No Big Plan…..Just Life

Maybe I have had this all wrong…..perhaps my thought of “there is always a plan,” is not completely accurate.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not losing my faith or hope in my Lord, but perhaps not everything happens with some “great” plan attached to it.  Maybe some things just happen because it is life and life sucks.  I know that sounds extremely negative and pessimistic and in some ways that is how I feel right now.  But, I have been “expecting” some great big revelation, healing, purpose and meaning to the last nearly 3 years and none of that has come.  I am beginning to wonder if it ever will.

Hannah is worse……she started flaring last week and this morning she is worse than I have seen her in a very long time.  I don’t understand.  Is it the new medication that she is on?  I know the flare started most likely from being at the doctor and hospital 2 days in a row week before last and she came in contact with some germ that affected her brain causing inflammation; but this flare started out mild.  The past couple of days though…..WOW…..she is flaring something awful.  This morning has been the absolute worst and I have the marks to prove it!  I will spare you the details but let’s just say it is like living with a mountain lion and rattlesnake all at the same time.

I find myself praying “Lord I know you have a purpose and a plan for this.”  But, I am not sure anymore.  The Bible says in John 16:33

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

God told us we would have tribulation.  He also told us that He works everything for our good in Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

So, I am a little confused…..you see I might be a Christian and believe in my whole heart that I serve a mighty God who can do anything, including healing my little girl, but I know in life those things that we pray earnestly for and hope for with all we have don’t always happen.  I believe both of these verses and I know that no matter what God is holding us, carrying us and that He loves us.  I believe that nothing happens that He doesn’t already know about but I do not believe anymore that everything has some great big plan and purpose.  As the Bible says in John 16:33…..we will have tribulation…..it doesn’t say there is always some big plan for that tribulation….it is, in fact, just life and sometimes life.just.sucks.

I have never said I am a Biblical Scholar…..far from it.  All I really have to go on is what I feel the Bible says and from the teaching of God’s word that I had growing up.  I will be honest, I was always taught that there is a reason for everything we go through.  I believed that until now.  I am not saying God doesn’t have His hand on me.  I truly believe He does, but there might not be a BIG REASON for all of this.  It might just be life…..we all have something in our life (at one time or another) that we can’t shake, that doesn’t make sense and that causes us unfathomable pain.  Example….my mom is suffering from chronic vertigo.  She truly is suffering about 2 weeks out of every 8-12 weeks.  There is no cure….she gets it, and she has to just get past it.  My grandpa suffered for years with it, chronically and never completely got relief.  I have had it chronically since I was 14 years old but not as bad as the two of them have and did.  What is the purpose?  The reason?  LIFE…..that is the reason, not some big plan that has yet to unfold.

Now, I do believe God can use circumstances and situations in our life to bring Him glory and be a testimony for Him.  My friend Angie, who lost her battle with cancer was no doubt used by God to share her faith through that awful cancer journey that ultimately took her life.  Did that journey bring the Lord honor?  Absolutely!  Could anyone have told that story better than Angie?  Probably not and that is why I believe God chose her.  Were people’s lives changed because of watching Angie?  Yes, they were!  So you see, I do believe in some things there is a purpose and God can use those things for eternity.  But, I don’t believe everything has a big plan or purpose.  I believe that sometimes we go through things because life throws us curveballs.

Now…..can God heal Hannah?  YES!  Will I stop praying for that?  No way!  I will pray for it for as long as it takes (it might be when the Lord returns to get us) but I will pray nonetheless.  Can I be frank?  I have a strong faith, but I am human.  I get angry, I get sad, I ask why.  Does God give me peace like He promises? Yes, He does.  Let me say this…..if not for my faith and belief that one day NONE of this is going to matter I would have no hope to cling to.  My hope and my joy is in the knowledge that one day He is coming back for me and I will spend eternity in Heaven.  No more sadness, no more tears, no death, no sickness, no sorrow.  My little girl will be made whole and she will never be in pain (mental, emotional or physical) again.  Clinging to that hope is what carries me through days and weeks like we are in right now.  Is it easy?  NOPE!  Do I want to quit sometimes?  YES!  Have I threatened to runaway to Vegas or a deserted island in the Pacific?  YES, just ask my husband (I threaten it at least once a week).  I haven’t even told him yet about this morning’s adventure with Hannah……so I really want to runaway right now!

