Dear Younger Me,

Dear Younger Me,

I’ve been toying with this post in my head for a while now. Today, July 17th 2017, marks 11 years since we were told that my wonderful mom was not going to make it. Eleven years ago tomorrow, we said goodbye to my mom. July of 2006, I must say, was the worst month of my life so far.

So a few months ago, I heard this song on the radio called “Dear Younger Me” by MercyMe. In the song, the singer is writing a letter to his younger self. In this letter, he’s torn because he loves his life how it is now, but wishes that things could’ve gone smoother to get him to where he is today.

So I started thinking. If I, at my age right now, could write a letter to my 18, almost 19 year old self, during this anniversary of my mom’s death, what would I say to me? What advice would I give the devastated girl who was just told that her mom wasn’t really there anymore? The girl that would end up on the brink of depression and end up being a hypochondriac for years? So that’s what I’m going to do with this post today. I’m going to write 18 year old Rachel a letter. So…here goes nothing.

 

Dear Rachel (age 18),

I know exactly what you are going through at this moment. You don’t know what to think or do and believe me, this is going to go down as one of the worst days of your life. And tomorrow won’t be any better. In fact, it will be worse. Because tomorrow, you are saying goodbye to the woman that not only gave birth to you, but has been your biggest fan since day one. Tomorrow, you will say goodbye to mom. I know, because I’ve been there. You see, I’m you…just 11 years in the future. And yes, that means that you do survive this, somehow.

A piece of you died the second you heard that your mom wasn’t going to make it, I know that. And guess what, that hole will always linger. Even now, there are days when you can’t stop thinking about her and how unfair it is that she is gone. She was only 63, way too young to die. She had so much life ahead of her, and you have so many things in your life to look forward to, that she is going to miss. There will be nights you will just bawl because something big is happening and all you want is to have her here to share the experience with. You’re going to be angry at times, wondering why she had to go.

I know you’re hurting. Even this far removed, the emotions of July 17th, 2006 are very fresh in my memory. It’s frustrating because a part of you wanted to stay optimistic and hope that she could pull through, but the realist part of you knew it was going to be a long shot. Especially when she started having set backs. Plus, you’re so young, you didn’t want to even imagine this as a possibility. I know. I get it. And when they call the house tomorrow to let you, Matt, Mike and Amber know that she has passed, you’ll be inconsolable. Thankfully Matt is next to you to answer the phone and to give you a hug to try to comfort you.

And you have some amazing friends that are willing to drop everything they are doing to come and console you too. Even though most of them will drift apart from you in the years to come, they were exactly who you needed near you at this moment in time. Lean on them. They love you and some of them are pretty upset about mom dying too. Give an extra hug to Ryan. He will need it and you in the years ahead.

I know that it may sound easy for me to tell you all this. And honestly, 11 years ago, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to hear any of this. But I wanted to write you to give you some hope, and advice, for this now uncertain future.

