Saturday, April 9, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 20 - Come Back

Today's been a really tough day. This is one of the song's that we played at Madison's funeral. Tomorrow is another day!


If I keep holding out Will the light shine through Under this broken roof Its only rain that I feel I've been wishing out the days Ohh ohh oh come back I have been planning out All that I'd say to you Since you slipped away Know that I still remain true I've been wishing out the days Please say that it you hadn't gone now I wouldn't have lost you another way From wherever you are Ohhhh ohh ohh oh oh come back And these days linger on And in the night I've been waiting for The real possibility that I may meet you in my dreams I go to sleep If I don't fall apart, will my memory stay clear So you had to go, And I had to remain here But the strangest thing today So far away and yet you feel so close And I'm not gonna question any other way There must be an open door For you uhh uhh come back And the days they linger on And every night when I'm waiting for The real possibility that I meet you in my dreams Sometimes you're there and you're talking back to me Come the morning I can swear that you're next to me And it's okayyyyy It's's ok Ohh I need you...come back, come back Ahh I need you come back, come back Ohhh I need you come back, come back

Friday, April 8, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 17 - New Orleans' own Hot 8 Brass Band

Tonight was my last Encore show of the season and it ended with a bang. For those of you who don't know what I do for a living, I work at a state university and am the Director of Campus Activities. In the most simplest terms, I lead a department who's focus is foster learning outside of the classroom. We do that in a variety of ways - through involvement in student organizations, leadership development experiences and by providing events/activities for them to attend. One of the areas, I directly coordinate is our performing arts series. In the past three years, it was really become one of my most proud accomplishments. Three years ago we are talking about ending the series because it was a financial drain on the institution. This year, as even worse financial obstacles stand in the way of my school's operations, we won't think about cutting it because it's become a signature series on our campus and in our community. I've worked tirelessly to improve the operations of this program and we are starting to final see the pay off. Last year, the series, for the first time in recent history, ended with a positive balance (of $0 but at least we weren't in the hole). These year, I'm projected to balance out again! Huge accomplishment that just 3-4 year ago was ending with a $30,000+ deficit. For the past three year's there has always been that one show, where I stand in the back of the audience, scan the crowd and shed a tear or two of joy for my accomplishment. Tonight's show was that show for me. During the second act, the band finally got the audience up on their feet and people were singing and dancing. As I watched some of the "seasoned" ticket holders and our students dance along and enjoy this experience together, I was just overcome. We've come a long, long way in three years! I'm also grateful to the series because it allows me to offer the gift of the arts to Samantha. At just two and 1/2, she's seen some pretty amazing shows and performances and LOVES LOVES LOVES every minute of it. "Mommy go see the dancers." "Mommy go see the band." Performance arts is something Sean and I really enjoy and to see Samantha's face light up when she watches the shows is just awesome. In fact, her first show was when she was just 11 days old and she saw Adam Pascal (an original cast member of RENT) perform. Knowing that she will grow up loving music and dance and performance arts makes me excited. She's going to have a better appreciation for some many different talents and different cultures. She'll be exposed to experiences that not everyone is afforded. What a great gift for her!

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 18 - Missouri College Personnel Association

Last August, I had an incredible opportunity presented to me. I had spent the better part of the previous three years away from professional development opportunities and professional associations simply because I was in a new job and was a new parent. Time and balance were my enemy. However, last summer I decided it was time to jump back in. These kinds of experiences are very important in my profession and I had settled into parenthood and directing a department - so it was time. An email had gone out looking for conference volunteers for the Missouri College Personnel Association (MoCPA) fall conference. The Vice-President that I report to was actually the association President and a former boss had been the association President just a few years back. These are both women that I admire and respect so I knew this could be a good group to join. I answered the email and say "hey, I'm interested. Sign me up." As it turned out, a few weeks later the conference chair took another position at another school in ANOTHER state. And as you can imagine - there are some obstacles to running a state conference when you have moved to South Carolina. The other obstacle - the conference was about 10 weeks away and there was A LOT still left to be done! Fast forward a few days later after a conversation with my VP and I was the new annual conference chair! To say the very least, the following eight weeks were stressful! But, I was amazed at how I was able to rally the planning committee and how, collectively, we were able to make some magic happen! As I was preparing the for the conference, I kept hoping for an opportunity to led the conference again the following year (2011). My sense of satisfaction was really high and I had a strong desire to see what I could accomplish with an entire year! Thankfully, I was offered the position again and jumped on the opportunity immediately. As I lead the conference team this year, I am already blown away by our accomplishments and we are still 6 months away from the actual event. This Association has helped me bring my professional life back to life! I'm challenged in a different way than I'm challenged at my actual job. I get to use my passion & skill set for event planning, creating curriculum, creating learning opportunities and leading a team. It's done tremendous things for my self esteem and has helped reinforce to myself that I am good at my job!

