Good Manners

I don’t know about you, but I love to see a child with good manners!  I always knew that I would teach Hannah to use good manners; the way my parents taught me and the way Dennis’ parents taught him.  There is nothing sweeter than hearing “please, thank you, ma’am and sir” from a child.

When Hannah was 5 months old, I started teaching her sign language so to cut down on the frustration of not being able to communicate verbally as she got older.  The first signs she learned were “please, thank you, more and all done.”  She still, even though she can say those words now, uses the signs too.

Anyway, she is really good at saying “please, thank you, yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir and no sir” and I am so proud.  This week, she has even started saying “you’re welcome.”  It seriously cracks me up because now every time I say “thank you” to her for cleaning her room or helping me, she says, “you welcome mama,” and has the biggest smile on her face.  She is really growing up and I love to see and hear those good manners.

She is also very good at table manners.  She knows we pray before we eat and Dennis has her say the sweetest prayer.  She uses her utensils properly and will even put her napkin in her lap.  I have also been very blessed that she doesn’t like to get dirty, she never has; so she is a very neat and clean eater…..yay for OCD!  See, that OCD thing comes in handy sometimes!  HA!

Anyway, I love to see the way she is really growing and maturing.  Yes, she is 8 years old; but you have to remember that cognitively I am dealing with a 4-5 year old….so, even though this might seem “late” for these behaviors, it is really “on-time” for her.  So, I am proud and thankful that she wants to be mannerly……I think I will check that off on one thing that I possibly have done right in this parenting thing.  I seem to have more failures than successes at times; so I will take every success that I can get!  HA!

Eating a doughnut....her favorite food!  Yes, she is her father's daughter! HA!

Eating a doughnut….her favorite food! Yes, she is her father’s daughter! HA!

Until next time……….

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A Life Worth Celebrating

Sunday was a bittersweet day.  It was my dear friend Angie’s birthday.  She would have been 41 years old.  It was always easy to remember Angie’s birthday, especially the past 8 years since it was the day after Hannah’s.  I remember when Hannah was born, Angie told me that she wished Hannah would have waited just one more day so they could share a birthday.  I have to admit, I am glad that they don’t share a birthday now that Angie is gone……it would just be too difficult!

Sunday, my sweet friends Misti, Whitney and I wanted to do something special to celebrate Angie’s life.  So, I picked them both up and we headed over to Angie’s parents house and picked up Mrs. Bowden.  We took her to dinner and then headed out to the cemetery.  It was a bittersweet time; but a much-needed time for all 4 of us.  We laughed ALOT, we cried with each other and encouraged each other.  We left a beautiful bouquet of flowers on Angie’s grave.  It is a beautiful and peaceful place.  Way out in the country and so quiet.  We were the only people there and we were able to spend over an hour just loving on Mrs. Bowden and each other.  I will admit that I looking forward to spending time with all of them but I was dreading going to the cemetery.  Now, I am so glad that we did.  I think we will make this a yearly thing, as we always want to remember Angie on her special day.

Angie lived a life of no regrets.  She was a fighter and never quit.  She faced a very difficult journey the last 4 years of her life but never once lost her faith in God and persevered through pain, suffering and even when the doctors lost all hope; she never once did!  I know she was ready to meet the Lord and I know that as much as she loved her family and friends; she wouldn’t come back if she could.  There will always be a hole in my heart; but thank you Lord for the promise that we will see her again.  That gives me all the HOPE that I need to carry on just as Angie would want us to do.

Her life is worth celebrating…….she was the strongest and most courageous woman I have ever known!  I know I can speak for Whitney and Misti too……Angie was our rock; the one that we looked up to.  When Angie spoke, you listened because she had wisdom to share!  We love you Angie and we miss you everyday!  You are always in our hearts and never forgotten!  We promise to love on your family the way that we know you would have ours if it was one of us that was taken too soon!

We love you and we will see you soon!

Left to right: me, Angie, Whitney and Misti....love you girls!

Left to right:
me, Angie, Whitney and Misti….love you girls!