  1. Lean on God and his word. Pray. Pray hard. Your faith is going to help you way more than you realize. Remember that God knows what He’s doing, whether we understand it or not. And we probably won’t know why He takes mom on this side of Heaven. But also remember that your mom knew where she was heading after she died. She’s going to be up in Heaven, greeted by all the ones who have gone before, and she’ll be watching you. I have no doubt in my mind that mom watches out for all of us. She has the best seat in the house, after all.
  2. Lean on your family. They know better than anyone else what you are going through, because they’re going through it with you. Some of you will handle this better than others and that’s why you have to all stick together. Be there when someone wants to talk. Spend more time together. You will never regret it. And guess what. You and dad are going to become much closer, and you will love that. He needs you guys now more than ever.
  3. Lean on your friends. Yes, I know I said some of them won’t end up sticking around for the long haul, but some of the do. And even the ones that don’t, love you very much in this current season of your lives. It doesn’t matter that some of them won’t be close with you in the future. What matters is the here and now. You have amazing friends right now and they will take care of you.
  4. Know that this first year is going to be hard. Every first holiday without her is going to suck. There’s no other way to put it. All the memories and traditions she would partake in, they won’t be the same. It’s hard. But with every new holiday, a new normal sets in. Every holiday will get easier as times goes on, but the void will always be there. But the holidays won’t always be bittersweet. They will become happier again, I promise.
  5. Every new milestone is going to hurt more and more. Especially since you’re the youngest in the family. It will hurt when you graduate college (and thanks to dad, you will graduate college). It will hurt when you get your first teaching job. It will definitely hurt when you get married and even more so when you have your first baby. You will feel like you’ve been cheated. Even today, I feel that way. Sadly, life isn’t always fair. You’re allowed to be angry and you’re allowed to be upset and to feel cheated. Eighteen years isn’t nearly enough time with mom. But try your best to stay strong. Your family needs you to stay strong too.
  6. Know that your life is turning out really great. As I get ready to turn 30 in just over three weeks, I can safely say that things in our life haven’t always turned out the way I expected them to. But I do believe that things in our life have turned out the way they were supposed to. And just know, you are so happy with your life. At almost 30, you have a wonderful husband, and a beautiful 17 month old girl (named after mom and your husband’s mom, who also passed away). You and our siblings are still extremely close and you and dad are partners in crime. Your best friends are beyond amazing and love you like crazy. And even though mom isn’t here to witness all the amazing times, I do believe that she is watching you. She’ll see all the crazy stuff you do and she’ll probably get a kick out of it. You will always have the memories of mom and a lot of great stories to remember her by. And guess what, she wouldn’t want you upset all the time. You will fight this a little bit, almost being diagnosed with depression. As sad as tomorrow will be for you, you have such an amazing future ahead. And guess what? Mom is going to be watching from the best seat in the house.

Keep your head up. Know that mom loves you so much. And live a life to make her proud. Stay strong in your faith and know that tomorrow isn’t “good-bye” forever. It’s just a really long “see you later”.

You’re stronger than you realize. And you will get through this.

Sincerely,

Rachel (age 29)

What’s New and What’s Next?

What’s New and What’s Next?

I know I’ve been very MIA lately. Life got in the way. We got through all my dad’s appointments and procedures, and then Maddie got a virus, and then we had to get ready for our annual July 4th grill out. So life has been fairly hectic lately. But I promise, this is going to become a lot more regular these next few weeks for sure.

How can I promise that? Well, I have a few things coming up that I’m definitely wanting to document my journey. The first thing is, starting Monday, Kenneth and I are going to start up the 21 Day Fix again. I know, I’ve said it before. Thankfully a weight loss journey is just that, a journey. Journeys are filled with ups and downs, and there are times when life gets you down and you can’t get the motivation. That’s usually what happens to me. But I’m the heaviest weight I’ve ever been (aside from when I was pregnant with Maddie) and I know I hate it. I have clothes in my closet that I absolutely love, but can’t fit into. And if that’s not motivation enough, we are right around the anniversary of my mom passing away. And now that we have Maddie, I relate my experience to my current life. I HAVE to be here for Maddie. I don’t want to leave her behind early like my mom did to us. I know my mom didn’t WANT to leave, but her health was poor and she couldn’t fight it off. I don’t want to be like that with Maddie, or any other child God may eventually bless us with. Anytime I think about that, I bawl my eyes out. It seriously gives me anxiety to think about it. So the only thing I can do to help prevent it, is to better myself and get healthy FOR Maddie. My goal is to lose at least 10-15 pounds before August 9th.

Why August 9th??? Well, you see…that HAPPENS to be my birthday. And this year is a big year. I’ll be turning the big 3-0. Now, before you all think that my age really bothers me, it really doesn’t. I don’t know if it’s because my parents were older when they had me, but I have no problem getting older. I know other women specifically that won’t even admit their age. I’m totally okay with telling people that I’m going to be 30 here soon. Nothing for me to be ashamed of!

So I want to be healthier by my 30th birthday. I’ll be documenting my entire journey on here. Starting on July 10th, that will be 30 days before I turn 30. And that’s what my posts will be about. I’ll be showing you what I’ve been eating and what I’ve been doing workout-wise. I’m also challenging myself to do something new every day for 30 days. One thing at least a day that is new and out of my comfort zone. I’m excited to start this next level of my life and want to end my 20’s with a bang.

