Saturday, October 24, 2015


As my ability to post has fallen, I thought I'd share some pics of what Ladybug and I have been up to this fall!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Just another ordinary day...sort of...Part IV

In a New York minute...

I used to listen to that song and think...NOTHING in and day out...same old, same old...

On September 11, 2001...Just another ordinary day...people got up...people started their daily routine and then...

Everything changed...

 9-11 Memorial Video


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ladybug is 2!!

Well that was a month ago! And my ability to post regularly has not improved!

But I will leave you with a few (okay many) of my favorite pics from her 2nd Birthday Photo Shoot!

God I love this kid!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Long Overdue Mother's Day Take 2...

One thing that has been blowing my mind lately is how fast time is passing. Remember in your teens and twenties...the concept of life passing you by was unimaginable. You just couldn't even picture yourself in your 40s (probably pretty much declaring you'd be dead by then! And never be THAT old!)...and then one day you wake up and BAM you are 40! And within what feels like a few months BAM you are in your mid 40s...and then...yikes!! I still have a few years but the way things are going...BAM!!

I can't not believe how fast time is flying...

I can't believe I haven't posted in 2 months! 2 months!! I am sorry!

And I can't believe how big my little girl is getting!

My little Ladybug has been home for over a year, she is turning 2 and I celebrated my 2nd Mother's Day with her!

It's really this 2nd Mother's Day that I want to post about (which I started writing 2 months ago!) and hopefully I will be posting more to catch you all up on Ladybug turning 2!!

But back to Mother's Day 2015...

It was a Mother's Day of days gone past. The one where we all showed up for brunch and enjoyed the food and a few mimosas as our children ran around and played. There were moms and grandmas, nieces and daughters...A day that in essence celebrates the women in my family and a day where I was (unbelievable!) one of the moms with my child running around and playing. The way I had always imagined before it faded away and became darkness.

Last year it was my first Mother's Day and I think that I was afraid to acknowledge...if I relaxed...if I let myself breathe it would all go POOF! Like breathing out, finally exhaling, would blow away all that was real and leave nothing but dust in its place...(I have a little confession to make...I still feel this way...that somehow, one day I will wake up and all just vanishes.)

But aside from that fear...this year...this Mother's

It's normal and simple.

It is as it should be...


But just not quite....

Because as I sip my mimosa and adorn my daughter with loving looks there are other feelings, other emotions never far from the surface. A combination of love and pain...the love I feel for my daughter and the pain of all that transpired to get to this day...

There is another mom, one who I think about every day, who I am sure was not feeling the joys of this simple day but instead an ache that will never go away...

I do think of her every day. Her and Ladybug's birth grandma. They are never far from my thoughts...

We keep in contact. I send them updates every three months and they have also written to me.

At Easter Ladybug's birth grandma wrote me a letter...a beautiful letter declaring me the answer to their prayers...

I cried and replied:

”I have to tell you how moved I was by your last card. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you both and when you wrote that I was your prayer come true...well...I know in my soul it is the other way around. Somehow God found a way to bring us together."

And I do know in my soul, in the center of my being, that it IS the other way around.

I was at my mom's this weekend and she made a comment about miracles. About how she never really believed in them or thought they were just someone overcoming an illness or something. She said: "I never knew that a miracle could come in this form. This is a miracle! She is a miracle!"

Yes, she is...but the beauty of this miracle comes with heartache and so when I write to Ladybug's birth mom and birth grandma I make sure that I include's hard to explain but they are and always will be a part of Ladybug's life whether they are present or not.  As an adoptive parent you are filled with insecurity and fear...I found by embracing that...embracing my embracing them and including them in our life...the fears have subsided and I can focus on doing what's right for my little girl...our little girl...

Ladybug is our girl...and I always refer to Ladybug as "our girl" in the letters I send.

So in my last letter I wanted them to know:

" ...on Mother's Day my thoughts, prayers, and gratitude were with you both!  You are never far from my thoughts and my heart. I want you to know that our girl will be honoring you both as well on Mother's Day. Please know we are thinking of you and as "Ladybug" gets older I will have her participate in the letter writing and picking out of the pictures...Our girl is truly a blessing! And I am so blessed to be her forever mommy!"

Mother's Day for me right now may be starting to feel normal...simple...or well as close to that as it can get...because there will always be another mom present on that who needs to know that our girl will be honoring her too.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The day I met my daughter....

Like all the memories you could never forget...the emotions of them take over and details fall through the cracks.

