Author Archives: SleeepingSara

About SleeepingSara

I'm a wife, mom, teacher, scrapbooker, couponer.

Maddie

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I started writing this post a year and a half ago and never finished. This is Maddie’s story…

I was one of the first people to know my sister was pregnant. I was overjoyed, even more so when I found out she was having a baby girl. Madison Victoria Pritikin. MVP. We shopped, had a baby shower, planned a trip to Disney for Thanksgiving and basked in the joy of a perfect pregnancy. Then everything went wrong.

This post is Maddie’s story, but my journey with her.

The plan was Maddie was to be a scheduled c-section on Labor Day. My family had a great plan for the day. Breakfast with friends, go to the hospital and meet our niece, then a day at the beach. That never happened. On the Friday before, Dori, my sister, wasn’t feeling Maddie moving around. Dori worked at a doctor’s office and had an ultrasound at work. They found a heartbeat, but no movement. They sent her to her midwife. The sonogram there showed the same thing, but also showed a spot on her brain. I got the call around 11:00 AM or so. I flew out of work and to the hospital. They were going to do the c-section at 5:00 PM, at 3:00 PM and ended up taking her around 1:30 PM. It took awhile, longer than it should. I went to the nurses station, where they wouldn’t meet my eyes. They told me Dori was still back there, they were stitching her up. I asked, “Is my sister OK?” The reply, ‘Yes, your SISTER is fine.” I knew not to ask about Maddie. The news wouldn’t be good and they wouldn’t tell me anyway.

The plan after delivery was that Matt, my BIL, would stay with Maddie and be with her in what I termed the “Baby Zoo”. It’s a room with a glass window so you can see the baby getting weighed, cleaned up, etc. Instead, Matt and Kathy, the midwife, came out to us without Maddie. She wasn’t breathing on her own and they weren’t sure exactly what was going on, only that she was very sick. Time stopped. This wasn’t the plan. This wasn’t supposed to be happening.

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They finally brought Dori out into recovery. Matt stayed with Maddie. A sonogram of Maddie’s head showed a small bleed on her brain, about 4 mm. Around 6:00 PM, Joe DiMaggio sent an ambulance to pick Maddie up. Now, not being airlifted at this point meant one of two things – either she wasn’t that sick, or she was so sick that time really didn’t matter. The latter turned out to be true.

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I stayed in Boca with Dori, after a brief trip home for supplies and Matt went with Maddie. Around midnight I was falling asleep when I heard Dori sobbing into the phone. Maddie’s pupils were fixed and dialated and they didn’t know how much time she had. They weren’t sure she was going to make it through the night. We needed to get to Hollywood. I went to the nurses station and they got us ready to go. (The nurses at Boca Regional Hospital were AMAZING!!!)  So I drove to Joe DiMaggio like Mario Andretti. When we got there, the doctor said things were not as dire as we were told, but they weren’t good either. So back to Boca we went.

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The next morning, I went to Joe D and Matt went back to Boca. That night marked my first night in the hospital for the week. There was nothing they could do for Maddie, and our family needed to make decisions on how to proceed. Luckily, everyone was on the same page. Living with no brain function wasn’t living. But there are things that needed to happen before we could let her go.

And here is where I picked up. Interesting how time changes perspectives and views. Here’s a Reader’s Digest version of the rest of the story.

The plan was to donate Maddie’s organs. They had to determine that there was NO brain activity. They did numerous brain scans, which showed blood flow. It was flowing the wrong way, but that still created a problem. The head of the ethics committee happened to be one of Maddie’s doctors, so after a meeting, we were able to let Maddie go. Her heart was donated to a baby in Arkansas who sadly didn’t survive. Some organs were donated for research.