I’ll be doing several different 30 day challenges (for example: I found one to help declutter your home in 30 days). And I’ll document all of this for all of you. I am so excited and looking forward to doing this! Again, this is going to start on July 10th, which is Monday!

The next few days leading up to this, I’ll post a few blogs dealing with things that have been on my mind here lately. Mostly parent stuff, but a few personal posts as well. So make sure you check back here every day and see what I’ve got going on!

Another Update on Dad

Another Update on Dad

I do realize it’s 2am.

I am currently at my dad’s. He had his colonoscopy today to see if they could find the cause of his low iron from his blood work.

They ended up removing two small polyps and they want him to eat more fiber. Definitely good news in the grand scheme of things. He is beyond relieved to hear that they didn’t find anything really wrong.

We are very pleased with what they found, or didn’t find in this case. He has to call in 7 days to find out the results of the biopsy on his polyps. They don’t seem concerned, so I’m not concerned.

So why am I at his house in the middle of the night? 

He has to have someone with him for the first twelve hours after his procedure. My brother that lives here with dad is at work tonight. So me and Maddie are here at dad’s until around three. Three is a time I feel safe heading home.

So will removing the polyps fix his low iron? Possibly. When I look up “reasons for low iron”, polyps is listed. Those two little polyps could have been causing his low iron, but it also could have caused his issue where his chest tightens when he over exerts himself. Only time will tell.

He will go back to his cardiologist on Wednesday to follow up on his angiogram and see if he wants to change up his medicine. If he is still having chest tightness, that will probably be the route he goes.

But for tonight (and today), we will celebrate this victory. 

Dear Best Friends,

Dear Best Friends,

How would you define a “best friend”?

Me, Kenneth and Maddie, Christmas 2016

The dictionary defines “friend” as “one attached to another by affection or esteem” and defines “best” as “excelling all others”. I can safely say that in my lifetime, I have had many people fill this definition.

Me, Brittany and Jenny, December 3rd, 2016

To me, a best friend is someone that loves you no matter what. They know the real you and embrace it. They may not agree with everything you say, do or believe, but that doesn’t change the way they feel about you. A best friend is there with you to celebrate the good times, but also there for you when your life is falling apart. They stick up for you when others are bad-mouthing you.

Me and Christa, 2007

And I don’t believe that we choose our friends at all. I believe that God picks them for our lives. He places people in the right place at the right time in your life and that person helps you grow into who you are supposed to be. Sometimes those friends are only around a short while before God moves them on into a new chapter of their lives, leaving yours in the process. As sad as that can be, it’s all necessary for you to grow. Sometimes God keeps those people in your life because He knows how much you need that person. He picks people to put in seasons of your life to make you who you are today. I believe that with every heartbreak in my life, God had just the right people by my side to help me get over it and become stronger. I firmly believe that God had just the right people in my life to help me when I lost my mom. Those friends dropped everything they were doing to be there for me when they knew I needed them the most. I can safely say I haven’t needed my friends as much as I needed them those days but I know if I did need them, my current friends (some of which are the same from back then) would drop everything if they could and be there for me.

Me and Sherri, Senior Year Prom 2005

I believe God allowed some of my friends to come in and out of my life. Maybe we weren’t in the right place to be friends at that moment, but eventually our paths crossed again. I also believe that God has made sure that even if we don’t all live here in my hometown, that whenever we do get to see each other, it would be like no time has passed. Our lives move on with or without each other around all the time to make cameos. Most of us have gotten married and some of us have already started families of our own. We have jobs, and lives that don’t always center around each other anymore.

Me and Shelby, 2007

But none of that matters. With every new wedding, or new baby, it’s just adding to our huge group, or family. My daughter has tons of “aunts” and “uncles” that love her so much and Maddie will grow up with my friends’ kids and in ways, it’ll feel like everything has come full circle.

Me and Jimmy, 2016

So to my friends at the end of this National Best Friend Day, I say, thank you! Thank you for loving me. Thank you for always being by my side. Thank you for always having my back. Thank you for sticking up for me (even if that meant slapping someone for me). Thank you for dropping everything when my world was falling apart after mom died. Thank you for dealing with my crazy. Thank you for making my heart so much fuller. Thank you for allowing me to be in chapters of your lives and thank you for being in so many chapters of mine. I honestly cannot wait to see what God has in store for all of us, for all of my friends. Whether in the past, present or future, I’m very thankful that I can call you a best friend.

