Birthday Wishes



Heavy Hearts


This is a picture of my cousin’s little boys, Cole and Caden. It was taken in August of 2010. I can’t tell you how much this picture breaks my heart

This is a picture of Cole and me from a recent visit. Equally heartbreaking.

Some of you may already know about Cole. He was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphatic leukemia) in October of 2010. He has fought a tremendously difficult battle over the past year and I’ve seen more courage from this little boy than I ever thought possible.

This past October, it was decided that his fight had reached its end. The cancer was too strong and his little body just couldn’t take anymore. In November, his doctors said that he likely wouldn’t make it to see Christmas and yet, next Monday, January 9th, he will celebrate his 5th birthday.

It’s amazing, really, the power of hope and determination. Cole is seeing holidays and celebrations that even the professionals in his life didn’t think he’d see.

As I’m sure you can imagine, Cole’s family wants to give him an extra special celebration when he blows out those candles this year. It’s a precious milestone, this one. If you know me at all, you know that I’m not the type to ask for help, even when I need it. But, for this little amazing kid, I would ask for just about anything. And it isn’t much, really, just a small token. But if you know any 5-year-olds, you know how special small token can make them feel.

So, here’s what I am asking. I am trying to get as many people as possible to send him a birthday card this year. I’ve set up an email account WishesForCole(at)gmail(dot)com so he can receive e-cards and email wishes. And he can also receive cards by mail at his PO box listed below:

Cole Dieckman
PO Box 9
Joy, IL 61260

Cole is such a brave, special little guy. I know it would mean so much to him to get a few extra birthday wishes this year.



You’ve Got Mail!

Well you don’t really have mail so much as you’ve got me telling you to come look at my Christmas cards because chances are if you don’t share blood with me you aren’t actually getting one. I apologize but these bad boys were expensive, so even sharing blood doesn’t guarantee you a paper copy.


Happy Merry Everything to all of you out there, you really do make my world a happier place.

The picture quality is a little poor because I had to use my phone as my *real* camera is currently refusing to take pictures (AHEM Dear Santa).

May you all have the very best Holiday season. Head over to Meghan’s place to check out all the other fantastic cards!

Killing for the Crown

It was just another Monday morning. I strolled into the mall with my kids in tow, walking directly to the store I needed to visit. No doddling when shopping with the kids, you just never know when they are going to get fed up and start a revolt. I pushed the stroller to the back of the store and located the sale rack. I picked out my items with a speedy efficiency that any mother would appreciate and the helpful yet confused sales lady led me to the handicapped dressing room (had to fit the stroller yo).

I purchased this…

People. What you are looking at is a sale rack reject prom dress. I went into a store that caters to hipster teenagers and purchased a $15 dollar prom dress. WITH MY KIDS IN TOW. All I could think about the whole time was my friend Audrey mocking me for looking like a Teen Mom (apparently I don’t look my *nearly* 30 years). After a few minutes of odd glances from the sales lady I blurted out that the dress was for a theme party and the glances turned to almost blatant gawking. To make matters worse I had to return to said store TWO times with my friends so they could also purchase sale rack rejects.

As it happens I was not crashing the local homecoming dance despite the tiara. I was attending a murder mystery party titled “Killing for the Crown” about a bunch of Miss America contestants.

If you’ve never been to one then my friends, you are missing out. I could prattle on and explain how it works but it would be easier if you just go read it here.

Anyway, the night was a total winner. My friends and I had such a good time. In the end I was revealed to be the killer which was a bit of a shocker since I hadn’t really been paying attention to what was going on. It’s not that I was having fun, more so that I was having too much fun indulging in fancy drinks (French 75’s if you’re the curious sort). Fear not, in the end I paid mightily for my crimes. It would seem that my stomach does not in fact enjoy a good brandy, my Saturday was spent in a nauseated haze.

The Day-Saving Email

Lucy and Ethel, the Golden Girls, the gals of Wisteria Lane all of these female characters have something in common. Their best girlfriends live mere steps away from their front doors. I’ve experienced that exactly once in my life, during college. It was the greatest two years of my life. There is nothing better than knowing that your best friend is just steps away.

Unfortunately I no longer live next door to my best friends, in fact most of them don’t even live within (reasonable) driving distance. Considering the outrageous cost of plane tickets and the fact that I loathe talking on the phone I depend on email to keep me connected to friends.

