I am honored and flattered and strangely speechless about being the first feature in my friend Erin’s new series, Show Me YOUR Roots.

The prompt is to write about what brought you to the place you are in now — personally, professionally, in regards to your blogging/writing.

I hope you’ll click over and read. Erin is a brilliant writer and I’m sure you’ll want to add her site to your reader as well.



They Love Him Before He’s Even Born

They Love Him Before He’s Even Born

I don’t know exactly when or how I met Jason and Denise (aka @iHubby and @snazzy_mcgee) but it was honestly love at first tweet. It’s probably been at least a year and a half now. Internet time is so strange!

You may remember Jason from the great National Championship BlogBet as he’s an Oregon fanatic and well, Auburn won! 

I think the most amazing thing about Jason and Denise has got to be their spirit. Even though I’ve never met them or even talked to them on the phone, I know that they are special people. They’ve had some setbacks (cancer and lingering effects of it) but are on a mission to become the most amazing parents ever. I mean, if I were in the market for new parents, which I’m not because mine are kinda cool, I’d totally be heading out to Oregon so they could take me to school, make me clean my room and pay for my college! Because that would be awesome to make Jason pay for me to go to Auburn again, right?

I asked Denise to share their story with all of you. Jason has told their story from his side but I know there’s another side to the story. The side from the wife who stood by his bedside, who mourned the loss of an innocent adulthood and who mourns the loss of the ability to have their own biological children. But also from her side is hope. Lots and lots of it. She IS truly snazzy. 

What am I waiting for? Here she is: Snazzy, I mean, Denise! 


It’s a pretty risky deal to start off a guest post with telling you about my dream, because who actually reads long-winded diatribes that aren’t real? Especially the dreams of someone you don’t even know? I hate reading about people’s dreams, and in the interest of your time I will keep this short and sweet: I dreamed that my husband and I had three children delivered to us by a stork, and even though I didn’t physically have the kids I knew that they were ours.

This was before my husband, Jason, had cancer. It was before they removed his testicle and before he went through chemo, though he went on to do all of that.

When I had the dream, our lives were fairly inane and remained that way until two weeks shy of our first wedding anniversary. That’s when he thought he had a stomach bug that turned out to be a lump in his left teste. We went to the ER on Sunday night. They removed the tumor and teste to which it was attached on Tuesday morning. On Friday morning we got the dianosis: cancer.

He went through two rounds of chemotherapy and we were instructed to wait six months before trying to have children. We weren’t really ready to have kids then, but at his year-after-chemo doctor’s visit, we requested a sperm analysis be done. Four days later we found out he had no sperm.

That stung more than the cancer diagnosis. Despite never having imagined myself pregnant, I felt crushed. I always figured it would be something I would do eventually and I was starting to warm up to the idea of morning sickness and loss of bladder control.

Having the choice of pregnancy be ripped away from me was more painful than I ever thought it would be. I mourned for myself a little bit; I mourned for the loss of options. One night I had a full-blown pity party, ugly, snot filled cry present and accounted for. Not my finest hour, no, but it was absolutely necessary.

It’s hard to explain why I was sad about something I never thought I wanted; I suppose because the alternative was so foreign that I was scared. I was scared of all of the waiting and the money and the telling my child that she’s adopted and having her hate me; I was scared of being different and unable to relate to my friends who did not adopt. I was angry that so much had happened to us in the past two years; I was pissed because it wasn’t fair. Juvenile, right?

I’m better now. We both are. It’s been six months since the sperm-free confirmation and our irrational fears and hesitancy have been dealth with. I still get little twinges of jealousy and I still sometimes have near-hyperventilation experiences when I think about how long this will take and how expensive it will be, but we will find a way.

We are ready to be parents, and as that is our ultimate goal, becoming parents through adoption meets those needs to a tee. We will provide a safe home, a home that fosters creativity and uniqueness.

There will never be a day that our child does not know how much we love him and that how special he is for being chosen twice: once by his birth mother who chose to carry him and let him go, and once by us, his parents, who loved him before he was even born.


