This blog is just about my life and mostly revolves around my son, Jamie. This blog is a combination of everything, whether it may be a new recipe I tried, a good freebie I found, something funny Jamie said, or feelings I'm having about life in general. There's little rhyme or reason. I'll never win any blogging awards, but I enjoy writing about our lives and I mostly do it for my son. It's so easy to forget moments over the years. I've got all these little tidbits of our life in print and I hope that someday Jamie can enjoy them.

I called this blog Mother of Life, Mother of Loss because of my issues with pregnancy loss and the joy of finally bringing this wonderful person into the world. Truly, I feel the pains of loss, but you won't see too much of that here. I am blessed and I am, above all else, a mother of life.

After all the years of infertility and loss, Matthew and I were blessed with a surprise pregnancy. We were pregnant with twins, but unfortunately, Baby A could not stay with us. Baby B grew into a healthy and happy baby girl that we named Bella Marie. We are so blessed to have two beautiful children.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pretty Paper Flowers for Mother's Day

Jamie and I have started working on Mother's Day gifts for his grandmothers. Today we made adorable flower bouquets from strips of magazine papers and chenille stems. They were very simple to make and Jamie really enjoyed threading the paper on the stems.

Click Here to go to the illustrated instructions on the Parents magazine website.

What You'll Need
Gather these supplies before you start your project:

-- Pencil
-- Ruler
-- Scissors
-- Glossy magazines
-- Hole punch
-- Green chenille stems
-- Buttons

Step 1
Cut 4 to 6 same-size strips lengthwise from colorful magazine pages. Choose the width of your strips from 1/2 inch to 1 inch -- the narrower the strips, the more you will need to make the flower appear full.

Step 2
Punch 3 holes along each strip -- one centered and the others 1/2 inch from either end. Hold paper face down and poke a chenille stem through the center hole. Fold ends over to slide other two holes onto stem.

Step 3
Add remaining strips, arranging them to form a flower design, as shown. Thread the chenille stem through a button, then back in through the flower, twisting stem behind the petals to hold it in place.

Originally published in the May 2009 issue of Parents magazine.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Official. Jamie is Enrolled in Kindergarten.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Big School

My kindergarten class.
I'm in the middle row, last girl on your right wearing a peach and white dress.

I remember my mother walking me by the "big school" shortly before I started kindergarten. I stared at the mammoth building (it was mammoth to me at the time). I was frightened and excited. I don't remember anything about my actual first day of school. In fact, I only remember bits and pieces of my first few years at school, but I remember that day.

My son has seen the school many times, just as I had. I take him to the playground there quite frequently since it is within walking distance of our house. In fact, you can see the playground from my front yard. I can hear the loudspeaker making announcements over the intercom when I'm outside. Yet somehow, I think that he'll be looking at it in a new way after tomorrow, the same way I did on that day so many years ago. Tomorrow he will be visiting the school with the other preschoolers who will be attending his school this coming fall. I will be there. I will be registering him for kindergarten. That thought blows me away. My baby? Is it really time for kindergarten already? Preschool was enough of a shock to my system.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Go Jack!

The children waited beside the wooden fence. Almost all the children had ridden the ponies and were becoming restless, anxious to move on to the next activity. There were only two children left to take their turn. These two little boys both had disabilities. One little boy is named Jack. His mother took him to the pony and sat him on it's back. Jack was unsure and it seemed that he was too frightened to take the ride. His mother lifted him off the pony as a little chant began to rise from the children standing on the side lines, "Go Jack. Go Jack. Go Jack. Go Jack." The children seemed to sense the boys need for encouragement and without provocation delivered. Jack's mother sat him back down on the pony and he took his turn. The children didn't stop their cheer until the ride was over. You could see that every person who witnessed the event was touched.

We talk often about how cruel children can be now days. We fear for how our children will be treated in school, especially if they are different in any way. We witnessed what I believe is the true nature of the human spirit. We witnessed the untainted caring that we are all capable of, but so many seem to lose with the passage of time.

Little Ponderosa turned into a big adventure!

Our trip to the Little Ponderosa zoo turned out much better than I anticipated. Going to the Knoxville zoo several times I had grown accustomed to seeing animals in cages but from a great distance, or so it seems. Jamie was always happy to see the animals, but we usually had to lift him up or spend several minutes trying to point out to him where the animals were. Unfortunately the animals would almost always be laying down or sleeping, making it almost impossible to see them.

The Little Ponderosa zoo was not very big, but Jamie and his classmates were able to practically walk up to almost all of the animals and pet them, feed them, and most importantly interact with them. The first part of the zoo was inside a barn like structure with a few monkey like animals, an ant eater, a few snakes and other lizard like animals. Jamie was excited to see the animals, especially the little monkey like animals. Once we got outside the kids were able to see two tigers up close, and a few other animals. After that the kids got to go on a pony ride, which they all loved. Then the kids were able to visit with farm type animals such as sheep and goats, which they also got to feed. All of the kids, including Jamie, were excited at the prospect of feeding the animals. The funniest part is when the Ostriches came up and started hungrily pecking at the kids hands. All of the kids were scared of the big birds, but also intrigued. They thought it was funny and started throwing the feed down because they didn't want to get their hands pecked by the big birds, but they also were squealing with delight at the sight of them.

