"While there are birds, birds to fly, while there is you, you and I..."

Some Stuff to Say on a Sunday

- PJ slept in today- we didn't get up until 8am! He has been sleeping like it's his job lately which makes me think he might be hitting another growth spurt.

- This was Pete's weekend to work, so it was a little lonely around here. He is hoping to make a move to a new floor of the hospital, either in the Emergency Department or in the ICU. With that change will come the privilege of being able to self-schedule. He will still have to work his required weekends (every 3rd) but he will be able to customize his schedule and, hopefully, have a better balance between work and home.

- I watched the season finale of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" and it was everything I needed, and more.

- We have finally settled on PJ's Halloween costume and I will start it this week! SO EXCITED!!!! This will be the first year that he should get the whole process! If nothing else, he sure as hell will know he's getting candy!!

- Brian Dawkins is a former Eagle, a class act, and pretty much the cutest thing ever. He had his number retired tonight and, even though I don't care for football all that much, you can't help but cheer a guy like that on! Read this story to fully get an idea of what an amazing example he is. I hope PJ picks a sports hero like him to look up to someday.

- I just had to get up to put on a sweatshirt and I like it! No matter what season it is, night time should never be above 50 degrees. Night time is for blankets, candles, and snuggling!

- PJ got to take part in an encore of apple picking! We joined his cousins, aunts, and uncle at a local orchard for some fall fun! The day was warm, breezy and lovely. PJ picked an apple or two, but seemed content to pick "flowers" instead. Anything with some sort of whatever growing from it's end qualified as a flower- tall grass, apple leaves, clovers, etc. I didn't take home any apples since I have an ass ton from apple picking last week, and we left early because he was crashing out, but it was the perfect day for being in the fresh air, having fun with family!

- On the advice of PJ's therapists, we got him a little table and chairs. It gives him a place to do a tabletop activity (stacking blocks, coloring, etc.) and allows him to sit with his feet on the floor. Hopefully, having his feet on the floor will meet some of the sensory needs he seeks out when he bounces and jumps around. The man likes the feeling of something under his feet! The theory is that this will help him increase his ability to attend to tasks. At any rate, I decided I needed to pimp it out. Pictures to come.

- My sister Marla had some bad luck this week. She was supposed to start a new medication to combat her Lupus, but a mistake with some lab work caused a delay until next week. It was par for the course for Mar- it just seems to be one kick in the teeth after another when it comes to this Lupus bullshit. Please pray that next week, everyone has their act together and we can get this damn medication into her, already!

- I am thinking about switching hosts for my blog, as this one has been getting spammed to death lately. So, so annoying.

- It's late, and I still need to clean up the living room for PJ's therapy tomorrow, so it's time so say good night! <3>

"Well, I never seem to do it like anybody else..."

I am watching the Here Comes Honey Boo Boo finale right now. I can't help myself. I love this crap.

Tonight I spent the evening with the oldest/bestest (Randi), her family, and some of my closest girlfriends to celebrate breaking the Yom Kippur fast. It was just what my soul needed- a big plate of salmon on a bagel and cream cheese and time with some of the people I love best in the world. Pete, very kindly, took over PJ duties so I could relax, chat, eat, and laugh. While PJ gleefully jumped in Randi's kids bounce house,we chatted about parenthood, exercise, Honey Boo Boo, weird rich people, and old people urinating near playgrounds. It hit the spot.

On Monday, we took a trip to Linvilla Orchards to go apple picking. My parents and Marla came along with Pete and I, and we had a blast filling our basket with granny smiths and golden delicious apples. They tasted amazing right off the tree! PJ loved pulling apples off the trees, but instead of putting them in the basket, he would spike them, football-style, and laugh his head off. Weird kid. After we picked apples, PJ enjoyed the huge playground on the grounds, and spent nearly an hour climbing the cute wooden boats, trains, trucks and tractors. Since school is back in session, most of the other kids on the playground were pre-school age and younger, so it was the perfect crowd for PJ. We finished it off with lunch at the original Iron Hill Brewery. PJ was asleep before we were out of the parking lot, and slept for two more hours when we got home. Win.

