Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mini Me

The first time people see my child their initial response is something regarding how much she looks just like her daddy. And they're right......she most definitely has his eyes. But the rest of her? That's all momma.

Case in point:

Here I am just home from work. Yep. I wear a t-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes everyday and more than that, today in my area it was warm enough on this last day of January to wear shorts. Outside. Because it's above 70 degrees. Anyways. Focus on my build. Although I'm a big bigger than I would like right now, I'm naturally long, lean and athletic. I hit 6'0 by the time I was 16 and I wear a size 11 Nikes. I never could wear shorts to school growing up due to my super long legs.

Now here is Natalie at almost 11 months in her outfit for the day. She is over 30 inches long but only 21 pounds. Those shorts are 18 months and won't make it to summer because she will outgrow them. And the shoes she wore with this outfit? Size 5.

Like mother, like daughter.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


There is a whole slew of well-meaning parenting advice out in bookstores, on the internet, as a guest on Oprah and down the street from your neighbor.  EVERYONE has an opinion on how to raise your child and unfortunately, how you should be raising your child.  As Natalie is moving from her infant stage to a full fledged toddler I'm trying to let go of the trees and embrace the forest.  I need to get past the minuscule parenting decisions that are fogging up my vision and focus on the greater goal for my daughter.

So what parenting advice do I listen to, take to heart and apply to my child and family?  For me, it has to be easy to remember - a mantra of some sort.  Something that I can replay over and over in my head, especially on those days (or nights like last evening) when she is testing boundaries and exerting her independence.  I need something to keep my focus on that BIG picture.

While I was home with Natalie on maternity leave while I was nursing her and playing games on the internet, I would listen to my friend Jennifer's parenting seminars that she and her husband put on through their church.  Although I wasn't able to attend the class and appreciate the full extent of their teaching, the information and perspective I gained from their words and insight were incredibly valuable.  The main piece of advice that I took away?

Don't parent to get through the day.  Parent to get through the next eighteen years.

Craig and I always have to keep our eye on the prize.  We want to raise a functioning, compassionate, productive, vivacious, intelligent and contributing adult member of society.  One who understands needs versus wants, shows genuine generosity and empathy towards others and makes a positive impact on the lives around hers.  In order to do that we must always be diligent in asking ourselves - is this parenting decision going to help or hinder us on our journey towards Natalie's adulthood.  Sure, giving her that candy bar she's begging for in the line at Target might be easier in the here and now but is it going to teach her the lesson of patience, rewards and consequences as well as the value of money?  Parenting isn't about the easy way out and more often than not the road to adulthood will be fraught with tough decisions, difficult moments and pure exhaustion.  But we owe it to our daughter to provide the framework for her future and to give her the necessary skills to survive and thrive on her own.  

Don't try to raise a good child.  Raise a God-following adult.

This little gem I found this morning courtesy off a link through Kelly's Korner to Lysa TerKeurst and I actually had to sit back and quietly absorb these words.  What a revelation!  Going back to Jen's words above, during her parenting seminar she touched on the idea of a "God-following adult" and how in order to truly follow the will of God, one must be taught obedience at a young age.  Children can sing the songs about how God and Jesus love them but do they really grasp the concept of following the will of God?  Not quite.  But they do understand that when Mommy or Daddy asks them to do or not do something, they must be obedient or there will be a negative consequence.  Training them to accept an authoritative figure at a young age will teach them to accept the love, grace, and expectations of a much higher figure later on in life.

I say "expectations" and all I mean is a life spent fleeing from sin and clinging to the word of God while simultaneously following in the footsteps and teachings of Jesus.

So as we enter the stage of "No!" followed by a temper tantrum I will hold onto these words and repeat them often.  If Natalie is anything like her mother or father, she will be independent, enthusiastic and stubborn but hopefully we will be able to nurture these gifts throughout the course of her life so that they become not detriments but stepping stones that lead her to full realization of her potential.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day Booking

I'm linking up once again with The Simple Woman's Daybook to get my brain going on this sluggish Monday.  It's one of THOSE Mondays and I just need something to jump start cohesive thinking in my brain - I'm having a hard time putting together coherent and organized thoughts so hopefully this will help.

Outside my window......it is an absolutely beautiful day with the right mix of sun, breeze and warmth.  I can't believe that this is the kind of weather that we're having at the end of January in Texas.  I'm a little nervous that this is all a trick and February is going to hit us hard with tons of sleet, snow, ice and general crappy winter weather.

I am thinking......of that Bear Hunt song that my mother used to sing with me in preschool.  You can't go over it, you can't go around it, you can't go under it......YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH IT.  Sometimes that is the key to contentment and resolution - going through the hurt feelings, the uncomfortable moments to get to the sunshine waiting on the other side.

I am thankful......for my two wonderful pups getting along so well.  Knowing Angie's questionable temperament I was really anxious about introducing another creature into her territory but apparently I worried for nothing.  The two pups get along amazingly well - they cuddle, share food, and play enthusiastically.  I couldn't imagine a better addition to our household.

In the kitchen......I made a great taco bar for my mother's birthday on Saturday night so we've been eating the leftovers from that.  Mmm.  Craig isn't the biggest fan of leftovers and I don't know why - if it was good the first time around why wouldn't you want to eat it again?

I am wearing......straightened hair and make-up!  We can officially call this day a success.

I am creating......stuff for Natalie's birthday.  Mainly just lists of things that we'll need to create or buy - nothing major.  I'm not going to go all out for her birthday but I do want to make it special, mostly because I want to really enjoy and celebrate the fact that Craig and I made it through her first year of life successfully.  Okay.  Maybe "successfully" is stretching it a bit........but the fact of the matter is, we're still standing.  Our home and our family is in tact and much stronger because of the issues we dealt with this past year.

I am going......to try to go to bed early tonight.  

I am wondering......I guess a better phrase would be "I am in wonder of" the language that Natalie is developing.  It's really a miracle to me to watch her little brain work out methods of communication.  She has mastered "mama," "dada," "shoe," and "dog" but yesterday I had her trying out "Go Stars!" and "all done!"  

I am reading......I finally finished The Girl Who Played With Fire and I gave my mother the third book for her birthday so I'm looking forward to reading that when she is done but in the meantime I've got a few books on my shelf that pique my interest.  We'll see if I have time.

