Friday, December 31, 2010


See you later, 2010.
Don't let the door hit ya. Where the Good Lord split ya.

(just kidding. kinda.)

2010. Eh.
Don't get me wrong.
Some good things happened in 2010.
(Pardon these not so great photos ... I just use my iPhone.)

I went to Disney World with my great friend, Kim. It was a work trip for me. We stayed on the VIP floor. I was spoiled by this new development in my travel. This is us on the It's a Small World ride. Kim was quite gracious in my spontaneous crying jags. And? We helped a very small child find his parents in the rain.
I completed the Disney Princess Half Marathon with my dear friend, Carmen. We were at the very end of the walkers. The very end. But we had a good time along the way. She also encouraged me through my crying jags. See how I cried a lot in 2010?

We released a ton of balloons on Michael's angel day. I am always amazed by the amount of people that have been touched by Michael's short life. I really thought that only my family and a few friends would come to our Balloon release in the park. Michael's friends from school came out. Some of my former co-workers and all of my graduate students came out. My family drove many hours to spend the afternoon with us. I am blessed to know so many fabulous people.
Stu bought me tickets to spend a weekend in New York City with some sweet friends. I wanted to go. But was nervous because I don't like to be away from home. He made the decision so easy for me. We had a great time. I love New York and to be able to spend it with some of my favorite people was wonderfully refreshing for this homebody.

My tennis team went to regionals. My partner and I won 2 of our 3 matches. We didn't win the tournament, but it was a good time. Eating, swimming, playing tennis - Fun! And we were so cute in our pink outfits!

Every child received a teddy bear at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in Michael's sweet name. My heart was bursting at the seams. Another instance of my miscalculations. I thought that we might receive enough for 50 bears. But people spread the news far and wide. A Zumba fundraiser was put together - by sweet people that just did it. Without our asking. Just did it - because they were touched by Michael's story. The playroom also received a ton of toys. Wow.

We lit Michael's candle in our yearly tradition of his Christmas program now. The only one that we will get to see. The cemetery was beautiful.
It snowed on Christmas Day. In Georgia. I like to think that Michael pulled some strings with the Big Man. We spent Christmas with my parents who were so generous, once again. They take care of my heart. My mom makes me food that I love. They fill me with love. They are good. To their very core. But I don't tell my dad that. For he would get a big head.

There were other things to happen: Mr. Bobby received his heart. Ellen is cancer-free. Babies were born. And conceived. Vacations. Holidays. Other things that were great that I can't think of right now. I had a very generous and loving husband by my side. the whole time. Even when I was angry and not such a nice person. I had friends. real loving friends. Who despite my attempts to push them away. Keep coming back. And loving me through my ugliness. I have a family. And they are wonderful and crazy and generous. With the biggest hearts of anyone you could meet.

I worked. On my own time. With a woman that I am truly thankful for. I also worked with fsu for a short time. A real blessing. And I worked. With my dear friend, Kim. She can't know how much that helped me through these past dark months. And it was fun to flex some of my creative muscles and brainstorm fun things with her.

And I want to tell you that that I enjoyed every moment. That I am smiling. And happy.
It would be a lie.
I am wrestling with this grief. And grief is winning. Big time.
I existed. coasted. though this past year.
The first without my precious son. Without his imprint. On the year.
I grinned. And I beared it.
I am facing big questions of futures. and the pasts. and the things in between.
About faith. and love.

So. Bring it, 2011. But please bring it gently.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a reminder

I saw this on another blog.
It needed to be shared here.

An Erma Bombeck Column:
A young mother writes: "I know you've written before about the empty-nest syndrome -- that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now, I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething; the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?"

One of these days, you'll shout, "Why don't you kids grow up and act your age!"
And they will.

Or, "You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do ... and don't slam the door!"
And they won't.

You'll straighten up the boys' bedroom neat and tidy -- bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you'll say out loud, "Now I want it to stay this way."
And it will.

You'll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn't been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you'll say, "Now, there's a meal for company."
And you'll eat it alone.

You'll say: "I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?" And you'll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti.
No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms.
No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps.
No more clothespins under the sofa.
No more playpens to arrange a room around.

No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent.
No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathrooms.
No more iron-on patches, wet, knotted shoestrings, tight boots, or rubber bands for ponytails.

Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No baby sitter for New Year's Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a steak that isn't ground. Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.

No PTA meetings.
No car pools.
No blaring radios.
No one washing her hair at 11 o'clock at night.
Having your own roll of Scotch tape.

Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste.
No more sloppy oatmeal kisses.
No more tooth fairy.
No giggles in the dark.
No knees to heal, no responsibility.

Only a voice crying, "Why don't you grow up?"
and the silence echoing, "I did."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

a message

I went to Michael's today.
The store.
For crafty items to tackify my sweater for the 1st annual Dooley Tacky Christmas Sweater competition.

I was perusing the floral aisle.
When a woman looked at me and waved and said hello.
From two silk and plastic flower aisles away.
I didn't recognize her. I don't think that I knew her.
But I am polite. So I waved back and said Hi.
And went back to looking at the silver sparkled poinsettias.

She came over.
And told me that the Lord had a message for me. Did I want to hear it.
Ok. I said. For I wasn't quite certain what else to say.

Perhaps she approached because I was wearing all black.
And hadn't slept the night before so the bags under my eyes were more pronounced.

She told me that I was suffering. And had been for a while.
But that the Lord wanted me to know that I would experience joy once again.

I started to cry. I told her thank you. I probably needed to hear that.
She said that she knew. That the Lord had told her.
Then she walked away.
Leaving me standing there with my basket full of rhinestones and feather boas.
And my message from the Lord.

I tried to find her. This Lord message deliverer.
To see if she was sharing this message with many others.
But she was gone. Disappeared.

It is not lost on me that this message delivery happened.
In Michael's.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Team Michael update!

Oh Friends. My heart is full from this past weekend.
This weekend. We put all of your generosity to use!

Stu and I left Tally very early on Sunday morning. My sweet friends gave us the latest in Elf fashions with our Team Michael hats. Loved those!

We met up with my mom and dad; my Aunt; and my two cousins.

AND IT SNOWED! This picture doesn't show the snow very well. But it was beautiful. And magical. And the perfect backdrop for our shopping adventures.
Target was on the schedule. We had four or five carts FULL of toys and crafts for the playroom. Several other Target shoppers commented on the fun we were having! And fun we had. Board Games and push toys and cars and DVDs and crayons and markers and googly eyes and batteries and legos and .... the list goes on and on.

Next Stop: Build-A-Bear. Such nice people - the store was so busy when we got there. The employees made time to talk to us about the bears. They were just as excited to be a part of Team Michael's bear delivery as we were! We had boxes and boxes of bears. Every child at the Egleston campus of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta will receive a bear. WOW!

A fun day was had by all of us. I am continually overwhelmed by the love of family and friends. And complete strangers. When I am at my lowest, I think of all of you. And I am buoyed.

We delivered the hundreds of bear and bags upon bags of toys to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta this afternoon. We knew that we would not be able to deliver directly to the patients - that is against hospital policy. Our contact person at the hospital was so nice. And so amazed by how many things we put into her office! I'm not sure she was expecting that many items.

She doesn't know all of you.

Thank you to everyone who donated. Everyone who sent notes of support and encouragement. Thank you! Consider yourself hugged!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Team Michael

I sent this letter out through e-mail and through a new TEAM MICHAEL Facebook Group a week ago:

Michael was 5 1/2 months old when he went in for his 2nd surgery. It was December 15, 1999. I had gotten everything done forChristmas early that year. I didn't know how long he would be in the hospital. Being the rock star that he was, he was out in less than a week. From open heart surgery. Such the trooper.

While in the hospital, a group came around to deliver toys to the patients in the CICU. Michael was given something age appropriate - a puppy plastic toy. I remember thinking that it was an odd feeling to be on the receiving end of a donation of this kind at the holidays. We gave to Toys for Tots, put change in the Salvation Army pots at the stores, donated blankets to the homeless. But never thought we would be a recipient. It was humbling.

We still have that toy. It was a comfort to us while in the hospital. A way of saying that we were not alone. That someone had thought of Michael and our family. That someone, a stranger, spent time to bring joy to a less than joyous place.

My family wanted to do something to honor Michael this holiday season. We decided to give already built Build-A-Bears to patients on the Sibley Heart Center floor at Children's Health Care of Atlanta. A perfect way to remember Michael. He was a patient there. And he LOVED his stuffed animals.

