unanswered prayers

yesterday i was given THE best gift of my life.

my friend and her husband and baby came to town and i offered to take the 22-month old so they could go out to dinner and then he just stayed the night.

he is just adorable! and the sweetest little guy. it was so weird being with another little person the same age as the baby that i watch all week, that wasn’t him! we had  a great time together. and he is welcome to my house any time he wants! i mean, he slept later than me!! his mom had come from the hotel and we were having coffee and talking for a while before he got up! my kinda guy! 😉

having him here at my apartment was THE BEST gift anyone could have ever given me.

whilst 12-hour days with 3-kids, chasing, carrying, question answering, directing, meal preparing, argument referring, question answering and cuddling are all just in a days work  for me, it’s my job. i leave my house and i step into their house and i’m at work. but having a baby in my own house, on my saturday night was eye-opening.

i wasn’t in work mode. i was at home. and yes, my house is not completely baby friendly and if a baby lived here full-time it would be, but ZOMG you can’t get a god damn thing done!!!

and it REALLY made me realize what i was on the brink of getting myself into last year and was still considering. single motherhood.

it changed my thoughts on EVER trying to do this alone. i will add the caveat knowing what i know about kids, it would be MUCH easier with an older child, but they start out as babies and then become toddlers before they are older children!!

i digress.  imagine_box_a

as i sat here last night in my room, watching the sweet little baby in the pack n play  by the light of my electric baby safe candles, i couldn’t help but think of garth brook’s unanswered prayers.

i want to be a mom more than anything in the world. and i know what it’s like to take care of them and be with them, but to be the sole care-taker of a child under 5 is just exhausting. it’s never-ending. it’s rewarding and fun but it’s nonstop.

today has been an interesting day.

feeling sad. i can’t help but think of the adoption that didn’t happen. but i also can’t help but be relieved because of those 18-hours it made me realize how not ready to have a baby on my own, in this apartment i am.

it made me grateful. so very grateful for that experience and ability to come to this conclusion on my own.

and i know someday we’ll know all the answers, but for now……..it is what it is and maybe, just maybe there’s a good reason some things don’t work out. ❤

“sometimes i thank god for unanswered prayers

remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs

that just because he may not answer, doesn’t mean he don’t care

some of god’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

sig_pink

 

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what’s on my mind tonight

i don’t really want to write.

i don’t really have anything to say. not anything that matters. one red balloon

ryan saldana’s family is on my mind. constantly.

some people don’t understand. that’s okay. i won’t try and explain.

but i will explain how i know many of us are feeling.

sad.

hopeless.

helpless.

afraid.

confused.

angry.

sad.

scared.

i know what is the hardest to digest is how it was a tragic accident. an accident that parents worried about for years before my time and will continue long past.

there’s no illness to fight.

there’s no time to be mad. to be angry. he’s just gone. in one snap moment their lives were shattered and changed forever.

as someone who watches children and loves them deeply this rocks me to my core because it could happen to me.

it could happen to you.

none of us can say that it can’t.

i think that’s why so many of us are having a hard time with it. we are helpless to do anything to change what has happened and helpless at what to do to keep it from happening again.

all we can do is grieve for ryan. we can pray for his family. and we can be extra vigilant knowing that bad things just do happen when we least expect them in the worst ways.

hug them a little tighter. watch over them a little longer. hold those hands a little tighter.

that’s what’s on my mind.  sig_green

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red balloons have new meaning

red balloons

i have no words.

in the 2 hours since i’ve read about this, i cannot think of anything else.

i have nothing to share.

i have nothing important to post.

nothing that could top the saddness i felt when i heard this morning about the tragic accident and loss of a 3.5 year old little boy.

today, i have no words.

i just see red balloons for ryan.

please read here and you can find out all about #RedBalloonsForRyan.

i pray for his mommy and daddy and all those who loved him.

imagine_sig_02

 

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bar mitzvah weekend 2014!

okay so i totally screwed up. i agree to a blog a day in the month of may and then on may 3rd i dropped the ball!!! BUT, to be fair i was busy having amazing bar mitzvah fun celebrating an amazing young man. so get over it!! 🙂

i’m going to work on catching up at some point by posting twice in a day…….just you watch!!

but, without further adieu…..

this past weekend was the bar mitzvah of my cousin’s son who is more like a nephew to me was called to the torah saturday, may 3rd, 2014.

