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Thursday, May 1, 2014

DouBLe DiGgiT MaN

double digits...
double digits...
they come so quick
it makes me sick.
how do 10 years just creep on by,
it's gone so fast, 
i wanna cry...
this double digit
 will soon a man be,
my little boy, 
  it used to be
you and me.

now you grow up, 
grow old, 
growing wise,
remembering these moments
will never die.

i'll treasure 10 years, 
wish for 10 greater more,
soon after that you'll
be out the door,
creating your life,
your dream, 
your plan,
please don't forget
the time before you
become a man
your roots, 
your childhood, 
your mother
who loves you dear, 
for no matter where you go, 
i'll always be here.
Happy Birthday my boy, 
my sunshine, 
my light...
very soon, too soon
 you'll be my same height.
approximately 5 feet tall


science, science, science
spicy red noodles
chocolate milk (still)
bow tie pasta
mountain dew
diary of a wimpy kid
janitors series
grandma's house
  new bathrobe
telling jokes
playing spy
break dancing
cookie dough

Thursday, December 13, 2012

'Buddy' and Me!

'Buddy' and Me!

buddy and me,
what a team...
clowning around,
 he's such a dream.

always so fun,
what a great guy...
makes my kids laugh, 
with such little try.

bringing magic,
 to my little kids faces,
he melts my heart,
 in all the right places.

can't wait to see,
what he does tomorrow,
his funny ideas,
i might have to borrow.

thanks for the fun,
my little red guy,
on the tradition list of 'greats'
your sure to be high.

cheers to you,
 my little friend,
this story is done, 
this is the end!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

CoWboY dAyS

took my cowboys
to rodeo the night...
boots, hats, and spurs
everywhere in sight.
 horses, and bulls
gave quite a show...
to these young guns watching,
their hopes in tow...
for the cowboys, and cowgirls,
up against a fight,
showed my two boys
you give all of your might...
 to overcome, to triumph, to succeed,
to win...
the challenges of life,
we are all in. 
a cowboy's a hero...
he's not afraid.
he follows his dreams, 
from where courage is made.
it's good for a boy
to see, and to cheer,
he must learn the lessons
that bring his own victories near.
 if you never try 
to do what is hard,
you'll never win, 
no matter the card.
for the life of a cowboy
teaches how we should live...
get back on the horse,
give all you can give.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

HaPpY 8th BiRtHdaY CoLe!

~breakfast donut and song from his mom, and brother~

Can't imagine my life without this guy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

ThE MoUnTaiNs ArE CaLliNg...AnD i MuSt gO

~everything you can imagine is real~

far away in the sunshine
are my highest aspirations.
i may not reach them, 
but i can look up and see
their beauty, believe in them,
and try to follow where they lead.

-Louisa May Alcott

ShOw tHeM..

~That moment when you show your kids how to live, instead of tell them~

We went to the grocery store to get treats for Cole's birthday tomorrow.  When we checked out I had a thought to take out some cash, which I never do.  

As we drove out of the parking lot, an elderly homeless man, shaking from Parkinson's, holding onto his walker held a hand-written sign, and a smile on his face.  I never want to be the judge of when someone else needs help or not so I usually give a few dollars, or whatever small cash I have in my wallet, usually less than $5. 

I rolled down my window and reached the $5 out the window.  He had to stumble with great effort over his walker to get the money.  I wished him 'good luck', and drove away.  My kids are used to seeing me do this.  Half a mile down the road I had a very strong feeling I should go back and give him more money.  I became emotional and struggled with whether to turn around or not...I was almost to my neighborhood, and I had pop-cycles in my trunk.

I pulled the car around, and drove back.  I gave Cole the money from my wallet I took out when I was paying for the groceries, and told him I wanted him to jump out of the car to hand it to the man when we pulled through the parking lot again. 

As we pulled around, I saw 1 out of 5 cars in line hand him some money.  I was sure he wouldn't remember us.  I pulled around, and as Cole jumped out to give him the money the elderly man looked me right in the face and said with a smile oh his face, 'oh you are back'.

I tried not to cry as I told him I had a strong feeling to come back and give him more.  He began to tell me he needed to find better shelter, and he was grateful for me
turning back around.  He touched my kids faces through the door of the car as they smiled at him and gave him well wishes.