After a little while their teacher ran out of animal food, but the kids were just happy to pet the animals. There was a cute little miniature burrow with a soft fluffy head of hair that all of the kids loved to pet. Next were the Zonkeys. Why anyone would pair a Zebra with a Donkey, I will never know. The kids also got to see a real Zebra, along with a few other birds toward the end. At the very end of the trip the kids got to eat lunch. All in all it was a decent day, and I was glad that I was able to share it with my wife and my son.

Jamie is a Proud Papa

Last Saturday, Jamie and I worked together and planted some green peppers, beef steak tomatoes, and chives. I'm horrible at growing plants, but I thought that this would be something great to do with Jamie and might even save me a little money on my grocery bills this summer.

After we planted them Jamie checked them all day. He expected them to sprout instantly. Every day he asks to see his plants grow. "It's too soon, Jamie."

When I got up this morning I checked the windowsill. Sprouts. The chives are sprouting and the tomatoes are sprouting. One cup in particular held noticeable shoots. I was so excited, "Jamie! Jamie, come here! Hurry!" The sound of a small elephant herd followed my shout. Dynisha and Jamie soon appeared in the kitchen doorway. "What, Mommy?" he asked with a smile. I pulled the cup out of the window and handed it to him. "Oh Mommy, it's my baby plants! I love my baby plants." I showed him the other cups with tiny shoots peaking through the soil. "Cousin plants!" he exclaimed. "There's lots of plants." He jumped up and down and twirled. I went and got my camera. I handed him the cup with the most impressive shoots. It was at that moment that I noticed his fingernails. They are painted and I don't have any fingernail polish remover. They are done so neatly I was sure Dynisha was the culprit, but to my surprise Jamie explained that he did it all by himself. I went ahead and took his picture and then started the mad hunt for the missing polish. After much hunting the bottle was found, safe and sound. Now I've got to get some fingernail polish remover so I can clean up his hands before school on Monday.

What Will He Think Of Me When He Is Grown?

Sometimes I wonder what my son will say about me when he grows up. Will he look upon his childhood with fondness? I work very hard to make sure that he will, but you just never know. What will his first memory be? Will it be making pancakes in the kitchen with Mommy or will it be some time that I punished him? Will he have more positive memories than negative memories? I wonder what characteristics about me that he will hate. I wonder what he will cherish. Will he be ashamed of me? Will he care what I think? I know he will never be able to doubt I love him, at least not for long. I tell him a million times a day. I hug and kiss him too much, but I can't help it. I crave hugs and kisses from him with an urgency that is as strong as a drug addict needs his drug. There are no more beautiful words then "I love you, Mommy." Will he ever stop telling me how much he loves me? Will he come to me with his problems? Will he trust me? Will he ever feel like he needs to lie to me?

Sometimes I obsess over my parenting flaws. I'm not very structured, which everyone says that Jamie needs. I try, but I'm just not a structured person and I can't seem to follow through with concrete routines for very long. Sometimes I raise my voice out of frustration. You don't know how relieved I was to hear his teacher raise her voice in the same way and pop out with several of the phrases that I find myself routinely using. It's comforting to know that other mothers are responding in the same way. I don't have much experience with good mothers to pattern my behaviors by. I doubt my own instincts sometimes.

I still check on him many times a night, just as I have since he was born. I watch him sleep. I check to make sure he's breathing. I softly kiss his head. I make sure he's covered up, dry, and warm. I don't think he'll ever be able to understand just how much I love him and cherish him. There just aren't adequate words to explain it. A few days ago I took a medication that made me sleepy. Matthew let me sleep and didn't wake me before he took Jamie to the bus. Somehow I woke when he closed the front door and I was up fast. I didn't get to kiss Jamie and tell him I love him before school. I threw some clothes on fast and ran up the street just as the bus was coming to a stop. My pants were trying to fall down, but I had to get there before he got on the bus. I must have looked utterly ridiculous, an overweight woman running, hair crazy, holding onto her pants. I got my kiss and we exchanged "I love you" despite the fact that he was fussing because Daddy didn't let him push the button on the seat belt.

In some ways I am so excited to see the man that he will become. In other ways I wish that I could stop time (or even rewind it) and keep things just as they are right now.

Friday, April 24, 2009

March for Babies

Jamie and I are going to walk in the March for Babies for The March of Dimes on May 2, 2009. My goal is to raise $500.00 for the walk. I really could use all the sponsors I can get. Please help by clicking on the box at the top of my blog to sponsor me for the event. Thank you!