Last Wednesday, we had the Individual Family Service Plan meeting for PJ's Early Intervention services. They are held every 6 months to go over the goals of therapy, write new ones, and adjust services if needed. This meeting marked PJ's 1 year anniversary with Early Intervention. We made the decision to discontinue physical therapy- he was only getting one hour a month and with his old physical therapist leaving in July, it didn't seem like a brand-new therapist could get much done in three more sessions between now and November when he ages out. After our difficulties with his Developmental Integration therapy, we added an extra day per week to really help with the skills he will need for school- eye contact, attending to tasks and task completion, turn taking, etc. He will continue with occupational therapy and speech once a week. In addition to his speech therapy from CHOP, that adds up to five days a week of therapy. It's not really how I want to spend our time before I send him off to school, but for now, therapy is fun and I know that stepping up our game a bit will help prepare him for school. Thankfully, we still have plenty of time for playgrounds, play dates, and fun before stupid school gets to steal him for two and a half hours a day. :-P

So things continue to go along as usual for my little family- lots of hard work mixed with lots of fun! I worry that we are pushing PJ too hard, and that all of his therapy is just too much. Still, it's hard to argue with the amount of progress he's made, and for now, therapy is fun. We would rather do this work now while he is still having a good time, rather then later when we might have to force him. All Pete and I can do is trust our instincts and keep on doing like we do. And loving that Boy.

That last part is easy. ;-)

"I'm a bitch...I'm a mother..."

I love Jen! Go visit her! Click here!
 Oh, the Mommy Wars. It seems like us mama's can't help but to feel like we're all in competition with each other. I often feel the pressure myself, and let my comparisons to other Mamas make me feel like shit. And often, in close-knit mama circles, the snark comes out, and we go on the attack about the way other mamas dress, feed, discipline and diaper their children.
While mamas in packs can be Mean Girls, nothing makes the mama equivalent of beer muscles come out like the internet. I see women spouting off insults and flinging criticism to women they have never even met, picking apart their choices as women and parents. Vicious  things that I imagine would never be said face to face. I have seen whole blogs solely devoted to how much one person thinks another mother just sucks, and after I wonder, Isn't there a better way to do this?

I have been fortunate(?) enough to have never received any true nastiness concerning my parenting choices, to my face or on my blog, nothing beyond a few thoughtless, mainly harmless comments here and there. But, perhaps, I have been the victim of snark and stabs behind my back. I imagine so- there are thousands of mamas and millions of ways to parent and not everyone is on the same page. And that is totally okay. It is. Our children would not grow up to be all kind of amazing if we didn't raise them all kind of ways.

But, hey. I'll make it easy on the snark-throwers. I can hand you a list of reasons why I am a miserable failure as a parent. Thanks, Jen at Life With Levi, for the inspiration:

{drumroll please}

Potty training is breaking my brain. By the time I get PJ using the potty I'll be pissing in my own pants.

I am already that impatient with potty training after 3 days.

I secretly love it when PJ wakes up in the early morning and comes into our bed for more snuggles. I love waking up with my whole little family together.

I try to make sure PJ eats a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet, but sometimes he has birthday cake for dinner.

PJ finally learned to give kisses, so I ask him for them a squajillion times a day. Hopefully, this won't damage his psyche by the time he's ready to kiss other girls.

I breastfed PJ until he self-weaned at 20 months. And I cried the first, full, non-nursing day. I still miss nursing him- it was an amazing, bonding, powerful experience for me. I totally kept a person alive with my hooters!

I am a horrible housekeeper. It's a damn mess in here. The only reason my living room is neat on a regular basis is because PJ has therapy in here 4 times a week!

Poor PJ is, just now, at nearly three, allowed to play in a different room then I am in. I fully 'fess up to being the nervous mama I never thought I'd be.

PJ is not only circumcised, he's super circ'ed. On his 8 month birthday, he underwent surgery to correct hypospadias, a minor birth defect of the penis in which the urethra does not grow properly. And if we didn't need to pimp his penis, we would have circ'ed him anyway. At his bris. Because I'm Jewish.