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 19 - We Didn't Start The Fire

Today has been a tough and tragic day for our national government. I'm frustrated with both party sides and am disappointment that finger pointing and name calling have become the solution. Hatred for each others parties has become the decision driver and, unfortunately, the only people getting hurt are us. So what's my gratitude for the day...that I live in a country where next November, I can & will work to vote them out of office!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 16: TOMS One Day Without Shoes 2011

Today, I participated in TOMS Shoes "One Day Without Shoes" awareness campaign. If you aren't familiar with TOMS Shoes it is a grassroots company who's motto is one for one - meaning that for every pair of TOMS you purchase, they donate a pair to a child in need. This company is the brain child of Chief Shoe Giver (don't you love that title!) Blake Mycoskie. Blake will be speaking on our campus later this month and our students have really rallied behind his cause. Of course, how can you unchanged by this campaign? I did cheat a little and wore shoes to drop Samantha off at daycare and drive, but other than that no shoes. I left them in my car and walked across campus to start my day. As soon as my feet hit the cold 8am sidewalk, I was immediately appreciative of what "luxuries" I really did have. Throughout the day, I had several challenges because I wasn't wearing shoes - using the public restroom at work and not being allowed in food service areas for lunch because of health codes. Ironically, children who don't wear shoes across the world are also denied privileges - primarily they are denied education and aren't allowed in school. Of course going barefoot in poverty stricken areas also increases illness and infections! Truly a day that I remember ALL day how grateful I really was!

Monday, April 4, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 15 - The power of affirmation

Today, a co-worker shared a compliment that my direct supervisor said about me. Honestly, I was having a really crappy morning prior to that. Instantly, though my day turned around. It is simply amazing how the power of telling someone good job, you are appreciated and/or thank you can make a real difference! As a department supervisor, I strive to make appreciation and affirmation part of my daily work routine. It's not always easy and I'm not perfect at it but man, those days that I go out of my way to say "job well done" or "thank you"- I leave work feeling better. One area it's easy for me to overlook is in my relationship with Sean. I think it's really easy to take advantage of all the good things your partner does, well...because they are your partner - we just assume that they should be doing these things. I'm confident in saying that the times when our marriage struggles the most, is when we take each other for grated and not show our gratitude and appreciation to one other. I should take a lesson from Samantha. We are working her manners right now - please & thank you - and she is really good at showing thanks and appreciation to others. Without missing a beat, EVERY night at dinner she says "Thank you Mommy Daddy for dinner." It's awesome!

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 14 - Having a no plans weekend

The weather this weekend has been amazing! God certainly brought us a great weekend. Sunny and warm all weekend long and the Prescott's had no plans! A perfect weekend in my book. No need to be on a time schedule - we played outside and at the park, watched Basketball, eat ice cream (both days!), took naps with the widows open and a breeze coming through the house. It was as close to perfection as one person could ask for. It's these rare moments that I am grateful just to sit back and enjoy life.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 13 - Family Rules

I find this piece of artwork at TJ Maxx (one of my most favorite stores) and loved it immediately. I didn't really have a place to put it but bought it any ways.

The Prescott Family Rules:

1. Keep your promises

2. Share

3. Think of others before yourself

4. Say I love you

5. Listen to your parents

6. Do your best

7. Say please and thank you

8. Always tell the truth

9. Laugh at yourself

10. Hug often

11. Use kind words

12. Love each other

Not the most profound or life changing rules but it's amazing how many of us don't do these things and we struggle in our lives. I wonder what would happen if the entire world lived by these simply 12 rules. I'll probably never know. But I do know that I'm going to try and live by them everyday and am convinced that it will benefit me ten folds!

Friday, April 1, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 12 - April's Fools Day

Today is April Fool's Day. To celebrate, I made "grilled cheese" for my staff and some for Sean's work. (Though Sean left his at home so the Prescott clan ate them).

These are toasted pound cake slices with orange cream cheese frosting. They looked pretty realistic and several of my staff members won't eat them until I told them what they were.

I didn't make these as much for April Fool's Day but rather I love a theme! I don't go crazy nuts with holiday decorations but I love any moment or holiday where I can go crazy with a theme. It's mostly because I get to use my creativity and that's one of my gifts that I am most thankful for.

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 11 - Teachable Moments

Yesterday (Wednesday), I had a tough day at work and snapped at a student. This is not my usually behavior and it weighed on me pretty heavy throughout the night. The reason I snapped at him was because me made a comment that was out of line - the only problem...he didn't know it was out of line because he wasn't wearing my lenses. He didn't know that I was frustrated and concerned about the financial future of my department. And, honestly, there was no reason he should have know. But, I started the day off on the right foot! This student was actually in the office first thing this morning and we had a REALLY good conversation. First, I apologized. He graciously told me not to worry about it and understood that he had just caught me in a bad moment. But, then I went on to really talk with him about all the pieces that lead up to my frustration. He listened well and I could tell that the "light bulb" came on and he had his teachable moment. Most days this doesn't happen. But, in the moments when they do - these students keep me inspired and keep me coming back to work.

