Category Archives: Goals

7 Things On My Fall Bucket List

To do something a little different, I’ve decided to participate in the DC Ladies Blogtober (it’s not too late for you to join in). Today’s challenge is to write a fall bucket list.

So here it is. In no particular order, My Fall Bucket List:

1) Begin to wean Charlie off of her formula.

2) Play in the leaves with Kaia (our dog) and Charlie.

3) Visit Harpers Ferry before the leaves fall.

4) Introduce Charlie to caramel apples.

5) Get lost in a good book for a day on the front porch and enjoy the fall air.

6) Clean the house thoroughly before we are snowbound during the winter.

7) Have a bonfire with friends.

Charlie is unsure of what to think about the wind. And yes, she did try to taste it.

Charlie is unsure of what to think about the wind. And yes, she did try to taste it.



Charlie Likes Jazz

Last night, Charlie saw live music for the very first time. While she has always liked music (especially jazz), I think last night sealed the deal. We may have produced a music lover.

Charlie’s Dad and I were very deliberate when we picked the venue and show for Charlie’s first live music experience. We wanted it to be as little of a bar like atmosphere as possible. To be sure that Charlie didn’t disturb anyone, it needed to have a quick escape route in case she was noisy or melted down.

We arrived a few minutes before the show started and selected a spot in the back. When the music started, Charlie’s eyes grew wide. Her huge eyes looked at the stage, looked at me, looked at the stage, and looked back to me again. Then, her face broke out into a huge grin.

Charlie watched intently during the first set. She clapped to some songs and hummed to others. We danced together as she flirted with those that passed by.

During the set break, she used a new sign to tell me she was thirsty. After her water break, she got to meet the performers and say a quick hello.

Her eyes grew heavy during the second set. She displayed the tell tale signs that she was sleepy. Hence, we made a quiet exit.

I was thrilled by how well behaved she was. Admittedly, carrying a baby around at a show and keeping her engaged was a lot of work. But, it was well worth the effort. I see more music in our future.


It was very dark and difficult to get a decent picture. This is Charlie sitting with her dad waiting for the second set.

Another Item Checked Off: Charlie Discovers Amtrak

I checked another item off of the to do list yesterday. Charlie went on her first train trip. Despite all of the preparation, I was a bit nervous. However, things worked out as they generally do.

1229827_10101547387854209_1385365604_nWe boarded the train early in the morning. I selected a seat in the very front of a car so as few people as possible would be disturbed if Charlie acted up. The umbrella stroller clanked as I tossed it in the overhead compartment and we sat down. I held my breath and hoped the seat next to me would be occupied by a baby friendly fellow passenger. Relief washed over me when another family with a child filled in the surrounding seats.

Initially, I was concerned about Charlie’s sensory issues. Fortunately, I had no more difficulty than any other parent traveling with a small child. Overall, Charlie seemed to enjoy the ride. Admittedly, the cheese and crackers from the Cafe Car kept her entertained for the majority of the way.

Once we arrived in Philadelphia, I worked to move quickly so we would not hold up the bustle of the other passengers. We were traveling light, but I looked like a pack mule as we headed up the stairs into the station. A friendly voice offered, “Do you need a hand?” It came from a man dressed neatly in a business suit. He smiled and said, “I remember those days.” I declined his offer but the acknowledgement did boost my morale.

We had a lovely day in Philadelphia. Before I knew it, it was time to come home.

By that time of day, Charlie was tired and cranky. She fussed while we stood in line for the platform. Concerned, I said, “Don’t worry, we won’t sit near any of you on the train.” to the people in line with us. They laughed and made incredibly kind remarks such as, “It won’t bother me.” or the hopeful “Maybe, she will fall asleep once the train gets going.”

1907346_10101547387584749_1817111701_nOn the train, Charlie munched silently on a few crackers before falling in to a deep sleep. With Charlie asleep in my lap, I glanced across the aisle and saw another passenger attempting to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics. It reminded of the the night I watched the opening ceremony of the  summer Olympics with Charlie during her third month in the NICU. That was almost two years ago but it feels like it was much longer ago.

