Ladybug Secrets

Ladybug Secrets:
Don't let the small stuff bug you. And Spot new opportunities.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wishes Can Happen Day One

We just got back from the Wishes Can Happen Trip yesterday!  It was a very cool trip and have so much to share.  I decided to tell it in three posts.  Each day brought some challenges, but many blessings!  We are so grateful this trip happened and feel blessed by all those who donate to this amazing organization. I encourage everyone who has not heard of it to check it out!

When this whole trip was planned, Tim was working at his old job.  So without vacation time, we set the trip up for my mom, brooke, aidan, chan, and me.  On friday before we left...I was a nervous wreck.  Trying to figure out car seats, strollers, and just how to manage all the kids in taxis and airplane.  Kudos to my awesome hubby as he stepped up and said, "Is there a reason why chan is going?  I mean couldn't he just stay here with me?"  Yes, Yes he can!  Huge relief as I knew he would not like long car rides, plane ride, and walking through a doll store. :0)  So I packed with much less stress!

On Saturday, we went to my mom's house.  At 8:30 a shiny silver limo pulled up to take us to the Cleveland Airport!  Brooke and Aidan were so excited to ride in the limo!  Brooke started yelling when she got inside, "Ah Aidan you gotta check this out!  It is huge and soooo cool!"  It was a fun ride, as the kids were very impressed with the whole thing!  The airport was uneventful, and we boarded quickly.  The kids were not sure about the plane.  The last plane ride was when Aidan was 2 and Brooke was 3 months.  Brooke did not like all the sounds and had me cover her ears for most of the flight.  We landed in Chicago and went to find the van that would take us to the hotel.  The ride to the hotel was very fun, as we passed Soldier Field and Navy Pier.  The sun was shining and Lake Michigan looked lovely!

Grandma and Aidan riding in Limo

Brooke riding in Limo

The hotel was right on Michigan Avenue (Michigan Mile).  We checked in and went to our Big room!  Unfortunately there was a mix up with our luggage and we waited 1 1/2 hours for it to be delivered.  Finally I was worried we would not make it to the aquarium, so I went down and picked it up myself.  Apparently not many people pick up their own luggage at this hotel. ;)  We then tried to get a cab to Shedd Aquarium.  Ok so getting the cab was not hard, but getting a cab that would fit the adapted stroller was impossible!  After 2 attempts, we left the stroller.  We made it to the aquarium and had several fun hours of fish watching!  What an awesome aquarium!  We loved loved the Beluga Whales!  (I will say I was sad at a kid aquarium they had no small wheelchairs.  Poor Brooke was tired about a 1/4 of the way through.  I had to carry her up and down stairs, and a few other places.  Thinking I will suggest to the aquarium they invest in a small wheel chair.)

At Shedd Aquarium

We left the aquarium and went to the Rainforest Cafe.  What a cool place!  Unfortunately Brooke did not agree.  By this time she was super tired, and she was not impressed by the life size gorillas that moved.  She sat at the table shaking and looking cautiously around.  Aidan loved it and we thought if we could just make it through dinner.  Right after we ordered our food, it started to thunderstorm in the restaurant.  This sent Brooke over the edge!  She darted under the table and refused to come out.  Then a giant frog (person in costume) started making his rounds.  I quickly realized we needed to get out of there!  Aidan, being the good sport that he is, agreed.  We asked the waiter for our food to go.  He was wonderful and packed it all up for us.  So my mom and I juggling food, drinks, and brooke, hailed a cab.  LOL It was a sight!  Then of course the CRAZY driver spots us!  We all feared for our life on the way back to the hotel.


