Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Years Resolutions...version 2011

BOOOOO Resolutions. You mock me.
same old same old.  start off strong...then usually every single one is broken by March.
No I am serious this time...blah blah blah.

Lets see, what can I put on the list...
This is the year I am going to lose all the weight I want(just like in versions 2004,2005,2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
I am going to do a better job of reading scriptures(see versions 2000 through 2010)
I am going to drink less pop and drink more water(also see version 2000-2010)
I am going to cook more and go out to eat less(see versions 1997 through 2010)
I am going to watch my mouth and use less "colorful language (versions 1987-2010)
I am going to spend less time watching television and more time reading (versions 2009 and 2010)
I am going to do a better job of keeping up with the housework(v. 1997 through 2010)

Seriously though, I have good intentions. I WANT to do better. I really do start off strong and then generally taper off and completely quit by April fools Day.  Guess who's the fool now? ME, thats who.

So I have given up on making strong resolutions.  No more I WILLS.  I am the "I will try and see how far we get" kind of gal this year.  No promises, no letdowns or feeling bad about myself because of my lack of willpower.  The problem with hard resolutions and I WILLS is if I break it one day, I feel the need to no longer continue.  I mean whats the point,?? I already broke my resolutions, might as well scratch that one off the list and beat myself up for being a resolution LOSER.
So this is the year of New Years (Tentative) resolutions and try-outs.
I will try to lose more weight. I will try to cut out pop and drink more water, I will try to cook more and eat out less. I will try to curb my tongue, I will try to make it to the library and read more books and cut out some of the television in my life. I will try and do a better job of the housework and not rely on my poor husband so much. I will TRY and if I fail, there is always tomorrow to try again.

So here is to 2011. The year of "Lets see what happens" and "Maybe this time it'll stick!"
now excuse me while I go get some Chinese food and Coke...^#&@(*&@!!!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I admit it. I am lazy.  I had every intention of sending out Christmas Cards.
In fact, I even had our Family Portraits taken this summer, with the thought of making photo cards to send out to friends and family.  I imagined their faces as they opened the envelope, and out slid the uber cute McBride family. hmmmm.  Instead you get this:
Its the best I could come up with in a days time.

You know some of those uber sickly sweet form letters you get??Usually from the Overachieversons. They want everyone to know how PERFECT their family is. Out of 10 christmas letters, usually there is that ONE  that is over the top... Oh Muffy made the deans list for the 14th straight year in a row?? or Susan and Bob went on a tour around the world because they won the lottery.  Or Little Joey is just an absolute delight. ALl his friends and teachers say he is their favorite.  Such a popular little guy.

Well, here at the McBride household, there is no such nonsense.
So here is my letter:

This year Charles and Sarah hardly saw each other at all.  With Charles working nights, and Sarah Working days it is amazing they are still married.
Charles works for Sprint, yet dreams of going back to college AGAIN. He hates his job, but works to pay the bills and provide us with practically free cell phone service, insurance and other benefits.
Sarah went back to work Full time at Hair CLub for Men and Women.  She can honestly say she loves her job. Unfortunately her housework has been sorely neglected, and the kids are lucky if their socks match in the mornings.  At least they are both the same color. No one will know.
Sarah would LIKE to say she lost a bunch of weight this year, sadly 20 pounds was all she managed...but hey 20 is better than nothing.
Peter is doing well. His heart is amazing, and he has been feeling well and doing well.  He loves Battle Force 5, and Transformers. In fact he loves them so much he wants to legally change his name to Sherman or Stanford so he can be just like the BF5 team. He is in 4th grade this year and is bringing home math homework that is NOT taught the same was as when mom and dad were in school. He likes to watch movies, race Mario Karts and help cook.  he is an expert smoothie maker. Being 10 he is getting to the point where everything is "mom, dont embarass me".We would like to say he helps out around the house without complaining, but since we cant, then we wont mention it.
Finn is in 2nd grade and full of energy(read: waaayyyy too bubbly).  He is a joy and has such a zest for life.  He loves to write stories in his notebook (amazing ants, Hanukkah Goblins and more), play the wii, jump on the trampoline and eat eat eat.  he is growing so fast we can hardly keep clothes on him that fit. He does very well in school and is in the highest reading group. He also gets notes home from his teacher that are eerily reminiscent of the notes his mom used to get home from school (Finn is a social butterfly. Finn needs to work more and talk less. Finn needs to worry more about his own work and less about what other people are doing...).  Finn is a love bug.  Finn works hard around the house...if financial recompensation is in the works.  he is saving for a Nintendo DS and REALLY wants to save his allowance to buy it himself.

Skittles and Rusty are the two new additions to the family.  They were two little orange tabby cats that were found in a nearby neighborhood. We brought them home and they are an absolute joy.  They are so sweet and loving and CUTE as can be! Of course they are like CHILDREN and are into EVERYTHING.  I feel like I am constantly hearing Baging and skittering. Wonder if they will be as cute and sweet and loving when we take them to get "tutored".(snip snip boys!!).

This year we did lots of fun things: we went to Virginia Beach and saw and did lots of fun things. We went to Colonial Williamsburg (mom we're bored. This isnt cool. This is boring. We hate history....), air and space museum, Battleship Wisconsin and the Beach.  We went to the fireworks show here in Charlotte at the Baseball game and saw the largest 4th of July fireworks display in the Southeast.  It was amazing, as always.
We had to say goodbye to an old friend (my 1995 Mitsubishi Galant) and got 2 new ones(Hello VW Jetta and Kia Spectra).
We also got to Go up to Michigan and visit my aunt and uncle and Grandma. That was fun. We discovered the GIANT marshmellows make fantastic smores, that Vernors Gingerale is still as good as we remember and that 2 boys and 12 hours of driving do not mix well.
Thanksgiving was fun. All the Koch Children under one roof again for the first time in several years. Great food, fun times, and two nephews that are so grown up I feel like the crypt keeper I am getting so old...

All in all 2010 was a great year.  Looking forward to 2011 and all that it brings for us.
Happy Holidays to you and yours.
Sarah, Charles, Peter and Finn McBride

Sunday, September 26, 2010

5 year anniversary

Today marks the 5 year anniversary of Peters heart transplant. I cant believe how time has just flown by.
I was thinking back this morning to the long strange journey that has connected two very different families from two very different places.