Here is what I have learned…

  1. Donating the organs of an infant is heartbreaking and difficult, especially when you can’t find a match for them. It makes sense though, since most children aren’t born so sick and need older organs.
  2. The entire staff at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is made up of amazing and special people. They treat the whole family, not just the patient.
  3. Even in the face of tragedy, you can laugh. Maddie had her first and only girl’s night when my friends Sara and Jen came over to play Rummikub. Laughter is healing and necessary.
  4. Not everyone “gets it”. I had a co-worker tell me that this didn’t happen to me. Losing a baby in your family happens to everyone. Trust me.
  5. Everyone has a story better than yours and worse than yours. I had 4 miscarriages and they were early on. I have had friends and family lose babies at 5 months of gestation, have to make life or death decisions regarding their babies, have healthy babies, adopt babies they later realize are very sick, the list goes on and on. Appreciate your life and what’s in it.
  6. My kids are amazing. When all of this happened, we didn’t want them to see Maddie all hooked up to tubes. We brought them to the hospital to see Dori and they asked to see Maddie. A counselor at Joe D talked to them (see comment #2) and they spent time with their cousin. Children are amazingly resilient and loving.
  7. Death can bring healing. Family members who haven’t talked in years bridged the divide and became close once again. Things like this make you realize what’s important.
  8. My sister and BIL are two of the strongest people I know. Period.
  9. Our family as a whole is strong as a rock.
  10. Without Maddie, there would be no Gabby. Our niece, Gabrielle Hope Pritikin was born 11 months after Maddie died. She is such a happy, joyous little girl with a very special guardian angel looking out for her.

We often think of Maddie and miss her. But I think the mourning for her is the loss of what could have been, the possibilities, the hope. She never suffered and was surrounded by love during her short time here. You could feel her spirit in the room, and while the situation was tragic, there was rarely a pall of sadness in the room. It was almost as if she wouldn’t allow it. Nurses fought over being with her. I think they could feel her joy, too.

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Today marks two years since Maddie came into our lives. It seems like yesterday and a million years ago, all at the same time. RIP our MVP. We love you, miss you and honor you.

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The Summer Of Sara…Part One

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Last year, after a VERY long school year, I declared my break The Summer of Sara. While this sounds egotistical on its face, it’s a take off on a Seinfeld episode, The Summer of George. However, as the saying goes, you plan, G-d laughs. The summer started out pretty good: I took a staycation with my best friend in July. Upon returning from this trip, Toby told me he had been laid off. The Summer Of Sara turned into the Summer of Shopping at Aldi and Clipping Extra Coupons. Toby and I got to spend time together, but it wasn’t exactly relaxing and rejuvenating. He ended up with the perfect job as Manager of PR, Social Media and Community Events at Truly Nolen. He TRULY couldn’t be happier. (See what I did there? 😉 )

Gabby, our niece, was born in July. I returned to work the following school year in a new position, as technology special teacher. Toby started his new job. Riley was a younger in a new multiage class. Bailey entered middle school as a 6th grader (why won’t they stop growing up?!?!?!) Life plodded along and was good.

The school year ended and summer began. This year, I wasn’t jinxing anything. I had some plans in the works, but was cautiously optimistic. What ensued was the most AMAZING summer ever, but what made it amazing were the connections that were created or strengthened.

Let’s start with June. Summer began with dental surgery. I’ll spare you the gory details but I HATE the dentist and this wasn’t exactly a promising start to my summer. Surprisingly, the surgery and recovery was much easier than I expected. I had a MUCH better dentist than I shared in the link, lol. Things were looking up.

 

Our first trip was to Orlando, where Toby had to work the Mascot Games. Perfect! Time together, time on my own, all in time for our anniversary.

Before we got to the games, we had to stop at Truly Nolen to pick up the tickets.

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On the way there, traffic was a bit backed up. Turns out, the Presidential Motorcade was on its way to meet with the families of the Pulse tragedy. We didn’t get stuck in traffic and got to see the motorcade! #ThanksObama

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This is most likely the closest I will ever to be to a sitting President #LameClaimToFame

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For dinner that evening, we dined with the people the Mascot Games benefits. They were inspiring! New Hope for Kids, the charity the Mascot Games benefits, is similar to the Make a Wish Foundation.

Friday, I had the day to myself. One perk of being a teacher is free admission into Sea World. I love roller coasters and Mako was open! Score! Off to Sea World I went. There was a line to get back to Mako, but no worries, I had all day. Two hours later, the ride was still broken…

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Being that it was starting to rain, I headed out of the park. Remember that dental surgery I mentioned? Well, that came with instructions for no exercise for a week. I found out why when I ran to the car to beat the rain. While my mouth was throbbing, I did mostly beat the rain and was still thrilled that I COULD run most of the way.

Making lemonade from lemons, I headed over to The Pointe Orlando for some shopping.

 

To celebrate our 15th anniversary, we went to dinner at Artist Point, reliving some of our Disney honeymoon.

