little lady - a wee bit.

Willow and Mac

Auntie DoDo calls Willow Little Lady.  The other afternoon Willow is eating her snack and decides to share with Mac, our Bernese Mountain Dog.  Mac gets a little excited and nips a little too hard when grabbing his snack from Willow, so Willow says, "No Mac! No hurt Little Lady!"  (21 months old)

Willow and mac

The Feel of Cancer

Keith with our four children after brain surgery.

No matter how deep you bury it, it never completely goes away.  
I'm not talking about the memories of the person, I'm talking about the memories of the cancer.  
Jess and i went to see a movie last night titled 50/50.  
It started off a little uncomfortably with some foul language and uncomfortable scenes, but then it got really good.  

We laughed, we cried... then we cried some more.

Jessie and I were some of the last to be sitting in the theater after the movie ended, both of us with our eyes still wet, staring straight ahead at the screen.
Keith is often in my thoughts.  When I look at one of the kids and see his smile, when I look at Tanner and he is raising his eyebrows just like his dad used to... When I have flashes into the past that  a photo, a place, or a song has sparked.  These are the good thoughts, the good memories...the ones that make you warm, and happy.

Some of the scenes in the movie made me feel like I was right back in the moment... Sitting with Keith when we found out that he had cancer.   
The way the 
                world starts spinning, 
and the words being spoken become muted.
The way you walk through your days in a fog, barely feeling, yet feeling it all. And I wasn't the one with cancer- I was just the one who loved the one with cancer.  

My whole world started spinning again as I watched this movie.  

The shaving of the head because having some control over when he lost his hair mattered, the time over the toilet after chemo...wishing there was something I could do to help take away the pain, to take away the sickness...the times when the doctor said, "The treatment isn't working...the cancer is spreading."  These are the bad moments-- the memories you try to bury.
You can't explain that feeling to someone who has never experienced it, and you hope they will never know what you don't want to, 
       or can't, 
It is a place you wish you could forget that you had been, but you never, ever can.  Especially when you watch movies like this.

I still wonder if it is a good thing or a bad thing to bring those memories to the surface.  Maybe they help me remember how precious life is, how precious the time with my loved ones is.  Or maybe they just take me back to a place I never wanted to visit in the first place... either way, it's time to bury it all again for now...It's just easier that way.

What Would I Have Done Differently? (Part One...)

Growing Hands photo (c) 2011, Andrew Blight - license:

Raising a baby at this time in my life has made me ask that question a lot.
AND THE ANSWER IS...(Drum roll, please!):   
A few BIG things sprinkled with a lot of little things.   

When we bring a child into the world we aren't given a manual, a step-by-step checklist, or a written plan on how to turn that helpless, precious baby into a productive, positive, faith filled adult.  

And if we were given the luxury of such a plan, each child's would be significantly different,  because that's the way God made us-- all different.  (Why, Oh Why, couldn't it be simple??

Having raised all of our kids so far into their teenage years I am able to look back and see the positive (and sometimes negative) results of my parenting choices. 

I don't have enough time, nor enough courage, to lay it all out right here and now, but this is what I will share...

I would take care of ME more.  
Now I know that sounds self-centered, and you are thinking, How could that possibly make life better for a child you are raising?  Let me tell you- It makes life better for everyone!

In the process of taking care of my family, I forgot to take care of me.  

Selfless, loving, giving...  All of the things I thought I was being.  Exhausted, impatient, and sometimes bitter were what I had become.
What do I mean by taking care of me?  I mean taking time for myself...time to exercise, time to be alone, time to be with friends, time (and money) to get my hair or nails done... I always put myself last.  
Isn't that what any good Mom would do?  
                      Nope.  I know that now.

The healthier I am spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally- the better Mom I am.  This doesn't mean that I spend most of my day at the spa or at the gym.  
It means that I TRY to schedule time for me....sometimes...instead of never.

Expect More.   
I guess you could say I felt sorry for my kids.  I mean, they watched their Dad battle brain cancer for 5 years, only to lose him at a young age.  Throw some ADD, Anxiety, and Learning Disabilities into the mix and, well, it left me wanting to make life easier for them sometimes.  