THIS IS HUGE!!!

how is the little guy i helped potty train now considered an adult within the jewish faith.

time flies, that’s how!

there are no words to properly explain the how proud i am of louis and the job he did.

there are no words to explain how mature and such grace he showed the entire weekend.

the little boy was gone, all signs of little louis missing and only this teenage version was there.

20140506-060518.jpghe read from the torah beautifully.

he honored his family and friends.

he showed respect.

he showed appreciation.

i don’t know what REALLY should make a man, but those things are what really matter.

friday night was the shabbat service. we had a small, short-ish service. it was at that time that his mom, julie gave him his tallit (prayer shawl) that he will wear for the first time saturday morning when reading from the torah. this is the first time he will be able to wear one and carry on this tradition.  we had a wonderful family dinner afterwards, held at the synagogue and outdoors yet their group of friends and family are so warm that the feeling was incredible. you forgot you were outside you were so engulfed in pride and love.

saturday morning was the big day! louis assisted in leading the morning service and read his torah portion. he did amazing. it was obvious he’s worked hard to get there and that, no surprise he was a force to be reckoned with, just like he is on the ice playing hockey!!

we celebrated louis with a luncheon at the synagogue following the service and even there, i watched him and that little boy who would’ve been running around and being silly was not so little and not running around, but visiting with family and friends and accepting the accolades he earned and deserved.

saturday night was a small party for the kids and out-of-town family and very close friends. 20140506-060544.jpgi’m not gonna lie, they ALWAYS know how to throw a party! they don’t do it often, but when they do they are not easily forgotten!! complete with taco truck, green screen & photographs, an awesome music track that i thought was a DJ most of the night. oh, yes and a bar. with the most delicious pomegranate martini’s i *might* have had quite a few of! 😉

 

the weekend was amazing. and it’s times like this that i am so glad i live in so cal and can be part of these kids lives. not just on the big days but through it all. admittedly in the past few years our schedules aren’t in sync but i’ve gotten to see them grow and flourish on the day-to-day.

i will leave you with one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE louis stories. he has been and continues to be the most compassionate person. no matter how many times i’ve told this story in 10 years it never gets old to me!!

i have very curly hair that i mostly wear straight. and at that time, i apparently never wore curly around the boys. on a particular monday i had gone over to play and help out i was wearing my hair curly. if i remember correctly the day before my roommate/friend rachel and i had gone to a wine tasting in malibu and gotten caught in a torrential downpour, of LA proportions and therefore my hair wasn’t straight. okay, so most of that afternoon louis was not his usual loving self. he threw toys at me. he pulled my hair, he wasn’t nice. i realized he was uncomfortable with my new “look”, so i asked if he wanted to touch my hair. he did. he played with it. he asked 8239584 questions, as louis ALWAYS does btw, and he learned all he could about why exactly i came over looking like this. in the end, the best explanation was it was rainy and wet and i didn’t feel like taking the time to blow dry it.

we went about the rest of the evening with dinner, bathtime, tv, goodness knows what else. and as i’m walking out of his room and turning off the lights he says, “traci, maybe you shouldn’t come over and play anymore when it rains”.

even at 3 he had a kind heart and a sweet soul, and i hope he never loses that.

congratulations louis. i love you and am so very proud of you. xoxo T

sig_pink

 

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change of plans!!

i had every intention if sharing with you today about the VERY exciting weekend starting at 5pm today……..but I interrupt this previously planned post to tell you about a little scare I had yesterday!

before i start, i am absolutely fine now, but since it’s never happened before and could happen again or to any one of you I want to share so that you too can have some tips that hopefully you can remember in a pinch.

sunshineit turns out I had heat stroke. we are having temps in the 100’s right now, and unfortunately there’s no avoiding leaving the house when you have kids to pick up at school. and at our schools, sadly no carpool line, you park and walk, and wait, and go into the classroom to get the child and then walk back to your car. it is by no means a far distance but it’s a tad bothersome in the extreme heat. we are very fortunate that we can walk to and from school so most days that IS what I do because otherwise you have to get there 30 minutes early to get a parking spot, fun, right???

