Samantha “Sweet Sammie J” Volmert

On February 29th I woke up, stretched, turned my alarm off, and started mindlessly scrolling Facebook. I came across several “I’m so sorry, what a terrible tragedy” type post in my newsfeed about a friend  from high school. Of course I naturally went straight to her page trying to figure out what in the world had gone so terribly wrong.

I remember frantically scrolling down and then gasping out loud. Tears sprung out and ran down my cheeks and face.

I hadn’t spoken to Keri in years, but we definitely keep up on Facebook. We’d see something on each other’s page and comment, rarely sending the other a private message…

Keri was in my home room in high school. I was always amazed by her perfect clothes and make up. Especially since I am almost 40 and still cannot do eyeliner well.

Keri was the ultimate girly girl in high school. On Facebook I would comment that “some things never change.” I am so jealous of how great her hair and make up look every day, the  girl is on fleek. She also loves football and hunting, and she’s pretty much just amazing and awesome.

However, no matter how pretty you are, how much money you have, or who you know, tragedy strikes us all. It’s part of the human experience. And tragedy struck her on February 29th. Her are her own words…

“On February 28, 2016, I changed my precious baby into her tiny nightgown, wiped her snotty little nose, walked through the living room with her in my arms as she proudly said “night night” to her Daddy and big brother. I carried her up the stairs and placed her down in her beautiful crib that was made for a princess. She cried a little bit, and I walked out of the room knowing she would be asleep within two minutes as she always was. I never would have imagined that would be the last time I would see her alive. The desperation and screeching panic in my husband’s voice the next morning as he went to retrieve her from upstairs is something I will never forget. I was in the kitchen making coffee and as soon as he screamed “Keri” I knew something was terribly wrong. I froze and he yelled my name again as he ran down the upstairs hallway. “I think Sammie is dead.” I met him as he rushed down the stairs carrying our precious angel who just hours before had been so feisty and full of life. Attempts to resuscitate her did not work and she was pronounced dead fifty minutes later at the emergency room. Even though our upstairs thermostat was set on 72 degrees cool, the heater was blasting upstairs and it felt like a sauna. The temperature registered 99 degrees on our thermostat which was as high as it could go (meaning it was over 100 degrees.) Sammie died of hyperthermia. Doctors believe she never woke up or made a sound since children (until age 3 to 5) cannot regulate their own body temperature as older children and adults are able to do. Throughout our shock and disbelief, we have researched and found cases similar to ours. Upon preparing to become a mother, I read multiple books and stories on possible dangers that could harm babies and toddlers. I knew blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, etc. could be dangerous to babies before they were a year old. Both of mine slept in sleep sacks with an angel care breathing monitor until they were one. I was such a worrier and they both stayed in bassinets in our room until they were six months old. I wish I had once read about this. There is a cheap temperature monitor I could have had-would have had If I had heard of even one instance where a child could die by a heater not turning off like it is supposed to. Our son, Jackson, is three years old and had been sleeping in our bedroom downstairs for a year because he claimed monsters were in his room! Doctors said he would have likely died if he had been in his room. We want others(especially those with two-story homes) to hear Sammie’s story so that children can be protected and other families spared from the horrific grief we are forced to endure each day.”

Today they will celebrate Sammie’s second birthday as an angel in heaven. I cannot even imagine what Keri, Larry, and Jackson will have to endure today. I hope God holds them close in the palm of his hand as they release balloons with messages on them to their sweet baby angel in heaven.

I never met Sammie, but I feel like through Facebook that I got to “know” her. I “liked” every picture that I came across of her. She was always smiling, a lot of times with a halo of flowers on her beautiful crown of hair, and she was always eating something that I wished I had in front of me.

Keri, Larry, Jackson, and your family and friends, I am praying for you all. And I encourage anyone who reads this post to do the same.

In honor and loving memory of Samantha “Sweet Sammie J” Joyce Volmert.

My dad and his Fitbit

One day I will learn how to import my blog from FW Weekly and be able to link it how I want too. Until then… I can either copy and paste, or you can click here to read all about it.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forgot to sign up to Follow my blog via email for the latest and greatest up to date post and information about Giveaways and such.

xoxxoo

 

Win It Wednesday’s – R+F Eyecream

Are you aging? Do people tell you look “tired” every time you run into them at the grocery store and you don’t have make-up on? Are you a human? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should be interested in this giveaway.