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 10 - My relationship with God

So, I guess most people would have started this 79 day gratitude & thanks journey by giving a shout out to God. At least that's what they do on all those awards shows. "First, I need to thank Jesus Christ for helping me to sell all these movie tickets..." It's certainly not my place to judge others but I do think it's a little suspect that so many people use the name of God & Jesus to build creditability for themselves. And, please I do not want to get in a religious disagreement with anyone who may be reading this. Remember, these are simply my thoughts at this moment in time. One of our greatest gifts to ourselves is the ability to continue to grow, change our minds and walk down a different path later on in life. I am reading a book right now and there is a line in it about the degree of religion and faith these women have in their life. "...the others have somehow, over the years, brokered their own private agreement with God." That's me EXACTLY! I spent the early part of my life attending Baptist church and then, later, a Catholic church. Once I went to college, my faith and religious practice took a back burner in my life. I've never really returned to organized religion since. BUT... I know, believe and feel God's presence everyday. He has provided me many, many blessings; has held my hand down many rocky paths; and has continued to love me even in moments when I have yelled his name in vain and cursed him lot loud (the worse lost in your life can do that to you). One of my many gifts from God is my relationship with two of my closest friends, Maasen & Alicia. They both have a very strong faith and have prayed many a prayers for me. I know God is there for me because I feel their prayers. God and I spend time communicating in the ways that work for us. He understands me and understands that at this moment in my life, I'm not ready for organized religion. He provides me guidance and helps me live a life that is honoring to him. Luckily, he is also a forgiving God because sometimes mistakes happen and my actions don't portray my love for him. SO...maybe it should have been my first post, but we've talk about, God understands and still loves me!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks - Day 9: Lately

I heard this song for the first time yesterday and it really hit more for me. As I make this 79 day journey for gratitude and thanks, I can't help but think that how easy I seem to be making it. Yes, it is easy to be appreciative (and I am) but as I walk this path to become the best possible me, I am still faced with obstacles. There are days that I struggle and days that it's hard for me to put my appreciation front and center. I'm a work in progress. As I continue down this path, not only I am trying to be kinder to myself, I'm working on patience (with myself and others), forgiving those who need forgiveness and working to find happiness everyday (if only in one small thing a day). As I watched the video for this first time day, the reality of my life was placed in front of me. I'm not living in poverty or a war zone. My family is healthy. We live in a nice neighborhood, I don't worry about were my next meal will come from or if I have water & electricity. And, my family loves one another. This is my happiness for today! This song has some pretty powerful lyrics. I wish I was a little more solid A little more grounded Maybe just a little more I wish I was a little less angry A little less selfish Maybe just a little less Lately I feel like crashin' I feel like the whole world is comin' to an end Lately I feel like nothin' really matters I, I wanna feel good again I wish I was a little more patient A little more forgivin' Maybe just a little more I wish I was a little less crazy A little less out there Maybe just a little less Lately I feel like I am crashin' I feel like the whole world is comin' to an end Lately I feel like nothin' really matters I, I wanna feel good again I wanna feel good again Lately I feel like crashin' I feel like I hate rappin' I feel like the world's gonna end And again situations keep goin' tragic I feel like defeats gonna happen In jail, no bail, we're packed in Every day just keeps on lastin' I just wanna keep gettin' past it I wanna waste away I wanna be left alone in hell No one gave a damn When I was sittin' in my cell So every now and then I feel a little bit close to the edge And I feel I'm about to break And I can't take the fact that lately I pay for my actions greatly Lately I feel like crashin' I feel like the whole world is comin' to an end Lately I feel like nothin' really matters I wanna feel good again I wanna feel good again I wish I was a little more solid A little more grounded Maybe just a little more

Monday, March 28, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks - Day 8: Thankful for tomorrow

Today has been a tough day emotionally. I'm thankful that I am still here and get at attempt achieving happiness tomorrow. Sometimes that all we can ask for.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks: Day 7 - Miss Tara Ashley

Today one of my dearest friends is celebrating her birthday. I have known Tara since high school though I can't remember exactly how me met or what lead us to become friends - I think it was our friend Jen.

I'm amazed at how our friendship has endured. During high school, we went through moments were our paths traveled down different directions. And while I went away for college, Tara stayed in the StL and, again, there are moments were we drifted.

It is so amazing that we always seem to come back to each other. We can not speak for months and within one phone call it's like no time has ever passed. Our friendship has endured miles of separation, man have come and gone & we have experienced most of life's highs and lows together!

I adore Tara! She is amazing. She is a teacher and works everyday to inspire and educate our youth. And as we all know - teaching is the most thankless job around. Tara is also a super outstanding mother. For most of her son's life, she has raised him single-handily. What she has accomplished for herself and her son is a testament to your desire to achieve.

I am excited, this summer, to share in the start of a new journey with Tara. She is getting married! And she deserves to find all the happiness and love the world has to offer. Her heart is so big (and always has been) and to see her finally get what she so deserves is a prayer being answered.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks - Day 6: Laura Elizabeth Parker & Laura Elizabeth Prescott

As I was driving home today, I heard this song. This is an acoustic version by Shinedown. As I was listening to it my mind went to Sean and his grandmother & mom. Laura Elizabeth Parker (Ms. Laura) and Laura Elizabeth Prescott (Beth). There is not enough words in the dictionary for me to express my gratitude to them for Sean. Ms. Laura & Beth raised him & loved him unconditionally! Even when he didn't love his self and made decisions that caused more problems than solutions - they never gave up on him!