I am hoping......that I made the right decision in reporting my experiences to the proper people in charge.  I know it's going to ruffle feathers but I think it was the best thing to do in the long run.

I am looking forward to......my anniversary celebration in March.  Craig and I are sending Natalie off to his mother's house for the night and we are heading down to Truluck's for dinner and who knows what else afterwards!  I think I'm just excited to put on a cute dress and make-up and have a fancy dinner date with my husband........and oh yeah, that sleeping in part is pretty nice too.

I am learning......that I am an adult and my opinions are valid and to be taken seriously.  I know.  What a concept, right?!

Around the house......well, my goal to have all the laundry done by last night didn't work out QUITE as planned, but I did get pretty close.  I can finish up the last two loads tonight and we'll be set for the week.

I am pondering......a hair cut in my near future.  Nothing too drastic and no coloring involved, but I do need something of a change.

A favorite quote for today......"Get out of my way today."  Me.  This morning.  Before coffee.

One of my favorite things......coffee.  Today, tomorrow and forever.  I love you Starbucks.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Volleyball on Wednesday night, basketball games on Monday and Thursday and then a Stars date on Saturday night.  

A peek into my day.....
My four legged fur babies, Angie and Ajax.

Taco Bar

For my mother's birthday yesterday I invited my entire family over for a taco bar.  It's easy to make and satisfies most palates.  I should have gotten pictures of the spread but I was a little busy corralling two dogs, one baby and directing traffic through the kitchen.

Number of people: 
8 adults (me, Craig, mom, dad, 2 brothers and 2 sisters-in-law)
2 children (nephews aged 8 and almost 5)
1 baby (10.5 months)
and baby Ian (5 months) but he isn't ready for tacos yet

The menu:
Crock Pot Shredded Chicken (6 chicken breasts + seasonings + chicken broth)
Two pounds of ground beef + taco seasoning packets
Three cups of minute rice + lime juice + cilantro
Two cans of black beans
Two cans of refried beans
Two packets of tortillas

The sides:
Grated cheese
Sour cream
Pico de gallo

Soda (Sprite and Dr. Pepper)
Pink Lemonade
Riesling and Pinot Gricio
Dos Equis

Mike, me, Mom, Dad and Stephen

Natalie helping Mom open up her present.

That's about all the pictures I took of the event but it was actually really lovely to have the entire family over at my house.  

Now onto planning Valentine's Day, our anniversary and of course, the all important first birthday party.

Friday, January 27, 2012


All week I've been feeling like a little black cloud has been following me around.  Just an overall sense of discontent, unease and general out of sorts.  I tried some volleyball therapy last night but that session was ended quickly when I rolled my ankle (again) and had to limp out of the game and head home early for ice, elevation and compression.  My dreams have been out of control this week - completely off the charts weird and totally terrifying.  

I've just been feeling anxious and contemplative.  But WHY?!  If I knew the source I could figure out the solution.

And today, thanks to my friend Shemika, I remembered why.

Shemika and I come from very different backgrounds which has lead to some very interesting and enlightening conversations in the girls' coaching office.  But despite our differences we have one thing in common - our wonderful grandmothers.  

Today would be Shemika's grandmother's birthday while ten years ago today during dinner with my brother and parents at the Cheddar's in College Station did I find out that my beloved maternal grandma had passed away.

When Shemika mentioned her grandmother's birthday this morning to me, time stood still and I felt like I had been hit in the gut.  

Of course.  That's why I've been more emotional.  That's why I've been preoccupied with crazy dreams.  That's why I'm crying right now.

Even with the greatest of wordsmiths and the largest selection of dictionaries at my disposal.....I would not be able to find the right words to accurately describe and depict my grandma.  She was one of the most inspirational women I have ever met but yet at the same time the most complex.  Maria Amalia was born in Naples, Italy in 1914 and was an Italian Red Cross nurse during World War II.  Towards the end of the war while spending time on the vacation island of Capri she met a tall and handsome American pilot.  They married in her mother's apartment and due to the shortage of proper dress material, she created her wedding dress out of the silk parachute that once saved my grandfather's life as he jumped from his airplane during a mission.  After the war the young couple traveled across the ocean to settle in my grandfather's home state of Louisiana where my mother and uncle were born 14 months apart from each other.  My grandpa eventually became a highly respected member of the agricultural department at Texas A&M and through his career my mother and her family were able to travel the world and live in a variety of places such as Vietnam and Tunisia.  Eventually they settled back in College Station where they lived the remainder of their lives and where they are now buried in the city cemetery.  

But what is the most amazing aspect of my grandmother's life was not her memories of living in a war torn nation nor was it her stories of raising children overseas during the 1950s.  It was her words, her outlook on life, her strength, her dignity, her compassion and her endless curiosity.  

She had this way of making the most seemingly complex problems.........so simple.  With just a few words she could calm my nerves, my anxiety, my frustration, my anger.......her words and advice were like the bright rays of sun that would break through the cloudy sky and illuminate a small patch of grass.  Over the past year I've thought about what Grandma would tell me about being Natalie's mother.  What advice would she give me.  The reassurance.  The comfort her words would bring me.  What I wouldn't give to be able to spend just one more hour with her.  To show her my daughter.  To hold her hand.  

My most cherished and favorite memory of her from my childhood........when my family would first arrive at my grandparent's house in College Station, after the initial "hellos" and "how are yous," my mother and grandma would go lay down on the bed in my mother's room and talk and catch up.  Most of the time they spoke in Italian or French........and sometimes a mixture of both.  I would crawl up between the two of them and lay down, close my eyes and just listen to the flow of their foreign languages roll over me.  My grandma would stroke my long hair and I would drift off into that purgatory between awake and sleep, I could hear what they are saying but it was almost as if I were floating above them.  When my mother would stroke my head and play with my hair it was hurried, harsh and rough but with Grandma.......maybe it was due to arthritis or maybe gentleness and patience is just something women learn with time.  When Grandma stroked my head and hair it was soft, tender and simply wonderful.

That's the moment I miss.  In that moment I knew I was wholly loved and not just by the two women lying next to me but by the generations of strong women that came before them.  There's still some sort of magic for me when I hear Italian being spoken.  I can close my eyes, open my ears and I'm back on that bed, being lulled to sleep by the lilt of my mother and grandmother's voices alternating back and forth.