From there we headed over to Winter Summerland Mini Golf. This is the BEST mini golf ANYWHERE. If you haven’t gone, GO!

Next stop, Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney. We had a beverage at The Boathouse. We have eaten there before and I HIGHLY recommend the filet sliders. And if you have a little extra cash you don’t know what to do with, you can drive a boat in the lake that’s also a car!!! #BucketList

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On Saturday, Toby had to work, so my sister Dori came in with Gabby to take advantage of the hotel pool. This girlie loves the water just like her cousins. From there, we hit the mall and shopped til we dropped!

Saturday night we went to see Central Intelligence at AMC Disney Springs Fork and Screen. I thought the movie was great, but the The Rock could pretty much read the phone book and I’d watch it, lol.

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After the movie, we went to Howl at the Moon to see our friend Ken play and met up with our friends Scott and Ellen. Us old folk actually went out for dessert after that too and we were out until after 1:00 AM!!!! That’s quite a feat these days, lol.

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Sunday was Father’s Day and we headed back home to Frick and Frack.

And so began the REAL Summer of Sara. Stay tuned, more to come…

Hidden Jewel in Florida

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Last week, I was fortunate to participate in the #LBTSHotelTour (Lauderdale By The Sea Hotel Tour), sponsored by Mugsy PR. While I have lived in Florida most of my life, I had no clue these gorgeous hotels existed! While at first glance, many aren’t much to look at from the outside, but they are all fully renovated inside. The rooms are comfortable and modern and each hotel has its own special charm.

We started the evening at the Driftwood Beach Club. We were greeted with snacks and champagne sponsored by Sea Watch. Our tour guide for the evening, Christine Ferris of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Food Tours and Pompano Beach Food Tours explained our evening was going to work. We were walking or riding on the Sun Trolley to 10 different hotels, each one a Silver Starfish Preferred Hotel.

At the Driftwood, you can enjoy a pool with the only diving board in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, beautiful rooms, shuffleboard, and the surf and sun of the beach.

 

Our next stop was High Noon Beach Resort. Our stop started with the owners telling us about the origins of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. This hotel has been here before there was a bridge at Commercial Blvd. and the owners were the first to drive over the bridge when it was built! The rooms have balconies in front where you can relax and enjoy the amazing view of the beach.

Next up, Tides Inn. When you enter the courtyard, you are greeted by Escalero Roja, The Red Staircase. This interesting piece of artwork is a sight to see. And you can enjoy it while you are on the ellipticals in the courtyard. Given all the good food around, these will come in handy! And working out with a view of the ocean can’t be beat! I wish I had a bit more time to work off the delicious chocolate covered strawberries from Jan’s Homemade Candies.

 

Have a fur baby you don’t want to leave behind? The Beachside Village Resort is the hotel for you! It’s the only hotel in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea where you can vacation with your pets. Are you a Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins or Celtics fan? The owners, originally from New England, host viewing parties for the games, as well as bus trips to the games when their teams are in town. Hotel guests are treated to a delicious BVR punch poolside, as well as first come, first serve cabanas.

 

Our next stop we were transported to the Southwest at the Blue Seas Courtyard. This hotel is appointed with eclectic Mexican and Southwestern artwork. The rooms are kitchy and interesting. The pool has a beautiful Mexican tile Art Gallery. I am partial to all the froggy artwork, as my children were both Froggy Friends when they were in school.

 

Ocean Reverie is known for his winding, mid-century staircase that lets guests make a grand entrance into the pool area. Old school art deco décor meets modern convenience with flat panel tvs and wireless internet in all the one bedroom apartments. Great place for a quick getaway or a longer stay with full kitchens.

 

Known for their orange pool furniture, the Sea Cliff Motel was a treat. Also a motel with one bedroom apartments, every room has a view of the pool or the ocean. Need to have a working vacation? Wifi is available throughout the property. Working isn’t so bad doing it poolside. And be sure to check out their herb garden!

 

This hotel is the one I’m hoping to stay at next summer. A bunch of friends from high school and I get together once a year for our own reunion. This year, the plan is a beach vacation. Sunny Shores’ four bedroom apartment will be perfect for this! The apartment sleeps 10 and has a huge private balcony. With another room or two, we will all be able to stay close to each other and save some money by utilizing the full kitchen to prepare meals.

