Friday, September 30, 2011


For both of us!
(My first day back in college, his first day in high school!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Part 1 is Here

My style of parenting has always been to allow my children to make their own decisions- this is especially true since my stepdaughter has grown into an adult. I don't appreciate being lectured, and that isn't something I do to my kids. I will give them advice if needed; for my stepdaughter I usually only offer it if she asks.

It was very difficult for me when she separated from her husband last April because I honestly thought it was a mistake. They loved each other and had been together for eight years. It seemed like such a waste. They started out trying to be civil to each other, especially for the sake of their two very young children. But emotions got in the way, and there were times it got very ugly. I finally said something to them the night my grandson started crying at my house. It broke my heart to see him like that, and I wanted to kick them both in the ass for putting him through that.

The hardest part as a parent is sitting by and watching your children make mistakes and all the while hoping they will learn the lesson in it.

They moved back in together a few weeks ago. I wasn't surprised at all, but I was really happy.

I hope they remember that no matter how bad it gets, they were miserable without each other, and they can work through it.

I've said it before and I'll say it again- Great marriages don't just happen, they are made.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I love "deals". It makes me so happy to get something on sale or better yet clearance! I literally do not know the last time I paid full price for anything. With the exception of some grocery items, everything I buy is discounted. Everything. Even our cars.

When I say discounted, I don't mean something that is marked up and then the price is dropped down so I feel like I'm saving money. I mean real sales or discounts that actually save me thousands of dollars a year.

Here are the things I've bought recently:

Table and Lamp

Table $17.50 at an estate auction. 
Lamp $40 at T.J. Maxx. Retail price $75.

I've never been to an estate auction before but I highly recommend it. This auction had tons of old antiques, and they were going for dirt cheap. (My friend got a Victor Victrola phonograph worth several hundred dollars for only $2! And it WORKS!!!) I wouldn't call this table an "antique" since I believe it was built in the 30's or 40's. It's still a beautiful piece, and I really like it. I know you can't tell from the picture, but it has a magazine/newspaper holder under the table. 

Paid $7 for it at Goodwill. 

Paid just $2.50 for each costume, new in package.
(In case you can't tell one is a Puffer Fish, the other is a Submarine)

Briefcase, paid $14.99 at goodwill. New with tags. Retail $59.99

These shoes retail for between $50 and $60, I got them for $3.99!

I also got a multi-line business phone new in the box for $5.99. (The tag was still attached and it cost $54 at Office Depot.) Sorry, too lazy to take a picture of this! :)

What about you? Any good deals this week?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Monday was our anniversary. My husband and I have been married for 13 years, together for 16. There were a lot of doubters at our wedding. They were polite, but I know that there was a lot of whispering behind our back about a 21 year old girl marrying a 36 year old man.

You know what I have to say to that?


Still (HAPPILY) together after all these years! We've stayed married longer than some of our haters! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Ten years ago my son was starting four year old preschool. It was his second day. I got him up and put him on the bus, and then went back to sleep. I was caring for my mother in law at the time, she was very ill. I remember being mad when she woke me up shortly after I fell asleep. I specifically remember cooking her eggs that morning. I walked into the living room with her breakfast and she had the NBC Today Show on. I noticed that a building was on fire, and she told me a plane had hit it. At that time I thought maybe someone was learning how to fly and crashed into the building. I could not even comprehend anyone doing this on purpose. I was 24 at the time, and part of that might have been innocent due to my age, but at that time terrorism wasn't a real threat to me. I never even thought about it.

I sat across from my mother in law, and we both watched as the second plane flew into the second tower. I distinctly remember looking at her and saying, "What is going on?" I couldn't understand how a second plan could make the same mistake the first one did. It still didn't occur to me that this was on purpose.

It also didn't occur to me how many people actually worked in those towers, and how many lives would be lost that day. I didn't even think about the people who were trapped in the upper floors.

I found the footage from that morning on NBC on You Tube. I watched it, and it gave me goosebumps. It's exactly as I remember:

I'm not sure when I realize it may be a terrorist attack, but I do remember when they show Bin Laden's picture on the news. it was the first time I'd ever heard his name.