These Build-A-Bears are $10.00 each. Our goal is to donate a bear to every patient spending their holidays away from home. In the hospital. Will you help us reach that goal?

You can donate in a couple of ways. We have set up a PayPal link so that donations may be made on line. Or you can mail me a check. Or if you want to raid your piggy bank, I will totally take your pennies. Please feel free to forward this e-mail far and wide - the more the merrier! We will need to have your donations by November 29th to be able to receive the bears in time for delivery.

Once again, I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. And for remembering Michael.

I can report that as of today, we have raised just over $2000.00. In a week.

I am truly speechless. I had no idea what to expect. Wow.

This shows me that Michael's spirit lives on. That my son. My sweet son. Has inspired people and touched the hearts of many.

He would be so excited to see what all of you have done in his memory.

I would like to give you all a big (bear) hug.

Consider it done.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

my costume.

I opened the door. To find a pirate. A princess. Dorothy Gale. And a witch. On the porch.
Each took turns grabbing candy from the pink pumpkin.
The witch proclaimed that I had her favorite candy. And thanked me profusely.
The pirate took more than one candy. The princess insisted that he give it back.

And Dorothy Gale. Asked me if I was a mommy.
Me. With my t-shirt, shorts and flip flops.
Hair in a pony tail. Bags that are packed for a two week vacation under my eyes.

Was Dorothy wondering this because she thought I had on a costume?
Or because she just wanted to know.

I simply said Yes. I am.
And realized that it fit. I am. A mommy.

Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

pancake mix

My husband grabs an expired box of pancake mix out of the pantry and asks:
"Do you have any emotional attachment to this mix?"

And I burst into tears.
I can remember, so clearly
Making a botched batch of zucchini pancakes.
With tofu noodles.
Making these with my sidekick. My right arm.
My Michael.
And then going out for pizza instead.
Because why would I think that zucchini pancakes, with tofu noodles, would be delicious?

This is my state of mind.
Holding onto things because there are memories associated.
I'm a hoarder.
It pains me to throw away anything that has any sort of attachment to Michael.

Stu put the pancake mix back in the closet. For another day.
I am a crazy woman. With a very sweet husband.
Who asks first because he knows me.
And doesn't think I am losing it.
Or at least he keeps that part to himself.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I feel so sorry for myself.
The grass is greener on every other street.
But not mine.

My heart is empty.

And then I remember.
For almost 10 years. I had the joy. the pleasure. the love.
Of a boy named Michael.

And for that moment.
My heart is full.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


"Mommy? Am I going to die?"

We were driving home from a long weekend in Atlanta.
Michael had been feeling what he described as bats in his chest.
I took him to his cardiologist to be checked out. He was prescribed a 30 day Holter monitor.
To monitor his heart rhythms.

He was less than pleased about it.
He was worried about the kids at school. What they would say.
And it was really the first time that his heart had affected his life.
Other than all those surgeries. And that year of fat free eating.
Which he didn't really remember.

But this time. Was different.
He kind of understood that not everyone goes to the cardiologist twice a year.
That not every kid was monitored so closely.
He was in 2nd grade.
And questioning his own mortality.

At the ripe old age of 7.

"Mommy? Am I going to die?"

And I lied to him.
I told him that he would live. For a very long time.
And that he would be able to date. When he was 35.
And he balked at that. And told me of his plans to go to college.
And get married. But not to worry. He would come visit me at the holidays.

He had big plans.
I lied to him. And told him to dream big.

I lied to him.
I thought it was the truth.

Monday, August 09, 2010

middle school pondering

Today, I thought of you.
That sounds silly. I think of you everyday.

But today. Today I imagined you as a budding middle school student.
And your first day of school outfit.
Would you let me pick it out? Or would you put your Michael-style spin to it?
(I am certain I know the answer to that one).
I thought of what school supplies you would need. As a middle schooler.

Would you have a locker? I don't even know.
I just know that you would have to change for PE.
Would that scare you as much as it did me in 6th grade?
Probably not.
Would you bring your lunch? Do you eat snack in middle school?
I don't know.

You would ride the bus for the first time. Maybe. If I let you.
You would want to stay home by yourself. Another If I let you moment.
I would struggle with the growing up of my baby boy.