This week’s giveaway is Rodan + Fields multifunction eye cream. You can read more about the eyecream by clicking here. Or any of the products that the doctors that created ProActive have made for anti-aging here. The skin care is #1 in the world. That is above Estee Lauder, Clinic, Chanel, or any brand out there. Folks, this product is only available in the United States, Canada, and is just now available in Australia. And it’s number 1 in the entire world.

So, to get your hands on this amazing eyecream that retails for $62, and is better than any $300 cream out there. All you have to do to win this product is sign up to follow my blog via email, and in the comments below tell me why you need some cream! 

The winner will be drawn on Wednesday at 8 pm {cst}

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Win It Wednesday’s Winner

Katy is the new proud owner of the gorgeous Mustard Seed necklace! I’m putting that in the mail for her today! Next week’s giveaway is Rodan + Fields amazing eye cream. Everyone I know {including myself} that uses this product just raves about it.

More information will be coming soon about how to win next week’s giveaway. Until then… happy Thursday everyone!

Win it Wednesdays!

Did you know there are only 16 Wednesday’s before Christmas? I didn’t either. I just counted.

In the spirit of giving, for the next 16 weeks I will be giving away some of my favorite things on Wednesdays. You aren’t going to want to miss this, so be sure to follow my blog! And this week… all you have to do is comment on the picture below and tell me why you would love this necklace. Winner will be drawn tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. {central}!

This gorgeous gem is from Marcie Finney Ditto of Mustard Seed Jewelry.  This necklace retails for $85.

*Katy is the winner!!! I will get this beautiful piece to you ASAP! I hope you enjoy your gorgeous necklace. xoxoxo

When You’re On a Roll…

Keep rolling, right? In the past week I have managed to piss off, pretty much everyone who is important in my life. I know, I know… I should feel terrible, but it’s my biggest accomplishment lately so I figured I’d brag about it. And tell you why the cops might be called on me tonight by my oldest.

I pick up Luke and we are on our way to get Cole and for some bizarre reason he ask me what he should do if he could not wake me up. Which is a freaky question to randomly be asked by Luke… So I do my parenting best, and tell him to find my phone and dial 911, and then the police will come, but that he needs to make sure he knows the address, does he remember mommy’s new address, and at this point I see Luke get a little stressed out. So I try to reassure him…

“Don’t worry, if that does happen, now you know exactly what to do and the police and firewomen would come and save mommy and you would be a hero, so don’t worry. You’d help mommy and I’d be fine.”

Luke’s facial expression goes from worried too light bulb in point zero one seconds.

“You mean, if I can’t wake you up, and I have to call the police, and they have to come to our house, I will be a hero?!”

Me, making the mistake of thinking I had done a good job, overly reassuringly say, “YES!!!!”

To which Luke says… “So mom, a hero would get a good reward huh?”

My facial expression changes from one of patting myself on the back to one of extreme worry…  “Ummm….. Yes.”

“Especially if that hero were to save your life….?”

I had to cut him off. I knew exactly where this was going.

“Luke, so help me… If you whisper in my ear and I do not wake up in the middle of the night and you call the cops, you do NOT get a reward. Is that clear?”

Luke looks about as freaked out as a kid can look.

“Oh my gosh mom, I was totally not thinking that. I really wasn’t. How did you do that? Can mom’s really read minds? Oh wow.”

I’m now concerned he’s going to test that theory too. And all I want tonight is a decent nights sleep. Is that too much to ask?

To all that I have pissed off in the last week, or hell, if I have ever pissed you off, I would just like you to know… I’m sorry. And by the way that color looks fantastic on you, but any color would probably look good on you since you have lost so much weight, not that you had any to lose. Be careful or someone is going to call you anorexic. And you know, you are just to young and youthful looking to be anorexic. I hope you have a fabulous day.

Sticks and Stones

So until right now, I totally thought that saying was “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” Which never made sense. And is totally stupid. So, a few minutes ago, I googled it to find out that the poem actually says, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can also hurt me.” Well fuck me. I learned that a little too late.

