1015 The River


How A Trip to The Fabric Store Turned into An Episode of “Cops”

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 07/29/14 7:30 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Compassion, From The Files of You Can't Make This Sh*t Up

I was cruising along minding my own business.  McFlurry in one hand and the treasure of five yards of bargain-priced, perfect nursery-window-treatment fabric sitting comfortably in my passenger seat.  It was even peaceful as the kids were safely at home with my trusted sitter.  Life was good.  Until it wasn’t.

I was on my way back home and on a deadline.  My sitter had to leave at one and at 12:50 pm I was cutting it a little close, but that was okay.  I had accomplished everything on my errand list and was on the home stretch.  That’s when I noticed the red minivan in front of me.  It was drifting left of center as we made our way westbound through a busy intersection.  I remember thinking, “Correct.  Correct!  CORRECT!” And he did.  But only after it was too late.I was right on his tail as he side swiped three cars sitting in the east bound left-hand turn lane.  Rear view mirrors, glass and metal flew everywhere and because we were moving at a pretty good clip, there wasn’t time to stop.  Next thing I knew we were hundreds of yards past the scene of the accident.  And still driving.

LIKE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED.

I immediately noticed he’d seriously mangled his own car.  Surely he was looking for a place to pull over.  As he swerved into the right hand lane and turned into the Lowes parking lot I followed.  He was probably pretty shaken.  Maybe he was a young kid. If my son had caused an accident like that I’d want some compassionate witness to help him.   I’d stop, make sure he was okay and accompany him back to the scene of the accident.  After all, he had to be returning to the accident.  He’d caused it.  Right?

Next thing I knew he turned west in the parking lot.

That was the wrong way.

I could see he was on the phone.  Maybe he was so upset he called a trusted loved one–probably his mom– to see what he should do.  Surely the other person on the phone was saying, “Go back.  You have to go back.”  

But he continued to weave his way westward through the parking lots.  That’s when it occurred to me.  Could he be running?  Could he be avoiding being spotted by not getting back on the street?

So, I put down my McFlurry and followed him.  Every turn he made, I made.  Every zig zag and evasive maneuever he executed, I executed better—All the while laying on my horn, pointing at him and screaming “Go back!“.  Finally, when we hit the end of the big box parking lots, he had to get back out on the street where the accident had occurred.  As he approached the exit of the parking lot he was stopped by oncoming traffic.

He had a choice.

He could take responsibility, turn left and go back.  Or he could turn right and run away.

I kept thinking he has to know that the lunatic lady behind him in the Honda Odyssey had his plate number and description.  Of course he knew I’d give the police his information and then he’d be in bigger trouble.

That’s when I stopped blowing my horn.  You see, I think I’ve seen too many episodes of “Breaking Bad” and began to wonder who this person was.  What if he was a South American drug cartel member?  What if he’d just robbed a bank?  What if he had an axe?  (If you’ve seen Breaking Bad you’d understand my rather irrational train of thought.)

Irrational or not, that’s when stopped blaring my horn, sank down in my seat and waited for his decision.  When the light turned green he hesitated.  It was almost as if I could see the thoughts running through his head.  I held my breath.

And he turned right and proceeded to continue west…as if nothing ever happened.

*****

I make choices every day.  Choices that seem mundane and most of the time they are…until they aren’t.  I had no idea what this person in the red minivan was doing that caused him to drift left of center and hit those cars.  Perhaps he was adjusting the radio;  answering a phone call;  or spilling his coffee.

I do stuff like that every day.  He could be me.  Or, I could be him.

Ever since the mistake that led to my pregnancy with Logan I think about the choices we make throughout the day–especially the ones that aren’t the wisest but seem harmless at the time.  During my pregnancy I’d often wonder what had so distracted the person  that pulled the wrong embryos from cryopreservation that day.  Was he upset because of a personal problem?  Was she not feeling well and regretting her decision to come in instead of taking a sick day?  Or was there just something more pressing than following the tedious protocols that were in place to protect my family?

What I’ve always known in my heart was the person who made the mistake that led to my pregnancy with Logan didn’t do it on purpose.  There was no malice.  It was an accident.

Accidents can be forgiven.  But only after responsibility is taken.