Ms. Laura is an outstandingly awesome woman. After her husband passed away, she pulled herself up and raised four kids on her own. She owned restaurants and had a tremendous work ethic. She also was instrumental in raising Sean. She was tough on him. He was working in the family restaurant as soon as he was tall enough to see over the counter. She is the only person I know that can command an instant respect from him and the only one I know that can put him in his place. I loved her from the first moment we met! She and I spent hours looking through old family photos and I just soaked it up. She's sassy, has lived a long fulfilled life and doesn't take crap from anyone!

Beth raised Sean as a single parent. She was extremely smart and placed a tremendous value on education. She was the first one in her family to get an advanced college degree. Sean was Beth's pride! She certainly had a mother's unchangeable love because she supported him during the most challenging of times in his life. Unfortunately, Beth passed away a year after Sean & I started dating so my experience with her is much less limited. I do know that she is looking down on us and sending us blessings everyday.

Ms. Laura and Beth instilled in Sean a tremendous work ethic, a desire to continuously learn and a tremendous sense of independence. All traits that rate at the top of my wish list in a partner.

Sean is the most important person in my life and to imagine it without him makes me cry (literally, I'm crying right now). It has take Sean a lot to get to this point in his life. The fact that Ms. Laura and Beth never gave up on him (and on more than one occasion, kicked his sorry ass into shape and leaving behind his demons) has allowed my life to be what it is today. Sean introduced me to love - taught me to love myself and loves me unconditionally.

Thank you Ms. Laura and Beth! I was always be eternally grateful...

Friday, March 25, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks - Day 5: The Monkey House

Today I had a great day at the Monkey House with Samantha! The Monkey House is essentially this warehouse with a zillion bouncy houses. There were really more like 10 inflatables but to a two year old it was just like a zillion!

The Monkey House is in Fort Smith where my mom lives and it's the first time Samantha has been there. To say she loved it is a total understatement. The number of times she laughed and squelled was priceless. She had a smile on her face for two straight hours. At first she was unsure of the whole thing but a few trips down the inflatable side and she was hooked!

What a great memory! Definitely a keeper for my memory roll-a-deck!

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks - Day 4: My mom

On March 24, my mom celebrated her 50th birthday (also day 4 of my gratitude and thanks journey). She use to sing this song to me when I was little.

As a teenage, single parent, I know she did the best she could for me always! I am grateful everyday for every sacrifice she made, every tear she wiped away and for loving me unconditionally. Even as I grow older, I continue to appreciate her friendship and support. I know that my success in this world is a testiment to the direction and guidance she has always provided me.

She and I are still growing up (and sometimes we do clash) but at the end of the day - no matter what I know she loves me!

79 Days of Gratitude & Thanks - Day 3: Long drives in the car

Most people normally don't like long car rides but I adore them! I get some of my best thinking and ideas while I'm on long car trips.

It is about a 6 hour drive to my mom's from Maryville and on Wednesday, Samantha & I made the trek down to see her. Samantha has become quite a road warrior herself and between a nap or two & a snack or two, she can keep herself pretty entertained. Though she doesn't always appreciate my off pitch singing, she tolerates me to sing at the top of my lungs and endures my dance moves via my hands and upper body. I give it 3-4 more years before she starts rolling her eyes at me and hiding from embrassment.

I can't even begin to count the number of ideas, programs, events I have dreamed up for work, how many times I have rearranged and reorganized my house or how many trips/adventures I have planned while on a road trip. With the invention of a Blackberry, I can web surf, look up recipes, and google any random thought that crosses my mind. On a previous road trip last week, I googled "foods of Missouri" and shopped for airline tickets for an imaginary vacation. Poor Sean, they number of ideas I have sprung on him as a result of road trips - it's a miracle he still rides in the car with me!

I'm pretty sure it's not the actually ride in the car I appreciate but rather the time to allow my mind to think and be creative. So many of my days are preplanned and structured that I never seem to have time to just sit and let my mind wander. That's what I love the most! I love just letting my mind think about and dream about whatever it wants. It's my gift to myself curiosity of a 2007 KIA Optima.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude and Thanks - Day 2: The scanner

That's right, people - the computer scanner is my thanks today!

In January 2007, my mom's house caught on fire and she lost everything. Thankful she and my brother were not harmed but they do about 80% of everything they owned. The fire started in the garage so my mom lost everything she had in storage, including all her pics and photo albums.

She often talks about how disappointed she is that she doesn't have any pictures left of me as a child.

Her birthday is Thursday and with the help of my dad and aunt (along with Shutterfly and Walgreen's!), I have been able to reproduce about 400 family pics for her. Pictures of not only me and my brother but of her parent's, her siblings and lots of my cousins. It's been really fun going down my own memory lane as I look through all these photos. I am really excited to give her these pics. I hope she is excited about it too. I'm looking forward to going through the pictures and talking about old times with her later this week.

I won't have been able to do with the help of my user-friendly computer scanner!

Monday, March 21, 2011

79 Days of Gratitude and Thanks - Day 1, Madison Elizabeth Prescott

As I start my 79 day journey of graditude and thanks, I'd be remissed not to start with Madison Elizabeth Prescott as this process is really in rememberance of her.