so yesterday i was feeling it was too hot to walk and didn’t want the baby in the direct hot sun while we walked, so we drove. we sat in the cold air-conditioned car until almost the very last second. we picked-up and then came straight home.

it’s about 2:45pm at this point and I’m getting the boys snacks, i felt a little off but was on a mission because i had 90-minutes before i had to get the kids in the car, go pick up at preschool and head to swimming lessons. i was very focused at the tasks at hand.

the baby was in his high chair, THANK GOD eating a snack. the kindergartener was doing his homework with his back to me but in the same room.

i started prepping dinner since when we got home from swimming it would be late and crankytown so while i may have chilled on the couch usually I was running around getting stuff done.

about 20-25 minutes after getting home as i’m assembling mini English muffin pizzas for the kids dinner i started suddenly feeling light-headed. so i drank my water, but as i moved to get it I immediately got a queasy, headachey, i may pass out feeling. something that’s never happened to me before and was feeling quite scary at that second.

my mind immediately goes into emergency resolve mode so i remember hearing to just sit down, so i did. they have tiled kitchen floor and passing out on it could have added injuries that no one needed!!!

*important fact*
since the first one was a baby i always keep my cell phone with me when the kids are here. i’ve always felt that since i’m an adult home alone with kids, it’s necessary just in case. i think i started it during bath times thinking god forbid anything happened while they’re in the bath i can’t be running all over looking for a phone. so pocket or no pocket when the kids are home the phone goes from room to room with me, and more for an outgoing need than trying to stay in touch!

ok, i digress. so I’m able to reach up to the counter and grab my phone and immediate text my BFF who’s a nurse. that’s when i knew something was very wrong because I couldn’t text. i mean eventually i got the message out but it took 12x the amount of time it should have. i knew she was busy so i texted the two other friends i had recently been texting with figuring they’d have tricks or suggestions even if they said call 911. (ones a teacher and the other a mom of two who suffers from frequent migraines and dehydration like i do.)

immediately the first friend responded……GET WATER AND A PIECE OF FRUIT NOW.

well i can’t reach that and i’m positive from my shakiness i don’t want to try standing mostly because i feared fainting and at least sitting on the floor the kids were supervised!

i am terrified of scaring the kids so i very calmly ask the kindergartener to get me a banana and hand me my water. he doesn’t ask why i’m on the floor and actually laughs thinking i’m kidding about the banana! once i convince him i’m not kidding, he gets me what i’ve asked for after i explain i’m feeling a little funny, he plops down next to me and says “feeling a bit wobbly are you? is it ok if i do my homework here next to you?” here I was worried about scaring him and he thought nothing of it, thank god.

after eating the banana (or 4 because the baby is yelling “share me, share me” from his high chair) and drinking some water & oj I feel a little better. my hands are still a little shaky so i stay sitting on the floor.

at some point i had the genius idea to wheel the baby in his high chair to the living room and put Sesame Street on for him, so i knew no matter what he was safe and entertained at this point. i realized i was still shaky so that’s when i plopped myself on the floor of the playroom area directly inline with where the strongest AC vent is, AND got advice from my teacher friend to take my shoes off, i of course had converse on. never would’ve crossed my mind but apparently feet trap the heat, so as soon as i get them off i feel the first signs of relief.

after an hour i definitely was not myself but felt confident enough that I was safe to drive to preschool pickup. had I not been, i had several ideas in mind……but i took it slow, drove side streets even though it’s only a mile away, i was doing a little better once we were in the car. i blasted the AC which of course didn’t hurt.

when we got back home I saw the temp on the thermostat still read 84 INSIDE the house even having run the AC all day. sadly this house gets amazing sun but with that comes major heat issues, but not usually until august!!

i made it thru the rest of my shift moving slowly and having very cooperative kids. when i left the house the thermostat was still at 80 INSIDE at almost 8pm.

i drove the mile home feeling VERY wobbly and sweaty hot. it took 90-minutes in 68 degree temps at my apartment for me to cool off. i am usually FREEZING at anything below 70 so this was another huge indicator how off my body temp was!

i am still very dehydrated but working on it and am taking it slow. nothing that needs to get done is as important as the kids and my health & safety! damn Type A personality wanting it get everything done quickly!!

the kids’ mom and i have a working plan in place and she gave me some great options so if driving is the biggest concern i know i always have help.

i also know now that i will be doing the following throughout this heat:

– drink lots of water and constantly carry ice & water filled thermos with us, even just from the car and back!