I miss her voice.  The way she would say "Ciao bella" every time we hung up on the telephone or how there were certain English sounds that just didn't translate into her native Italian so my father's name Doug came out more like "Dog."  Or how it never failed after Sunday lunch at her home in College Station she would disappear into the kitchen and return with a blue glass bowl full of fruit asking us if we wanted a pear, an orange or an apple.  We all took a piece just to make her happy.  I miss how she would stock her fridge with Dr. Pepper and Hawaiian Punch every time the grandkids would visit because she knew those were our favorite drinks.  I still have the specially knit Cabbage Patch outfits she would carefully create for my beloved doll Ellie.

I could fill a novel about my grandma and hopefully someday I'll be able to make these memories come alive for Natalie so that she can have a clear vision of the type of women that she comes from.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This and That

- Natalie is now up to saying four words consistently and with meaning.  The obvious two being Mama and Dada but she's added "dog-dog" for either of the pups (yes, there are two dogs - more on that later) and "shhh-s" for shoes.  This morning as I was getting ready in the bathroom she snuck into the closet and was picking up different tennis shoes, holding them over her head and saying "SHH-S!"  Not sure if I should be proud........or terrified.  We'll be holding off on a trip to DSW with her anytime soon.

- Yep.  We added another member to our family on Sunday.  Craig and I had spotted a dog at a Stars game a couple weeks ago that seemed like he would be the perfect addition to our home.  Jax is a three year old pure bred black and tan dachshund.  He has been living with a foster momma 50 miles east of Dallas ever since his human family moved homes and abandoned him, his lady friend and all his puppies to fend for themselves.  Sigh.  He is super calm and relaxed - a definite cuddler and snuggler.  When he and Angie first met each other I was a bit nervous just because Angie is not exactly known for her welcoming nature but there were no fireworks, no growls, no hackles raised.......in fact it was quite anticlimactic.  The two dogs really didn't pay each other any attention at all and it wasn't until we had Jax for a full twenty-four hours that the animals actually interacted with each other.  We have renamed Jax to Ajax just because we have Angie and my parents have Andy and Annabelle - he just couldn't be the only pup not to have an "A" name.

- I'd like to think that I hold myself to a pretty high standard of behavior and it really bothers me when other people don't do the same.  I have a hard time wrapping my head around bad behavior from adults.  I struggle with finding forgiveness and grace to those that behave in a manner that I would never dare behave.  I also struggle with holding myself to that standard all the time and forgiving myself when I falter.  It's a cycle.  That is all I have to say about that.

- Florence + the Machine and Mumford & Sons are probably my favorite soul-fulfilling bands as of late.  They are quickly joining the ranks of U2, The Beatles and Kings of Leon as my go-to playlists on a bad day or when I just need some quiet reflecting music.

- I have a lot of parties coming up and I always get anxiety any time I open up my home for a celebration.  My mother's birthday dinner is this weekend and then in March I'm throwing not one, but TWO birthday parties for Natalie.  Please believe me when I say that her birthday is not going to be as extravagant as it sounds.  I just get nervous about people liking my food or having a good time......or even coming at all.

Monday, January 23, 2012

White Flag

I'm waving my white flag.  Throwing in the towel.  Done.

Mommy Wars?!  Ridiculous.

Read any article on breastfeeding, home births, epidurals, co-sleeping, crying it out, working mothers or whatever the hot topic is..........and you're going to find the comments section burgeoning with hateful and judgmental barbs from both sides of the fence.  Every article is full of self-righteousness quoting this study or sharing that anecdote all which "help" them to prove that their SIDE is right.  

But is it really about SIDES and what's best for children?  Or is it about fear.  Fear that if you chose wrong and made a mistake it must mean you don't love your child enough to give them the best.

There is a woman that I know very closely.  As far as all of those hot button issues go, we're pretty much on opposite sides of the spectrum.  She allows her children to wean naturally while I weaned Natalie at four months.  She and her children co-sleep while Natalie sleeps in her own crib in her own room.  She uses cloth diapers and I use disposable.  She is a part-time worker and mostly a stay-at-home while I teach and coach.  She had three home births while Natalie was induced and eventually a c-section birth.

And guess what?

All of our children are healthy, intelligent, sociable, funny, curious and creative.

But above all those wonderful characteristics?

All of our children are LOVED.  

See in the grand scheme of things, none of that Mommy Wars stuff matters.

None of it.

I know this woman loves her children just as much as I love my Natalie.  And by judging and critiquing other people's parenting choices what a person is really saying is "I love my child enough to make the best decisions and if you don't make the same decisions that I do then you must not love your child as much as I love mine."  And that thought process and the behavior that comes along with it is simply not acceptable because I've seen her love for those boys.  I have seen her compassion, her strength, her kindness, her boundaries, her discipline, her creativity and her thoughtfulness.  And all those characteristics that she displays for her children will have much more of an impact on the men they become than whether they wore cloth or disposable diapers.

So women.......lay down your weapons, suck up your pride and approach the fence.  Stick out your hand and say "I love my child.  I do my best.  And and I know that you do too."  Smile, shake hands and call a truce.  Because while we're sitting around arguing, bickering, calling names and quoting facts and studies, our children are growing and learning.  Shouldn't we be focusing all the attention we spend defending our point of view onto developing our children to have opinions of their own?  And that when they develop those opinions that sometimes there will be people that think differently......and that's okay too?

At the core of every mother fiercely defending her parenting decisions is a woman that is terrified that she's doing IT ALL WRONG.  So why are we pushing each other down and yelling "Yep!  You've surely screwed that child up!" when we should be reaching out a hand to pull them up while patting them on the back saying "It's a tough world out there.  You love those babies and you're doing a good job."

So here I am.  I'm not classifying myself.  I'm not WORKING.  I'm not BOTTLE FEEDING.  I'm not BABYWISE or FERBER.  I'm not C-SECTION or EPIDURAL.


And that my friends, is all that matters.

Friday, January 20, 2012


I absolutely adore Vera Bradley.  Here are a few of my favorites AND what I'm hoping might be wrapped up for me as an anniversary present in March.
Compact Wallet in Sittin' in a Tree
My first Vera Bradley purchase at the store in Southlake Town Center a few years ago.  It was the perfect wallet size for the amount of stuff I carry in my purse (which is not much).

Hipster in Rhythm and Blues
I received this purse for Christmas from my mother-in-law and I use it almost everyday.  I really like it because it holds all my stuff but keeps my hands free for when I'm lugging Natalie in and out of the car.  Plus........all the middle school girls at work LOVE that I have a Hipster just like the ones they wear.

