Archive | May 2013

Our Flowers

Just a quick post to share photos of flowers that are in Mom Lockwood’s garden or my garden. Enjoy!

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Milk Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I can go on and on about how perfect of a cookie these Milk Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies are! Crunchy edges with chewy middles. Sweet milk chocolate with hearty oats. This just may be the best cookie I’ve ever baked. It was so, so good that I pulled out an evil momma moment when making these cookies (I’ll explain that at the bottom of this post). Here goes!

Printable Recipe: Milk Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients: 

  • 1 and 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

  • 1 cup butter or margarine at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

  • 1 egg

  • 2 and 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips (1/2 a bag of baking chips)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the brown sugar and butter/margarine with a large spoon.

  3. Add vanilla and egg. Stir till well combined.

  4. In a separate bowl, combine these dry ingredients flour, baking soda and salt. Stir till well combined. Add these dry ingredients slowly into the wet ingredients stirring well after each addition.

  5. Add the oats. Stir until well combined.

  6. Fold in the milk chocolate chips.

  7. Using a 1” cookie scoop, scoop cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown.

  8. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for an additional 5 minutes to allow the cookies to fully set-up. Remove cookies from cookie sheet onto a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

My Evil Momma Moment:

These cookies were so good, I mean, ate-6-right-off-the-cookie-sheet-while-they-were-still-blazing-hot good! I knew these babies weren’t going to last long in this house between a 3-year-old who binges on sweets and a 16-year-old who always has his friends over. I took a 1/3 of the dough and added 1/2 cup of shredded, sweetened coconut. Yep, I sure did. I did this knowing absolutely no one in this house likes coconut. None of our oldest son’s friends like coconut. I told the family it was to add more texture to the cookie for my blog (which in my very weak defense, it did add sweet texture). And I ate all 16 of my Milk Chocolate Chip Coconut Oatmeal Cookies by myself. In one sitting. Yep, Ate. Every. Last. One. Didn’t even stop to take a picture of the ones with coconut in them. Oh the sacrifices I make to keep this blog fresh…LOL

Keepsake Handprints

As Mother’s Day is fast approaching, I thought I would reblog this post for fantastic Mother’s Day gift ideas for both moms & grandmas! Easy and inexpensive yet PRICELESS! These handprint poems still adorn our wall and I can’t help but smile every time I walk by them. Happy Mother’s Day to all those blessed and fortunate to be a mom!

craftycreativekathy

There just isn’t anything much sweeter than your baby’s hand! They are so small, soft and ready to grab on to everything! I am all about memories. I’ve crafted and created many things over the years but the ones I love most are the ones where my children are part of it. Today I want to share with you my Keepsake Handprints craft that started on Mother’s Day in 2001 and was finished Mother’s Day 2012.

In May of 2001, I found this sweet poem online:

Sometimes you get discouraged

Because I am so small

And always leave my fingerprints

On furniture and walls.

But every day I’m growing –

I’ll be grown some day

And all those tiny hand prints

Will surely fade away.

So here’s a little hand print

Just so you can recall

Exactly how my fingers looked

When I was very small.

Stevie (our now 15…

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I Got 99 Momma Problems But Loving Him Ain’t One!

Our miracle child, Spencer, is turning 4 years old soon. He has a smile that literally melts your heart and devious eyes that often forewarns you that he is about to tear something up. We had no idea our lives were incomplete until we were blessed with Spencer. He came into this world blazing leaving a trail of destruction everywhere he went! I’m pretty sure even the devil said, “Oh shit” the day Spencer was born, lol. This kiddo is physically fast. Seriously, super duper fast. He wears his heart on his sleeve so when he is mad at you, watch out! He is brute strength to boot, able to make many of teenage boys drop to their knees with one of his blows (which being around 3.5 feet tall you can guess where most of his punches land). His personality draws you in and once he has you in his grasp, he will completely control you, lol. Folks often say, “he is all boy” and they really aren’t kidding! He is into making messes, wrestling, running, jumping, throwing, kicking, punching and everything else wild boys do. On the flip side, this kiddo is a lover as well. He loves to cuddle and makes everyone kiss him good-bye before walking out of the house. Yep, that’s Spencer in a nutshell! We love our Spencer so much! For his upcoming 4th birthday, I thought I’d share some of the crazy things he does or has done so far in his 4 years on Earth. So grab some popcorn, sit back and get ready to be amazed…because this momma got 99 problems but loving him ain’t one…