If our parents have high expectations for us that are placed with love, we tend grow into them.  If our parents have low expectations of us,  we tend to settle for good enough.   At times I set my expectations for my kids too low, mostly because I didn't want them to ever feel like they had failed me, or that they weren't good enough.  

I wish in more situations I had pushed them to not just settle for good enough, but instead to push the limit.

That's all the confession you get from me today! I take comfort in knowing that God knew my heart during those years, as He still does now, and that I did and continue to place my children at His feet through prayer.  We all do the best we can based on what we know.  

Oh, if I only knew then 
                                   what I think I know now... 

peace of pizza - a wee bit.

Rocking her to sleep at night, I often sing the song "The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you, and give you peace, and give you peace forever."  The other night while rocking and singing this to her, her eyes are closed as she's drinking her bottle and drifting off to sleep, I get to the verse "...and give you peace, and give you peace for...." Her eyes pop open and she pulls her bottle from her mouth, "Piece!  Piece a pizza!  Piece a pizza!"  Yes, Willow.  "... and give you peace, and give you pi-ece of pi-zza."  (20 months old)

A new room for wee one.

I know.... It's been a long time since i've checked in.  I've been busy! 
Boyfriend has been in Japan on a business trip for the last three weeks (And i am missing him like crazy!!)
so...I have been busy finishing up some projects around here- like Willow's room!  
What do you think?  

So I already shared the bedding with you (Thanks Chella and Brian!) that the room was designed around.

I started by painting the walls soft yellow and green, matching the bedding.  
I then started painting the tree.  
This was A LOT harder than I thought it would be...that is until I decided I was making it too hard!  
Yep, I was trying to make it perfect, 
but after I just relaxed and let my creative energy flowww, It turned out great!
I was going to cut out leaves from scrapbook paper for the tree, but on a trip to my local Kohls I found these cool wall decals that had not only leaves that matched perfectly, but some ADORABLE owls and birds to boot! 

(What does "to boot" mean ?!)  

I hung a little birdhouse, and I must say it adds just the right touch to the adorableness!
I put a brown beanbag chair and a basket of books
              at the bottom of the tree,

                 you know, for those times when she just feels like                       sitting under a tree                              
       and reading a book :)

Next was an idea I got from Family Fun.  
A clothesline to hold Wee One's cute little hats and coats!  
I just painted the posts and the line, added a bird from the Kohl's find, and a few drawer pulls for hooks!  

Cute, cute, cute!
Add the growth chart and mobile I made for Willow's first birthday...

and some special items, like the bird painting her BM (Bio Momma) painted and a chest that my late husband made
for me, and we have a room that Wee One LOVES! 
I have a few small (But too cute not to share!) projects to do before I consider the room done.  Stay tuned for more!

Willow's Journey

Willow's Journey

I could kick myself for not keeping a baby book for Willow....(I won't, because I am against violence, but I do deserve a good kick!)

I thought about it often, but every time the thought crossed my mind, guilt and sadness overwhelmed my being. 

"I am not the one that should be keeping a baby book, filling in all of the precious firsts that take place in Wee ones life..."  is what I kept telling myself.  Truth is, I was the one that has been blessed to see all of those precious moments that Moms treasure. 

Willow's  first time rolling over, sitting up, her first tooth, crawling and then walking...the  dancing and singing.  Do I remember it all?  Yes, I was there for all of it! but I wish i would have documented it all for her to read about when she is older.

I am going to make up for it!  Right here, right NOW I am going to record all of the wonderful things that happen on Wee Willow's Journey and share it with you! 

Now, since I am behind I most likely will be sharing some exciting "firsts" from her past as well.  Why not?  I can share whatever I want here... It is my blog, right? (And I'm sure there will be lots of photos thrown in just for fun!)

tiny feet, high heels.

tiny feet high heals

Tiny feet, High Heels. 

Is the love of shoes inherent for some?  
I'd like to think that I am not responsible for this obsession Willow has for shoes.