So in honor of today, here is the entire Peter-Devan story.  The entire transplant story.  I have never written it out before. 

June 2000, Peter McBride was born.  He was a healthy 8 1/2 pounds and 21 inches long. Pink, Pretty and a severely deformed heart. Hypoplastic Left Heart is what it is called. The left side of his heart never formed properly and did not function. 6 days after birth he had his first open heart surgery.  he struggled.  he almost died several times. He had a small stroke.  At one point his heart stopped completely and the doctors and nurses opened him up in the recovery unit to manually massage his heart.  According to his surgeon "Someone up above is looking out for your little guy".  Charles answered "You have no idea" (The whole church and family had been fasting and praying for Peter).  Dr W answered "Actually, I do.  99% of Babies with this do not survive cardiac arrest.  They dont. Peter did...twice".  After a month he finally came home.

December 2000:  Peter goes in for surgery #2.  This is the easiest of the set of surgeries.  He is home in a week.  Life was bliss between this time and his final surgery.    Yes he would get tired easily and when he got sick he would stay sick for awhile, but all in all it was a good period of time for us with his condition.

March 2004:  Surgery #3.  One of the most difficult of the trio.  Peter couldnt recover. He was in the hospital almost 10 weeks trying to recover.  his liver and kidneys werent working properly, his tubes wouldnt stop draining. They had to go back through and tweak some things. It was a nightmare.  afterwards when he was finally able to come home he struggled. He was sick all the time. He was so tired and grouchy. He hurt.  he just didnt feel good.

March 2005: Doctors visit. We asked how long he could go on like this.  They told us that with all the tests they just did that his heart was actually functioning good, and they didnt really know how long it would last until a transplant may be necessary.  a few years, at least.  But to be on the safe side we needed to contact our insurance and find out all the details of our coverage. We even made an appointment with the doctor up in raleigh for a visit to get his opinion. Because of our insurance, we knew staying in charlotte for the transplant was not possible.

June 2005:  Family reunion in Chattanooga, TN. My in-laws were there with us and we were staying with them in their motor home.  We did lots of walking and sight seeing. Peter seemed to be doing well. 3 days before the reunion Peter fell off the bed and into the wall. The hook that holds the door in place while driving was sticking out and he fell on it.  It gashed his butt cheek and he never said a word.  He said his butt hurt and that was all.  The next day I was helping him get changed and I noticed blood. I asked what happened and he said "Oh it's from when I fell out of bed and into the hook"  It was a huge, deep gash. Into the fatty tissue.  I took him to the hospital, but because it had happened 12 hours prior they couldnt stitch it up. They cleaned it out and packed it up really well.  But Not before giving me the 3rd degree about how it happened, when it happened and what it happened on etc.
 1 day before the reunion we awoke.  Peter said he didnt feel well. He said his stomach hurt. he thought it was because he was hungry.  So he ate half a banana.  Then he climbed up into bed with us and said he really didnt feel well. He just kept crying that he didnt feel good and that he was just too weak to walk. Charles and I told him to close his eyes and go back to sleep and maybe he would feel better.  A little while later I heard Peter really crying and thrashing around.  I went in to tell him to quit being such a drama queen.  He was breathing so hard and so fast. His little pulse was going so fast I had never seen anything like it.  He was sweating profusely.  his eyes were rolling up into the back of his head.  he was crying. "Mommy! Mommy! Help me mommy! help me!" He put his hands on my face and said "Mommy, where are you. Help me mommy!". He was blue. Not a little blue. All blue. His veins were showing through his skin like cobwebs.
I picked him up, stole the keys to my in laws car and dragged Charles with me.  We rushed him to the emergency room of Childrens Hospital in Chattanooga.  Not our city. Not our state. Not our hospital. Not our doctors. They took one look at him and announced a code blue all available cardiac members.  Peter was surrounded by nurses and doctors trying to get him stabilized.  his oxygen level was so low. It was at like 55 percent. His heart rate was 235 beats per minute. 
We were treated like child abusers and asked the same questions over and over and over again. Trying to get us to slip up. Trying to get us to make a mistake so they could look at us and say "a ha! we knew you did this to him". They finally got him stabilized. Charles and I were placed in the Ronald McDonald home there in chattanooga. When we came back to visit him, we got asked the same rounds of questions as before, trying to get us to admit we had done something wrong.  What medications was he on. When did he take them? What were his dosings? Are we sure we gave him his medicine?  You were just in here 2 days ago for a suspicious fall, why dont you tell us what's really going on? It was crazy.
After a week the doctors came to us and said " He has an abnormal rhythm. All the blood work suggests he contracted Epstein-Barr virus somewhere and it just threw everything out of whack and ruined his heart for good. He has to have a heart transplant.  We do not have the facilities here to take care of him. he needs to be transferred to a better hospital. A hospital that specializes in this.  With your insurance you can go to Alabama, UNC, Cleveland, Pittsburgh or Michigan".   We chose UNC. Within a day Peter and I were on a medical flight back to North carolina. Charles drove back with Finn. There I was in that plane, up and down and up and down. I got air sick and as soon as we landed at the base I stumbled out of the plane and barfed.  A marine standing nearby said "Uh, ma'am, you okay?". I looked up at him, green faced, puke stringing down from my mouth. I nodded weakly and the nurse on the plane handed me a bottle of water.
We got Peter transported to UNC and he was immediately placed on the Transplant list. Priority 1A.
We could not go home. We had to stay until a suitable heart was found. Hie heart was in such poor shape that he had to have a special IV straight into his heart pumping medication. He was on all sorts of things. He couldnt get out of bed for long periods of time. He would throw up at the drop of a hat.
He started Kindergarten at UNC.  I wold take him up to the 7th floor in a little wagon to see Ms Judy. He could only do about 30 minutes before being completely wiped out.  His playroom was limited as well.
for 91 days we waited in the hospital. I lived at the ronald mcdonald house and the hospital.  I only saw Charles and finn for 2 days on the weekends. towards the end my father in law found a place for his RV and he and Nana Dee kept Finn with them so I was able to see him every day.  It was a sad, dark time for our family.
At the end I told them I couldnt do it anymore.  was there any way that Peter could come home and finish waiting??  We would get a home health care nurse, we would get  somebody to come in every day and do the bloodwork and medications and all that.  We just couldnt do it anymore.  The head Nurse said it wold be possible and she and I worked together to get everything all set up.  I packed up Peters room. BAGS AND BAGS of gifts, toys and junk, all from admirers (nurses who fell in love with him).  
The plan was to leave monday.
Sunday afternoon my parents had come up to help me pack up and get everything ready. I went back to the ronald McDonald house to take a nap and spend time with Finn and Charles. I told my mom and dad I would be back at 4pm.

