Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Don't Get It

I really don't get it. What's the big deal with wishing someone Happy Holidays? I see people being up in arms that no one wishes people Merry Christmas any more, and I wonder, is Christmas not included in "holidays"? Why can't I wish for someone who might celebrate any other winter holiday a happy season? Are Christians the only ones who get to celebrate?

Seriously. I don't get it. Am I missing something?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

NYC Girls Trip

In August, I also was able to escape and take a very necessary girls trip to NYC. I had a blast.

NYC's finest.

Maureen from our Guided History Tour. She's amazing.

9/11 Person to Person Guided History Tour. An absolute must.

Birthday celebrating.


FYI, there isn't a Holocaust Museum in NYC.

We really liked this Whole Foods.

Naked cowboy. With clothes on.

Girls, seriously, this was the best trip. Can't wait to do it again. Seriously. How's next week sound?

Monday, December 6, 2010


In August, we attended the annual Pope Crab Fest. It's a great family get together on Peter's side of the family, held each summer. Since it's not centered around a holiday, people don't have to juggle which family they will see and how they will split their time, so everyone can attend. It's great! Of course, I totally failed in the picture taking aspect, and only snapped one picture of Caleb playing with a caterpillar.

Following the Crab Fest, we starting giving Charlotte oral feeds. This was a huge deal, as it represented one of the last big hurdles for getting her home. In the end, this hurdle pretty much beat the heck outta us, but at the time, we were blissfully unaware.

Finally, after six full months in the hospital, we prepared to bring Charlotte home! It was amazing. Scary, and hectic and amazing.

Charlotte's prescriptions to be filled for her to come home!

The big day. Caleb was very involved.

Siblings. Charlotte minus facial accessories.

The tank. And yes, we bribed Caleb to be good with a cookie.

August ended with Peter leaving for San Diego for a month long pediatric rotation at the Naval Hospital. We missed him a lot. A lot. A lot. A lot.

My Naval Officer.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


In July, my little sister was married. We had a great time at the reception, which was held in a restored barn that General George Washington used, ya know, back in the day.

July 31, 2010
I was really proud of us for taking a picture together.

Getting their groove on.

My father and I

My brother, Tracy, was able to meet Charlotte for the first time on his way down to Washington DC for the wedding. It was a great day!

Uncle Tracy and Charlotte

Tracy and Hanna.

My niece, Sophie, Tracy's daughter. She's about 3 months younger than Caleb, and too cute for words.

The trouble makers, themselves, Katie and Jordan Harmer.

Another grand adventure in July included a trip down to the Please Touch Museum. When we lived in the city, we went to PTM about twice a week. It was great. Now that we're further away, PTM is a big treat. Caleb loves it.

All the toys in the world to play with, and he must play with the trains.

That sums up July! Only six more months to catch up on!

Our Poor Neglected Blog

Family photos taken by Deborah Saull Photography. Her facebook page can be viewed here.

This poor blog.

I promise, things besides Charlotte have occurred in our life over the past nine months.

I'm working on it. But no promises.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The End

29- Immune Systems. Seriously.

30- Eternal Families. The Novak/ Morales family buried their child, Gabriel, today. We have a tendency to believe that we are promised healthy families, healthy children, healthy careers, etc. We sometimes get angry when those supposed promises don't pan out. I understand that anger. Believe me, I get it. But I'm grateful that when I get over that anger, there are principles like eternal families that help me understand; that help me believe that while life isn't fair, eternity is. I don't believe that all "Why's" will ever be answered, in this life, and possibly not in the next. Some things just happen. Some children die. Some children get sick. Some children ace their SAT's. Some children hate their parents. Not everything happens for a reason. But I do believe that God will help us along the way. He won't make all those bad things go away. He won't make all those bad things happen. But He will give us strength-- knowledge of eternal families, friends who know when to call, parents who teach us good principles-- to get us through those difficult times.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Till We Meet Again

Little Gabriel Morales ended his fight against Spinal Muscular Atrophy on Thursday. That debilitating disease will never overpower his small body again.

May his family feel his presence in their lives until they can hold him in their arms again.

Funeral Services:

Tuesday 10:00 am-1:00 pm

New London Presbyterian Church
1986 Newark Rd. (rte. 896)
New London, PA

23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

23- Medication. Today was just one of those days. Caleb and I were fighting from the moment we woke up. And then I read this article and I thought, shoot, I'm glad there are women who have medication to help when needed. Unfortunately, I didn't have any {:)} but I'm still glad its there for some.