She didn’t mention it, so I will. There has been a Chipin site set up for them to help offset some of the fees that it will take to make their adoption happen. It’s a long process and every little bit will help them make it happen sooner than later. It’s quick and easy to donate a couple of dollars… They won’t agree to naming rights though, I already asked! 

Denise and Jason, thank you for sharing your story and opening your heart to a sweet soul who will possibly never understand how much he/she was loved well before they were even born! 

Are You In?

The other day, I volunteered at my son’s school for Lunch Bunch. I was disgusted by the table manners of the children as a whole. My Henry is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but he does use his utensils (not his hands), uses his napkin (not his arm) and chews with his mouth closed. I expressed my disgust on Facebook and Twitter and a dialog started. Where have manners in general gone? Are parents not teaching them?

I asked my friend Kate if she would like to talk a bit about manners on here. She is a certified Business Etiquette Consultant. That’s fancy words for training and goading work forces toward productive and polite behavior. She’s the author of The Civilized Minute and also writes a blog under the same name.

Thank you, Kate, for agreeing to share with my readers about the importance of recognizing those teachable moments! Take it away…

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Childrens’ manners. Ugh. I am entrenched in the etiquette world and I even say ugh.

But, let’s be honest. It’s not the children that deserve the ugh. Kids don’t come into this world knowing not to stare at their friend’s dad’s ear hair. They must be told.

Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. I have 2 of my own. I mean we have 2 of our own…I keep forgetting The Hubs had a little something to do with it. A daughter who is 12, tall, witty… and holds her tea glass as if it were a baseball bat. A son who is 9, a practical joker, is very good at math…and usually smells very bad (although I recently discovered that smelling bad is a direct outcome of letting the dog lick your face). I love them dearly, but they are still kids who tend to act ridiculous in the very situations where I would prefer savvy over real.

When I’m conducting business etiquette training, here is an exercise I do with most groups. I ask each person to write the word ‘attitude’ vertically along the left margin of their paper. For each letter in the word, they are to write a characteristic of a person with a good attitude. For example, A might be ‘always offers to help a coworker’, T might be ‘takes criticism well’ and so on. After the lists are made, I ask this question: How do you think this person acquired all these wonderful qualities? It never fails. Someone always says “It started at home.” Or, “The way they were raised.” These are not educators or child psychologists talking here. These are just people who go to work, go to the ball field, go to the grocery store, the post office, the doctor’s office.

I couldn’t agree more with their comments. Instruction on how to appropriately interact with other people does begin at home and it begins early. After a visit to her son’s school cafeteria, Jana thinks so, too. That’s why she asked me write this post. And, after watching a tween- aged child speak horribly to her mother in the grocery store (I would have been tempted to douse her with that Cool Whip that poor lady was holding) and after watching a grown man display some serious aggression toward the middle school basketball game referee, I told her I was IN.

We recycle paper and plastic to ensure a healthy earth for our future generations. We also have a responsibility to ensure a civil and courteous America by teaching our children the importance of simply being nice. You see, there is a fine line between ethical behavior and etiquette. And, it blurs with each passing childhood year. You start with teaching a toddler to look at someone’s eyes when they say Hello and, before you know it, you are talking to your college son about how a man’s character can be determined by the way he greets every man, woman and child. You aren’t just telling your child to sit still and quietly in his chair while you fill out forms at the vet’s office. You are preparing him for situations you won’t always be there to guide him through. Using the correct fork and taking small bites of food may not seem terribly important to teach a 5 year old, but knowing the different ways we express our appreciation for people who do things for us is very important. Even at 5, a child can understand that it hurts Mommy’s feelings to snub her chicken casserole and even Mommies like to hear sweet words like Thank you for cooking my supper {again}. (I just added that. You don’t have to teach them to say ‘again’.)

I am happy to do what I can to make sure my 2 kids appreciate and respect the people who inhabit our world. So, I’ll take care of mine, Jana is taking care of hers, I have high hopes for the mom at the grocery store…what about you? Are you in?

For all that is relaxing and good about a shopping trip to Publix or trying to read a book in any pediatrician’s waiting room, please say Yes.

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