Monday, December 17, 2012

A news story I don't want to read, hear, see, or tell

You may or may not know this about me... I'm a bit of a news junkie. I like to know everything I can about news stories, especially big news stories. I typically look at lots of different sources and read as much as I can.

Not this time.

I took Friday off so I could attend a Christmas party that night. I am so thankful I had the day off. As I got the news alerts on my phone about what was happening in Connecticut, I found myself desperately hoping that the media outlets were wrong. Maybe the numbers were exaggerated. Oh how I hoped. I was at Chick-fil-A with my girls and couldn't eat my lunch. But I pretended everything was fine.

As I watched them play in the play area, I just couldn't wrap my brain around the heinous murder of children...most of them not much older than my daughter, Sydney. I was overcome with an actual feeling of sickness. And have since stopped reading and watching all coverage of the story. Including from Channel 7.

I know as news people we have covered lots of horrific stories. Even mass murders. But it was so different this time. I've been trying to figure out why and I assume it's because I'm now a parent. Everyone said that my perceptive as a jjournalist would change when I became a mom. I didn't believe them. But they were right. It all changes. My heart absolutely breaks for those parents that will never get to see their sweet babies on this earth again. I simply can not fathom what that would be like. And pray like crazy that I'll never have to know.

As a news anchor, we're supposed to have empathy when we read stories and even show some emotion. But I have to be honest, if I did that with this story I'd be crying every time it's mentioned. So forgive me, if I look or sound emotion-less while reading these stories... it is the best I can do. If being a mom makes me less of anchor... so be it. We all have our limits. Apparently the senseless attack of sweet, innocent souls is mine.

I will continue to pray for the families, emergency personal, and entire Newtown community... as well as continued protection and safety for the most innocent of us. All of our children.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Mother's Prayer - Lessons Learned from Anne Pressly

It's impossible to look at the calendar this week and not think about Anne Pressly. October 20 will always be the anniversary of the beginning of the end for Anne. And for my daughter, Sydney, it was just the beginning of life.
My phone rang early in the morning October 20, 2008. I selfishly assumed the friend on the other end was calling to congratulate me on the birth of my first daughter. He wasn't. And I wasn't prepared for what I was about to hear. I believe our bodies/minds are not allowed to really grasp horrific news when we first hear it. We just go into shock. As I shared the news with my husband, the tears started to fall. Then the phone calls became steady. The questions became many and the answers were few. I held my two-day old baby even closer as I got more concerned about my friend. I wanted to be with all my co-workers going through the emotional roller coaster with them. But I needed to be with my baby girl. I tried to focus on the joy she brought into our lives...but I'd be lying if I said that joy wasn't overshadowed by Anne's attack.
The CD that was playing in Sydney’s room at that time was Colin Raye’s “Counting Sheep.” We listened to it dozens of times during all those late night feedings. But suddenly the words to “A Mother’s Prayer” had a whole new meaning.

"I know you’re listening as I lay me down to sleep
It’s not for me I ask, but my children’s souls to keep
It seems the world is going crazy
And though I need to do my share
Could you please take them under wing
Watch over them especially
Keeping them safe from everything
This is a mother’s prayer"
There I was overcome with such deep love for this tiny person in my arms when I realized that I would do anything, absolutely ANYTHING to protect her. But I knew Anne’s mom well enough to know that she too would do anything to protect her daughter. And that's when it hit me...we can’t. As parents, we can only do so much. What a tough lesson to learn just a couple of days into motherhood. I wanted to think that life would always be wonderful for my sweet baby, and that as her mother I would make sure of that. But the words to this song reminded me that no matter how much I WANT that, it is not in my control. No matter how much Anne’s mom WANTED to protect Anne, ultimately it was not in her control. And that thought made me sick to my stomach. At the time, Anne’s attacker was still on the loose. I went to sleep every night terrified that he would break into our home and hurt one of us. New moms never get much sleep but even when I had the opportunity, peaceful rest was certainly out of the question.

That helpless feeling forced me to turn to what gets me through today. Prayer. Lots of prayer and lots of faith.

"And though there’s darkness all around us
By my faith I know you’re there
Give me the strength to lead the way
Send me the words I need to say
Use me to guide them day to day
This is a mother’s prayer"

It was a tough lesson to learn and an awful way to do it. But it has allowed me to let go of the things I can not control. And as a parent, I believe that is essential when it comes to raising kids. Even now, four years later, it is not something that is easy to do. Which is why I pray about it often.

Anne heard about Sydney being born while she was on Saturday Daybreak. She asked a co-worker about how we decided to spell her name (Anne was all about the details) and said she loved it. She even got to see pics of Sydney that night from a friend that had been with us at the hospital. I wish Sydney and Anne would have met but I also like to think that maybe Sydney will have a little of Anne's spunky spirit (and if you knew Anne, you know a little would go a long way). :) 

Our first outing as new parents with our baby girl was to a funeral. As sad as that sounds it was actually uplifting to see so many people there for a woman who had only lived on this earth for 26 years. What a great reminder that life is not about quantity...but quality. And how we spend that time investing in others and truly caring about them. Thank you, Anne, for teaching me that. I will do my best to teach that to my daughters. Until we meet again...this will be my prayer:

"A Mother And Father's Prayer"

I know you’re listening as I lay me down to sleep
It’s not for me I ask, but my children’s souls to keep
It seems the world is going crazy
And though I need to do my share
Could you please take them under wing
Watch over them especially
Keeping them safe from everything
This is a mother’s prayer
I know you’re listening in the silence of the night
The news is blistering but I hold on to your light
And though there’s darkness all around us
By my faith I know you’re there
Give me the strength to lead the way
Send me the words I need to say
Use me to guide them day to day
This is a mother’s prayer
This is a father’s prayer
I know I can’t do this by my self
I thank you for your help
I know you’re listening so I know I’m not alone
I feel you here with me as we all face down the unknown
Could you return us to your garden
Where no one’s hurt and no one’s scared
Free us from pride and bitterness
Keep us so close we won’t forget
Teach us to love as you love
This is a mother’s prayer
This is a father’s prayer
Teach us to love as you love
This is a mother’s, a father’s prayer

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sydney's 4th birthday!!!

