Friday, November 9, 2012


As some of you know, we were blessed with our sweet baby girl Ryan in September 2006. Later in October 2006 when Ryan was nearly five weeks old, our world was turned upside down. We had just celebrated bringing a healthy, happy baby into the world. Then, that amazing high crashed down to the lowest of low. It was literally new life to near death. However, with the grace of God and one of the best neurosurgeons around, I was able to leave the hospital within five days. ALIVE! I was so excited to be able to spend my first holiday with my tiny daughter. After all, Halloween was only a week away. I had my costume, but still needed to get Ryan's together. Hers was sweet; which cracks me up now to see what she comes up with. She went from a sweet, tiny fairy, to Tinkerbell, to an Imagination Mover/Cat, to a ladybug, to a Vampire Bat, and this year a Zombie Shark. I can only take credit for the first two. Once she realized she could choose, it was all her. I love her imagination! My first Halloween costume with her was easy. It was a giant horseshoe shaped stapled scar on my head, and it was real scary. . .

Happiest Day EVER!
Crappiest Day, but glad to be alive.
Sexiest haircut ever! Too bad Brittany freaked out and shaved her head. She beat me to the punch.

With our first holiday under our belts, it was almost time for our next . . . THANKSGIVING! This year I knew I had two things to be thankful for, and I will spend the rest of my days being thankful that I have been able to see my girlie grow for the last six years. I always look forward to, and will always be thankful for all the days I have with her, and hope I will be around for a long time. It was a very memorable holiday. I was surrounded be friends and family at my house, and can remember sitting there thinking how different that Thanksgiving could have been.

The holidays were rapid fire at this point. We moved right into Christmas season. Your child's first Christmas is always special. As the parents, we get to go crazy and make memories that only we will remember. After all, Ryan was only three months old. She had no idea what what going on around her. She was happy just being held, fed, changed, and loved. Of coarse, we were more than happy to do so. Once again, I sat back and watched my new family. Completely thankful to be there. Later that afternoon, our family and friends came over to celebrate with us. It was so surreal. My hubs, my mom, my pops, my sister, my grandparents, my cousins, my aunts and uncles, and my friends all shared a special moment with me. Each one of them let me know how thankful they were that we had Ryan, and I was still here. It was truly the best Christmas of my life. At one point, I just sat back and watched. I had a quick passing thought of how I could have so easily not been there. Then, replaced with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and thankful that I was there. I will never forget that feeling. 

Which leads me to the point of this post . . . It was Ryan's first Christmas, and the hubs wanted to get her some special gifts for her on his own. I always did all the Christmas shopping, but he wanted to get her something special from him. He came home with a load of books. She was 3 months old, and this was her first Christmas. I was impressed. He spent hours in the book store picking out the perfect books for her. Two of the books were written by Todd Parr. These books were big, bold, and colorful. However, they were so much more than that. Behind these bright colors and kid-like drawings was a message. One of my favorite messages from Todd's books is the one that lets children know it's okay to be different, and teaches compassion. As Ryan has gotten older, I can see the impact of those messages.  One example that comes to mind is how she responds to someone in a wheelchair; especially someone young. My thoughts go back to a page in his book that has a child in a wheelchair, and it is made relatable. It was a subtile message, but one that I realize had sunk in. It was indeed okay to be different, because we all are; yet we are somewhat the same. The other messages I take from his books are how to be silly and fun. It's a great reminder for parents. After all, it is okay to eat macaroni in the bathtub every once in awhile, right? 

Ryan's journey into reading began early on. Those Todd Parr books her daddy got her for Christmas are very special to all of us. In fact, she reads them to us now. Even to this day, we do not leave the library without a Todd Parr book. She loves reading along with Todd on his audio books on her tablet, and loves to play the Underwear App game on my phone. She also has a special place in her heart for Bully, and loves Pete and Tater Tot!

These are just some of the many things I am thankful for. I would love to hear what you are thankful for this year as we move into this holiday season. It is a wonderful time to reflect, and be grateful for what we have. You never know what tomorrow might bring.

I'm excited about my first give-a-way!

Here's your chance to receive an autographed copy of Todd Parr's The Thankful Book.  Please leave a comment below, and tell me what you are thankful for. I look forward to reading about what you are thankful for this year. I will pick a winner on Friday, November, 16th at noon.




  1. Kari,
    I am so thankful to have be given the opportunity to discover you and Ryan, and to develop this beautiful friendship. We are so lucky that you are here to share your story, and to remind us how important it is to practice gratitude every day.
    Thank you for sharing the gift of yourself with all of us.
    I am thankful for Twitter, and my dad who uses it. He led me to Michele at ODNT, who led me to Mel, who led me to you.
    Thank you for being you. Thank you for sharing you Zombie Shark.
    Love to you both.

  2. Thank you Amy for your lovely words. Everyday is a reminder, but I still have to stop and think how lucky I am. It's so easy to take things for granite.

    I too feel so lucky to have found you and your family through this crazy twitter thing. If I recall, I knew Mel who led me to ODNT, and then she led me to you guys. I love when the world gets smaller.

  3. Amy says things so well. Thanks Kari. Thanks Amy.

  4. I'm thankful my socks don't have holes in them.

    (Your thankfulness is much cooler!)
    Happy thanks to you and all your family!

    1. Thanks Guap! Unholy socks are always a bonus; especially if they match!

  5. I am thankful for July 13, 2011. The day I found out my (then) 5 month old daughter did NOT have cancer. Best. News. Ever.

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story!


    1. I can only imagine how much if a relief that was. It's one thing to go through something as an adult, but when it's your child? No words. I'm so thankful for the way that turned out for your family.

    2. It's my go-to thought when things get crazy with the kids and I want to scream. It could always be worse. A lot worse!

  6. I am thankful that for the past 13 months no one in my life has been diagnosed with cancer. This is a big deal for me! Prior to this I had a period of 3 years where I lost multiple loved ones to cancer. I have continued to deal with the affects of those losses(both mental and physical) to this day. So I say with great scorn F@#K YOU CANCER!! Kari, you are an amazing woman! Thank you for sharing your story! Love you! xx Btw this is my 4th attempt to post this!! #idiot

    1. You've been through hell and back. I'm so thankful that you and your family has had it through the last 13 months without cancer invading your lives. THAT is a big deal! xo