358PM I am driving up to the parking garage at UNC.  My cell phone rings.  It is my mom.  I pick it up and say "Im in the parking deck, i'll be there in 2 minutes".  My mom was really quiet and said "They have a heart".
I was stunned. after months and months of waiting it finally happened. I was just so shocked.
I said " Are you sure?"
"yes they came in and said on paper it was a perfect match. They wont know for sure until they go look at it. But they are doing all the blood work now. They wont let him have anything to eat or drink."
I immediately called Charles who was a few minutes behind me and told him.
We went up to the floor and all the nurses were standing around crying and hugging each other and then hugging us.  Nurses who had the day off came in specifically to see him and to hug him and to wish him luck.
The pediatric surgeon was on vacation in the caribbean, so a different doctor, the adult surgeon would be doing the surgery.
330AM  We get the call. The heart is good. They are bringing it home.
530AM: Peter gets wheeled in for surgery.  I hug and kiss him goodbye, tell him to be strong and do well.
10AM: Peters heart was sewn in, and being "turned on".
12NOON: Peter was done, they were taking him to the recovery unit.
130PM; We wlked in to see Peter.  the first thing I said was "oh! He is so pink!!". He was gorgeous. His cheeks were rosy. His fingernails and toenails were pink. He looked so beautiful laying there.

2 days later he was sitting up.
3 days later he was demanding pancakes.
5 days later he was walking around with no pain medication
10 days later we were home.
5 years later he has had almost no problems heart related.  he is on a once a year schedule for the cardiologist now.

Since that day he has hardly been sick at all. When he does get sick it is over with quickly.
He has energy and stamina and endurance.  he is pink and pretty.  He can do things the other kids can do.  he can walk and run and play sports. He is a roller coaster enthusiast. he loves to hike.  He loves healthy food to keep his heart healthy.

6 months post transplant I talked on the phone with our donors mother for the first time.
1 year post transplant we were in New Orleans at the Donate Life convention, meeting them.
They were evacuating from Hurricane Rita.  Their car was struck by another vehicle.  3 1/2 year old Devan never recovered. The Doctors said there was nothing they could do to save him. 
christie told me that as she was sitting there with Devan she was looking at the heart monitor and noticed just how strong that heart was beating and she just KNEW they had to donate it.  she knew there was a mother out there who was praying and needed it. Her husband, roger, agreed. They contacted the hospital about organ donation and they told her it would  be almost impossible.  They were recovering from Katrina.  There was no way to get helicoptors or planes in and out. They were running on generators. No land lines. no fax lines, no cell phone reception.
christie and Roger were unmoved. They insisted.  LOPA (Louisiana Organ Procurement) came in and they made it happen.  They transported Devan all the way to Baton rouge to make this donation possible.  One of the nurses hand pumped air into devans lungs the entire way as the ambulance was not equipped with a ventilator.
Through their determination and insistence, they had saved my childs life.  They didnt know us.  They didnt know Peter. They knew that their son could save another persons life and they needed to make it happen. They ignored their personal circumstances and made it happen. They KNEW we needed it, though they didnt know us.
And now Devan lives on through Peter. We thank God every day for the Legers and the Degeyters and for their decision that saved our family. Not a day goes by that I dont pray for them and thank God for all our blessings.

So Thank you to the Leger and Degeyeter family for your sacrifice and decision, despite your own personal tragedy.  You are our heros. God Bless You.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Going back to work

I start back to work full time on Tuesday.  Full Full time.
I wanted to take a job at a salon.A real salon. I had one in mind, but things kept going wrong
whenever I went to accept.  My car died.  My other car had a meltdown and cost us 700 dollars to repair.
I WANTED to take the salon job.  But seriously, everytime I picked up the phone I was spending inordinate amounts of money on things that broke.  My bank account couldnt handle it anymore.  I guess that was Gods way of saying "DON'T!!".  So I listened, and things calmed down.

Then one day while perusing the web I stumbled quite by accident onto a local salon postings website. I saw an add for a company and was intrigued. It said 2 years experience required, which I dont have.  But I felt compelled to read on.
 Salary PLUS commission PLUS Tips.  It also Included Paid training, continuing education, health, vision, dental, 401k, paid vacations and more.
So despite the fact I didnt have 2 years salon experience I still really felt good about applying. I kind of balked like "they will never look at my resume", But for some reason could not stop myself from applying.
Within 2 days I had a call from corporate saying they liked my resume and could they schedule a pre-screening interview.
Here is the process as it went down last month.

WEDNESDAY  Filled out application and sent in resume.
FRIDAY: Had e-mail asking to call to set up interview. Called immediately and set it up for Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY(pre screening interview):  had interview. Felt it went really well. Lady said she had several more interviews and would let me know by the end of the week.
LATER THAT DAY:  She calls and says she is sending my resume to our branch and would know by the end of the week if they are interested in meeting with me.
LATER LATER THAT DAY:  She calls back and said they were so interested and could I come in Tomorrow or the next day for a face to face.

FRIDAY: Face to Face interview with Center Director.  Went VERY well. We really clicked and she liked the fact that I havent always done hair.  i have sales and retail and management background. They are considering that as experience as well as my salon experience.  She told me she had quite a few other interviews and would call me the following week if they wanted me to come in for a skills assessment with their technical supervisor.
LATER THAT DAY:  Manager calls me back and says "we love you. Can you come in for a technical skills assessment with the supervisor. Afterwards you may get a call from the regional technical skills manager as a final screening interview."  Heck yeah!

