Category Archives: randomness

a guest post near and dear to my heart

My bestest friend, Heather, has the second-most amazing daughter in the whole wide world. When Evi was a very itty bitty newborn she needed some help from Children’s Hospital. Children’s Hospital earned a permanent place in Heather’s heart, and now mine. Heather is hosting a virtual race to raise money for St. Judes and I asked her to write a blog post.
Please read and help out in any way you can! My daughter and I will be virtually racing very soon, after we train a bit!
So, without further ado, please meet Miss Evi Ruth, the coolest five year old I know!
The scariest moment of my entire life was the handful of seconds between Evi’s birth and the moment she cried. The most amazing was that sound, her willful protest of all things bright and cold and loud and weird. Until the moment we actually DID bring her home, I wasn’t sure we ever would. And then there we were, new parents to a real live newborn with all of her amazingness and crazy new things. New sounds, new smells, new routines.
She was easy from the get-go…sleeping six hours her first night. She smiled a lot, laughed, cuddled. And then all of a sudden she was three weeks old and she wouldn’t stop throwing up. It was acid reflux, the doctors assured, sending us home with medicine. It wasn’t, we insisted, reappearing in their office with specific measurements and distances to accurately describe her impressive projectile output. We brought pictures of the laundry we’d done that week. We described everything in ridiculous, measured, scientific detail.
In the end, I resorted to Dr. Google. I looked up symptoms obsessively, knowing in my heart of hearts that something bigger was wrong. She wasn’t getting better. She hated eating. She was losing weight. That was it, the final bit. I took her in to the doctor’s office one more time, armed with a rapidly shrinking infant and a gut feeling about the diagnosis.
They weighed her, and she’d lost fifteen ounces in a week. She wasn’t a big baby to begin with and she didn’t have fifteen ounces to spare. They were scared and confused, and I pulled out my hypothesis.
Pyloric stenosis. It means the valve (the pyloris) that takes food from your stomach to your intestines is growing out of sync with the rest of your body, growing too fast and closing up on itself so food can’t be digested.
I was prepared for the arguments. “It’s so rare,” they’d say. “It happens to boys,” they’d argue, and I’d push back. Except they didn’t argue. The incredible nurse practitioner listened to me, really listened. She called in the practice lead doctor. He confirmed that I just might be right, and sent me packing immediately to Children’s National Medical Center. I called my husband on the way home and he met us there. We called every grandparent, aunt, and uncle on the way to the hospital.

We sat in the waiting room, surrounded by seriously ill children and pale, worried parents. We waited maybe twenty minutes before we were taken back for the initial screening. The techs who worked with us were patient and gentle. They spoke clearly, used simple words, gave us easy directions, and asked questions with polite concern. They managed to convey the importance and urgency without making us feel in the way. They made it clear they cared about our baby and about us. She was admitted almost at once, and we were escorted to a temporary room until a permanent one could be made available for her. In the meantime, a hospital volunteer brought her a stuffed animal, now forever named Pink Bear, that had been hand sewn by other volunteers. It was teddy bear shaped, with no real features but a sweet floral pattern. Evi still loves it.


On the way to our room, they took us to get her an ultrasound, where they confirmed. Yes. It’s pyloric stenosis. We watched on the screen as what little was left in her belly swirled around, unable to make it past her too swollen pyloris. Yes, the doctors confirmed, she was slowly starving to death. I tried not to break down. I broke down anyway. I tried to hold on through waves of guilt that my sweet little girl was slowly starving. It would have killed her, they confirmed.


But it won’t,” they said, more firmly now, as they looked us right in the eye. “She’s here, and we can fix this. It’s actually a simple surgery. She’ll be able to go home in a day or two.”