And yes, I'm Jewish, and I want my son to share in the cultural experience of my religion, as well as his father's (Catholic). But I don't care if he's religious or belongs to either/or. I do hope he has a faith in a higher power and grows up to be a good, kind person.

Oh, this one isn't exactly my fail, but my husband taught PJ to say "Ba ba booey". It, apparently, is a Howard Stern thing. I'm thinking of teaching PJ to call Adam Levine "Daddy".

I am imposing my status as a Giant Book Nerd on my son. It wouldn't upset me if he ever chose to stay in and read a book instead of playing outside.

Sometimes PJ's Autism frustrates me. Then I get frustrated for feeling like that. Then I get frustrated because I have nobody to vent to. Then I remember that I wouldn't saddle someone with all of that, anyway.

McDonald's? That happens.

I'm always the worst-dressed mama at the playground.

For every one of these failures, I have a million wins. Because I am really good at being a mom.

Look, everyone has that thing that makes them roll their eyes. Mine is parents who speak in a very gentle voice, kindly asking their child to please listen to directions while their little angel is bludgeoning another child over by  the see-saOMG WOULD YOU JUST STOP THEM ALREADY??? (Ooops.) And it's what makes us human, not bad humans, just human. None of us are perfect. But the parents, particularly the women who whisper behind their hands or worse, hide behind their computers and spill venom from their fingers are the ones damaging the very name of parenthood, the thing that makes us all so amazing in all of our different ways. And that's the thing. Different. Not better. Not worse.

Thanks Jen, for turning a discussion on your Facebook page into such an amazing display of what makes us all so strong and different as mothers. I knew I liked you for a reason! ;-)

"I walked until the night was far behind..."

Oh, my heart.

It's so full, despite the fact that our place is a mess and I really need to make a list and go food shopping.
Despite the fact that I am starting to feel congested and itchy from nearly-fall allergies. Despite the fact that poor PJ had a rare, sleepless night last night. He tossed and turned from midnight until 3:30am, and since he came to snuggle in our bed for comfort, I was as awake as he was.


On our way!
But he finally passed out, and then I finally passed out, and then it was this morning, a gorgeous, cool, cloudless day and after breakfast, PJ and I climbed into the car and headed in to Philly for the Walk for Autism Speaks. I wasn't sure how it would go considering how little sleep we got the night before, but we had raised enough money to meet our modest goal and we had some walking to do. So I made sure I had an emergency paci and lots of snacks packed for PJ, and clutched a coffee in my hand.

It was delicious, of course, but truthfully, I didn't need it. The atmosphere when we pulled into the parking lot of Citizens Bank Park was electric. Cars were pulling in and people spilled out of those cars, wearing sweatshirts and walk shirts; teams gathered wearing matching tees and holding the hands of the autistic child, teen or adult they were walking in honor of. Between the cool breeze and the cloudless sky and the golden morning sun, I had plenty to keep me awake.

We registered and walked the grounds, checking out the tables and information available. I chatted with a mom and volunteer with Autism Votes about sending our babies off to pre-school- she assured me that I would grow to love having an hour or two a day to myself! I admitted that back-to-school commercials make me cry. We joked about coffee addicitons, and she told me that Autisms moms are "warriors" and that coffee is our fuel. Preach, sister.

There were lots of activities set up for the children in attendance- a fire truck, face painting, tons of yummy snacks to choose from and, to PJ's ultimate delight, a bounce house, where he enjoyed some pre-walk jumping. He giggle as he watched other kids bounce by him and laughed out loud when he lost his footing and bounced on this butt! Oh, that boy of mine has a deep, meaningful, passionate love for bounce houses.

We listened to music, and to people onstage sharing stories about a family member with Autism and then, with a cheer and a wave, it was time to start walking. PJ and I got off to a slow start, as there was so much to take in. People streamed in a long train ahead of us, all walking for a common cause. The air brought me back to my high school days of raising money for the AIDS Walk, when it felt truly possible to banish all of the worlds challenges by walking on a beautiful fall day. There was a taste of that same optimism in the air, and we started walking with hope in our hearts and a spring in our step.