We had to leave as cars pulled up behind us. Cole asked, 'Mom, why was that man shaking so bad, and why did we go back and give him the money from the store?'

I got the opportunity to share a lesson with my boys. I had their undivided attention because of the homeless man. The lesson was not judging others, and helping them when we can.

'We can't always help, but when we can, we should'.

We talked about how sometimes things happen to us beyond our control.  I asked Cole if he remembered daddy getting cancer.  He said 'yes'.  
I told him that the old man's body got sick, just like his dad's body had.  I could see him grasping the concept of humility as we talked about it. I explained how the man's shaking would make it really hard for him to work, and that's probably why he was asking for money.

Cole asked me if people helped us out when we needed it.
I said, 'yes'.

My kids sat back in their seats, and seemed to feel compassion for the situation the man was in.

 It's moments like that which will ultimately shape who my children will be as they get older. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I feel good...

today I woke up with
messy curls in my hair,
a smile on my face,
and feeling peace.

i love my life.
it's not a perfect life.
it's not the life i wanted, 
or planned for myself.

i have 2 beautiful kids.
i have amazing friends.
i love who i choose to be.
i know what i want,
and who i am.

nothing can replace the warmth in my heart.

good morning world,
good morning life...

Monday, April 16, 2012

DiArY oF aN aLmOsT 8 YeAr oLd

dear almost 8 year old boy~

you are my world.
i would be lost without you.
how lucky i am to get to raise you,
to love you, 
 and to watch you...
turn from a baby to a boy...

oh my little boy,
you are loved.

i love your laugh, 
your smile,
your running out to play,
 dressed up in super hero gear.

your beautiful artwork around the house,
melts my heart.
imagination fills your mind, 
and the world is yours.

no matter how big you get, 
at the end of the day
you melt into my arms, 
for a snuggle, 
for a kiss,
and a smile from your mom.

these moments are mine...
mine to cherish, 
to treasure.

never lose your charm,
the small things that make you
who you are.



still counting freckles
 fast, expensive cars
recess peanut butter cups
junior mints
root beer
riding bikes
playing pretend
diary of a wimpy kid
spy stuff
opening doors for mom
snuggling mom
playing outside
noodles (top ramen) with white cheese (parmesan)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Surviving Cancer, My Story Part 23: Transition, no one says, 'when I grow up I want to get cancer.'

Part 23: Transition, no one says ‘when I grow up I want to get cancer.’