99. Spencer was about 1.5-years-old when we took him to Disneyworld. In Mickey’s playground he walked over to a little Asian kid that was roughly the same age who was sitting on the curb sandwiched between his parents. Oh how cute, Spencer is trying to make a friend. Spencer stood over him and looked down. In a blink of an eye, Spencer had two fists full of the kid’s jet-black hair and was yanking it up and down, up and down, up and down. Leave it to Spencer to traumatize a kid at Disneyworld of all places…

98. Spencer downloaded a Stripper app on to daddy’s cell phone. I could hear Nine Inch Nails Closer playing and found Spencer watching one of the strippers dancing on daddy’s cell phone. The app was deleted although daddy says he now has someone to blame if it should happen to reappear on his phone…

97. I have already said how fast Spencer is…while out eating dinner with friends at Frische’s Big Boy, he got down off his chair and ran out of sight. Daddy was hot on his tail and found him in the kitchen with the cooks…

96. In our queen-sized bed, I get about 10 inches of mattress, daddy gets about the same and Spencer gets the remaining 4 feet to himself…every night…

95. Spencer spills his cup of milk or juice at least 10 times a week…at least 10 times…

94. Spencer came out of the kitchen one day with an apple in each hand. He also took a bite from each of the apples. He said he was hungry…he ended eating up about half of each apple…so he could have only just taken one apple, right?

93. Spencer dropped this momma’s cell phone the other day breaking the case…

92. Remember the Stripper app on daddy’s phone? Spencer decided to download a Butt Bounce app on momma’s phone. Yep, it was butts bouncing. The app has since been deleted…

91. Spencer thought it would be awesome to draw a design with urine on the living room carpet while he was peeing…wish I could say this only happened once…watch the wet spots if you come over…

90. Don’t ever, never, ever stop a DVD movie until the credits at the end have fully run. He dances to the music, no matter how fast or slow the beat is. Do not stop this boy from his dancing or hellfire will rain down on you…

89. Spencer thought our light beige couch would look better with orange permanent marker streaks…

88. Spencer likes to gargle…gargle whatever he is drinking…over and over…and over…

87. You know the classic tantrums? The ones where the kiddo is banging his head on the floor, punching with his fists and kicking hard…Spencer has mastered that…

86. Spencer thinks burping really loud is cool…doesn’t matter where you are or how many people are around…

85. Our DVR can only record 2 shows at once and if you have the TV on, you have to have one of those shows playing in order for both to be recorded. Spencer doesn’t agree with that. He changes the channel and we inevitably lose one of the shows we tried to record…

84. Spencer’s big brother had some of his closest friends over. Spencer came up from the basement and informed us the “dark kid” wanted something to drink…thank God Tyrone had a sense of humor…

83. Spencer likes to take momma’s cup and take a sip of her pop. Every so often, he also likes to put the sip right back into the cup…gross…

82. Yes, after 17 years, the hubby and I still spoon as we fall asleep or at least we used to. Spencer has staked claim of daddy’s arm and will not shut-up until daddy puts his arm around him. So not only do we not spoon anymore, but daddy has his back to me facing Spencer so he can hold him. Those 10 inches of mattress gets lonely sometimes for this momma…

81. Spencer likes to take the throw pillows off the couch to make a landing pad…

80. He uses the landing pad of pillows when jumping off the couch…a lot of times he misses the landing pad…

79. Momma was frustrated with not being able to clear a level on Candy Crush. I had one “life” left until I had to wait the 20 minutes or whatever for another “life”. I walked away from the computer to clear my mind. I wanted to make sure that since this was my gazillionth time I would be attempting to clear this level that I was totally relaxed before using that last “life”. I walked in the kitchen to get a drink. I came back to find Spencer was playing my last “life” on Candy Crush. Turns out he didn’t clear the level either…

78. Remember Spencer burping as loud as he can because he thinks it is cool? Well, he feels the same way about farting…

77. Spencer tries to ride our chocolate lab, Hershey, like a horse. He’s only been bucked off once that I know of…

76. Remember the orange permanent marker? He also thought black ballpoint pen streaks would go well with the orange permanent marker…

75. Spencer climbed up on his stool in the bathroom while momma was in the kitchen cooking. He decided to use daddy’s razor to shave himself. He only sustained minor abrasions with that stunt…

74. While watching a movie on DVD with the lights off in the living room…we hear Spencer sniffling. Upon further inspection, we notice that there are far less unpopped popcorn kernels in the bowl than usual. No…would he? Of course he would. We suspected he shoved a kernel up his nose. We ended up going to the ER where they had to use tools to get out the popcorn kernel…

