Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mad about "Mad Men"

I am LOVING the show Mad Men. Actually, Dan and I both LOVE it and I honestly can't remember being excited about TV in a long time. How did I not know about this until recently? We caught up with Season 1 on our On Demand and Season 2 just started this past Sunday. It's on AMC (I know, how random) on Sunday at 10:00 pm, so set up your DVR's. It's witty, clever, creative, very well written and very classy. It's set in the early 60's, so it definitely let's me feel as a woman how far we've come. There's just something about that period in time that intriques me. Go on, watch it, you'll see what I mean. Dan and I by all means don't watch all that much TV, but this show is definitely one we don't miss.
Took the boys to the free summer movie this morning. It's the last one for the summer, which means that summer is actually winding down. How can this be? School starts in less than a month down here. So hard to believe my little boy will be in school every day this year...
Brady had PT yesterday and he did really well. The PT doesn't seem to think it's really that bad. She assures me how strong he is, how social he is and that it is just a gross motor delay. She also made another observation. She was demonstrating a stretch on Harrison and said, "Wow, he's pretty tight too?" I asked what she meant. She said his muscles even at a relaxed state were tight. I told her that Dan and I are both pretty tight ourselves and she actually believes that Brady's issues may be genetic and his "tight" muscles are keeping him from walking at this point. In my mind, I know he will walk but for some reason this made me feel SO much better. We are taking everything day by day here and that's about all I can do.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Shoot" for the stars....

Last week I had two photo shoots with two different families. The first one was on the beach at Wild Dunes....they were so much fun to be around and I felt that I got some cute ones. Wild Dunes was a gorgeous area to do a photo shoot. The other family was taken in my neighborhood, which is a beautiful spot to take photos. My friend/neighbor/future business partner B and I are starting to talk names, websites, etc about the business so I'm getting super excited. Both families gave me permission to share the images on my blog, so here are a few that I captured.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thank you...thank you...thank you!

I just wanted to thank everyone SO VERY MUCH for their heartfelt support on the last post about Brady. You really have NO IDEA how much support from people I know (friends I haven't seen in a long, long time-I MISS YOU GIRLS-Sweet Pea Chef, Deep in the Heart, Slacker Mama, Marathon Mom, Clemson Girl...the list goes on) and from those I don't know. WOW! I am humbled and honestly touched. I had a little rough patch on Sunday (and I know I will) and went back and re-read the comments and they lifted my spirits so much. I look at that sweet little boy and I KNOW he is going to be OK! Anyway, just wanted to say thanks again for the support from the blogging world....who knew how special it could be?

Friday, July 25, 2008

I've put my heart back in my chest....and the pity party if officially over!

*WARNING: This is not my usual happy-go-lucky post, but as true and raw as I can be right now. This post is about my sweet little boy Brady and the latest with him.* I promise to be happy-go-lucky as soon as possible*

I was hesitant about posting about this at first because of how vulnerable it would make me, but this blog was started for myself and my family. One day Brady will read this and I want him to know exactly how much his mommy and daddy are rooting and fighting for him.

For the last 3 days, I've been in a fog. We had Brady's PT evaluation on Wednesday and the news didn't seem all that great, but at the same time I knew in my heart of hearts that it wasn't going to be-he has hypertonia in his legs. What does this mean? It means that even at resting his muscles are contracted and stretched which makes it hard for him to walk (or which is why he is not walking). The PT informed me, even though I already knew, that he would not be walking anytime soon. In fact, this could be a very difficult road for Brady. When she left, I had a good, long cry in the bathroom and felt very, very sad for Brady. Images of Brady riding a bike, playing soccer, running with his brothers flashed in my head. As a parent we have visions for our children...we don't have visions of them with a disability. And although we don't know for sure if this is a "disability", it is what it is, he has a gross motor delay. So I spent the next several days questioning God, "Why Brady?", "Why me?", "How can another BAD thing be happening to us again?"

And today after a good cry in the shower, it hit me-the lights came on. God doesn't give this Steel Magnolia anything she can't handle. I guess He thinks I can handle more than the average person....losing my sister, dealing with infertility and now...? My job is to be Brady's mother, his cheerleader, his best advocate-it's not to be SAD for him and to PITY him. He doesn't need that-he needs someone who believes he can do anything and I know that he can and will walk one day. Besides, I have two other beautiful children that need me as well. We have an amazing and wonderful life and I it will continue to be just that.

Maybe I became a special education teacher for this exact moment. I know the right questions to ask and the right providers to talk to-just as I "knew" I would encounter infertility, I dealt with it, followed the advice of doctors and became my own best advocate and because of that I have these 3 wonderful boys in my life.

I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me, my son, or the rest of my family. We are going to be OK, Brady is going to be fine because he has a family that believes in him and knows that he will do anything that he sets his mind to. He doesn't need a mother that is going to be sad for him, wishing he was this way or that way. He has a mother that is going to root and cheer for him like any mother would do for their child. He is still the same Brady he was yesterday, happy as a clam and very smart too. If I could only give you a recording of that sweet little voice of his. His and Jack's language is exploding everyday-new words here and there and it always makes me smile to hear them.

