Monday, February 28, 2011

A Gift for Gracie

Please don’t go.

You can make a difference.


I understand if you usually come to skim a silly post, but I ask that today, you’ll stay and leave a gift for the birthday girl.

Today she’d be seven years old.




How does that even happen?  I sit here and wonder what that seven-year old brunette niece would look like with this crazy bunch.


How I wish I could replace those letters with her smile.

Our lives are happy.  We love and live with many blessings.  But it somehow feels like an empty flowerpot sitting on our kitchen counter.  Waiting for the bit of sunshine that really belongs there.

Seven years ago, my sister made the courageous choice to carry this little girl for as long as God would gift her to us.



We spent 25 precious hours with her, and it was worth the heartache of losing her.



Gracie touched our lives in ways that still echo seven years later.

And I would love if you would honor her with your time.

Before I shared about Gracie, I had no idea how many others had walked this same hard road.

It sucks.  It is hard, and it sucks.  But sharing her with you has been a healing of sorts – knowing that so many of you have opened up about your own losses.

I know what a kind word can do for someone who is grieving.  I would love if you wouldn’t mind leaving a comment for my sister.  A comment in memory of your own loved one.  A comment asking for prayer for your own family.

I know there are many more readers than comments.  And I’m asking a favor on Gracie’s behalf:

Please de-lurk.  Please stop in and leave a note.

For each comment on this post, we’ll give $1 to the Carenet Crisis Pregnancy Center.

I can tell you that one of the hardest things I ever did, was pack Gracie’s tiny new dresses and take them to the Crisis Pregnancy Center the week after she died.  As I carried them in my arms through the parking lot, the tears just wouldn’t stop.

A few weeks later, I saw a baby girl in one of her lilac dresses.

And I knew.  I knew we are meant to be a blessing to each other.  Even in 25 hours.

So please, even if you don’t know what to say, please just wish Gracie a Happy Birthday (I’m sure she’s having a pretty darn awesome one… I hear the venue is amazing).  We’d love to honor Gracie’s memory with as many dollars to families in need.  Thank you for helping us.


Happy birthday Baby Girl.

I Heart Faces - anything but a face

I love the theme for this week's I Heart Faces challenge -

“Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes… Anything But A Face!”


But alas, I found 14,297 pictures of my son’s various expressions.  And anything other than his face, was usually a blurry shot of him making his escape from the camera.  (Please tell me I’m not the only one with a 4-year old who bolts at the sound of my lens cap?)

Digging deeper, I found a sunshine moment that I love – Itty Bit and Cousin Bubba racing to the fence line to greet their favorite four-legged buddies.



I love catching them in mid-climb – knowing that had I hollered for them to get down, they would have both turned and grinned at me from the very top.

The Tonka truck that accompanies both boys everywhere.

Firefighter rubber boots – the ultimate fashion accessory.

The glorious mudbath Joey enjoyed still evident on his shoulder; mane tousled from his last roll.

And the overturned dirt, showing that the horses pace that greeting spot just as often, waiting for their little friends.


Gosh I’m ready for springtime! :)

And I’m smitten with many of this week’s captures – head on over!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Deaf Chronicles: The Patient's Mommy


I’ve been a grouch.

Stewing through the day yesterday.

All because of one woman.

If I had to pinpoint one thing that bothers me most about interactions between deaf and hearing people, it would be the times when an oblivious hearing person treats the deaf person as if they were somehow less intelligent.

This is never more evident when you witness these actions:

“Nevermind” (when a deaf person asks them to repeat something)

Talking only to other hearing persons, excluding the deaf person

Refusing to face the deaf person and talking while facing another direction

Speaking at twice the normal volume while dumbing down their words

All of these things happened to me yesterday.

And rather than just being frustrated as a deaf person, I was angry as a parent.

This has happened before.  Memorably at Children’s Hospital at a very important appointment for our little guy.


Normally our doctors are wonderful.  Lots of communication and interaction.

But on this day,  Mr. World-Famous Specialist was there to see our rare little boy.

And as I kept trying to ask questions, he literally ignored me and spoke only to Mr. Daddy and to my mother.

My mother signed everything to me to ensure I understood.  I tried to speak several times and he was utterly dismissive.

Frustrated, I watched him turn his back to me and begin walking out the door with his entourage of medical students.  In desperation, I said in a not-quiet voice, “So he doesn’t have (X Disease)?”

You see “X Disease" was a rather clunky word and very rare.  Mr. World Famous Specialist stopped on a dime, turned around to see that those words had come from the deaf mother’s mouth, walked slowly back to me and repeated what I had said.

The change was instantaneous.  As I pumped him for more information using every big word I had learned in my research, I was painfully aware that he had considered me to be unknowledgeable and not worth his time earlier.

He engaged in a lively discussion with me – finally making eye contact, when before he had literally made me feel like a non-person.

And as the mother of the little boy on the examination table, I hated feeling helpless and excluded.


I’ve noticed for some time that our handsome little guy tends to cross his eyes when focusing on something a certain distance away.


As he sat through his first real eye exam yesterday, the technician gushed over how adorable and polite he was.


