Monday, August 25, 2014

Dear Mr. Slezak

Dear Mr. Slezak,

I've wanted to write this letter for some time now. I do not know why I haven't and I apologize that it has taken me so long to do. I am the sister of the woman you accidentally killed nearly 2 years ago. I want to emphasize that word. The sister of the woman you ACCIDENTALLY killed. I know that you did not set out on September 8th with any intent of killing my family. I don't know why you chose to drive beyond the hours that you were allowed, and it's not my place to assign intent. I don't know the struggles that you were going through, the pain you were feeling, the motive behind your choice to drive for so long - whether that was simply to get the trip over with or if it was another reason. What I do know is that all of us make mistakes. And there are always consequences to every action that we make whether it be a good consequence or a bad consequence.

I applaud you for pleading guilty. I believe that admitting guilt and taking ownership for your actions is commendable. You have accepted the consequences of those actions and I respect you for that.

I pray that your relationship with your son is not severed over the next decade or two. I pray that you are able to reunite with him one day because he does not deserve life without a father. I pray that you are able to go back to your home country one day so that you can see your family again.

I forgive you.

Ephesians 4:32 says, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

God showed compassion on my sister, brother-in-law, and nephews. God has shown compassion on me. God has shown compassion on you. God has forgiven me for all the wrongs that I have done in my lifetime. I, in turn, forgive you.

Forgiveness can't erase the consequences that you will have to endure for your actions, but I hope that it can offer you some peace.

So, Mr. Slezak, I forgive you. I pray for you. I pray for your family.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014


During this time of year... well, often throughout the year... I reflect on the calling of Motherhood.  

Growing up, I often didn't realize what motherhood was really like and all that it entailed.  After all, raising kids isn't too hard, right? WRONG!! 

Motherhood is messy.  It's exhausting.  It is draining and thankless and never-ending.  Just as you think you have gotten it all figured out and life is smooth sailing, one of your children will vomit all over the rug, or one will punch another one in the face (this hasn't happened to me... yet... the punching, not the vomiting - that has happened... a little too often for my taste... and not just by the 2-legged children... but more often by the 4-legged ones... but I digress...). 

My point is, motherhood is hard.  There isn't one perfect way of doing it, if there was, motherhood (and fatherhood) would come with an instruction manual.  But it doesn't.  Every mother is different.  Every child is different.  Two women can have the same basic event happen to them, but you know what?  It's still not the exact same because each woman will have a different personality and a different outlook and therefore will EXPERIENCE it... differently.  

Our goal as mothers should be to raise upstanding citizens that care for others, that have passion and a drive for something, that can stand on their own two feet in life, and make something of themselves. Our goal shouldn't be to "outdo" the mother next to us.  It shouldn't be all about "keeping up with the Jones'"... sometimes what the Jones' have isn't what is best for your family.  Stay true to yourself and who you are.  

As mothers, we should be encouraging one another.  We should be supporting one another.  We should be uplifting and mentoring and just being there for each other!  Instead, I see passive aggressive Facebook and "Mommy Board" posts or not-so-passive-but-just-plain-ol'-aggressive posts tearing each other down and lifting ourselves up.  

So whether you are a mother of 1 or a mother of 20, a cottage dwelling mom or a mansion dwelling mom, an organic eating mom or a food allergy mom, a gifted student mom or a special needs mom, a stay-at-home mom or a work-outside-the-home mom... YOU ROCK!  

You do you, I'll do me, and lets just agree that we are all doing the best we can for our children and families.  And if we see one of us struggling, let's lend them a hand and maybe supply them with a coffee to make it through the tough times.  If we see a mom do something that we would "never let our children do" (like letting our son walk into a cement pillar face first and bounce off of it), remember that you don't know the full story (like the fact that I have told him countless times to watch where he is walking and that I decided that maybe the consequence of running into said cement pillar would be the best way for him to learn to walk with his head facing forward and his eyes open). We have all been there and I'm sure one of our kids is just waiting to throw us a curve ball just as we get a little comfortable.

Enjoy your children.  Sing songs from Frozen with them... belt it out!  Turn on a bubble machine and dance!

Happy Mother's Day!

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Newest Obsession

It's been awhile since I've blogged yet again.  I have been bad this past school year! You would think that only having one child at home would make it easier to blog... But that one child at home is like a little leech when Missy isn't home! 