I am blessed to be a mom and am blessed to have been a mom here on Earth to Madison for 79 days. More than anything, I am amazed at what I have learned in her death. Graditude, appreciation and thanks for the people, adventures and success I have in my life. Losing a child is the worse tradegy any parent can face and it has taken me a long to get to this point. Also know that I am not a saint and sometimes, in the face of anger, disappointment and frustration, I forget to be grateful.

I certainly wish I could go back in time and freeze all the moments I had with Madison. But, I can't. I can, however, think with love and fondness for the moments and adventures we did have together. My favorite moments were of her sleeping on my chest, watching her listen to the campus radio station (alternative rock and top 40 were her favorite) and when she wore her sunglasses!
I am grateful to have spent Mother's Day with her and having her at Sean's college graduation.
After Madison passed away a spent a lot of hours being pissed of at the world and being frustrated with the problems that people were complaining about. One night I was having dinner with a work colleague and said something like "I'm so tired of my students complaining about xyz thing. They should just get over it and be thankful that this is the least of their problems. I know what real problems are!" And my work colleague turned to me and said "Aren't you thankful that this is their only problem? That they haven't faced such tragedy and that their problems are so small." Reality hit me at that moment! I was thankful that they hadn't experience such pain in their life. When you suddenly stop living in a land of pity and anger, you're life changes unimaginably.
Madison's life and death also reminded me that life was way to short and certainly not promised to anyone. It's easy to say those things but to live a life philosophy like that is not always easy. It's easy to get caught up in work, stress and the routine of life but when you suddenly slow down, listen to what really makes you happy and move in a direction to enjoy life (not just survive it) - wow!!
So here it is the start of my gratitude journey. I hope over the next 79 days to not only remind myself of the big thanks in my life but to each day find a simple joy (or moment) that makes me smile and be appreciative. Tonight I painted Samantha's toe nails and afterwards she said "Thank you, mommy! I love you. Give me kiss." She then grabbed my face by the cheeks and kissed me. It's a new snapshot in my memory rolladeck. One that I will carry with me always.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

March 21, 2001 & March 21, 2007 - love at first sight

Tomorrow is March 21...

On this day in 2001 my brother Alex was born. Until that day, I had lived as an only child. It's still hard to imagine that here I was a month away from turning 24 and here was my brother. For those of you who don't know, my mom had me when she was only 16 so for her to have my brother when she was 40 really isn't all that uncommon. I always wanted to have siblings. I have always loved kids, spent most of my teen years babysitting and would have given anything to have a brother or sister. It was quite an unexpected shock when my mom find out she was pregnant. She actually thought she was going through "the change" early. Well, her life did change and so did mine. I was fortunate enough to be in the delivery room when my brother was born. The moment I saw him for the first time, a feeling of warmth came over me. I remember it so vividly because in that instant, I said to myself "this is what love at first sight feels like." Up until that moment, honest to God, I didn't believe in love at first sight.

Having a brother 23 years younger than me has been quite an adventure. I sometimes worry about him as if he was my own son. I worry about the kind of person he will become, if he will find his own path in life and, above all, be blessed with all the happiness in the world. Though I would never wish anything bad to happen to my mom or his dad, it is there in the back of my mind that if something should ever happen to them - I would become responsible for him. Before Sean and I got married, this is actually something we discussed. Make sure that he knew should anything ever happened, we could be raising my brother. It is sometimes interesting to see the world through the eyes of soon to be 9 year old. He's starting to develop his own way for doing things and starting to find really joy and passion in lots of different things. At the same time, he is a boy through and through. Alex is very smart, loves music, video games and baseball. He also had a girlfriend in the 2nd grade!

On this day in 2007, Madison Elizabeth Prescott was born and my life would never be the same! I actually find out I was pregnant two weeks after I had started my nw job at NW and Sean & I had agreed to have a long distance marriage for 8 months as he finished up undergrad. It was completely unplanned and the timing was really bad. Two weeks after I confirmed the pregnancy, I almost lost her. I had a severe tear in the placenta and experienced a temendous amount of blood lose. Somehow, she and I made it through. The rest of my pregnacy was filled with quite a bit of stress (new job, long distance marriage, & my mom's house caught on fire in Jan 07) and I always worried about it and what it was doing to her. Thankfully, we made it through all nine months. The week before Madison was born, I went in for my last check-up and my doctor scheduled me for induction on March 21. I couldn't believe it - the same day as my brother's birthday!

My induction was filled with several complications resulting in an emergency c-section and needing to be put completely out during the delivery. It all happened so quickly that I remember very few details. I do remember slowly coming to in recovery and the nurses telling me how beautiful and healthy she was. I cried because I was so happy and relieved that she was okay. If you didn't know, it is very dangerous to be out during delivery.

Seeing her for the first time was magical! She was so beautiful. Love at first sight for the second time in my life - how blessed was I! And seeing Sean hold her and love her, made me love him just a little bit more. At the time of her birth, he & I were going through a LOT of life changes and had a LOT of challenges and obstacles we were trying to cross. Somehow with her, though, our life seemed better and provided us with a purpose.
Sean & I had named her Madison because that was the name of the resturant where we first met. Elizabeth is both our mother's middle names. It was all perfect.