When I was sitting at that light watching the driver who’d caused the car accident I was silently rooting for him.  Do the right thing.  Go back and face the music.  It was an accident.  You didn’t mean to.  It’s okay.  You’ll be forgiven.

As far as I could figure, it was the only thing he could do to fix it.

But he didn’t.

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About fifteen minutes after returning to the accident scene I learned from the police that the driver of the red minivan had been arrested.  They’d caught him only a few miles west of where I’d told them I’d last seen him.

The officer was ecstatic that I’d gotten his identifying information.  The owners of the three mangled cars were thankful and wondering if the suspect had insurance.  I gave my formal statement and was informed I may end up in court.

I left feeling good but also kind of feeling bad.

I was glad to help.  I actually felt a little bad-ass.  But, then I thought of the guy who had made a mistake, caused an accident and then made a bad choice.   I’d had a front row seat to his demise.  Granted, I’m not sure what the circumstances were that led him to flee.  All I knew was his day had just gotten really bad and he had nobody to blame but himself.

If only he’d taken responsibility.

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If you are looking for the recipe for blueberry-zuchinni bread I talked about Wednesday morning on 101.5 The River with Rick and Marybeth click here.  

And Then She Said, “Enjoy The Rest of Your Pregnancy!”

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 06/10/14 4:32 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Cell Free DNA test, Chromosomal Testing, Glass City Parent, Health & Safety, pregnancy

Huh?

I mean it seemed like a dream at the time.  I’d just been given darn near the best news of my life…your baby is chromosomally typical…and before the genetic counselor hung up she said, “Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!

No one has ever said that to me before.

I guess that’s because I’ve never done any prenatal chromosomal testing before.  Given my advanced maternal age, however it seemed prudent to get as much information as we could.  If you read Inconceivable, you know I had an amnio done when I was 16 weeks pregnant with Logan.  The purpose of the amnio was to get an exact DNA match to the his parents.  We wanted to make sure we were handing over the child I was carrying to the correct people.  Anways, you may recall it was not a pleasant experience.  Therefore, I had no desire to lather, rinse and repeat.  That’s why I was thrilled to learn there is a new test that can diagnose chromosomal abnormalities in a fetus and all it involves is a blood draw.

Enter the Cell Free DNA test.  In simple terms, scientists have learned how to isolate placental DNA in a blood sample from the mother.  By studying the placental DNA they can diagnose trisomy 13, 18 and 21 and determine gender.  The test consisted of a simple blood draw and a ten day wait.

The wait was the most painful part of the process.

When the clock struck 5 pm this past Friday and I didn’t have the test results I was beside myself.  It was the tenth day and in my head the results were supposed to have been in no later than that very moment.  Imagine my relief when at 5:10 pm my phone showed an incoming call from Toledo Hospital.  I could hardly breathe.  When I heard the words, “totally normal” I  burst into tears.  Looking back on it, I don’t know what I was so worried about.  After all, Sean and I are perfectly capable of parenting a child with a chromosomal abnormality.  In fact, we would have welcomed him or her with open, loving arms.  I think it must have been the mortality rates that come along with trisomy 13 and 18.  I just couldn’t bear the thought of eventually losing this child.  We’ve had enough loss.

Once I gathered myself the genetic counselor reminded me I’d told her I didn’t want to know the gender.  I assured her that was still the case but impressed how important it was for my midwife to get the gender results ASAP.  “You see,  I signed a release so my midwife can call my baker.  We’re going to do a reveal this weekend… with a cake.  You know, blue frosting on the inside if it’s a boy; pink if it’s a girl.  I want to find out with the rest of my family.”  I thought I sounded stupid.  Honestly, in that moment I didn’t care about the gender.  This baby was healthy.  That’s all that mattered.  (More about our gender reveal here.)

She was happy to oblige and ended our conversation with a cheery, “Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy” –which stopped me cold in my tracks.  Enjoying pregnancy is an oxymoron to me.  My pregnancies are fraught with complications and worries.  Is it even possible to enjoy my pregnancy?

I’ve thought a lot about that since Friday and decided I’m going to give it my best good college try.  I’ve put away my doppler monitor promising only to search for his heartbeat once a week;  I’ve committed to starting to look at little boy paint colors and decor for a nursery instead of being afraid of “jinxing it” by planning;  and I’m going to talk about him without worrying that I’m getting too attached.