There may be those who don't think I should have posted all of this, but I'm doing so because there may be someone out there just like me, having their own pity party, and may need that extra boost of assurance that their child is going to be fine. My job is to be Brady, Jack, and Harrison's SUPER MOM and that, my friends, is what I am.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Are they twins??

This is a question I get just about everyday when I'm out. Seriously, they are! "But one's bigger than the other". I always respond, "They are not identical, they're fraternal." Soooo, lately I've started dressing them the same, or at least in coordinating outfits. #1 because it's easier and #2 so that people may not state the obvious all the time. Also, for some reason because Jack is smaller, people often assume he is a girl. He looks nothing like a girl, but a lot of people assume the boy/girl twin thing. Anyway, here are some pictures from the other day. The boys were being silly and they were dressed the I thought I'd share.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A rainy day baking project...

Harrison has been in VBS all this week and today was supposed to be a family picnic over at Splash Island. Because of all of the rain we've been having, it was cancelled. I quickly decided since it was raining that we would have a baking activity to keep all parties interested while the twins were napping. For some reason, I enjoy baking when it's raining outside. To me, they seem to go hand-in-hand. Harrison LOVES to help me in the kitchen and we always have so much fun together. I decided since I had all the ingredients on hand that I would make pistachio biscotti. We are BIG fans of the pistachio in this I was hoping it would turn out. Well, they did and all 4 of us devoured them during our tea-time. Tea-time, you ask? Are we in Britain? No, but I am trying desperately to teach my boys some table manners and I figured after naps/snack time was the best time to try. We all sit at the table and eat our snack together. Dinnertime can be so chaotic, so this has been fun to try out. Plus, it relaxes me a little before the "wild/crazy" time in our house, which is between 5:00 and 6:00 pm, before daddy gets home. I figure if it's good for the Brits, it's good for are some pictures from our little baking/eating extravaganza.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A job that is "fun"...

Lately I've been thinking about starting a photography business with a good friend of mine...I get so excited thinking about it. I've been taking pictures of families and children about every weekend for the last 5 or so weeks. Right now I am not charging anything, as I see it important to build a portfolio. Taking pictures of other people's families has been SO MUCH FUN! I can't explain in words how it makes me feel to know what I have done for another family by capturing their children in a special way. And although I haven't been "paid" with cash, every family that I have taken has given me some special gift, which is really sweet.

My "job" before motherhood was teaching in special education. Although very rewarding, it was also very, very stressful. I taught children with severe autism for a couple of years and then moved on to teach children with learning disabilities and serve as Screening Chair for my school. High stress let me tell you! As I contemplate one day re-joining the workforce, I don't see myself going back to all of that stress, especially now that I am a parent. It just wouldn't allow me the flexibility I want to be with my children. Yes, I know we have the "summers off", but as every teacher knows, you truly never have any time off-as there are always lesson plans, themes, trainings, etc to attend to.

I really hope that my friend and I can get this photography business off the ground...if I can have a job that is as much fun as I have had taking pictures for these families....I would start tomorrow. Here are a few of some of the pictures I've taken. I'm only including the backs of the children for privacy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

As pretty as a picture...

This past Saturday we decided to throw caution to the wind (ha!), be spontaneous and drive the whole family over to Kiawah Island for the day. Turned out to be a wonderful family day. The drive took about an hour, but it was such a beautiful drive along Bohicket Rd, see for yourself...this is the view from the car.

The road was like this for about 10 miles or so and it was beautiful. When we got there, we decided to walk around Freshfields Village for a while. There were tons of cute shops and even an old fashioned soda fountain complete with formica tables and a bar with swivel stools. Harrison loved it. Dan and I shared a peanut butter and chocolate sundae with the twins and Harrison had his own ice cream of course. Afterwards we rode on over to the beach...the sand is very different from our beach...very white and fine. I liked it because it didn't get all over everything. We'll definitely be going back, maybe even for a vacation. Oh and honey, when we celebrate the big 10 next year, I wouldn't mind a night or two at The Sanctuary.

I love waking up and having no plans and then all of a sudden it being the best day ever...don't you love days like that?

The entrance to Freshfields Village, how cute is that?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad, Grandpa!

Happy Birthday Dad aka Grandpa-we hope it's a good one!!! Harrison hopes you enjoyed your birthday song....


Dan, Lee, Harrison, Brady and Jack

My dad and Harrison (14 months)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Love me do...

I think I've pulled a fast one on Harrison. When we get in the car, he always request to listen to his "special music", which basically is the same Laurie Berkner CD we've been listening to since he was a baby. I am getting a little tired of it. Our van came with built in XM, so I love listening to it, since it really is the only time I can listen to "my" music. When we were in Vegas and went to see the LOVE show set to The Beatles, I got the urge to pull out my Beatles One CD (the one with all of their #1's in one CD) and pop it into the CD player in the van....well, Harrison thought this was great. "OOOO Mommy, I love this! Is it 'special music'?"....It only took me half a second to respond, "Yes it is sweetie, it's The Beatles and it's very special". Guess what? Now everytime we get in the car he requests his "special Beatles music"....I'm good, pretty darn good. See you around Laurie, there's some new special music in town!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Life is Good!