As everyone whose reading this knows though, it didn't end perfectly. Earlier this weekend, I had my melt down. I have shed several tears over the course of the last three days (as I have done for the last 3 years during this time of the year). It's really the anticipation that's the worse. March 21 is fine - it's just the waiting and wondering before it that's the most painful. It's also difficult because it's hard for me to focus to my brother's birthday without being sad, hurt and/or pissed off that I'm not celebrating Madison's birthday too. I'm continuing to work on that one. I know has my brother gets older he will come to understand my struggle. He loved Madison so much (and still does). My mom told me a story a few months ago about him introducing Madison to a friend that was staying over for the first time. He was showing his friend around their house and came to some photos of Madison. Alex said "this is my niece Madison. She lives in Heaven now but I can't wait to see her again."
The biggest difficulty comes over the next 79 days - waiting until June 8. I will never be able to think about her birthday and not think about 79 days later. The two will always be connected.
This year, I have a plan though. The next 79 days on my blog will be dedicated to finding and celebrating something each day that I am thankful and/or grateful for. For better or worse, March 21 has given me so much - a brother whom I adore; a daughter who helped show me the way to gratitude; and the ability to believe in love at first sight...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Catching up on the blog...

So it's been almost a month since my last entry. It feels like nothing much was really happened but at the same time oh so much as happened in the last four weeks. Valentine's Day came and went. Sean & I didn't do anything for each other but we had a blast getting ready for Samantha's Valentine's day party at Day Care. Because we have been watching our money so carefully (and the fact that Samantha is two and so are her friends), we went with a homemade Valentine's for your classmates. I had some card stick and foam hearts in my craft bin so we made butterflies for the girls and caterpillar's for the boys. Samantha colored in the back of each card and picked out the foam pieces. I had all the ingredients for short bread cookies so I tired my hand that them. (Picture) They came out so cute and were very tasty. I had a few problems with the dough but eventually after a few hours it came together. I was actually really pleased with myself. Sean and I decorated them on Saturday night once Samantha went to bed. It was randomly a lot of fun. It's one of those moments were I was able to find simple pleasure with my husband. It was really nice. When Samantha woke up on Sunday and saw the cookies, she squealed with delight. It was too cute. When I started making these cookies, I couldn't stop. They were mini hearts and I needed to use up the dough. 14 dozen cookies later - we were done. Samantha loved Valentine's Day. She got to give all of her friends treat bags with cookies in them & a personally designed card. Not too bad for a homemade Valentine's Day. Oh, and she got to wear her new dress - which she LOVED!
The following weekend we headed east on a road trip so I could work on my mom's 50th birthday present. I can't give all the details as she may be following this blog and I want it to be a surprise. I'll post pictures and blog more about it after March 24.
The next weekend, it snowed pretty bad. I was at the Lake of the Ozarks on Friday for a retreat and Sean has at a training in KC on Saturday. We barely saw each other that weekend. I did have a great time at the retreat though. I drive down to the Lake with my co-worker Rose, who's company I'm really starting to enjoy outside of the office. She a lot of fun and she makes me laugh! We think alike about family things and it's nice to have a colleague who can be a friend out of work. The retreat was for a state conference I am chairing. It's actually my second year chairing the conference but last Fall I literally took it over 7-8 weeks before the actually conference. I was blessed with a super great time to pull it off but am I SUPER excited to have 8-9 months to plan it this year. I really enjoy the experience and it helps to fulfill one of my passions - event planning!
Let's see the weekend after that (the first weekend in March), I worked all weekend. Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
And, now...BOOM - it's March 8!
In between the weekends, I have managed to start Zumba classes. Thanks to a gift from my dad, I got a 10 visit pass and have been enjoying every class I can attend. I've been telling everyone about Zumba. I just love it. I have no rhythm and I can't keep up with step but I still love it. I leave each class dripping in sweat and I have a lot of fun doing it. I haven't gotten to as many classes as I would like but I try to get to them on Mondays and Wednesdays. If I can, I try to walk on Tuesdays and Thursday. I've lost a few more pounds. Nothing major but ever few pounds adds up. I am suppose to have a fitting next weekend for a bridesmaid's dress and I was hoping to be at -75 by then. It may not happen 100% but I would certainly be okay with a -70 total weight loss. We'll see...I just keep pushing forward and keep working on the best possible me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

These boots were made for walking...

I use to wear high heels all the time. Pointy toed, strappy, skinny heeled high heels. I loved wearing high heels. I use to joke that I didn't care if they made my feet bleed or give me blisters as long as they looked cute. High heels made me feel confident, sexy and sassy. And I loved the sound they made on tile floors - click, clank, click, clank.

When I become pregnant with Madison, I stopped wearing high heels. (1) Because my feet hurt and my ankles were swollen and (2) Because my second and third trimesters were doing the winter. I feared falling in snow or ice and hurting myself of my unborn child. So, my high heels got moved to the back of the closet and two pairs of sensible flats replaced them. One brown pair and one black pair. Good bye sexy and sassy - hello boring and predictable! My favorite high heels were placed in a plastic bin with the notation that once Madison was born, they would be back in rotation.

When I heading back to work from maternity leave, it was late Spring and time for cute sandals (another addiction) and cute pedicured toes. So, my high heels stayed in the back if the closet just a little longer.

Then Madison died...