Travel Wallet in Lemon Parfait
Craig bought me this for Mother's Day last year - it is perfect for when we travel because I can easily hold onto all our boarding passes, trip information and drivers licenses.

Villager in Lemon Parfait
This was probably my costliest Vera Bradley purchase and it is by far the largest bag I own.  It is great for overnight trips to grandparent's houses for Natalie or a carry-on bag for the airplane.  I also used it all during volleyball season to lug my game clothes to and from the school on Mondays and Thursdays.

Zip ID Case in Lemon Parfait
This was the cheapest thing I've ever bought from Vera Bradley ($12.00) and it is the thing I use the most.  I don't carry a lot of STUFF in my wallet - my license and a few debit cards is about it.  If I was to recommend one VB purchase for a new mom it would be this little lovely darling.  I put my keys on the keychain, my stuff in the zipper pouch and I can fit the whole thing in my back pocket of my jeans when cruising through Target with Natalie.  I HATE having to lug around a bunch of stuff so I try to keep it minimal.  For example - when we went to the town center in Southlake on Monday, I stuffed her diaper bag in the bottom of the stroller and put this wallet and my phone in the back zipper pouch of the stroller.  It is really a lifesaver for me.  And the added bonus?  Natalie loves to chew on it while relaxing in the cart at the store and it keeps her quiet and focused without having to bring along a different toy for her.

Messenger bag in Pucci
I actually don't think they make this style of bag anymore - we had to search on Ebay to find this particular style.  This pattern is one of the older ones and I like it because it's not too terribly girly.  This bag is Natalie's "diaper" bag, although that was not the original purpose for this style.  VB actually makes a baby bag but after looking at one in the store, I decided that it was a little too big and bulky for me to carry around.  I also like this bag because it fits everything that Natalie needs without allowing me to over pack and carry TOO much.  (Yes, there is such a thing as having too much stuff for your baby)  And when she's done with needing a diaper bag it will be a great school bag for her someday or a bag to pack and take with us on trips!  And it also goes over one shoulder and across the body for hands free carrying which is important to me when taking Natalie out and about.

Small Cosmetic in Island Blooms
One of my cute sixth grade girls came into the coaching office this morning super proud of the new Hipster she got yesterday in this pattern.  Let me tell you - this picture (and the ones through the VB website) do not do this pattern justice.  It is bright aqua and lime green - two of my favorite colors.  I am in love.  It might actually be my all time favorite pattern.  So of course, after this child left the office I had to get online to see what types of products I could try and talk Craig into getting me for either Valentine's Day or our anniversary.  Maybe a cosmetics bag?  Hmm.  I'm a pretty practical shopper - I really try to shop based on NEEDS versus WANTS because when I get too many of the "NEEDS" I tend to have a super cluttered house and we all know that's one of my pet peeves.  I just don't like buying things that I don't see myself using on a regular basis so I'm really going to have to think about what I would need to own in this particular pattern.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Perfectly Imperfect

A few days ago, I wrote THIS blog about the perception other people might have about me and then today on Momastery, I read THIS.  Pretty "perfect" posting, right?  

My friend Shemika and I have had this conversation more times than I can count.  I have a beautiful home with a loving husband, a gorgeous daughter and a fancy Acadia parked in my garage.  From the outside looking in......life is pretty perfect.

But once you delve beneath the surface things can be a big, fat, ugly MESS........as evidenced by the past year of my life.  I tried desperately to be the perfect wife, mother, sister, sister-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, friend and co-worker.  The perfect everything to everyone, all the time.


That word has been my greatest motivator and at the same time, the bane of my existence.  

My strive for perfection has led me to accomplish great and wonderful things.  It has pushed me to become stronger both physically and emotionally.  Through my pursuit of perfection, I graduated college with honors (having nabbed two perfect 4.0 semester GPAs along the way) and then landed a sweet job in the district and school of my choosing directly after graduating.  The idea of perfection helps me to be prepared and one step ahead of any sort of impending catastrophe.

But my goodness.  It sure is exhausting.

There was a time in my life that I put on that perfect persona and tried to fool the world that I wasn't drowning.  That I was absolutely thrilled with being single and living my life by myself.  I went out all the time, wore fabulous clothes and put on a smile - I was the life of the party and played my part well.  But when I came home at night I was a mess.  A hot, drunken, depressed, ridiculously out of control mess.  Because I saw everyone around me getting what I wanted in life (the love, the husband, the white dress and the house) I figured that there was something so inherently wrong with me that there was no way any man would ever love me.  For real.  For every guy I dated I tried to be the perfect girl.........for them.  I tried to mold into what I thought they wanted me to be so that I could find that love and happiness all my friends were experiencing.  But once I let my guard down and shared with them bits and pieces of my true self - they left, they apparently didn't like what they saw.  So I just figured that it couldn't be something wrong with them - that it must be something wrong with me.  I was the one that was unlovable.  My penchant for perfectionism has caused panic attacks, self-doubt and sleepless nights.  Did I say the right thing?  Did I make them mad?  Will a parent email about the game?  What should I have done differently to make everyone else happy?  It was a never ending spiral of shame.  I was holding myself accountable for everyone else's thoughts, emotions, and reactions.  I forgot about the forest of good things that happened during the day and instead focused on that one damn tree - the one thing that might not have been so wonderful.  One word, one phrase, one email would set my brain ablaze for the remainder of the day and evening - I couldn't let things just be, I had to rehash, rethink, replay and beat myself up in the process.

I wasn't perfect.

I used alcohol, shopping and food (or lack thereof) as a way to fill that imperfection.  To make me feel that if I go out and have a great time with my friends, I'll forget about my loneliness.  Or if I have a fabulous wardrobe in my closet then I'll attract the attention of guys at the bar.  Maybe if I'm skinnier that will earn me love - or better yet, if I control my intake of food I can completely control my completely out of control life.

So.....there's that.  Now you're probably thinking - "SHEESH!  I'm dealing with a full fledged crazypants!  Why on Earth am I still reading this woman's blog?  Hell, why is she even writing a blog - shouldn't she be in an in-patient facility somewhere?"  All I can say is - I've come a long, long way.  There are still mountains to climb and obstacles to overcome.  Some days are better and easier than others.