I’m going to count this chicken before he’s hatched.

That’s a new thing for me…and I think I kind of like it.

*****

So there is no misinterpretation  as to why we did the Cell Free DNA Test I feel the need to clarify.   We really felt it was best to know if there were going to be any health complications before this child’s birth.  We truly value the benefits of mental and emotional preparation when it comes to challenging medical and emotional challenges.   Knowing would have allowed us to make the best plans for our son  and ourselves prior to his delivery.  If the results had come back positive for a chromosomal abnormality we would have stuck to our personal belief system, carried this child to term and welcomed him into this world as God made him.  That is consistant with our personal belief system.

Key word – personal.

 

 

 

No-Spill Mason Drinking Jars – DIY

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 04/2/14 7:30 AM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Holidays

When I was coming up with ideas for MK’s princess party I realized that one of the things I hate the most about corraling several young children at a dining table is spills.  Given the fact that a dozen small princesses are capable of creating quite a mess,  I figured I should go with drink boxes or some other no-spill option.  But Mary Kate doesn’t drink juice.  (None of my kids do.  It’s one tooth-rotting delicacy I’ve managed to squelch from their palate.  Trust me when I say we make up for the lack of juice consumption in other tooth-rotting food groups.)

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This is after the princesses had partaken in the royal feast. You’ll note some of the girls opted for pink stinky lemonade from their jars. Thank God for this no-spill option or I would’ve been de-sticking my dining room for months.

Anyhoo…

I wanted to come up with an idea that would allow milk or water to be sipped out of something that wouldn’t spill. And, that my friends, is how I came up with this nifty little idea.

No Spill Mason Drinking Jars

Materials needed

  • Mason Jars with screw on lids.  Any size would work but I used a smaller size.
  • Drill and drill bit (the bit has to be big enough to render a hole large enough for a straw)
  • Spray adhesive
  • Material cut into 8″ by 8″ squares.
  • Elastics (rubber bands) large enough to fit the circumference of the lids.
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon

Directions

  1. Screw lid securely onto jar and drill hole through the center of the top.  Remove lid once hole is drilled.
  2. Spray lid with spray adhesive.
  3. Place lid (adhesive side) down on center of one 8″ square of fabric.  Let dry for a minute or two.  (Doesn’t take long.)
  4. Screw lid (with fabric now stuck to it) onto jar.
  5. Secure elastic/rubber band around perimeter of lid over the fabric.
  6. Tie ribbon around perimeter of lid covering the elastic/rubber band.  I secured the ribbon with a bow but if you don’t want a bow, I’d use rick rack and tack it down (on top of the elastic) using a glue gun.
  7. Use the sharp end of your scissors, or knife to poke a hole through the fabric for the straw.
  8. Poke straw through top.
  9. Trim the excess fabric from around the perimeter of the jar.
Wah-lah!  Your no-spill mason drinking jar is ready for a party!

Wah-lah! Your no-spill mason drinking jar is ready for a party!

**These are reusable.  After the party I removed the elastic/rubber band, peeled off the fabric, and washed the jars and lids in the dishwasher.  They are currently being stored for the next time I need a dozen sippy cups that don’t look like sippy cups.

Brilliant if I do say so myself!

A Sixth Birthday Party or parties

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 03/31/14 11:12 AM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Daughters, Decorating, Focusing on The Joy, Glass City Parent, Holidays, thankful

Mary Kate’s birthday is officially over and I’m exhausted.  You see, after a series of parties dedicated to her 6th our middle child may have the rather demented impression that her seventh birthday should rival the Queen’s Jubilee.  It all started innocently enough.  This was going to be a “party year” for her.  We don’t have big birthday parties every year in our house.  There’s always a family celebration but the shindigs with friends and stamped invitations are reserved for the big years, and in our home “6” is a banner accomplishment.

(I have no idea why.  There is no logic to this so don’t ask.)

Anyways, back in January I asked MK what she wanted for a theme for her party and she announced that she wanted a “Princess Castle Cake” with fireworks shooting out of the top.  I said yes to the cake,  no to the fire works and spent the entire month of February in Hobby Lobby.  (I think I may have single handedly financed Hobby Lobby’s law suit against the federal government…or at least one of the attorneys that argued in front of the supreme court last week.)