My 3 super-active boys are settling into their naps, I'm drinking an iced Madagascar Vanilla Red tea-my new favorite, no caffeine, no artificial flavors, no calories and loaded with antioxidants-and sampling one of Bubba's Beer Biscuits that I made for tonight's supper club, which is an All-American theme. Bubba is Paula Deen's brother, for those of you who didn't know that. Don't judge me for eating them, I did bike 11 miles this morning, as well as yesterday morning. Biking, you ask? Well, I'm taking a week off from running. My right calf has been bothering me for a couple of weeks and after a terrible run on Monday, I've decided I can't risk being injured for my marathon that is 6 months away. I had a little pity party at first because I love running so much, but biking is working other leg muscles that running doesn't work, so I guess it is a pay-off. I still get up early to go and the scenery is amazing. My butt hurts when I am done for sure! I almost burned the same amount of calories running 5 miles as biking 11 miles, but I do miss the running!

Yesterday I took the boys to the library so Harrison and I could check out some books. That boy has never met a book he didn't love. I also love checking out cookbooks-LOVE it! I read cookbooks like regular books, always looking for that perfect recipe. I also picked up Paula Deen's autobiography, which so far has been a pretty fast read. I love reading biographies about cooks or chef's-always wondering how they got into the business. She has really come from nothing-she is an amazing woman! I sat on the porch last night after the boys went to bed and Dan was playing tennis with a friend, and with the coastal breezes in the air and the smell of the marsh, I actually felt like I was on vacation, reading her book while sitting in my rocking chair. So really, right now Life is Good!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

We had a great time last week. It has been forever since I've posted but between coming back home, doing laundry (lots and lots) and re-stocking the pantry...I feel like I've been playing catch up since last week.

Let's see. Last Saturday night was my cousin's wedding. It was so much fun catching up with people I hadn't seen in a really long time. After the reception, it was off to Charlotte to drop off Harrison at his aunt and cousin's house. Sunday morning we flew out bright and early with no issues at all. It was so neat flying into Vegas because it's such a different landscape than what I'm used to. Lots of red clay mountains, no trees, no vegetation....It was hot, hot, hot! 111 when we arrived in Vegas around noon. We quickly checked into our hotel and walked around for a while. Our first stop was Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay for lunch. It hit the spot! Afterwards, we ventured our way down the strip going in and out of hotels, shops and casinos. It was a lot of walking and I certainly was not used to the dry heat-it's still hot-even without the humidity. We walked through The Bellagio and watched the fountain "show". It was pretty cool, this particular one was set to Frank Sinatra-so that was pretty neat. We also walked through Caesar's Palace where I played the slots. That's really all the gambling I did...not really into it but fun to watch. For dinner we went to Mesa Grill-owned by none other than THE Bobby Flay! It was awesome-so uber-trendy and the food was quite good. I enjoyed myself at $12 margarita (the drinks in Vegas were outrageously expensive!) but it did not disappoint...we were pretty beat so hit the hay pretty much after dinner.

The next day, Dan had to work (after all this was a business trip for him) and I decided to hang out poolside in the morning. It was nice just being by myself at a pool with a book and magazine...AAAHHHH! Later on, I showered and walked back down to Wolfgang Puck's Spago located in Caesar's for lunch. I even sat at the bar, my choice and loved every minute of it. Afterwards, I walked into some of the upscale shops in Caesar's and Bellagio just for kicks...Jimmy Choo, Prada, Chanel, Hermes, Carolina Herrera, Fendi....of course I did not buy a thing from there, but it was fun to drool....I mean look! By the time I was done with my sight-seeing, Dan was done for the day so we sat by the pool at our hotel and sipped on a mojito and people watched. People watching was my all time favorite activity while we were there! I was amazed at how many drunk people there were and how many kids I saw. It's too darn hot for little kids to be there, not to mention pretty inappropriate...but anyway. We then got ready for dinner where we went to Mario Batali's San Marco restaurant located in The Venetian. It was OK, but did not in any way compare to Bobby Flay's restaurant. We were excited though, because after dinner it was off to see the show LOVE which is set to Beatles music at The Mirage. It was amazing!! I highly recommend seeing a show if you are in Vegas. We had an great time in Las Vegas, just the two of us, able to reconnect for a couple of days. Really we could have been anywhere, just being alone with Dan was worth it! Soon it was time to come home to our children, who did very well with their grandparents (thanks mom and dad for keeping Brady and Jack) and their Aunt Debbie (thanks Debbie for keeping Harrison). We missed them so much...but are so glad we got to get away.

We had a great 4th also. Went to a friend's house for a cookout and fireworks. The boys all had a great time because everyone slept in until 8:30 the next day. We really needed the sleep. Anyway, sorry this has been a book...