I'm trying to find the balance of perfection.  Where are the areas in my life that perfection can serve me well and in what aspects do I just need to let go of perfection and embrace flaws and chaos.

My house is organized practically perfectly.  There is a place and space for everything and this allows us to know exactly what we have, what we need and provides us with a well functioning home.  It's easy to maintain and when things go a bit askew (as most things in the house do when you have a tenacious 10 month old cruising around) there isn't that much anxiety for me because I know that the imperfection of a messy house is something that can be easily fixed.  Set a timer for twenty minutes and voila - the house is restored to normal order.  I'm also good with Excel.  And Word.  And creating folders on labeled flash drives.  The blue one with the H?  That's for HOME - where I keep all our family photos and the template for Craig's basketball tournament information during the summer.  The pink one with the W?  That's for WORK - it holds all my different Cross Country, PE, Advisory and Volleyball documents and information.  It keeps things at my fingertips where I can always access them at a moments notice.  This is a moderately healthy aspect of perfectionism that serves a certain purpose - to keep my life running smoothly.

But the idea of a being a perfect mother.  That's where I run into trouble.  The reason for my "perfect mother" routine is a good one - I fully understand the importance of the role I have in Natalie's life.  I take my job as her mother incredibly serious and I know that out of all the jobs I have held in my life - this is the most meaningful and crucial.  I know the type of woman that I want to create and I recognize the amount of hard work, effort, dedication and diligence that it's going to take over the next twenty years in order to get to that point.  If ever there was a time in my life where there wasn't any room for failure - it's now....it's raising my child to be assertive, strong, confident, independent, passionate, kind, caring, compassionate, selfless, worldly, grateful, humble, witty, curious..........it's quite a job.  I am terrified of making a misstep and screwing her up for life.  I know what you're going to say (at least I know what my own mother will say) "we all screw our kids up in some way - there is no perfect parent."  This is where I roll my eyes.  I know that.  Obviously I'm going to mess up at times.  I just know that Natalie deserves the best and it's my job to ensure that she receives the best possible example of the kind of woman I want her to be.  So I guess in turn, that means that I have to embody all those characteristics I listed above.  Whew.  I've got my work cut out for me.

This past year has taught me a lot, not just about myself, my husband, our marriage and my faith in God, but about JUDGEMENT and being PERFECT.  The majority of mothers are trying the best they can to raise their children to be exactly what I wrote above - even if the methods and philosophy are different from mine, their heart is the same.  Just because a mother doesn't breastfeed or chooses to have a homebirth.....it doesn't affect the amount of love and dedication they have to their child.  Other mother's decisions are simply not up for my judgement.  And as far as the perfection goes - it's a work in progress but for the most part I've really tried to let go of the "being everything to everyone" concept and instead tried to focus on just being good enough for two people and one four legged fur baby.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Surprise Shout Out

Ahhh....testing season is upon us.  I spent the hours between 9:00AM and 1:00PM the past two days cooped up in a classroom with 24 children watching them take the benchmark editions of the state mandated exams.  

No reading a book.  No surfing the web.  No checking emails.  Just.  Watching.  Kids.  Take.  A.  Test.

If the term "watching paint dry" pops in your head, that would be an accurate assessment of testing.

Needless to say I was happy to get home today on my very long afternoon conference period to eat some yummy leftovers and catch up on all the blogs, news and gossip I had been deprived of this morning.  My happiness turned to surprise which melted away into sheer flattery (flatteredness?  Okay, whatever....I was flattered) when I checked up on my sorority sister, Meagan's most recent blog posting.

Say what?!



I'm like Meagan.  I write and I blog for me.  I'm selfish that way.

I don't do it for the traffic flow; I don't do it for freebies and giveaways and I certainly don't do it for any type of monetary compensation.  I do it because apparently.........I've got a lot to say.  And the scary thing is?  As much STUFF that I put out here on the web, there's just as much that is written down in my super-duper-top-secret journal that is hidden in a very special spot in my bedroom.

Wouldn't you like to know what is written in THERE?!

But in all sincerity, I was really honored by Meagan's words because that kind of stuff is not what I'm seeking when I type a post.  I just kind of word vomit whatever is racing through my brain at the time and cross my fingers that people can relate or understand.....and maybe even giggle every once in awhile.

Oh.  And then there's my mom - I do Natalie posts because she likes to read my perspective of parenting my child.

The best kind of praise is the kind that you don't expect.  The ones that come out of left field.  When that kid in the back row who usually has his head down, concentrating on his doodle pad....you know the type.....when THAT student tells you that his favorite time of the day is your class.  Or when a parent sends out an email just thanking you for taking the time to sit down and chat with their student - which happened to be on a day when their child really needed a listening ear.  Or perhaps when you're just going about your daily business cleaning and straightening up the house and your husband, sitting on the couch like the king of a castle, says...."you do a really great job keeping our home organized and pretty."  That's the good stuff.  The praise that happens when you're just living your life, just doing your thing and someone gives you that pat on the back.

So thanks for the shout out Meagan - and thank you for giving me the inspiration to be open, direct and honest about my struggle with PPD.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Driving home tonight in my car I had a plan.  I had this whole post all mapped out and ready to go.  

And let me tell you what.........IT.  WAS.  AWESOME.

But then the munchkin needed a bath and a bottle and lots of cuddles.  And quite frankly, even though the monitor is quiet except for the dulcet tones of U2 lullabies, I'm not really sure she's quite ASLEEP-ASLEEP yet.  


After thirty......okay, forty minutes of bedtime shenanigans, I sat down to write my blog and fill up the interwebs with all my astounding knowledge and wonderful words.

I find the pictures I need and get them all situated in the proper order of this soon-to-be-awesome post.....

AND................I go completely blank.  Where to start?  How to segue?  What was the real point of this blog?  Do I need THAT much backstory?  Ugh.

So I'm just going to go for it and dive in.

