Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A letter to be thankful for.

Dear Hudson,

Its November, and Thanksgiving is upon us. The leaves are falling, the air is getting cooler, and you, my sweet baby, are growing so fast.

I've seen plenty of people talking about the things they are thankful for. Every day on Facebook people post about their families, their health, their jobs...everything that brings light into their life. (One day when you're older, ask me about Facebook. It may even still be around....if so, Mommy may need to delete some pictures of her that would warrant a time out.) I haven't jumped on the "thankful status" bandwagon, because I'm pretty sure every status would be about your sweet face, and lets face it....It would be no different than any other day, because you're all i ever talk about anyways.

The past few weeks you have turned into such a little ham. Everything you see makes you smile or laugh, and you try so hard to tell me about it every time! You tell me "hey!" when i walk into a room, or "oh!" when something startles you, and "no!" to...well, pretty much everything. One day soon i will finally get you to say the three words I've waited to hear since the day you were born..." i love you mommy!" What a day that will be!!! I've heard parents say that once their babies start talking they wish they had more quiet time, but honestly, you can keep saying whatever you want, because your little voice makes my heart smile every time i hear it. That, to me, is more precious than five minutes alone with a book.

Your fascination with the world around you has taught me to appreciate every little thing i hear or see everyday. The wind blowing in my face, the warmth of your hand when i hold it, the smell of the roses in our flower garden...all of it makes me feel more alive. I'm thankful for the moments when i get to watch your eyes as you observe Hercules running through the grass, and the sight of your teeny wobbly legs running after him makes me giggle. I'm thankful for the moments when you stick your little tongue out when you are concentrating on sticking your leggos together, or the way you clap your hands when you hear daddy yelling at the football game on tv. Even though you seem to like to throw fits lately, I'm thankful that you stand up for yourself already, along with showing me that even an innocent baby can have a "bad day." (Even though Mommy tells everyone you are perfect...because duh, you are!)  I'm thankful for the way your tiny little arms wrap around my neck, giving me the most comforting hug I've ever had in my life. I'm thankful for every single day because of you. No matter how bad of a day I'm having, just the thought of your smiling face perks me right back up. How lucky am i?!

You make me want to be a better person every day of my life. You have given me everything i need to survive, to be happy, to be thankful for. You have given me hope, faith, knowledge, strength, and graced me with more patience than i ever knew was possible. You have given me laughter, tears, and trusted me with all of your tiny little heart. You are the reason i am who i am today, and for that, i am forever thankful.

Thank you, my sweet Hudson, for being the light my life. Mommy will always, ALWAYS, be thankful that i have you.

I love you to the moon and back.


P.S- To everyone else, Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A daily gift from God

Ive gotten to the point where i don't want to watch the news. I want to unsubscribe from any news source on my facebook feed, or just avoid the internet all together.

(Well....maybe ill still look at Pintrest every now and then.) :)

I see things every day that break my heart into a million pieces. Murder, suicide, unexpected calls home to God. Its made me terrified of death. Not for myself...but for the one person in this world that i know i could NOT live without.

My Hudson.

I'm really not wanting to explore or even address this morbid issue on this post, but i feel like seeing things like that make me appreciate what i have more and more every day. Its a huge wake up call every time i hear of a mother losing her child, or having a child that isn't healthy like my little man. It makes me thankful for every single minute of every single day. Things will ALWAYS be okay now that this tiny little human has came into my life. (Except for the occasional poop explosion of course.)

Every day when i pick him up from daycare is like Christmas morning. The anticipation builds up all day, followed by carefully speeding to daycare, then trying to look like I'm just walking (in reality I'm sure i look like a goofball, shuffling across the floor at what some would call a slow jog) the entire way to his classroom door. I always open the door slowly, trying to catch a glimpse of what he is doing before he sees my face. (And because a part of me hopes he's just standing there, waiting for mommy...and id hate to smack him in the head with the door.)

The moment he sees me i see the overwhelming amount of unconditional love that sweeps over his face. The smile, the squeal, the laughter....it makes me feel like the most important person in the world. He takes off running as fast as his little legs can carry him and throws himself into my arms, giving me a daily reminder that THIS is what life is all about.

I can only hope that every person in this world will someday get that daily "gift". I feel like its a nudge from the big man upstairs, telling me to let go of stress from work, or anything else in my life that's causing discomfort.

Throughout my life i always questioned if i would have children someday. Hudson was a HUGE surprise, and looking back on what my life was like before him, God knew exactly what he was doing. It was time to grow up.