The Hickman removal procedure went well. Dan was relieved that one of the more physical parts of his cancer would no longer be a burden to his body.  Elements of the disease were quickly being removed from Dan, and our family, now that he was taken off the ‘active’ cancer patience list.  First the tumor, then the affected parts of his hand, followed by the tubes, drugs, and vomit bins strewn all over our house. It felt good to rid ourselves of something so unhealthy.
“Do you think it will ever come back?”, I asked him, as we sat on opposite ends of the couch staring at one another.
“No”, he replied, “It’s like they took my batteries out, flipped them around, and now I’m good for a little bit longer”.  He smiled at me in an effort to reassure me.
His sense of humor seemed to be coming back.  It had been close to a year that I hadn’t recognized who the man I married was. His emotions had become a roller-coaster at best, leaving me on edge to his unpredictable moods and behavior.
As we continued to talk, I asked him if he thought there was a chance our sons would ever get cancer due to their gene pool.  The thought had crossed my mind several times as I watched our kids go through the early stages of learning to walk, talk, and recognize that they were loved by a family.  My husband had gone through these stages as well once, with a mother who couldn’t have ever guess her son would go through what Dan had just experienced. It would be like asking a child what he wanted to be when he grows up, just to hear him say, “when I grow up, I want to get cancer.”
“By the time our kids are adults, there will probably be a cure for cancer”, he theorized, “I will be someone who survived cancer the old-school way, while younger generations might only need to take a pill, or a shot, like an antibiotic”.  My mind tried to capture the vision of an older man showing his battle-wounded hand from a deadly disease to his grandchildren while they gawk in amazement.
 (Dan's first growth of hair post cancer)
He still couldn’t move his hand or fingers very well, and had become very frustrated, the direction pointed at me, and our children.  His irritation level had increased significantly since he was no longer under the influence of chemo, and he was more alert during the day, aware of his permanent hearing loss, nervous system damage, and delayed memory.
“I can’t wait for life to be back to normal again”, he said, as his eyes starred off into the distance.  What was normal?, I thought.  We had been focused on his cancer for so long I hardly could remember what normal in our family looked like.
I had started to recover from the staph infection I had been gifted from my visits to the cancer hospital, while Dan continued to gain weight, and small patches of black peach fuzz started to emerge all over his skin.  It resembled the hair on a newborns body…new, thin, and the wrong color.  Before Dan’s chemo, a common joke between us was the lack of facial hair he was able to grow in a normal amount of time.  So naturally it was a subject of surprise and laughter that he now was growing in a thick amount of black hair on his upper lip.  His chemo not only cured his cancer, but gifted him super-human hair growing powers.
My in-laws came to town to visit Dan’s older brother.  Being less enthused to spend time with a family that spent more time on competing for height and who was more popular to the parents, than building sustainable relationships, I decided I should rest from my fever that seemed to fluctuate between 102 and 104 degrees in the previous week while my body fought the nasty infection I struggled to get rid of.  I stayed in bed most of the weekend, alone.
Ironically I had started to feel better by Monday, shortly after Dan’s parents left town.  Dan continued to seem more irritable than usual, in addition to extra sarcasm that he undoubtedly picked up from his parents visit.  It would be much later that I would learn the ideas that had been planted into my husband’s mind, by his parents, through subtle irrelevant conversation. These ideas and suggestions would eventually grow in his mind as rampant as his cancer had been in his hand, damaging everything in it’s path in the same way it would for our marriage.
Bitterness grows just as effectively as a disease.  Once we allow it to settle into our hearts, it is there, waiting for nourishment and attention to feed it’s destructive intentions.
How his parents dare accuse me of alienating him from his ‘family’, meaning them and not myself and his kids, was beyond reason in my mind.  I helped save their son's life.  Pain flooded my heart the first time I heard him blurt out this phrase in a moment of frustration toward me.  I sensed the blame that he was starting to adapt in his mind toward me, as his parents had decided from the beginning. After all, wasn’t I the cause for their little boy to grow up and have to become a man?
Dan’s physical therapy had been underway for several weeks now.  His fingers were stiff.  His pinky finger immovable.  It would never be functional again, merely a cosmetic remnant for distracting the eye to what had been removed. Every time he tried to use his hand to pick up an object he felt that his hand would rip open, down the stitch line from the weight.
Those days were full of pain, frustration, and realization that not everything would be going back to normal.  Some things can’t be undone, only remedied by a new resolution.  Dan was faced with the decision of either accepting this reality, or fighting it. His hand would never be the same, and neither would the rest of our young family.  It would either get better, or get worse, the difference made by what we consciously would decide.
 (Cole's first stitches after an accident at pre-school)
Halloween was right around the corner.  We planned our costumes to reflect upon what we saw in the mirror, and the complexity of the war we had just been in.  Pirates!  We were all going as pirates.  Dan’s patchy hair and tall thin frame would be perfect.  The week before the holiday, Cole had suffered his first stitch job from an accident at school to his eyelid, leaving him with a brilliant bruise around his eye.  There would be no need to drum up anything more than ragged costumes.  We all looked haggard, rough, and worn down, perfect for the role.  It was the first time we had a real activity with the four of us together since before Dan’s first treatment.
(Halloween 2007, Pirate Cancer Survivors)
A few weeks later we took our first date since the beginning of our nightmare.  We met my cousin and his wife for bowling.  Although Dan had started looking so much healthier and had gained some weight back, his bowling demonstrated he wasn’t quite whole yet.  As he threw the ball back and walked forward to released it onto the lane, he almost fell over each time he let go.  He was used to weighing more than he did, also being stronger than he had been left.  Little nuances like this and the permanent effects of his treatment were starting to wear on him, increasing his distant demeanor, and irritability.
(Ethan's 1st Halloween)
The letter written by a local business owner of a financial institute flashed through my mind.  He had included his note with a check made out to our family during the community fundraiser the month prior.  His wife had previously had cancer.  He expressed his grief for our family, and his personal sentiments.  He said after going through something like cancer, it could affect you for the rest of your life.  It has the ability to destroy the rest of your life, and your relationships, if you let it.  His last counsel in the letter was to simply not ‘let it’At the time it meant a lot less than it was starting to mean to me as we were moving to the transition phase of our year with death.
Still in somewhat denial of what was really going on in my home, I attributed Dan’s destructive behavior to post traumatic disorder from his amputation.  I encouraged him to see someone.  Once a week he started going to these appointments. I joined him at the end of the month visits, to get caught up to, and understanding what his current needs were. Everything in my opinion could be fixed, nothing couldn't be undone with a little effort, and determination. Little did I know I had need of overcoming the trauma I had experienced as a woman who watched her husband slowly and painfully almost die.
I was still in a state of abandonment from those around me not realizing that the care taker suffers just the same, if not more, than the loved one the are watching die right in front of their eyes.  Like watching the same horrifying image of the World Trade Center fall, or video clips of war from the holocaust, over, and over again, they begin to haunt not only your mind, but your heart.
(World Trade Center Falling)
Much different than starting out with a deadly disease, where your doctors explain in great detail what you are up against, and how they plan to save your life, networking with specialist on your behalf, trying to leave the cancer world was like being handed an ‘all-clear’ pink slip on your way out the door while hearing someone shout out, ‘Good Luck!’.
My husband was trying to transition back into a world he was seeing through different eyes, and didn't quite belong in anymore.  I was trying to adjust to a man whom I still recognized as my husband, but registered as a stranger to me while I watched him enter a new state of limbo.  He was no longer a cancer patient, but not quite yet a husband and father again, with the stability of a daily routine providing for his family.
The question entered my mind several times, ‘Where do we go from here?’
Although lost, and nothing the same as before, I clung to the words ‘this too shall pass’.
These words gave me the strength to believe that the trials we had faced, and were still up against, would subside.  The consequences otherwise were not something I had ever considered, nor wanted to. 
I was determined to believe that ‘this too shall pass’, and we would both be closer because of it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