I used to live in a really awesome apartment.  It was on the third story facing west with big picture windows that let in just the right amount of rays during the day and evening that I hardly ever had to turn on the overhead lights.  Sure most of my furniture (except for my splurge on two couches) was from IKEA and the decor from Target but the fact of the matter was - it was decked out and fabulous.  I had a bar in the kitchen with stools and even a computer nook in the corner of the kitchen.  One of my favorite features was the built in bookcase in the dining room which displayed my huge collection of novels (okay, you're right - chick lit) and DVDs (NOT all chick flicks).  My bedroom had a huge walk-in closet complete with tons of fabulous clothes (Banana Republic, Ann Taylor - I miss you!!!) and at least 40 (yes, FORTY) pairs of high heels.  Outside the dining room was a fantastically large balcony where I had two huge Adirondack chairs perfect for sitting, reading, drinking a Shiner, smoking a cigarette (eek!) and watching the storms roll in from the west.  Out in the covered parking lot sat my baby Delilah, my fully loaded 2006 charcoal gray Acura TSX - the first brand new car that I had ever owned.  I was living large.  

Nevermind the fact that I was a binge drinking party animal who was completely lonely and desperately wanted the life I have now.  But that's neither here nor there.

The truth is - that apartment was my sanctuary.  My little quiet corner of the world where I could let things get as messy as I wanted, watch bad reality television while eating bad fast food on the coffee table and stay in bed playing Guitar Hero until 3:00 in the afternoon.  

That part of living on my own?  That's the part that I miss sometimes.  

Craig and I were dating during the last year that I lived in that place.  Long story short (and really, it's not quite my story to tell) Craig was living with his mom at the time despite renting an apartment of his own in a city pretty far away from our school.  The drive from my place to school was a little far for him to do during the week so he mostly stayed over on the weekends.....and maybe a lot more than that during the summer.  We played house in that apartment.  I cooked him dinner.  He carried my trash down three flights of stairs.  We sat on the couch watching movies and playing Peggle, passing the computer back and forth between the two of us.  It was those moments - the completely lame Tuesday nights spent watching bad television and giggling - that I realized I could marry this man.  Not because he was sweeping me off my feet (although he did plenty of that at times) but because it was comfortable.  It was easy.  It just flowed.  

I wrote a blog a while back about missing the *MAGIC* of dating......more specifically.......of those times spent in my apartment just the two of us hanging out and doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.  I thought I was the only one that missed those times.  I know that Craig has everything in his life right now that he has ever wanted.  He's got his wife and best friend, his beautiful daughter, a gorgeous home and even a crazy mutt.  I thought maybe I was the bad one - the one wishing we could revisit those carefree moments without the responsibilities weighing down our day to day life.

I was wrong.

On Monday the weather was great, we had a day off and after an acute PPD attack on Sunday night - Craig knew he needed to get us out of the house.  We headed to a local "town square" with lots of open space to stroll Natalie around as well as some fun window shopping.  One of my favorite stops?  Anthropologie.  Mmmm....the clothes aren't really my style (or my size) but I absolutely adore their quirky home goods. 

Specifically?  THESE.

Voluspa - French Cade and Lavender

Voluspa - Santiago Huckleberry

I've been around the block with candles.  I have tried everything.  Scentsy, Tyler, Yankee, Slatkin & Co.  You name it, it's burned in my house.  But these are my absolute, hands down, 110% favorite candles of all time.  I can't really put a finger on why I love them so much.  Maybe it's that they're not your "typical" candle fragrances.  Maybe it's that they're from Anthropologie, cost $18 and make me feel fancy.  

Or maybe it's because one whiff of either of these candles and I'm instantly back in that apartment.

French Cade and Lavender was in my bedroom and Santiago Huckleberry was in the living room and they both burned constantly.

I picked up French Cade and Lavender, popped open the tin lid and held it out to Craig to smell.  He sniffed and his blue eyes flickered up at me, twinkling furiously.  

"Your apartment," he smirked at me followed by a wink and then he was off strolling with Natalie.

Aha.  He did remember.

And now I sit here with tears in my eyes because in that moment I knew that he hasn't forgotten those days.  He hasn't forgotten falling in love with me.  He hasn't forgotten the woman that he fell in love with. 

I think I know what I'm getting him for our anniversary.

Just what every man wants - an $18 candle from Anthropologie.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Over the Christmas break Craig and I got a TON of stuff done around the house.  Upstairs we have a great open loft space that was previously just used as a dumping ground for junk that we couldn't quite find a space for.  Natalie got a ton of great toys for Christmas and we had to find a spot for all of them.  Here is what we came up with..........
Grand view of the playroom from the top of the stairs.  Craig's mother bought Natalie the floor mat that is made of different "puzzle" pieces stuck together.  All the numbers and letters come up out of the rug so that will be perfect for learning the alphabet and how to count.  We moved the entertainment center to the corner so that it would block the internet cable cord and the outlets from little hands.  The four drawer small dresser used to hold almost a hundred of our DVD cases.  We emptied those out, tossed the cases and stored all the discs in a large CD case downstairs.  I did keep her Disney and Harry Potter movie cases stored in one drawer. 

View from the man cave door - once Natalie gets bigger and is drawing things for us, I'm going to hang some lines of string over the couch with some laundry clips and it will be her own personal "art gallery."

For Easter Natalie got a few different Easter baskets and up until now they had just been sitting in her closet taking up space.  I rearranged her bookcase in her room and took out the small board books that she can get her hands on......and not ruin by tearing or eating the pages.

Another view of her toy storage area - complete with a tub full of stuffed animals.

Her walker and basketball goal - the basketballs are mostly used to chew on (either by her or Angie) and the walker has only facilitated a few steps as of right now.  She'd rather just take the flaps off the front.

Her Little People toy center - the zoo and the home.  Favorite parts?  Chewing on the ostrich's head and flushing the pink toilet.

Downstairs in the Living Room we still have a basket of assorted toys down below and then some stuffed animals up above.  She really leaves pretty much everything else on our entertainment center alone.  She knows where her toys are and what she is allowed to play with.

The activity table, ride on scooter and rocking horse that she received for Christmas.  She rides that scooter all over the house now.  Much faster than crawling and it supports her to "stand" and be able to try and reach things on the kitchen table.  Yes.  The kitchen table - she is tall enough that her little hands can reach all the way up there.
A view of Natalie's "corner" of the living room.  I've really tried to keep all her stuff organized and in one location because I definitely don't want baby toys strewn throughout the house so much that it doesn't feel like a place where grown-ups can hang out as well.

So there you go!  We really got so much done over the break - I was nervous about the amount of toys that she was going to receive and having to find a place for all of them.  But we worked together, cleaned things out and still have room for all the toys that she'll be getting for her birthday in a few months!