The first person I called was my mother (or maybe she called me?). My aunt and my uncle's wife were flight attendants, and I wanted to make sure they were OK. (Later I would find out that one aunt was supposed to be on one of the flights, but had called in sick. The guilt haunts her to this day.)

I was on the phone with a friend when the towers fell.

I had goosebumps and chills all morning.

Life was very different ten years ago. Our world undoubtedly changed that day. Sometimes it saddens me because I feel like my children and grandchildren are never going to grow up the care free way that I did. Terrorism is something that they are used to, and that is so very sad to me.

And, because today is no doubt going to be sad, I thought maybe you could use a laugh (or two).

 John Stewert. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011


My last post got me thinking. Many of you commented that you wished famous people spoke more openly about their losses so that this wasn't such a taboo subject. I did a little digging, and I found several instances where people did speak of their loss- I just don't think it receives much press because it's so depressing. Speaking of dead children will never sell as many copies of a magazine as the cast of Jersey Shore. Sad, but true.

In 2008 Annie Lennox spoke about her son's stillbirth.  She expressed the same feelings that many people who suffer a tragedy realize- life is fragile. She explained how his death effected her songwriting, and how it brought depth to her music.

Mike Tyson spoke with Oprah about his daughter accidental death. It was his darkest day. No matter what you think about Tyson, you can't help but realize that he truly loved his daughter and her death took an enormous toll on him.

Lily Allen spoke about her son's stillbirth last year. She expressed something which I've actually felt myself which is anger when people refer to her loss as a "miscarriage". She actually labored and bore a son. Like myself, Ms. Allen nearly died when her son was born. She talked about it at great length in the final episode of the documentary Lily Allen: Rags to Riches.

Gordon Brown wept as he recalled his daughter's death.

Xzibit reminded us to hold our children closer.

Then there are the comments that just don't sit right with the baby loss community in general:

Oprah Winfrey admitted that she felt relieved when her infant son died. She told Piers Morgan that she felt it gave her a second chance at life. I have to admit, when I first read this I was sickened. I couldn't imagine feeling relief over the death of my child. But I've never been a 14 year old victim of sexual assault. I don't know what that's like, and I can imagine that not having the constant reminder would be a relief. What I can't agree with, and what still bothers me, is that Oprah said she never thinks about her child. She never imagines what life would be like if her child had lived. She's glad he isn't here. That just rubs me the wrong way. It would have bothered me even if I didn't lose a child. To me it implies that the money and fame are more important than a human life. I watched the interview, and Oprah talk about her son's death in a nonchalant way. I've seen this woman on TV bawling about the death of her dog, but when it came to her son she was emotionless. That just doesn't sit right with me.

Reverend Run and his wife Justine spoke to People Magazine about their daughter's death. I first read this article a few years ago and it pissed me off. I was especially irritated by Justine's statement: "Women need to know you only need to mourn quickly." She suggested that you, "Don't try to think of [the baby's] eyes." And Rev Run said "We don't have pictures [of Victoria Anne]. We don't look back." 

Wow. Just, wow. 

I don't even know where to start with these two. First of all, they had the perfect platform to help people and to bring awareness to a taboo subject and they failed miserably. Instead they basically suggested that you forget about the baby and move on. Don't dwell on it, don't talk about it, don't feel. Just pretend it didn't happen and everything will be OK. (Maybe I'm exaggerating, but not much). 

In the article it says that they found out in the middle of their pregnancy that they baby likely had a genetic disease (which is sometimes incompatible with life). They decided not to tell anyone, even their children. As a parent I find this incredibly irresponsible. They mentioned that one of their sons was having an especially hard time with the loss- did it not dawn on them that if he had time to process what was happening that maybe he would have dealt with it better? How cruel to drop something on their children when they could have had months to process it (especially in front of cameras, which was for their reality show). They said they didn't tell anyone because they didn't know how it was going to turn out. The defect she had (Omphalocele) was very serious, even if she had survived she would have had to had surgery shortly after birth followed by a NICU stay of at least a month, probably longer. Best case scenario is surgery and lengthy hospital stay, worst case scenario is death. Isn't that something you want to prepare your children for? I couldn't imagine just dropping that bomb on them after the baby was born. 