So, of course, we were only about ten strides into the walk an all of my emotions to came rushing to the surface. It was a touch of sadness- I wasn't here for someone I knew or just to make a small, positive difference. I was walking with my son, my son who has Autism, and it was a brief reminder of how our dreams had been rewritten. But more then that, I felt like I was taking in the electricity of the day, and it was all. that. hope. All that hope in the form of thousands of people, streaming through the parking lot of Citizens Bank Park. Even more then the hope was the pride, evident in the names emblazoned on tee shirts and pictures held on placards. One team had shirts that said "I asked God for a miracle, and He gave me my Autistic {son, grandson, nephew, brother} Bryan."

And speaking of the people watching- oh, my goodness! We saw fire fighters, cheerleaders, a capella singing groups and some kind of winged bird creature who was a college mascot. We saw the Ghost Busters, Geoffrey the Giraffe from Toys r Us, frat boys and even ran into PJ's new speech therapist at CHOP (who looked even younger in street clothes then she did in professional ones- she's adorable). It took a while to get started on the walk because I kept stopping to take pictures! There was a group being crowded for pictures and when I got closer, I saw why:

Add caption
Storm Troopers! PJ was completely enthralled, he could not take his eyes off of them! He smiled up at the new friend he made, giving his trademark high-fives and saying "Hi, friend!". PJ's Uncle Greg, a fervent Star Wars fan, would have been proud as his nephew shook the hand of a Storm Trooper, who called him awesome in a voice thick with emotion, even from behind his mask. The storm troopers were the popular kids that day, and I got the impression that our new friends had shaken many hands on the spectrum. As for PJ, even though he's a toddler, I think he has a new career aspiration.

"Am I making a weird face in this one?"

The walk itself was fast, just a mile. PJ chatted about the things we saw, asked for snacks and drinks, high-fived cheerleaders, and pulled his canopy down so he could turn around to make faces at me! Before we knew it, we were back where we started. PJ enjoyed some more time in the bounce house and danced with his mama to the music that was playing from the main stage. Finally, it was time to go, and we headed to the car with the early afternoon sun warming our faces and the magic of the day warming my heart.

We made a quick stop to meet the Oldest/Bestest and her littles for some lunch and play place fun at Chick-fil-A. Randi has been in parts of the world far from here for the past few weeks, so a quick catch up was great! After lunch, PJ and I came home, just in time for Pete to wake up from sleeping off his shift last night. The afternoon was reserved for family time that involved a lot of laughing on PJ's part and lots of Leggo's, trains, snuggles and tickles.

Pete headed down the shore for the NJ Firefighters Convention (aka The Convention of Grown-Ass Men Acting Like Little Children) and I bathed, pajamaed, storied and tucked into bed a very tired, very amazing, very special-to-my-heart toddler.

Walk for Autism 2012? We got it in the bag!

A few more pictures from the day:

"What do you say to taking chances..."

Friday Happys

- a week of absolutely gorgeous, eat outside, play on the playground without sweating, sweatshirt in the morning, sleeping with the windows open, almost nearly fall weather. Despite the fact that my allergies are in a very dramatic, downward spiral, I love this time of year. It is my favorite.

- making a new bloggy friend, despite the fact that I didn't discover her e-mail until months after she wrote it. The part of me that needs to get my emotions on paper blogs to do just that, and the part of me that loves to write does just that, in the hopes that someone will read it. A diary under my bed would only speak to one part of it. So, every now and then, someone stumbles here and reaches out, and it's so awesome. Technology makes friendship so different now, and I like it.

- the fact that my amazing, wonderful, generous, supportive friends helped me reach my fundraising goal for the Walk for Autism Speaks in two days. The Walk is tomorrow and PJ and I are thrilled that we have reached our modest goal. Won't you consider making a small donation?

- Instagram. To borrow a line from those hot sauce ads, "I use that sh*t on everything".

- a new planner and a pack of gel pens with colored ink. I tried using a digital calendar, but I had to go back to paper. I'm too dumb to keep our schedules in my head, and the planner speaks to my nerdy, I-love-pens-and-pencils-and-organization side. It's a win-win.

- trips to Target with my best dude.