Our station was the last stop for the train that evening. Charlie and I stayed seated as we let the other passengers file out ahead of us. A considerate man retrieved the stroller from the overhead compartment without being asked. One of the passengers from Philly leaned into to Charlie and said, “You did so well!” as she walked passed. I breathed a sigh of relief. We had made it.

There are many things I enjoy while traveling by train. I like the scenery, the legroom, the sleeper car option, the dining car, the ability to move around as needed, the wifi, and the power outlets at each seat. However, I think my favorite thing about this journey was the people. Ultimately, Charlie’s first train journey was a success because of them.


2014 Resolutions

So, here it is… my list of this year’s resolutions.

1) I will try to be kinder to myself. It’s okay if we aren’t perfect with Charlie’s therapy routines or she has junk for dinner once in a while.

2) I will try to reach out to my non preemie parent friends more. We get so busy with Charlie’s appointments that I forget about socializing with my friends.

3) I will take Charlie on her first train ride. 

4) We will finish visiting all of the state parks this year. 

5) I will try to keep things in perspective if life keeps numbers 3 and 4 from happening. 

6) I want to attend this year’s ShareUnion. 

7) I want to break our team goal for March of Dime’s March For Babies.

That is what I hope to get out of 2014. However, life has a way of dealing out it’s own ideas of the year for me. I suppose that leaves one more (and probably most important) resolution.

8) I hope to roll with the punches and celebrate every little thing.

First Day

Charlie and Kaia after yesterday’s hike.

The To Do List

In July, I wrote a list of things that I would like to do within the next few years. Today was a quiet day around the house so I decided to revisit the list. I crossed off one thing, revised a few, and made an addition.

First, the item that was crossed off:

  • I have the yearning to enjoy a delicious meal topped off by desert with Charlie. Charlie has just about conquered her oral aversion. Now, we dine together often.

Next, the items on the list that need to be revised:

  • I have decided that it would be practical to combine the cross country trip idea with the desire to ride the Cardinal and Empire Builder Amtrak lines. I  still  want to wait until she is a little older so she can remember the trip.
  • The condition of my spine limits my ability to get back in to running as hoped for. However, I’ve discovered a compromise…. hiking. Up hill hikes are as demanding to me as running was when I was younger. Hiking does not have the pounding running has. Also, I can time regular routes and try to improve my time. While this is technically a revision, I consider it to be another item crossed off.
  • Instead of Charlie’s first baseball game, I would like to take her to several games this upcoming season. I’m eyeing Nats ticket package prices.

Finally, the addition:

  • When Charlie gets a little older, I would like our family to go on a volunteer vacation. I want her to know that giving back is important (and fun). We would start small. Who knows? If it works out, it could be an annual thing for our family that grows with time.

In case you were wondering about the other items on the list, we are making headway. On January 1st, we will have visited our twentieth state park for a First Day Hike with a good friend of ours. In addition, I am squirreling away bits and pieces I need to make the special keepsake quilt for Charlie.

What is on your to do list? I’m always looking for great ideas.

The first and last time Charlie had juice that was not watered down. Sugar buzz!

The first and last time Charlie had juice that was not watered down. Sugar buzz!

It Has To Come Off

Prior to having Charlie, my blood pressure was always on the low end of the charts. That was before our world changed. In addition to Charlie’s health concerns, I’ve had to keep an eye on my blood pressure.

Admittedly, I am over weight. Not obese but on the heavy side. These past few months have been particularly bad. I have strayed away from my normally healthy diet and have not been consistent with physical activity.

There are many excuses I use. I am too busy with Charlie. It is hard to work out with my back problems. Gyms bore me. My asthma slows me down. The prednisone bloats me. The weather is bad. But in reality, they are merely excuses for not dealing with it.

