of watching my child die within a year. My midwife was very supportive and open about all the possibilities. She tactfully brought up the option of termination which was rejected as soon as it was brought up. I would love Kat as long as she was with me, and after that, if need be. My midwife reassured me without giving me false hope and sent me to the best perinatal specialist around here. I am grateful for her compassion and honesty while giving me the facts to prepare me without scaring me. A fine line for a healthcare provider to walk.
I had some misgivings about the timing of our second child. With Henry just under 2 years old, I thought we would have more time before we conceived again. I had just started grad school and was working full-time. How would I fit everything into my life? God knew the best way to show me how much I wanted that baby was to give me a glimpse of losing her. I tightened my grip on her and waited and prayed for 8 days until my second ultrasound showed a healthy baby girl.

February 2011: my husband hit a deer on the way to work. 10 days later, just after we got the car's front end fixed, he hit another one and we had to pay for the same repairs AGAIN. He wasn't hurt and neither were the deer. Personally, if the second deer had just been stunned, I would have wanted to strangle it myself. Deer-hunting with a car?! My librarian at work and I would joke about what could possibly happen next.

April 13, 2011: I was called down to the principal's office and informed that I would be laid off from my elementary school library clerk position, effective June 2011. I was 33 weeks pregnant and started having contractions that night. Losing my job, especially after winning a Service to the School award the previous year, left me disillusioned and bitter. No matter how exemplary your work is, in the end, it's just a job. Do it well but don't EVER sacrifice anything personal for it. Hard concept for our society to grasp but losing a job I loved in such a callous manner demonstrated to me how expendable employees can be.
I made about $10,000/year and my hackles rose whenever I heard the district say that every job cut saved about $50,000/year. What made me the most upset was how it affected me physically and how close I came to losing Kat again. I continued to have painful contractions intermittedly until I delivered June 5.

May 2011: we received a decent tax refund and decided to get some more work done on my husband's car. $500 later, he has brakes, a new control arm & bushings (whatever those are) and not even a week later, the timing chain breaks WHILE he was pulling into a parking lot and the car is dead dead dead. We ended up junking it for $300 and used the remaining tax refund for a new (used) minivan. We had been talking about getting one for a while. With the new baby, his two-door really wasn't practical, but we didn't exactly have the means for another vehicle. Or so we thought. His car could have broken down at any time, like say, going 55 mph on the expressway. But no, it died as he was pulling into the parking lot of his destination. Again, God was watching over us.

June 1, 2011: Kat's due date came and went. So much for delivering her early. I'm beyond antsy, waiting for labor to start. I would get contractions every 1-3 minutes for hours. I even went to the hospital in May, expecting to bring her home but alas, no progress beyong 2cm. I felt horribly off-center and was definitely not in the right mindset to approach another natural childbirth. Henry's birth took all the self-control and willpower I possessed. How would I go through that Dante's inferno again in one piece, feeling like I had been emotionally gutted?
Her birth story is for another day. Suffice it to say, she came on her own time and THANK GOD I wasn't working then because she was literally born in less than 1/2 hour.
I am especially thankful for the support of my Mama-friends. They came through with the exact kind of support I needed, from pregnancy massages to visiting me during my false labor episodes. God bless that group of women.
The best advice I received was to stop trying to chase down jobs and concentrate on Kat's immediately impending birth. The rest will work itself out. It hasn't yet, but I trust that God has a plan for my life and while I am searching apparently in vain for my next job, I very well may be living His plan right now, home with my children and going to grad school. I didn't know how I was going to balance everything. I think God thought so too, so he removed something so that I could focus on my family and education.

So patience and faith, faith and patience, have seen me through this year so far. Things that RARELY happen in a lifetime- having a baby, losing a job, car accidents and replacing a vehicle, all happened in the span of a few months. I feel like I've been in the fire and hopefully this will serve to strengthen my steel when I finally emerge.