- blessed news that the baby gestating in the cute, round tummy of our neighbor is a girl! They are so excited and we are excited for them! Pregnancy is such an amazing time!

- Marla getting her port put in. Which, in and of itself, isn't fun. She's sore from the surgery and all orange from the iodine. But, when the surgery to place the port is all healed, it will make getting the medicine she needs to fight Lupus that much easier for her to get into her body. Because seriously? This Lupus crap is bullshit.

- PJ getting to spend time with his cousins. He "talks" about them constantly. He points them out in pictures and laughs at video of him and his cousin Robbie. Just getting them in his sights makes him so happy!

- this picture of PJ...makes me laugh every time...

-snuggling in my nice, comfy bed with a good book...which is where I am headed now.


"Think about direction...now, stand..."

It's another cool, pre-fall night and I love it! Despite the fact that I can feel an allergy-induced illness coming on (I always get 1. sick and 2. insomnia when the weather changes) the chilly mornings and nights make me happy!

It's been a busy, busy week, starting with a birthday celebration on Sunday, followed by the end of PJ's sessions of Occupational Therapy at CHOP, his usual Early Intervention therapies, a play date or two, dinners with family, and the beginning of a course of speech therapy sessions at CHOP.

The week will end with PJ and I getting up early on Saturday and heading over to Philly to participate in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks, which will help not only find the cause and cure of Autism, but will also help fund the treatments that are so amazingly important. Really. It's very, very important.

Bottom scores are his recent ones! Good stuff.
When we started this journey, PJ didn't have a formal diagnosis of Autism, but thanks to the privilege of Early Intervention in this state, we were able to get help for PJ when we started to notice that he was missing his milestones. PJ was able to receive therapies in occupational and physical therapy, developmental integration, and speech therapy. When we started one year ago, PJ was 20 months old, and with a raw score of 30 on the evaluation performed by EI, had the receptive communication (ability to understand what he is hearing) of an 8 month old. A year later, he doubled his raw score and slashed his deficiency from the standard norm in half. And his scores in other areas- fine and gross motor, personal/social skills, cognitive ability- all came up as well. He has done nothing but improve since he started therapy.

And that kind of progress, y'all? It ain't cheap. Although actually, it's cheap for us. Thank to a sliding fee scale, the fees for this service will never be more then you can afford. But it has to get paid for somehow, and donations to Autism Speaks are just one way to make sure ALL children affected by Autism can have the opportunity to make the same progress PJ has. Not every state offers what New Jersey offers, either. A recently made a new friend through my blog who is going through the same thing, but sadly, the programs in her state are very far behind the ones in NJ. And who falls behind when this happens? Without his therapists, without his doctors, without all of this help, Pete and I would be floundering, and PJ would still, likely, be nearly silent.
PJ working hard during OT!

So I'd ask you to think of PJ; think of my tall, smart, gorgeous niece Grace; think of the son or daughter of your friend or family member. Autism affects 1 child in 88, so it's likely you know somebody affected. Think of your own beautiful children, and imagine if things were different.

You can click here to donate. Donations can be made online, or you can print out a form to be mailed in. If all you can afford is a dollar and the envelope to mail it in, that's one dollar closer to a cure for Autism and therefore, it's pretty damn awesome.
I know that I will be walking Saturday because after all of the work that PJ has done, I can put in a little work, myself.

"Today is..."


...we woke up and it cold and I liked it!

...PJ's therapist showed up on time {ahemholymiracle} and he had a great session!

...we had an amazing morning and afternoon with Marla, her friend Fabiana and Fab's smart, hilarious son Nichaolas! We played at the park, lunched in the shade, strolled through the shops and, in general, drank in the gorgeousness of the day.

...PJ was obliging enough to nap while we walked through Haddonfield.

No, you're addicted to Instagram. Therefore, you should follow me @pjsmama1126
...PJ had a second therapy session this afternoon. As his new therapist has shown up twice now, we are already far ahead of the expectations laid out through our previous experience. I am hoping that this is the start of a good thing.

...Pete said to me, while watching "The Green Mile", You know who else is in this? Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle., without even a hint of irony.

