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Sandy Hook… We will remember and honor

Just a few short weeks ago a coward at the age of 20 broke into the Sandy Hook Elementary School here in Connecticut.  He shot and killed 20 young children and six adults.

As the news slowly made it around to everyone in the community, state and nation people were in disbelief, anger and frankly quite numb.  I had gone out to breakfast with a good friend that morning and received a text that I read later that said there was a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  At that time no one could possibly imagine the horrific facts that would unfold throughout the day.  We all watched in horror on our televisions as newscasters started speculating on the count of deaths.  The numbers began to rise and people were asking the same question.... why?

My children had a half day that day and always walk home.  I was not alone in wanting to go pick them up immediately to secure their safety and hug them.  I let them walk home but knew I had to get a grip on myself and try and hide the tears.  They would not understand and I didn't want to explain in detail how horrific a day it had become.  We had teacher conferences that afternoon.  Since everyone was in school we knew the teachers only knew snippets of information.  The next steps were how to address this with our children.  Kids will talk and they are certainly much smarter than we usually give them credit for.  They would know something was wrong and frankly they deserved to know.

There are many images that were being shared that day.  This one of a woman in angoning portrays how many of us were feeling that day.

My kids came bounding down the hill of our front yard and into the house.  As I am wiping the tears from my eyes I asked them if they heard of the horrible thing that happened today.  The answered in unison... No why what happened.  I was brief and to the point.  I didn't embellish but they deserved and to know the facts.  Walker's response (age 10) was disbelief and Peyton's reaction (age 7) was utter confusion.  Elementary school, man with a gun and 26 people dead... most of them children.  I was very factual with them and didn't try to explain it as there was no explanation or reason for this tragedy.  

Being that this school was less than an hour away we did not have any direct relation to anyone who was affected but knew many friends and teachers that had some ties to the school.  Seeing the anguish on the faces of the parents who would not be celebrating Christmas with their children that year was crushing to those families and friends.  

We were barrages with new information as it unfolded throughout that day and days to follow.  Bottom line he was a disturbed individual and there was nothing anyone could have done to stop him.  There were many hero's that day.  Some were teachers that locked their doors to hiding children in closets and sending the shooter else where.  Other hero's were the first responders that told the children to close their eyes as they were escorted out of the building where their principal had been shot in the front office.

Throughout the past several years we have heard many tragedies similar to this.  We hope the families, friends and the community can heal and continue.  Last week the children had their first day back to school since the tragedy.  I had a friend that just happen to have a business trip on that day in town.  He had come to realize the intense traffic was all the parents picking up their children from their first day back.

The news traveled through out TV sets, Facebook pages and cell phones.  We are all continuing to send healing thoughts to all those affected and this is one writer who will never forget that frightful day.  As I write this tears coming to my eyes all over again as they have many times the past several weeks over this tragedy.

Was I afraid to send my children to school the next Monday?  My immediate answer is no and neither were my children.  The teachers at CRS are as devoted as any parent could wish for.  They too would do anything to keep our children safe.  The teachers themselves were already preparing themselves for the worst.  I know many if not all teachers went into this profession because they love teaching and seeing the bright faces look at them when that they finally get it.  I thank them for going above and beyond each and everyday.  I thank them from the bottom of my heart knowing my children are as safe as possible.

We cannot delusion ourselves and shield our children from some of this horrific news.  We need to prepare them for some of the awful things that happen in real life.  Otherwise how are we preparing them?  If we don't... then we are not.   Preparing them for reality has become a necessity.  We need to give them the tools they use for the rest of their lives.

I have chosen not to speak the shooters name but remember at least one of the children that died that day.  His name is Daniel Barden age 7.  I had chosen him as he was next on the list of children to be remembered.  I suddenly realized he was the same age as my Peyton and tears came to my eyes all over again.  I have said it before I cannot begin to imagine what these families and community are having to go through on a daily if not a hourly basis.  They have the support of people across the state and nation.