I was in a place where i was constantly questioning what i was doing with my life, who i was going to be, when i was finally going to find something that i was good at. As soon as Hudson entered this world, i got my answer. I was destined to be a mom. From making eye contact with him for the first time, to smelling his sweet baby breath, to hearing him laugh, to watching him take those first steps.....Dreams i never knew i had were coming true one after the other. Whisper, after whisper from God, saying "i told you so! i told you so!"

Last night i saw a news story about a local girl that took her life due to bullying. I was rocking Hudson to sleep at the time, watching every single one of my tears roll down and drop onto his blanket. Happy/"I'm so lucky" tears...and terrified tears of what he may have to endure as he gets older. I can only hope that he trusts me enough to still run to my arms any time he is going through a rough patch. I hope that he trusts me enough to know that i will ALWAYS protect him and love him, no matter what. I prayed and prayed before i laid him down, asking God over and over to keep any eye on him, and make sure that he will always be okay, because mommy would never be okay without him.

I have peace knowing that my God was listening, because he always has, and that was proven with the gift of this little man.

Everyone should count their blessings every day. Life is way too short. Whether its a child, your dog, the pretty flowers you planted outside....take it all in. Appreciate what you have, and never EVER question what the big man upstairs has planned. It all works out in the end.

Ill leave you with a quote from The Notebook...i think conveys my message appropriately. :)

"I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I've led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who's ever lived: I've loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough."

Mommy loves you, baby Hudson.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treat....or Treats!!!!

Yay! Halloween is here! I don't know why, but i just LOVE this holiday.

(And no, its not just because of the insane amounts of candy....ok, maybe a little.)

I LOVE to decorate my house for it, but sadly this year my decorations have been held hostage in our attic. I don't know how Jonathan managed to put them up in a hole in our garage with no ladder, but he did, and they've been stuck there ever since. (His neck injury+ my dads heart issues+ Jacob's broken leg have taken every mans muscles and climbing skills away from me at the moment.) For lack of a better word, ill have to go with some Halloween "lingo" and say "BOO!!!"
Sadly enough, this meant i just HAD to go shopping for some new stuff. (And by sadly i mean i happily drove my butt to Hobby Lobby. Twice. Okay, three times.) Every year i am always on the hunt for new and unique decorations for my house anyways, and there was NO way i was going the whole month without some festive ghouls and witches! ( Full of glitter and pzazz of course....Save the gooey eyeballs and scary zombies for someone else please.) This year i was disappointed in the decorations i found...but i did manage to find a couple of things that have kept me satisfied.
I just love witches! (I seriously would love to really go all out and dress as the evil witch from the Wizard of Oz...but not sure how i feel about the green paint all over my face and hands. Plus I'd probably scare the crap out of Hudson.)
This little guy is my new favorite. I'm starting to add a little purple to my collection of trinkets, and hes just so cute! The little stand he is on reminds me of a cauldron.

I hope all of you had a great Halloween. My "itsy bitsy spider" had a great time chasing all of the trick or treaters around the yard. His little legs couldn't keep up with his huge heart and love for any new adventure. Such a sweet little guy