But, through the pain, loneliness, sadness, grief and turmoil; the Lord is with me and still gives me a peace that passes all understanding.  Sometimes that peace comes because I pray for it and sometimes it comes because I know someone else is praying for it for me.  Trust me, there are days (like today) that I cannot even find the words to pray.  That is when I know others are praying for me and for that I am totally grateful!

Until next time……….

Feeling Lost and Alone

It is late……the house is quiet……Dennis and Hannah are fast asleep but sleep escapes me.  I drank a glass of wine, that usually helps but to no avail.  I am restless and frustrated.  I feel lost.  Lost because I cannot help my little girl.  Lost because of things we deal with on a daily basis that cannot be fixed.  I am perplexed searching for answers and no answers are to be found, as of yet.  If I went into detail right now, you would be grossed out.  Hannah struggles with things that come so natural to most of us.  After trying everything from Miralax, Mineral Oil, Prescription Laxatives and Prune Juice we resorted to more invasive means tonight, to little avail.  I will stop at that……her little body just doesn’t operate normally and it is heartbreaking to have to give things to your child that are unpleasant.  This isn’t the first time and I am afraid it won’t be the last.  It is heartbreaking as she cries and you can tell she is so uncomfortable and yet, she doesn’t understand why.  She doesn’t understand that some things are natural and that it is okay to “let it go” for lack of a better phrase.

For years I have watched my sweet little angel go through the unthinkable.  Things I have never and probably will never experience and it rips my heart out of my chest and crushes it.  From three open-heart surgeries, feedings through a NG tube and then a G-tube, multiple surgeries with ear tubes (8 sets to be exact) and tonsils and adenoids removal (which kept us in the hospital for 10 days, no lie).  Seizures, PANDAS, Gastrointestinal issues, adrenal insufficiency, thyroid issues, anemia problems, scoliosis, immune-deficiency……oh the list goes on.  I know it isn’t as bad as what others endure but it is never-ending.  The doctors, the Specialist, the therapy, the testing, the blood work…..it never ends.  There is no break from it all for her or for us and tonight I just cannot stop thinking about it.

While Dennis, God bless him, sat on the potty with her for over an hour and a half (that is typical for her each night), I ran out to the grocery store and to feed my parents cat, Simon, since they are out-of-town; I could do nothing but think.  I thought about the past nearly 11 years and my hopes and dreams for Hannah and how most of them have been crushed, destroyed and changed.  Unlike most kids with Down Syndrome, she has been in the less than 1 % for many health issues.  I found myself wishing that she was a “normal” kid with Down Syndrome.  Where she could go to school and church without the fear of getting deathly ill.  Wishing we could just go out to dinner and her not get so overly stimulated that she had sensory overload or her anxiety went off the chart.  Wishing we could get in the car and drive to Disney for the day or up to the mountains and enjoy the fresh air without fear.  I have had to stay off of Facebook a lot this week as it makes me sad.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not jealous as I wouldn’t wish what we go through on my worst enemy; but as much as I don’t want this for someone else, it still hurts to see others living when we can’t.  I find myself wishing for it to be easier……wanting more for myself and my little girl and it isn’t to be.  It is heartbreaking.  I will do this forever, if need be.  I will give up the rest of my life for her because she deserves that.  I will sacrifice so that she can be well and I will do whatever it takes to see to it that she is loved and taken care of; but in doing that I feel so lost.  I cannot help but want more for our little family and yet, there is nothing I can do to change our circumstances.  I just have to trust that God has a plan and that in His time, He will reveal it and all will be well.

