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I think I’ve been stingy with just how much info I share. Here. On Facebook. Anywhere.

Maybe stingy’s not quite right. Maybe I’m just not sure that you care. Maybe I’m afraid you’ll judge me when I write a post that I’m sad. Or hurt. Or confused. Or exhausted.

I’ve spent most of my life being praised as the “happy” one. Always in a good mood. Quick to smile and laugh. It’s a tough label to live up to. Especially when it’s often been a charade.

This week…I am not happy. And I’m having a hard time hiding it.

What I rarely mention is that my dear, sweet, almost-2-year-old daughter has been faced with challenges since the day she was born…5 weeks early.

She was a preemie, but that was the least of our worries. At 4 months, we learned she had osteogenesis imperfecta, more commonly known as brittle bone disease. It’s a mild case, but you just never know what will make her bones break, or when it may happen. But I’ve seen her x-rays. And you can almost see through her bones.

Kids break bones…I get it. My son broke his foot climbing out of his crib at 2, and I didn’t freak out. But there’s a fear in the back of mind at all times that the midday call from my sitter could be the call I’ve been fearing. There’s a fear that when she has a hard fall, her cries will turn into the high-pitched screams *we were warned* would be the telltale sign of a break.

So far, so good. She’s a tough chickie with a penchant for climbing – and giving her mommy mini-heart-attacks.

But in addition, Em’s also had a rough time eating and gaining weight. Between late-diagnosed reflux and an immature gag reflex, she spent months gagging and vomiting to the point that she was diagnosed with failure to thrive. She vomited so hard at times that I thought she may turn inside out. Luckily now, at almost 2, it’s finally under control.

But this week, I learned of another problem. Seemingly small in the grand scheme of life, but not for Em and not for me.

I took her to the eye doctor thinking she’d be diagnosed with lazy eye – I was so sure of it, I already bought the eye patches. After an hour of pure torture – with three people holding her down for her eye exam – I learned she was moderately to severely nearsighted and would need glasses.

No big deal right?

Not to me. Not this time. I’m not taking it in stride. This time I’m not bullet proof. This time I’m not buying the “you only get what you can handle” excuse.

Doesn’t she get a pass? Hasn’t she earned it? She’s only 2 for godsakes.

She’s only 2.

She’s been x-rayed, bloodtested, poked, prodded, weighed and measured. She cries at the sight of people in scrubs. She shys away from almost everyone.

I ask…no I say, NO MORE. Let her be. Stop scaring the shit out of her.

Just let HER be happy.Sweet Emma

From the Writer’s Workshop at Mama’s Losin’ It…

THE PROMPT: What’s so good about it?  Write an interesting poem or piece of writing where the last two words of the writing are ‘good-bye’.


Forgive me Blog, For I Have Sinned

Hello Dear Blog…it’s been quite a while since we were…intimate.

See – I’ve been spending time with another woman…a Virtua Woman.

I gave her everything. Every thought. Every word. Every passion. My heart. My love. My life.

We spent every moment together. She filled my empty tank, and I gave her life and personality. Like all fabulous love affairs, it was heated and passionate, if only for a while.

I wouldn’t say it’s over. But it’s not what it was.

And now I’m here.

Begging for forgiveness.

Asking you to take me back.

To fill your spaces with my stories. MY STORIES.

I want to share my heart with you again. My love. My life. My passion.

It’s been months, but I need you to take me back.

This can’t be good-bye.

Mama's Losin' It

No one ever asked me if I wanted 5 older brothers and sisters. But you don’t have much choice when you’re the baby in the bunch.

My mom, sisters and brothers

Mom, sisters and brothers...we put the "fun" in dysfunctional!

No one ever asked me if I wanted to be squash-shaped. But I’ll never get a waistline even if I run and sweat and crunch.

H & E at Hershey Gardens

My "squashiness" for all to see...not a hint of a waistline, yep, that's me!

No one ever asked me if I had the strength to mother special kids. But I realized I was chosen, and I found the strength within.

Christmas morning

Our brood...the little lady and the dudes

No one ever asked me if I wanted to marry my high school “guy” friend. But if I missed his love and friendship, it would’ve truly been a sin.  

H & J New Year's Eve

My life. My love. My partner in goofiness.