– when we get home i will get everyone plenty of fluids and sit in one of the rooms to cool off and not push myself (forgot to mention above i later realized that the kitchen has no vent, which could not have helped my situation!)

– as soon as we get home all shoes and socks come off!!

– and worse case scenario the baby and i hop into the shower and sit in there and cool off!

i’m very grateful it happened they way it did if it had TO happen! but sure hope it never does again!!!

come back tomorrow for the exciting family event happening this weekend! i’m so excited to share with you all. sig_pink

 

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a blog post a day in the month of may

i decided to challenge myself. i’ve gotten comfortable in the routine of my life, which is good, but i also don’t get a lot of time to do anything for me. well at least monday thru friday. i work at a job where all i do is give of myself, obviously, i watch small children! and then i come home to dogs that need my love and attention. and since i’m single, i’ve got no one else to do my laundry, or clean my house, unless you’re volunteering?

……but i digress.

so i’m going to try and carve myself some time once a day to blog. i can’t promise they’ll always be compelling but i promise they won’t all just be pictures of my dogs! 🙂

so what’s been going on with traci……..

at the end of 2013 i was itching for change. lots of change. i thought about relocating up north. i thought about moving within southern california. i considered a LOT of options, and that’s when i realized that the itch for change was that i was feeling what i used to call complacent. but at my age is actually what one calls stability! and i’ve worked my ass off to get to this place, i’m not going to screw it up now!!

so i readjusted my attitude, and i sat down and wrote a list of things in my life i was grateful for. and it’s interesting, just as the idea of stability has changed over the past 10 years, so has my list of gratitude. or at least my feelings about it.

they’re mostly boring, every day things, but i’m grateful because i have them and can afford them. i have a beautiful apartment that is all mine. two amazing dogs who i’d be lost without. my family. my friends and my ability to know who i am and what i want in my life.

i have a job that i love and that fulfills me. it exhausts me but not a day goes by that i don’t leave and miss those kids! i’m so glad that i found a way to do what i love and be able to support myself. people are ALWAYS asking what i’m going to do next, or what i’m looking to actually do and it always baffles me. for starters, i chose to do what i do and i hit the lottery with this family. i’ve been here 6 and a half years and i’m not going anywhere anytime soon!! hopefully when the baby goes to college he won’t mind my going too! 😉

what i love most about my job is that i get a daily performance review. i can see the rewards of my hard work. i have watched these children grow and blossom and change over the years and it’s the most amazing feeling you can have. almost more so than as a parent i dare say. because as a parent you expect to see you in them, but as a nanny, you never know how much of an impact you’re actually making, and it’s sure cool when you get to see it!

i have a little stay-cation coming up and i’m going to miss the kids TONS, luckily my room is covered with their faces everywhere i look, but i can’t wait to take care of some traci things. you know, all sorts of fun things! dentist. female doctor. eye doctor. dmv. good times are expected ahead! i sure now how to party during my time off! 🙂

this weekend is an amazingly monumental weekend in my family and i’m so very excited to share it with you, but i’m dedicating tomorrow’s post to it so please check back for more on what’s going on this weekend! it’s awesome!

i’m also really excited that oliver is going to get to have a playdate this coming week with his brother (litter mate??). for those of you that don’t know oliver’s story it’s freaking amazing. his mom sadie was rescued by People Loving Pets Rescue in february of 2011 on the day she was to be euthanized. they brought her home, cleaned her up and gave her some TLC. well a few weeks later, shock of all shocks she gave birth to 5 ADORABLE healthy puppies!! so oliver IS a rescue but i call him a clean rescue because he was born at my (now) friend alanna of PLP Rescue’s house! so because of that, i’ve been able to be in touch with the other 4 families that adopted his silbings. right now only two of us seem to be excited about this prospect, but it’s been 3 years and we can’t wait to see what the boys do when they see each other! i realize i’ve now just outted myself for having scheduled a doggy playdate, but come on, it’s his brother!!!! i can guarantee there’ll be some awesome pictures and videos of that!!!