I would be lying if I told you that I never thought of the life I am missing out on.  I would be lying if I told you that I never think of what life would have been like if Hannah had been born “typically developed.”  Fact is, I think about those 2 things almost daily.  I don’t think I would be the person I am today had I not lived through the past nearly 11 years though.  Hannah has taught me so much and through her I have found a strength that I didn’t know I had.  It sucks sometimes, in all honesty…..this life……I want more for Hannah and selfishly I want more for Dennis and me.

I just feel lost right now……it has been a bad week and I feel alone…….this extrovert struggles with little to no communication and I don’t get much of that.  I have one person who I talk to almost daily other than Dennis and that is all.  God sent her to me and I am so thankful for a friend I can say anything to (even cuss at times) and know there is no judgement.

Life is hard for so many people…….you might not be aware of someone who is struggling because most people will do their best to hide it…..they feel lost and alone, but they won’t let on.  Because of that we need to be kind always.  Extend mercy and grace because you never know who needs it and you could be the only Jesus they see.

I have witnessed just this week alone how cruel some people can be (not to me but to a friend).  You might never know who is struggling and barely holding on by a thread and you could be the one person who reaches down and helps them; just by being kind.  From someone who is there a lot, don’t just pass by them…..extend grace, love and mercy.  Embrace them if you can and be a friend……sometimes all people need is an ear and a shoulder…..life is hard…..at times, for ALL of us.  Be there for someone else because one day you might need someone there for you.

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Until next time……….

Part 5: Abe Lincoln Said It Best

“A house divided against itself, cannot stand

I believe this government cannot endure permanently

half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved….

I do not expect the house to fall….

But I do expect it will cease to be divided.

It will become all one thing

Or all the other.”

Abraham Lincoln

We visited the Lincoln Memorial last Saturday night.   I had visited many times over the course of my 44 years but it never had the impact on me that it did last week.  I was reading the inscriptions on the wall of the monument and this phrase caught my attention:  “A house divided against itself, cannot stand…..”  On June 16, 1858 Abraham Lincoln gave what would be known as his “House Divided” speech.  In this speech, as you can see by the above quote he was referring to slavery.  But, even now, all these many years later, it could be applied again.  Our country has taken a downward spiral over the years and is the worst it has ever been.  Our countries finances are a mess, our value of human life is nowhere to be found.  Our ethics, our character and our moral fiber has been called into question.  Whether Democrat or Republican we are all to blame for the downfall.  Now, yes….I am a pro-life, pro-gun, right-winged Christian conservative but even we are to blame for our downfall.  Instead of pointing fingers on both sides of the aisle we need to be  working together to (in Donald Trump’s words) “make this country great again.”  I love our country.  We live in the greatest country in the world but we are destroying ourselves from the inside out.

We aren’t taking care of our own.  We aren’t securing our borders to ensure that those within our walls are protected, provided and cared for.  We are murdering our unborn babies and our finances are in shambles.  We are saying it is okay to commit crimes while accusing our police of violence when they are just doing their jobs.  We have lost our respect for authority and our children are running free without rules from parents and the family dynamic is non-existent.  We are fighting about who has the right to pee in whose bathroom (this is a blog post all in itself) when we have terrorist out there murdering innocent people and they are on our soil!  We have no respect for our military (past or present) and we are still fighting a battle of race.  NONE of that should be happening.  Our forefathers and our Veterans have fought and won battles for us to love, accept and not look at age, skin color or the monetary value of anyone.

Many of my readers might not like this, but our great country was founded on Biblical principles and I am just assuming here that even Abraham Lincoln knew that when he wrote his “House Divided” speech.  Here is why:

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 Hmmmmmm, Mark 3:24-25 says exactly the same thing that Abe Lincoln was trying to get across in 1858.  Now, here in 2016 it would be a very wise thing for us, as Americans, in the greatest country in the world to reign it in and take this to heart!