Until next time………

Happy Birthday Hannah

Eight years ago today at 6:29am you entered this world.  A very tiny baby (6 pounds 0.1 ounce) with almond-shaped beautiful blue eyes, a head-full of black hair and the chubbiest cheeks I had ever seen.  The doctors told your daddy and me before you were born that we would never hear you cry.  They told us that you would go right to Heaven the moment you were born.  Oh, but did you prove those doctors wrong!  I will never forget the tears that streamed down both your daddy and my cheeks as we heard you cry for the very first time.  I will never forget hearing the doctor say just how beautiful you were and what a nice set of lungs you had!  HA!  I got to hold you for about 10 seconds and they whisked you off to the NICU to check your heart out.  We knew you had a very bad heart, but you were here…..you made it…..you were ALIVE!

Since the day you were born; you have proven the doctors wrong and you have amazed us!  You, my sweet girl have defied the odds.  You have done things the doctors told us you would never do and you have fought long, difficult and stressful battles.  You have been through more in your 8 years than most people go through in a lifetime.  You are resilient, stubborn, courageous, brave, loving and have a heart so innocent, so pure and so full of love for everyone.   You have pressed forward when most people would have given up.  You have worked hard to get where you are; whether you were in occupational therapy, physical therapy or speech therapy you gave it your all!  Sometimes you hated it…..but you persevered!  You are SO smart…..you read, you write, you count money, you help mommy cook (baking brownies and cookies are your favorite) and you love singing and dancing!

I will be the first to admit that I never thought you would be doing the things that you are.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect.  All I could do was trust that the Lord would allow you to do the things that He wanted you to do and I was going to be okay with whatever that was.  Oh, baby girl…..God has big plans for you.  He has already used your little 8 years of life to touch so many people.  You are so very loved.  You have been so prayed for even before you were born!  You have already made an impact on this world and I am so proud to be your mom.  I am the blessed one…..there is nothing special about me, but God saw fit to give your very ordinary parents a VERY SPECIAL little girl……YOU!  When He chose us to be your parents he equipped us to be everything you needed us to be.  YOU are special; we are not!  But we are so blessed you are our little “sweet pea!”

Mama and Dada love you to the moon and back.  There are NO words to describe our love for you and how thankful we have been for this past 8 years.  I cannot wait to see all that you do and the sweet Godly young lady that you become!  Never let anyone tell you that you CAN’T do something; because…..Hannah……YOU CAN DO AND BE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO BE!  As Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote…..You are a Promise, you are a Possibility, you are a PROMISE with a capital P.  You are a great big bundle of potentiality.  You can go anywhere that He wants you to go; you can be anything that He wants you to be. You can know anything that He wants you to know; you can say anything that He wants you to say.  You can climb the high mountain, you can cross the wide sea…..you are a great big promise! Don’t let anyone tell you anything differently!

Happy Birthday my sweet miracle……today we celebrate YOU and everyday we thank God for giving you to us!  We love you and we are so PROUD to call you ours!

HAPPY 8TH BIRTHDAY HANNAH!

Happy Birthday my silly and sweet girl!

Happy Birthday my silly and sweet girl!

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Singing On The Potty, Prayers for Everyone and Ramblings

You have heard of Singing in the rain?  Well, we sing on the potty.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Yes, I CANNOT sing; I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but if I sing, Hannah poops…..so there you have it…..I sing.  She picks the song and I sing it.  Sometimes it is Living On A Prayer by Bon Jovi, sometimes it is The Old Rugged Cross and then others it is a Toby Keith or Martina McBride song…..whatever it is, I sing and Hannah goes #2…..so, whatever it takes is my motto!  Too  much information….huh?  HA!

Hannah randomly will come and find me during the day and she will have this look on her face of desperation.  I will ask her what is wrong and she will fold her hands and say, “mama pray Mason.”  Mason is her boyfriend/best friend at school.  So, I will pray for Mason and then she will say….”mama pray Cole.”  Cole is a friend in her class too.  So, I will pray….this will go on until we have prayed for every one of her “friends” at school and the teachers and staff.  Trust me….we have prayed for EVERYONE many times!  I love her little heart.  I love that she knows that we can pray for anyone we want to and that God listens.  So, if you have a child in Hannah’s school or if you are a teacher or staff member….you have been and will be prayed for whether you like it or not!  HA!  Because when Hannah says, “mama pray” for someone, then by golly we pray!