Aidan enjoying himself at the Rainforest Cafe!
Brooke looking around cautiously at the Rainforest Cafe (right before she darted under table :( )

Back in our cozy room, we finally ate our dinner, which was yummy! My mom and I split fajitas...Yum!  Poor Aidan was sick and went to bed with a migraine.  He was such a trooper!  Brooke also cuddled up in bed with dreams of her shopping trip at American Girl the next day...her Birthday!  I laid in bed thanking God Chan stayed home with Tim!  Day One Successful!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

For the Birds

We have this bush in our current backyard.  It is nothing to really get excited about.  As a bush goes, I suppose it is nice.   It is large and round, have no idea what kind of bush.  But I like it.  The backyard at this house is small, and I can actually see into my back door neighbor's house.  I can also see the large Indian Mound from the kitchen window too, which now just kind of gives me the creeps. (sorry)  So I like this bush.  It is pleasant to look at while doing the dishes and normally has some sort of bird perched in the branches.  Our very sweet next door neighbor likes to feed these birds.  I am always intrigued to look out and see what kind of bird will be perched in this bush.  We have seen robins, blue jays, sparrows, and cardinals.  So the other morning, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground.  I looked out at the bush, and there were 5 male cardinals and 5 females!  The bush was lit up in red, it was beautiful!!  I called the kids in and we stared and talked about all those birds in that bush!  The next day there were 3 cardinal pairs, and a blue jay.  I marveled out how lovely it was.  I know this sounds silly, but it truly was beautiful to see.  I stood at my back door snapping pics (which all turned out very poorly).  And I realized there truly is beauty all around.

As we prepare to move tomorrow, for the 2nd time in 4 months, I realize how beautiful my life is.  Just like my current backyard, I can feel cramped and small in my life.  Things can seem to overwhelm me and make my head simply spin.  Sometimes my life can feel out of place and confusing, like an Indian Mound in a neighborhood.  But many times I see my surroundings and am blessed.  Like the bush in the back yard, my old home (the one we are moving back to) is shelter, and safe.  It is by far not fancy, and many times lets the dirt in.  But if you catch it at the right moment, it glows...with love, with open arms, and with a cozy feeling telling you it is home.  I am glad to be going home, to be snuggling in with my family and praying for those illuminate moments to share!

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:26

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Boy Named Aidan

I think it is hard to put into words how much you love your child.  I mean as a mom your heart is consumed by love and gratitude over holding that child.  When I found out I was pregnant the first time, I instantly fell in love.  Growing up, I used to dream about being a mommy.  I had my children named, and loved them before they were even created.  You may think, weird, but for me it was very normal.  My family always had so many children living with us since my parents fostered.  I became very used to having babies and kids around.  I loved helping my mom fold the little outfits, and get up for the late night feedings.  So when I saw that positive sign on that pregnancy heart filled to capacity!
Aidan at Air Force Academy

Aidan's version of a Geico Commercial

Aidan at one of his fav places...Sippo Lake!

Tim and I talked a lot about what we would name this little bundle.  We had very different ideas!  My wonderful list of names went out the window as we tried to agree on a name.  For me it was about a name with significance, meaning.  For Tim, it was something he would be ok calling this child at 1 month, 10 years, and 30 years.  We agreed if it was a girl, Annaleise Katherine.  But we could not agree on a boy name, and wouldn't you was a boy!!!   Seeing my little man dance around on the ultrasound was amazing!!!  He was beautiful and wonderful!!  As we talked more, we landed on the name Aidan James.  Tim liked it for all of his reasons.  And I liked it because it was Irish. Was not sold on the  But it was the final decision.

Aidan singing a song form his fav movie Newsies

Mr Strong

So our wonderful little man was born on January 14, and joined our fam!!!  He instantly became the center of our world, and made us realize how special he truly was.  Our lives will never be the same!  When I first held him I prayed that God would lead him through life.  That He would walk by my son and guide me as a new mama.  That I would not wish for worldly glories for my child, but guide Aidan towards Him.  I am so proud of Aidan and all he has done!!  He rocks my world with his great big love and compassion towards others.  He opens my mind and heart by stating the obvious and challenging me to be a better person.  Aidan is on FIRE with love for others, and God.  I pray that his future is a reflection of the beautiful life he has already lived!
Posing as the Tin Man needing oil!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just Enough

It is funny how things happen, how they play out!  I am positively amazed at some things that have happened over the past few days, and with the chaos of moving have not been able to post.  Yesterday, my friend Monica posted this. I read it with tears streaming down my face, because I was right where she was!  The overwhelming thanks is hard to put into words, and yet I am moved and amazed by the sheer kindness of others!  These gifts have been Just Enough to get us through and we are grateful!  Let me tell you what just enough means to us!