To the Sandy Hook Elementary School students, parents, teachers and staff our hearts and prayers go out to you.


Way Too Long

This blog has been severly neglected for much too long and I have no one to blame myself.  I am over it and hopefully you will get over it as well.  

It has been about three years since I was laid off from my job at Travelers Insurance.  I was a senior business analyst for several years and thought I enjoyed my job.  That until I wasn't there anymore.  yes it took several months of adjusting to not getting up at 5:00am to be out the door by 6:15 to be at work for 6:45.  It was an adjustment at first and a shock but a change I was quite happy to make.  

My oldest was in second grade and my youngest in pre-school at the time.  I was going to receive 28 weeks of severence for my almost 15 years of service.  It was our breathing room for the time being.  People wonder if I miss it.  Frankly... I miss most of the people I worked with but not who I directly reported to or a particular client at the time.  Do I miss the more than half of our income that was lost... absolutely.  We have definitely had to make adjustments.  

As far as the kids were concerned they had mom home everyday to greet them home from school, make cookies and help with homework when needed.  There was and still is the great debate between working moms and stay at home moms.  I had been a working mom for many years.  It was not a luxury but a necessity.  Some people would comment that they would just "go without" in order to stay home.  We own a small home and like to think we raise our kids with values rather than exotic trips and things.  In the end I think this will take them farther in life.

So now I am three years post being laid off and I can honestly say I have had more time, laughter and smiles with my children and husband.  This is what I will remember years from now.  Working full time and being constantly stressed over things that were frankly never that important to the happiness of my everyday life will simply fade away.  I hope my kids will look back some day with great memories of the past few years because I know I already do.


Writing Off February

When 2011 came to an end we were all hoping for a brighter 2012 on the horizon. So far... not so much.

Exactly four weeks ago a friend and I were shopping for the school fund raiser basket. We had just gotten home and I had to take Jameson for a walk. I hooked her up to her lease and started out the door. I took a step down, heard a loud pop and pain set in. Thank goodness my friend was still here and she was able to help me back into the house. Not knowing what had happened I called my husband and told him he better come home. Not knowing the extent of the injury we waited to go to the emergency room.

Two hours later it was apparent that the emergency room was the only option at that point. Rich helped me hobble to the car and off we went. They took x-rays and provided crutches and pain meds for two days.

I was able to get into an orthopedic surgeon the next day. He was nice enough to stay late just to fit me in. Love doctors that will work with you and do what is in your best interest. He analyzed how it happened and set me up for an MRI as soon as possible. He thought the knee was locked due to the medial meniscus folding over and stopping the knee from fully extending. Me... well... I was still thinking maybe it's still just a sprain.

MRI results were in and I met with the doctor. It was a medial meniscus tear and needed surgery to repair. It was nothing that could or would ever repair on it's own. I was a little speechless because I was thinking I was walking a little easier though still with crutches but still it was a little easier with some weight bearing on it.

Surgery was scheduled for the next week. By this time it was two weeks post injury and time was quickly passing. Pre-op physical, EKG and blood test all came back normal so everything was set to go. Surgery was scheduled for 10:20 February 15. We had set up care for the boys after school not knowing what time I would be home since it was an out patient procedure. Rich was still thinking he would be able to pick up the boys since the actual procedure was only suppose to take less than an hour. I woke up from the anesthesia not knowing what time it was, only to find out the procedure took two and half hours. The doctor came by and explained there was a lot more damage than originally anticipated. The poor doctor schedule was messed up for the rest of the day. I went through phase one recovery room and finally was upgraded to phase two once my pain level had subsided enough with meds. The nurses at the hospital were thorough and attentive to say the least.

We are leaving the hospital at about 5:15pm Obviously later than originally anticipated. Rich brought me home, got me situated in the living room and then picked up the kids from the generous neighbor that kept them entertained all afternoon. Not only did they watch our kids but made us a wonderful meal for all of us that night.