Hannah has cracked me up alot this summer.  She tells me everyday, many times a day that it is time to go to the “hotel” and we are going to drive the “truck” and Henny is going too!  I keep telling her “not yet, but soon.”  She is referring to our upcoming vacation.  She is so excited!

She also talks about Miss Desiree ALL.THE.TIME!  Desiree is a teacher at her school but also comes to our house once a week during the summer to teach Hannah how to swim!  Hannah LOVES Miss Desiree and always looks forward to Fridays with her!

We have decided to put Hannah in dance this coming year!  This is going to be Hannah’s first extra-curricular activity.  Hannah is so excited!  I decided to put her in jazz since Hannah likes the more upbeat songs and frankly, I just don’t think she is graceful enough for ballet.  That, of course, is no fault of hers…..Dennis and I aren’t graceful either!  In fact, we all 3 have 2 left feet!  If nothing else, dance will give her some socialization, some exercise and probably some comedy relief!

Hannah is loving going to school this summer too.  She has gone the month of July for just a few hours each day.  It helps keep her in a routine of school and what is expected.  Yesterday, when I went to pick her up she was sitting there with Mason.  I asked her if she was ready to go home and she quickly and adamantly said “NOPE.”  She wanted to go with Mason!  Oh, these two kiddos are quite cute and funny together!  I personally wouldn’t mind if their little love lasted……Mason has an incredible family!  Thankful that Hannah has the friends that she does at school!  They are all really good and sweet kids with wonderful families!  Very blessed!

Well, I have got to get ready so I can get Hannah to school!  Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Until next time……….

 

One Of My Greatest Struggles

 

 

Open mouth insert foot

I struggle with this…….trying to work on it, but it is so hard….so VERY hard!  HA!  Unfortunately for me, sometimes it proves to be more difficult than it is worth…..just ask my husband!  Poor Dennis, he hears it ALL!  I have had SO much I could say lately, but I have chosen to just lay low and keep my thoughts to myself on certain things…..at times; it just isn’t worth the backlash!

Have a great day!

Until next time……….

Things I Don’t Want You To Know

I am not just a blogger…..I stalk other people’s blogs.  In fact, I have “stalked” way longer than I have actually blogged.  I have several blogs I absolutely love and one of those is written by a friend of mine whom I ABSOLUTELY ADORE!  Lyndsay is the author of Pink Coffee Photo Blog.  The address is http://www.pinkcoffeephoto.com/blog  (if I was more computer savvy I would link her blog to my page, but I am technically challenged for the most part).  It is a miracle I even learned how to do this blog.  Anyway, Lyndsay is so smart, funny and HONEST!  Love her transparency and that she is the “real deal.”  She is a photographer, a wife and a mom and she mixes honesty, truth, humor and reality in her blog which makes it a “refreshing” read at all times!  She doesn’t come across that her life is perfect and if you ask her; she would tell you her life is anything but.  She has had a rough year, but has handled it with realness, honesty (there’s that word again) and humor!  Well, on July 16th, her blog post hit home with me…..it is something I truly believe in being…..honest and real.  She challenged other bloggers, actually “dared” us to post a list of things on our blogs that were things we didn’t want anyone to know about us…..daring us to be authentic and keep it real.  So, that is what I am doing today.  Here are some things I would NEVER want anyone to know about me:

Most days I don’t get out of my pajama’s until after lunch.  I am even guilty of driving Hannah to school (25 minute drive) in my p.j’s with no makeup and not brushing my hair.  Just for the record my teeth are brushed though!

My house is spotless to everyone but DO NOT look under the beds, in the closets or in any drawer that is closed because it is very possible that you will either not be able to close the door or drawer again or an avalanche will occur!  Dennis actually gets mad making our bed because his feet touch all the “junk” that is stashed under it.  It is really bad!