24- Girls Night Out Tween-ager Style. I went to see Harry Potter 7.1 with two sisters, ages 10 and 12 tonight. Sigh. They were so much fun. We talked about how silly boys are (10 year old is still of the cootie ideology. 12 year old is not so certain. 'specially regarding a certain boy). We talked about shopping, about jewelry, about every.thing. I love girls. I love that age. I love being reminded of it.

25- There are a million things I could name on Thanksgiving for which I am thankful. But in an effort to be completely sincere and NOT end up crying, I'm going to go with dishwashers. Really. I mean, how horrid was Thanksgiving before dishwashers? I think I ran two loads before dinner even started. So yeah, dishwashers.

26- Parents. My parents were able to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with us. No matter how "old" you are, there's nothing like having your parents around at the holidays.

27- Christmas trees. Dang. I love them. The smell, the lights, the decorations. Yumm, yumm.

28- 9 months ago this morning, I woke up not feeling well. A few hours later, Peter and I were parents of two. I will always be grateful for that.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vignt et un et vignt-deux

21- Let's be honest. I'm grateful for football. I love it. I stay up after Peter has gone to bed to finish the game. I yell at the TV. I discuss why the refs hate us. And by "us" I mean the Steelers. Because, yes, I am considered part of the team. Thank-you-very-much.

22- Charlotte's blog. I'm really grateful that the NICU encouraged us to set up a place to write down our experience. I'm glad that it has reached others. We've had over 20,000 unique visitors since we started writing in March.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Umm, Catch Up...

12- Service. I've been going to school among all the other crazy things in our lives. An amazing friend of ours has watched Caleb all week so that I could get some hard core study time in. Ideally, we just would have put Caleb in a preschool, so that I could study and he could "learn" but since Charlotte's immune system cannot handle preschool germs, we have to keep Caleb out. So yeah, my friend? She's more than awesome. I'm so touched by the amount of service we have been offered.

13- Pampering. Being in school means there are a lot of things you have to cut back on. But Peter is pretty good to me, and he makes sure that we have room in the budget for me to get a good haircut. Sigh. I admit it-- I like to be pampered. I like it a lot.

14- Family. I know, that's a gimme, right? Peter's older brother was in the area this weekend and was able to come to our church service and have dinner with us this afternoon. Peter's younger brother and his wife were able to stop by as well, and it was really great to see "the boys" have some time together. As we all get older and live farther away from family, I really appreciate these times together, no matter how brief.

15- Optimism. Charlotte had Speech Language Therapy today, and they really worked on trying to get her to take the bottle. We didn't have much luck, which tends to get me discouraged, but her therapist stayed ever positive. I appreciate having medical professionals who keep us going, even when day to day progress is next to nothing.

16- My brain. I saw a commercial today that totally threw me off. Seriously, it was awful. And as I was really bothered by the commercial, I was also really grateful that I have the ability to form my own opinions. I'm not always the best at it, but I'm glad that I was raised to think for myself, to not follow the crowd, and to question authority (with respect, of course). That's pretty deep for a commercial, huh?

17- Preemies. Today is Prematurity Awareness Day. I'm grateful for Charlotte. 'Nough said.

18- Cameras. We took family pictures today. So glad we have the technology to document how much my children hate being documented :) But seriously. I am forever grateful to have pictures. I'm sentimental like that.

19- Organizations. We had a meeting with Team Heather today. These women are so inspiring. They've poured their resources together and are fighting so hard to make Heather's fight a little easier. These women are realistic. They know Heather is in the fight for her life. But they also know that Heather is not fighting it alone. And somehow, that helps.

20- Dates. Pedro and I Babysitter and everything. It was surreal. Going somewhere together that does not involve the hospital. It's the little things in life :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

9, 10, 11

Nov 9- Pedro. He had today off. We hung out. It was awesome. I love having a best friend. I love that he humors me. I'm grateful for the fact that he shaves every day even though he hates doing it. I'm grateful that he heats up my rice bag when he knows I'm stressed. I'm grateful that he doesn't take things too seriously. Love him.