Then, after the baby died they made it even worse by not allowing anyone to dwell on it. "...You only need to mourn quickly". "We don't look back". Really? I think I have recovered from the stillbirth of my child very well. I have a picture of her in my living room. I believe that you have to fully experience the emotions before you can move past them. I think it's especially harmful for a parent to not allow their children to experience those emotions.

There is a fine line here, and I really think the Simmons family did a huge disservice to the baby loss community. They had the perfect platform to speak about this and let people know that losing a baby is painful. It's not something that you just bounce back from the next day, but they made it seem as if that is exactly what they did. (They even mention how they had their kids out on skateboards the very next day!) While I don't doubt that this was an extremely painful experience for this family, I wish that they didn't feel the need to prove how tough they are and how easily they recovered from this loss. It does a great disservice to parents who've suffered a loss. Especially those who's family and friend expect them to "get over" it. They missed a huge opportunity to help people who don't have the voice they have, and instead they used it for ratings for their show and that just doesn't sit well with me at all. 

Maybe I'm being harsh. I know it's easy to look back and criticize, but these last two examples just really get to me. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Being famous does not automatically lead to a charmed life.

Below are some famous people who have lost children:

  • John F. and Jackie Kennedy, a stillborn daughter Arabella, in 1956 & premature son, Patrick, in 1963.
  • Lamar Odom's six month old son, Jayden, died from SIDS in 2006.
  • Mike Tyson's four year old daughter. Exodus, strangled by a power cord in 2009.
  • Eric Clapton's four year old son, Connor,  fell out of a window in 1991.
  • Vince Neil, of Motley Crue, lost his four year old daughter, Skylar, to cancer 1995.
  • O.J. Simpson's 1 year old daughter, Aaren, drown in the family pool in 1979.
  • Rapper Xzibit's premature son, Xavier, died in 2008.
  • Mark Twain lost his son, Langdon, to diptheria at age 19 months. 
  • Abraham Lincoln had four sons, three of which did not survive to adulthood. 
  • Singer Sonique had a stillborn son. 
  • Senator John Edwards' 17 year old son, Wade, died in a car accident. 
  • Model Kelly Brook lost her daughter during pregnancy this past spring. 
  • Katey Sagal (Peg from Married With Children) had a stillborn daughter, Ruby Jean, in 1991. 
  • Singer Prince & his then wife actress Mayte lost their week old son to a rare genetic disorder in 1996.
  • Actress Amanda Holden gave birth to a stillborn son earlier this year. 
  • Singer Lilly Allen lost a son prematurely in 2010 (and another pregnancy at four months in 2008).
  • Audrey Hepburn had a stillborn child.
  • Yoko Ono had a stillborn son, John Ono Lennon II, in 1968.
  • Jane Pratt (founder of Jane and Sassy magazines) had stillborn twins in 2005.
  • Oprah Winfrey had a son in 1968 who only lived two weeks. 
  • Rick Schroeder and wife Andrea Bernard had a child that was stillborn in 2004
  • English Prime Minister Gordon Brown lost his premature daughter, Jennifer Jane, in 2002.
  • Supermodel Linda Evangelista had a stillborn child in 1999. 
  • Rev Run of Run DMC and wife Justine lost their daughter, Victoria, shortly after birth in 2006 due to a genetic disease. 
  • Keanu Reeves and his then girlfriend Jennifer Syme had a daughter, Ava, who was stillborn in 1999.
  • Keith Richards and actress Anita Pallenberg had a son, Tara, who died at 3 moths of age due to SIDS.
  • Luciano Povarotti & his wife had twins 2003. Their daughter survived, but their son, Riccardo, was stilborn. 
  • Vice President Joe Biden's one year old daughter, Amy, died in a car accident (along with his wife) in 1972.
  • English singer and actress Kym Marsh had a son, Archie Jay, who died shortly after birth in 2009.
  • Singer Annie Lennox had a son, Daniel, who was stillborn in 1988.
  • Senator Ted Kennedy and his wife had a stillborn son in 1964.
  • Famous parents Joe and Katherine Jackson had a stillborn son, Brandon, in 1957 (twin to Marlon). 
  • Reality TV star Jane Goody lost twins in 2007- one was miscarried and a daughter, Summer, was stillborn.
  • Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeannie had a stillborn child in 1971.
  • John Travolta and Kelly Preston lost their 16 year old son, Jett, in early 2009. 
  • Roy Orbison's two young sons died in a house fire in 1968 (he lost his wife two years before that in a motorcycle accident). 
  • Anothony Quinn's first child, Christopher, drown in a neighbor's swimming pool at age 2. (The neighbor was W.C. Fields). 
  • Lou Costello of Abbot and Costello lost his son, Lou Jr. (Butch) to a drowning accident. He died two days before his first birthday in 1943.
  • George and Barbara Bush lost their two year old daughter, Robin, to leukemia in 1953.
  • Singer Steve Harwell of Smashmouth lost his 6 month old son, Prestley, to lukemia in 2001. 
  • Mary Wilson of the Supremes lost her 14 year old son, Rafael, in a car accident 1994. (Apparently while fleeing an earthquake, although I can't confirm that).
  • Robert Plant lead singer of Led Zeppelin had a five year old son, Karac, who died of a virus in 1977.
  • Red Skelton's 10 year old son, Richard Jr., died from lukemia in 1958.
  • Jerry Lee Lewis's three year old son, Steve, drown in 1962. (He also lost his 19 year old son in a car accident in 1973.)
  • George Strait's 13 year old daughter, Jenifer, died in a car accident in 1986.
  • John Walsh's 6 year old son, Adam, was kidnapped and murdered in 1981.
  • Charlie Chaplin's son, Norman, died when he was 3 days old in 1919. 
  • UK Star Sara Parish lost her eight month old daughter, Ella-Jayne, to a heart defect in 2009.
  • Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger and then girlfriend Maryann Faithful had a stillborn daughter, Corrina, in 1968.
  • Writer Anne Rice's daughter, Michele, died from leukemia in 1972 at age 5. 
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneer kicker Matt Bryant lost his three month old son to SIDS in 2008. 