Samantha and I, 2009

We’ve gone through school together, traveled together, laughed together, cried together. We’ve been there when we’ve needed each other. We’ve been in each others’ weddings, held each others’ babies, and welcomed new significant others into our group with open arms. We’ve celebrated together and we’ve cried together. And we will continue to do so.

Me and Amber, Backstreet Boys Concert 2014

Thank you, God, for my best friends – past, present and future. Thank you for putting them in my life to help me grow and become who I am today. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Alicia, Me, Claire and Jenny – Claire’s wedding – 2016
Me and Amanda, her wedding – 2010
Jenna and I – 2009

Good News on Dad!!!

Good News on Dad!!!

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for my dad in the last few weeks! You are all amazing and I appreciate all of you.

We got to the hospital this morning, and after a little bit of a delay (Doctor had an emergency and that delayed the guy ahead of dad), Dad’s angiogram started at 2:30pm and he was done before 3pm. (Side note: we had to be here at 9:45am and his angiogram was supposed to start at 11:45am, just for a point of reference.)

Once we got to see him after his procedure, we were told the good news. His heart looks great. The arteries that were part of the initial by-pass are still going strong and everything else looked good. So no stents needed to be put in. Doctor Broderick did say that he thinks the problem is being caused by the two arteries behind the heart that were not touched during the by-pass. When he exerts himself, the blood rushes through the arteries and if it has issues getting through, it will try to find the path of least resistance and that’s what causes his symptoms. The only thing he mentioned that they could do is either change up his medication or up some of the dosages of the current medicine, or just leave it the same. And he left that choice up to Dad. Dad decided to just stay on the current medication and dosages for now. We go back to Broderick next month for a follow-up and we’ll see if we need to re-evaluate the medicines.

But for now, we will be grateful and thank God for watching over my dad. We are all so happy that he didn’t need any stents and he will be able to go home tonight. He has to take it easy for about a week. Limited walking for the first 24 hours, and then he can move around more and drive. He can’t lift anything over 15 pounds for about a week, but that is it.

So again, thank you all for all the prayers and well wishes. We are very blessed to have good news today.

The next step will be getting through his colonoscopy next month to find out why his iron could be low. But for today, we will celebrate this good news!

Tomorrow is the Day

Tomorrow is the Day

Sorry for the lack of updates, but this last week has been a bit hectic.

Tomorrow is the day (Monday the 22nd) and I will be taking my dad down to Christ Hospital for his angiogram. That’s been interesting too.

He had to get blood work done before last Wednesday for the cardiologist, so he went to the hospital that our family doctor is out of and had them run the blood work. He ended up getting a call from his family doctor’s office, saying that it showed that he had low iron and that his doctor wanted to have a conference with him. I told him I would go with him to that appointment too, but he said he could do it.

He goes and Doctor Weber tells him that he believes Dad had a “leak” somewhere. In other words, my dad has an internal bleed somewhere. So Weber referred my dad to get a colonoscopy to find out what the problem is. So he scheduled a meeting with that doctor fo June 6th. But with that problem, I wanted to make sure he shouldn’t do the colonoscopy before the angiogram. In the end, I guess the cardiologist decided the angiogram needed to go first.

So that brings us back to tomorrow (22nd). I will be driving dad down tomorrow morning and will wait for them to perform the angiogram along with one of my brothers and his wife, who is a nurse. The angiogram is at 11:45am. If they find that he needs a stent, he will stay overnight and someone has to stay with him. I will be staying at the hospital most of tomorrow until my sister gets there and she will take over tomorrow night and into the next morning. He has to have someone with him for 24 hours straight. I will then come back the following morning to relieve Laurie for a couple hours so she can get to an appointment she has. 

But this is all just a maybe. If they don’t find anything, no stent and he’ll get to go home tomorrow. Obviously that’s the main hope. I hope there is nothing wrong at all. But I’m also realistic. It’s very possible he has some sort of blockage that needs to be addressed.