A house (country) divided against itself WILL NOT stand!  Period!  Wake up America…..let’s stop the blame and start rebuilding!  Let’s come together, acknowledge our differences but work to come together and take back what is ours!  RISE UP, take a stand and fight.  Fight for our unborn children, fight for our veterans, fight for those without a voice.  Work hard….stop sitting back and letting the government take care of you.  Stand up, put one foot in front of the other and support and take care of your fellow Americans.  Stop stealing, stop killing, stop the evil and come together as ONE NATION UNDER GOD!

Not that I am one to sit here and preach as I am the last person on the planet that has any right whatsoever to judge anyone but until our country, our leaders and our people hit their knees and get back to the fundamental basics of our country’s foundation we will be divided and we will fall.

Abe Lincoln said it best and from the appearance, He referenced the Bible for the foundation of this speech.  That should tell us all something!  Our country is in bad shape and in November we will elect a new President (thank God).  But, this election, in my belief has the potential to be disastrous.  As I have said many times, I am not thrilled with either the Republican or Democrat nominees (except 2 on the Republican ticket and neither of them made it through the primaries).  But, this is what we have to choose from:  Donald Trump for the Republicans and most likely, Hillary Clinton for the Democrats…….in this election I am not voting for someone but instead I am voting against someone.  I am voting against planned parenthood, I am voting against gun control and I am voting against the person who won’t close our borders.  I will vote for Trump and I will do it with the prayer that perhaps he will surround himself with people who will help him see that getting back to the fundamental basics of our country’s foundation will be the only way to “make America great again.”  I encourage you in November to stand up for what is right.  I encourage you to be part of the solution instead of the problem.  I encourage you to stop the “house from becoming even more divided” and to stop it from falling.  We, as Americans need to wake up, stand against the evil and moral decay and bring our country together.  It can happen.  We can all have differences of opinions and still live together peacefully if we will start fighting for the important things and not worrying about the stuff that just doesn’t matter.  I am in no way telling you who to vote for but I am encouraging you to really think about our country….the way it is and what we could be if we were not so divided!

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Until next time………

 

 

Part 4: Honoring Our Police

“It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived.”  

Vivian Eney Cross

This is a difficult blog post to write because it is difficult to put emotions into words; especially when it comes to the loss of life.  Our police officers take an oath to serve and protect knowing full-well that the day might come where they will have to lay their own life down for a complete stranger or that they will be killed trying to stop evil.  Their family lives every single day with the knowledge that their loved one might one day leave for work and never make it home.  The willingness of anyone to make that kind of life-giving sacrifice is a difficult thing to process.  Why would anyone make the choice to take a job where their life is on the line day in and day out?  Have you ever just thought about that…..there are men and women out there willing to die for you!  It takes a very special person to do that willingly.  I pray that if I were ever in a situation where I could help someone I would do so without worrying about myself but to leave my home every day to go to work not knowing if I would ever come home again and hug my daughter and my husband……just not sure that is a sacrifice I would be willing to make.  BUT…..there are many who do……every.single.day.

Our main reason for going to DC was to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Unfortunately, in the day and age in which we live that ultimate sacrifice is not rare.  Police have become a target and their jobs are more dangerous today than ever before.  Kids and adults don’t respect the police anymore.  Officers aren’t held in the high regard with respect as they were when I was growing up.  Officers have become the “enemy” and that is because of the lack of respect for authority that so many people seem to have in this day and age.  It angers me.  It angers me that my husband, my brother and many friends are willing to pay the price for people who don’t honor or respect them.  Our honorable men and women in blue have been targeted and killed due to hate and violence and it has to stop.

This past week at the National Police Memorial brought that to light for me.  Yes, I married a man who was a police officer and I did it knowing that one day he too, might have to pay the ultimate price.  But, to see it….to see the Memorial wall with all of those names on it; to hear the names being called and hearing the stories of how they died was very humbling and tragic.