73. Mimi, one of Spencer’s teenage “girlfriends” (one of Spencer’s older brother’s friends) taught Spencer how to flip people off because she thought it was funny. Spencer decided to try it on his 78-year-old great-grandmother, which of course was after throwing his shoes at her. I believe he made her cry. We made him apologize for that although I think she is permanently scarred and has a true fear of him now…

72. When Spencer is playing with momma’s cell phone, he sometimes likes to take pictures of all his body parts…although that was a picture of the crook of his elbow while he was “flexing” his muscles; it actually looked more like the beginning of a butt crack…

71. Spencer likes to tell knock knock jokes…like, “Knock, knock”…”Who’s there?”…”Banana”…”Banana who?”…”Banana Tyler”…nope, makes no damn sense…he will tell you that joke 30 times in a row…in less than 2 minutes…

70. Spencer has fallen off the couch I don’t know how many times. Sometimes from the seat, sometimes from the armrest and sometimes right off the back of the couch…he never hurts himself. We think he is indestructible…

69. Speaking of indestructible…turns out Tupperware isn’t. Spencer has successfully chipped or cracked several of my bowls…

68. Spencer charmed Pam, an employee at the local food mart, with his winning smile. So Pam bought him a little bouncy ball from the toys that are near the cash registers. Now Spencer expects Pam (or daddy) to buy him a bouncy ball every time he goes into the local food market…remember the tantrum master bit?

67. Remember when I said they pulled out a popcorn kernel from Spencer’s nose? Well, they could see a 2nd one lodged. They were able to pull it out with long tweezers and suctioning…at this point momma and daddy are a bit embarrassed…

66. Spencer figured out how to clear out every single contact on my cell phone. When’s the last time you remembered a phone number? This momma didn’t even know our landline phone number…

65. We put up Spencer’s crib before he was born. He never, ever, never slept in it…

64. We put up Spencer’s toddler bed up when he was 1.5-years-old. He has never, ever, never slept in it either…

63. Although I’ve told him a gazillion times, no throwing balls in the house, Spencer managed to throw his Mickey Mouse ball underneath the Christmas tree and into a corner. I told him to leave it; daddy would have to get it out from under the tree…

62. Momma was using the bathroom but Spencer had to pee right now! So Daddy took him out back (it was dark out) and let him pee off the porch. Guess where he always wants to pee now?

61. Spencer likes to send random texts of incoherent words to different people he finds under my contacts in my cell phone…

60. We try not to buy toy weapons for Spencer…the vacuum hose attachment has some how turned into his semi-automatic riffle…

59. Spencer never ever stops talking while awake…Never. Ever. Stops. Ever…

58. Remember the great-grandmother he threw shoes at and flipped off? He also called her a “bitch” (thanks again to Mimi who thought it was funny to teach him that word) and told his great-grandma “me don’t like you”. Great-grandma is really traumatized now…

57. Remember that ball he threw under the Christmas tree that I told him not to go get…he got it and took the Christmas tree down in the process. We only lost half of our ornaments…

56. Remember when I said they pulled out two popcorn kernels from Spencer’s nose? Well, there actually was a 3rd one shoved back there. Yep, they were able to get that 3rd one too but at that point momma and daddy were super embarrassed so much so we couldn’t even make eye contact with the doctors…

55. One time at his big bubby’s baseball game and while we were cleaning up after feeding the teams a lunch, Spencer was out of sight. Spencer was nowhere to be found. Daddy followed a set of wagon tracks through the grass and found Spencer, you guessed it, a football field’s length away walking by himself pulling his wagon…

54. Spencer once got a hold of the remote and somehow ordered an On Demand movie for us…popcorn anyone? Well, ok, no popcorn for Spencer…

53. Spencer has this weird love of shredded cheese. He opens the fridge and grabs handfuls out of the packages. Of course he drops an equivalent amount inside the fridge on several shelves, inside the door shelves and so on…

52. Remember when the Christmas tree came crashing down smashing half of our ornaments? Well, when daddy set it back up, he didn’t quite get it straight and balanced. It came crashing down again shattering the remaining ornaments. I’m still blaming Spencer for the 2nd tree fall; it wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t make the Christmas tree fall the first time…

51. Spencer always goes down in the basement with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend. He often yells, “Stop kissing” tattling on his brother. Oh wait…that’s not a problem, that’s a good thing…but I’m sure Spencer’s brother thinks that is a problem…