lastly, i totally ignored my little blog’s 3 year anniversary in march, i was busy trying to decide what to write about and now here i am! anyway, my awesome friend susie of susie q designs once again helped me with a little design tweak on my blog! i’m loving the new header and background! (the link to her design business is on the right hand side about half way down the page!!)

well, there’s now a little man up from his nap waiting for me so it’s time for me to end this very compelling post (see i told you!). it’s a zillion degrees here in southern california……so if i don’t melt, i will see you here tomorrow!!!

sig_pink

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“i want to be a mommy when i grow up!!” ~ traci, age 3

i’m writing this post for  those i love and those i don’t even know traveling down a painful road.

i’m writing for those other women out there that want to be a mom and aren’t yet for one reason or another.

i’m not here to preach.

i’m not here to tell you what’s right for you and your family

i’m not trying to change your mind.

it’s just a story of a little girl who wanted to be a mommy when she grew up.

over the past year and a half as many of you know i was thrust into and now become very ensconced in the world of adoption. i feel very strongly that adoption is an amazing gift and a wonderful way to become a mom or dad, and there are so many babies and children out there that need families.

my eyes were opened about 6 months after i started nannying, he was 9 months old and, as i type this i vividly remember looking into his big blue eyes as i was dancing with his little 9 month old body, to bon jovi “it’s my life” (of course!!), and he was giggling those amazing belly laughs and smiling at me and i was too and it was at THAT VERY MOMENT that i realized…………..a child does not have to come out of you for you to love them with everything you are.

what a gift that was to learn.

i remember thinking at the time, what a powerful realization i had just experienced, “wow, i COULD love a baby that i care for and love even though he/she wasn’t part of ME physically.”

i knew from that moment, on that night, that as his nanny, i would do anything i had to, to protect him.

and that’s when i realized that if i couldn’t get pregnant which was always a giant fear of mine or if mr right didn’t show up, i COULD adopt, and i WOULD be absolutely fine.

because what i always wanted was………to be a mommy. and i would be.

i read stories of so much struggle with fertility. the pain. the losses. the multiple losses. they can’t help but become obsessed. and they cannot be enjoying their lives and they are in pain all of the time. it’s no life for anyone. the pain month after month after month. and it breaks my heart. over and over and over again for them. but i understand it.

…..because i too wanted to be a mommy when i grew up.

lately, it’s started me thinking. mostly about myself and a few of my close friends currently struggling to conceive and that’s when it hit me.

they want to be a mommy too.

and that lesson i learned with calen that 2008 spring night popped into my head.

what i had always wanted in the world was to be a mommy.

of course as a little girl i just assumed i’d get pregnant and have that baby. of course a zillion times over the years i put a ball in my shirt and pretended i was pregnant. of course i always assumed my becoming a mommy would come after 9+ months of pregnancy. don’t we all?? it’s what we grow up expecting as the role of the woman.

but let’s be honest, i also grew up thinking i’d be married by 27, and have 4 or 5 kids by 35. clearly, i’ve learned one must realize that their childhood images, aren’t always realistic. i’ve learned that there is no prince on a white horse coming to save you and that you can set as many lifetime plans as you want, but somehow, life ends up happening the way it’s supposed to, and for some of us, that’s a hard realization to come to when it’s not what you (thought you) had wanted.

so i started thinking about my friends and started thinking that maybe the picture of parenthood needs to change.

how could i share this lesson i learned and how powerfully it affected me?

if all i ever wanted was to become a mommy…….why does it matter how that happens??

whether it’s pregnancy? IVF? surrogacy? adoption?

at the end of ALL OF THAT…..there’s a baby and a mommy is made!!! 

the best analogy i can come up with is that it’s kinda like college. when you’re 18, the biggest deal in the world is “where are you going to college and what is your major gonna be??”.

at 25, it’s “what was your major and what are you doing now?”

at 38, let me tell you, no one gives a flying fuck if you took underwater basket weaving as your major.

isn’t that kinda just the same thing theoretically??

if you want to be a mom (or a dad) why does it matter how it happens, but THAT it happens.

why choose to suffer month after month and go through the pain and anguish so many do when there are so many other options and ways to become a mommy??

a pregnancy is 9+ months long.

 being a mommy………. that lasts a lifetime.

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