To get back in the habit, I started small. I began by walking a few miles every day after my last alarming blood pressure reading a few weeks ago.

Incrementally, I have increased difficulty by adding challenging ascents, stepping up speed, and increasing distance.

I have decided that I have no other choice than to shed these excess pounds. Like most things, it is a project in the works. I do not even know if it will be successful.

I wonder, why am I good at keeping Charlie healthy and horrible at keeping myself in check?


I took this today on my way back down the mountain.

Happy Seventeen Months!

Happy seventeen months Charlie!

I hope this month:

  • We can help you learn how to stand independently and take your first steps.
  • You will eat a few more bites of food and need a few less milliliters of formula.
  • We can teach a few more words to you.

Even if none of these things happen, you continue to be amazing to me.



first leaves3

Checklist Of Things I’d Like To Do In The Next Few Years

With Charlie being under the weather this weekend, we stayed home all weekend. I have had plenty of time to think. There is a list of things I would like to do in the next few years. Here it is… along with the obstacles that will have to be surmounted to carry them out.

  • I would like to ride the Cardinal and Empire Builder Amtrak lines with Charlie. I would like her to be old enough to remember the trip. In addition, I need to save up for the tickets.
  • I wish to take Charlie on a cross country road trip with her dad. We could see sites and visit friends along the way. Again, I want to wait until she is older for memory’s sake.
  • I long to get back into running and biking. I need to have my spine treated. My first appointment since I became pregnant with Charlie is tomorrow.
  • I want to visit each of the Virginia State Parks with Charlie. We are well on our way to checking off this one.
  • I aspire to find meaningful work that utilizes my skill set once Charlie is in school. The challenge is finding or rediscovering a direction.
  • I have the yearning to enjoy a delicious meal topped off by desert with Charlie. She will have to overcome her oral aversion and feeding issues before this can happen.
  • I really want to take Charlie to her first baseball game. Plans are in the works.
  • There is a particular keepsake quilt that I would like to make. There are two barriers: I need a new sewing machine and my back pain. It would be nice to get back into sewing in general.

Presently, the idea of a bucket list is too overwhelming. Especially, on the days that we fall back into survival mode. It was much easier to strategize for the next few years. Now that the list is made, the challenge has become to complete it.


Charlie has been resting this weekend. She is wearing a t shirt given to her by a dear friend.

Taking Care of Mama

When I discovered that I was pregnant with Charlie, my husband I had been trying to have a baby for several months. Each month, I would take a pregnancy test and the results were negative. Around Christmas that year, I herniated another disc (I have a history of extensive spine issues). We were in the midst of planning surgery to correct the issue when I decided it would be prudent to test for pregnancy. We were shocked when the results were positive. The surgery had to be delayed.

I did not think it was possible but things quickly became further complicated. Due to preeclampsia, it was not long before I found myself the mother of a micro preemie. From my admission to the high risk unit and on, I have been so wrapped up in her care that I have not had the chance to revisit a surgery plan. I know that surgery is impending but I continue to procrastinate. I have a few concerns that fall into a similar catagory.

Today was a day where I could not put off one of those things. Charlie was well behaved while the doctor examined me and the lab took samples. Secretly, I think she was glad that she was not the one being poked and prodded. When the doctor returned with my lab results, she started her statement with, “The lab work has shown that you…”. I panicked during that pause. She finished by explaining that she suspects a kidney stone. I breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Is that all? For a moment, I was afraid you were going to say that I was pregnant.” The doctor laughed. Little did she know that it was only recently that my nightmares about being pregnant have ceased.

On the drive home, I decided that it was time that I start addressing the neglected health issues. This afternoon, I made the appointments that have been on my “to do” list for a while. It will take time (maybe even a year) to finish everything. However, I feel like I accomplished something today merely by deciding to get started. My best motivation is the realization that taking care of myself is an important part to taking care of Charlie.


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