So pray for him. Pray that he will stay strong through the angiogram and any subsequent procedure that may follow. Pray that he keeps his spirit up and goes into it calm and ready. Pray that the cardiologist and his team can distinctly tell if there is an issue or not and pray that they have the wisdom and knowledge to fix any problem they find. Pray for us kids, that we stay strong and help dad out in any way we can. Pray that I can stay strong while we wait for his procedure to end. Pray that nothing is wrong or that it is an easy fix.

When he went to his family doctor about his iron problem, he said yet again that he wants to live long enough to see Maddie graduate high school, if not college. Breaks my heart to think that he may not see it. She loves him so much and he loves her too. 

But like I’ve said to him this week, let’s see what they say after the procedure. I’m hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, and giving it to God. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

I’ll update tomorrow as we find out what is going on! Thank you everyone who has and will be praying for my daddy. I love all of you and appreciate you more than you know.

Update on my Dad and Prayer Requests

Update on my Dad and Prayer Requests

So we went to my dad’s cardiologist appointment this morning. I absolutely love his cardiologist. Doctor Broderick is very calming and is overall a nice guy. 

Dad explained to him what his symptoms were and even told him that they were the same feeling as the ones he had before he had his by-pass five years ago. Doctor Broderick asked his quite a few questions, like the frequency of the symptoms and how long they would last when he would feel them. Dad honestly answered and told him that it didn’t happen all the time, just about every other to every third time. And when he would get them, they would end almost as quickly as it began.

Based on his symptoms, Broderick said that my dad is having some angina. I kinda thought he would say that, especially after I saw a sign in the waiting room that talked about angina and it sounded very similar to what dad had. For the short term, they prescribed dad a medicine called Isosorbide Mononitrate. It is similar to nitro pills but he will take this every morning and it will help him feel a little more comfortable. 

But Broderick also suggested that he have an angiogram done. He believes that there is some sort of blockage in there, but he’s not sure how severe it is. The angiogram will help him figure out what path to go next. If it’s not too bad, they can probably just put in a few stents and he’ll be okay. Obviously that is what the best option is, aside from them finding nothing wrong. But it’s also very possible that he could end up with another by-pass. We hope that’s not the case, but the possibility is there.

So we’ll see where the 22nd leads us. If he ends up getting a stent, he’ll stay overnight at the hospital and come home the next day, the 23rd.

So pray for my dad. I know he’s nervous. He keeps saying that he hopes they find nothing wrong. It’s possible, but not horribly likely. Pray for his cardiologist, that he finds what is causing dad’s problem and can fix it easily. Pray for a quick recovery from whatever they decide to do. Pray for us siblings and the rest of his family, that we can stay strong for dad and help him get through this bump in the road. 

He told me again today that he just wants to be around to see Maddie grow up. Breaks my heart to hear him sound like that. Pray that he can get through this easily and continue to watch his baby granddaughter get bigger. 

And thank you to everyone who prayed for him today. I feel like it went very well and I can only pray that the rest of this goes just as smoothly. I’ll continue to keep all of you updated as well!

A Story About my Dad and a Request

A Story About my Dad and a Request

Tonight I’m going to start out with a story and then end with a prayer request for tomorrow.

My story is about my wonderful dad.

Back in 2012, unknown to all of us siblings, my dad started to have signs and symptoms of an underlying heart problem. These symptoms, namely his chest tightening up when he overexerted himself, went on for about six months.

And then on August 20th, 2012, I received the scariest phone call from my dad.

My husband and I had literally just pulled onto our road from an evening out together bowling. He had wanted to play one more game, but I was playing so terribly and I’m a sore loser, so I wanted to go home. Little did I know what the rest of my night would hold.

We pulled onto our road and my phone rang. It was my dad. Honestly, I was thrown off because it was pretty late for him to be calling me. I assumed he was going to tell me something about my aunt, his sister, who was in bad health. So what he ended up saying to me nearly killed me.

He said “I need you to come and drive me to the hospital. My chest is feeling tight and usually it goes away but tonight it’s not going away.”

My heart stopped.

We stopped by the house long enough for me to get my car and me and my husband took off towards my dad’s. My sister called me as I was about to pull onto his road. I remember her telling me, “Rachel, don’t mess around. If he looks bad, call 911.”

We pulled in his driveway and I raced up to the door, where he greeted me.