They showed us to our room. They set her up in her baby cage. They scheduled her surgery for the next morning. Thankfully we weren’t going to sleep anyway, as they came in to check her vitals every few hours. She wasn’t allowed to eat, so they gave her her very firstpacifier. In the morning, the put her into the world’s tiniest pale orange hospital gown and it still swallowed her whole. They let me carry her down to the operating room and we got to sit with her while the doctor walked us through. The surgery would be laparoscopic, meaning it would be done through tiny cuts in her abdomen and wouldn’t require a big incision. It would be quick, he assured. When the nurse finally took her from my arms, she did it with such tenderness that I couldn’t help but be comforted. These people cared, deeply and completely.


They handed us a pager, and we headed to the hospital cafeteria. We hadn’t eaten since the previous lunch. We picked half-heartedly at sandwiches before giving up to pace restlessly down the hospital hallways. As we turned into the atrium to go make her a tie-dyed onesie, the pager buzzed. It’s possible we’ve never moved faster.


They took us to recovery, where our groggy little girl was just waking up. We spent one more night in the hospital, her tiny arm wrapped to hold in an IV for fluids, and she was intensely monitored. They checked her regularly and gave us the green light to try a tiny bit of food. She didn’t nurse well to begin with and would have been in no mood, so we gave her a 1oz bottle. She took it, and threw it up. The nurses were encouraging and comforting. “It’s fine,” they assured. They gave us a clear schedule of how much to feed her and when, and we kept trying. When a few hours passed and she kept food down, they cleared us to go home.


They sent us home with clear directions, a direct line to a doctor if anything unexpected happened, specifics on what to watch for, and heartfelt best wishes to never ever see us again. They scheduled a followup for two weeks out, and they waved goodbye.


We never did see them again, because she bounced back to vibrant life like the tiny miracle she is. In no time she was round and happy, and at her two week followup she surprised the doctor with her incredible health and wellbeing.


on the left: Evi just prior to surgery on the right: 1.5 weeks later

on the left: Evi just prior to surgery
on the right: 1.5 weeks later

She’s five now. FIVE. She’s about to start kindergarten. She’s happy and healthy and strong and silly. She’s full of spontaneous affection, random facts, and her fair share of tiny attitude. She runs and laughs, pouts and cries. She reads books, draws robots. She’s perfect. She’s thriving. Children’s National Medical Center saved her life, and I’m grateful for them every day. To help support the thousands of other children they work so hard to save every day, I’m organizing a virtual race. You can register here for one of the 26 spots left.


FMM on Friday



I am not consistent in blogging the “right” post on the “right”day. I never remember to do the Monday one on Monday.  I say I’ll get to it next week but that rarely happens.  Kenlie’s Friend Makin’ Monday is one I wish I made more of a consistent effort to participate. Oh, I’ve done a few but never with much regularity. I happened to catch on that my girl Sarah was taking over for Kenlie and this week was her first post. Even though its Friday and obviously not Monday, I am jumping in with my girls.


1. Introduce yourself in under 10 words. mother, wife, teacher, student, reader, sensitive, hugger, oversharer, lover, sorta-crazy

2. How did you find Friend Makin Mondays? I’ve been friends with Kenlie for a long time. We shared our first hug at Fitbloggin many moons ago.  When I specifically found FMM, I am not exactly sure. I don’t always participate but I do read.

3. Have you ever met any of your blog readers? I have met a ton of bloggy friends. I am not sure if we met before or after we followed each other through our blogs. I attended the first Fitbloggin and that was my first experience meeting so many wonderful bloggy friends.

4. How many states have you visited? Do all the states between NJ and Florida count?!? If so, I have driven between the two many, many times. I have also spent time in Louisiana, Colorado, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Texas (if you count the Houston airport). When I was a kid we roadtripped to Ohio and to New England. I have visited a bunch of states but not all of them!

5. What did you have for lunch yesterday? Rice & Chicken

6. How many different places have you lived in? Too many to count. As a kid we moved apartments almost every year. I had a place with my mom and one with my dad. Then when I left home, I bounced around a lot. I spent winters in Florida and summers in NJ. I’ve been back in NJ for 13 years and lived in 4 houses. Q and I have lived in the same house for over 10 years now.

