Monday, August 25, 2014

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

Today, my sweet little niece, Danica, embarked on a new journey in life.  A new journey she has distinctively earned since her birth five years ago.

Today, Danica began kindergarten! 
I am absolutely bewildered  by how time has just flown by.  It seems like just last week, Danica was just two weeks old, cuddled up with me on the couch, watching her first baseball game.  (Rangers vs. Yankees, to be exact!)  Today though...she's actually a kindergartener!
Meet the Teacher night
This morning, my Dani-Bug, my Chicka, my Mini-Me, my little best friend was fully ready to conquer the hallways of elementary school with her golden smile firmly planted on her face.  That exact smile that has held a tight grasp upon my heart for the past five years, two weeks, and three days.
Danica and me last fall.  Both toting Vera Bradley
bags...She made "hers" a crossbody like mine!
In preparation for today, as an Aunt, I have attempted to instill all types of amazing, yet positive attributes into Danica's young mind.  Of course, she knows she's cute, but she knows not to use it to her advantage.  More importantly, infixing upon her the importance of treating others kindly, sharing, and always displaying positive mannerisms.  Danica is a nurturing soul, which I have found to be one of her best attributes. 
Danica caring for the cat when she was sick.
This spunky little lady is well equipped for success.  Frozen backpack and all.
Always follow your dreams.  Any dream is fully attainable as long as you put your mind to it.  Don't let anyone steal your spark!

“Kid, you'll move mountains.” 
― Dr. SeussOh, The Places You'll Go!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!” 
― Dr. SeussOh, The Places You'll Go!

First Day of
August 8, 2009
Danica Nicole
Class of 2027

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gaining Her Wings

A few months ago, I had found out my cousin and her husband we're expecting their first child, due to be born January 1st, 2015.  It didn't become "Facebook official" until July 13th, but I had known for quite some time now.  On Facebook, Ann and Jay announced it simply with the following photograph:
Of course, the news of a new baby always gets everybody beyond excited.  You spend time wondering what the gender of the baby will be, what his or her will be named and of course which parent they will look the most like!  The search for adorable onsies and bibs begins almost instantaneously, as well as the latest must haves for babies!

However, things don't always go as planned.

On Monday morning, July 28th, as my cousin, Ann, and her husband Jay, were walking into work, her water broke at just 17.5 weeks, forcing her deliver prematurely that night.  On July 28th at 11:05pm, Eastern time, Madison Elizabeth was stillborn, but immensely loved and taken far too soon.  This tiny little miracle was destined to accomplish so much in this great big world of ours was abruptly stole the hearts of many people all over the country.

She was a teeny tiny 7.5 inches long, 3.9 ounces and had some massive feet for being so tiny.  She had Ann's button nose.  She was already beautiful and I can't imagine how beautiful she would have become.

I found out very late Wednesday evening that a very same service would be held in Buffalo on Friday morning for Madison and I knew I had to go.  I made arrangements all night, and finally booked my 3pm flight for Thursday afternoon at 5am Thursday and off to Buffalo I went to be with all of them in this very important time of need.

At 10:00am, Friday, August 1st, a very short, private service was held for Madison Elizabeth at the cemetery.  Madison's tiny casket was laid atop of my grandmothers casket, and next to my grandfathers casket.  We know Madison is up in Heaven with her grandparents, happy, healthy, pain-free, and being eternally loved on and spoiled by them.

If she can't be here on Earth with us, at least we know she's in excellent hands in Heaven, watching down on all of us.

Madison Elizabeth Herman, you were loved by so many people before you even had an opportunity to make an impact in this world! I love you and I know that Nana and Grandpa will be taking care of you in Heaven!

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
‘You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?’

The Lord replied,
‘The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you.’

Flying Lessons...

A few weeks ago, I made a round trip from Dallas to Buffalo.  I've taken dozens of flights in my life and had my fair share of interesting people to sit next to on airplanes.

Don't get me wrong or anything, I wouldn't consider myself a frequent flier by any means.  In fact, I haven't flown since last May when my dear friend, M, had her beautiful wedding in New York.

However, I am well traveled enough to know the basic rules of surfing the friendly skies and airports of the United States.  The main rules apply once you hit the TSA gate, the important ones, which have been in effect for many years, which people can't remember and seem had seem to agitate many upon my journey were upon the following:

Having your ID and boarding pass out and ready to show.
Taking off your shoes and belt.
Emptying pockets.
Removing laptops from bags and putting in a separate bin for security.

These are all very simple and I saw many people complaining about these rules.  Also, I don't understand why people are so rude to the TSA agents, even the ones just checking the ID's and boarding passes!  They are just doing their jobs!  

On my way home from Buffalo, I got randomly screened, meaning everything I had, including myself, had to be fully searched, which I happy obliged to.  The lady searching me noticed my TOMS shoes and complimented them, and we carried on a conversation for a few minutes about what a great company they are!