Instead of having him get into my car, I asked, “Dad, do you think I should call an ambulance?”

He gave me a small, nervous smile and said, “Yeah.”

I called for the ambulance and waited until they came and got my dad. I explained to them his symptoms and that heart problems run in his family. The man who drove the ambulance knew my dad and he promised me that he would be alright, that they were just gonna check him out up at the hospital.

After the ambulance left, we did too and made our way to the hospital, which was about 20 minutes away. All of my siblings met us up there and we were given the news.

Just as my mom had six years before, my dad had a heart attack. The hospital here in Clinton County didn’t have the means to take care of him, so they planned on air caring him to Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, just like my mom.

We were allowed to see him before they put him in the helicopter. Weirdly enough, he seemed normal. They were asking him questions and he was answering them like nothing was wrong. We were so shocked that he seemed okay, but wasn’t.

We left to head down to Christ, which was about an hour drive. When we got there, we waited until they got him check in and settled. They ran some tests on him and then brought all of us in his hospital room to give us the diagnosis.

He did have a heart attack. He had some sort of heart disease. And eventually, they wanted to do open heart surgery to clean out his arteries. They didn’t want to do it too soon because he had a bunch of blood thinner in his system. Once we heard that, we all decided to go home and rest, and then come back to see him in the morning.

But a God thing happened. My brother and his wife needed help with their car’s tires and called me and my husband to help. They were in a questionable part of town and we wanted to get them out of there as soon as possible. While we were there, my oldest niece called me. Mind you, it’s about 2:30am on the 21st at this point. She informed me, “They decided that the blockage is so severe in his main artery, 90% blockage, that they want to do surgery first thing in the morning. So if you want to see him before surgery, you need to be here at 6am.”

My sister-in-law happens to be a nurse at Christ Hospital. So we followed her and my brother back to the hospital and she got us a hospital room to share for the next few hours. I remember not getting any sleep in those hours.

We returned to my dad’s room hours later and he looked nervous. I could tell. We had gone through all we did with mom, it was hard to not compare his story with hers.

His triple by-pass took about five hours, but he got through it fine. The actual heart attack caused no damage to his heart, which was a huge blessing. He would have gone home sooner than he did, but his stomach gave him problems. Totally not relevant right now.

So that’s my dad’s story. I’ll never forget calling the ambulance for him. So many things about those weeks ahead, things he doesn’t remember and I’ve had to remind him about. He doesn’t remember much, and I’m glad.

But now, five years later, he is starting to have similar signs and symptoms as he did in 2012. He informed my sister initially, who then told me. When he mows his grass, he’ll feel that tightness in his chest again. He also feels it from time to time when he walks too fast, just as he did those years ago. Unlike last time, where he didn’t tell us until it was too late, he told us.

We talked him into getting an appointment with his cardiologist, which is for tomorrow (May 10th). Maddie and I will be taking him down to Christ Hospital for his 11:45 appointment tomorrow. I know he’s nervous, as am I and I know all of our family is nervous. So this is where my prayer request comes in.

Pray for my dad. Pray that they can figure out what is causing this problem and that they can easily fix it. Or pray that it’s nothing serious and nothing we need to worry about. I don’t think that is the case, and I’d honestly rather them find something than to say they didn’t find anything wrong, only to have something bad happen in the future. Pray for all of us. Pray for wisdom for the doctor. Pray for my nerves as I sit with him and listen to what the doctor thinks.

A month or so ago, my dad told me that he wants to be here (on earth) when Maddie graduates high school. She’s only one year old. He’s 75, going on 76 in September. He’s got quite a few more years to go. So pray that we can get him back to 100% and that he can be here in 2034 when she will graduate high school.

Getting to Know the Blogger

Getting to Know the Blogger

This is going to be a very busy week for me and my family! Ken’s birthday on Friday kicks off what is going to be an action packed weekend, which will culminate with one of my older brothers graduating college. So again, very busy for us!

So tonight I’m going to write on a more fun topic. Tonight, I’m going to let you all get to know me a little bit better. Now, some of my readers know me very well, but I’m sure there are a few that hardly know me at all. So for those readers, here are ten things you may not know about me.