Monday, October 24, 2011

Things i have learned

Seems to me that life has been throwing our family a lot of curve balls lately. Jons wreck...Jacob breaking his leg...my dad's surgery...its been a rollercoaster for the last few months. I've always heard that "bad" comes in three's though, so hopefully we are done for a while. If not, im locking myself and Hudson in a padded room, along with my mom and sister...who knows which one of us is next! :) (I know none of this is funny, but i keep thinking of that movie Final Destination...and ill out run the "evil" like hell if thats what it takes.)
Anyways, i feel like ive learned a lot since last Thursday. The places your mind will go when its in distress amaze me. Whether its good, bad, or just down right silly...
1. Hug your parents every chance you get. And everyone else in your family for that matter. It's good for your soul.
2. Don't ever EVER mix coffee with a monster energy drink. You will bounce around wherever you are like Forest Gump's ping pong ball.
3. If youre going to be in a hospital with a loved one for an extended amount of time, bring HEALTHY snacks. Otherwise, you will eat yourself into a cafeteria/vending machine oblivion. I never want to see a bag of skittles again.
4.No matter how much research/mental preparation you do, you will NEVER be prepared for the sight of a loved one after major surgery. The breathing machine alone will make you want to run for the hills.
5. With that said, technology AMAZES me. A machine that BREATHES for you...wow. Also, I never knew what they had to do (and thank God i didnt find out until after) to perform an open heart surgery. The bypass process shocked me. Had i known that they really did STOP my dad's heart, i probably would have had to be sedated. One of my dads best friends joked that he now has a "new" birthday since he was technically brought back to life. Safe to say we wont be blowing out any candles on October 20th every year though. No thanks!!!!
6.Hopitals are cold. Really cold. No matter how many snuggies you have, you still wont be able to feel your face.
7.If you are lucky enough to have a family like mine, thank God for them every day. While my dad was in the operating room, we had at least 25 people in the waiting room. I'm sure the other people in there thought we were crazy...but the Stracner clan knows how to support each other, and we totally do it by creating plenty of distraction from the seriousness of any situation. Silence is not my friend, and God placed all of the laughter and story telling in that waiting room for a reason.
8.Any baby can be distracted in a hospital by blowing up gloves and making "hand" balloons. Lets just hope they dont charge my dad for all of the ones that are missng from his room. :)
9. Good friends are few and far between. My dad has had the same group of friends since he was a kid, and every single one of them was there before/during/after his surgery. Im also glad im surrounded by people who care and who really know what my family needs to feel better. (Like a simple text message offering support, or even a tray full of Darrells sandwiches being delivered to the hospital....you rock Ashley Rogers!)
10. Nothing in this world beats seeing your Dad awake and smiling after going through a surgery like that. Nothing.
11. Hospital gift shops know what theyre doing. Sad people make the best shoppers. I have a new scarf/jewelry/eyeshadow/wallet to prove it.
12. Hospital cafeterias also know what theyre doing. Do you really have to offer a full home cooked meal AND pizza/chicken strips/burgers/loaded baked potaotes all at the same time!?!?!? Plus Icees and all kinds of desserts?! Which reminds me.... my diet starts today.
13. My mother proves to me time and time again that she is the strongest woman i know. She has not left my dads side ONCE since Thursday, and if she has, its only to step out of the room to cry so my dad wont see. She has held mine, Hollie's, and Jacob's hands through all of this...totally being the backbone for our entire family. Plus, any woman that will pass up a shower for a few days is totally my hero.
14. Life is so short. You never know what could happen, or if you will end up on an operating table next. Try to be healthy...put down the french fries, put down the cigarettes, and get your butt outside. Start walking, running, table dancing....whatever tickles your fancy to help you get in shape. I swear that my dads speedy recovery process has totally been fueled by the fact that he is so healthy and takes care of himself. He has made me want to be a better person. If not for myself, for Jon and Hudson. I never ever want my children/loved ones to have to see me in a hospital.
15. Make time for your family every single day of your life. Like i said, hug them. Tell them you appreciate them. And more importantly, telll them you love them. I promised myself over the weekend that i would tell my parents that EVERY day from here on out. They may get sick of it, and i may end up calling and just yelling it out then hanging up, but at least they will know that they are my entire world. And thats all that matters. :)

God is good people....God is good. =)


Thursday, October 13, 2011

A little bit of nostalgia.....

This past weekend was my ten year reunion. I never expected to feel so much emotion from just walking into the football stadium, or from seeing people i've had little to no contact with since high school. Talk about an eye opener!!!! There are so many people who mean so much to me from those days, and the even more impressive thing are the new friendships ive made over the years with people i rarely spoke to at SHHS. It really makes you wonder why you wasted time sticking to your so called "cliques" and didnt branch out more. It also made me wonder why i didn't put more of an effort to stay in touch with people who i got to be a "kid" with for so many years. We all grew up together, and experienced some of the first of "life's biggest lessons"  with each other....from bra's, to first loves, to the nervousness of that first homecoming dance, to learning what it means to be a good friend, to knowing that your friends are all you need after a guy broke your heart...Wow!!!!

Saturday night we opened up packets of stuff that we put in our time capsule. Let me just tell you, i was "that girl" who cried after reading her letter. (Thank you Renee for the hug to stop the waterworks!) I never thought as an 18 year old i'd have some sense in my head, but reading my letter really made me realize a lot about that little girl. She was strong, and ready for the world. She was hopeful, and realistic. She was smart, and wore her heart on her sleeve. She was REAL....and i want to share that girl with the rest of you.