How tall would you be? How big would your feet be?
I would lament how time flies and when did my baby grow up.

I would be so nervous for you. Because middle school was a rough time for my younger self.
Kids can be mean. Especially when you have a tender heart.

Would homework be tough for you? Would changing classes be fun?
I don't know.

Would you hold my hand? Kiss me goodbye?
Would you still call me Mommy?
I don't know.

A week of school has gone by. We would celebrate on Friday.
With movie night and pizza.
Just like we always did. Except now we don't.

Because you aren't here. And I miss you.

Friday, April 09, 2010

a year ago. today.

A year ago. Last night. I was sitting on my bed. Playing UNO with my son.
The phone rang. It was a girl asking to speak to Michael.
I laughed as he hardly got a word in.
I thought about how this was the first. Of many more.

A year ago. This morning. I was running a little late for work.
So I was able to give goodbye smooches to Michael.
I reminded him to wear his Young Actors shirt.
I kissed him goodbye.
I told him I loved him.

For the last time.

A year ago. At 10:15 (or so). I received a phone call.
Michael had passed out. Don't panic, she said.
I ran to my car. I made phone calls.
We waited in the ER hallway. Answering questions. Waiting to see Michael.
To reassure him. To hold his hand.

A year ago. At 11:46 am.
Michael slipped away. To the heavens.
And the world crashed around me. I screamed.

A year ago. At 1:30 pm.
I walked out of the hospital.
Clutching my son's shoes. Because that's all I had of his.

A year agao. Today.
The world lost one of its best.

Friday, April 02, 2010

this day.

Yesterday. I was filled with dread. I couldn't shake it.
I wasn't certain why.

And then it hit me. Good Friday. And what I was doing that day. Last year.

I was picking out Michael's spot in the cemetery. I was picking out a coffin. For my 9 year old. I was putting together plans for a memorial. And trying to pick out flowers that were not girly. And I was pinching myself. Hard. So that I would wake up from this miserable. devastating. nightmare.

To think about that. Made me physically ill.
And I threw up.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Egads. I gave myself a weekend. I took a week and a half.

I am kind of denying the passage of time. I am denying that tomorrow is April. I am denying that in 10 days. It will be a year.

And my heart aches. And my shoulders are slumped.
And my tears aren't drying.

I am digging in my heels.
The world keeps spinning.
And I am very still.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

road trip

I'm taking my show on the road this weekend. Hanging out with my cousins on Friday night, hanging out with my mom and dad on Saturday, and hanging out with great friends on Sunday. I'm looking forward to it. Very much.

Which means ... I think I am going to not blog this weekend. I know. I totally challenged myself to blog the whole month of March. But sometimes, life happens. And I want to savor my moments. And unplug just a bit. I'll extend my month of March into April a little.

Have a wonderful weekend, sweet blog reader.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

bouquets of clover

I am back on campus twice a week. Today was my first official day with real hours.
After my day was finished, I walked back to my car. A further park from when I was full-time.
When I spotted my car from half a block away, I noticed some greenery on my windshield.
It was rainy and windy today. I assumed a leaf or branch had fallen on my car.

It wasn't.
It was a bouquet of clovers placed under my windshield wipers.
On St. Patrick's Day. From my very own secret leprechaun.
What a sweet surprise!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Having to put only two people live in my household makes me cry.
Stupid census.
(And we don't say that word in our house. But I am too tired to choose my words this night.)

Stu is right at this very moment watching YouTube videos of guys with nunchuck skills. And he has declared that he wants a set for his birthday.

Everybody needs a hobby.

I am two days into being a vegetarian. My cousin read the book, The Kind Diet. And she warned me that Chapter 2 turned her off of meat. I read Chapter 2. And now I can't eat meat either. I am a pretty picky eater. But I'm willing to try now. I tried Soy Milk for the first time tonight. Delicious. Of course, it was chocolate Soy Milk. That makes a difference. Everything is better with chocolate.

I am now a member of 3 tennis teams. And I take a lesson during the week. And I usually play on Sundays. I like it because it is an hour and a half (sometimes longer!) that I don't think about anything else but getting a little yellow ball across the net. And I sweat. And I remember that I am still here. I am still breathing.