Nov 10- Early Intervention. After Charlotte's TWO HOUR appointment (not on my gratitude list, thank-you-very-much) at CHOP this morning, the feeding team was adamant that we get Occupational Therapy for Miss CA. Thinking I was going to have to fight Early Intervention to get an OT (we already have Speech Therapy and Physical Therapy) I called our coordinator ready to demand services. I was prepared. I had done my research. I knew exactly why Charlotte needed an OT in addition to her other services. Joan, our coordinator, simply said, "If you think she needs OT, I'll call and find someone right now." Uhhhh... what was that? Was it really that easy? Yes, I think it was. Awesome.

Nov 11- Veterans. Of course, right? I'm also grateful for all those Moms, Dads, Wives, Husbands, Significant Others, Children, etc who supported those Veterans. I'm grateful for those people who wrote them letters, sent them pictures, and loved them while they were away. I'm grateful for those who were waiting for them when they came home. There's just not much more to say. So thanks. Thanks for serving.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


On Charlotte's blog I posted about our friends, the Suttons, who recently found out that their wife and mother, Heather, has MDS (myleodysplastic syndrome). The healthcare costs for this cancer can become rather overwhelming, as you might expect.

A website has been setup for people to keep up to date with Heather's treatments, to sign up to help with errands, to make donations to ease the financial burden.

On December 10, a Ladies Silver and Gold Party will be held as a fundraiser. A jeweler will be on hand to pay you for your gold jewelery. A silpada representative will be there so you can do some Holiday shopping. All of the profit from the silpada sales will be donated to Take the Journey of Hope with Heather.

Now here's where we need your help.

There will be baskets to raffle off. The proceeds from the raffle will all be donated to the Sutton Family. So far, we have a children's basket, some Phillies tickets, a quilt, etc.

We're looking for ANYONE to donate ANYTHING that could be raffled. Do you sell Mary Kay? Could you raffle a basket? Do you make awesome cookies? Could you bake some? Do you have tickets to a concert?

We can use any and all donations. Just email me or leave a comment and I'll get in touch with you.

Thanks so much!!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Nov 3- Today, I'm grateful for food. For food grown right straight outta the ground and plopped right on my plate. We participate in a CSA and have thoroughly enjoyed being able to participate in this tradition that my generation sees as an ancient pastime. How weird that we have to go out of our way to find fresh food, grown in our own back yard. How lucky we are that we live in a place where we have access to fresh food, water and resource.

Nov 4- Two words: Speech. Therapy. I don't know how they do it, but they get Charlotte to eat. It's magic, I swear, but I love them for it.

Nov 5- Student loans. Enough said.

Nov 6- Peanut Butter. Whoever thought of this stuff is responsible for keeping Caleb alive. Breakfast? Peanut Butter toast. Lunch? Peanut Butter and Honey sandwich. Dinner? Peanut Butter and Honey sandwich. Snack? You know it. Crunchy. Smooth. You name it, we eat it. And lots of it.

Nov 7- Today, I'm grateful for Honesty. At church today, Peter talked about how angry he was after Charlotte was born. How angry he was that such a situation could occur. So many people spoke to us afterward about how refreshing it is to hear that people struggle, that people go through the stages of grief. Too often we feel like we have to put on a pretty face, to be strong for everyone around us. What we don't realize is that everyone else is just putting on a pretty face for us. It's time to be real.

Nov 8- I'm trying really hard to not be too "deep" with these gratitude posts. I think it's helpful to find everyday, ordinary things for which I am grateful. But today, today I am grateful for family. For my religion. For the strength I feel from the people around me. Gabriel came home from the hospital today, and will most likely pass away within the next few days. He's been such a fighter, such a strong boy. In times like these, when life just doesn't make sense, I'm grateful for the strength I see in others.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 3

Today I am grateful for older sisters.

Especially for older sisters who will love you even when you're dumb.

They're the best.

So glad I have one.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 2

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Today I am grateful for the ability to vote, to demonstrate, to voice my opinion. But more than that-- I am grateful for the ability to get along with those who do not agree with me.

For those who know my parents, especially my mother, you know that she is of the conservative persuasion. For those who know me, you know that I tend to be a little bit (a lot) more liberal. Despite this difference, I'm the first to say that my mother is absolutely one of the most incredible people I know. She's dedicated to her family, her work and her community. She loves EVERYONE. And when I say everyone, I mean, EVERYONE. Seriously. I can count the number of times she has mentioned that she didn't like someone-- and those times were all in response to a person being unkind to a member of her family. She's loyal. She's intelligent.