But the feeling, that rush of magic...that rush of a dream come true...the rush of a love...a love so strong I can only relate it to a realm beyond earth.

Okay that's just corny and stupid! I am trying to find the words to express something that really is un-expressible and to do it without sounding like a total is just impossible!

Let's try this again...that rush of a dream come true...the rush of a love...

I will go back through the day as I remember it and hope I can give you a sense of what it is like to meet your daughter for the first time!

I got the "call" on April 15th. I brought my daughter home on April 17th. What happened April 16th I have no clue!! I know Sissy M came over and there was a trip to Babies R Us where we tried to get things we needed and I did something I never thought I would do...I registered! So that day was about getting diapers, bottles, crib sheets, changing pads and anything else we could think of...

April 17th 2014, I had to get to the adoption agency by noon, the foster mom was bringing my daughter to the agency at 1. We had 1 hour's worth of paperwork to fill out.

I knew in my soul that I needed to get the ladybug bracelets for the birth mom and grandma. That was so important to me to make sure they had them.

The store that I needed go to that had the bracelets opened at 10am. It was 20 minutes from my house.

So, the agency at noon which was over an hour away.  My BFF M2 was driving me and she was meeting me at my place at 10:45am.

Get to the store, buy the bracelets, get back by 10:45am because one thing you should know...M2 is ALWAYS ON TIME!!

BFF V is going to drive me to the store to get the bracelets. We don't have one minute to spare and I swear she is driving at the speed of at turtle!!

I get to the store minutes after it has opened and can you f'ing believe it...A LINE!! Apparently at 10am on Thursdays is the day everyone goes out to buy Alex and Ani bracelets! Who knew!

It was an excruciating 10 minutes before I could get my bracelets and then the snails crawl drive back...ughhh...of course BFF M2 is waiting for us.

We hop into her SUV and off we go. Now BFF M2 drives a lot faster so I was happy about that but before we even get into gear, BFF V from the backseat says to me "Don't move. Just don't move" and then says to BBF M2 "Do you have a tissue"

Me: "What! What! What is it??"

V: "Don't move!"

BFF M2 reaches into my hair, grabs something and throws it out her window and says: "I don't know what it was but it didn't start with the letter S"

She knows I am deathly afraid of spiders! And there was one (apparently a big one!) crawling in my hair.

Now we are finally off! And yes, BBF M2 was driving as fast as she could but every turn we took was met by slow drivers, 18 wheelers and dump was un-fucking-believable.

And I am literally crawling out of my skin! Not only from the creepy crawler that was crawling in my hair but the anticipation, the stress of the drive, the fear of the unknown and the love that was filling my heart for my little girl...

Would she like me? Will she be scared? Will she cry? Will I be able to comfort her? (I still have these fears!)

We finally pull up to the agency. It's 12:30! My mom is already there and we are taken into a back conference room to go over all the paper work! My friends wait outside.

Let me tell you something have no idea what is a lot of paper work until you go through adoption...

Every piece of paper that needed to be signed was stacked in front of me and it felt like the stack NEVER went down!

I'm looking at the clock and then back at the stack, then at my mom, then at the social workers who are painfully going over every detail of every piece of paper...literally reading every word! Then back at the clock, my mom, the social workers, the papers...

1 o'clock has come and gone. It's now 1:15...1:20...1:30 and I know my daughter is here waiting...

At one point my mom had to run out to go to the bathroom, her excitement and anticipation was so great! She didn't want to hold anything up so she is rushing back not realizing she has buttoned and zipped the bottom of her shirt into her jeans!

Finally I am done with all the paperwork and I am taken into that small, little room that houses that small, little rocking chair with the afghan thrown over its back. I wonder how many adoptive parents sat in this chair before me creating their family!  And how many after...

Next to the rocking chair on a desk is mine and Ladybug's name spelled out in children's blocks with the date 4/17/14 and Congratulations! (I still have those blocks!)

FINALLY! FINALLY! FINALLY! Patricia the social worker brings my Ladybug in...and within moments Ladybug reaches her arms out to me. I pull her close and I knew in that moment that I would never let her go...forever!

And what's happened since that day...since  April 17th 2014! Here's a little snapshot!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The first time ever I saw your face...

I had just finished a brutal WOD (for non-Crossfiters that's Workout of the Day!)

My face was red, my hair was wet and I was standing at the front desk getting ready to sign up for a year's worth of WOD's at this Crossfit gym.

Little did I know that day, when I was running 400 meters carrying 25lbs followed by push-ups, sit-up, squats and God knows what other torture they threw at me that day, little did I know that it was my last day of torture. My last WOD (for now).