It was no biggie that her back was toward me when she spoke to him, but when addressing his parents, she turned to her computer and began asking questions.

Mr. Daddy answered a couple of questions, then told her more than once, “my wife is deaf, she needs to read your lips”.

“Mmm-hmm” as she swiveled around.  “OKAY”

Then went back to her computer and continued to ask questions that only Mr. Daddy could hear.

At double volume, she prattled along, ignoring me entirely when I tried to ask her to repeat herself.  Anytime I asked a question, she’d answer to my husband.

Seriously, this was the look I got every time I asked a question:


Then she’d immediately answer to Mr. Daddy as if I weren’t there.

And the kicker?

She had Mr. Daddy step out into the hallway while she discussed Itty Bit’s eyesight.  So I was completely excluded from the conversation.

She was smiling and cheerful and looked at me as if you would a grade-school kid who knew nothing about corneas and irises and dilation drops.  And as if I were somehow less intelligent and unable to be an active part of the decisions that were happening about my child.

When she stepped out to get the doctor, I admit that I loudly said to Mr. Daddy, “is there a reason she is refusing to speak with me?  She is doing everything she can to make me feel like a second-class citizen”.

It changed nothing.  When the doctor came in, he was perfectly friendly and answered every single one of my questions.  And then she returned with the same smiling not going to talk to the deaf mom attitude.

I was grateful to get out of there.  I struggled to keep from crying as we picked out a tiny pair of glasses for our little man.

Sure, I’m sensitive to it… because I’m making the effort.  I speak clearly and attempt to communicate verbally.  I try hard not to make it more difficult for someone to reply to me.  Being ignored is the worst feeling.

May I ask a favor?  Next time you run into someone who has an obvious disability… treat them normally.  Like they exist.  Like they can understand your communications.  Like their thoughts matter to you.  Don’t assume they cannot understand or that they don’t have feelings.

I struggle with venting like this, because in real life, this woman is probably perfectly nice.  And she was probably uncomfortable with the situation and chose to handle it by pretending it didn’t exist.  It reminds me that how we treat others can make or break their day.

And just because I’d rather leave you with something funny – here’s Itty Bit right before he exuberantly yelled, “that’s a HORSIE!”


Stay tuned for pictures of our dapper bespectacled little man!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Love It All

Dear Bloggy Friends,

You guys aren’t going to want to miss this!

A few weeks ago, I entered a giveaway on Burlap + Blue’s blog and was thrilled to win!

She was hosting the lovely Monika from the I Love It All Etsy shop – and lucky me got to pick out my favorite print!


And I might have kind of sort of gotten sucked in and purchased a special quote for a certain someone:


(Fifty OnceUponAMiracle points for the translation of that quote!)

I was surprised to open the package and find some extra goodies!  Don’t you love this?  She picked the perfect quote and sent it along for something special for my sister.  How sweet is this for this week as we celebrate Baby Gracie’s birthday? 



Monika was long-suffering gracious while I debated the color choices – and she quickly put together samples for that perfect turquoise color!

I love how she was up for any kind of customization… and really – the pictures don’t do them justice.  After coming home to a sick kiddo, I lost all daylight to snap these.  Here are some more of her lovelies from her shop!


I love this!  Somebody stop me before I order it :)


And this?  How fun is it?!  I mean, I’d be all over it if I didn’t think people would injure themselves laughing at the false advertising if the non-crafty chick were using it… ha!



And a little something special for you?  Monika has generously given us a 15% off code for her shop!  Now through Saturday (February 26, 2011) midnight, use ILOVEITALL in her Etsy shop!


Thanks Monika – this was a blast!


A Happy Etsy Customer


p.s.  Tell her I sent ya!

p.p.s.  Oh darn… I’m off to order that Table Manners print.  Can you blame me???

Linking up with King Julien at:

Got something to say today? :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Simply Bags

Pardon me while I start this post by screaming



Apologies to those of you who have been stuck in snowdrifts for weeks, but for the rest of us who got gypped out of a real snow this winter, let’s do the happy dance!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming (done with the screaming bit, sorry)


A couple of weeks ago, a business owner contacted me and asked if I wanted to try out a personalized tote.  They offer embroidered bags in all kinds of sizes and colors.

I was shocked at the speedy service of Simply-Bags.



Well, speedy after I figured out how to personalize it - it was fun imagining all the ways gifts could be made for family and friends!  I wish I’d known about their diaper bags a few years ago!

When I opened up the package, I was stunned by how big this mother of a tote is!


It meets my first rule – a zippered main compartment (anyone else had your toddler unceremoniously dump your purse upside down in the grocery store.  No?  Nevermind).  And my second rule: durable.  This baby is fully lined with a water-resistant fabric (not like us moms ever deal with liquid container malfunctions, right?)  Plus an exterior stashaway across the front!

And the best part – whatever you want, written in whatever color you like!


Kinda-sorta a dream company for a control-freak, no? :)

I hope you’ll head on over to find something you like… the service was unbeatable and I’m super happy with their product!

(This was a wee bit belated – totally my fault.  It was a “slightly” rough week with that whole I’m dying of a toothache dental work drama.  Thanks to the store owner for being gracious while I recovered!)


