Tag Archives: children

You Better Not Cry

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Like the song says, ” … you better not cry.”  In a perfect world, I would take my own advise.  Earlier this month I wrote about all sorts of great ways to stay sane during the holiday season.  I also said that there was no such thing as a perfect Christmas, a perfect family … blah, blah, blah.

And it makes sense.  On paper.

So, of course I was caught off guard when I had my Annual Christmas Meltdown the other day.  And it was a beauty.

Drama. Tears. Angst. Unrequited crap.

My Annual Christmas Meltdown

How does an otherwise relatively normal person lose their mind, freak out over all things related to the holidays and have the expectations of a four-year-old during the Christmas season?

You tell me.

At least this tantrum lasted a short time.  And I’m so over it now.

My inner four-year-old is still there, but I gave her some chocolate so hopefully she’ll shut up and behave.

Eating chocolate (in moderation) will take your mind off just about anything that is unpleasant or frustrating about the Christmas season.  Plus it’s a lot less expensive than therapy or SSRI’s.

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Prayers for Sarah Jane

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I’m sharing this story in the hope you will read it and find room in your heart to pray for a special little girl that needs a lot of love and support right now.

My son has a half-sister, Sarah Jane.  She is eight years old with blond hair and the longest lashes in the world that frame her pretty blue eyes.  As you will see, Sarah has an amazing smile.  She’s a sweetheart and our family loves her more than words can say.

Matt's sister Sarah Jane, age 2

Matt's sister Sarah Jane, age 2

Sarah was diagnosed with epilepsy at a very early age, after what seemed like an unrelenting round of seizures.  Despite the medication side effects and slight developmental delays, Sarah loved to play and dance and sing … all the things that little girls do.  Just before her 3rd birthday, Sarah had a very bad seizure that lasted over 5 hours.  The doctors put her in a drug-induced coma in the hope that this seizure would stop and her brain would have time to rest.

When she was physically stable long enough to wake up, Sarah was blind and could not smile.  She now had cerebral palsy.  She could not swallow and required tube feedings.  She could no longer dance or sing.

Sarah on her 3rd birthday with her mom and dad

Sarah on her 3rd birthday with her mom and dad

In 2004, we celebrated Sarah’s 3rd birthday in the pediatric intensive care unit at the hospital.  She was in a coma and intubated at the time, so we sang Happy Birthday in hushed voices at her bedside.  The day I took this picture, I held steadfast to the hope that she would have many more birthdays to celebrate, despite overwhelming odds to the contrary.

And she did.

You can read Sarah’s story here.

Sarah can’t dance, but she can ride a special bike.  She can see much better now, thanks to eye surgery and glasses.  Sarah loves to cuddle with her big brother  Matthew.  She adores music and loves to sing and laugh.  She is truly a heaven sent gift for those of us who are blessed to know her.

Napping with big brother Matt

Napping with big brother Matt

Best of all, Sarah got her smile back!

Sarah with her mom, Sandy

Sarah with her mom, Sandy

This year, just before her 8th birthday, Sarah had problems breathing and had to return to the hospital.  She has developed pneumonia and other complications that required her being placed on an oscillating ventilator to help her breathe and give her body the necessary time and energy to rest and recover.  The doctors have her on a lot of different medications.  Because she’s on a breathing machine, she has been given medication to keep her asleep and comfortable.

Sarah had her 8th birthday in the PICU.  There were balloons and signs and Happy Birthday songs for Sarah, but she wasn’t awake to hear or see the celebration.  Her big brother Matt, little brother Graham, sister-in-law Laura and Aunt Sue (me) spent Easter Sunday with her, taking turns visiting, holding her hand, and praying for a speedy recovery. The road back home for Sarah will be a long one … many weeks to come of waiting, watching, and praying.

I’m asking for prayers and good wishes for all of you who read this post.  I believe in the power of prayer and positive thinking.  Please keep Sarah and her family in your thoughts and hearts.  Pray for the amazing doctors and medical staff that are treating Sarah 24/7.  Their care and compassion is miraculous.

Thank you for taking the time to read about Sarah.

Once again, we’re waiting for Sarah’s smile to return.

Spring Break 2009

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weststarfarm-barn

A little heaven on earth ...

Last  week I drove to Wisconsin for a visit with my son and daughter-in-law.  I treasure these times when we can spend more than a couple days together.

Laura is currently enrolled in a graduate program at University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She’s majoring in Agro-Ecology, They found a wonderful place to live while she’s enrolled ….  a certified organic farm in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin called West Star Farm.  The farm itself is busy getting ready for springtime planting and the greenhouses are buzzing with activity!  The photo above is the main barn at West Star, and obviously was taken in the summer.  I got to meet Amy, the farm’s full-time manager, and Bev, who is also a student that lives on the farm.  I  met several roosters and hens, lovely birds that are senior citizens.  They don’t lay many eggs, but are beautiful to watch … two sisters and their RIC (Rooster In Charge), a dapper fellow who likes to crow alot.    I’m a city girl, so spending time on this amazing farm is quite a thrill for me.  And the night sky!  The heavens were filled with so many stars!  It was beautiful to sit outside at night.

Yesterday, my son gave me a tour of the work he’s doing for the Sand County Foundation.  Matt’s an arborist who specializes in ecologic land restoration and preservation.  He’s currently working with the Aldo Leopold Foundation.

Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) father of wildlife ecology

Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) father of wildlife ecology

Matthew’s field studies are fascinating.  Maybe it’s the mother in me that’s a little nuts, but I’m more than proud of the work that Matt and Laura are involved with.

During my visit we spent time cooking and baking … tried out a great biscotti recipe.  Laura and I went to a yarn shop and spent about an hour checking out wool, organic cotton, needles, etc.  Then we went home and started on our new projects.  We’re both novice knitters, so it was fun to have that to share.  Matt and I went shopping for leather boots for his work and I treated him to a big screen movie …. something he hasn’t indulged in for almost two years!  Unfortunately, it was a stupid, long, and ridiculous film but we had a good time anyway making fun of it and laughing afterwards.  It certainly made our Top Ten List of really bad movies!pict0038

On the last day of my spring break we went to Bayview, Wisconsin and had dinner at one of our favorite places, Cafe Lu Lu.  Laura’s brother and Matt’s former employer and mentor joined us  cafe-exterior3for a great evening .  Lots of stories, great food, good company and a full serving of laughter and general silliness!  These are the events that nourish my soul.  There is nothing more wonderful than spending time with the people you love and respect.  It was a perfect blend of family and friends, old and new.  I am truly blessed!

As I drove home this afternoon, I had already started missing my boy.  But he will be home for Easter and that will be upon us sooner than I know.  Leaving Wisconsin, the air was warm and full of promise.  As I drove south, the fields along the highway started greening up and coming home I discovered springtime had already started with the tulip trees and daffodils blooming.  Even the forsythia was in high gear!

I’m so ready for spring and flowers!