 

The Sea Spray and Santa Barbara are sister hotels that share a pool. Once again, one bedroom apartments make for a comfortable stay. The Sea Spray is owned by Canadians Serge and Josie. Josie has vacationed here since she was three years old! Santa Barbara guests get to take home a stuffed teddy bear with a tag asking for a Trip Advisor review. What a great souvenir of your vacation!

 

Our final hotel stop was the Windjammer Resort. They are known for their webcam, so if you need a beach fix, check it out. When you arrive at the hotel, you are greeted by a beautiful mural painted by an employee of the hotel. The rooms are comfortable and stocked with a goodie basket for you to enjoy. There are two pools to relax by, as well as the beautiful beach.

 

We boarded the Sun Trolley one last time and headed to Coast Boutique. This shop has a little bit of everything, art work, jewelry, soaps and lotions, sculptures, photographs all by local artists. On Wednesdays, they host a wine and cheese event with live music and a featured artist. For our event, Aruba’s Beach Café provided margaritas and sandwiches.

 

On our tour, we had our very own paparazzi with A Wedding For You photographing us. Christopher’s Garden of Love Florist provided gorgeous arrangements for the participating hotels.

Florida has so many wonderful beaches and hidden jewels. Those of us in South Florida are lucky to have this in our backyard. So if you’re looking for a staycation or a getaway from the cold, you can’t go wrong with Lauderdale-by-the-Sea!

The Day of 22,021 Steps

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I have a FitBit and love it. I’m a bit competitive by nature and like having goals to work towards. The FitBit helps with both of those things. This is the journey of the most steps I’ve ever logged in a day…

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We got up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to head over to Sunset Water Sports to go on a snorkeling trip. I’ve been looking forward to this for months. Even more so when we went to Peanut Island a few weekends ago and went snorkeling. I even bought a waterproof camera for the occasion. However, it was raining when I woke up; raining and windy. We headed out to breakfast at Dunkin Donuts when we got the call the trip was canceled. While I totally understand and wouldn’t want to go out on a boat if it’s not safe, I was disappointed. We headed back to The Reach to regroup.

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Our pass from the Key West Attraction Association got us into almost all the museums on the island, so we had a lot of options. We also had a 3:00 boat trip with Fury, so we had to plan accordingly. Our first stop was the Southernmost Point statue to take a picture. Because, you know, you can’t go to Key West and NOT take this picture. I think there’s a law about it or something. We also found a new statue to take a picture with as well. Any of our friend that were at TedX with us a few years ago will really appreciate this one.

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Next we went to one of our favorite attractions in Key West, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. The first part of the conservatory tells you all about butterflies. Their life cycles, the different species, how to plant gardens to attract them, etc. Then you walk through two sets of doors into a butterfly paradise. There’s a winding path through beautiful foliage where you are surrounded by butterflies fluttering around. This trip, we saw more of them and they got closer to us than ever before. Now, we feel a connection to our niece Maddie whenever we see butterflies, so this trip was extra special. We spent a good half hour here, taking pictures, Toby did a periscope and then headed out through another set of double doors into a room with mirrors where you check for hitchhiking butterflies. Apparently they like to escape now and then.

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From here, we got on the Old Town Trolley Tour. There are a few trolley tours, but this one gives you two days for the price of one and you can hop on and off. We rode the trolley to Duval street where we shopped at the Pride festival. Then it was time for lunch. I’m not a huge fan of tapas, but two people recommended Santiago’s Bodega to us, one of them being Stephanie, so we headed over for lunch. Much to our surprise, Stephanie and her husband Ari had just gotten there a few minutes before we arrived. So we got to have a bonus meet up with our friends. Lunch consisted of avocado and pear salad, spanakopita, chicken skewers, camembert wedge, brussel sprouts, saganaki ( you MUST get this – it’s flambéed cheese, ‘nough said), patatas bravas, puff pastery, and quesadillas. I didn’t have the patatas bravas as I don’t eat spicy food, but everything else was DELICOUS. If you have the opportunity to go here, go! Oh, and the white sangria was delicious as well.