Once you start boarding the plane, which, PRO TIP!!!! You will need your boarding pass for, there are some other rules/common courtesies in which to oblige.  I'm confident I could pen an entire book on this topic alone, however, I'll keep keep this narrowed down to five rules from my recent trip.

  • While entering/exiting the plane, especially with children or a carry on, please, stay off your phone.  We are ALL on a schedule here, and by you talking away on your phone, you're unable to find a place to stow your luggage and seriously, you quickly just become a hot mess.  Call them back!
  • Read your seat assignment!  25F and 23E are completely different seats.  No, I don't want to trade seats with you so you can get a window seat and I'm stuck in the middle.  I chose a window seat for a reason.  Quit laughing like a moron, grab your crap, and move!
  • Yes, your shirt states you are in the church choir.  No, that does not mean that the flight needs a performance.
  • Each passenger has their own light and fan.  You can mess with yours all you'd like.  The moment you touch mine, especially when it's dark, and I'm reading a book, we have an issue, buddy!
  • Popping at least 30 (no exaggeration here!!!) mysterious pills followed by licking the packaging they came in.  To top that off, you then order a cup of hot tea, and then SUCK the tea bag.  You dude, are the creepiest thing I've ever seen in my life!
Trust me, the list goes on and on...and to be completely honest...those five instances were just on my way TO Buffalo.

What experiences have you had flying?

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Destin recap

When I last sat down to post, it feels as if that was the last moment I actually had an opportunity to sit down and take a deep breath.

I spent a LOVELY vacation in Destin, Florida.  95 percent of my time was spent on the beach, soaking up the sun and going for long, beautiful walks on the snow white sand.

The other five percent was spent either eating or sleeping.  I'd say that I absolutely lived the life while in Destin!

Beach view

From the balcony, in my condo.

After a full day in the sun...I got a little burnt!

Aunt Janet and Danica

Who wanted to be buried...


Sunset, just a mile down the beach

Standing atop a rather large pile of rocks!

On the rocks

Myself and Kosca on 'Green bikini day!"

Quick nap for Danica

That only lasted 38 seconds
Myself and my wonderful parents

Selfie from our 4th floor balcony.

Driving out of Destin, heading home!
The trip was just overall....relaxing.  Lots of laughs were had and memories were made.

We got home very late that Wednesday evening, and I needed a couple of days to recover, once I went to the doctor the following morning and got diagnosed with a Sinus Infection.  The next couple of days were spent letting my body recover from the vacation and the illness.

And then....tragedy happened...

Stay tuned, my friends!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Is a "Post title" a requirement?

As I type this post up, I'm currently sitting on a dark balcony on the 4th floor of a condominium in Destin, Florida, listening to waves crash into the beach from the Gulf of Mexico.  They have shut off all of the exterior lighting for the night, so the only light you can see is coming from the interior of other units, and from the lights of flashlights of those wandering the beach at this hour.

There is truly nothing more relaxing than the soft breeze from the Gulf of Mexico and the sound of the waves crashing into land.  I (very shortly) contemplated actually sleeping out back, hunched over in a chair, just for the relaxing breeze and calming sounds.  I think my very uncomfortable and VERY squeaky bed is going to win the battle though!

Today, (Monday) was my second full day on the beach, and I've already gotten quite dark with a little red mixed in here and there.  I've taken many a long walk on the beach, and today alone, by my calculations, I figured I logged in at least 5 barefoot, sandy miles!

With my Chiari 1 Malformation, Fibromyalgia, and Arthritis, usually even one single mile, in comfortable sneakers is tough for me.  At the current moment, every ounce of my body is sore and tender, most definitely my feet.
Destin, Florida
July 21, 2014
8:00 am
I'm one of those people that hates to complain, and hates to ruin another persons great time, so I've been dealing with the pain myself, however, tonight, it was getting quite difficult to even walk, yet alone stand.  I'm just hoping and praying that when I awake in the morning the pain will have subsided enough for me at least to make it down to the beach for the day!

Tomorrow is our last day here in paradise before we embark on the 11 hour journey back home Wednesday morning.

One! More! Day!  One more day of pain.  I can do this!  I can!  I'll just chant my chant in my head as I painfully walk tomorrow!

"I'm a fighter!  I'm a survivor!  I'm a warrior!"
Destin, Florida
July 21, 2014
7:10 pm

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Spillin' the Beans....

  • Since I don't feel like composing actual paragraphs at this moment in time, I feel as if bullet point style is the way to go.  Maybe I'll just keep it going like this from now on.  
  • I'm here to formally spill the beans that my family and I are leaving for a 5 day vacation in roughly 62 hours to Destin, Florida! (!!!)
  • Okay. so it's not ALL of my family.  JM and Adrian aren't coming with us.  Sadly, they are on their own vacation in Colorado right now, so while they are going to be returning from the mountains late Saturday, we will be leaving for the beach (VERY) early Saturday.
  • Danica is completely excited about going to the beach.  She went with my Mom last night and got two new bathing suits, and tried to convince me that it was time to go to the beach THAT MOMENT!  
  • When Adrian was over a day last week, he was playing in the shower (with the water off) and pretending to shower.  It is one of his most favorite things to do nowadays, and this game could go on and on forever, if we'd allow it.  It's adorable, and hilarious!
    Pretending to shower.