  1. My first go-to fact anytime I’m asked to give a fact about myself is that I’m the youngest child of six. Now, that’s not horribly impressive or interesting by itself. But I’m the youngest of six kids, spanning three decades. My oldest sibling was born in 1960 and I was born in 1987. Three of my siblings were born in the sixties, one was born in 1979 and then two of us were born in the eighties. The next question I get asked is usually, “You guys have the same parents?” and the answer to that question is, yes. We have the same parents. We are biological siblings. The last question I get asked usually is, “What’s it like to have siblings old enough to be your parent?” and I say, “I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.”
  2. I was an aunt at the age of 3. My oldest brother and his wife had my first niece, Amber, about two weeks before I turned 4. We were pretty much raised together, with my mom babysitting her, and if you ask either of us, we will introduce each other to people as “my sister”. I don’t know how many times we’ve had to explain to people that we are not actually sisters.
  3. As I was filling out applications for college, I honestly had no clue what I wanted to go to school for. Filling out my application for Wilmington College, my alma mater, I asked my mom, “Do you think I could be a teacher?” and she said yes. So that is what I went for. I have my BA in Early Childhood Education, all because my mom said I could probably do it. That degree got me a job at a daycare for three years and a few subbing jobs…and a bunch of debt that I’m still paying off.
  4. I was born, raised, and currently still live in the same county. I was born in Wilmington, Ohio. I was raised and currently live in Blanchester, Ohio. I have never lived outside of Clinton County. I don’t ever see myself living outside of this county, but who knows what God has in store.
  5. Some of my friends are the reason Ken and I even started talking in the first place. I knew who he was because we were in the same Sunday School class at church, but hadn’t really talked to him much. We went to an outing as a class to a Cincinnati Reds game and one of my friends mentioned that he and I should talk. She told me that we had a lot in common, namely the fact that he had lost his mom as well. As soon as she told me that, I told her that I would probably end up marrying him then. Sure enough, I did. We started dating that July, got engaged in November and were married in December of the following year.
  6. I am huge music lover. I played flute from middle school through college, learned alto saxophone for jazz band my senior year of high school, and sang in the choir in high school, and now at church. I’ve also been to more concerts than I can count. Some of those acts include: Billy Ray Cyrus, Backstreet Boys (at least 6 times), Aaron Carter, Hawk Nelson, Rascal Flatts, Jonas Brothers, Fall Out Boy, Plain White T’s, Taylor Swift, Emerson Drive, Hanson, The Band Perry, Casting Crowns, NKOTBSB, Chris Tomlin, Mandisa, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Lady Antebellum.
  7. I’m also an avid WWE fan. I watched it growing up with my brothers and even went to a live show back when I was younger. Since then, I’ve been to one live show and to a pay-per-view event. My favorite wrestler of all time is probably The Undertaker, followed by Shawn Michaels.
  8. I’m a huge dog lover. My big dream is to eventually open up a shelter for stray dogs in the area. I especially love my Labrador Retriever mix named Lexie and my Golden Retriever named Sophie.
  9. From the moment I found out that I was pregnant with Maddie, I had a feeling that she was going to be a girl. I had a few dreams where the baby was a girl and several old-wives tales pointed in that direction. The second I found out she was going to be a girl, I was ecstatic. And we knew what we were going to name her right away. Madeline was Ken’s mom’s middle name (Valma Madeline Fountain) and Jeanne was my mom’s middle name (Carole Jeanne Sexton). Madeline Jeanne just worked so well and we got to honor our moms.
  10. As you have probably noticed if you’ve read my blog posts, I’m a huge Disney World geek. We went there for the first time for our honeymoon and we were completely hooked. Since then, we went for our three year anniversary, again when Ken wanted to run his full marathon there this past January, and we will be going again for our six year anniversary this fall. If you ask Ken, there’s not many other places he would want to go on vacation. Disney has ruined us for anywhere else, and we’re okay with that!

So here is my fun post for the week. Like I said, people that know me won’t be too surprised by any of this information. But this post is mostly for those that don’t know me as well. I’m not horribly interesting. I’m just your average stay-at-home mom and wife. But I love to write and love writing on this blog.

In the coming weeks, I’ll probably be doing some more posts on Disney World as our dining reservation date is approaching!