I am addicted to General Hospital…..have been for 25+ years.  I DVR it everyday and watch it after Dennis and Hannah are in bed.  It is my “break” from reality and my hour of vacation everyday!

Any bad word that Hannah learns will be from me……she already has a few in her vocabulary….oops!

I cannot sing…..I cannot dance…..but unfortunately for Dennis and Hannah; it doesn’t stop me!  I seriously am THAT bad…..Dennis says I sing like a prisoner…..behind bars and always looking for the key!

I will admit right here that I ashamedly watched the premier of Honey Boo Boo Wednesday night! There is seriously something wrong with anyone that watches that show…..me included!

While I am admitting bad TV viewing…..here goes one that is so embarassing…..I Keep Up With The Kardashians…..yes, I am a loyal viewer……more out of “I cannot believe these people” than “I love this show.”  Because I actually don’t “love” the show; they are just so ridiculously funny…..I can’t stop watching!

I am horrible at prioritizing.  I make to-do-lists and the same things on different lists are scattered ALL over the house, but when it comes to doing the things on that list I really struggle with time management.  I get “distracted” with other things in the middle of trying to work through my list and then (because I have to finish what I start) I run around like a chicken with my head cut-off, stressing myself out trying to get my list finished.  I am also very guilty of looking at my list and thinking “oh that can wait until tomorrow.”  I frustrate myself all the time.

I am truly my own worst enemy and beat myself up constantly for not being able to live up to my own expectations…..granted they are “Wonder Woman” expectations; but I fail miserable daily as a wife, mom and Christian!  Remember…..I am going to have a little shack in Heaven in the valley…..I promise that isn’t a lie!

Oh, one last thing…….sometimes when Dennis is working nights and won’t be home for dinner…..Hannah gets oatmeal (the instant kind) and a frozen waffle for dinner and after she goes to bed I eat cheesecake….yes, for dinner!

Whoo……that was fun…….freeing, actually!  I could write a few more, but I will save those for another post……

On a serious note……I want people to see “real” when they look at me.  I am no where NEAR perfect.  I fail more than I succeed and life is more of a hurricane than a bed of roses!  I am a hot mess, but I am honest.  I want my life story to be a story that “real” people can relate to.  I don’t want to ever paint a picture of who I am not and who I will never be.  I encourage you to do the same.  I want to honor the Lord, I want to honor my husband and I want to be a good mom….but sometimes; I get in my own way and fail!  The thing is, you pick yourself up and you try again!  That is my life…..failing, picking up, trying……repeat…….welcome to my crazy and dysfunctional life!

Until next time……..

Taking The Good And The Bad

This has truly just not been a good year.  All the way back to last summer as we nervously awaited Hannah’s 3rd open-heart surgery and then in August when she had it.  We were blessed that she did so well and I remember thinking as we came home from Birmingham, “now the worst is behind us and there is nothing but good from here on out.”  Well, then in November my best friend of 40 years lost her battle with cancer and I have never grieved so much in my life……I grieved alot when I lost my Grandmother, my Aunt Janie and my sweet Grandpa…..but it was a different type of grief.  Those 3 sweet, caring and very important people to me; even though I hated to say goodbye had lived long and remarkable lives…..Angie was just 40 years old…..she left behind the sweetest family, including 3 beautiful young children.  It just seemed so unfair!  She fought so hard, so bravely and had more faith that God would heal her, (which He did, just not the way we were hoping for) than most people.  My heart has just never been the same since she died.  There is a huge hole there that no one can fill!

THEN, all Hannah’s tummy trouble started in December.  I know, people have said….”it could be worse….it could be her heart again…..blah, blah, blah.”  Until you have sat with your child on the potty watching her SUFFER for HOURS on end and months at that…..you can’t possibly begin to understand just how horrible it is, there are NO words!  At least the heart can be fixed…..this cannot…..it is all up to Hannah and God!

