Me, My Family

Cheers to a new year!

At the end of the year WordPress sent a recap. I glanced at it but did not really read it. I have not posted regularly in a while.  Honestly it sat unread in my inbox until the other day.  The recap itself was not too interesting since it only covers what I posted, which was not much, but it brought to mind a very stressful year.  It brought to mind laughter and tears, memories that were at times busy, frustrating, exciting, painful, stressful and of course love filled.  At many times I thought of posting to help me clear my head but for so many reasons at the time it just did not seem right.

Sometimes the weight on your shoulders seems too heavy. It often seems to great to bear but when you are about to scream, it is good idea to step back and take a second to look down the road you have just traveled if for nothing else than perspective.

Watching winning returns come in on Primary night
Watching winning returns come in on Primary night

Early in the year I was approached to run for political office with 2 others for township council.  We won the primary but in the end I fell short by about 30 votes of winning in the general election.  Months of meetings, greetings, hand shakes and campaigning.  Politics can be ugly.  It was a very interesting experience that I am thrilled I attempted but to be fully honest I am just as thrilled to leave behind.  It was time consuming and stressful on my family especially my girls who have grown accustomed to my being home every night to put them to bed.  We could have done good things for our township had we won but each day I know I do great things for my girls, and in the end that is enough for me.

Megan's dingy cast right before removal
Megan’s dingy cast right before removal

At the end of  May I received an emergency phone call from school to pick-up Megan after a recess accident.  During a kick ball game she had run into another student and had fallen.  She hit her head on the concrete and was cut up pretty good.   An urgent care visit and many tears later we realized we had our first broken bone of the family.  Much celebration came when the cast was off at the end of June in time for swimming.

Sadly this was actually the second experience with emergency rooms for us in the year.  One of the more stressful and downright terrifying events of the year was in early May when Frank fell short of breath and began having chest pains.  Within a few short minutes he could barely stand on his own.  We rushed him to the hospital where he stayed for several days.  After a cardiac catheterization, a heart attack,  along with any heart issue was ruled out thankfully.  No perfect answer was ever fully provided to us as to the exact cause but again, thankfully, he has been fine ever since.

IMG_6244Of course we had the normal hustle and bustle of travel soccer, basketball, music lessons and Karate.  Both girls achieved their red belts this year.  Years of work and focus, not an easy achievement.

We went to Niagara falls Canada in July and had a wonderful time, although the 10532776_10202345983271454_9206650645340516440_nprices were ridiculous.  We did the normal tourists things and enjoyed some nice family time.  We also took a ride to the Toronto Zoo to see the Giant Panda’s.  Amazing creatures! IMG_6086

During the holidays we were treated to a performance of the school’s fifth grade chorus, of which Megan is a member, singing along with the South Jersey Philharmonic Symphony.  Megan was so thrilled to be on stage.  It was something special to witness!Whitman Philharmonic

My husband worked for a well know large company which I will not name.  Over the years he was subjected to pay cuts in the name of streamlining which we accepted.  Things over the last year had been stressful but came to a head in mid November when he was notified that the decision had been made to lay him off along with hundreds of others.  (Yes the media says things are so much better, question what you are told). Christmas was both a blessing where he was able to enjoy the girls without work but also extremely stressful since he had not landed a job.    Tomorrow  2/9 he starts a new chapter in our lives with a new company.  Good luck to my Frank and we love you!

I continue to turn to this forum as a sounding board and I apologize if this is a bit rambling.  I realize it is late but I wish everyone a happy New Year and say cheers to new starts, new years and new opportunities!

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My Family

Do you believe?

santa claus images

I know people who have made the decision to tell their children that there is no Santa. Not because the child asked questions but because they were going to find out anyway. Before I give my opinion on that, let’s recap the first few minutes of the news cast I tuned into last night. Missing college student last seen at a bar well over a week ago disappeared without a trace. 17-year-old boy brutally attacked in an alley after leaving a party, caught on tape. Of course they show this tape over and over. There seems to be controversy over some grandmothers taped smoking pot and some local daycare conditions are filthy. There was a sexual assaults, we are waiting for DNA results in an old unsolved murder mystery and of course continued updates on riots and protests. Retail sales are down and the recent jobs numbers cheered by some are being shown to be “padded” creating only cheap part-time hourly jobs while full-time family supporting jobs actually saw a sharp decline. The economy is stagnant, the country is more split than ever in my life and the future seems just as bleak.Weihnachtsmann mit Rentierschlitten und Sternschnuppe

So, back to the situation with Santa and a question, what is wrong with a little magic? We all want to believe that magic is real. What is so wrong with allowing our youth to stay innocent as long as possible? The world is big and at times very harsh and ugly and in time everyone will have to face it head on. Is it so wrong to allow our 10 year olds to hold on the belief in a jolly old magical being for just one more year?  To allow them to feel safe watched over by loving beings?detail_450_10460

Many of us have the elves, those crazy little toys that we curse nightly as we climb and stretch moving them around trying to add a little extra magic to the season. Why? Because of the glow in the faces of my girls and millions of other children who wake each morning running through the house to see what the elf did last night after returning from the daily reporting trip to Santa. This year Santa Claus actually sent letters to the girls though the mail. They received them yesterday in the mailbox.  Pure childhood fascination swept over both as they read them, thrilled that Santa knew names of friends and teachers as well as things they are interested in. Those letters are now hanging on the refrigerator and have been read at least 20 times.  elf-on-the-shelf

It has been a tough year for our family as it has for many.  The amount of presents under the tree will be smaller.  It would be easy to allow the stress of the year to bring us down.  Instead I find this more motivation to get into the spirit and share some Christmas warmth.

I believe because my girls believe.

I believe because there is a true joy allowing yourself to be swept up in the magic.

I believe because the sound of Christmas bells are a happy and joyous sound, and I still hear them 🙂

I believe because the smell of cinnamon and chocolate  together in the air gives me the strength to face an otherwise grey day.

I believe because doing so even for a small part of the year reminds me to spread kindness in a world that is very short of it.

I believe because a strong imagination has guided me though many a dark day and will do the same for my children.

I believe because there has to be something more.

I love Christmas and all of the joy and magic that it brings.  I love the entire season and do not feel the need to argue over who is most important during this fine season. I do not mind saying happy holidays to those who do not share my religious background and I often find myself humming the dreidel song at some point during the season.  Love, joy, family, sharing and reflection on the things most important is what it should be about.  For me, that means keeping Santa as part of the celebration as long as possible, I for one think we all could all use a little magic!

Me, Post-Op Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy

A simple question

It is once again October and the Pink is flying.  Breast cancer awareness visually pushed into the forefront for all.  Put aside the millions being made by the CEO’s running the charities or those behind the merchandising of all of the apparel and take it for what it should be, a moment to step back and recognize that awareness, testing and early detection really does save lives.  So instead of a long-winded post rehashing my own story or one looking at so many strong women who have fought or are currently fighting this awful disease, I ask a simple question, when is the last time you had your mammogram?

If you would like to buy a pretty pink sweatshirt, pen, baseball bat or energy drink with the special label go right ahead but I ask you to go one step further.  If you yourself are due to see your doctor and have your scans get off your butt and make the call and schedule your appointment.  Today and all month-long as you interact with those women closest to you, remind them to do the same.

CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EARLY BREAST CANCER DETECTION