Archive of ‘memories’ category

Finding Happiness in New Places

I find myself delighting in some things I would have not have found so delightful a few short years ago.  Now, they light up my day.

-The smell Evan gives off after a good play session outside, like a sweaty, sticky, messy little guy

-The disappearing of a whole sandwich- Evan ate about 95% of a PBJ today!

-An empty laundry basket

-An empty day on the schedule

-A full Brita pitcher

-My hair after actually drying and styling it

-The clarity when Evan  says “You” at the end of “I love you!”

-Turning on the box AC units again, even if just for the fan, because the sound is fantastic white noise for good sleeping.

This:

and this:

Flowers blooming on Pop-Pop’s tree

– Sleeping longer than 5 hours.

– The way one glass of wine or beer tastes when sitting with a friend at the bar after laughing so hard your cheeks hurt

– Making Todd laugh really hard

Grateful

Feeling especially grateful tonight. In light of recent events in the news, and also in my personal life, I just feel so blessed and grateful for a multitude of things. I figured it would be good to write it down, ala gratitude journal style so I can look back when I need to remember what is important in my life.

There is no order to these whatsoever, and there is plenty more too, but I don’t want to make a 20 min blog entry. 🙂

-I am grateful that when I look at the statistics on what entries people are reading on my blog, I see several hits on the “What is Williams Syndrome” link, and “My Bug’s Story.” I am so proud to be spreading awareness.

– I am grateful for my house. For the beautiful flowers my husband bought and planted. For the separate bathrooms that he and I have. For the swing hanging in the backyard. For the tree planted in my father’s memory.

Pop Pop’s Tree

-I am thankful that I found a container of clothes labeled “clothes I want to fit into again” and almost every item DOES fit me again. I couldn’t believe it. Last time I went through that container I could barely button any of it.

-I am thankful for my job experience. It helps me have a totally different perspective on my son and his educational future. This can sometimes be hard, but overall it helps me to have a good idea of possible outcomes.

-I am thankful for coffee. When it is hot, or more likely, luke warm.

-I am thankful for my in laws who watched Evan overnight this weekend so Todd and I could have a much needed date day. I really can’t express enough how amazing they are. Such big hearts.

Grammy and Evan

Pirates Game

-I am grateful to be singing again on a regular basis. It really is such a big part of me, and I have missed it.

-I am so thankful for all the little accomplishments that Evan has had in the past week or so. He crawled across two rooms carrying a Grover puppet, and then handed it to me and took my hand and put it on top of Grover. He wanted me to use him as a puppet. This was HUGE in the communication department for Evan. He also is starting to drop things and say “uh oh” on his own, as well as saying “more,” “waffle,” “soup,” etc with some clarity.

Are you bragging about me again, mama?

-I am grateful for my WS mama community that has become such a huge part of my life. I met with another incredible mom and her family this past weekend.  When I say I don’t know what I would have done this past year without them, I truly mean it. They have been my diary, my venting board, my shoulder to cry on, the voice of wisdom and experience.

Heather, her son Reed (future buddy for E), and me

-I am grateful my mother and stepfather moved much closer to us. It is so comforting to know my own mama is now a short drive away.

My mom, stepdad and Evan December 2011 (can you believe how chubby and different he looks?)

Alleluia

I have been singing as a part of the worship band at church and because I am not an expert musician, I practice a lot at home singing the harmonies. Evan has been picking up on a lot of what I have been singing without me even realizing it. Todd taught Evan to “kiss” during a song too, and I was trying to get him to do it on camera, but if you listen closely, I didn’t get the kiss- but I did hear him say “kiss from me to you” all as one word. That is what I am going to believe anyway…. 😉

Alleluia means to praise God, and in some translations it represents joy.

 Well. this video is my definition of joy- my son singing along with me.