I won’t even begin to mention the family issues and things with Hannah that I never talk about except with Dennis.  The heartaches that no one can possibly comprehend.  The pains he and I both feel, the things that we don’t understand and the toll it has taken on both of us separately and together.  There is SO much about Hannah cognitively, physically and emotionally that we struggle with because we just don’t understand how she feels and you can’t “reason” with her.  There is no convincing her that something she is doing could hurt her or be bad for her.  Here she is almost 8 years old and we struggle trying to help her understand and raise her the best we know how with very little information on how to do it right.  I know that no parent has a “parenting manual,” you have to use common sense and do what you feel is best; but it is something Dennis and I both struggle with.  Dennis is much better at “concealing” his feelings….he won’t talk about his struggles with anyone…..me, I have this blog where I write about alot of them, trust me though, not everything.  But, when the day comes to a close I know that Dennis and I are both mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted…..sometimes after Hannah goes to bed, we just sit there…..like the life has been zapped out of both of us.  I am not saying that we have it any worse than anyone else……heck, I know that others deal with alot more than we do…..this is just how I know we feel.

Now, with all of that said…..we have had some really great things happen to us this year.  In February we had the privilege of going to Orlando to Canine Companions for Independence to get Henny.  We LOVE our sweet dog and we are so thankful that Canine Companions gave us this incredible opportunity.  To be honest, I could have stayed at CCI forever……the wonderful families that we went through class with, the trainers, the staff and of course, the Fischer’s….Henny’s puppy raisers……we made lifelong friends with people who truly understand.  There were NO judgments, NO expectations, NO arrogance…..nothing but love, friendship and acceptance!  Those were the most incredible 2 weeks of my life!  So thankful for that time…..as difficult as training was, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

Hannah also had a great year at school.  She learned so much and came so far from the beginning of the year until school was out this summer.  She has really been good for me this summer too, for the most part, and I am so thankful for that.

I know that in this blog it appears that I whine and complain; but that is not the impression I want to give.  I am documenting ALL of this because there might be someone out there that is either beginning this journey with a Special Needs Child or hasn’t yet begun this journey that might need to see that even though there are MANY pains and heartaches along the way; the journey is worth it.  Yes, I get sad sometimes…..I get mad sometimes…..I get downright mean sometimes…..but, I wouldn’t change or trade Hannah for ANYTHING!  There are days that I do cry out to the Lord (like yesterday), as I looked up at the sky and said….”Lord, you made this beautiful blue sky, the clouds, the trees…..you made me and you MADE Hannah”……I literally begged him to “fix” her bowel problems…..I CANNOT fix her…..but HE can……I cried out to Him and I do believe that He will fix this issue, I don’t know when but I know that He can and He alone will.  So, there are days that I do hit rock bottom and the only thing I can do is “look up” and plead for wisdom, peace and strength.   I spend ALOT of time “alone,” yes, Hannah is with me but in alot of ways, it is like I am alone.  She will ask me for something if she needs it; but other than that there is NO conversation, there is NO “let’s go get pedicures, go to the zoo, the beach, shopping.”  Those things we just don’t do!  It is TOO difficult……I have really learned to simplify……I don’t do something unless Dennis can be with us to help…..it just isn’t worth the hassle, frustration and pain that it sometimes causes.  We do alot of Chick-fil-a drive thru…….and bring it home and eat, since she loves that so much.  We spend alot of time outside by the pool (this is the first year I have been grateful to own an in-ground pool, it has always been a thorn in my side until this year).  We stay home……that is what is easy……that is what I choose!  Do I wish that Hannah and I could be out shopping, getting pedicures, going out to lunch…..ABSOLUTELY…..but I chose simple, and frankly it is really the only choice that I have.  I am thankful that Hannah enjoys playing in her room, reading books and being home; so it is a win/win, for now.  One day, I hope and pray, it will be easier and “fun” to do things with her….but for now….I’m taking the good and the bad and rolling with it…..what else can I do?

Thank you Donna Smith for sending this to me.....this is a boat we are in together!

Thank you Donna Smith for sending this to me…..this is a boat we are in together!

Until next time……….