This list doesn't include those who've suffered from miscarriages or the death of their adult children. 

You are not alone. 

Monday, September 5, 2011


I had heard before that Jackie Kennedy lost a child shortly before her husband's assassination. I had heard it in passing, but never really thought about it.

It wasn't until I experienced a stillbirth that it really hit home with me. Maybe it's because I'm sensitive to these issues now, but her story really hits home with me.

Jacqueline Kennedy's first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. The next year she had a daughter, Arabella, who was stillborn. Her daughter Caroline was born the year after that, followed by son John. In  August 1963 (when John was two) she became pregnant again. She went into labor and delivered her son, Patrick, 5 1/2 weeks early. He died two days later.

If you are doing the math you would realize that the death of her last child occurred just three months before her husband was assassinated.

After JFK died at the hospital, Jackie slipped her wedding ring on his finger and said, "Now I have nothing left". She refused to remove her blood stained clothing (the now famous pink Chanel suit), and even wore it during the swearing in of President Johnson. She buried her husband on her son's third birthday. (The bodies of her infant daughter and son were moved to be buried with their father.)

She wanted her children to have a normal life.  I think she probably tried, but during the year following JFK's death her daughter Caroline told her teacher that mommy cried all the time.

When her brother-in-law was assassinated in 1968 she feared for the lives of her children. Many believe she married Aristotle Onassis partly because he could provide the security she desired. (They were married just four months after Robert was assassinated).

Her step-son died in a plane crash in 1973, and her husband died two years after that.

When I first read about JFK years ago, I glazed over the parts about Jacqueline. At that time in my life I only saw her as having a supporting part in the story. Now, that I'm a mother and wife, and now that I've had some of the same experiences she had I look back on her story with amazement. She must have been an incredible woman. I kind of feel bad for not giving her the credit she deserved.

When you are suffering in pain, I think it sometimes helps to know that you are not alone. Other people have suffered as much, or even more, than you. Jackie is just one of those stories.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Another young life was lost to cancer today. The young girl I blogged about several years ago lost her battle today. I've been following her story, and my heart just breaks for her family, especially her mother.

Please take a moment to send thoughts and prayers to this family.

And take a minute to be thankful for what you have.