I am also starting the Couch to 5K program. My mom is doing it. My friend Angelyn is doing it. And I just saw that another friend, Jenn, is also doing it. I plan to up the ante on my next Half Marathon ... a little worst to middle of the pack action. Most improved, that's me!

Monday, March 15, 2010


I will not pay to be sad. Anymore.
No sad movies. No sad songs.

We went to see a war movie. I'm sure the movie was fine.
But I could only think of the boys in the movie. Of their mothers. Of the news they would get.
I know. This was a movie. A suspense movie. I should have been on the edge of my seat. And that these were actors. Acting a part. They will get up. They will be with their families.
But instead all I could think about was how sad it was for the families. The fictional families.

I have enough going on to be sad about ... I don't need a movie. Or a lyric. To make me cry.
I'm great at doing that all by myself.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I haven't been to the grocery store in almost a year.
I think I went with Michael the Monday before that terrible Thursday.
And that was the last time.

For the first few months after, I didn't sleep. Just couldn't. I was so tired. But I didn't think it fair that I should feel comfortable. That I should rest. I also couldn't go to the grocery store. A great friend told me that I could go years without going to the grocery store. But I couldn't go years without sleep. To choose one. And not the other. To choose not going to the grocery store. And to sleep. Good advice.

Stu goes to the grocery store for us now. Or I pick up the basics from Target. I can shop in their little section, but not Publix. I know. It's weird. Michael was my grocery store partner. I don't like grocery shopping to begin with ... neither did he, really. Together it was fun. We laughed. We timed ourselves to see how much time it would take. But could never remember the last time score.

It seemed that every time we bagged our apples or oranges, we started an avalanche. Same with carrots. We made it a game. Would the carrots jump off the shelf this time? Another silly game that we enjoyed together.

I can't really explain the reason that I can't get past the grocery store parking lot now.
I pull in. I sit in the car. I leave. Without going inside.
For now.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


My own version of Wordless Wednesday ... Silent Saturday.
But I am not great at silence.
I think that this picture was taken at the end of a timeout for little Michael.
I don't remember the timeout offense (though backtalk is an easy option).
A sweet face, regardless of the crime.

Friday, March 12, 2010

five for friday

I've seen this idea on other blogs. And decided to copy. The point is to write a short list ... five to be exact ... of things I am thinking/doing/contemplating.

1. I'm still kind of on a little high from this past weekend's half marathon. Again. I was seventh from the last person to finish. But still. I hadn't trained. And I was sad. I finished. With the help of my friend, Carmen. My own stubborn ways. And a little threatening from the balloon wearing pace lady. She was one serious walker.

I was glad to meet two new friends ... Tina and Kelly. These girls know how to bring it. I'm going to need to practice bringing it before I see them again. Which I really hope is soon.

2. Because I like to challenge myself (but you all knew that from my one of my previous posts), I am going to start the Couch to 5K program. Or one like it (thanks, Ang!). Stu is doing it. My mom is going to do it. My friend Angelyn is doing it. Accountability all over the place. My next challenge is to run. Not walk. A Half Marathon. I could go from worst to first ... or somewhere in the middle, right?

3. Today was a rough day. I have these with increasing frequency. I think it is the thought of the upcoming one year date. And I just feel overwhelmed.

4. I have had two dreams about Michael recently. But when I wake up, I can't remember any of the details of what we did, or what we said. I only have this feeling of visiting with him. It is a wonderful feeling. And it is a terrible feeling. Because I feel like I missed out on an important visit with him. I want more. Because I am greedy like that.

5. We got a new washing machine. Stu had ordered a toilet. It was delivered. Broken in half. So Stu traded it in for a washing machine. That's logical, right? Remind me that I need to dedicate a blog post to my husband's large appliance purchases. Five microwaves. at one time. And then I will blog about the demolition of our master bathroom. Stu makes for good blog fodder.

I never know how to comment back to people that comment in my comments. (How many times could I write comment in that last sentence? Three.)

I wanted to address a comment on yesterday's post from Tammy. So I will do it here, because I think it might be a common question. Tammy asked if strangers were could come to the Celebration of Michael's life in April. To that I answer, ABSOLUTELY. I'd love to meet people who have been impacted by Michael's story. Who have prayed for us. (And Tammy? I kind of feel like I know you from your comments on this blog. Is that weird? )

Thursday, March 11, 2010

a celebration of life

The support that Stu and I have received over the past 11 months has been truly wonderful. Thank you. Thank you for praying for us, calling, e-mailing, checking on us. We appreciate it. More than you could know.