50. Spencer thinks he can break dance…

49. If Spencer doesn’t like something he is eating, he spits it out. Repeatedly. Over and over. Spit, spit, spit, spit, spit, spit until there’s at least a 3 foot radius of Spencer’s DNA splattered all around…

48. Spencer thinks he is part ninja…he runs jumps, flips, flops, kicks, bounces…then repeats it again and again and again and again and again…

47. This momma still hasn’t cleared that level on Candy Crush…

46. Spencer was curious about how much yarn is in a skein. He tested this with momma’s crochet supplies. In case you are wondering, a skein roughly has 364 yards of yarn. It wraps around your furniture nicely several times over…

45. Spencer shares all of his food with our chocolate lab, Hershey. No, it’s not when he is done eating his share. It’s while he is eating. One bite for Spencer, one bite for Hershey, one bite for Spencer, one bite for Hershey…

44. Whenever momma makes cookies and piles it high on a plate, Spencer likes to take a bite of a cookie and put it back on the plate…he does this with several cookies…

43. Spencer thinks he can scale the TV stand like it’s Mt. Everest or something…

42. Remember when they pulled out 3 popcorn kernels from his nose? Well, a few months later we were sharing a bowl of popcorn. Certainly the kiddo learned his lesson and wouldn’t stick another kernel up his nose again, right? So Spencer starts sniffling again, unfreakingbelievable! I rushed him to the ER however this time there wasn’t anything shoved up his nostril. Now this momma looked all crazy and paranoid. The ER staff was looking at me sideways…I just know they were judging me…

41. Spencer loves cell phones; he knows how to download games and will wipe out all of your memory loading game after game after game on to your cell phone…

40. Remember when I told Spencer to not play with the ball in the house at Christmas time? He still plays with the ball in the house…not only does he spill his milk or juice at least 10 times a week, he spills momma’s drinks 10 times a week…at least 10 times a week…

39. Don’t yell at Spencer in public…he can drop huge crocodile tears in a blink of an eye with such a horrible whimper that all passersby are certain he is being mistreated by us mean, awful parents…

38. Spencer has to be touching you when he is sleeping, directly touching you…sometimes it’s his foot shoved up your neck but he is at least still touching you…

37. Spencer pulled his pants down to his knees at one of his bubby’s baseball games. Thankfully he left his underwear up but he was happily walking around showing off his striped underoos while he laughed hysterically…

36. Spencer never listens to his momma except when she uses curse words…he always hears that and always repeats it at the wrong time when out in public surrounded by tons of people…damn it!

35. Spencer also thinks he can scale the fish aquarium like it’s Mt Everest or something…

34. We have never brought Spencer around a new puppy…we are certain he would squeeze one to death with his brute strength and we don’t want the Humane Society all up in our business…

33. We have never brought Spencer around a new baby…I think it’s obvious why…

32. Spencer always wedges himself between his older brother and his older brother’s girlfriend whenever she is over at our house…wait, that’s a good thing for us…but I’m sure it’s a problem for his older brother…

31. Spencer likes Windex…so much so he sprayed a 1/4 of the bottle down the heat register…it did smell fresh and clean for a little while every time the heater kicked on…

30. Great-grandma lives next door. When we are leaving and trying to get out of the house, I often have my hands full with stuff…Spencer always bolts out the door and runs over to great-grandma’s house. He rings her door bell over and over and over and over and then runs back to our house laughing hysterically…did I already mention she is 78-years-old?

29. The other mommas we know suggest that I should volunteer at the elementary school when Spencer starts kindergarten…you know, so I can intercept him on the many occasions he is sent to the principal’s office…

28. Spencer is left-handed…no wait, he is throwing with his right…no left, no right…oh shit, he can hit us from both sides…

27. When momma steps outside to get something out of the car or the mail, Spencer likes to lock the front door behind her…this includes the dead bolt…momma can hear him laughing. He always does eventually unlock the door but this is after momma has threatened him with bodily harm at the top of her lungs for all neighbors to hear…

26. Great-grandma sent over a Ziploc bag of cut up cantaloupe that we put in the fridge…turns out Spencer knows how to open a Ziploc bag and remove pieces of cantaloupe…that was a sticky mess in the fridge…

25. One of Spencer’s cousins is only 2 years older than him…Spencer makes him cry every time they play together…

24. Spencer liked to take momma’s anniversary ring and put it on his finger…one time, he couldn’t remember where he put it down at…