Reflections in Green

Oh shashashasha…
That is why Todd says when he is imitating a leprechaun. Which is far more often than you would expect.
 St. Patrick’s Day 2013.  
The “Boyz” as my Dad used to call them, Blackthorn.
This day has me feeling a little different than in past years.  With a name like Erin, I have tended to celebrate this day in a pretty big way since I was a little girl. My Dad would bring home a box of Irish potatoes, (with one or two missing already of course), my mom and I would be adorned in shamrock earrings, bouncy headbands, and green from head to toe. My dad would put on his best Irish accent and shashasha his way around the house. As I grew older and my love for Irish music grew, I started to follow the band Blackthorn with my dad and my now stepmom, Debbie. My oldest and dearest friend Charlene and I would drive to see them all over southeastern PA, NJ Shore, and everywhere in between.  One year when St. Patty’s fell on a Tuesday or Wednesday, we met at a local hole in the wall bar/restaurant for dinner and had free corned beef and cabbage and some cheap green beer. We were clearly the youngest people in there but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.  My true heritage is a mixed bag, I am split between German and Irish pretty equally.  But again, with a name like Erin, and a father who was determined to get his Irish accent down pat, we spent a little more time celebrating that part of my background than the other.
Today went a little more like this, I struggled to find a good green shirt for Evan to wear to church, and ended up going with a too-small long sleeved white onesie under a green polo. Todd wore an orange shirt layered with a green shirt, he said he felt the orange always got the short end of the stick. I did wear a green sweater, but forgot about my shamrock socks and earrings. Instead of being out listening to some Irish music, we are home, Todd is working on this big computer project and I am trying to keep my eyes open and blog a little while Evan naps after fighting it for about 2 hours. I found myself wistful earlier, I looked at a picture of my father with that big radiant smile of his. I tried to imagine what it felt like to be hugged by him. I don’t know if this is something typical of people following a loss, but I do that sometimes. I try to imagine what it was like to hear his voice, or hug him. I am afraid to lose that sensation and forget what it was like. My Dad just represents such peace and home to me. To this day, I still think for a split second about calling him from my car when I am driving home from somewhere because that is what I used to do.
Grief is such an odd thing. When I was in the thick of it, I wanted so badly for it to pass. I wanted to be relieved of that heavy, suffocating feeling that I had 24 hours a day, especially when I woke up in the morning. That was always the worst, waking up and for a split second thinking that things were as they were before that tough day in June of 2010. And then it would hit me. Like an iron to the throat. I would remember. He was really gone. I would lament to Todd that I just wanted it to stop feeling so heavy. Family and friends who had been through it before would tell us that it would. It would stop feeling so awful, and it would get easier.

At my HS graduation party with my friends Denise and Charlene

Again, like I have said before, things did not get easier, but they did get different. Now that the immense shock and heaviness has lifted, it is more of a surreal acceptance and the sadness the comes from it. I find myself concerned that I am going to forget. I will forget the goofy smile he would always give when getting his picture taken where his eyebrows would raise and he would smile super wide and cock his head slightly to the side.
I’m concerned I will forget his voice. The booming, beautiful voice that would carry across the room and enter your heart. The voice that loved to sing “Sea of Love” every time he could get his hands on a microphone. The voice that sang with gusto in several community theater productions, no matter if he was in the back line of the chorus or in the front singing a solo.

Singing 16 Candles to me on my birthday

The first time Todd met my father and stepmother

I fret I will forget the night he first met the man I would marry. When we went to see Blackthorn at World Cafe Live and Todd bought us a round of beer in plastic cups and my Dad was so impressed by him. How nervous I felt at the start, and then how relieved and happy I was at the end of the night when my dad shook Todd’s hand with vigor, looked him right in the eye and said,
 
“Precious cargo,remember Todd, she’s precious cargo.”
 

He said this again as he gave me away to Todd on our wedding day.

Dancing to “Jersey Girl”

I should know I won’t forget.
 Some memories may fade a little more than others.  But as my eyes sting just thinking about the dance in that picture-I know there are some moments that will remain just as vivid as the day they first occurred. Thank goodness for that.
O’Thank Goodness. shashashashashasha

Five Minute Friday- Remember

A little while ago I joined in the blog revolution called Five Minute Friday. You are to write for 5 minutes flat based on a prompt. No editing, re-reading, or going back. Just write, and then post. I found the idea on Lisa-Jo Baker’s site. Love her. A lot.
So I set a timer on the laptop so I won’t cheat and off I go.

Remember….

I want to remember the way Evan’s lashes look when he looks down at something he is concentrating on, hard, with that stubborn perseverance that I am so glad he has. 

I want to remember the way it felt when Todd and I were able to go out to dinner with Evan, and give him cheese puffs and he would eat them, one by one and he was happy enough that we could eat an appetizer, meal, and maybe even a beer or two.

I want to remember how I was watching E on the monitor today and I caught him standing at the corner of his crib facing in, looking like a boxer ready to bounce on his opponent, in this case, a stuffed owl.

I want to remember the way Evan’s face lights up when he sees the picture of my father, his Pop-Pop, in the little photo book we made for him.

I want to remember what it sounded like to hear him try to say “Hallelujah” when we were singing “She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain.”

I want to remember the first time he leaned into my chest when I said the word “hug” and I realized he knew what that word meant.

I want to remember what it felt like to watch Evan interact with Emmy, who also has Williams Syndrome. The first few moments were almost magical, like they knew each other already.