TUESDAY:  Went in and completed my technical skills assessment.  I had to do a mens clipper cut and style. A womens cut and style, relaxer, and cornrows. I answered questions about technical skills and techniques.  Again I felt it went well, considering I was using mannequins and it felt like State Board all over again.
LATER THAT DAY:  manager calls and said they wanted me to complete the final phase and the final phone interview with the regional supervisor.

THURSDAY:  Had final interview call with regional supervisor.  She said she would let the manager know she had interviewed me and wished me luck.

FRIDAY:  Got an e-mail saying they really thought I would make a great addition to the team and that they would get in touch within a few weeks after she got back from vacation and training etc.

Fast Forward 3 weeks:  I got the call saying they wanted me as part of the team and offered me the position!
I start this tuesday.  I will be working at a Well Known Hair restoration company as a stylist.

WHAT I LOVE:  40 hours a week. I have sundays and Mondays off. I know exactly when I will be working, It is a typical 9-5 job. No nights.  I have a private consultation suite and private room.
They do all the bookings. I dont have to recruit clients. I dont have to market myself to bring in new clients. It is all done for me as it is the program members that we service. I go in everyday, get my print out of customers for the day and get to work.
Room for Advancement. This is a great company to work for. With hard work and dedication and education I can really move up.
I had always seen myself as a stylist in an upscale salon cutting and coloring and foiling all day.
But now I saw a different direction i can take in the hair industry.  it isnt always about cutting and coloring and foiling and fantasy hair and editorial and runway work.  It is about helping people who have lost their hair and helping them look and feel their best and helping them restore their confidence.
I am just so excited I cant wait!

So here is to going back to work full time again and working for a GREAT company and doing something I LOVE.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Hallelujah, Glory Hallelujah.

No more
"mom, Im bored"
"mom can I play the wii?"
"mom can you take us to the pool?"
"mom, I dont want to do  my chores"
"Mom I dont want to read a book"
"mom, Im Hungry"(ugh if I heard that again I was going to lose my s***)

I actually danced a little jig...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Little Finny Foo Foo

August 2003. My baby was born after 23 hours of HARD, NON MEDICATED labor.  Yeah, thats how I roll.
When he was born at 8 1/2 pounds and 20 inches long I looked at him and said "He looks just like Peter".  And he did. Exactly.
we have baby pictures that I wouldnt be able to tell apart without dates on them.
whereas Peter was long and skinny, Finny Foo Foo was my plump, roly poly Michelin Man. He was just such a LOVER!

Finn is my little ray of sunshine. He is always So happy and sweet and loving.  He loves having his back scratched and his tummy tickled.  He finds joy in everything and just makes me so happy.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Finny over the past few years. Birthdays, Vacations, Fun Pictures, First Day of School etc.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

RIP my dear friend (1995-2010)

Sigh.  A Sad day indeed.
A few weeks back we lost a good friend. My 1995 Mitsubishi Galant.
She was old.  she had LOTS of miles.  She broke the front CV joint and it would have cost WAY too much money to repair. (sniff)
I bought this car in college.  I took it with me all the way out to Utah. Back and forth from Logan to Chicago. Then to cincinnati. Then across the river to Ft Mitchell KY...then onto Charlotte where my friend called home for 11 more years.
You were a good car and I loved you.
Lots of great times and fond memories in that car.

1. The day I got it my two friends and I went to downtown Chicago to the restaurant Ed Debevic's.  on the way back we took a wrong turn.  When we realized where we had ended up my friend in the front seat said "Oh no, we're in Cabrini Green! Get down!! Get Down!!".  I prayed my hardest as I gripped the steering wheel of my baby.  We made it out unscathed and alive.

2. When I went out to College, a large group of us decided to go up to Bear Lake, Idaho and have a picnic and fun day at the beach.  It was so much fun!  Cold and windy, slightly drizzly, we still had a great time.

3. Driving down to las vegas for Spring Break. Losing money. Having a blast.

4. Make Out sessions with boyfriends.  Marrying one of the boyfriends and going on my honeymoon in this car.

5. Driving back and forth between Chicago and Cincinnati to visit friends. 

6. Driving down to Charlotte to make a new life for ourselves.

7. That car has had 3 children ride in its seats.

8. That car has been to disney world and back and seen lots of good times.

I will miss my car.  But whats been the hardest is being down to 1 car. So trying to find a new job and have a job AND charles have a job at the same time is next to impossible right now. So hopefully something will come along that we can afford.

So Rest in Peace my Mitsubishi Galant. I shall miss thee.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Another Birthday, another grey hair, another almost wrinkle

Today is July 20th.  Today is my birthday. (can I get a woot woot).
I am reflecting on my life the past year and am pretty pleased with how things are looking. in fact this year was SO MUCH BETTER  than my previous year!
 In the past year between July 20, 2009 and Today I have really had some adventures!

1. I finally graduated from cosmetology School! That was SERIOUSLY the longest year of my life. It really, truly was. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done !

2. I conquered State Board. Both written and the Practical.  I am an officially licensed Cosmetologist.

3. I got a job in a salon.  It is the perfect little salon for me.  It fits with my schedule, no sundays and the owner is super cool and flexible. It gives me the experience I need  on my resume, and has taught me a lot about opening my own salon one day.

4. I helped plan a cruise for 26 people for my in laws 50th wedding anniversary.  Then I went on said cruise.  I went to Grand cayman where I got to swim with sting rays. They are like Giant Puppy Dogs and love to be held and petted and fed,. Boy do they LOVE to be fed. The SWEETEST giant rays ever! I want one.

I also got to climb on ancient Mayan Ruins in Belize
fulfilling another lifelong dream of mine. We went to the City of Lamanai in Belize, which is near the border of Guatemala.  We were able to explore this city and were able to climb this pyramid.  Yes...that is ONE ROPE to hold onto while you climb to the top.  That it, just one rope.  No railings, no elevators, no WARNING YOU CAN FALL AND DIE signs. Just a rope.  Why isnt America more like this?? in Belize they say "Ok this is a tall pyramid with steep steps. Here is a rope.  this is obviously dangerous, use your judgement I am not going to hold your hand or get sued because you are stupid".

I was able to do some amazing snorkeling in Grand Cayman, Honduras and Mexico. The water was SO BLUE, and the weather was just delightful, I could easily see myself living in the Caribbean and being perfectly happy with that.