See, I could go on and on. Despite our differences in opinion when political topics arise, my mother and father spent the past weekend watching our children so that Peter and I could attend a rally. A rally that was hosted by someone who she would probably disagree with the majority of the time. But I never once heard a criticism. Never.once.

If only more Americans could get along that way.

Today, I'm grateful that my mother taught me to respect people, no matter what. I'm grateful it's a lesson she started when I was young, because it's a hard lesson to learn, one I'm still working on.

But I'm grateful for it nonetheless.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gratitude: Day 1

30 Days of Gratitude.

So it's a bit trendy, and kinda "roll my eyes at people who do this on their blogs" but this year has been an interesting one, and I feel the need to document the things for which I am grateful. (And I haven't actively blogged on here for the entire year and I need to fix that.) For the next 30 days, I'll post on what I am grateful for, and hopefully, along the way, we can all re-focus and re-energize.

So today, I'm grateful for the people who helped me get through the past year. That would be all of you. I'm grateful for the text messages, the comments on the blog, the emails, the greeting cards, the gas cards, the visits, the support, and most importantly the prayers, that got us through this crazy time. I'm grateful that people didn't forget, that people still remember that we struggle. I'm grateful for those who continue to inspire us, continue to support us and continue to "understand" us. I'm grateful for those who know that they don't understand.

I'm grateful that many of you will never know what it is like to have a child so early.

I'm so grateful for that. I'm grateful for newborns, for children who are healthy, for parents who can go home from the hospital without a second thought. I'm also grateful for babies who come home from the hospital-- now matter how delayed their homecoming might be. Most importantly, I'm grateful for the love and support that wraps its arms around parents who leave the hospital to go home, while their babies go to Heaven.

So as I start this month, I want you to know that the only reason I am able to write these things is because of all of you.

Thanks for being my therapy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Good Friends

Caleb has been making great progress with the potty training. However, he's had a little problem with number 2. Of course. Cause it can't be that easy, right?

So today I hit my wall. I was just NOT going to clean poop out of his pants again. Not gonna happen. What do I do? (mother of the year award coming...) I, in complete exasperation tell him that if he poops on the potty, Thomas the Tank Engine would call him to congratulate him.

What did he do?

RAN up the stairs, sat on the potty and did his thing.

Horrified that I now had to find someone to be Thomas, I texted a friend. "I need you call and pretend to be Thomas. I promised Caleb Thomas would call if he went #2 and he's called my bluff.'

Not 3 minutes later, this self respecting man called my phone asking to speak to Caleb. In awe, Caleb took the phone and told "Thomas" of his accomplishments. All in all, the conversation lasted about 30 seconds. Caleb has been talking about it all night. "Thomas is so proud of me Mommy!"

I just had to mention how much I genuinely appreciate having good friends. Friends who will call your child and pretend to be Thomas. Friends who will do so without even blinking. With Peter being gone, by the time 6:00 rolls around, I'm pretty much done for the day, despite the fact that I have another five hours to go before the nurse shows up for Charlotte. I'm tired, I'm worn out, and throw pity parties for myself regularly. (You're all invited. It's bring your own pop corn though. I'm not sharing.)

Tonight, I realized that no matter what the circumstance-- no matter how ridiculous, I have great friends to back me up. Of course, over the past year, I've realized how important great friends are during a time of crisis.

It takes nights like tonight to realize how important great friends are during a time of normalcy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

What a Day

Today is a busy day in my family.

First, it is my mother's birthday. She's trying to ignore it, but that's just not going to happen :) Happy birthday, Mama Farr-- you are amazing. After spending the better part of the last 30 years raising five children (and doing it well, in my opinion), she's still setting an incredible example for all of us. In her own soft, subtle way, she's taught me how to be a strong woman-- a woman who is comfortable being a wife and a mother, but a woman who doesn't need that to define her. A woman who has a successful career and still doesn't let that define her. A confident, kind, smart woman. My mother taught me to be a woman who is comfortable running a a business, nursing a patient, making a meal, or tucking a baby into bed. She taught me that by being that woman. And I love her for it.

Second, it's my brother-in-law, Sean's, birthday. (He made it easy for us to remember!) Sean has been such a fantastic addition to our family. He has supported Shayla through medical school, residency, and early mornings (not a good time for Farr girls), has been a wonderful father, and a great friend. Peter and I really miss living right around the corner from them, and not just because Sean is a really, really good cook. OK, well mostly because Sean is a good cook... But really now. We love having Sean in our family!