23. Remember the 3 unpopped popcorn kernels shoved up Spencer’s nose? Let’s all pause for a moment and say “thank you” because peanut M&Ms are too big to shove up his nostril…no the chocolate doesn’t melt in your hands but the food dye can and does stain a nostril a glorious blue hue that is horribly hard to scrub off of such a tiny nose…

22. For about a 6-month period, Spencer had only one pose for any pictures I would take of him…the “spread my legs as far as I can” pose…

21. While watching the travel channels top 10 beaches show…Spencer yelled over and over he wants to go to a bitch…close enough…

20. Remember the fish aquarium climbing? There are no fishes in the aquarium. Spencer thought they were hungry and fed the entire can of fish food to them…

19. We are thinking of putting Spencer in flag football this fall to get some of that energy out…we aren’t sure he will grasp the flag part and just go for full-on illegal helmet hits…can kiddos get thrown out of little league games?

18. Spencer knows how to roll his eyes at you…in fact; he has mastered the eye-rolling bit…

17. When people come over, Spencer hugs them tight and proclaims his love for them…then he promptly demands their cell phones so that he can also try to clear all their contacts while he downloads a stripper dancing on a pole and a butt bouncing app onto their cell phones…

16. Spencer saw motocross on TV…he says he wants to do that…Spencer saw snowboarding on TV…he says he wants to do that…Spencer watched extreme skateboarding on TV…he says he wants to do that…honey, we will need to keep the higher medical insurance coverage until the maximum age of 26 for dependents…

15. When we were out to eat one time at Bob Evans, the waitress took a fancy to our Spencer and started talking to him in a baby voice…Spencer looked down at his fingers…aw, he’s going to show her he is 3-years-old…oh…no…he just flipped her off…

14. Momma’s cell phone screen was clean once…when it was first removed from its box. It has since been junked up with a bunch of sticky traces of God knows what thanks to Spencer’s grubby little hands when he is downloading stripper and butt apps…

13. It is obvious when Spencer is getting tired, he goes into overdrive of his part ninja persona…he runs, jumps, flips, flops, kicks and bounces harder, higher and faster for about 30 minutes before passing out wherever he landed last…sometimes it is face up, sometimes he is face down…

12. Spencer’s new thing is to run up to you and say, “I got good news” in which he waits for you to say “what’s the good news” and his response is somewhere along the lines of his knock knock jokes…he repeats his “good news’ skit several times over…I’m not sure which is worse? The “good news” bit or the “knock knock” jokes…

11. Spencer has known how to turn the TV channel to Nick Jr since he was oh, about one-years-old…so don’t leave the remote within his reach because he will turn the channel just at the good part of whatever you were watching…

10. We have steam cleaned our carpet at least a dozen times since Spencer was born…still smells a little like urine…

9.  Remember the missing anniversary ring? Spencer found it! Ok, #9 wasn’t a problem but this momma was really sad the few weeks it was gone from problem #24…

8.  Spencer found nail clippers once…he decided to cut one of his fingernails…it eventually healed…

7.  We went out to Fazoli’s for dinner one night. While we were ordering food, Spencer spotted a kid who was probably 5 years old and punched him hard yelling, “you it” and then promptly ran off…I think he will have problems making friends when he starts school…hence, another reason I will probably have to volunteer at his school…

6. We all know that you don’t wake a sleeping bear…the same goes for Spencer…he will give you the titanic of tantrum that he and only he has mastered to that extreme level…

5.  When Spencer is super mad and throwing a massive tantrum, he likes to pick up anything in sight and throw it…turns out his aim is pretty good…

4.  Because of Spencer’s belief that he is part ninja, he is never without some sort of bruise on his head…I wonder what strangers think when they see him out in public?

3.  Spencer likes to dress himself, not necessarily with his own clothes or necessarily covering his whole body…

2.  Not only does Spencer get 80% of our mattress…he typically gets that much in blankets as well…so momma gets lonely and cold sometimes on her 10% of mattress…

1.  This is a strange one…Spencer gets really pissed off if you sing the ABCs…I mean, screaming fits of rage…he only wants you to say each letter one by one with pauses in between…this momma doesn’t think he’s going to do well in kindergarten…yep, I’m going to just go ahead and commit to volunteering at his school…

Yes, this momma has 99 problems (actually there is probably a quadruple, bamboozle, trizillionth more problems I could have posted about Spencer) but loving that baby isn’t one of them. Thank you Jay-Z & Ice-T for your 99 Problems song that gave me the inspiration to write this post. Spencer definitely has turned our world upside down these last 4 years and we wouldn’t want it any other way! Spencer is our miracle child and we are blessed to have him in our lives!