    "Napping" in the shower.
  • Danica and I have also been having some fun as well.  A few weeks ago, my family cat, Serena, was pretty sick and had to go to the vet.  That afternoon, I picked up Danica for the day and had explained to her that she had to be VERY gentle with Serena because she was sick.  This is how it all turned out.
    First, Danica got Serena some water.

    Gave her a checkup.

    And even played and sung her a lullaby.
  • I'll tell y'all what, I by far have the best niece and nephew in the world!  I love them more than life itself, and I wouldn't trade them for anything!
Now if you'll excuse me, I have more packing to do, and more items to scratch off my to-do list before leaving for Florida!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Oh! So much to say!

This past week has been beyond crazy!
I woke up Wednesday morning to my mother telling me that my cat, Serena, had been acting lethargic and been urinating blood at that she needed a trip to the vet ASAP!  After getting her into a 9:15am vet appointment, we spent over two hours at the vets office to find out that she has a UTI, as well as a rather large bladder stone.  Of course, that was after z-rays, blood work, and lots of sitting around and waiting....OH!  As well as several hundred dollars later!
Now, sweet Serena seems to be on the mend after an injection of antibiotics as well as me giving her pain medication at home twice a day.  Thank goodness for that!
While at the veterinary clinic, I also found out that my cousins wife gave birth to their second daughter on Monday, July 1st.  She is having a few health issues and spent the first few days of her life in the NICU, but has since been moved to a regular room.  All prayers for this sweet, beautiful baby girl would be much appreciated!
Wednesday night, we were having a small, family birthday party at my house, and since vague SHOULD be my middle name, this is going to be VERY VERY vague, but it needs to be let out.
If you come into MY HOME, and verbally attack my family, my home is a place where you are no longer least in my eyes!  Saying that MY family is "corrupting" my own family was beyond out of line.  As well as saying something to the extent of a completely innocent person in the manner being YOURS and that we all need to get used to it?  Please give me a moment to laugh!  If by some chance you are reading this...please stand on your tippy toes to read the following, because you are short, (so am I, don't throw a pissy fit over it!)  
You, sweetheart, have NO RIGHTS OVER THIS PERSON!  The person we are speaking of is OUR BLOOD and NOT YOURS!  
Also,  two days later, posting a photo on Facebook with the caption "These are the children I love and raise. I am their Daddy."  
You are only the Daddy to one of those two children....YOUR CHILD!
Last night, my friend Collin and I went out to see a local band that my friend, AJ, is in.  Collin knows the majority of the band, after after last night, as do I.  After the gig, Collin had a get together at his house where about 30 people showed up.   Everything was all fine and dandy until about an hour or so into the party when the lead singer of the band mentioned that this guy had shown up to their gig that night.  A regular.  I really wasn't paying too much attention to the conversation as myself, AJ, and Collin were in the corner of the kitchen, munching on marshmallows and carrying on our own conversation.
All of a sudden, I heard the lead singer say "Yeah, I can't stand when he comes around...he's retarded and kills the whole vibe of the dance floor!"
The guys and I stopped talking as we heard that, and just listened, as Collin and I were completely clueless.  I guess this 'regular' has a mild case of down syndrome, and his mother drops him off at the gigs.  From what AJ tells me, he's a really nice guy, just looking to go out and have a good time every once and a while.  When Collin and I were dancing around last night, I actually did see the guy and actually danced with him for a while and had an amazing time!
What people don't know about ME though is I do have neurological issues.  Yes, my head twitches and I've gotten asked about it many of times.  It doesn't bother me at all.  Collin and AJ, of course, know about my health issues and knew how quickly the lead singers ranting of this man was getting under my skin.
I have zero tolerance for people picking on people with neurological issues!  ZERO!  Collin and AJ could see me turning more red by the second.  (Okay, this MAJOR sunburn I have doesn't help with the coloring!)  Collin and AJ, knowing I didn't want a scene caused quickly sprung into action as Collin took my hand and we went out back and put our feet in the pool, talking, while AJ was inside, defusing the situation.
A few minutes later, AJ came out and let us know all was clear.  He told Collin and I that he just told everyone that I take major offense to people speaking like that, and since we were at Collin's house, and I was Collin's guest, everyone needed to respect that.  Everything from that point on went smoothly!
The moral of that story is you need to respect other people.  You don't know what challenges they have faced or are currently facing.  It's not classy at all to go behind someones back and speak poorly about them when they have issues they can't control...especially when the person is harmless, supporting your career, and just out to have a good time.  
Everyone deserves to be able to go out and enjoy themselves, despite of physical limitations.  Quite honestly, I hope this guy shows up at the next gig I see AJ play.  I will dance my ass off with him!
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