Disclaimer:  I received the pictured personalized tote bag from the vendor.  My review is my own, and if I hadn’t liked it, y’all know I would have told ya.  Thanks to Simply Bags for their generosity!


Monday, February 21, 2011

True Story Tuesday - Public Indecency


Please allow me to apologize for that last post… I didn’t mean to offend all of you who have perfectly behaved little girls.  But Lord knows I was relieved that those of you with boys totally understood :)

And now on to True Story Tuesday!


It’s the perfect place to share your outrageous, amazing, hilarious, miraculous, and (mostly) true stories that have happened to you!  Just copy the code below the True Story Tuesday button on the right sidebar, and paste it into your post - then come back and link up below!  We’ll be around with some comment love!

This week brought to you by this rascal:





Remember the amazing restaurant that I mentioned in this post - which Mr. Daddy still owes me a trip to… since I’m done drooling  and the Vicoprofen has worn off? (I am not bitter, I am not bitter)

To say that this place is amazing would be an understatement.  Once upon a time when I was pregnant with Itty Bit and my sis was due four days later with May-May, we actually conspired to have our baby shower at this restaurant.  Cravings anyone?


We went so often that the owners knew us like family.  Sadly, since that stink butt sister of mine moved away, our chances to hit up Jimmy’s Thai Restaurant have been rare.

Last weekend she drove up and we grabbed the kids, talked Mom into driving her big rig, and our noisy bunch descended on our  we’re-like-family place.

The kids played in the fountain, ran on the booth seats, and busted out the crayons.

See, like family!






Just look at the owners’ daughter… she’s their very own culinary mascot!





We ate more than our fill of the insanely delicious fare, stayed past politeness as we caught up, and finally left as the kids got noisier and noisier.

As we loaded them up into the aforementioned big rig, Itty Bit suddenly announced what little boys love to announce in public places.  Loudly.


Mommy, I hafta go pee-pee!


Not about to head back into the restaurant with my now-dancing kiddo, I glanced at the near-empty parking lot and...

(hangs head in shame)

I took the easy out.

I shielded Itty Bit with the door and strategically positioned him for minimal collateral spray.

He giggled,

the girls giggled,

the guy behind me coughed




Oh Lord.

Some cool 20-year-old due in shades was politely waiting for us to finish our business so he could open his adjacent car door.  And I was kinda sorta standing on the white line.

Brad Pitt

Oh dude.  Oh dude.

And when Itty Bit turned to the source of the sound, I may or may not have shrieked and re-aimed him by his shoulders while jumping out of the way.

Who says I can’t multi-task?

Dude, you so owe me.  I am never gonna live this one down…



Does it make me an exceptionally dedicated blogger that I snapped this picture on our way out, or am I just weird?  Wait, don’t answer that ;)




Please make me feel better!  Prove I’m not the only one with crazy busted moments!  Link up below and we’ll be around to enjoy your stories too!


The Deaf LipReader


Honey, what do you have in your mouth?






Honey… what’s in your mouth?









No Mommy…



I said





(hysterical 4-year old laughter)



And a Happy Presidents Day to you too.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Saturday Morning

The girls stayed over.

These ones:



We camped out in the living room in a teepee, eating popcorn and watching Kung Fu Panda.

We piled up a million pillows and blankets and settled everyone in for the night.

Then the littlest cousins broke the cardinal no goofing off after 10pm rule.

After separating them, Little Jo wound up with one tiny blanket and no pillows – because as you can see, I had been stingy with the provisions:


Itty Bit claimed the couch with George


And May-May lay sweetly sleeping on the recliner surrounded by spilled toys.


Wait… what is that noise?

No kidding -the littlest punkin was responsible for the seismological event.

Holy Adenoids Batman, that girl can snore!

We woke up lounged around in our pajamas – refusing to attend to frivolities like brushing our hair.  But seriously, have you ever seen such glorious bedhead?  The sheen of the myriad colors that grown women pay good money for, all lit by the morning sun.


A bit of silliness with special party straws.  Because if Saturday mornings aren’t something to celebrate…?



We chowed down on the Mr. Daddy Breakfast Special of pancakes, bacon, and eggs; and enjoyed a bit of swordplay


Then Itty Bit realized that he ought to take advantage of the extra hands.  Any guesses what game he convinced the girls to play?







Ahh yes, you spin me, then I spin you.  His favorite game.

Did I ever tell you that my mom used to put me to sleep by holding me and spinning me in a chair?

Sorry, random I know.







Then came some true redneck fun… Mr. Daddy talking my sister into taking the Rhino for a spin:


You gotta love May-May’s rockstar pose.  Ju is pretending she is not terrified to drive that thing.

And then it was time for them to go.

Itty Bit was not pleased.




But Mommy, I don’t want them to go!


(For the love of Pete, would someone please tell me what color his eyes are?)

Don’t worry honey, you can see them again soon.


(and whoever “Pete” is, would you clean the window too?)


Daddy making faces turned that pout around…



It was a good day.

And how was yours?


(xpressitall2010 at Etsy!)