Dr. Seuss said it best: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Spencer, you are one of a kind!

Mommy, Daddy & Bubby love you to the moon and back!

My Musical Life So Far

I am a firm believer in music. It transcends time, cultures and all human indifferences. When I hear a song, I can tell you roughly what year it is from and what was significant that year for me. Do I know all the words? Of course not but that doesn’t stop me from singing at the top of my lungs, lol! I played the violin growing up. So my first love is classical music. As you will see in the songs below, I listen to everything, I mean everything. I just love music. I am feeling a bit nostalgic tonight and wanted to share some of the songs of my life from about age 16 on. It’s been a long road with more bumps than one person deserves to have. But it is my life. Every struggle, every tear, every ounce of pain coupled with all the laughter, joy and love has made me who I am. You have to take the good with the bad. I’m not saying it’s ever going to be easy. Life throws some really crappy curve balls at you…it’s your choice to swing at it or go down looking.

I have always chosen to swing.

At This Moment – Billy Vera

Not too many folks know this but I was a foster kid. The story is far too long to get into and so long ago that it is not that significant to me anymore. Bottom line, my mother struggled to care for us. She found a way out and took it. It took years for me to accept this. Yep, if you really want to free yourself, you have to truly forgive; even if that person never even apologized. My father was splitsville years before children services. He took off when I was 9 and I wouldn’t see him again until I was 41-years-old. That’s a story for another day. I am a firm believer that there are lessons to be learned with every experience. My lesson during my teen years was what kind of mother I swore I would not become. This song’s meaning I’m sure is about lost love. However for me, I can remember laying in bed and playing this over and over on a cassette tape. This song to me was about lost parents. I just wanted my mom and dad to know that despite how awful they were that I would still love them if they would just come back. I know that seems terribly sad and trust me, those teen years were. Again, I am thankful for how it all turned out. My senior year in high school, I was in the Emancipation Program. I was placed in my own apartment and given financial assistance by the county children services. Every month, the county would provide less and less assistance until I was completely independent. I worked 30 hours a week while finishing my senior year in high school. Yep, my high school years were a wild ride. I still graduated in the top 25% of my class. I was also a cheerleader and ha, was even prom queen. I earned an academic scholarship to ODC. I would be stupid though and would turn it down to follow some guy off to college. Had I not been a foster kid, would I have gone off to college? I was considered “independent” since I was a foster kid and received every piece of financial aid available which made college possible. So no, my parents weren’t around, it is what it is. There still was some good that came out of my yucky childhood, I knew who I wouldn’t become and I turned out to be very self-driven and self-sufficient…

Release Me – Wilson Phillips

Because I bounced between homes, I was dependent on one person; this guy I dated for a long time. We were really awful for each other. Really awful. He was a crappy boyfriend and I was a crappy girlfriend but it was the only stable thing in my life. I could have never walked away from it had he not made it so unbearable to be with him. He wasn’t going to break up either so he just drove me to it. This is one of those unanswered prayers that I’m thankful for. I thought I was going to marry him and he is nowhere near the man I did end up marrying. He showed me everything I didn’t want in a man; there were still life lessons learned even in this breakup…

Enter Sandman – Metallica

My favorite band of all time? Metallica. Yep, bang your head on that one, lol! That breakup was pure hell. I was lost with a lot of pent-up emotions. We dated from our sophomore year in high school almost through my freshman year in college. That next fall, I played Metallica’s Black album on the loudest setting my car stereo could handle every time I was in my car. What was I driving? An MR2. I was working damn near full-time while going to school full-time. I had an apartment with a couple of friends and my pride and joy was my Toyota MR2 I bought used (only 3 years old). I drove that car hard. It was a standard and I bought it without even knowing how to drive a stick. I learned how pretty quick though, lol! I needed to feel good about myself and this car helped lots. Yep, and I got a lot of that anger out blasting Black…and I only dropped the clutch once, lol!

Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes

Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett

Both the Violent Femmes and Jimmy got me over him. It also brings back ripping great memories of my college years. I left Ohio Wesleyan after my first year of college (since I only went there to follow that guy who begged me to go there because that’s where he was recruited to play basketball) and transferred to Ohio Dominican College (yep, it was a college before it was a university and there wasn’t a football team at ODC either back then, lol). It was one long party starting every Thursday all the way through Sunday. There were several of us who hung out together in a group. No one was dating each other. Sure there were crushes but nothing really ever came of them. Well, except Shelley and Jim. They did get married. The rest of us though just enjoyed clubbing, weekend getaways, fairs, amusement parks, concerts and all the other fun stuff every young 20-something-year-olds should be enjoying. These were good times! I traveled to Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, Acapulco and tons of other places with my college buddies. I was heavily involved in community service belonging to different state-wide programs. Heck, the then Governor Voinovich hand selected me to take part in his Intergenerational Initiative. Okay, maybe not him directly but his staff, lol. I was also president of the Ohio Youth Action Council for a year. I kick started several community service projects while volunteering at an inner-city school. I was majoring in social work and really thought I was going to change the world. I did several TV and newspaper interviews. I gave speeches at the Ohio Senate and the Governor’s Mansion. My agenda was always about the foster kids. I wanted them all to have more than I did. Lots more. I was children services’ walking billboard of how a foster kid could turn out and whenever they needed to promote their image, I was the go-to-gal. So I was all about service and having fun in my early 20s. I saw Jimmy Buffett twice at Buckeye Lake. I’m sure the concerts were great, I just don’t remember much, lol! If my teenage son is reading this post, it was because I was busy studying while everyone else was partying, ahem. Fun, fun, fun times they were!

I Saw the Sign – Ace of Base

I loved this song. It was quirky and fun but I did at the time see the sign. I was over him and was beginning to realize that I wasn’t dead set on my current career choice in social work. Yep, I saw the signs…

Come To My Window – Melissa Etheridge

Have you ever really listened to Melissa Etheridge’s songs? I saw her in concert with the Indigo Girls at Miami University of Ohio. That was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. Her songs are powerful. She exudes female strength. I was gaining my strength and in her songs I felt the power within…I finally was at peace with being single. I was truly independent. I was me…

Forever and Ever – Randy Travis

I finally loved myself and once I loved myself, I was finally truly open to being loved. Here is where Steve, my future husband, came into my life. It was a whirlwind romance. Seriously, whirlwind! One of best-friends’ sister was married to this awesome guy named Bobby. My best-friend threw a surprise 25th wedding anniversary for his parents. Bobby invited his best-friend, Steve, to the party. My best-friend paid for the whole party which was a huge feat considering we were only 22 or 23 years old at the time. To cut costs, he elicited the help of his friends. I was vacuuming the rented hall following the party. Steve came up to me and said, “let me do that for you.” He took the vacuum and swept the entire hall. Hmmmm….I thought. Then I was taking out the trash to the dumpsters. Steve came up behind me and said, “let me get that” and took the garbage bags out of my hands. HMMMMMMmmmm…he vacuums and takes out the trash?? It was love at first sight I tell ya! The next weekend, my room-mate and I hatched a plan to throw a fake keg party so that I would have a reason to invite him over. He came on his motorcycle. Name one 22-year-old gal who wouldn’t find that hot?! The next week, my room-mate and I were moving out. She was going to law school and I was still screwing around with my undergrad. I had an apartment already picked out and signed the lease. Steve moved in with me. Two months later, he proposed to me under our first Christmas tree. We planned for our wedding and scheduled it for the next summer. I found an incredible wedding dress for $550.00. I had worked extra hours to pay for it all by myself. Well, 4 months after Steve had proposed, the stick was blue. We scratched the big wedding plans and were married that following Friday by the Mayor of Obetz in his law office located in Groveport. It has been over 17 years now and we are still going strong. We have never been apart since that fake keg party. I also still have that wedding dress with the original tags still attached. I didn’t account for the baby bump when I was sized for my wedding dress, lol. Steve has the most angelic voice when he sings. In those early months, he sang this song over and over to me. He would even sing me to sleep…

Lady – Kenny Rogers

Well, you already know I married Steve but I had always said that I would only marry the man who memorized Lady word for word and serenaded me with this song. After a month of being together, Steve cuddled close to me and sang me this song, word for word. Yep, he is that amazingly sweet and the marriage proposal came about one month later. I originally had this song on an 8 track…

You are not Alone – Michael Jackson

I can’t tell you how fun it was playing house with Steve. Our first apartment together was so special. I often worked later than him. When I would come home, he would have this song playing and a glass of sweet tea on ice waiting for me. Yep, he is really that amazing…

Love Will Keep Us Alive – Eagles

This was our wedding song…our love song. Who knew it would foretell what was to come with PH…

It’s Your Love – Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

Steve and I have an incredibly strong marriage. I am madly in love with him. Why is it so strong? Because we WORK it. We do everything together. Do we fight? Hell yes. Does it ever last more than half an hour? Never. He is my rock and my anchor.