And third, today marks the day my dear, sweet cousin, Ben, passed away in 2004. His passing was tragic, and I wish I could say the pain of losing him gets duller with time, but it doesn't. What does get better, what has helped me to come to terms with his death, is his fantastic family. Their beautiful relationships have helped us to all accept a life ended too soon, and while it should be me offering strength and support to them, it is all too often the other way around. Some of the best times I can remember involve sitting around with my Aunt and Uncle and Cousins, laughing, crying, and most importantly, remembering. I thank them for helping to make Ben the incredible boy that he was, and for helping me remember what is really important during our short, brief lives: family.

What a day, what a day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Does That Take Double A?

Caleb is potty training (his idea), and despite our hectic lives, he is doing a FABULOUS job. Seriously. He's a super hero.

Anyway, last evening he was trying to go potty before bed and was having some difficulty with number 2. He looked at me and said, "I'm sorry Mommy, I can't go. My bum ran out of batteries."


That explains so much.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thanks Mom

You know how wonderful it is when your mom comes to help? How the dishes get put away and the laundry is done and meals suddenly appear before you?

Yeah, I love that. I love it more than anything.

Except that my mother left three weeks ago....

and I still don't know where my socks are.


Monday, September 20, 2010


Image via Danica Nelson Photography
May 2010
2 years, 5 months

Oh Caleb. So much has happened over the past year, and I've been pretty bad at documenting it. Here's a review:

You went to a "pre-school" class at the YMCA three days a week for the past six months. Now that Charlotte is 'home' we have to keep you out of it (too many germs), but you loved your class. You learned so many things, but your favorite thing to talk about is stop lights. Anytime we stop at one, you inform us that "red means stop, green means go, and 'orange' means slow down." You know how to count to thirty, although you usually skip 14, 16, and 17 along the way. You know your alphabet like no one's business, but you still don't know which letter is which. You love to point out colors, usually asking us, "Is that blue?" or "What color is that?" and then telling us the answer, "Umm, green?!" You loved your teacher, Miss Bev, and you made some great friends. We never would have put you in a class so early, but with Baby Charlotte, we needed a place for you to go while we were at the hospital. Who would have guessed how much you loved it?! By the time your year ended, we were so sad that you had to stop going. Darn germs.

Caleb, we have all watched the movie Cars, more times than I should say if I want people to think I'm an involved parent. You love yourself some Lightin' McQueen, that's for sure. Of course, you also love Thomas the Train, and you can name pretty much all of the trains. You sing the Thomas theme song when you are playing, and it's pretty darn cute. You are also very concerned with the speed of the car while driving ("You're going too fast, Mommy! We have to slow down!") and you have to know which way we are going ("Is that way left?"). You are trying really hard to put on your own shoes, and you usually get them on the right feet. You're semi interested in using the potty, and if you were in the same place for more than 12 hours at a time, I'm sure you would be done with diapers. You're very interested in going up the stairs, "like a big boy", instead of one stair at a time. You love to make people happy, always asking, "Are you happy?" or "Do I make you happy?" Anytime someone is upset, you run to them and pat them, saying, "It's OK, we're right here, it's OK, it's OK, it's OK." You love to give kisses and hugs and are pretty convinced that a kiss can make anyone happy (you're usually right). You love to show your happy, sad, mad, and surprised faces. You also have one mega "monster" face. Sorry to say it kid, but you are also scared of everything. I mean EVERYTHING. But the best "interest" you have is when you climb into my bed (preferably later than six in the morning) and ask if we can snuggle. Seriously, you know your way into my heart little one.

Big Brother:
You're pretty much the best big brother who has ever lived. And that's saying something, because I have two awesome big brothers myself. Despite knowing that Mommy and Daddy leave you all the time to be with Baby Charlotte, you talk about her constantly. "Baby Charlotte needs Mommy to make her happy." "Baby Charlotte needs to get all better to come home to be with me." You always want to hold her during your visits, and you would be perfectly content to just hug her the entire time. You are very concerned about germs, and you try to wash everything with hand sanitizer to "make the germs all gone." I'm sorry if this fear of germs becomes a problem for you later in life.