5. We were able to go to Louisiana again and see our donor family.  We were at the Lafayette General Memorial Hospital with them to present the Hospital with their National Medals of Honor for their commitment to Organ Donation.  We were on the news and in the papers.  It was a good day for Organ Donation. We also were able to spend time with their family and let them enjoy Peter.  Not to mention we enjoyed some wonderful cajun Food!!

6. Peter was asked to be on the cover of the National Newsletter for Donate Life America. This annual report card went to every organ agency across the country.  My friend, rebecca taylor (a fantastic photographer ) took pictures for the cover.  Peter and Devans Story was also featured in the newsletter. It was really a great thing
7.  I fulfilled another item on my Bucket List.  I went to Colonial Williamsburg!  When I was about 5 years old my dad bought me a set of World Book Encyclopedias. With this set came the Childcraft books and one of those books was "Places To Know".   The book was basically "this is a palce you should try and visit because it is really cool". They had all the ancient wonders and natural wonders, cool museums, buildings etc.  One of them was Colonial Williamsburg.   So Here I am, recreating the picture from my Childcraft book, locked in the stocks!

8. I am planning on going to Las Vegas next September with some girlfriends!! so there is something fun I am looking forward to and planning!  I am also planning a disney cruise for our family  for the following spring break!   So working and saving up money for all that! It makes me excited knowing I have something to plan and something to look forward to.

So Bring it on! This Old Lady still has a lot left in her!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

a little less conversation, a little more motivation

So as many of you know I have been trying DESPERATELY to lose weight. Finn is now 7 and I can no longer use the "I had a baby" excuse. 7 years, I mean...come on.
My husband gained sympathy weight through all of my pregnancies, lost a lot and then gained back with a vengeance.
we werent always heavy,. In fact when we got married I was smoking hot and he was super adorable and well proportioned.  we were SO CUTE.

Well flash forward 13 years, 3 babies, stress, eating...more stress and more eating...laziness, no exercise and more eating and here we are.
I have tried everything to get us to lose weight. I cant count how many of my blog posts start with "Ok Im starting fresh, no more messing around".  I am SUCH a loser!! geez.

I was thinking about what got us motivated to lose all the weight the first time around. Back in 2001/2002. I lost 60 pounds. He lost like 40.  he looked really good. I looked pretty good too.
I know what it was. I had something to lose weight for.  HAWAII.

My dads 60th birthday was in 2002 and he told us a few years earlier that for his 60th he was taking all 4 of his kids and their spouses to Kauai, Hawaii for a celebration.  WOO HOO!
At the begining of 2001 I got serious and buckled down.
By the time our trip rolled around I felt pretty good. I didnt feel self conscious about having my picture taken.  Yes I could have lost another 25 pounds, but I felt really good about myself and my progress.

Charles felt like Hawaii was a good reason to lose weight.  Didnt want people to mistake him for a beached whale or something.  We never went out to eat. I cooked every day. Controlled portions, vitamins and lots of water. Oh yeah, and exercise.

I have decided that if we can each lose the weight we need to get back to our first Hawaii Trip, then I will take us to Hawaii again.

I think thats pretty good motivation.  Plus next year we are going on a Disney Cruise and I will NOT have another family vacation ruined by terrible pictures of my double chin and huge fat neck. bleck.
as Stupid Tyra Banks says "Dreckitude".

Hawaii, here I come.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer vacation- Viriginia Air and space Museum

This is the Virginia Air and Space Museum in Hampton VA.  Thanks to our Dicsovery Place Family Membership, we were able to get in here for free!! (a savings of over 40$!!)

This is the Apollo 12 Capsule. Not quie as Illustrious as his Younger Brother Apollo 13.  Still he is totally cool on his own.  He doesnt need Tom Hanks to Make a movie about him!!Various planes Hanging from the ceiling.Charles and Finn being Astronauts.
NowChales and Peter are Astronauts.Here is Charles trying to outdo the art on the planePeter and Finn with their cousin.A totally gross Bug Display. The fly was my fave. He said the word "poop" a lot.  Plus his eyes were really beady and beautiful.  He had a Paisano Guido accent like "Hey mamma Mia!" type thing. really funny, and believe it or not, informative.Peter proving how Cool Apollo 12 is.Peter and Finn in the Plane cockpit.The Tuskegee Airmen DisplaySome other display with old guys. WWII??
We then went across the street to ride the carousel.

that was our day at the Virginia Air and Space Museum.

oh and here is one for all you twilight Lovers out there.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Vote!  Vote!! Vote!!
Give Kids the World is a WONDERFUL organization down in Orlando that works with Make a Wish and other wish organization to provide a full service place to stay for families on their make a wish trips.
They are trying to win 250,000 from Pepsi for the Pepsi health initiative contest to update their villas and kingdom.

This place is FREE for people staying with wish foundations.  It is full of villas for families to stay in, complete with laundry facilities, kitchens, handicap accessible bedrooms etc.  They have an Ice cream Parlor that you can eat at any time, any day and it is free. You can go to the Gingerbread house for  breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It is free.  free arcade, minigolf, little trains, pools, air hockey etc.  GKTW is run almost entirely by volunteers, special groups etc. They work with disney to bring in the Special characters for Meet and Greet.
They have a movie theater where the kids can see free movies. They have a carousel, a magic castle with a wishing well, books and movies to borrow.
They have a technology closet that you can borrow video cameras to document and record your trip.  They will then take all photos and videos and put them on a special disk for you to take home.
They supply each family with 3 day park hopper passes to Disney World. 2 Day passes to Universal Studios and a 1 day pass to Sea World. 
Every day we would come home to special gifts and prizes left for us from various organizations and volunteers. Books, movies, games, stuffed animals, pictures etc. These were for us to take home.  We ended up with a giant duffel bag FULL of memories, given to us by people who didnt even know us.

We had such an AMAZING time there, and I would LOVE to see them win the 250k to update, refurbish and keep it running smoothly.

Voting ends soon, and you are able to vote once per day.  Right now they are in 10th place, I would LOVE to see them take it to first and win the money. 

vote here.  You may have to sign up, or sign in through facebook, or follow the link on the Give Kids The World website.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Finn, the author

The end of the school year is winding down.  The boys have been bringing home the contents of their desk daily.
This weekend Finn(age 6) brought home about a years worth of writing assignments and samples and stories that he has done in class.