7. What’s your favorite color? purples and blues, black and white

8. Do you have any pets? Lucy is my almost 4-year old black Lab, two kitties names Charlie and Whiskey, and two red-eared sliders named Bonnie and Clyde

9. What would your ideal job be? I would run an at-risk residential school/working farm in the middle of nowhere.

10. Do you have any tattoos? 4 – left calf, right ankle, right hip and neck.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts.

Now it’s your turn!

yesterday was my birthday



Yesterday was my birthday and I am now 36 years young! My wonderful husband and amazing daughter treated me like a princess.

You see, AJ and I have been talking about planning a trip up to Lancaster and the outlets. We figured we would go sometime in March when we both could spare a day off and away. We were discussing this with Q on Saturday and she said, “mom, why don’t you go tomorrow? You already took Monday off for your birthday? It’s perfect, you should go.”  I have such a SMART kid!

Saturday was a bit of a whirlwind. Q had physical therapy and softball/hitting practice added on top of the normal Saturday chores.  AJ just went back to work (Saturday was his second day since Thanksgiving) so that left me on my own to do chores during the day. However, AJ did accompany me to the grocery store later that night.

Sunday after packing up the car we hit the road. Our first stop was  our local bagel shop for a breakfast sandwich to eat on the road. I LOVE our local bagels!! The picture above was taken while we were driving through Philly, specifically this is Boathouse Row on the Schuylkill River. Traffic was light and we cruised through Philly and were in Lancaster a few hours after we left home. We checked out the layout of the outlets and did a bit of shopping before heading to Ruby Tuesday for some lunch and a beer before we got to shopping.


After some shopping, we headed towards the hotel in a cute little town called Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania. On the way to the hotel we passed many horse & buggies. I love the sound of clippety clopping. When we got checked in ad settled into our room, I found a birthday card from the staff at the hotel.  How awesome is that?!? A birthday card and chocolates waiting for me. It was such a  nice personal touch! If you are ever in the Lancaster area and want a hotel with an indoor pool, I would highly recommend the Bird in Hand Family Inn! We were very close to the pools and we took advantage of said pools. There is nothing better than a very warm pool in the middle of winter. Especially when you don’t normally have access to a pool 9 months out of the year.

Waking up in a hotel on your birthday is absolutely luxurious. Waking up in a hotel, going out to breakfast and then shopping til you drop on your birthday is beyond amazeballs luxurious.

I don’t usually have a lot of extra money so there is not a lot of shopping except grocery shopping that happens around here. But it being my birthday and our taxes being deposited, my husband made sure I splurged on myself.

We shopped for clothes and shoes and kitchen stuff. Then we went in search of Amish goodies. We found our way to Stoltzfus Meats and purchases homemade dried beef and smoked sausage and a sausage pie.

And then we headed home. Q made me an awesome birthday cake: cookies & cream!! Cookies and cream anything is my favorite and Q made me the most delicious cake!

I feel so loved.



36 is going to be a great year!

It has to be….it started off so absolutely awesome!!!

I’ve been doing it all wrong


WARNiNG: this post may ramble.
WARNiNG: this post will be a complete mind dump.

The other day I finally got around to starting what I thought would be a daily thing for 30 days. I had Q take a picture of me doing a challenging yoga pose. It was my intent to do this pose every day and I would take pictures every so often. Well, that pose is freaking hard. I did it for three days then stopped. It hurt and I hadn’t made any progress.
I’ve been doing it wrong!
Progress can’t be made in only three days. But that isn’t what I was doing wrong. I was actually doing the pose wrong…well, not wrong but I had not looked into modifications and/or working my way from beginner to proficient in this pose. I read up and will not be doing this pose a bit differently. I will now be using a more yin (or restorative) approach. In fact, I have been struggling to get into a daily, or even weekly, practice. I have not been listening to my body. Instead, when I have been unsuccessful I have stopped doing it. Period. End of story.

