What a Difference

I’m back!  I enjoyed the past week with my family and spending some much-needed time away from work!  It was amazing and I am sad to be returning to work today!  The week went so quickly!  We were busy with family visits starting on Christmas Eve until Saturday night!  It was craziness, but such great moments.  We loved all of the time we spent with our family and were spoiled beyond words!  We are so lucky!

One of the highlights from our time off was a get together that we had with our friends.  All of the husband’s are fellow police officers and all of the wives were pregnant together – completely unplanned.  We all became good friends during this time and now the babies are friends as well!

We’ve made it a tradition to get all of our babies together each Christmas.  We decided it would be cute to put the kids in their PJ’s and to snap photos each year.  Last year, the babes were so young – from left to right – Brooklyn – 6 months, JoJo – 9 months, Kenzie – 7 months.

Look at how big they’ve gotten!  It’s amazing the difference a year makes!  Last year, JoJo had mastered sitting up, McKenzie was just starting to on a regular basis and Brooklyn was just at the very beginning of sitting up – someone propped her up and let her go just in time for us to snap the picture!

This year, they were moving targets and impossible to get all looking in the same direction or sitting still at the same time!  I love these pictures and look forward to this tradition for years to come!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here’s hoping you all had a lovely Christmas!

A Letter to my 16 Year-Old Self | 52 Weeks of Blogging With A Purpose

Dear Sixteen Year Old Megan,

Where do I begin? There are so many things that are going to happen to you in the coming years. There will be a fair share of great moments and a fair share of horrible moments. You will survive all of them and you will be a better person because of it.

Before we get to the future, let’s start with where you are:

You’ve just gotten your license and a new sense of freedom…along with your first car.  A car that no one has ever heard of….oh Eagle Summit!  Although not the dream car you had hoped for, stop being a brat.  You have a car.  You didn’t have to buy it.  Don’t worry though!  With your excellent driving skills, that car meets its demise quickly and you end up with a different car.

Enjoy the rest of your high school experience. Take it all in. The rest of your time is going to go so quickly. Before you know it, you will be graduating and moving on to college. Stay involved in clubs, committees, honor society’s and general high school fun. You will make great friends, have invaluable experiences and set yourself up to get into college.

That Outward Bound trip that you are so nervous to go on. Do it. Push yourself. It will change your life. Yes, 5 days in the great outdoors seems like a lot, but I promise, it will be worth it. You will start out very unsure of yourself, your abilities, and the whole trip in general. By the end of the 5 days, you will be setting up a campsite, cooking on your own and navigating the Potomac to get your group back. You will have time throughout the trip to think about what you are experiencing, to journal, to grow. You will come home a changed person. You will have a new sense of confidence and respect. This will be a huge turning point for you as a person, as well as with some of your relationships. You and your Mom’s relationship will get so much better after this trip. She becomes your best friend.

Your senior year, you will be dating a guy – a guy that you think is great, but is wrapped up in the wrong crowd and in things that you don’t believe in. You stand your ground. You break up with him, which means you end up not having a date for your Senior Year Homecoming. Although it seems like the end of the world, it’s really not. You go with friends and end up having an even better time. This is a pivotal moment, as well. Your best friend tells you that she knows a guy who would be perfect for you! She’s going to set you up. That guy is Brian, your future husband. Everything happens for a reason!

Also, that body that you are working so hard to change…stop! It’s perfect! Twelve years from now, you will be working hard to get back to your 16-year-old weight! Stop being so hard on yourself and obsessed with image. You will never have 6-pack abs – it’s not in your genetic make-up. Be happy with who you are. You are perfect.

In the future, you will lose loved ones and you will lose friends. Know that everything happens for a reason and you are exactly where you should be and doing exactly everything the way you should. Everything is a learning experience. You will make mistakes, but you will learn from them and grow.

You will break-up with Brian throughout your time in college.  Distance makes the heart grow fonder.  You never totally lose touch and always remain friends.  Around your Junior year of college, you return home to visit family and decide to have dinner with Brian.  That date at La Tolteca…a turning point in your relationship.  You start dating again and move in together when you graduate.  You live in that house for a few years, and then buy a new house together.  This is the house that you move in to 2 weeks before you get married.  The craziness!  This is the house that you bring your daughter home.  This is the house that you become a family in.  It will hold great memories.

I’m not sure where life will take you in the future, but know that it’s going to be an amazing ride!  Continue to hold true to yourself. Continue to follow your dreams. One day, twelve years from now, you will look around and love the life that you have.

You will learn to live by the motto…everything is okay in the end…if it’s not okay, it’s not the end. It’s true every time.  Remember that.