On April 9, 2009, our world collapsed. Michael was our lives. Our greatest joy. And in an instant, he was gone.

And so ... it is our hope to continue to celebrate the great joy that Michael was to us. To you. To the people that he knew. We would like to invite you to join us on April 10, 2010, at Tekesta Park in Tallahassee from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Bring a snack to share. Bring a lawn chair. There is a playground and open fields to run and play in. We'll have a balloon release - and papers to fill out messages to put into the balloons.

We will celebrate the life of Michael.
Join us! I would love to meet some of you!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

the missings.

I have these days where I just want my old life back. Where I talk about normal things. And do normal things. And think normal things.

Today was one of those days.

I want to be planning Spring Break. I want to be stressing about FCAT testing. I want to be looking forward to the summer. And making dinner for my TWO boys. And waiting for my one little boy to come home from school. To talk about his day. To do homework together. And tell him twelve times to pick up his room.

I want to go to dinner and enjoy it. Instead of struggling with our little two seater booth. Of being "just two for dinner tonight".

I miss our family. I miss the crazy normalcy of it all.
I miss my old life. I want to freeze those crazy moments of getting ready in the morning. Of the reminders to walk straight home from school. I miss packing lunch. I miss signing my name as Michael's mom.

Most of all. I miss the normalcy of grabbing a hand as we cross the road. Of one last snuggle and kiss goodnight. Of the I love you's.

Of looking for Michael in a crowd and my heart leaping for joy.
That he was MY child. MY son.
What a blessing! What an imagination!
What a wonderfully weird kid!
(That is a compliment in our house)

Once again, this grief reaches up. Punching me in the throat.
Grief is a jerk.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Today was for relaxing.
For enjoying a latte. With a friend.
For massages. That worked out kinks in my back.
And for eating delicious foods. Without care for how it might have looked.

Monday, March 08, 2010


I feel this need to continually challenge myself.

Mostly, it is physical challenges. Like the 3 Day (and the fundraising that comes with a walk like that). Or the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Or play tennis four (or sometimes more) days of the week.

I think it is to remind myself that I am alive. That I am able to feel and experience life in a physical way. I don't train well for these events. But I do them. I feel the pain of the blisters. I feel. Which is important because I mostly try not to feel.

And I wonder what it is about these challenges that draw me in? Is it something to look forward to? Is it the pushing of myself to get out of this cocoon of comfort and silence? Is it because my child can't do it now? And couldn't do it before? Is it to remind myself that I AM alive?

I don't know. I just know that I am currently planning my next challenge. Putting together a training schedule that my feet are begging me to follow.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

we did it.

We did it.
We might have walked a little slow.
We might have been just seven people from being the last to cross the finish line.
Seriously. We were 11260 and 11261.
But we finished.
Tiaras were on straight. Smiles on our faces.
We did it.
I might a few rather large blisters on my feet.
I might have my very first blood blister.
I might need new shoes because these have been through two 3 Day Walks.
And countless training walks.
I might not have trained much. Or at all.
But we did it.
I might have cried as we walked into Magic Kingdom.
I might have slowed my friend Carmen down.
A lot. She is a runner. But stayed with me the whole time.
Helping me through it.
We might all need cheerleaders like Carmen.

We did it.
And I might never take my finisher's medal off my neck.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

princess castle. green army men.

Every princess should have a castle. And her own legion of green army men.

Michael's green army men. Our neice, Jordyn's pretty pink princess castle.
They found a way to make it work.

Friday, March 05, 2010


Since I am on my way to Disney, I thought I would share a moment of our trip to the Magic Kingdom. Our last trip to Disney as a family. It was for Star Wars Weekend. We spent one day at Magic Kingdom and the other day at the Star Wars Weekend hub, Hollywood Studios.

Michael and I were chosen to be flag wavers in the Family Fun Day Parade. There was a routine. I stuck to it, being a professional drill teamer and all. Michael was mostly content to just wave his around a bit. And wave to the people.