I didn't know...I had no clue.

Wallet out...ready to join...

I knew the owner from party days gone by! Funny how that happens. He used to date one of my girlfriend's.

He was asking me if I liked the workout and I was making a joke about being able to tell from my cherry red face when my phone rang...

No caller ID, 609 area code...hmmm...who the hell is this? 

My mom and sister are in the 609 area code...but they would come up on the ID? Maybe they are calling from somewhere else??

No clue...

"Ryan, I've got to take this. I'll be right back"

I walked outside to take that call and Ryan never saw me again!

Every moment of that day has transformed into a slow motion movie that keeps replaying in my mind.

One year later I can't get over the fact that this has happened to me! That Ladybug and I are a forever family.

That day I drove to my adoption agency to meet Ladybug's birth mom and grandma.

And although every moment of this movie that plays out in my head is monumental, there is one moment frozen in time...

While waiting for them to get to the agency for our meeting, the social worker handed me her cell phone with these pictures on it:

It was truly love at first sight! I knew in my heart of hearts that she was my forever daughter...

April 15, 2014 - The first time ever I saw your face! Mommy loves you!! Mommy loves that face!!

Friday, April 3, 2015

The rush of childhood..

One day it just happens...your childhood becomes the past...the distant past... it's  not like "poof" and it happens  all at once. No. it's been  happening all along. With each passing year you feel it's presence watching scenery in your rear-view mirror it just keeps getting further and further away.

But when you are younger, you don't even realize that it's happening. You certainly have no sense of it in your teens or even your twenties...your too busy looking forward...but as you get older or in the event of a loss...then one day, all of the sudden you realize that all those images that have been moving further and further  away have in essence vanished.

They're gone...

And you miss them...everything in the rear view mirror becomes blurry.

It's not so much that you miss being young and that you reject the inevitable fact of age in life.

No... I enjoy aging (well most of it). I actually like being older.

It's the people, the places, the smells, the scenery that at one time was being viewed from front and center...from up close...

I think that's why my last trip to see my aunt, knowing that this was truly the last trip...she was passing...was one of flashing images of a time gone by and slow motion movies from my childhood.

It was a long trip to go see her...12 hours in the car...and with each passing mile the scenery filled my mind with those flashes, images and movies.

I can't say I remember every moment with her because some are so far away they become just a emotion...a sense of comfort or roar of laughter...not the actual event.

Other moments flash...I hear her boisterous laugh...see the room, her face, her smile...I see me small, vulnerable and in awe...

My aunt liked to "hoot" and "holler" and that small, vulnerable me...looked at her wide eyed.

My aunt liked to be "hip"...the "cool" aunt. One you could go to and talk about anything and she would tell you what you needed to hear not what you wanted to hear. I can still see the teen and young adult me looking at her with admiration. And the more recent me...the broken from infertility me sharing a knowing smile with my aunt when she met my Ladybug and she declares: "You were a a mess!" Yes I was aunt Nancy...yes I was...

Some of these images bring being so little and sitting on her lap on a porch swing watching the lightening...or her lowering a rope to pull me up so I could sit in front of her on her beloved horse for a ride.

Some bring the time my older sisters told me to say "mother fucker" and I ran around my aunt's back yard saying "mother fucker!" "mother fucker!" "mother fucker!"

My aunt immediately brought me inside and rinsed my mouth out with soap.  I kept crying "But Sissy M and Sissy L told me to say it!"

My aunt's reply: "Well now you learned 2 lessons! Don't ever say that word and don't listen to your sisters!"

And it's my time now...

It's my turn.  I am the aunt! I am the mom! I need to take these years and be the childhood that my aunt Nancy was for me and be that for my nieces, nephews and most of all for my daughter.

But you miss miss those times...

And it's not that you don't want to grow up and have those things with your own's just that you want to keep your childhood close too!

You want porch swings and rocking chairs and thunderstorms. You want to sit on  your aunt's lap and watch the don't want it to be distant images fading from view...

My aunt passed away and now there's a little less boisterous laughing, hooting and hollering here on earth but I am sure she will be livening up the place in heaven.

I know there should be some moment when I tell the world what she meant to me. The lessons she taught...her words of wisdom...make this sweeping, elegant statement about her but I can't think of anything!! Just a rush of emotion.

I love you aunt Nancy! The only thing I can think of that could remotely come close to describing what my aunt meant to me is "childhood" and all the beauty that a childhood should bring.

That rush of childhood coming back into view.


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