No one ever asked me why I really love to bake. But they devour the sweets made with love and I thrive on the happiness brought by cake.

Maddy's Beachy Birthday Cake

A special birthday cake for my beachrat niece with the January birthday

No one ever asked me to write about the questions never asked. But I’ve clued you in, revealed what’s within, and have finished up my task.

Mama's Losin' It

I learned this week that the infant son of one of my high school girlfriends died.

A mom of three beloved kids of my own, it was excruciating to imagine myself in her place…it’s an unthinkable thought.

What was even harder was reading his obituary today…17 weeks old…died peacefully in his sleep. His sweet round face, blue eyes, kissable cheeks…Heartwrenching is just not a strong enough word to describe it.

God, I pray that it was peaceful and that he’s in heaven with other sweet babies that are taken too soon.

I’d like to think that believing he died peacefully in his sleep brings his mom some comfort. However, I know she is feeling a pain far worse than could ever be physically inflicted. She will never be the same. She will never look at another infant and not think of the son she lost. Peacefully…in his sleep.

She has two older children to raise. God, please give her the strength to continue on for them.

And if you happen to read this today, say a prayer for this mom and for the sweet child that she lost.

I’m watching the news about Haiti, taking the action I can by donating to the American Red Cross, and praying for this broken nation and its people.

I’m also counting my blessings. I have a warm and humble home. Food, water and necessary medications. And the people I love are safe.

For this, I’m extremely grateful.

My family

My no frills family...in our natural "turkey bowl t-shirt" state

My mom, sisters and brothers

Mom, sisters and brothers...we put the "fun" in dysfunctional!

Christmas morning

Christmas morning excitement!

Ev in the snow

Reminds me of how fun it is to play in the snow!

Ant & Em

Big brother with the little sister he loves so much

While I’ve been following for a few weeks, this is my first stab at MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop.

I chose prompt 3.) What’s in YOUR name? What does it mean? Why was it given to you? etc…

Hello…I’m Holly. And I was the first in my family to carry this name. Though I’m proud to say that my god-daughter now carries it as her middle name.

Holly has an Old English origin and, no shocker here, means “the holly tree.”

The first question I always got as a kid was: “Holly…were you born around Christmas?”

My response…”Uh…no. My birthday’s in October.”

It was actually my older sister who was born around Christmas, and the name Holly was intended for her. Except my dad hated the name. SHE got Jennifer.

But I was the last born in a brood of SIX, so my dad told my mom to name me whatever she wanted. Holly Lorraine it was!

As a kid, I hated my name. I wanted to have a popular name like Jennifer, Heather or Christine. There were lots of those. But almost no Hollys.

Holly was good for nicknames. I got Holly Hobbie and Holly Berry. But my favorite was given to me by a neighbor.

He called me Holly by Golly and even shortened it to HBG sometimes.

In high school, I was in the marching band and the drummers called me Hooch. It didn’t stick, thankfully.

Now that I’m older, I like being  Holly.

It may not be popular, but it’s original, and I’m cool with that!

Christmas cookie baking is one of my fondest memories. I remember sitting at the kitchen table or on the counter helping my mom make Austrian chocolate balls, Russian tea cakes, pecan sandies, and Kruschikis. She would pile the many different kinds she made onto trays and serve them over the holiday or give them to my dad to take to his co-workers.

I’m sure my 5 brothers and sisters and I ate at least half from the freezer before she even got a chance to make those trays.

I still make some of these recipes today, and from the same recipe cards my mom used.

But I have my own recipes too. And the one I’m most famous for are my chocolate chip cookies.

Nothing against Nestle’s Tollhouse because I love those too, but these are just MORE special.

THIS is what I own. I’m giving it to you as a Christmas gift.

Happy Holidays and Many Blessings to You!

Million-Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup rolled oats, regular or quick

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon juice

2 eggs

3 cups semisweet chocolate chunks (or chips)

1 1/2 cups nuts (I prefer pecans, but you can also use walnuts)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

4. With a stand mixer, cream butter, sugars, vanilla and lemon juice together using an electric mixer. Add eggs and beat until fluffy.

5. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture, blending well.

6. Add the chocolate chips and nuts to dough and mix well.

7. Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop dough onto cookie sheets and leave about 2 inches between cookies.

8. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.

9. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 2 to 3 dozen depending on size of cookies.

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