Our PAPA-razzi, Stu. (Get it ... PAPA as in DAD. Oh. I bring the funny.)
Anyway. Stu followed us the whole parade with his video camera. Jumped in front of people. Just to film us. I don't have that video to share - but will soon.
Michael and I thought we should be parade professionals.
That's not exactly true. I thought we should. He was mostly content just to watch.
A sweet memory from a fun family trip.

headed out...

Headed to Orlando tomorrow for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


I have been so envious of the snow falling in other parts of the South this winter.
I love snow in the South ... it is beautiful when it falls. Work and school cancelled. Fun times outside. And then it melts. Good times.

I thought I would post some photos of Michael's first experiences with the snow...

I'm certain that it was snowy outside when I put Michael into this very big coat. For a very little buddy. I laughed. And laughed when putting him into this coat. His little eyes peeking out. His arms that stayed outstretched.

First snow in Georgia. Evidence that we didn't get snow often in our state...socks used as mittens. Mismatched clothing. Canvas sneakers. Big cheesy grin at the sight of the white stuff. We didn't last long outside in this winter weather before high tailing it back inside. For hot cocoa.

And then this video. Taken a little over a year ago. Michael and I had just stopped on our way to Nana and Pa's house. When we got out of the car, it was snowing. We took a little video of it.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

the one where i am the winner...

Thank you for all of your welcome back comments. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers and well wishes for me and my family.

I am a winner.
Kind of. I will at least keep repeating that statement to myself.
A positive affirmation? Sure. We'll go with that.

My sweet friend, Jackie, nominated me for this award.
She has the best name. Jackie Justice.
I nominate her for superhero. Of the world.
She needs a cape.
Thank you, my friend.

There are rules. They are:
The rules for accepting this award are:
1) Post a thank you and the link to the person that gave you the award.
4) State seven tidbits of information about yourself.

(I took out rules 2 & 3. They were kind of a lot of pressure. So I took them out. And I like all of you.)

Here are my seven (very random) tidbits...

1. I am headed to Orlando this weekend to participate in the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Have I trained for this event? Nope. But I will wear my tiara and hope for the best.

2. My coffee table is an orange bench. We bought it that way. And it is an orange-safety-cone, vest-you-wear-to-hunt-in kind of orange. Bright. I liked the shape of the table and planned to paint it. My husband thought we should keep it orange. We did. I love it.

3. At Christmas time, the Husband and I were in Books-A-Million. A local wildlife author was there selling books. Giving autographs. There was no one at his table. He looked sad. I listened to his attempts at enticing people with the wildlife of North Florida. To no avail. I watched him from the safety of the Biography section. I convinced the Husband to go talk to him and buy a book. He did. I think more to stop my tears than because he wanted to talk wildlife.

I have a really sweet Husband. And I am kind of crazy sensitive.
And by kind of, I really mean very.

4. I don't like to leave my house. It is not so much about the going out. It is about the coming back home. This house is too quiet. Too still. Too filled with memories. And it's just better to stay in. So that I am not always reminded. Of what is missing.

5. My favorite go-to clothing item is my black hoodie. It is faded. It is a magnet for my dog's yellow hair. It should probably be retired. And I wear it all the time. I'm not what one might call fashion forward.

6. I can sing all the name of all Fifty states. In alphabetical order. I learned this song in fourth or fifth grade. It was my favorite song to sing to Michael when he was a baby. It was his favorite song for me to sing when he was big. Even up until last April. I sometimes sing it at his grave side. And by Connecticut, I am a mess of tears. Because of the do-do-do at that part of the song. His part as my back-up singer.

7. I prefer to write with mechanical pencils and fine point sharpie pens. I think it makes my handwriting look neater.

Coming up with seven tidbits is not as easy as I thought it might be!
And with 44 minutes left to spare!

Monday, March 01, 2010

i'm back.

I'm back from my unintended blogging hiatus.

February came. And went.
I sort of coasted through the month.
I've been very weepy these past few weeks.

The Proctor and Gamble "Thank you Mom" commercials during the Olympics did nothing to stop those tears. Egads. Same with the Visa ones.

But I'm back. I discovered that I missed the blogging. The writing out of these feelings that I try for most of the day to suppress. Because I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable.