Not only is she constantly putting on other people's shoes,  she seems to find the need to point out to complete strangers that they, too, are wearing shoes.

Sometimes it's cute.... other times, not so cute.   "Shoes...dirty." While pointing at the strangers feet with a disgusted look on her face.  
When she spots a pair that she really likes on someone, she get's excited, "Shoes! Shoes!" Smiling like she's just run into an old friend.
Sadly, one of her first words was "Boots."  
                          Yep, I will admit, I have a problem.  I LOVE BOOTS!!  
Apparently Wee One does, too. 
Walking through a mall when she was barely a year old she would point out every pair of boots she saw, and proudly say her newly acquired word..."Boots!"  Oops.
tiny feet high heals
The Impressive thing  about Willow wearing the shoes in the photo above was the fact that she could actually walk in them!  

This has been a reminder to me that I have a huge impact on what is important in Wee One's little life... I hope she sees how much I value my God, my family, and friends as much as she sees my love of shoes!  

Which reminds me...Did I tell you about her asking for  for coclat over and over the other day?  Yep, she meant CHOCOLATE.  Now where did she learn that word?!

smells- a wee bit.


While cooking tonight Willow asked DoDo, " More, smells?"  DoDo didn't understand what she was saying, so Willow showed her the drawer.  And said, More, smells?  The drawer holds all of our spices.  As DoDo opened up each bottle, willow would say, "yumm..." or "no, no, yuck!" (18 months old)


I can barely keep from having a complete breakdown this morning.  My heart is breaking for the St. Germain family.  Their son, Spencer, died this morning.  Spencer is the same age as my son.

There are so many parts to this story that bring me to tears-- The fact that Spencer is the same age as my son, the fact that his parents must feel a void that will never, ever be able to be filled, and the fact that Spencer had a twin sister.  The thing about twins is that although they each hold their own identity, they are also thought of as "one." 
I keep picturing them looking at their family photos from the past, and then picturing future family photos... always a void.  Always a missing smile and a bittersweet moment.  
              I know this feeling.  
The feeling that you are so thankful for those you have surrounding you in that photo, but it never will feel complete because of the one that is missing.

You see, I have experienced a similar loss.... My husband of 14 years died of brain cancer 10 years ago, leaving me to have my family photo taken surrounded by our four beautiful children that I was so thankful for, and the bittersweet pain that only a heart that has lost like that can taste.  

My son went to visit Spencer this past week in the hospital.  He and Spencer had know each other for a long time, but were never especially close.  For some reason, Spencer had requested that Tanner come and see him.  
I was so proud of my son.  
It was hard for him to see Spencer, who was barely able to open his eyes, and he wasn't sure that Spencer even knew that he was there.  

But Tanner knew.  
He knew he did the right thing by going, and even though he lost his Dad, he can hardly remember those times because he was so young, so this was truly the first real time he saw that this earthly life is not endless.  
A powerful message to a 16 year old boy that is in the midst of having to make all of those tough choices that a teenager must make.  

I remember all of the silly, unthoughtful things that people said to me when my husband was dying.  I'm sure their intentions were good, but their words were not always.  

For example, there was the lady that told me that I must have sin in my life that is keeping God from hearing my prayers about healing my husband.  

Or the people, yes, I said PEOPLE, that mentioned that thankfully I was still young enough to find someone else.... but the one that really stuck with me was the woman that said, "Well, at least it isn't one of your children that is dying."  I remember being completely appalled by her comment, thinking that i would choose neither, and how dare she compare one with the other.  

In the moment, she was wrong, but now I see she was right.  You become one when you are married, but you are still 100% your own being.  Your child though.... Your child is a piece of you...  yes, 100% their own being as well, but still made from you, and because of you.  Where do you find peace in this?  The loss of a child you love so much?  That you have given life to?  Only one place... Only from one hand...only from God.  
Spencer had peace knowing where he was going.  His biggest fear was for those that he left behind.  I don't know the St. Germain's, but I do know they love God.   Now that doesn't make the loss they will feel any less, and it won't make it any easier.  They will be angry, they will be sad, and they will question why.... but hopefully they will always come back to the same place that I did.... that I still the peace that can only come from God.