Dear Candace,
So here you are, 10 years out of high school. I bet you wish you could go back right? Our senior year consisted of you saying that you couldn't wait to get out of this "hell hole" every single day. Do you miss your friends? Melanie, Amber, Kara, Kay, Tiffany,Vanessa, Rachel, Robin, Renee, Kerri, Alicia, Krista and many others were a huge part of your high school years. If you havent talked to them in a long time at this point in your life , or had an unresolved argument, pick up the phone and call them. Let them know how much you miss them and how important they are to you. I hope that you cherished all of the memories made with them and many others in high school, good or bad, and hopefully soon (if not now) you are sharing them with your children.
 I pray that you are finally happy with your life and that you are successful. (Hopefully college was a breeze for you.) I hope you have everything you ever wanted, including a husband that makes you happy and treats you right. I pray that you are still close to God, and love him more than ever for helping you get through life. Life is a constant battle, and if you are struggling right now, just BREATHE. Everything will be okay, it ALWAYS works out and turns out good in the end.
Remember all of the heartache over boys in high school? Seems funny now that you ever even cried about it, right? You thought you would never be alright after Rodney, but think back about how it all turned out! God had a plan Candace, he's always comminucated it. Bet you wish you would have trusted that more over the past ten years. You were and ARE still SO strong! Dont ever give up, or my 18 year old self will come back and kick your ass!
Right now as i sit at work (lifeguarding at the YMCA....yuck! Remember that job????), i think about your future. I hope you become an interior decorator. If you have kids, i hope you have 2. (One boy, one girl) I hope you have true love, and i hope your family is closer than ever. Dont freak out if none of this is true, because as long as you are happy i am SO proud of you.
Never forget all of the memories Candace. Cheering at football games, dancing your butt off at Homecoming/Proms, summer parties at Dan & Robs, all of the nights spent at Keiths, writing in chalk on Ambers walls or in marker on the top of Kays truck, singing with Melanie, the friendship with Carlin, the slumber parties with Kara, the fighting with your friends about the DUMBEST stuff....and most importantly, dont forget about ME. The 18 year old girl who hopes and prays of the BEST for herself, and knows that with God, anything is possible. I  know that you will always be okay....dont forget to tell yourself that every now and then. Dont ever forget how beautiful you are, and you mean the world to tons of people around you. You are worthy, smart, and lucky to be blessed with the life youve had so far. I love you Candace Nicole, forever and always!
P.S.- I hope you had fun in Cancun! :)

HAHA! I love the ending of this. :) What a rollercoaster of emotions. Im glad to say that this girl pushed me to reach for these goals. Im in love with a wonderful man, who will be my husband next year. (FINALLY!) I have a beautiful baby boy who makes me the happiest ive ever been. I have a great job, great friends, and my parents/siblings are my backbone/loves of my life.God has truly blessed me, and i hope hes done the same for each of you. I love you class of 02, and i hope the 18 year old in all of you still whispers in your ear every now and then. :)


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No rest for the weary....

Wow! This week has been crazy busy so far and it's only Tuesday. From trying to regroup after my wedding venue search in New Orleans with my mom this past weekend, to trying to make up for two days of lost time with Hudson, to trying to pick up after Hurricane Jonathan Anderson that happened at my house when i was gone, i'm pooped! Can a girl get a nap asap please??!! (Or maybe just a full ten uninterrupted minutes in the tub would be nice.)

Work as usual has kicked my butt as well, both figuratively and literally. (That table in the break room has GOT to go before my whole leg is black and blue!)

I've found myself taking the "easy" way out of a lot of things lately. For example-picking up fast food for dinner, hiding that hamper full of clothes that need to be folded in the closet, tossing my hair up in a ponytail and not ironing my pants..... (who has time for that anyways?!?!) It's made me realize that ive gotten away from who i really am and i'm determined for it to change. Lazy people normally make me angry, and i feel like i'm turning into one. (How that is even possible i dont know, because i never stop moving, but it's just this nagging voice in my head that i need to get rid of.)

I've GOT to get away from things that are bad for me and laziness is definitely one of them. Others- red bull, coffee, wine.....chips and dip, cookies....just bad food in general. I dont remember the last time i felt PERFECTLY healthy/well rested when i woke up in the morning. (probably pre-pregnancy, because lets face it-moms rarely get the time to care about themselves anymore)

Im determined to figure out how to start running again-i miss it so much, but cant ever find a time slot where Im completely free of mommy duties. And yes, i know there are jogging strollers, but i am so hesitant to bring my child out in this heat for long amounts of time. Maybe i will just have to resort to our treadmill.....gag.

It's also time to really start paying attention at the grocery store. Not only because i have a wedding dress to get into within the next year, but also for the health of my entire family. Any super healthy/fast/easy meal suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Sometimes it seems like eating healthy takes up way too many brain cells....not to mention a huge chunk out of my bank account.

Long story short, my main goal is just to take care of myself more in the future. Everyone else in my household gets all of my attention , (and i love giving it to them), its just time to focus on Candace every now and then. Here's hoping! :)