Here are a bunch of my favorites: I have included original spelling, and italicized the translation where needed

These are a series of papers that he did throughout the year, and they are not in order.  The ones that have a LOT of spelling mistakes were from the begining of the school year.
What I LOVE about these are his little conversations he has in the middle of his compositions. 
Oh anc in case you dont sense a theme, he REALLY wants to be a firefighter.

The best of Finns first Grade compositions...

Ha ferb I now what wer going to do today (Hey Ferb, I know what we're going to to today)
Wer going to billd something, but wat? (we're going to build something, but what?)
I now, we will billed gravody (I know, we will build gravity)
Finyis!(phinneas) What are you doing?
 We are going to billd gravody (We are going to build gravity)
Im telling mom you are so bustid(busted) and how can you billd gravody?(build gravity)
I donte now (I dont know)
ha, so you cant billd gravody (you cant build gravity)
we cod if we hav the rite blue printce to mace the mosheen. (we could if we had the right blue-prints to make the machine)
No so im still telling mom and wen she is houm you are bustid (when she is home you are busted) 

I lost my tooth
put it undr yor piloe(put it under your pillow)
ho ca (okay)
the tooth faree I did it!

Wen I groe up I wont to be a firfidr (when i grow up I want to be a firefighter)
I wont to jump in firs (I want to jump in fires) and save peeple(and save people)
and put out firs (put out fires)
and duriv the chruc (and drive the truck)
and be the bos(boss)
becus I ned to sav peepl wen thy ned it. (because I need to save people when they need it)

How oed do you haf to be a firefigdr?(how old do you have to be a firefighter)
I dont no.
Peter what do you wont(want) to do when you groe(grow) up?
I want to be when I groe up is a ambeelints drivre (ambulance driver)
ho(oh) I thot(thought) you wontid(wanted) to be a firfighdr (firefighter)

I can be a fire fighdr.  I am 50 years old.
No yore not
I thot(thought) she wil fol for it.(fall for it)
I still not fol for it
ho ca(okay) mom.

FIREFIGHTER #4 (eerily similar to #3)
I  can be a firefighdr, I am 30 years old.
no you are not.
I thot she will fol for it.
I would not fol for it, do not sae that (I would not fall for it do not say that)
ho cae(okay)

Being a firefighdr is varee danjrise (very dangerous)
But I want to be a firefighdr.
But i want to be a firefighdr if you want to.
Ho ca (okay)
how old do i haf to be a firefighdr
I do not noooooooooooo. (i do not knooooooowwwww)

FIREFIGHTER #6 (see #5)
Being a firefighdr is varee dandris sed dad. (being a firefighter is very dangerous said dad)
I dont care.
O Kae sed dad (okay said dad)
Im still doing it.
O Kae but Im telling you it is varee dandris (Ok but Im telling you it is very dangerous.)
I rilee wont to be a firefighdr (I really want to be a firefighter)
You can be a firefighdr is you wontto (you can be a firefighter if you want to)

what I want to be when I grow up is a fire fightr.
here is what I whent to do
jump in fires
put out fires
save people
drive troock(truck)
thats wut I wont to do (what I want to do)

My favrit part was everything
I like Dr Seuss.
What did you say?
Ho cae (okay)

I licde (liked) everything.
I love grumpy bird.
what did you say?
Ho Cae.(Okay)

I likde everything on the covr (liked everything on the cover)
I saw his underware.
You saw his underware?
Yes Peter. I saw his underware.
was it funny?
Yes Peter.

wow I did not know my cats can do that.
Mabe (maybe) our cats can be in a srcis(circus)
No? Ho cae(okay)
If our cats be in the srcis(circus) we will miss them.
good point.

I see a leprechaun.
You do?
But I cannot see it.
You do not?
Leprechauns are not reel
yes thae are.

Im beeting you spunjbob (Im beating you spongebob)
oh no you are not.
oh yes I am
that wusint nis. (that wasnt nice)

what are you doing
non of yor bisnis hoca (none of your business  okay)
Do you want to play
no patrick
do you wont to go jeleefishing(do you want to go jellyfishing)
are you shur(sure)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

this one time at band camp...just kidding. This is a ghost post.

I remember the first time I ever saw a ghost.  I dont know that I had ever encountered one before that, maybe I had, and just didnt realize what I was seeing. I will never forget this day. ever.  It was not a dream or a fleeting memory.  It is seared into my mind, I can still, 27 years later, remember every detail, every emotion. I can, without a doubt, say I saw a ghost.

They say Children are a lot more prone to seeing spirits. I am probably one of those who has always attracted them.  My mom has always told me of wierd experiences. Her son, my older brother, has always had wierd experiences.  I guess I grew up just knowing that there was life after death. I have always believed that the Spirit World is all around us, and sometimes we are able to catch a glimpse into it. Maybe there is a veil that separates us. Maybe sometimes that veil is thin and we are able to have experiences. i dont necessarily see them. i HAVE seen them, just few and far between. I feel them.  I hear them.  I experience odd things. I see those I know who have passed on regularly in my dreams. They come to comfort me. They come to give me advice. They come to chat. Maybe I am lucky to have one of those special gifts.  Ghosts dont scare me. They have never scared me. in fact I can remember being a young child, just learning how to read  and going into my brothers room and borrowing his "scary ghost Stories" books. To me they were fascinating, not spooky or scary. I have always known that Ghosts were just a part of my life. Love me, love my ghosts.  It is just a fact .  charles says I am crazy and there is no such things as ghosts.  Well I think he is crazy.  If he saw or experienced just a portion of what I have he would change his mind and apologize all day for having ever doubted me.  But that is one of those agree to disagree things we have.
Anyway, I digress.