I called to turn on our electric back home.  I found out it would be a significant amount that we did not have.  We figured that we would just eat cold meals for awhile.  I prayed though, and my dad called and said he would put just enough in our account to cover the cost of the electric.  So now we will have warm meals!!

I knew we needed a fridge and stove but knew we could not pay much.  But still I hoped.  My mom called and told us they were not using our old fridge and we could have it back!  Then a friend called and told me they had just replaced their stove the day before.  We could have their old one!!  It was gas, and we only have electric.  But another friend's husband can run a gas line for this stove!  So now we have both a fridge and a stove!  Just enough!

Tim was called in for an interview with a company in Cleveland.  We were excited, but I was nervous how we would pay for the gas for him to go.  The interview was scheduled for today.  I prayed on Monday night, "God even $40 would help."  Yesterday a friend brought me some mending to do.  She generously overpaid me with two $20's!  Just enough for gas!  I have also been praying because the diapers and pullups are getting low.  We use mostly cloth, but need the other for night.  Yesterday another friend came over with a huge bag of not only diaps but pullups!!!  More than enough!

I was grocery shopping last night.  We are getting some help for our food which is a huge blessing.  But we can't get help for personal care and paper items.  So I was walking through the store thinking about the reality of this.  We are low on TP and other things like deodrant.  As I was thinking of this, in the store, my phone rings.  Yet another wonderful friend was calling to tell me her and her mom were putting together a care basket for us of personal care items and some paper products!  So here I am in Kroger with yet another answered prayer.

We have been nervous about the move and the cost.  My parents are helping, and I am so thankful for all of their help.  But still there are things that come up that you never expect.  Plus I keep thinking about the appointments for Brooke, and gas to get to them.  Yesterday I was told that someone at church put money in the offering basket for our family!!!  This is a wonderful blessing to help when there just is not enough!

So this brings me to my last prayer request.  I have been sad because I knew I could not get the kids a birthday gift.  I told Aidan and Brooke.  They understood and are just excited to have friends over on Saturday.  Plus they are excited about the Wishes Can Happen Trip on Brooke's Birthday.  But Tim and I were still sad.  Today I get a card in the mail from a dear wonderful friend.  It had a gift card to Walmart.  I can go and get the kids something for their B-day!

I can't say enough how thankful I am to all who have blessed us.  I can not even find the words to say it most times.  I feel like I fail expressing how wonderful these blessings are to us!!!  But please know...We are so very thankful!  You have been a source of hope for us.  Every day can be a struggle for many of us.  We get up knowing we have to face another day of an uphill battle.  Whether we are fighting against health issues, job loss, overwhelming medical debt, unending phone calls from bill collectors, or something as simple as not knowing how you will buy toilet paper....there is HOPE!  There is always hope.  I do not try to understand why we face the things we face.  For me, it is just life.  Life is hard, life is messy.  But it is a blessing.  And each day I get up looking for the blessings.  We may just live as my friend says in her blog with Just Enough...and that is ok.  He provides, He loves, and He wipes away the tears and that is Just Enough for me!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Ever have one of those moments where you lay your head on your hand and just say..."Really??"  Lately I feel like I am doing that quite a bit.  Sometimes it is for things that are not so great...and sometimes it is for very awesome blessings!  We moved down here with high hopes of starting fresh after a tough 2 years.  We followed a job that promised amazing things, like more family time.  We moved into a rental that had many luxuries our old house did not have, like a first floor laundry and fewer stairs.  Unfortunately this move has not been easy.  I have written about this several times before, so I will leave it at that.  We have trusted is God brought us here for a purpose.  Some days it is hard to see what it might be.  I do have a few ideas though, let me share.