So, I'm breaking nearly all of my previous promises to blog about Missy's birthday party and other such happenings over the summer. If you are DYING to see snippets, hop on over to my Instagram feed and check it out... Though you'll have to scroll back a ways. :/ Sorry about that!

My grandmother was very generous at Christmas and sent some money for us to buy "wants" for ourselves. The kids received re-decorated rooms, Hubby received a Nook, and I purchased my very first sewing machine! 

For YEARS I have been terrified to sew. I figured that if there was a way to sew your finger to a blanket, I would do it. This coming from the girl whom almost chopped off her thumb with a massive paper cutter... And there WAS a guard!! But I collected the courage, pushed back my fears, and ordered one!! I then ran out and bought fabric for a few projects and waited. Then the ice storm hit the day it was scheduled to arrive and I waited a few more days. 

It FINALLY came in and rather than busting it out immediately and sewing something, I was smart about it and took it to my "professional" friends to teach me how to use it. (They are not actual professional seamstresses... But one knows how to sew the cutest little dresses for her daughter and the other knows her stuff as well. So in my book... "professionals.") 

One of them took the lead since our machines are similar. It's like she KNEW me! She threaded the bobbin... And then UNthreaded the bobbin and said, "Now YOU do it!" Then she showed me how to thread the needle, and then again UNthreaded the needle and had me do it!  Visual Kinesthetic learning at it's finest!  

Missy has been growing inches in her legs recently and pants that we just bought were too short and rather buy her new jeans when these fit everywhere else, I wanted to sew on ruffles to the bottom! So this became my first project! My second project was to simply sew up the back of smocked fabric to make a dress and then to sew button holes into ribbon so that I could add removable straps to the dress.  She is in love with her "new" pants and new dress and I am in love with my sewing machine!  

I even managed to sew a coordinating dress/top for Masha!

The sewing machine rekindled my Pinterest obsession and I found more easy projects that I could do! Baby gifts! Easter gifts! I am so excited and Missy is just as excited to watch me sew as I am to sew! The Hubs is taking the dining room turned sewing room "renovation" rather well too!! Just kidding... I set it up and take it all down when I'm done... most of the time.  I'm thinking the next home may need a sewing/craft room. ;) 

Do you sew? What do you like to sew?

Friday, November 22, 2013


Patience is something I have always struggled with and there is nothing like having two children close in age to remind me of that struggle every day. 

It seems as though my kids are bent on beating my alarm. No matter how early I set it, they wander in just before it goes off. This does NOT bode well for my patience for the rest of the day. Momma needs to wake up SLOWLY!  The mornings are usually frantic trying to dress two kids whom only want to cuddle and watch cartoons. Well, Missy would also like to write and read and draw... But that's life with her, all day everyday.  We normally do good to get out the door to "beat the bus" (the elementary school bus picks up the neighborhood kids next door at 7:50) but that is rarely done smoothly nor without me nagging the kids to hurry up and move. 

There have been more than a few mornings when we did not beat the bus. :/ 

On a particular morning recently, it wasn't because we were moving slowly. We were actually doing great on time! 

Then Bub had to go to the bathroom. 

Whenever he has to go, he climbs up onto the toilet facing the tank and walks around in a circle to sit frontwards. He uses his hands on the seat or tank for balance. He has never fallen so this isn't much of a worry for me... Anymore. believe me, in the beginning it was very nerve wracking. My nephew climbed onto the toilet the same exact way. Is this normal? Or a genetic thing?

Anyway, this one morning... He REALLY had to go. He climbed up facing the tank (let's call this "12 o'clock") and began turning his circle. At 3 o'clock the sprinkler began. In his panicked state, he didn't think to just aim downwards. No... He thought it would be best to shriek and continue turning to 6 o'clock while continuing to "water" the bathroom cabinets... And Missy... And the step stool... And the floor... And the rug. 

I'd like to say I laughed it off right there. I didn't. I shouted his name trying to get him to sit while Missy yelled and whined "HE PEED ON ME!! HE PEED ON ME!!" 

He finally got to 6 o'clock and sat. And found that he had emptied his bladder... Everywhere EXCEPT the toilet. 

I removed him from the toilet and cleaned the bathroom and started the rug in the wash and changed two kids. And THEN we were able to head out the door. The bus had long gone and yet somehow, we weren't late!! 

As much as I think we NEED to be out the door before the bus everyday, we don't.  I needed that wake-up call. We still strive to beat the bus every morning. When we do, we do a little dance and celebrate. When we don't, we say, "Oh man!!" And shrug it off. No biggie! 