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After stuffing ourselves we took the trolley to the marina. Only problem was we got on the trolley going the wrong way and weren’t going to make it in time. Off the trolley we went and hopped into a cab. We got to Fury and were told that the parasailing was canceled and the rest of the water sports we were going to do would be very rough. We had booked a boat ride to a place in the ocean where we would ride jet skis, kayak, take a banana boat ride, parasail and play on water toys (trampoline, slide, etc). We called to confirm the boat was going out, which it was, but they didn’t inform us of the limitations when we called. And choppy seas and swimming and jet skiing just didn’t sound like much fun to us. The people at Fury were very accommodating and put us on a sunset cruise at 6:30. What to do now…

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One of our friends recommended a donut shop that was off of Duval street, Glazed Donuts, so we headed over there, stopping at some shops on the way. However, by the time we got to Glazed Donuts, they were sold out. That’s what happens when you try to go to a gourmet donut shop at 4:00 in the afternoon. So we headed over to Kermit’s for key lime pie. Much like the Southernmost Point photo, you have to have a piece of pie at Kermit’s. It’s simply delicious. And we got to watch the show that was Duval Street and the Pride festival while we ate it. Bonus!

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We walked off some of the pie (probably two or three bites of it) and went to the Hemingway House. We went here on our last trip, but didn’t get to take the tour. This time, we toured. Hemingway really has a fascinating story and I recommend this tour on your Key West trip. And if you like cats, they are everywhere. They name them after famous people in the Hemingway era. We met Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Duke Ellington, to name a few.

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By the time we finished up there, it was time for dinner. Yay, more food! Alonzo’s has a fantastic Happy Hour every day from 4:00 – 6:00. ALL drinks and appetizers are half off. Yes, you read that right. So for dinner, we had smoked fish dip, conch fritters, clams casino, Key West oysters (it had spinach, oysters, cheese and some other good stuff) and a Key Lime martini. It was like a piece of key lime pie in a class. Soooooo good!!!!

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After dinner we did a little shopping on the docks and headed to our cruise on the Fury Commotion. They had margaritas, beer, wine and snacks. Margaritas FTW! Being that the weather was crappy all day and it was still a bit overcast, it wasn’t the greatest sunset. But the crew on the boat was great, the music was fun and they capped off the night with champagne. Bubbles, another no-no for bariatric patients. But I guess if you’re gonna break the rules, might as well go all out…

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Since we spent the day schlepping around in a bathing suit that never got wet, we headed back to the hotel to shower and rest for a bit. Then we walked over to Better Than Sex for dessert. The problem with this place is you need to go with about 10 people. That way you can get one of everything on the menu and not have to chose. Because it was next to impossible to choose our dessert. We settled on the donut holes with cheesecake fondue, a peanut butter pie with cookie dough crust and an amazing coffee. The names of the desserts are naughty, but I can’t remember them and they weren’t on the web site. You will have to check this place out yourself and taste some of the amazing dessert creations. The chef has no formal training, which make her talent all the more special. Make a reservation early though or you won’t get to experience this culinary delight.

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After this, we headed back to The Reach. Throughout the day, we walked 22,021 steps, which equals 9.32 miles and 2,829 calories burned. I’m still scared to get on the scale when I get home. That’s a lot of walking, which is great, but it was a lot of eating.

Tune in next time for more of our Key West adventures.

Key West, Take Three…

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A few years ago, we headed down to Key West to celebrate our anniversary. We loved the trip so much, we decided to make it a yearly tradition, complete with a hashtag (#SrebKeys,#SrebKeys# this time). This is what happens in a social media family folks. This was our third trip and we were so lucky to be generously given passes to many attractions in the Keys by The Key West Attractions Association. All opinions are my own though. Anyone who knows me would know that anyway 😉

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We left at the crack of dawn to head down and make a 1:00 kayak tour at Key West Eco Tours. On the way, we stopped at Robbie’s to feed the Tarpon. If you haven’t done this, do it! Toby did it awhile ago and told me about it. I didn’t think much of it, but when you see these HUGE fish swimming and snapping for the treats you are throwing into the water, it’s pretty amazing.

We continued on our way to beautiful Key West. We had lunch at Geiger Key Marina. A delicious hog fish Caesar salad fueled our kayaking adventure.

The check-in at Key West Eco Tours was easy and amusing. They person working the desk was very funny and friendly. We got checked in, outfitted with waterproof bags for our gear and were on our way.