I started the year talking about running a marathon. That so did not happen. I had a minor injury. Then I started lifting. Then I injured my neck. I never got back to running.
I’ve been doing it wrong!
I gave up. I was unsuccessful and I stopped doing it. I didn’t modify or adjust my plans. I didn’t scale back. I just gave up. I quit. Period. End of story.

I see a pattern.
Set huge lofty goals. Underestimate just how much hard work will be required. Have a setback. Give up.

I’ve been doing it all wrong.

You haven’t seen much in the way of blogging in a few months.What you can’t see is the months and months of doing nothing. And the toll doing nothing took on my body. And my mind. And my heart & soul. Sitting around makes me lazy and not happy. I’ve gained almost all, if not all, of the weight I had lost pre-ankle/knee surgery. I’ve gained back the weight I lost after gaining some after surgery and recovery. I’ve done even more sitting around.
Do nothing. Do nothing. Gain weight. Feel the weight. Move less. Become more miserable. Move less. What a yucky cycle.

I’ve been doing it all wrong.

And because I’ve been doing it all wrong, I feel out of control. And its not just about fitness levels and weight loss or lack of loss. Its not just about food and choices I’ve made. I’m sure my work has suffered. I’m sure my family has suffered. I’m sure I’ve suffered unnecessarily because of my inability to learn and move on. Self-inflicted stress.

I’ve been doing it all wrong.
I stopped listening.
I stopped learning.
I stopped loving.
I stopped mending.

I’ve been doing it all wrong.
But now that I know it, I can change it.
I can start listening again.
I can start learning again.
I can start loving again.
I can start mending again.

I can and I WILL.

Friend Makin’Monday: What If?


friend makin mondays

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

What If?

1.  If you had something in your teeth would you want someone to tell you, or would you prefer to figure it out on your own?  Oh my word, please tell me!

2.  If you had to listen to one song on repeat all day today, which song would you choose?  When You Say Nothing by Alison Kraus

3.  If you could trade places with someone famous, with whom would you trade? Miranda Lambert.

4.  If you could speak another language fluently, which one would you speak?  Sign Language

5.  If you could read one person’s mind right now whose would you choose?  There are times when I wish I could actually read my husband’s mind…but really, that would probably not be a great idea. And then there are days when I need to read my kid’s mind….she likes to give me the silent treatment and I HATE that!!

6. If you were forced to go back in time, which period of your life would you choose?  This is such a hard one. I wish I could change some events and some people but I worry that if I could go back and change things I wouldn’t have what I have now. I love my daughter, but I sometimes wish I had never met her sperm donor. Instead, I wish my husband was her bio-dad. But if I change some of those things, I may not have the awesome daughter and husband. Quite the pickle.

7.  If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which show would you choose?  General Hospital. shhhh. I have been watching this show for as long as I can remember.

8.  If you had to give up twitter or Facebook, which would you choose? No questions…twitter. I spend almost no time on twitter these days. But me and Facebook, we tight!

9.  If you could have a present today, what would you want? new clothes. I have just about everything I need but right now I am feeling icky about the weight I have gained back. I only feel icky because I don’t have clothes that actually fit. OR, books….lots of books!

10.  If you had to choose between celebrating Halloween or Christmas, which would you choose?    I love Christmas! I didn’t always but ever since my Q came into my life, I have just loved the holiday.


Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions!  Link up with Kenlie and let me know all about it!!  Happy Monday!


FMM: A New Season



friend makin mondays

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

A New Season

1.  What is your favorite thing about Fall?  I am not so much a cold weather lover as a hater. I LOVE the heat of summer. But I do enjoy some parts of fall…..that cooler weather that makes me want to cuddle under blankets or in front of a fire in the back yard and read a book. Plus, I LOVE football season. Especially now that Q is in the marching band.

2.  It’s not Fall until…it is chilly enough to crave chili. and pork & sauerkraut. and pot roasts. Oh…and that first day when its cool enough for a hoodie…with my flip flops, of course!