Love,
                                                                                          …the one 12 years later

The ‘B’ Word

Lemon

Recently, I read this.  It literally made me stop and think.

I understand the author’s point about engaging girls in though provoking conversation, rather than superficial chatter, but I have a hard time buying into the notion that just because you compliment a young girl on her beautiful hair or pretty dress, that she will grow up with any less intellect, knowledge, or know-how than a boy.

Statistics are quoted about how as a society, we are driven by beauty.  While I agree that our society is driven by beautiful bodies, perfect hair and the latest styles, I disagree that this cycle is perpetuated by telling a young girl she is beautiful.  I would like to believe that I will raise a daughter with intelligence, common-sense, determination and motivation, as well as beauty, charm and grace.

The article guides mothers, or other women in the child’s life, on the proper way to engage in a conversation with a young girl, without reverting to discussing her looks or the color of her dress.  When you see your daughter in a playing dress-up, you shouldn’t exclaim, “Look at you!  You look beautiful in that dress!”  Instead, you are supposed to discuss an action that she is doing. “McKenzie, that is a great way to use your imagination to play dress up! What else could you dress up as!?”  The idea is that you should compliment and emphasize the positive attributes of the little girl, instead of complimenting her beauty.

I believe that there can be a balance.  I intend on raising a confident daughter, who knows she is beautiful inside and out and who doesn’t search for the affirmation of this beauty from others.  While I agree that you should give praise to and highlight positive attributes other than beauty, I refuse to not tell my daughter she is beautiful.  There is a balance.  I will strive to find this balance.

I will tell her she is beautiful…and tell it to her often, because she is beautiful – inside and out.  I want her to know that if she hears it from no one else in her day for the rest of her life, I think she’s beautiful. Not just beautiful because of her looks or the outfits she wears, but beautiful when she’s kind to others, when she does something to help someone, when she makes a smart decision, when she stands up for what she believes in.  Knowing that you’re raising a daughter who is strong beyond words, intelligent, caring and compassionate is beautiful!

So to everyone reading this…you are each beautiful!

…and no, it’s not because of your pretty dress!

High School Back Then | 52 Weeks of Blogging With A Purpose

Ohhhh High School.   Some of the best times of my life.

Looking back is hilarious!  What were we thinking?

Sweater Jackets. Enough said.   Never again.

Platform Flip Flops. Bad decision.  Way too tall.  Never again!

Tiffany Charm Bracelets. Everyone had one, although not a Tiffany & Co. one!

Instant Message.  It’s how we survived in high school and the early years of college.  It was cool long before Facebook.

AOL – Dial Up Internet. Long before DSL, there was dial-up.  Staring at the screen below while your computer connected to the internet at a frustratingly slow pace.  Sisterly fights would ensue when the phone was picked up in the middle of the dial-up, thus making you start all over again!

Napster. Downloading music.  For Free.  Once the news of illegal downloading broke, your parents would convince you that if you continued to download, the FBI would be knocking at your door to arrest you.   You stopped downloading.

Burned CD’s.  Before the days of an Ipod.  You would make CD’s for yourself of your favorite songs that you had downloaded from Napster and title it  – Spring 2003 or Long Drive Home.  Friends would make CD’s for one another and write messages on the CD’s. I love going through all of my burned CD’s every so often.  They are a time capsule for that moment of your life. The music takes you back!

cd

Nokia Phones. Everyone had one.  First the brick size phone.  Then the smaller one.  Racking up small fortunes in cell phone bills.When bored, you would play snake.

Meeting the Love of your Life.  We were high school sweethearts.  We started dating our senior year.  I knew I was lucky then and I am still that lucky today!

Prom

A Tribute to Grandparents

Grandparent’s Day was this past weekend.  We didn’t celebrate it.  It’s a Hallmark holiday.  Instead, we celebrate each grandparent on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  Better yet, we celebrate them every day.

Kenzie is lucky!  She has all of her 4 grandparent’s, plus one!  My Dad remarried, so she has an additional grandmother, as well!  Lucky her!  Even more people to love her and spoil her!

I’m not sure you fully understand the value of a grandparent until you are much older.  As a young child, you see grandparents as an endless source of fun!  They let you do the things that Mom and Dad don’t.  They are the fun ones.  They take you places.  They buy you things you don’t need.  They fill you up with sugar and candy.  They allow you to break the rules.  They come to your rescue.

You grow up.  In middle school, you view your grandparents as a homework assignment.  We all remember having to interview a grandparent about what life was like when they were young.  I can remember the stories that my grandparent’s told me – the walking 5 miles, up-hill, in the snow to get to school type stories.  The stories of how simple life was. The way life should be.