Philippians 4:7    "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  

I pray for that peace for their family today, and for all of those that knew and loved Spencer.  God Bless You.

Image courtesy of :


What she is trying to say is "Nice."

Willow went through a stage where when someone got in her space, she would hit their face. 

Although I didn't think it was okay, I completely understood.
You have to understand we have a houseful of teens-- teens that think that Wee one is adorable, so adorable in fact that they can't help but constantly kiss her little cheeks.
Being a baby of very little words, she couldn't say, "Could you please just leave me alone?  You are in my space!"  So instead she would just look at them and give them a smack in the face. 
Some learned faster than others to ask Wee one for a kiss, others had to endure many smacks before catching on. 

When Willow would smack one of the love seekers, 
we would gently grab her hand and brush their cheek and say, "nice, nice..."    
                     Well, that didn't work. 
Eventually we ended up just putting her down and walking away when she hit.  She quickly realized that she didn't like that and the hitting subsided, and her groupies soon figured out that they could ask Willow for a kiss and every once in awhile she would     grant
Today Wee one wasn't feeling well because she has a few of her molars coming in

             and she was C-R-A-N-K-Y!  

It was both sad and adorable as she occasionally freaked out and shoved her hands into her mouth in  pain (sad part) and then she would immediately take her hands and rub her cheeks and say "nishe, nishe..."  (adorable part.) I am so proud of you Willow Bee.  

You are filled with so much love and you are very nishe.

On the Night You Were Born

Tonight we were driving home after a visit with Hannah.  The crescent moon was low on the horizon and was bright and beautiful.  Willow immediately pointed it out.

Every time the moon was hidden behind some trees she would say,
"Where'd she go?"  
Then when it popped back out from behind them she would excitedly say 
"There she is!
The moon looked so low in the sky that she would keep saying, "Uh Oh.  Fall Down."  "Oh, Boy!  Fall Down!"  and point at the moon. (cuteness.)
Her eyes would be looking out the window at the moon 
and we would hear in a little whisper, "Willow, Willow..."   
It wasn't until I was in bed thinking about the day that it hit me what you were doing!  
We often read the book, On The Night You Were Born, by Nancy Tillman.  

Throughout the story, we whisper her name, 
                                                     "Willow, Willow..."   

You are precious, Willow.  
Even the moon knows your name.

Not a Baby Anymore


"Where, Oh Where, has my sweet baby gone?
                                        Oh where, Oh where could she be?"

Okay, so I can't sing very well but I really want an answer to that question!  
I have been reminded over and over the last few days how fast these baby and toddler days fly by.

Recently I was going through photos and I noticed that just a few months ago Wee One had short baby hair, now she wears her hair in two pony tails that actually look like ponytails! 

Instead of just one word and pointing to let me know what she wants she puts together a few words and takes my hand to show me if she can't make me understand.

Last night Boyfriend took Wee One to the park-- just the two of them because Grammie needed a little break.  When they got back I asked Willow if she had fun.  I was amazed when she smiled at me, nodded her head yes, and told me "fun, swing!"   Yes, I cried.
Silly, I know, but it was just another sign that baby days have flown.

I have been mad at myself for not keeping better tabs on all of the exciting  firsts in Wee Ones life.    I won't continue making that mistake.
Every day with this sweet little one is a blessing and I don't want to forget a minute of it.  Thank you, God.

Go Away!- a wee bit.

A little kid at the park today told you to go away.  All day you have been saying randomly..."go away"  sadly :(  (16 months old)

Papa and Willow

Detached...not Disowned.

I have really struggled with the personal line I have had to draw with my daughter in order to take myself to a healthier place.

The last 5 1/2 years with her have taken me through every possible emotion a person can have, 

          from guilt and sadness, 
                         to anger and resentment.  
I was not only mentally exhausted, but physically and psychologically spent.

I couldn't sleep at night because I was either up worrying about her or I was up "dealing" with her and whatever situation she had gotten herself into.  