First Day of Spring, Saying “Goooo” on the swing

Photo Dump

I have been more introspective lately, writing more and posting pictures less but since I love taking the pictures, I figured, why not share a bunch today? So in no particular order, here are a slew of fun pictures from the past few months. Enjoy!!

Zoey with her sheepie

My Aunt Jean, Evan, and I in January

Evan loves curtains

My Uncle Charlie, Anna Mae, and I

Evan LOVED Anna Mae

Our little book worm

Attacked by a Kashi Bar

My favorite time of day, after nap

Reading….AGAIN. 🙂

Poor Sick Baby

In Daddy’s Care while Sick

Pretty Common Expression

Yummy Birthday Goodness

Cousin Jude Turns One!!

Ladies Waiting for Cake

Concentrating on Bottle Cap

Ride Em Cowboy!

Five Minute Friday- "Afraid"

So I was going to do a funny, simple blog today but I will save that for another day. Today I am going to take part in Five Minute Friday, which is inspired by a blog I read very often, Tales from a Gypsy Mama. Every Friday she writes for 5 minutes without editing or rereading her work, on a prompt. She also encourages others to do the same and link back to her blog. I have never participated, but thought today I would try it out. So I am setting an online timer so I don’t cheat and go over. Ready?

Afraid.

GO:

I have entirely too many fears. I wish they were “normal” fears, like spiders, or heights, or snakes. Well, I’m not thrilled about all three of those either, but they do not paralyze me.  I know deep down I am afraid of the biggies. Illness and death.  And you know the funny thing? I very rarely worry about them for myself. In fact, I found myself the other day watching the t.v. show Parenthood, which you should watch right now or at least sometime within the next 24 hours if you haven’t already, because it is the most phenomenal show on TV. (no paid advertisement, I swear.)
Anyway I was watching, and they had an episode focusing on the character who has breast cancer. They did a knock out job of showing the ugly, scary, heart wrenching parts of fighting cancer, along with keeping humor spattered in throughout. My mind drifted a bit and I found myself thinking, I’m sure I will probably be diagnosed with cancer one day. And I will fight it. And if I lose, that’s okay….And then I focused back on the show…..

Mumming

What?
Yup. I didn’t feel scared, or paralyzed or even the least bit anxious about it. I have had a few health scares over the years, but I was never really overwhelmed by them.
What overwhelms me
is losing my loved ones.
I honestly cannot imagine losing another person.
I am so blessed to have so many of my loved ones still in my life, but losing my dad ripped me in two.

STOP

Retro Monday

Be prepared- this is not an Evan-centric post…..so read at your own risk 🙂 

A goal for this winter/spring is to get our basement in order.  It truly drives both Todd and me nuts. It is totally our fault; there are piles and piles of boxes that are not closed properly and have things in them that we do not need to save. It is a spacious, unfinished basement that we really should use to its full potential. But you know how it is-when company is coming and you have piles around the house that need to be put away and you have nowhere to put them. So what do we do? Put things in boxes and put them in the basement to go through later. Not sure when we think “later” is. 
Anyhoo- in the process I have found boxes of loose photographs that I just have not been able to part with. I also found my “keep box.” That is the box my mother started when I was just a baby with all things she thought should be kept for posterity. I started adding to it in elementary school. Interesting the things I found to be worth saving. I love looking through memories. I hope to keep a similar box for Evan. Going through the boxes, especially looking at pictures really says a lot about my childhood and my personality that developed at quite an early age. 

Nursery School Class Picture. Try really hard to find me, I’m incredibly shy and withdrawn looking. Can’t you tell from the wide open mouth? (and can we talk about the fashion on the boys? LOVE)

I also found a paper that my cousin Dawn wrote about me for one of her nursing classes. I was 4 at the time and she used me as a case study. It was funny to read about how quirky and confident I was at age four. I wish I could conjure up some of that fearlessness now as an adult and mother! She quoted a conversation she had with me on the phone on my birthday, and she was trying to hang up with me, because you know how awkward phone conversations can be with a young child, and I interrupted her and said, “Ask me more questions!” oy vey.

Isn’t it funny how you remember your kindergarten class? I can name almost everyone in this picture. I had the biggest crush on the cat in the top row, in the lavender polo. I can’t believe I posed for this…sigh.


 Now I am about to share with you my artistic prowess. Prepare to be astounded. Our art teacher in elementary school, Mrs. Mattson had us do pastel drawings of a clown every year. She was VERY serious about this. She would show us videos from Clown College and discuss all the different types of clowns. We learned about shading and outlines. You are about to be amazed. The progression of my ability is stunning.

First Grade
Third Grade
Fifth Grade

 I am fully prepared to receive plenty of requests for my work, feel free to leave comments. 🙂
As Mrs. Mattson would say, “No Messy Bessies, only Neat Nicks.”