In every single profession there are bad people.  Teachers, politicians, lawyers, bankers, police officers, fire fighters, doctors, nurses, blue-collar workers…..every single profession has one or two bad apples.  You can not judge the whole profession by one or two idiots (except perhaps politicians…..I think they are all crooked…..just joking…..kinda).  HA!  The bad rap the media, politicians (especially our President) and even celebrities have given our police officers is awful.  You commit a crime, the police should have every right to stop you…..dead in your tracks, if need be.  Nowadays, cops are scared to do anything because they risk losing their job or worse…..ending up in jail themselves.  Police officers have to make split second decisions based on the situation they find themselves in.  These split-second decisions could be life or death for them or someone else.  I will be frank right here……if it is my husband or brother that is faced with that sort of decision I would rather my LEO be tried by 12 than carried by 6…..PERIOD!  These police officers have to rely on instinct, gut, courage and wisdom and they have to make decisions quickly.  They don’t have time to weigh the pros and cons as to if they pull the trigger or not. But, we are living in days where every time a police officer has to open fire they are going to get railroaded by the media, civilians, politicians……everyone!  Yes, there have been rare incidences that even I agree is excessive use of force; but again, in every profession there will be someone who misuses their power….there are bad people all over this world…….not just in the police departments!  I would venture to say that 99% of police officers are good, solid, moral people willing to sacrifice for you….take a bullet for you…..that should mean something.

The services held at the Police Memorial in DC were heart wrenching and honoring.  I was happy to be there and witness the thousands of people there to pay honor to those who serve and those who have served and laid their lives down……….on a disappointing note I must add (because I feel it is worth mentioning); our current President didn’t show up for the ceremonies (not real surprising) nor did he send anyone of “importance” in his cabinet.  My personal belief is that it was a crying shame that he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) adjust his calendar to be there to honor the brave men and women that gave all so unselflessly.  I found that very disheartening but again, was not surprised.  Leadership comes from the TOP…..but, more on that in my next blog post.

Candlelight Vigil on Friday night. JSO Honor Guard

Candlelight Vigil on Friday night. JSO Honor Guard

Sunday Morning Service at the Capital

Sunday Morning Service at the Capitol

JSO Honor Guard

JSO Honor Guard

JSO Honor Guard when the fallen officers from the State of Florida were being named......

JSO Honor Guard when the fallen officers from the State of Florida were being named……

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It was a privilege to go on this trip and to honor those who are willing and who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

One more blog post in this series ahead…..Part 5:  Abe Lincoln Said It Best…….

Until next time…………

Part 3: Adventures In Washington DC

Where to begin……let me start with a few stories that I teased in my last blog post:

A herbalist…..a herbalist is not a “healthy eater who doesn’t eat burgers and fries.”  That is what I thought anyway.  Then, when that wasn’t the case, I said, “well, then you must eat lots of coriander, turmeric and oregano?”  Nope….not that either.  At this point in the conversation with the gentleman, who happened to be our waiter; my husband, our friend Steve and his wife Kathleen were practically on the floor cracking up at me trying to figure out what a “herbalist” was.  Kathleen finally gave me a hint as she held her fingers to her lips like she was taking a puff of weed.  Oh, so in a not so quiet voice, I looked at our waiter and said, “so you do weed?”  Ding! Ding! Ding!  We have a winner!  I then got really quiet and said, “shhhhhh, you can’t admit that, you will get arrested.”  To which he replied, “honey, it is legal in DC.”  Well there you have it……a herbalist is someone who smokes pot!  Who knew?  Not me!