Then you grow up more.  You are a busy teenager, with a new sense of freedom.  Your friends and social outings are your priorities.  You still love your grandparents, but you fail to make enough time for them.  Even the time you do make, is never enough.   They chide you for not calling or stopping by more often.  They want to know what’s going on in your life.  You continue to grow. You are another year older, and so are they.

You are now a young adult.  You have your own life.  There aren’t enough hours in the day.  You are working full-time, purchasing cars and your first home.  You are planning a wedding.  You are busier than ever.  You love you grandparents, but there just isn’t time.  You don’t see them as often as you should.   You call.  You stop by when you can.  They still want to know about your life.  They tell you how proud they are of you and the person that you have become.   You are growing up and they are growing older.

Then you grow some more.  You have a husband, a new house and child of your own.  Then there’s this moment – a moment that stops you in your tracks.  A moment where you step back, look at your life and think, Wow….I love where I am right now.  Then you hear the words of your grandparent’s echoing in your mind – how proud they are of you and the person that you have become. Tears stream down your face.  You wish they were still here.  To see the life you are living, to meet McKenzie, to spend time with her as great-grandparents, to enjoy this little girl.

I know it’s one of those lessons that we all need to learn on our own, but I want McKenzie to know how special her grandparents are.  I want her to cherish the time that she has with them, because there will come a day that she will stop, look around at her life, and wish that they were here.

Happy Grandparent’s Day to the greatest parents – turned Grandparents!

We love you!

A Room in My Childhood Home | 52 Weeks of Blogging With A Purpose

If I close my eyes and think back, I can vividly remember my childhood home.  We lived in Baltimore at the time in a semi-detached house.  It was perfect for the three of us – my Mom, sister and I.  It was filled with the typical sisterly arguments and unfair rules set by Mom, but it was also filled with love, life lessons and the true meaning of family.

The room that holds a special place in my heart is my bedroom.  It was perfect for me.  It was my spot.  A place that I could call my own.  A space that countless hours were spent.

It had a 4 post bed – every young girl’s dream.  At one point it had a canopy, because let’s be honest – didn’t all girl’s beds in the early 90’s?  I believe my sister and I may have broken the canopy and thus, I had a 4 post bed.  The walls were pink and I felt like a princess in my bed.

A dream catcher hung above my headboard.  It caught all of the unwanted thoughts, dreams and fears of this young girl.  It was a dream catcher that I made in Girl Scouts and it remained above my bed until we moved when I was in the 8th grade.

I had a white vanity with a small bench.  I would spend hours sitting on that bench and styling my hair, trying out make-up – make-up that I was never allowed to wear because I was too young!

I had the typical stereo of the early 90’s.  It included a single disc CD player.  I thought I was the coolest!  More importantly than the CD player, it had a two deck tape player that had the ability to record.  All of my favorite songs were recorded from the radio.  Those were the days when the best mix tapes were made.  It’s funny to think that our children will think of cassette tapes the way that we think of records and 8-tracks.  They will grow up in a world where all they know is iTunes and Pandora.  They will never know the joy of capturing a song perfectly – without the DJ talking over the beginning or end of the song.  Those were the days!

The pink walls of my room were decorated with the pictures of my celebrity crushes – Devin Sawa and JTT (Jonathan Taylor Thomas).   It’s so embarrassing to even admit that!

I had a TV in my room, but it was an old black and white computer monitor.  There was no remote and I had to turn a dial to change the channel.  I received the 4 basic TV stations and most days, showed more static channels than actual programs.

By today’s standard’s, my room was quaint.  It wasn’t decorated ornately nor did it have trendy furniture.  I didn’t need that though.  The space was completely mine.

It was in that room that I chatted on the phone with friends for hours.  My mom picking up in the middle of the conversation to tell me that she needed to use the phone.  It was in that room that I found my love of music.  It was in that room that I began to write.   I wrote letters to my pen pal in Australia.  I wrote in my diary.  I wrote just to write.  It was in that room that I grew up.  Where the best memories were made.  Where I started to become the person that I am today.

Sorry for such a horrible picture and an unmade bed!  It's the only one I could find...but I guess it serves its' purpose!  My room, my place, my mess!

Sorry for such a horrible picture and an unmade bed! It’s the only one I could find…but I guess it serves its’ purpose! My room, my place, my mess!

I loved my room.  It’s my hope that McKenzie will look back fondly on her room one day and remember that it was her escape, her recluse, her get-away.  Her place.

And the best part is….she won’t have to record her own music or share a home phone with the rest of the family.  Oh how times have changed!