MuM aNd DaD cHrIsTmAs DaNciN

gma and gpa
always show us 
how to be in love and have
fun during the holidays.
they broke out in an impromptu
dance while christmas carolers sang
while we were getting 
hot chocolate.
so sweet!

SaNTa StIlL hAs MaGiC...

Christmas 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A ChriStMaS TreE fOr ThReE

A Christmas Tree For Three 
by Tatum Merrill

written for sprouts Cole &Ethan

The hunt was on,

to find a tree,

one to be

the tree for three.

A 'noble' fir showed up the rest,

'we three' had found the tree,

the best.

Tradition called for mom

to trim, 

to prune, to groom, 

and make us


Our music tunes
we danced about,

the Christmas spirit

left no doubt, 

 Our tree would soon 
be glam adorn,

with lights,

and magic, 

and trinkets 

 Our favorite decor 

so long packed away...

A snow globe,
a reindeer, 
 a bike,
 and toy sleigh, 

Visions of Santa,
soon came to mind..
boxes, presents,
and gestures of kind.
So much magic
for a tree to unlock.
Is Christmas more 
than a toy-filled
Dreams of eight 
and the man 
who wears red,
quickly changed pace,
as I thought in my head.
The story oft told, 
during the holiday 
made me ponder the tree,
it's message, 
and reason.
 The star atop the tree
lit up the sky,
shone brightly 
back then,
for The Lord, 
One High.
 It lit up a path
where the babe Jesus lay,
born in a stable, 
a manger with hay.
Gifts, treasures, and love unfold, 
were brought to the babe, 
they even brought gold.
The gift he gave back was
life to man-kind.
No greater a gift could 
any man find.
So why the tree 
in the dead of the night? represent life,
new birth, gift, 
and light?
  Yes, my heart said,
this was the reason,
for Christmas,
the tree, 
and the season.
Christmas is more than just
Santa and toys.
It's the cause
of our 
and all 
of our
I stood back from the
and stood with some
it needed respect,
we quieted the
 How lovely our tree 
made my heart simply say,
this is a message
we should give away.
In our actions, 
our thoughts, 
and even our deeds, 
we should pay attention
to others needs.
Whenever a gleaming 
I walk by,
I'll give the true 
of Christmas
a try.
Who knew
the message of 
The Christmas 
would give new 
of Christmas for 
Merry Christmas!

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