In my keep box was my first favorite dolly, this little pink and white checkered floppy gal. It has a rattle on the inside. When I found it, I thought “Wouldn’t that be nice to save this in case we have another child and it is a girl?” Then I looked over to see Evan bouncing and pulling books down from his bookshelf and I thought, “Why wait?” and I gave it to him.

Needless to say, Evan liked the doll. He smiled and shook it and held it up to his ear. Who cares about gender roles, I don’t mind if Evan plays with a pink doll one bit. 

I also found box after box of notes passed back and forth between my friends and I from about 6th grade through senior year of high school. I only read through a handful of them, because I realized I could spend hours reading through each one while Evan tore up his room waiting for me to finish.  I felt myself feeling both nostalgic and then sad. I realized that passing notes is probably obsolete these days. Why send a note, when you can just text your friend who is in another classroom? I felt old, thinking one of those “Well when I was young…..” type of thoughts. I just remember how excited I would get to receive a note from a potential beau or from a friend who was filling me on some gossip from the lunch period before mine. High School was not the best 4 years of my life, but I did have some good friends that helped keep it bearable. 
Ok this walk down memory lane needs to come to a close. 
I’ll leave you with some pretty awesome Evan news. This morning he said a version of “bye-bye” when Todd left for work and he ate a whole jar of stage 3 baby food.  He really does amaze me every day.

Bonus!! Gratitude December 1

I am thankful for…..

My husband, Todd
Engagement Shot 2008

I went beyond the 30 days of thankfulness because Todd’s birthday is today and I thought discussing my gratitude for him on that day would be appropriate. I always thought the Jerry Maguire line, “You complete me,” was a load of hooey.  I loved that movie, don’t get me wrong. Cuba Gooding Jr. was hysterical and I fell in love with the little (not so little anymore) boy who talked about the brain. But I can recall numerous times where I would be in conversation with someone about the movie and I would say, “People don’t complete other people, they complement them!”  

Fast forward to 2006, when I am sitting in the passenger seat next to my new boyfriend, Todd, and we are coming back from our first little trip together- he planned the whole thing, moment to moment, with an agenda, clues in envelopes, etc. It included two of my favorite things, shopping and breweries. It also included a trip to the Crayon Factory where we made a red crayon together.I remember that day like it was yesterday, the air was cool enough for sweaters but the sun felt warm on your face. We stopped at a campy store called Country Junction, took pictures of person sized wine glasses, huge football helmets, and a one of me standing in front of a group of pumpkins smiling from ear to ear with my head cocked to side like it is when I am truly happy. We got in the car after that stop, and Tom Petty came on the radio. We both started singing along at the top of our lungs, in some ways trying to elicit giggles from the other person but we also did a little harmonizing.  I remember the feeling of peace, joy, and just “rightness.” sitting next to this handsome, intelligent, strong willed man I had met a few short months prior.
As we grew to know each other better, the gooey rush of a new relationship began to fade, but our relationship became richer, more “real” and we knew we were meant to be married and share the rest of our lives together.  Todd does complete me.  That doesn’t mean I had a hole in my heart or that I was necessarily “incomplete” before I met him. To me, it means that he fits with me like a puzzle piece that I need in order to finish my journey. (whoops second use of that word this week) But now that we are together, it just makes sense.  He challenges me, supports me, stands by me no matter what, loves me.  His talents are immense. I call him my Renaissance Man all the time. He brews beer, plays guitar, makes his own pizzas, strombolis, pretzels, tikka masala, the list goes on.  He completes big projects that even I doubt are possible like building a fenced in dog run for Zoey, constructing a closet in Evan’s room, and creating a pergola in our backyard. He is a prolific writer, quick witted, incredible with numbers.  He is a sucker for big adorable dogs, and Evan has changed him as much as he has changed me. To watch Todd with Evan, you just can’t help but smile. He is not above making funny faces, singing lullaby after lullaby, or playing patty cake until his hands are sore.  He respects me as a mother, and he never complains when I make plans to get out of the house for a bit with my girlfriends or I just need to take an exercise class. He encourages me to take care of myself, and it isn’t because he wants to get brownie points. It is just because he thinks it is right and part of being a supportive husband. 
What you see is what you get with Todd. He does not put on airs, he doesn’t lie or exaggerate.  I am thankful for what he has taught me about myself, and how he has stood by me during some extremely trying times. He can make me laugh until I cry and he makes the most amazing pizza dough I have ever tasted.  What else could a girl ask for? 🙂  Thank you Todd for all you do for me and our family.

Happy Birthday Husband/Daddy!  

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