I was about 7 years old. We lived in Columbus Ohio. There was nothing terribly unusual about the house we lived in, I cant recall any wierd goings on, or encounters at that particular location.
I was in my room. It was early morning, probably around 530 or 6am.  It wasnt quite the dawn, it was the point of almost there,  to where the room was just light enough to see everything in detail and some color.
I woke up because I had to use the bathroom. i remember laying in my bed, debating whether or not I REALLY had to go and whether or not I REALLY wanted to get up.  As I was laying there, I was looking at the end of my bed, at my closet door, which was closed.  Right before my very eyes a figure appeared.
It was a Native American Man, probably in his 40s or 50s. He had long dark hair. He was in full native clothing, including a large feathered headdress. I would estimate he was about 5'7 or 5'8.
He looked similar to this image, though not as old and his actual clothing wasnt as ornate.
His clothing was dark, probably a dark blue. His headdress was black and white, or greyand white, possibly blue and white.
He wasnt dressed in the stereotypical native garb you see in the old movies, or that my young mind was used to seeing when we would go see Blue Jacket or Tecumseh at the outdoor theaters in chillecothe.
He stood there, still, ramrod straight ,tall and proud. I remember  the feathers on his headdress made a slight whirring, rustling sound though there was no breeze.  the air practically crackled and I felt every hair on my arms and legs stand straight up. My neck tingled, my stomach got the flight or fight butterflies.  My mouth felt sour and my ears were almost buzzing.
I lay in bed, covers up to my nose, not knowing what to do.
He looked at me.  Assessing me. Looking through me.  I dont think he knew I was there. It was as if he was just there, in my dimension, not really seeing what was around. His hand lifted as if to say Hi, but he wasnt looking at me. He was looking past me, to the left of me.
Nothing was said. What seemed an eternity passed, though I know it was probably 5-10 seconds.
Finally my young bladder could take no more, I sat up and called for my mom.  As her footsteps got closer the Ghost disappeared. Just faded away, a vision that had gone dark and faded to nothingness.
My mom opened the door and said "what do you need?".
I told her I had to go to the bathroom and there was an Indian Ghost that was in my room.
She took me to the toilet and asked what was wrong with me. I was 7 years old and I could go to the bathroom on my own. why did I feel the need to call her.?
I told her what I had seen and she asked me if I was sure. She said it was probably a dream and I told her I was awake the whole time.  I was so positive of what I had seen, she no longer questioned me.
It was the last we ever talked about  that particular ghost. She never tried to tell me it was my imagination. She never doubted me.
since that day, I have not seen him again.
I would try and wake up early just to catch another glimpse. I talked out loud to him, trying to convince him to show himself to me again. Nothing.
Maybe it was a lucky fluke that he showed up.  Maybe he showed up regularly when I was asleep, kind of a residual energy. Who knows.
All I know is that I saw him.
To this day I still research Indians of Central Ohio. trying to catch a photograph, maybe figure out who my ghost was, or what tribe.
The picture is of Bill Moose Crowfoot, who was one of the last surviving Wyandot Indians.
This is as close as I have found to the Ghost I saw in my room that night. 

We lived in Columbus Ohio off of Refugee rd, near eastland mall and easthaven Elementary.
any ideas??

All this free time....

I am a TV junkie. ugh, am I ever!
Jeopardy, Simpsons, Family Guy, American dad, Chuck, Dancing with the stars, Glee, House, Bones, Ghost Hunters, Modern family, Mythbusters, American Idol, Community, The Office, 30 Rock, Marriage Ref, Ghost Whisperer, The soup, Tosh.0,  Americas Next Top Model(both current and rerun marathons), snapped, Cold Case Files, and any movies or documentaries that happen to come on and look interesting.
King Tut, Cleopatra, Praying Mantises, History of Gay filmmaking,  Shark week, Bug week...Not to mention a computer full of True Blood and Sex in the City.
Somthing unbelieveable happened this shows are all done.  All of them have the season finale and wont be back until the fall. WHAAAAAA?????  I have watched everything on my DVR. I have watched all my True Blood.  I have watched all my downloaded movies I wanted to see.
What am I going to do??
so you think you can dance doesnt start until Thursday.  Then Wipeout starts end of June.  thats only 2 shows??
My husband works the late afternoon/night shift right now at work.  When i put the kids to bed I relax on the couch and watch a few hours to television to unwind. how what??
I saved the Princesson Mario Brothers Wii and unlocked the secret 9th world.  I have gold medals in all the mario kart races for all the bikes AND the mirror cup.

I suppose I could clean my house.  Catch up on the laundry that has been b****-smacking me in the face every time I go downstairs into the laundry room.  Mostly towels and sheets.  Good think I have a linen closet FULL of extras.
I could walk the dog.
I could exercise.
I could make a menu for the week and write out a shopping list.
I could balance the budget and catch up on our excel spreadsheet.


So I went to the Library and checked out 6 books. That should last me a week.
I had to check them out on Charles card.  I went to give them mine...I have 37 dollars in outstanding fines on my card. 37 DOLLARS!! How is this possible??  Mostly they were books for my kids. Junie b Jones, Thomas, Frances etc. 3 years worth of fines.
I picked out a bunch of girlie books, you know chick lit.  I checked out one of my favorite Jane Austen books, Sense and Sensibility.
I chose my books based purely on gulty pleasure, cover art and colors and titles.
I also picked two that were on my goodreads list.
Next week I will pay my library fine and be able to have my own card back.  I know Charles was embarassed as heck to have some of these titles on his card. as we were walking out I said "Nice girlie books you have there, man."

My choices:
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.
P.S. I love you by cecelia Ahern
The Kept Man by Jami Attenber
The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by tiffany Baker
Very Valentine by Adriana Trigani
Cover girl confidential by Beverly  Bartlett.

I used to read voraciously. I dont know what happened. I could read 4, 5, 6 books a week and not bat and eye.  Now it takes me a week  to read just one book. I wonder if speed reading is like knowing a foreign language.  the less you speak, the more fluency you lose.
I hope not.  I miss my books. I am ready to get back into it, and a bag full of beach reads is just the thing to do it!

Hello my old friends...