Even when I would finally fall asleep, my last thought would be of her and as soon as my eyes started to open, my first thoughts...of her.  

All of this not only took it's toll on me, but on my family. 

You know that old saying, 
        "If Momma aint happy, aint nobody happy?"            
Well, it's true.  
Not only did my family have to deal with everything my daughter brought to the table, but they had to deal with me as well.  I fell into a depression.  
My body ached, my head hurt, and my heart was broken.  

When I look back now I can see that I was grieving.

I had  dealt with the loss of my late husband of 14 years, so I was no stranger to grief.  I just didn't realize it when I was in the middle of it with HB.  

You see, I was grieving the loss of my baby girl.  
Not only once, but over 
                             and over.  
Every time she showed up with bruises all over her body, hand prints on her neck...every time she disappeared for days at a time, I grieved.  

Every time she stole from us or lied to us, 
every time I saw her making positive choices and then sabotage herself, I grieved.  
Hope, then disappointment.... over and over again.  

The fact that she was so young when all of this started made a huge impact in how we handled things.  You can't turn your back on a 14 year old.  You do everything you can to help them until you realize there is nothing else you can do-- That they are old enough to make their own choices. 

There was a moment for me when I realized that I had hit that spot.  I had nothing left to give- Physically, emotionally, mentally and financially I was empty.

Every time we did something for HB, hoping that it would help take her forward, she only continued to move backward.  

(Lesson learned after way too many "somethings!")  

I wasn't even able to listen to her anymore.  
Every time she opened her mouth I expected a lie to come out.  
I couldn't look at her, either.  
Every time I had to be in the same room with her, I felt sick to my stomach.  The emotions that welled up inside of me were so intense, so overwhelming that I actually got 
                               physically ill.  
And then to top it all off, I felt guilty because i actually felt like this around my own daughter. 

The only way I could survive was to detach.  

I didn't care, nocouldn't care, where she was living-- whether it was safe or clean.  
I couldn't care how she was going to get home from wherever she had gotten herself stranded.  
I couldn't care whether she was staying sober or not.  
None of it was  mine to care about-- it was hers.  
I had spent too much time caring about what was going on with HB.   It was time to care about myself and the rest of my family.... to care about Willow.  I couldn't do both.

Now, not everyone understood my position.  "You are her mother... You can't just turn your back on her!"  "You are all she has."  

They had never walked where I had walked.  This wasn't about Hannah.  Did they not see that?  It was about me.... finally.  
In order to take care of my family and Wee one like I want to, like I am SUPPOSED to, I had to take care of me.  That meant , yes, I'll say it again, DETACHING.

I did not disown her.  She is my daughter, and she will always be my daughter.  What I did disown was her life.  Now when she was younger, her life was in my hands.  She was my responsibility.  

        She is not a little girl anymore.  
She is responsible for her own life, and for each choice she makes in it.  I understand it when I say it, and I am reminded again when I write it, but it doesn't mean that I don't have moments of guilt feeling like I have turned my back on her. 
And, just in case you are still wondering, I haven't.

What I have done is turned around to look at what I have neglected for so long... the road forward... and I am not letting her keep me from it any more...  

It just so happens that she is behind me.  My hope is that someday she will be walking that same road moving forward with me, but that is up to her, not me.  
She will always know where to find me...praying for her, loving her, and on the path moving forward.

I dropped her off at treatment yesterday and they gave me a copy of this poem.  This sums up what I shared above.  

I guess maybe I didn't detach or disown... I just "Let Go."

To let go does not mean to stop caring,
   it means I can't do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off,
   it's the realization I can't control another.
To let go is not to enable,
   but allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means
   the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
   it's to make the most of myself.
To let go is not to care for,
   but to care about.
To let go is not to fix,
   but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
   but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
   but to allow others to affect their destinies.
To let go is not to be protective,
   it's to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny,
   but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold or argue,
   but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
   but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.
To let go is not to criticize or regulate anybody,
   but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
   but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more
To let go and to let God, is to find peace.
 -- Author Unknown

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