3.  Apple cider or hot chocolate?  Both…it depends on my mood.

4.  Share a happy Fall memory.  Football games with friends in high school tops my list of fond Fall memories.

5.  Do you have any hobbies that are seasonally specific? If so, what are they?  my main hobby is reading, so not very seasonal. I do like to crochet and I tend to do more of that now that it is getting cooler.

6.  What do you miss most about Summer now that it’s officially over? Tank tops and bare feet. The older I get, the less I want to wear real shoes. As it gets colder, my birkenstocks and flip flops get pushed further back into my closet.

7. Do you prefer pumpkin pie or pecan pie?  pumpkin….but, last year I did taste my first ever pecan pie and I liked it.

8.  Do you suffer from allergies?  I am allergic to mold and mold spores. So the wet conditions of fall can give me headaches. FUN!

9.  How do you celebrate Halloween?  I never really cared one way or another about Halloween until I had my Q. Dressing up my baby was always fun. And she absolutely LOVES dressing up for Halloween and doing all the crazy zombie make-up especially. This Thursday, I get to go watch her march in a Halloween parade with her marching band. Did I mention this is the same parade I marched in way back when I was in my high school marching band?!?

10.  What is the biggest change that you expect to experience during this season?  I think I have already experienced it. My daughter started high school. Talk about a BIG change!!



Now its your turn!!

Answer the questions, either in the comments or on your blog. If you blog it, go leave a link with Kenlie!!



FMM: This or That


friend makin mondays

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!


This or That? 



1.  Meat and potatoes or pasta?  meat and potatoes. I love all food but if I have to choose one or the other, I have to go with the way of meat and potatoes….must be the Irish in me!

2.  Do you prefer Apple or Android?  android. I have been burned by apple and iTunes more times than I care to remember so when I finally bought a smartphone it was an easy choice to go android.

3.  Do you kiss and tell, or do you keep it private? I guess I am sorta private except when I am chatting with my beastie! Ok, even then I am pretty private. I just think what happens between my and the husband should remain private. But then again, I brag about him as often as possible.

4. If you had to choose one, would you choose Facebook or Twitter? facebook. I used to be a twitter addict but lately, it is just too hard to keep up.  I prefer conversations and interactions. I find all that on facebook these days. Twitter just doesn’t do it for me!

5.  Christmas or Valentine’s Day?  Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I never liked Christmas as a kid. My parents divorced when I was very young and holidays pretty much sucked. When I became a mom, I decided to change things and when I met my Big Man we made Christmas our holiday. We start the holiday off with just our little tripod…coffee for the grown ups and presents for the kid. Then I heat up the brunch foods I have prepared in advance and wait for our moms to visit. I have food and drink spread out all day and I invite anyone to stop by anytime throughout the day or night. I love to entertain and feed my friends and family.

And seriously, Valentine’s Day was created by greeting card companies. I don’t need a holiday to tell my hubby I love him..I do that every day because I DO love him every day!!

6.  If you joined a band, would you prefer to do vocals or play an instrument? I played flute in middle and high school band. AND I sang in the choir. *secret* I always want to be a singer in a band. A bluegrass/folksy/country band.

7.  Hot weather or cold weather? HOT! I really dislike the cold weather!!! My ideal location would be somewhere sunny with temps ranging between 65 and 85. Tropical island, perchance?!?

8.  Calorie counting or tracking points? neither. I suck at tracking and I really hate it. When I track, I count calories. But really, I don’t track.

9.  Yoga or kickboxing? Both. I took a round of kickboxing classes a few years back and I do love it but these days yoga has my heart! I am enjoying the learning process and I already see a future for me and yoga. In fact, yoga is part of my secret dream.

10.  East Coast or West Coast? East Coast Baby! I have spent my entire life on the east coast…mostly sounthern New Jersey. It’s home. And if you talk to me for like five minutes you will know I am a jersey girl! I don’t think I will ever lose that east coast/ jersey girl attitude I have!


Now it’s your turn….this or that?!?


P.S. Thanks Kenlie!! I missed ya last week!! I have not participated nearly enough but last week I looked at least three times for your FMM post! I wanted to play! LOVE you girl!