I know I say this a lot...but I seriously can't believe that my sweet Sydney is 4 years old!!! How is that even possible? My life completely changed when she was born (in the most wonderful way) and I now struggle to remember life before her.

We started her birthday at Joel's Hair Salon...which she loves! She got her haircut AND got to have a candy ring-pop. Then we got some cupcakes, had lunch at her favorite restaurant the "noodle place" (which is really Genghis Grill), and of course she got to open up some presents. She felt like a princess!!

Reagan was helping the birthday girl open her gifts!

When Sydney woke up the morning of her birthday she said, "Am I 4 now?" She was very excited when I told her she was. She then asked if it was summer. I said no and explained the four seasons and when they happen. Then she said, "So when they blow the whistle, I can stay in the pool, right?" She thought that turning 4 would qualify her for adult swim!! So adorable!

Here's a pic of her at her first birthday... she wasn't amused with all the party stuff. My how times have changed. :) Happy birthday Sydney!!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Family Time in South Dakota

Climbing her first tree!

I feel like we've been traveling the country for the past week! Well I guess we have been, sort of. We drove more than 2,000 miles!! And I am absolutely amazed at what great little travelers we have. If someone told me how easy it would be to drive with an almost 4-year-old and a 1-year-old...I never would have believed them. But it really was!

I padded our drives with all kinds of time assuming that we'd need extra stops, etc. But nope! We went nearly 800 miles the first day... all the way to my hometown Yankton, South Dakota. After a couple of days we drove across SD to my husband's hometown Gettysburg. Our "city" girls had a great time enjoying the sights and sounds of the "country" living...going fishing, climbing trees, playing with much fun!! And of course we celebrated their birthdays everywhere we went! It was such a wonderful trip... although I'm glad to be back!!

Grandpa Larry helping Sydney pick an apple from a tree

Me and my girls!

Birthday cupcakes!

Whitlock Bay on the Missouri River

Grandma Janet with Dave and Reagan

Dad, Sydney, cousin Javonte and the fish!

Sydney's first fishing trip!

Sydney watching her cousin Gage play football

Sydney and her cousin Iyana...they're only one month apart!

My sister Kathryn with her Margaret and my Reagan

Grandpa Larry helping Reagan feel the water

Dave's sister Lane with Reagan

The girls with Grandpa and Grandma

Sydney and Javonte playing with the rabbits

Birthday cake

Just loving life!

Birthday cupcake!

Sydney with her cousin Zane

Sydney with her cousin Willa

Reagan with cousin Zane

Monday, September 24, 2012

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage at Lakeside

I so love being invited to various places/events to speak and had a great time today at Lakeside High School in Hot Springs! What a great group of kids!! I had a wonderful time sharing about my mom's background and my family in Chile. I hope they enjoyed me as much as I enjoyed them! :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy birthday Reagan!!!!

I know this may sound "cliche" but I seriously can't believe that Reagan is already a one year old!!! The first year of her life went by so quickly... and I know the following years will fly by too. Such a great reminder to really enjoy and savor every moment of every day. I love this little girl so much that it almost hurts to think about it. I never really understood what that meant when others talked about their love of their kids...boy, do I know now. It certainly can not be put into words. So with that, I say a very happy birthday to my precious baby Reagan Anne!!!!!!!

Her first cupcake!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Now I KNOW I'm a Hog fan

It's not that I was questioning my loyalty to the Hogs...but after Saturday's game, I have no doubt.
I really wasn't a fan of college football growing up in South Dakota (although there a lot of Husker fans). And although I attended the University of Minnesota, I was never a big Gopher fan (the Vikings have a much bigger following). But then... I moved to Arkansas. Where college football IS a way of life. At first I just enjoyed covering the games... live shots from tailgates and learning how to call the Hogs. But somewhere along the way, I became one of the fans that I once reported on. One of the fans that gets up at the crack of dawn on game days so we can tailgate all day...regardless of when the game starts. And on Saturday I realized that when the players and coaches experience a devastating loss... I feel the devastation. I am still amazed at how physically ill I felt watching that game. And all I could think about was...if I feel this bad, imagine how the players, coaches, and parents feel. It hurts. For all Razorback fans. And although that hurt let me know how much I really like the also reminds me that I will continue to stand by them and support them even when it's not as fun. Not as fun as when we're winning. Especially winning the big games. But it's still our team. And it's still our state. And they're still our Hogs. So you might call me an eternal optimist but so be it... GO HOGS, BEAT BAMA!! :)

Tailgating with the fam!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Beach Pics 2012

We recently had the opportunity to enjoy the sandy beaches of Navarre, FL... so much fun!! We've been going there for the past five or six years now. Before moving to Arkansas, I had heard of the "Redneck Riviera" but I never thought it would be so nice (maybe it was because of the work redneck). :) But it really such a beautiful place! We spent a week there with Dave's sister and her family from Michigan... a total of 5 little girls under the age of 7!! Which is why we also bring along our babysitter. Andrea Davidson is like a member of our own family and the girls love her so much!! Feeling so blessed to have gotten to spend some beach time with family!! It really was a great time!!

Don't worry, she didn't eat all of that cake!

Is she trying to do an Elvis impression?

Showing off her teeth or her crazy hair? :)