One week later my husband brought m for my first post-op appointment. Still using crutches but able to move around a bit. The nurse called me in and said, "So how are you feeling"? I replied, "Okay and getting better every day". She rolled her eyes slightly and said, "Yes but you are still using crutches". Please note this is just this one nurse and she has neglected to even bother referring to my file to see what the extent of the damage. She never introduced herself but said that she usually does post-op visits. This was the only issue we had with the whole procedure. Everyone else has been wonderful with this exception. She then decided to start to read the file and decided that she needed to send in the doctor to speak with me. He asked how I was feeling. He explained that I should use crutches however long I needed them for stability. I felt better at that point. He explained that the damage was extensive. They had to remove most of the medial meniscus and there was enough damage to the ACL that it had been compromised. He had explained some of this to me in the phase one recovery but went into more detail at this point.

Every day has been a struggle but it took about a week and a half and I was down to one crutch. Today I can say I am not using a crutch at all but mobility is slow. I am now able to carry a cup of coffee from the kitchen to the living room without spilling. This is definitely something that is underrated. Luckily I have a husband that was able to be home and help with everything until I could do these tasks by myself. For that I am thankful. I have had multiple friends check on me and offer their help.

Now the road to recovery begins. I am now four weeks post-op and getting better every day. February has been unproductive for me therefore I am officially writing it off. I welcome March with open arms.


Whitney Dies at Age 48

As a friend of mine explained in his blog, Whitney commanded attention when she sang.  Her voice was unwaivoring and powerful.  Most of us remember when she sang that National Anthem at the Superbowl many years ago.  People stood, listened and felt chills through their bodies as they heard her voice resinate through the air. 

As with many of you I listened to Whitney Houston throughout my college years.  She was the epitomy of talent.  Many years ago I listened to an interview about the making of The Body Guard.  It was Kevin Costner's idea to have her start the song with no music and just to have the sound of her voice.  It made such an impact to the song and showcased her voice ultimately.

Her career started to take a downfall when she hooked up with Bobby Brown.  We all were witness to it but felt helpless to help her.  But were we all responsible for not helping her.  We all know she didn't want to be helped.  But if there is a testiment as to what drugs can do this is it.

So we say good-bye to a woman who had a wonderful talent and an unforgetable voice.  



Joys of Boys!

Here are a few pictures of the boys over the past few years.  Time has gone by so quickly and I am glad I was able to capture at least a few of the moments.

I am truly blessed to have two boys that get along and enjoy each others company.  Is their relationship perfect?  No but it is pretty close.  They would be there for each other today and hopefully for years to come.


Storm Alfred

Words fail me as I attempt to describe what happened during Storm Alfred.  We knew we were getting an unusual storm that would cause snow and freezing rain.  This type of weather is certainly not uncommon for New England.  Unfortunetely for us, the leaves had not fallen off of the trees therefore making the weight of the snow too much for limbs and trees to withhold.

Two days before Halloween it started to snow.  The first snowfall of the season for me has always been exciting as we venture to the next season.  It snowed most of the day then tapered off to near nothing.  The temperatures began to drop.  When the snow first starts to fall there is a certain silence that overcomes every neighborhood.  As the night started to fall we lost power.  We this happened a mere two months before we thought we were better prepared this time.  Nightfall came and darkness came over the neighborhood and town.  The silence was soon replaced by the cracking of limbs and trees from the weight of the snow.  None of us would know the devastation until the next morning when the sun came up.

Since one of my hobbies is to take pictures I found this was the best way to document what happened.  We had no idea what we were in for.  We lost power for ten days.  People came from all around the United States to help.  Shelters were set up in every town to help feed people and give them shelter.  The most moving sight was seeing a crew from Canada with an American flag flying from the back of the truck.  The crews were not only helpful but did it with smiles.  They worked tiredless into the nights.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.