Just like any two year old, you have your moments. But considering what you have gone through over the past year (a surgery of your own, a move to a new house, a rather sick/pregnant mother, and a very sick little sister, plus a fourth year medical student for a father) you are remarkably happy. The Child Life Specialist at CHOP sat down to play with you and you told her how sad you are when Mommy has to leave and that you don't want Daddy to go to work anymore. Despite these feelings, you always smile as we drop you off at another friend's house and you always run to us when we come to pick you up. Your flexibility, your strength, your kindness-- you are much more than your two little years let on. You'll probably never know what a support you have been to us as we've gone through this rough year.

Yesterday, I told you I loved you. You responded, "But why, Mommy? Why do you love me?" Trying to give you a "real" answer, I said, "Because you are my baby boy, because you try so hard even when things are difficult, because you're funny, because you're kind, because you're smart."

To which you responded, "Umm, yeah, I smart. I guess so."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Eleven

At the beginning of August I had the opportunity to get away for a girls weekend in NYC. A good friend, Carrie, who had moved to San Francisco, flew back into Philadelphia and she, Kay, and I spent the weekend laughing, eating and wandering through the city. At the time, Charlotte had been transferred to CHOP for the first time, and we weren't sure when she would be coming home. The NICU experience was getting old, and the two days away from it all were re-energizing and healing.

Although I would have had a great weekend with these girls no matter where we went, I'm really glad we went to NYC. While there, we had a chance to take a tour through the Tribute WTC 9/11-- Person to Person History.

I wish words could adequately describe the experience. Our group had two docents, both of which had been personally affected by the terror attacks on 9/11 in NYC. Ron, the tour guide, took us from the fire house, around the site itself, through some adjoining buildings, and finished at the memorial for eleven American Express employees who died that day. About half way through the tour, he sat us down. He looked at us and explained how that day was the start of school. Being a school architect, he was sitting down and taking a deep breath for the first time in months. He had finished his projects, he knew he had a few months before things started getting busy again. And then the first plane hit, just across the road from his workplace. His boss told them to gather extra supplies, scaffolding, equipment, hard hats, etc-- they were going to help stabilize the situation. As they were leaving their building, the second plane hit, and Ron knew the next few months would not entail early evenings and long weekends. He began to realize that the next few months would involve excavation-- not of brick and mortar, but of bodies, pieces of individuals who had been murdered. Murdered.

Ron started that day as a school architect. Over the next few months he lead the teams working on retrieval of bodies. He stood before us that day as the lead architect on the 9/11 NYC Memorial.

Maureen got up next. She had been quietly carrying the amplifier so we could hear Ron's incredible tour. She started out saying that on the morning of 9/11/2001, she was in Germany. She was working as a flight attendant. She turned on CNN, as that was the only English station, and watched as two planes hit the World Trade Centers in NYC. She frantically called her mother, in Canada, as she knew her husband had been in NYC that day, after just receiving a promotion. Her mother told her that her husband had called his own mother. He had asked that his wife be told he loved her. He was happy. He would miss his two children. He would cherish them.

He did not survive that day.

Ron took us a few steps farther and sat us down in the atrium of the American Express building. He told us how he had spent that morning, that awful, infamous morning, digging through rubble, trying to find survivors. He told us of how a building had crashed right through the window, how where we were sitting, hundreds had died. He told us of the two firefighters who would not leave the field, who would not clear the land when he asked. He told us of how he got angry-- didn't they realize how dangerous this was? Didn't they understand that a hand shovel and a pick was not going to do anything? And then he told us of what he didn't realize. How the two firefighters told him, "Man, you just don't get it. Our mother slammed the door in our face and told us not to come home without our father." They were searching. Just like him. Except, they were searching for something to complete the whole. They were searching for the missing piece of their family.

That piece is still missing, even today.

Ron and Maureen did not ask that we pick up arms and fight-- although, by then end of the tour, I was willing.

They asked us to do something so simple, so simple that we often forget to do it-- they asked us to remember. They asked that we remember that almost 3,000 people that day were murdered. Murdered. People woke up that morning, intending to kill, and kill they did. They asked us to keep talking about it-- to keep this day in the front of our minds, to never, ever forget.

They asked us to know that some-- that many-- can never forget. And we shouldn't have that luxury.

Six members of this Ladder Co. died on 9/11. Five were in the fire hall at the time of the attacks, the rest were out on another call, all the way across the city. The other fire fighter was at work, but heard the call. He left work that day to help save lives. He never went back.

All the fire fighters who lost their lives that day. Each one had a family, a mother, a father, a child, a loved one that still mourns. Their families cannot forget. We shouldn't either.