Follow Me – Uncle Cracker

Was our son, Steve Jr., planned? Heck no. But man do we love him like crazy. He is our world. The three of us were inseparable. This was one of Stevie’s favorite songs when he was around 4-years-old. I can still remember looking in the rearview mirror and seeing Stevie screaming out the lyrics. He loved, loved, loved this song. So whenever I hear it, I can’t help but smile because I see our little boy bopping around in his carseat belting out the words. Happy thoughts…

My Front Porch Looking In – Lonestar

We waited two years after Stevie was born before trying to have another child. Turns out Stevie was somewhat of a miracle because 3 fertility doctors, several fertility drugs and 3 years later, we weren’t pregnant. We were told that our only chance would be in vitro fertilization as my ovaries were crappy. The cost back then would have been roughly $10,000 and had no guarantees. Steve and I decided that it just wasn’t meant to be. We were blessed with Stevie and were truly thankful for that.

Lose Yourself – Eminem

After Stevie was born, I went back to work knowing that Steve’s grandma was babysitting Stevie. One Friday, we got a call that grandma had a stroke. Grandma had some deficits and would need to be cared for. What are we to do? We didn’t know of anyone else who could babysit our son. We could have flipped coins on who would stay home to take care of our son. We both were making the same amount of money. Steve insisted it be me. I am so glad for the opportunity. His insistence I be an at-home mom was the greatest gift he had ever given me. That following Monday, I called into work and told them I would not be back, ever. It was a struggle living on one income. No cable, no cell phones, no eating out and it was all worth it. I wouldn’t trade those years with Stevie for anything! When Stevie started kindergarten, I went back to college but this time for nursing. Let me tell you, going from an arts degree to a science degree is a huge leap! I had to start at the beginning because the only science I took for social work was astrology or something else crazy like that. I was determined though. I studied my ass off. I am harder on myself than anyone else could ever be. Before every major exam, I would listen to this Eminem song to get me focused:

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

Eminem got me through nursing school…

Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw

It was just after graduating from nursing school when our lives would be turned upside down. I was finally making enough money that Steve could cut back his hours and go back to school himself. That was always the deal. He worked 3 jobs putting me through nursing school and once I was nurse, I would make enough that he could quit his 3 crappy jobs and go to school. At my first job, my physical didn’t go to well…several tests later, I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. What?! What the hell is that?! There is no cure and I will continue to decline. I worked my ass off to get through nursing school. My husband sacrificed time and labor putting me through nursing school. PH wasn’t going to stop me. I worked and worked hard. I pinned my IV pump to my bra and battled through my shifts for over five years. Very few people had any idea of how sick I was. But I decided early on that I am going to live my life to the fullest, I’m going to play hard and love deeply. That’s what this song is all about. You live life differently when you are terminal. I am not just existing; I am LIVING…

Photograph – Nickleback

I live life differently. It’s all about the memories. I want my kids to remember their mommy. I take tons of photos. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love pictures. I am always with a camera in hand. I wake up everyday knowing that it will become a memory. So I make sure it is a good one…

Life is a Highway – Rascal Flats

I didn’t choose the majority of crappy things that have happened in my life but I chose how I was going to handle it. My childhood and my PH doesn’t define or control me…

Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

Everyday is a battle. Everyday. Getting out of bed. Getting dressed. Walking more than 20 feet. Talking for any extended amount of time. Balancing the can’t do with the can do lists of my life. I am sick but I am strong…screw you PH!

Jesus, Take the Wheel – Carrie Underwood

In 2008, the unthinkable happened. We were assured by 3 different fertility experts 12.5 years ago that the chance of it happening was zilch to none. We were pregnant. Pregnancy is contraindicated for folks who have PH. Women with PH as severe as mine rarely survive after delivery. We were told I had a 50% chance I would not survive the first 72 hours after delivery because of my PH. We then asked what’s the baby’s survival rate? My cardiologist replied, “good, 100%”. Our minds were made up, we were having this baby no matter what. I put it in God’s hands and prayed he would let me stick around to be a mommy to another child. I asked Jesus to just take the wheel. Thank God his plan was for me to survive. We had no idea our family was incomplete until Spencer was born. Now we are complete. We are blessed, really blessed.

Everything I do I do it for You – Bryan Adams

Am I pissed I have PH? Some days. Most days though I don’t care. What I care about is our two children and my marriage. I PHight for them. Everything I do I do it for them. I love the three men in my life…