...We had dinner outside, and it was awesome.

...Pete and I bathed, pajama-ed, read-to and tucked into bed a very cute, very blonde, very tired toddler.

...was a great way to start what will be an even-better tomorrow!

"Just a boy, just an ordinary boy, but he was looking to the sky..."

For a Monday, today has been pretty goddamn good.

Pete had to work last night (the only fly in my Monday ointment), but PJ, predictably, had stealthily crept into our bed just after the sun rose. A text message let me know that his therapy was cancelled for the morning (eyeroll) so I let him sleep, which he did adorably until 8:30am!


When we finally ventured out into the kitchen for breakfast, I found that it was chilly! There are few things I love more then chilly, open-window weather, and it just.made. me. happy. We spent some time at the playground with wonderful friends, who joined us for lunch, and after that, PJ took a nap.

It all sounds riveting, right?

PJ had a hot dog for dinner (only a partial fail since it was a turkey hot dog) an we headed off to his last session of occupational therapy at CHOP. He completed a ten-session course of therapy with a great session tonight. He still has a long way to go, but he's made such amazing progress! I felt so proud watching him do puzzles, thread beads, draw lines and toss beanbag animals. He just fills my heart every day and it was so exciting to see him complete this little chapter.

Now my best dude is sound asleep and it's chilly once again. It wasn't an exciting day by any means, but it was just so...good.

It's bedtime. Goodnight, friends...

Photo by @cinzana

"It's okay to..."

Its Ok ThursdaysI was on the phone with my sister this morning and she asked if I had read her blog today. I hadn't. She excitedly told me that she had linked up to something called "It's Okay Thursday" and was all "You should do it, too!" And since I was in a join-y mood, I decided, why not? I stopped by the host blog, Brunch With Amber (soooooooooo cute!) to check things out and now that I have a full idea of how to play, here we go!
It's Okay...

...to feel happy that I never pissed off an ex-boyfriend so much that he would do something like this to me!

...that I secretly love it when PJ sneaks into our bed at night and snuggles down between Pete and I.

...to be obsessed with "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"! 

...to be angry with someone sometimes.

...to keep a gift certificate *forever* because spending it in your head is way more fun then actually going to the store and using it!

...that I am a horrible housekeeper.

...to fight with my husband sometimes, but even better to agree that some things have to be let go. Protecting our marriage and our love for each other is the most important thing.

...to be tired of therapists coming in and out, even though I am so thankful for them and all they have done for PJ. I sometimes feel a bit wistful, wondering what we would do with the hours spent in therapy sessions.

...speaking of therapy, to plan to file a formal complaint against the agency that dicked us around for so long concerning PJ's Developmental Integration therapy. I am angry and the missteps that allowed PJ to lose an entire summer of that particular therapy is not okay.

...that the thing that makes me excited about PJ going to school in November isn't the amount of progress he's going to make or how much he's going to love it, but how much fun shopping for school clothes will be! :-)

...that watching Gabrielle Giffords lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the DNC just left me in tears. What an amazing woman.

...that I am ready for bed.

Good night, friends! <3>

"I've got a crush on you..."

A few weeks ago, I let a strange lady feel me up. Er, well, I had a mammogram. But there was copious handling of my lady lumps by a strange woman.

While 35 is too old for mini-skirts, American Idol, college bars and glitter eye shadow, it is relatively young for a mammogram. So, why the squish? Family history- one that is so long that I hadn't finished listing the members of my family who have battled breast cancer when I was called back for the test. My mothers mother. All of her sisters. All of their daughters except, miraculously, my own mother. My fathers mother. On my mothers side, all pre-menopause. So, my 35th rolled around and after a few mild threats from my gynecologist, I made the appointment.

My sister came with me for some moral support, and also because we had to attend a memorial service for the family member later that morning. A strange agenda to say the least, but that's how we roll. I was a little excited, because we were at a hospital that's so new it is practically missing a belly button (you may need to think on that one for a second). The place is swank.

I had been reading about mammograms and was trying to gain some insight on how much it would hurt. I mean, it had to hurt. Those babies get squashed. One website suggested taking Advil beforehand. So I mentally prepared myself for what I expected to be some pain.