Current construction on the 9/11 memorial.

Ron and Maureen.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The unseen costs of war

As I was walking around the naval base in San Diego today I began to notice something unusual, wheelchairs. At other hospitals wheelchairs carry very pregnant women and elderly people too sick to walk. Today I saw them whizzing around with 18-25 year old, Oakley sun glass wearing, my biceps are bigger than your legs occupants.
Each of these men were born with fully functioning legs that had carried them across end zone lines and finish lines in the not so distant past. They carried them into the recruiters office to swear an oath to defend our country. They carried them onto the plane bound for Iraq or Afghanistan.

Unfortunately a explosion or an accident while fighting a war has taken both of their legs above the knee before the age of 25. As they whizzed by today in their wheelchairs or limped by on prosthetics I could not help but hope that the cause has been worth it. Too often I count the costs of war in dollars or deaths, but not in the people who live with the permanent scars. Long after the last soldier leaves Iraq or Afganistan, after we have moved onto another President, another war, or another "breaking story" on CNN. These Sailors/Soldiers/Marines/Airmen will still sit in their wheelchairs or limp with their prosthetics. We owe it to them, to their sacrifice, to be judicious in when and where we fight.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Love Them

Emily, Kahalia, Jules, Chaci
Group shot after going to see Jacob take off his shirt, umm, I mean, Eclipse. That's why we went... we went for the story line. Definitely.

Just a note to say, I don't think I would have survived these past few months without these girls. These girls visited me when I was on bed rest before having Charlotte. Kay drove an hour out once a week during the craziest winter ever-- and Kay is from Atlanta. She doesn't do snow.

They came to the hospital when I was admitted. They came when I had Charlotte.

They made me dinner. They made Peter dinner.

They cried with me. They laughed with me.

They went to see Eclipse with me.

They've visited Charlotte. They've held her while I was away.

They've called. They've texted.

They've been fantastic friends.

And I love them all dearly.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Norfolk, VA

Pictures from 7/17/10

Caleb and Peter checking out the planes. Caleb was most impressed. Peter and I were just hot.

I'm sure there is a name and details about this plane. To me, it's just large.

I love Caleb's smile here. Too cute.

Double straw action at IHOP

Caleb and I made the trek down to Norfolk in the middle of July to see Peter while he was on rotation at the Naval Hospital there.

The morning we were supposed to leave, I woke up with a fever of 103.5 and thought I was dying. (OK, that's a bit dramatic, but, let's be honest, it's me we're talking about here...). I tried really hard to put on my big girl pants and pull myself together. What should have been a 5 hour drive ended up being close to 10 hours and Pete had to come rescue us at the end, about an hour outside of Norfolk. What a good husband!

Luckily, I felt better the next morning and we were able to tour the base and get a feel for the area. Caleb definitely approved of the Naval Shipyard. The first time he saw a ship he said (direct quote here), "That's a big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, boat."

All in all, we liked the area and wouldn't mind living there next year if that's where Peter matches for residency. Although, we did get reprimanded for being Yankees (a fact of which we are very proud, thank-you-very-much) and we were told the area was "ghetto" because there was a shooting there five years ago.

After living in Philly, I think our "ghetto" radar is a bit off, since the area looked very nice to us. Somehow, I think we could survive. Unless the person was shot because he was a Yankee.

Then we're in a lot of trouble.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Jersey Shore, Knickerbocker Style


"I'll go in if you go in"

That's one cute kid, if I do say so myself. And I do. I say so.

I love that older cousins will always be the ultimate source of knowledge.

Peter's Aunt and Uncle go to Ocean City, NJ each year for a week. We figured, "What's a vacation without our presence?" So we went down to spend an evening with them. Lily and Caleb had so much fun, and Caleb cannot stop asking about when he is going to the "shore" with her again.

He's so from Philly.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Has Anyone Seen Caleb?

This is a sampling of what I am greeted with, should I lose track of Caleb for a moment or two (or three, or twenty, or...)

"I'm pullin' weeds, Mommy. Just like grandpa."

Honestly, I do some weird things, but I have no idea where he picked up putting eye shadow in his ear.

Silly me, I didn't actually think I was going to USE that makeup, did I?

This one is legit on Caleb's part. I told him to go play outside while I packed his bag for the YMCA.

But I swear, he was only outside for 10 minutes.