I have to confess—I had a blast with this party.  I don’t know if it was because I spent the first thirteen years of motherhood convincing myself I would never miss doing the girly stuff that comes along with a daughter or if it’s because I need mental help.  According to Sean it’s the latter.  I’ll cop to a little bit of both.  Regardless, I went balls out with theme to the point of my sister-in-law threatening to hide my glue gun.

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Now comes the explanation about the four seperate celebrations.  Mary Kate’s birthday is March 29th which was a Saturday this year.  When I first looked at the calendar I was ecstatic.  We could have her party on her actual birthday, however, after further inspection the reality of MK’s lot in life came to fruition.  When you are third in line behind two very active older brothers sometimes your schedule gets trumped by track meets, ACT tests and high school dance schedules.  So…we moved the party date up. Which made sense but also contributed to the concept that March was now designated MK’s birthday month.

The Royal Table

The Royal Table

The Royal (no spill) drink glasses. (Tutorial on how to make coming tomorrow.)

The Royal (no spill) drink glasses. (Tutorial on how to make coming tomorrow.)

Crafted goody bags hung on the back of each chair.

Crafted goody bags hung on the back of each chair.

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Of course, the highlight of the party was the appearance of Princess Laurel.  I wrote about Laurel last summer when we attended one of her  fairy garden parties.  Back then she was just starting her Princess Party business and since then her popularity in our neck of the woods has exploded.  Mary Kate couldn’t have been more thrilled that Princess Laurel came to her party.

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Princess Laurel comes with an invaluable message about how true princesses are kind and true to themselves.

Princess Laurel comes with an invaluable message about how true princesses are kind to others and true to themselves.

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They also dance...

They also dance…

 

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Even the littlest princesses...

Even the littlest princesses…

The afternoon was magical.  8581104

The timing of the party coincided with Drew’s spring break so there were kings in attendance as well!

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Princesses can be silly, too!

Princesses can be silly, too!

When the party was over I was sad.  Sad in the same way I am the day after Christmas.  It was such a wonderful celebration of Mary Kate and her friends.  She is growing into such a special young lady who is so different than I was as a child.  She’s outgoing…I was shy.  She’s confident…I was timid.  She sings at the top of her lungs and doesn’t care what others think…I was affected by the opinion of others.  I know a lot of this is simply wiring but I like to think, at times, that her happy-go-lucky attitude is a symptom of her environment.  This party was the perfect reflection of her current stage in life.

We went on to celebrate her birthday three more times.  Once in Florida with my parents…where my dad delivered on the fireworks portion of her birthday request…much to her chagrin…

Once with her classmates…

This is a Montessori birthday celebration.  The entire class is circled and a candle is lit to represent the sun.  The number rods are laid out to signify the six years MK has been on this Earth.

This is a Montessori birthday celebration. The entire class is circled and a candle is lit to represent the sun. The number rods are laid out to signify the six years MK has been on this Earth.

For each year, I was to tell a special thing about MK at that age, and then MK carried the Earth around the sun representing the year of growth that had taken place in her life.

For each year, I was to tell a special thing about MK at that age, and then MK carried the Earth around the sun representing the year of growth that had taken place in her life.

In the Montessori setting snack is a work choice.  On birthdays a special snack is provided by the birthday student.  It's supposed to be healthy but we snuck a Peep into the mix.  And of course...it's pink.

In the Montessori setting snack is a work choice. On birthdays a special snack is provided by the birthday student. It’s supposed to be healthy but we snuck a Peep into the mix. And of course…it’s pink.

And last night with her fairy Godmother, Sean’s mom and our immediate family.

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Homemade Ho Ho cake.  Recipe linked below.

Homemade Ho Ho cake. Recipe linked below.

It’s been a whirlwind of a month that has served as a reminder of how grateful I am for my daughter.  She may have come into this life as the tiniest of miracles…

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….but she continues to bless us every day.  It’s a joy to be her mother.

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Now…time to prepare.  We have a “17th” coming up!