A few weeks before Christmas, the hubby's plant went on a temporary shut down.  Although we have no savings, and were not sure how this would play out, we focused on the temporary part.  God bless my wonderful, amazing parents as they came to our rescue, and helped with some things.  I had bought a few Christmas items for the kids at Walmart and decided to take them back. (do not misunderstand, we still had gifts.  The kids received plenty of gifts! :)) But Aidan was with me.  I told him that I needed to run into Walmart and exchange some things and he could just turn around while I did it.  He said, "Mom, I know you are taking back some gifts.  That is ok, that is not what Christmas is about anyway.  And food is more important."  Of course the tears welled up in my eyes.  I could not be more proud of that young man!!!  And Christmas was great!  We had quiet time as a family, Church, and a wonderful ham dinner.

A few days before Christmas, I was seriously worried about some bills that needed paid.  I prayed and just asked for some answers.  Two cards came in the mail that day from my dear friend, Monica.  This lady just had brain surgery and her bills resemble ours in many ways.  And yet...she sent me 2 cards of encouragement and money to help!!!  I cried at her sheer generosity and love because I knew she gave all she had!  That same night, we had a Christmas party for our Church.  I went, excited to be out of the house.  Wonderful Courtney pulled me aside and handed me an envelope with funds to help us.  But the best part... a note that read "from your small group.  We Love You!."  I must have read that note several times, and then tucked it in my Bible.  Blessings!

A few days after Christmas we received the news that the plant was officially closed down.  The reason we relocated our whole family was gone, just like that!  I have to be honest, I was scared.  We both knew we had to start looking immediately.  Both of us feeling kinda defeated, we started listing options.  Still unsure what the right answer was.  That day another blessing came in the mail!  My cousin Jeff had done a fundraiser for Brooke.  A portion of the money came to Brooke to help with future medical costs, and a portion went for Chiari research.  The part that we got is just what we need to be able to take Brooke to this new doc in Cinci!  And almost $3000 was donated to Chiari Research!!!  What a wonderful blessing!

Over the past week, we have been praying and talking about what we should do.  The job market down here is not terribly great.  We are waiting until the end of this month for unemployment to kick in.  Tim is anxious to be working again, and has been actively looking.  Again, several friends have stepped in and emailed his resume to their contacts.  The other day I was in Walmart, the lady at the check out was not kind.  I was almost in tears by her rudeness, and I wanted to say to her, "Do you realize this is the last $20 my family has until the end of this month?"  When I left, I just prayed that God would help me remember this time.  Remember that He is always in charge, and that someday I can help that person in line behind or in front with what I have.  That I think twice about everything I have, for others may be one bill away from nothing.

Do not get me wrong, we are blessed!!!  My family has helped us and God provides.  He leads us even when it is hard for us to pick up our feet.  On Wednesday, we talked again about our options.  February is fast approaching, and without an amazing job in the next few days...we can't stay here.  After option after option seeming wrong or not doable, we decided to move home.  Move back to our house with many stairs!   Can I say at the first thought of moving home, my heart jumped!  It is my home no matter how many issues it has!  But my heart also sank.  We would be leaving my new, wonderful Brookfield Church, and my family there!  And I also worried about our lease, even though I knew if we stayed we had no way of paying.  And we continue to pray that he understands our situation.  Still unsure about the decision, I had told a friend back home.  Hours later she sent me a text, saying how excited she was for us to be coming home.  It reaffirmed to me this was a good decision.

So Canton, here we come!  Not sure what is in store for us, but at least we will have a roof over our heads, and family close by.  Both of us can look for jobs, and our beloved Pediatrician will be there.  Our dog, Ranger, can actually run in the backyard.  We will be able to be close to our old neighbors, and our Amy!  My parents will be able to stop over for a visit, and the kiddos will see their playmates.  Why did God have us move in the first place???  I think it is quite simple, to bring us to the ends of ourselves.  To humble us, and remind us to trust, and to hold on to Him.  He brought us here to put amazing people in our lives, who pray fervently with and for us.  And people with whom I feel a special life long connection.  Although none of it has been easy, and has left me saying Really? many times, blessings abound.  I always tease that I will rest in Heaven, and I think God has kinda taken me up on that.