My email connection to my friends is a virtual life-line on days when I’m feeling like a poor parent or like I’m failing at adulthood. A few weeks ago I was having a particularly rough day, I’d spent the better part of the morning in tears and then I got this email from one of my best friends…

“Listen. I like a lot of people. But I honestly, legitimately, with all my heart think that you are one of the most amazing people on the planet. I love you to bits and pieces and wish I lived down the street from you.”

Getting that email was literally the equivalent to having a friend stop by with a bottle of wine and an entire red velvet cake. A gesture that took her less than a minute saved me that day. In the past week I have read that email every day, I even printed it out to carry with me. There are people who say that technology, specifically email, is to blame for the lack of personal relationships but I disagree. Email has allowed me to have best friends scattered across the miles and yet have a relationship as though they live next door.

Even though this video depicts a mother and son connecting over the miles this is exactly how I feel when I get an email from one of my best friends.

Thank you to Yahoo! Mail for sponsoring this post about staying connected. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

The Hardest Lessons

Today we will wear purple.

Today we will watch videos.

Today I will tell stories.

Tonight I will snuggle my babies just a little bit longer.

Tonight I will sneak in their rooms long after they’ve slept.

Tonight and every night I will remember to cherish every single day.

Later this month Katelyn and I are traveling to LA to walk with Heather, Mike and Annie in the March of Dimes walk. Even if you can’t be there in person you can still show your support by making a donation to Friends of Maddie or buying a team t-shirt.


Fabulously Funny

Thanks to Trop 50 for sponsoring my writing about fabulous bloggers. This year Trop50 is granting 50 fabulous wishes. Click here to enter for a chance to win $1,000 to help grant a friend’s wish!


Well I had every intention of starting this post with a definition of fabulous from Urban Dictionary, because seriously it’s one of my favorite sites ever. Let’s just say that plan didn’t pan out for me so on to plan B. What is plan B you ask? Wing it. That’s always my plan B because who really likes to be overly prepared, that just takes a lot of work.

My life has been a little chaotic lately and I haven’t recovered from the post baby hormonal surge as well as I did with my first child. There are a lot of little things that weigh heavily on my mind and my anxiety is at an all time high. Most days my kids bring me immeasurable amounts of joy, but there are days, oh there are days. There are days that make me wish…well let’s just say sometimes I have to look for joy elsewhere. On those days I have a list of blogs that I can go to and without fail end up laughing, tears in my eyes, snorting and gasping for air. That? That makes them fabulous to me. So here they are, a handful of ladies who bring the funny to my life.

1. Kristine from Wait in the Van – I’ve only been following Kristine for a short time but I can tell you this with absolute certainty, she brings the funny. I think my love for her was solidified by this post.

2. Brittany from Barefoot Foodie -Brittany is one of the funniest people I know, she is also one of my best friends in the whole world. I can tell you that her stories are true and while reading about her exploits is fun, hearing her stories in person is even better. Sometimes I randomly think about this post and I laugh, I’m pretty sure it makes people around me think I’m crazy, they just don’t understand.

3. Shauna from Shauna Glenn (heh) – Upon first glance a person might assume that Shauna is a stunningly pretty, sweet, well mannered gal. Then she opens her mouth and the word “vagina” falls out. Considering that the word “vagina” is on my short list of words not to be used (along with moist and panties of course) it never fails to make me giggle when Shauna breaks it out. I also adore her because I have no doubt that the conversation she relays in this post is not exaggerated at all, I only wonder what had to be edited out.

4. Allie from Hyperbole and a Half -I’m not sure there are words to describe the hilarity in Allie’s cartoons. Her archives are my most favorite internet wormhole to fall into. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve read them, her posts always make my day brighter. I actually printed out this post and took it to the doctor’s office with me.

5. Jill from Scary Mommy – Sugar-coated is exactly the word I wouldn’t use to describe the way Jill writes about parenting, marriage and life in general. She manages to perfectly balance wit, humor, sarcasm and sincerity in a way that leaves you laughing in an oh-I’ve-so-been-there kind of way. After reading this post I decided I would be taking all my parenting how-to advice from her and her alone.


Don’t forget to enter the 50 Fabulous Wishes contest for a chance to win $1,000 to support a friend’s wish. I was selected for this Tropicana Trop50 sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do. I received compensation to use and facilitate my post.