Spring Break…Lessons Learned

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 03/25/14 9:12 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Focusing on The Joy, Glass City Parent, Travel

Did you know that dining with two two-year-olds in a restaurant is just as anxiety producing as pulling the pin on a grenade and waiting for it to explode?  Okay…maybe not AS anxiety producing but almost.  I can attest to this because Sean and I just spent a week of dancing a nightly jig between the time we were seated for dinner and the time our food arrived.  Sometimes things went smoothy.  Other times they didn’t.  When they didn’t conditions went downhill rather quickly and usually ended up with one of us crawling around on the floor searching for a binky, a crayon, a book or one of the twins that had managed to disappear into the abyss that is the “under” of restaurant tables.

Which leads me to this week’s helpful tip.  When you lose something under the table of dimly lit restaurant do your best to refrain from using the flashlight app on your phone to illuminate the floor.  Trust me when I say there are things under restaurant tables that no one should see …especially before eating…which is probably why the establishment is dimly lit in the first place.

Why we didn’t cut ourselves a break and make dinner in our Sanibel condo is inexplicable.  After each dinner we’d slink out of the restaurant promising not to try it again, and  around 4:00 pm the next day we would delude ourselves into thinking it would be okay if we tried one more time.  I think the daily mixture of sunscreen, ultraviolet rays and Corona led to both of us becoming temporarily insane.  I mean, isn’t the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results?

Yup.  We could’ve used a commital hearing because we were clearly operating somewhere between terminally insane and delusional denial.

Sanibel Island keeps their beaches natural.  Meaning, there are not beach cleaning crews.  If it lands on the beach from the ocean...it's staying there which makes for lots of treasures!

Sanibel Island keeps their beaches natural. Meaning, there are no beach cleaning crews. If it lands on the beach from the ocean…it’s staying there… which makes for lots of treasures!

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My friend, Tracy and her family spent a day with us on the beach which meant MK was reunited with her bff, Hailey.  The two of them were two old beach ladies, loving every single thing about it!

My friend Tracy and her family spent a day with us on the beach which meant MK was reunited with her bff, Hailey. The two of them were two old beach ladies, loving every single thing about their time together in the sand!

 

This is some serious work happening here!

This is some serious work happening here!

As crazy as our meal time was the rest of the vacation was pretty much perfect.  I guess we suffered enough during last year’s spring break to allow for a respite from travel chaos this year.  So we took advantage of every second of sunshine, warmth and time with our kids.  We were “a man down” this year as Drew couldn’t join us due to his collegiate commitments.  That was bittersweet.   I have so many special memories of Drew as a child on Sanibel but as much as I missed him I’m enjoying watching this phase of his life unfold.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that Mary Kate, Isabella, and Reagan are just now starting to show us who they are and those small glimpses into the people that are our children seem magnified when coupled with time to relax and soak them all in.  Even Ryan, our almost seventeen year old, seemed happier.  It’s amazing what a little extra sleep, a little less schedule and a lot of extra happiness can do to for an attitude.

I don't write about Ryan much and that's at his request.  He's my shy guy who likes to keep a low profile.

I don’t write much about Ryan and that’s at his request. He’s my shy guy who likes to keep a low profile.

So, these pics which are here with his permission are special.  They not only give you a glimpse into how amazing he is with his three little sisters, but they also give you an idea of the kind soul he is growing into.  We are so proud of him.

So, these pics which are here with his permission are special. They not only give you a glimpse into how amazing he is with his three little sisters, but they also give you an idea of the kind soul he is growing into. We are so proud of him.

 

We arrived home bright and early Saturday morning and if I told you I wasn’t sad about it, I’d be lying.  It’s still cold  and gray here in northwest Ohio so leaving the sunshine of our Florida escape was hard.  That being said, we are always grateful for the ability  to get away and if we didn’t come home and get “back to it” we’d never get a chance to escape which would be sad.  Sad because what I’ve figured out is that the destination isn’t necessarily the gift of a vacation.  The true gift exists in the time spent with family.  Time to connect.  Time to destress.  Time to kick back, let the pressures of our every day grind fall away and learn more about those that we love the most.

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The memories made in the process are just the icing on the cake.

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If you are interested in the amazing recipe for slow cooker buffalo chicken sandwiches that I raved about during my weekly segment with 101.5 The River click here.  You won’t be sorry!