As we were walking past the Department of Defense (which for the record had no sign telling you that was what it was), there was an entrance to a courtyard that was jam-packed with FBI, Secret Service and other uniformed personnel.  I was curious, so I asked one of the Secret Service men, “what building is this?”  With a straight face and quick as a whip he responded, “this is the national headquarters for Starbucks.”  “REALLY,” I responded.  Insert huge laughs from those standing there, not to mention hysterical laughing from Dennis and our friends and at the same time Dennis is dragging me away saying, “baby, please just don’t talk anymore.”  HA!

I got “shushed” more than once at Arlington National Cemetery…..forgive me for having questions and not having an “inside voice” outside!

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JFK’s Burial Site

I also could not get into the FBI Building as badly as I wanted to…..doesn’t matter how cute you think you are or how innocent you look…..it just ain’t happening; dang-it!  I will say though that I got put through pre-checked TSA on the flight home.  Everyone said it was “random” but I know it was because of my innocent looks.  I was just happy I didn’t have to take my shoes off and walk on the dirty floor again!  LOL!  Oh, and the dead ducks hanging in the windows of China Town were enough to make me lose my appetite and please don’t quack at me when I cut into what is supposed to be chicken!

My crazy friend Kathleen on the way to dinner in China Town!

My crazy friend Kathleen on the way to dinner in China Town!

 

Ewwwwww, no caption needed!

Ewwwwww, no caption needed!

We had a great time though……saw the White House…..couldn’t get in there either.  Just wanted to have tea with the President and of course give him a list of all the things he has done and is doing wrong but to no avail.  That would have taken more than tea time to do anyway.

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We saw the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument all lit up at night which is beautiful by the way.  The Capital, the Smithsonian’s and the Police Memorial Wall (which was very humbling and somber).  More on that in the next post as well as the main reason we went to DC to begin with.

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

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Washington Monument....sorry for the poor picture quality....phone pic!

Washington Monument….sorry for the poor picture quality….phone pic!

 

Loved this at the Smithsonian! So cool!

Loved this at the Smithsonian! So cool!

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Police Memorial Wall in DC

Part of the Police Memorial Wall in DC

 

Dennis tracing the name of his friend and former JSO police officer Ira Wayne Bramlitt who lost his life in the line of duty.

Dennis tracing the name of his friend and former JSO police officer Ira Wayne Bramlitt who lost his life in the line of duty.

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Beautiful area where this Memorial Wall is located.  Very serene, peaceful and humbling......

Beautiful area where this Memorial Wall is located. Very serene, peaceful and humbling……

We ate some delicious food at some really nice restaurants.  Even had my first experience at the Shake Shack which was one of the best burgers I have ever had.  The shake was too sweet though and not worth the 25 minute wait to get.  Georgetown Cupcakes was an adventure in itself.

Georgetown Cupcakes.....awaiting our order to be filled

Georgetown Cupcakes…..awaiting our order to be filled

Not only did we barely make it 4 minutes before closing but the line was out the door and down the sidewalk.  We barely got inside when they locked the door behind us.  Let’s not even talk about the 30 blocks we walked from the Metro (we should have taken the bus but we didn’t want to spend the money).  Let’s also not talk about arriving back at the Metro stop by our hotel and not realizing it was the correct Metro (all we had to do was walk upstairs and walk one block to our hotel).  No, we got on the Metro heading due west and about 30 minutes later  (at the dead-end) we realized OOPS, we were not where we were supposed to be.  Needless to say, after sitting on the Metro for 30 minutes and making about 15 stops we finally made it back to the place we originally were an hour and a half prior!  I could now take you on a tour of the Metro since I understand the maps completely now!  HA!

Washington DC Metro....oh the germs......this germaphobe was grossed out!

Washington DC Metro….oh the germs……this germaphobe was grossed out!

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We truly enjoyed ourselves and the JSO family we were with.  Next blog post I will share all about the National Police Memorial and Honoring our Police….those serving and especially those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice!