My high heels continued to stay in the back of the closet. We moved houses. My plastic bin moved with me to the back of my closet at our new house. We had a yard sale. I pulled out the bin and pulled 4-5 pair to sell and put the rest back in the bin and push them to the back of the closet. Occasionally, I'd pull the bin out and for fun try on some of my favorite ones. I'd walk around the house a bit but always back to the back of the closet they would go. And, with flats becoming more popular, it was just easier to buy them when I needed a new pair of work shoes.

But it wasn't just the shoes. I use to love wearing jewelry. Loved wearing make-up, doing my hair, getting pampered, carrying super cute purses, getting dressed up. It always made me feel pretty and made me feel good about myself. I packed all of my accessories away, got rid of purses and rarely wore make-up. Looking back, it's sad that I didn't care enough about myself to do things to make myself feel good. I really didn't care!

It's also amazing how not caring about yourself effects so many other parts of your life. It really affected my relationship with my husband. I loved him and cared deeply for him and Samantha but it was difficult for me to accept it back. Why would he care about me when I didn't care about myself? Why would he think I'm attractive when I didn't feel that way and, frankly, had no desire to be attractive. Looking back, I'm thankful that he didn't allow me to push him away.

I'm also thankful for my new resolve in life and that I'm on this personal journey. I take the extra time to make myself feel better and look better. I've pulled my old jewerly out and got a few new pieces for Christmas. I've bought some new clothes and actually care how I put them together. And, the greatest part - it's for me! It's not to impress anyone or make myself attractive to others (the ultimate goal in my 20's). It's because it makes me happy.

So, my heels are still in the back of the closet. (1) It's winter, we have tons of ice and snow. (2) After over four years of not wearing heels, you can't jump feet first into three inch heels without some practice and building your ankles back up.

I did, however, invest in two pairs of boots for the winter that have become my new staples. The best part of the boots - the one inches heels that make them go click, clack, click, clack when I walk on tile. I love that sound! Every morning as I walk into work, I study that sound on the sidewalk. It makes me feel confident, makes me feel happy and reminds me of my sassy heels waiting in my closet for the snow to melt and the ground to thaw. I can't wait!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Financial freedom...

Notorious B.I.G. certainly said it best when he said "mo' money, mo' problems." The Prescott's are currently working on our financial freedom and frankly - it sucks! Tonight, I was tired and totally didn't want to cook. I called my other half and suggested Burger King (please spare the fast food lecture right now. Their fish sandwich is TASTY!). I was quickly denied and reminded of our limited funds and the thaw steaks waiting at home. Now, we could have eaten out but it would have meant less grocery money for this weekend. *Sigh*

Ten year's ago, I started my first grown up job and was barely making $21,000 a year. But goodness those were easier times. The first year Sean & I lived together (2003) and we had a combined income - yep, I'm making more than that by myself these days. Holy crap, where does it all go!?!? Back then, I drove a old clunker, lived in a rental house and didn't add up my grocery list as I walked through the store.

I sometimes I think back to those days with longing. I'm sure at the time I dwelled on how broke we were but hind sights 20/20 and the grass sure always looks greener on the other side. We certainly don't live out of our means (we have a modest home, a '07 Kia and a PAID FOR '96 Taurus) but it all seems to go so fast. Looking over our monthly budget, I guess it's not really fair to say it goes so quickly, as opposed to we now can afford some luxuries like life insurance, retirement, savings and dental coverage. But, aaaahhhh....the days when I didn't care about those things.

The biggest obstacle in our financial freedom plan right now is our $1000 emergency fund. (Thank you, Dave Ramsey!) As many of you may know, Sean lost his job in the summer of 2009 - six months after we bought our home. Thank goodness for our savings because it helped us make it through the 16 months that followed as he got his MBA. But working to replenish that savings account is hard, hard work! And really, who wants to put money in their savings account instead of going to get their hair done - certainly not this girl! Sista needs her roots done!! And really wishes she could get a pedicure. (Again, please spare me any lectures about "at home" beauty maintenance. I like being pampered and am perfectly okay with saying that out loud!)

I certainly know what we are doing is for the best (in the long run) but for now I'm really wishing I got that Fish Sandwich earlier tonight! I'm blaming Dave for my unhappiness...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fighting in tolerance