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Son Has Special Needs... why is this so hard??

almost 10 years ago my oldest son,Peter, joined our family. A super easy delivery, an absolutely beautiful baby in my arms.
He was a gorgeous 8 1/2 pound baby boy full of vim and vigor.
His Apgar scores were almost perfect. He was pink. He was pretty.
He  had a very serious Heart Defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.
Shortly after his birth he had a stroke, a common side effect of HLHS and was diagnosed with Mild Cerebral Palsy.
He was 3 years old before he could walk.  He didnt talk until he was almost that same age.  he has a weakened left arm and left leg from his stroke.
He has been in Physical and occupational Therapy since he was 1 year old. He was in speech therapy for 2 years.
Fast forward through 3 open heart surgeries to help his body compensate for only having half a heart.
Fast Forward through illness, fatigue, chronic colds, coughs and irritability.
Fast forward to heart failure at the age of 5, in Chattanooga TN while we were on vacation 350 miles from home.
Fast forward through airlift to NC and 90 days waiting in the hospital for a suitable organ, hooked to an IV keeping his deteriorating heart going.
He started Kindergarten in UNC Childrens Hospital, a room on the 7th floor with a teacher named Ms Judy. Tethered constantly to an IV Pole, taken up in a wagon, only able to do 30 minutes a day because he would get so tired.
For a year following his transplant, we were prisoners in our home. He couldnt go to school , with his new heart there was no way he could be around sickness and germs that school would most certainly throw his way.  We couldnt go to church very often because of all the germs, colds, strep, chicken pox etc that goes through the primary like wildfire.
During this time a traveling teacher came to our house once a week to drop off homework papers, and kind of work with peter.
We decided to have him go to school the following year and retake Kindergarten instead of going to first grade. this would give him a chance to socialize, make friends, learn the rules and figure the whole school thing out.
He was a year older than most of his classmates. But it was the perfect decision.

During this time I did not falter. i was fine with everything. I gave Peter everything he needed to recouperate, build his body and mind.  Dr visits every 1-2 months, strict medicine schedule, working with him on everything he needed to be doing physically. i basked in the glow of "oh my goodness, you are so strong, I just dont know how you do it".  I would respond with my know it all war-zone mom voice "oh you do it because you have to."  I was so strong.  I was amazing. I was supermom.

Once he got to 1st and  through the first half of 2nd grade he started Special Education. It was 30 minutes a week, just to give Peter a place to catch up on any school work from the week, or see if he needed any extra help.  Plus without some form of special education classes he could not be on the educational plan and receive physical and occupational therapy at school as well.  Plus it was 30 minutes a week to make sure he was keeping up. No biggie.
then in mid- 2nd grade and the begining of this 3rd grade year his teacher and special education teacher and school psychologist said Peter needed more help. he had learning disabilities and was behind his peers in class. They recommended an hour of special education a day. he would still be in a regular classroom with his friends, but just go see his special ed teacher for an hour during the day. They said things like "Peter learns differently" and "Peter retains information differently" and "Once he gets it he gets it..he is just a little slower in fully grasping the concept". They told me this special education was really to help Peter learn to organize a little better, to really in depth review and help him learn in a way that was more condusive to his mental capabilities.
Want to know what I heard?? YOU...BROKE...YOUR...SON.  Sounds silly, huh? I was supermom. My back was numb from me patting it so many times. Surely Supermom can fix this. Surely MY son didnt need special ed.   I was in denial.  But numbers, testing and schoolwork dont lie. I was heartbroken. I blamed myself.
Was it the aspirin I took during my 2nd trimester??  Was it the Ny-quil I drugged myself with for a week straight before i found out I was even pregnant?  Was it the bottle of coke I used to drink once a week to help settle the morning sickenss stomach during those first few months?? Somehow this was Super moms fault and supermom could fix this. But even this is not something that I can fix. It is something he needs.
Being in Special Ed has helped him. Even I can see that.  But why cant I accept it?? Why is it so hard for me?
Why is it easier for me to revolve my entire world and schedule around him for medical visits, biopsies, hospital stays, therapy etc...but saying he is in special ed is like swallowing a mouthful of coals??
When people tell me "Oh you are so strong" I WANT to say "yeah?/ Want to know that I sob into my pillow every day after they go to school?? Want to know that I feel like an Utter failure because I CANT HELP MY CHILD BE LIKE OTHER KIDS??!!"

He comes out of school with his classmates who are a year younger than he is.  he is the smallest one.
He wears leg braces and a hand brace. He is much slower when it comes to walking and running. He works extra with the PE teacher to work on stamina and endurance and distance.  He is the size of a 6 year old.  i have a hard time remembering he will be 10 in just a few short weeks. In fact his 6 year old brother is now bigger than he is.
None of this bothers me.  he has good friends who love him, help him and are his champions. They defend him and dont let people give him a hard time. I know I dont have to worry about that.
Why do I feel like a failure? Why am I sad, and depressed and ANGRY??  Why is being stretched to the limit with his physical needs so much easier for me than admitting he needs help mentally?/ Why is admitting he has learning disabilities this gut wrenching, harrowing  trial for me??
Why is it so unfair? Why did Peter, my sweet sweet Peter have to be afflicted with this? Has he not gone through enough?

But then I look at him. And he is happy.  He has friends. He has teachers and administrators in that school who ADORE him and hug him every time they see him.  he makes people smile. his teacher told me that Peter makes her smile every single day.  He is the sweetest boy and just warms her heart.
That is his gift.  He can make everyone around him love him.
So is this really HIS trial?? 
No. He could care less if he went to Special Ed or to a room full of crocodiles.  By the end of the day those crocodiles would be buying him toys just because they love him. dont ask me how he does it.
This is MY trial.  This is something I have to get over. This is something I will have to struggle with.  No matter what Peter does and where he goes, he will be loved and helped and will find a way to get it done.
I will be the one bristling and fighting and not wanting to relinquish the control. Slowly I have gotten more used to the idea.
i can see that being in Special ed has been a blessing. It has taught me that I can give up control. I can just accept the fact that there are things I cannot change. There are things I have ZERO CONTROL over.
I can cry, and so, and pray and bargain. The fact is I am the one who needs to get over it.
I have a difficult journey ahead, but all I ask is patience, time and understanding.

My name is Sarah and i have a very special son who has special needs...

***Photo was taken by Rebecca Taylor. These were pictures from a shoot she did for me for peters cover photo  on The donate Life america national newsletter
peter and devans story is page 10..

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

photoshop galore

So I adore photoshop.  I found a bunch of actions on deviantart and have really enjoyed this spring.
I love photographing flowers and trees , ivy, grasses etc.Here is what i have done with some of my favorite photoshop actions.