I have issued myself another blog every day of the month challenge. Today it begins.
Thanks for keeping up with me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

jump rope

Michael met his sweet friend, Brantley, in kindergarten. The two of them, along with their great friend, Tony, were big buddies.

Brantley is participating in Jump Rope for Heart at his and Michael's school. I received an email from Brantley's mom asking if it was OK if Brantley raised money in Michael's memory. Of course! I cried when I read her email. What a sweet way to remember Michael.

Here are Brantley's words:

I am raising money for Jump Rope for Heart in honor of my good friend, Michael Hall, who died from heart problems last year. Michael was born with a sick heart. He was 9 years old when he died. I miss Michael very much, and I wish he was here today. I want to help other kids like Michael by raising money in his name. Please help me raise a lot of money to help the American Heart Association so that other kids don't have to lose their friends too. Thank you for helping.

Here I am crying again just looking at his words. Will you help him?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I am a scrapbooker.
This weekend I went to a crop.
I only cried twice. I call this progress.

I wanted to share the pages I completed.
I enjoy playing with glue. And paper.
And photos of my cute kid.

I want to continue to keep Michael's memory alive. And so I want to continue to put his photos down . To continue to tell his story. To smile when I think of the the things he said, the things he did, and the life that he lead.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

golden globes

I find it strange the things that remind me of my loss.
Like the Golden Globes.

In typical years, I had not seen a single nominated movie.
Unless it was in the animated category.
We went to all of those. On the opening weekend. Usually.

This year, I have not seen a single animated movie.
And most of the others in the big category.

When Michael Hall won the award for Best Actor.
I gave a little cheer. For my own Michael Hall. Who was my Favorite Actor.
And superstar.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


There are emergency vehicles screaming their way down the main road outside of our neighborhood at this moment.

I can only think of that day in April. And wonder if the way the sound is reverberating around my living room walls is the same as it was that day. I wonder if the same people are driving the trucks. If they too are remembering a different day that they worked on a 9 year old boy.

I wonder if another family is beginning a nightmare of a journey. And I pray for them.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I don't leave my house much.
If I do it is quick and I am anxious to return. This is my safety zone.

But I have evidence that I should get out more....
I had a photo shoot. With my dog.
I'm ridiculous.
This dog. Such the snuggler.
Beauty Shot.
My lame attempt to get her to look at the camera.
She doesn't listen. Unless there is bacon involved.
I didn't have any bacon.
We'll save that for tomorrow.

Michael was much more willing participant to the self photo shoot.
And he didn't require bacon.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


Nine months.

I have rearranged every room in my house in that time.
Except one.
Michael's room has remained, for the most part, untouched.
His bed is rumpled.
His pajamas from the night before remain in the dirty clothes hamper.
His toys are left where he put them.

Only his shoes are back.
The one item of his that I walked out of the hospital with on that day.
His clothes were in no shape to come home with us.
Just his shoes. Placed back in his room.

His door is closed.
I don't go in to his room often.
And we have no plans to change it. Any time soon.
That time will come when we are ready. And we are not yet there.

It has been nine months.
The missing. The aching. Doesn't stop with time.
I now know what it is to be without Michael.
And I don't like it. A bit.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

this week

If I had to pick a favorite week of the year.
I would pick this one.

This week. Just after New Year's and not yet time to go back to school and work.
This week. That begins with a late morning after a very late night. And is spent in pajamas.
This week. To gear up for real life. But still live in that time of twilight. Where the world is new again and work/homework are not yet back.

This week. Where the calendar starts over and is bright with new beginnings.
This week. This new year. Is different for me.
(That is not a surprise to anyone reading this blog.)

I have hunkered down. I have been reclusive.
In this week that is thought to be full of thoughts for a new future. I am thinking only of the past. I am not looking forward to more tomorrows. I am pining for more yesterdays.

This week, last year, Michael and I went to two movies. And put together Lego Star Wars pieces. And played Uno. He tried to teach me Stratego. But I didn't get it. He filmed army men videos. And we stayed in our pajamas and watched Elf for the hundredth time.

And the favorite week ended. Life began again in the form of school and work.

This week, this year.
I am struggling.
My heart is broken into a million tiny little pieces. And just when I think I have it together.
That I can function through my grief. That I can glue some of the pieces back.
I start all over again. With another million tiny little pieces.