As many of you may know, a Harps grocery store in Arkansas placed this "family shield" over the cover of this week's US Weekly because the cover protrayed Elton John, his partner David Furnish and their new son. I have two issues with this situation (as I understand it).
Please, please let me role model the way and raise a child who sees past race, religion and sexual orientation. Please let me always demonstrate a respect for humanity and demonstrate that opinions about others should be based upon that person's character and intergrity. Last night's post was about my desire for Samantha to find a love that will cherish and adore her just as she is. I should have specified that it DOES NOT matter to me if that love is with another woman. Love is love. (Again, she's two and I'm not trying to marry her off quite yet...). As I journey through parenthood, truly one of my top goals is to raise a child who is non-judgemental, appreciative of all others and embraces all the world and world's people have to offer. Had I grown up hating people who were different than me I would have missed out on a whole lot of positive and powerful relationships in my life.
This photo was leaked by an upset customer at the grocery store. She tweeked it to a number of celebrities including Anderson Cooper (love him!), Ellen DeGeneres (love, love her!) and Kathy Griffin (super, duper love that crazy b-tch!) asking for their help to bring attention to this matter. She was rightful horrified and shocked at this unfortuate display. Here's my issue though...this customer didn't go to the store manager or Harps corporate office to first try to resolve the matter. I certainly agree that this should have been brought to light and handled but sometimes you can actual resolve things by talking directly to people. *SIGH* Everyday I deal with young adults who have no idea how to positively confront someone face to face and rationally discuss their opinions, why they are upset with each other and mutually resolve their challenge or disagreement. Instead they bash each other on facebook, on the bathroom walls of the local bars and behind each other's back. Had this customer confront the store manager and corporate office and nothing was resolved - absolutely, send it to that silver haired fox Andy Cooper! But before you do that - consider working within the system. You might be surprised and the matter may be resolved.
Injustice and intolerance must be confronted head on and at full force. Thank you Harp's customer for taking a stand! Most people won't and will just ignore it. I may not agree with your approach but I appreciate that you fought for humanity. And at least for a moment humanity won!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Just The Way You Are...

I've heard this song a number of times, but heard it twice today so it's been floating in my head. The first time I heard it, I cried. A lot and uncontrollably. Thank goodness I was in the car by myself. It's one of the most meaningful and romantic songs I have ever heard. The funny thing is that I didn't care for myself, I cried for Samantha. And not even because this is how I feel about her but because this song is my wish for her. Of course I love her unconditionally, but when the time is right for her to find love, this is how I want it to be for her. Of course, Sean laughed at my silliness, well, because Samantha is 2! But I can't help it. I have so many hopes and wished for her but to have someone in her life who sees her as the most beautiful, wonderful, and priceless gift that they have been given - WOW!

Maybe it's because I went through a so many bad relationships and had a number of toxic experiences that I want to shield her from this. Most of the my life my self-esteem has been really bad. I don't want that for her. I want her to be confident in all that she does! I hope that this is one of the greatest gifts I can give her.

I do realize that it is a bit strange to already be worrying about these things with Samantha. I guess it's all the job description as a parent. I know she will face obstacles in life and won't succeed in everything she does but no matter what I want the people around her to love her just the way she is...

Monday, January 24, 2011

The beginning...

So, here it is - my first blog entry! I've been thinking about doing a blog for quite a while now, however, I recently read an article about women who blogged to help with their weight lose battles and had quite a bit of success. My blog will not be entirely about weight loss but rather my journey to become the best possible Angel McAdams Prescott. Yes, weight loss is part of my journey but within the last six months I've just come to the realization that there are several areas in my life I have just let slip by without striving for greatness. It's amazing how we just let ourselves settle.

Now, I have been on these crusuades before where I have focused all my time and energy on being perfect. Being the perfect wife, the perfect parent, looking perfect, being perfect for everyone around me. Frankly, it's exhausting! And, I can only manage that level of perfection for a short time before a have a complete meltdown. This idea for perfection actually come to an aburpt hult almost four years ago. My 2 & 1/2 month old daughter passed away of SIDS. Lossing a child is the most devastating thing that can happen to a parent. The reality that life is not perfect really slapped me in the face and from that day (June 8, 2007) until June 2010 I actually stopped caring about myself. I no longer strove for perfection but the reality was I didn't strive for anything. I was really letting life pass me by and I wasn't taking full control of my destiny.

Sometime in early June (I usually just tell people June 1 but I don't remember the date), I stepped on the scale and say a number that I never imagined I would see. It was heartbreaking and I was horrified. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and not understanding why I didn't care enough about myself to stop. Literally, something in me snapped and I said enough was enough. Here's me in September 2009 weighing alot(pic on the right)! The sad thing is that I probably gained another 10-15 pounds from this date until June 2010. So what was the number? I've debated back and forth worth or not to post it. As I'm fully shamed that I let my weight get so out of control there is an embassment I do feel. I'm not ready to share it yet, but I will share that since June I have lost 63 pounds (the pic on the left)!

Many people have asked me how I have done it. Again, a secret I didn't share with a lot of people. It's amazing how guilty your weight really makes you feel. Well, I did lose the first 45-50 pounds by using HcG. It is an over-the-counter product that greatly restricts your calorie intake a day - 500 calories a day! Yes, 500 and no, it's not fun! It did work for me though but I haven't been using the product regularly for some time. The key, as with any change, is that you can't go back. If I go back, I will gain it all back. HcG is not the final answer for me. It simply was a jumping off point that got me motivated and got me feeling better. Now, I am a path to continue my journey eating more healthy and moving more.

But as I said this blog is not only about my weight loss - it's really about my desire to be great in as many aspects of my life as possible. My family, the relationship with my husband, my parenting skills to my 2 year old, my career and my hobbies and passions are just a few of the areas I plan to work on.
I've come to realize that there is a very distict difference between perfection and greatness. Perfection is impossible! Because life is not perfect, the people around us aren't always perfect, the factors that effect our lives are not always perfect. At this point in my life, I just want to be the best possible me.
I'm not sure if anyone will follow my blog but if you do, thanks in advance for coming along on this journey. I'm sure that it won't always be pretty (or perfect) but I'm ready to take it on full force and with all I got!