How are your patience levels lately?

Until next time!

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Life as I Knew It

A year ago today, there was a knock at my door and policemen told me about an accident that had happened earlier that day claiming the lives of my sister, her husband, and three sons. From that moment on, my life as I knew it changed. If you haven't been with me long enough to have read my first post on what is now known as "The Accident", you can read that here.

Being only a year apart, I do not remember life without Diana. I’ve heard stories of when she was a baby and I was a… well, a baby myself.  I know I was excited to have a baby sister from day 1.  Even though she was my BABY sister, it never felt like she was younger than me.  It always felt more like we were twins.  We loved matching our clothes, putting on dance and theatrical and musical productions, playing Batman and Robin, and pretending that our own room was actually an apartment our parents were other tenants and the van was actually a bus we caught to get around town.  We have one memory that is very fond.  We had guests staying at our house, and during the day, the air mattress was stored upright against our closet.  We had a bunk bed and had the amazing idea to lean the mattress at an angle against the bed with one of us standing underneath as support, and then we could take turns sliding down the mattress as a slide!  I’m guessing we were probably a little loud in our excitement because my dad came in as I was underneath and Diana was sitting on the top.  He asked what we were doing… and without hesitation, we both answered in unison, “We had to move the mattress to get into the closet.”  He stared at us for awhile… we stared back.  Then he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Oh ok!” as he walked out of the room.  We BURST into a fit of giggles.  As we grew older we continued to do a lot together and slowly our separate groups of friends became one group of friends.  When it came to competition and dividing into teams we always did our best to get on the same team because, as our friends can attest, it was almost an unfair advantage.  Sometimes we even split into teams: the B girls vs. everyone else.  

Chris was a part of our joint group of close friends.  He has been apart of my life for nearly half of it!  We started out as close friends: talking on the phone a few times and exchanging letters while he was in Korea, and then speaking on the phone weekly while he was in Iraq.  Though we did have a rough patch, I can say that we had forgiven and moved on and we were family at the end.  I am so glad that whatever it was we were at odds about was resolved before "The Accident"... I can't imagine having that anger towards him and not being able to talk to him and make amends.  He was my brother.  My favorite memories are watching him interact with Missy.  If she wanted him to take her potty, he took her.  If she wanted him to tie her shoes, he tied them.  I can still see them hand in hand, walking through the National Air and Space Museum.  She loved her Uncle Chris and he loved and doted on her too.  The last text conversation we had was right after they found out they were pregnant with Ethan.  I asked him how he was doing and if he was excited.  From the family provider’s perspective, he was nervous but knew it would all work itself out.  But he also said that he was excited for Diana because she was SO excited.  He loved her so much and just wanted her to be happy!  He soon became just as excited as she was to welcome a new son into their family.  

Diana and I were close in age and we loved it growing up, so we decided that we, too, would have children close in age.  Being that we reached child-bearing age at the same time, we were pregnant together, having babies together, and raising our families… together.

Sam was like Diana.  He was sweet and quiet and nurturing.  He even wanted to be an animal doctor “just like Mommy.”  The first time he saw Missy, he was so excited and loved her.  They were best friends.  When Missy saw something she knew he likes, like the iron man mask in Target or the life sized Power Ranger at Hollywood Studios, she would ask to take a picture and show Sam.  And he always did the same thing for her.  When she filled her pee-pee and poo-poo sticker charts, he sent her a video congratulating her.  Whenever they would FaceTime or Skype, they would spend much of the time just sitting with huge silly grins on their faces, just staring at each other.  

Connor was vivacious and goofy and loud.  The dynamic and noise level in their home definitely changed when Connor came along.  He and Bub were closer in age than Sam and Missy, and it seemed like their goal in life was to make the other cry first.  They never tried to hurt each other, but they sure knew how to push each other’s buttons.  Those two would have been trouble together as they got older, scheming against the rest of us.  I’m sad that Bub will never get the chance to be as close to Connor as Missy was with Sam.  

None of us got the immense pleasure of meeting Ethan in person.  All I know is that Squishy liked to bounce.  

Psalm 139:13-16 now sounds to me as if Ethan spoke it himself, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous and how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”  I can’t wait to meet him one day.  I also can’t wait to see Diana again.  We have this connection… our own language… we just get each other.  I will forever miss her.  A part of me went with her.

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