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Joe was our tour guide and he was very knowledgeable and helpful. He was extra helpful when we got stuck in the turtle grass…and the rocks…

We paddled over to a mangrove and then through a mangrove in a tunnel. It was so peaceful, but all kinds of creatures. We saw crabs, coral, fish, all part of the amazing ecosystem that makes up the Florida waterways.

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From there, we went on to explore more mangrove areas, always on the lookout for fish, sharks, sponges and jellyfish. We, and by we, I mean Joe, found a hermit crab in a conch shell. There were actually two hermit crabs and much speculation about why there were two of them all tangled up.

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Joe scooped up one of the many jellyfish that were around us and put it in his high tech specimen jar for us to get a closer look. So I took a selfie and all I could think of was Spongebob and his jellyfish obsession.

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We headed back to the dock right at 3:00, tired, but with many pictures and memories of a beautiful day at sea.

Our next stop was the beautiful Reach hotel. We have stayed at the sister property, Casa Marina, on our last two trips. They are both gorgeous hotels and I can highly recommend them both. The one advantage of The Reach for us is it’s a bit closer to everything. We park the car when we get to Key West and rarely use it again, so I think we will make The Reach our home for our next trip.

Stay tuned for more of our travel adventures…

My New Shoes

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PeteMy kids both had an amazing teacher, Mrs. Goldstein. Bailey had her for first grade, Riley for K/1 as a multiage student. I tell people she’s the teacher I want to be when I grow up. She has several books around the room for kids to write in when things happen to them. Things that are important to a child. Things such as loosing a tooth and getting a new pair of shoes. I got a new pair of shoes. This would be my entry into the New Shoes book…

I have a new pair of shoes on my feet. They make me fly. They are magical. They help me walk. They help me run. The are black with blue and green on them. The laces are black and made of suede, which is so cool because they are unique like me. Well, we are all unique really. When I put my shoes on my feet, I feel like I can do anything. They are soooo comfortable and when I put them on, I feel like I’m walking on air. I love my new shoes. They help me outrun the zombies that chase me on my run. Those Zombs will never catch me with my new shoes on my feet. I’m so glad I got my new shoes and that I am taking them on this journey…or are they taking me. I suppose we are taking it together. So here’s to new shoes and all the joy they bring. I will love them even when they are old and tattered because they were here at the beginning of important change.

It Started Where It All Began

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Today, I ran my first 5K. I’m starting to train to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Feb. It’s been on my bucket list for awhile and when I got an e-mail announcing sign ups, I decided this was a good a time as any. The run I did today was Run for Ribbons to support autism and it was housed at Boca Regional Hospital. This is where my niece Maddie was born, but she was transported to Joe DiMaggio shortly after her birth. The short version of her story is she had brain cancer in utero and survived for a week before donating her heart to a baby in Arkansas. I will post the long version another time.

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In the short time that Maddie was here, she touched so many lives and changed us all forever. You cannot hold a baby that you love more than you can express, knowing that she’s not going to survive and that your gift to her is letting her go. Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 9.34.33 AM

So the run. I posted the day before that I am training for this 13.1 mile run and that I am going to be one of those annoying runners who posts stuff all  the time. I need the motivation. I need the accountability. I need my head examined, lol. The support I have already received has been amazing. I am truly blessed to have so many people in my corner.  My friend Kristi suggested I get the Zombie 5K run app. It had great reviews, so I thought I’d give it a go. The app is great! It has a story line and then plays your music in-between. What I can’t seem to figure out is how to change the song selection. So I was at the mercy of fate with my music. Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 9.38.23 AM

I was about halfway through when a song from the Smash soundtrack came on (if only I could figure out which one). I started thinking about the half marathon and that I am dedicating it to Maddie. I lost it. I was a sobbing mess. I had to wave off another runner and tell her I was OK, as I sobbed and ran. Everything just hit me. The sadness of losing Maddie, the pain of my family, the joy and sadness the other family must have felt getting her heart, everything. And then, she was there. I could feel her beside me. The run got easier for awhile and I was fine. Then I would hear lyrics to another song and lose it all over again. But through it all, I know that she’s with me. I know that this journey I’m on is the right one. I will be healthier and stronger and will connect with her when I run.

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To all of you joining me and supporting me on the is journey, I thank you. Your support means the world to me and helps me to keep going. I hope that I will inspire you to your own journey.