I was called back and asked to strip from the waist up. I slipped on a gown and was led into a small room where the mammography machine was. The tech asked me a few questions about my history and then did a brief physical exam of my breasts- mainly looking for anything that could be explained easily at a glance but might look strange on the films. Then, it was time to step up to the plate.

And that's just what it was- a plate with another clear plate over it. The tech helped position me. It's more then just tossing your hooters on the tray. You have to stand as close as possible to get as much boobie squashed as possible and also somehow keep your head and shoulders completely out of the way, which is no small feat considering your head and shoulders are directly above your breasts. The plate made its way down while the tech made sure my breasts were in the correct position. She had explained that she would have to kind of poke my boob while the plate lowered, and when it didn't "give" or "bounce back" anymore, it was ready for the images to be recorded.The tech worked the machine from behind a clear shield (which made me a little wary about what I was being exposed to) and with a warning to stay still and hold my breath, I listened as the machine clicked while it took the images.

Now, like I mentioned before, I had placed my brain in a mental state of one that was about to experience pain. I psyched myself up for the procedure to hurt so I would be prepared when it did. But as the plate lowered, it was just....squishy. It wasn't comfortable, but it didn't hurt at all. I guess pregnancy, followed by 20 months of breastfeeding, took a little of the bounce out of my funbags.

Each breast was squashed, from top to bottom and then sideways. Except for the plate scraping across my breastbone while it was being lowered (that did hurt for a second), the whole procedure was a breeze, and I was back in my clothes before I knew it. The tech encouraged me to continue with yearly mammograms due to my family history, and with a cherry good bye, we were out the door.

A few days later, I got a call- my mammogram was negative and there was no sign of cancer. It wasn't a shock as those were the results I was expecting, but it was still a relief to hear for sure. And getting that mammogram made me feel good, like I was heeding the warnings of all those women in my family who battled breast cancer and letting them know that I took it seriously. I was thankful that I could get a mammogram and that it was covered by my insurance, and also thankful that if it hadn't been, there would still be options available to make sure I received this important preventative care. It felt like the right thing to do.

"We've got a lot to learn, but God knows we're worth it..."

Ahhhhh...a rainy September afternoon.

I can hardly believe that it is, indeed, September! I may have thought the summers went fast between grade levels, but now that I am a parent they go by at a rate that leaves me breathless. This summer, in particular, was the first summer that PJ was really big enough to participate, making play dates, pool days, beach trips, and mountain visits even more exciting.

We had our last hurrah this past week, our own "Say Goodbye to Summer" tour. It started in Margate, an impromptu outing that yeilded an amazing time at the beach. It was, in fact, the longest visit we ever had- an entire morning without so much as a tantrum. We jumped the waves, dug holes in the sand, talked to the seagulls (well, PJ did. "HEWOOOOO BUUUURDIES!!"), and basked in the sun. It was, literally, a perfect beach day.

As an aside, I have been horrible at sharing pictures of all of our adventures. The short explanation is that the memory card from our camera is not compatible with Pete's laptop, which I have been using for blogging. Hopefully, I can rectify this soon, as I have so many great pictures I would love to share!

PJ fell asleep at nap time with Mommy's Nook and Daddy's sweatshirt!
After a night at home, we packed up the car again and headed up to Pete's parents house in the Pocono Mountains. PJ loves it there because the rules are a bit more lax (Why, yes, PJ! Climb up and down the stairs ninety jajillion times! ) and Mama loves it there because PJ sleeps like a hibernating bear! PJ got to spend some time with his cousins and had a blast being tossed by Daddy at the indoor pool (the complex has a number of pools, playgrounds, and even a small ski trail!). The days were a bit muggy but the nights were delicious, cool and amazing. We enjoyed two nights of it before we joined the heavy Labor Day traffic and made our way home. And how lucky are we to have such a blessing to share as part of the family.

And now it's September. Back-to-School is here, the new television seasons start soon, and Uggs and Sweatshirt weather are a breath away! Even though it brings us closer to PJ's first day of school, I am so happy for Fall to usher herself in.

She's been missed!