Until next time………

Part 2: Traveling with Tamara…..Fun Times In the Air

So…..it is no secret that I HATE to fly!  I literally tremble and quiver.  My stomach goes to my throat and I feel as if I might lose my prior meal (hence the reason I NEVER eat hours before a flight unless I am starving and then I soon regret it).  It is sheer determination that even gets me to the gate and as I walk down the plank to the airplane door I breakout into a cold sweat.  As I cross the threshold, I am trembling and I always look for the pilot.  If he is standing there I will usually say, “please, whatever you do, try to make this a smooth flight and keep this bird in the air and land it softly.”  HA!  On the flip side, I always thank the pilot after landing too!  I sit in my seat, buckle my seatbelt and pray again.  Trust me, I have already prayed many times prior but I always do it again.  My legs start trembling (it truly is involuntary) and I warn the person sitting next to me and across the aisle (I always get an aisle seat as I cannot look out the window) that I am a bad flyer and I will try not to scream, talk or grab their hands or legs (yes, I have done all of that at one time or another).  I flew to Las Vegas 2 years ago and on the first leg of the trip to Atlanta the flight attendant gave me 6 free drink coupons and I grabbed the leg of the guy sitting next to me on the landing.  I did apologize profusely and he was very nice about it; but I am sure he was ready to run far away from me.  Then, on the leg to Vegas I sat next to the sweetest couple and he would grab my hand before I had the chance to grab his.  HA!

Needless to say, flying is not my favorite thing to do but in all honesty….I am a bad passenger no matter the mode of transportation.  I hate riding in cars, planes, boats, trains and buses……so, it isn’t just planes.  I have had people ask me what I hate about flying and there are only 3 things I hate…..taking off, being in the air and landing; other than that I am good!

We were flying out with a lot of Dennis’ work family so it gave them plenty of time to harass me prior to taking off and landing and trust me they did!  Everything from “Tamara there are 2 facts about flying….taking off and landing!”  I just really want smooth take-offs and landings.  I really detest that feeling right as the wheels lift up off the runway….makes my heart sink!  The guys even harassed me about taking off from Reagan International.  They said it was a short runway in restricted air space so the plane would take off much faster and go straight up in the air and possibly have to make a sharp turn either left or right to avoid being shot down!  HA!  They had me petrified to leave DC!  I even threatened to travel home with the luggage (all of our luggage went up on a truck with a trailer to avoid checking all the bags).  I won’t mention any names here but…..ZONA even threatened to “knock me out” if I screamed on the flight home.  He had the wonderful opportunity to sit right across the aisle from me on our flight up and back.  He said a few other things to me that I won’t type on here!  Of course, he said them all in love!  HA!

Anyway, traveling with me is always an adventure and the fun didn’t end there.  I learned a lot while in DC, things I never knew.  Like, what a “herbalist” was, the National Headquarters for Starbucks is NOT located in DC and that dead ducks make wonderful window decor in China Town.  Not to mention you can’t just walk into the FBI Building or Pentagon because you are cute and if you talk a lot Arlington National Cemetery is not a good place for you to go.  Oh, and if you need to take the Metro anywhere download the dang app so you don’t end up 45 minutes west of downtown because you took the train going in the wrong direction!  See, traveling with Tamara is an adventure.  To hear about these stories in more detail check out my next blog…..Part 3: Adventures in DC

Smiling through the anxiety!

Smiling through the anxiety!  Excuse the bags under the eyes and puffy face…..I was tired.  I need a vacation from my vacation!

Until next time………

It Takes A Village…..Part 1

This blog post is going to be the first in a series of 5.  If I tried to write all I wanted to about our recent adventure, even I wouldn’t take the time to read it in its entirety.  So, this is Part One!

As some of you may or may not know Dennis and I were offered an opportunity of a lifetime to attend the National Police Memorial in Washington DC.  We left last Thursday morning and returned late yesterday (Monday) afternoon.  This was the longest that both of us have been away from Hannah at the same time.  Needless to say, I was nervous but thankful for a “village” of friends who love Hannah like their very own and who were willing to sacrifice their own time to take care of and SPOIL Hannah while we were gone.