Friday, January 13, 2012

December 2011

The next few posts I'm going to be linking up with Robin at Farewell Stranger who writes a beautifully personal PPD blog. She's doing a series of blog posts which look back at the wonderful moments of the past year despite struggling through motherhood and PPD. I'm doing this series along with her because I desperately want to remember the first year of Natalie's life as something positive and beautiful instead of full of pain, frustration, anger, anxiety and darkness.

This is the month that I was looking forward to the most because it's the month of the year where I was most PRESENT with my family.  I had a massive revelation at the beginning of the month where I "woke up" and shook off the fog and found my strength.
When Natalie was first born everyone's first words about her always had to do something with the fact that she looked exactly like her father.  As she has grown up throughout the year, although in her eyes she is most definitely CRAIG, her facial expressions have grown to be more like mine - especially when she smiles....or is angry.  Ha.

And thus begins her love affair with Santa Claus.  Seriously.  She was enamoured.  Maybe it was the beard.....I don't know.  But she wouldn't take her eyes off of him.

In the month of December she definitely got more mobile and braver as she scooted around our house trying to test her boundaries and see what she could get into.  A box of diapers?  Go for it.

Christmas trees sure are magical, aren't they?  At my parent's house the Christmas tree was always in the front formal living room and I can remember being in awe of it as a small child. 

Eek!  Santa is coming soon and I'm wearing a tutu!  Life is so exciting when you're almost ten months old!!!  I love her excitement in this photo and I'm so glad you can't hear the crazy voices I was making to get her this wound up for a photograph.

On the first full day of our Christmas vacation Natalie and I met up with a very good friend and her two kiddos and we explored the Dallas Zoo together.  Although I'm sure Natalie had fun cruising in her stroller and gazing at the different animals, this trip was more fun for me and Beri because it gave us a much needed chance to hang out and catch up.

What good is having a little girl if you can't dress her up once in awhile and put an enormously PINK hairbow in her hair?  Seriously.  This kid lives in jeans, tennis shoes and hoodies most of the time.  I absolutely reserve the right to "girly" her up for special occasions like a ladies tea with my mother.

Speaking of which - here are the two most important women in my life with some of the women that laid the foundation for the tradition of strong women in my family.  These paintings are of my mother's grandmother and her sister.  My mother can remember them hanging in her grandmother and mother's homes and now they are in hers.  I can remember them in my grandmother and now my mother's home and someday they will reside in mine as well. 

Craig's favorite time of the day with Natalie is bedtime - he rocks her to sleep every single night (at least when he doesn't have basketball games) and it's their special time together.  Christmas Eve was no different.....with the addition of Twas the Night Before Christmas of course.

Riding her pony.  Our house is now overflowing with toys and it's been so fun watching her figure out how to "play" with all the wonderful things she was given for Christmas.

I don't really even know what to say now that I haven't said before.  On most days....I enjoy my daughter and I enjoy being her mother.  I still have my moments of anxiety, frustration, anger, depression and all that other junk but the good news is that they're just that.  MOMENTS.  Not hours, not days, not weeks.  Just little blips on my radar.  Craig knows the signals....hell even ANGIE knows the signals and they do their best to take care of business so I can get through the moment in one piece. 

There you have it.  My year.  Now onto planning a very important first birthday party.  Holy cow.  Are we really already here?!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

November 2011

The next few posts I'm going to be linking up with Robin at Farewell Stranger who writes a beautifully personal PPD blog. She's doing a series of blog posts which look back at the wonderful moments of the past year despite struggling through motherhood and PPD. I'm doing this series along with her because I desperately want to remember the first year of Natalie's life as something positive and beautiful instead of full of pain, frustration, anger, anxiety and darkness.

Showing a little bit more of her personality.

Natalie's two older boy cousins sure do enjoy spending time with her - I have a feeling they will be teaching her all sorts of FUN things. 

My dad pushing Natalie on the refurbished Barbie Jeep he found for her.

Thanksgiving was rough.  It was stressful.  It was busy.  It was chaotic.  I was angry for the majority of the week.  That's all I remember from November.  That week was a major setback for me and I promised Craig that if things didn't get drastically better by the time the new year started then I would be rethinking my treatment options and looking into new methods of getting better.  I don't have much to say about this month except that I was pretty miserable.  There were good moments but more than anything, I was locked in that fog.

Confidence vs. Cockiness

Yesterday will go down in the record books as a pretty crappy day overall. 

I was in a funk.  But like my friend Amy said......I needed to break out of my funk and just be funky. 

Words of wisdom.

Last night was the first week of my Wednesday night four-on-four volleyball league.  It's pretty casual - we keep score but don't keep records.  It's mostly women my age (28) and older and many of them are moms of school-age children.  The play is pretty competitive BUT at the same time there is lots of compassion and grace provided when you're having an "off" night.  It's been my haven after Natalie's birth - the place where I can go on Wednesday nights and feel like myself.  Nothing helps me work out a rough day like hitting and serving a volleyball.

Last night was no different.

But this post is not about how much I love the game nor is it about the resolutions to yesterday's problems.  It's about perception.  More importantly - how am I perceived by others.

My friend and co-worker Shemika and I have had this conversation tons of times - to people who do not know me, I can come across as stuck-up, snobby and conceited.  Yes.  She told me that.  To my face.  But luckily she followed it up with - but it's because they don't know you.  Apparently because I am tall (6'0 flat footed), carry myself with confidence, and am at first a bit shy and reserved when meeting new people.....this is perceived as a snooty, stuck-up person.  I am self aware enough to see how this might be true.

But yet....when it comes to certain things, I AM confident.  I know that I'm a great volleyball player - I've got a fantastic build for the sport, I can hit and serve hard, I play smart and I am great at encouraging others on the court.  But if you ask me to dance, sing, act in front of a crowd of people?  NO.  WAY.  JOSE.  That's just not the gift God granted me. 

Last night I put all my frustration into playing and I had a great game.  There was one play where the ball was falling right on the net and I went up against another tall player on the other team and "jousted" for control of the ball.  I got to the ball first and tipped it to the side of the other player....and actually it was going out of bounds (not the smartest tipping spot on my part, but I was trying not to tip it directly into the defense).  There was a smaller build player standing right there and since the ball was coming directly at her she passed it up.  When the play ended, the ball landed on the other team's side and my team got the point.  The short player looked at me and said jokingly (but in that kidding-but-not-really-kidding way) "why do you always hit the ball right at me?"  How do I answer that?  I just said "the ball was going out of bounds, you didn't have to play it."  Later after a good hit (that went right at this player) she said it again "geez!  I think you're aiming directly at me!  What did I ever do to you?!"  Again in that kidding-but-not-really kind of way.  This is par for course with this girl and quite frankly.....it gets annoying so I answered her with "I just hit the ball - if it comes at you just pass it up instead of ducking." 