I am a control-freak, OCD and extremely organized (to a fault) so I wanted to make it as easy as possible for Melanie, Maddison and Amanda while they took care of Hannah.  Since none of them had ever kept her in our new home I labeled a few things to make it easy for them.  I also prepared all of Hannah’s food (spaghetti, mac-in-cheese, sweet potato casserole, squash, zucchini, broccoli and green beans), so all they had to do was heat it up.  Of course, all her medications were in a pill-box, labeled.  Not to mention the 6 pages of notes and schedules that I sent to each of them prior to their stay here.  Yes, it was ridiculous but I wanted to make it as easy as possible for them.

Here are some of the labels I did:

Labels on the food in the fridge!

Labels on the food in the fridge!

Cabinet to show where the extra medications are

Cabinet labeled to show where the extra medications are as well as a few notes of things I forgot.

Label to show where syringes and straws are. Things we use all the time for Hannah.

Label to show where syringes and straws are. Things we use all the time for Hannah.

Trash can, since most people don't know where it is located.

Trash can, since most people don’t know where it is located.

Cups and Miscellaneous notes.

Cups and Miscellaneous notes.  Please excuse the awful yellow wall….it is being painted this month…..ugh, hate that color!  HA!

Nothing major……just a few things to make it easier for them and yes, made me feel better knowing I had done all I could possibly do to make their stay here easier and where they could focus on Hannah 100%.  Now, being married to a man who likes to “joke” and being that I am so easy to joke with (I make it very easy because of my many quirks).  After I did the labels on a few of the cabinets and drawers; Dennis decided to do his own labeling……

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Can you tell the house we bought is 28 years old with the original cassette player! HA!

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This was the best one!

This was the best one!

These weren’t all the labels he did either, but you get the picture.  I will also refrain from typing in this blog the name I called him….HA!  So, at my expense a lot of people got a good laugh at my labeling things.  Then they got a really good laugh at Dennis’ labels and now I am sharing it with all of you because you see, I can laugh with you laughing at me….I am cool with it!  LOL!

In all seriousness though…..our village of friends stepped up and went above and beyond the call of duty.  They loved on, took care of and SPOILED Hannah rotten.  Here are a few pictures of Hannah’s “stay-cation” with our dear friends who are more like family.

Maddison and Hannah selfie

Maddison and Hannah selfie – Maddison ROCKS!

Hannah and "her Frank"

Hannah and “her Frank”

Hannah and one of her favorite people on the planet, Sarah!

Hannah and one of her favorite people on the planet, Sarah!

Melanie (Hannah's Best Friend) and Hannah.

Melanie (Hannah’s Best Friend) and Hannah.

Sarah, Hannah and Landon and obviously Hannah is trying to steal Landon from Sarah! HA!

Sarah, Hannah and Landon…..obviously Hannah is trying to steal Landon from Sarah! HA!

Stopping to smell the flowers!

Stopping to smell the flowers or shove it up her nose….whatever works!  HA!

I will say, it was so much easier to leave Hannah knowing that she was being so loved and cared for and the pictures I received showed how happy she was and how much fun she was having!  It allowed me to relax and enjoy myself.  Thank you Melanie, Maddison, Amanda, Frank, Sarah and Landon for loving on and caring for my sweet girl so I could have a much-needed getaway with my sweet husband and his work family.

Can’t end this blog post without a HUGE shout-out to Tonda and Lee (CCI Puppy Raisers here in town) who took such great care of Henny for us.  Thank you Tonda and Lee for going above and beyond to give Henny a safe and fun place to stay and showering her with love and attention.

The smile I received from Henny while we were gone!

The smile I received from Henny while we were gone!

Be on the lookout for Part 2 of this blog series…….Traveling with Tamara…..Fun Times in the Air

Until next time……….