I know.  Not the gentlest or most compassionate thing to say.

But I get tired of the Napoleon complex this person seems to have.  I don't walk onto the court thinking I'm better than other people.  I play every Wednesday so I can have one hour of ME time away from the hubs, the baby and the pup.  I don't play so that I can prove to everyone that I'm a badass.....although sometimes that's just a byproduct of my athleticism.  ;)

So I guess her perception is that I'm cocky.  That I'm the player to beat.  That if she can pass my hits and my serves, it means she's a good player too.  And even if the truth is that I'm a good player, her perception of my cockiness is not the reality in my heart.  I am confident in my own skills but I also know that on any given week there will be someone who is better than me.....and that's okay because that makes me work harder.

I don't know how to change other people's perception of me because where do you draw the line?  I am proud of my athletic ability becasue it's obviously a gift that God granted me and I enjoy putting it to use.  And when you combine confidence with my reserved personality around people I don't know that well.....I guess the perception is cockiness and snobbery.

I suppose the bottom line is this: haters gonna hate. 

But seriously.  She can have her perception of me and believe that I think I'm better than everyone else - maybe that's just her own self-image issues manifesting itself.  I don't know.  I can't control what other people think of me.  All I can do is keep showing up to play a game that I love and encouraging my teammates along the way.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


It is a gorgeous day outside.  One of those deceptively gorgeous winter days.  The kind where you look out and see a clear blue sky with sunlight filtering down and think to yourself "I should be out there, soaking up the warmth." 

Wrong.  It's freezing outside.  It's windy and the chill is biting. 

If it's going to be cold, I want it to be dreary.  I want it to be raining and dark so that I can curl up in bed with a puppy dog and apple cider while watching the never ending tragedies featured on the ID channel.

Not sure what happened throughout the night but I woke up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed this morning.  I feel like it should be cold, wet, cloudy and miserable outside because that's what the weather is inside my brain.  As I was walking through the school I glanced outside at the weather and I was actually disappointed to see the sun. 

Maybe it was Natalie's reccurent waking up last night.  There might have even been a slamming door in my house at 2:45 this morning.

Maybe it was nightmares that I don't quite remember except for a distinct emotion of anger and frustration.

Maybe it's the anxiety of a situation that is worrying me, frustrating me; a story whose facts have not been discussed and whose outcome is completely out of my control.

And then there's also that pesky matter of the gray strand of hair that my coworker pulled from my head......

But today I'm an Eeyore. I'm trying to keep my mouth shut and my head down so that the day will pass quickly and I can get to tomorrow.

Sure.  That past month and a half since I "woke up" and began to see more clearly has been amazing.  I've been in control of myself and have let go of things out of my control.  I've enjoyed my family, my friends and being Natalie's mother.  But today I can feel myself slipping back into that fog.  I can feel those insecurities creeping up the back of my neck and the tentacles grabbing a hold of my brain and digging their claws in deep.  Most days those mean, nasty thoughts are like annoying mosquitoes that are easily squashed or swatted away.  But today they are vicious.  They are huge.  And they are refusing to be squashed or swatted away. 

So this is where I'm at today.  Aching to be anywhere but in my own mind and body.  A little frustrated because I feel like today is one of those "two steps back" kind of days.

I guess my point is......the difference between now and two months ago is that hopefully today will be the anomaly, the different day, the exception to the rule.  Hopefully I'll be able to go home, relax, play some volleyball in my Wednesday night league and then get up feeling a bit more productive, positive and capable tomorrow morning.

October 2011

 The next few posts I'm going to be linking up with Robin at Farewell Stranger who writes a beautifully personal PPD blog. She's doing a series of blog posts which look back at the wonderful moments of the past year despite struggling through motherhood and PPD. I'm doing this series along with her because I desperately want to remember the first year of Natalie's life as something positive and beautiful instead of full of pain, frustration, anger, anxiety and darkness.

A month of Fall Fun!
One of the best things that Craig and I did during the month of October was take a full day off from work to go to the State Fair with Natalie.  It was so wonderful to have a relaxing day with our little family.

On a side note....it's amazing to see how much Natalie's hair has grown in just a few months!  It's coming in so dark - what a contrast with her bright, blue eyes!

This moment was one of those *classic* parenting moments.  She had played so hard all day at Ms. Rebecca's house and had refused to take any sort of nap while she was there.  That night Craig was downstairs with her in the bouncer while I was taking care of things upstairs.  He came up and told me to sneak downstairs slowly and quietly and this is the scene that I saw.  I couldn't help but giggle.  What a tired little girl.

Natalie was baptized during October and it was such a special service with all our closest friends and family members.

We've had a pretty mild autumn and winter this year and we took advantage of a great afternoon and took Natalie to the park to swing and look at the ducks.  I'll be honest - the sunglasses didn't last too long, but that's okay.....I got a picture of her in them and that's all that matters.

Oh Halloween.  Before the trick or treaters started I took Natalie and Angie out onto the front porch for some fun pictures but there was this kid across the street loudly bouncing a ball.  I absolutely love this picture of my two girls checking out the scene in their coordinating ladybug costumes.  And yes....believe it or not, my dog enjoys being dressed up.  She bounces off the walls when I pull her clothes (yes, plural) out of the closet for her to wear.

It's become a tradition with our friends the Mannings to celebrate Halloween together and this year was no different.  Well.....there were two big differences actually - Natalie and the Mannings youngest daughter Jacklyn who is ten weeks older than Natalie.  I love this picture because you can sense that they are communicating with each other.  Probably saying "why did our mothers put us in these stupid costumes and hoods."

October was better.  I was definitely on the upward swing of things despite lingering tension with some family members.  Craig and I were keeping my issues close at hand and not really sharing the struggles that we were going through.  There were only a few (I mean, literally like TWO) people in the world that knew what I was going through.  Although I had come to terms with the situation I wasn't quite ready for other people to know - I guess I was still somewhat ashamed about it all.  Not sure why....