I came into this world as a total bitch. I was born on Thanksgiving in 1976. My mother loves to tell the story of how I ruined her Thanksgiving dinner. Her favorite meal. My grandmother, God rest her soul, use to love to tell the story of how right after I was born the nurses were weighing me and what not, and I flipped over on my stomach (clearly also an over achiever at birth) and gave everyone in the room a go-to-hell look.

Around third grade I broke and I became a Republican and a people pleaser. I was eight, let’s not pass judgement, okay? I people-pleased my way into my 30’s. And then I stopped. Sort of. One of my friends had really pissed me off, and I had just had it. I’d never stood up to this girl. I called her, and I say, “Look, I’m sure we are not going to be friends after this conversation, but I have about 487 problems with you and we are going to start with one and I am going to work my way through.” To her great credit, she listened to all 842 reasons (I thought of more reasons as I bawled her out). I mean, I guess she could have put the phone down and gone shopping, but I’m going to go with the fact that she actually listened.

After my tirade she admitted her flaws and we actually became much much closer. I love that girl.

That, however, was not a great lesson for me. Basically I learned that if I told someone to go fuck themselves, they’d like me better. That plus the ‘sticks and stones’ poem to back me up… And I was fearless.

I lost my shit in the Denver airport when an older gentleman aggressively rolled his suitcase over my foot to cut in line. I told him he was a piece of shit and that he would NOT be getting on the airplane in front of me. Naturally he was sitting in the seat next to me. And naturally I immediately put my arm on his arm rest and even if my arm went numb from gripping that arm rest, so help me God, I was not moving my arm. My stubborn gene is actually my strongest gene. Which explains Luke, my seven year old. My mom could not stop laughing and I’m pretty sure she peed in her pants. Actually… I moved my arm 30 minutes into the plane ride when he apologized and offered to buy me a drink. I ordered four and smiled sweetly at him.

Another time we were checking out in Napa and yet another male idiot pissed me off. There was a HUGE line to check out. My BFF and I were standing in said line while her husband and my then husband talked (probably about how they had had too much together time with their wives) and this dumbass walks in front of all of us to the “Express Checkout for Preferred Guest” and I was all, “Oh HELL NO.”

I walked up and tapped him on the back and said, “Um, excuse me, did you see this huge line? Or are you just blind and stupid?”

He replied by saying he was a Preferred Guest. I shook my head.

“You are a fucking moron. We’re all Preferred Guest. That’s why they gave us that stupid speech when we walked in and a bottle of wine. I’m sure you were too drunk or just stupid to remember that, but get to the back of the line JackAss.”

Seven months later my friends, God bless their souls, and I, were planning a baby shower for my BFF because she got wasted and had sex with her husband in Napa. Their were five of us throwing the shower and we had divided into two groups. Three against two. And one of the ones I was against was, like, one of my best friends. unfortunately she just mentioned having a shower some place I didn’t agree with and I said something along the lines of… I’m sorry, but no one wants to eat salmon and egg salad at 10:30 on a Saturday morning. And for the love of God, we’re having alcohol. It’s a BABY shower. You have to have alcohol at a baby shower. For one, everyone is either A) Hungover B) Had an abortion and we are making them feel guilty C) Desperately wants a baby and can’t get pregnant or D) Have NO desire to EVER have a baby and need alcohol to get through the event. Except I was way harsher in my dissertation. I also said that only a fucking moron would spend $5 A PIECE for a “gift” to give people who came. The gift is alcohol. DUH.

The girl, my good friend, and I, didn’t really speak for two years after that shower. She emailed me and said that no one had ever spoken to her like that, much less a friend, and she went on to make more valid points… I would like to report she and I are also friends now, and I love her to death. She is hilarious. And the best mom. And thin and gorgeous of course. Even though her sister does have better hair… That Becky…

But, while I have you on the subject of showers, may I purpose something? Never, ever, EVER open gifts at the event. No one cares. And that one person that does care, can go fuck themselves and walk around Buy Buy Baby. You’ll get the gist. You’re probably part of Group C anyway, and no one needs to see you cry while the girl that shouldn’t have alcohol opens pacifiers.

After all of that, I still never googled the poem. I just thought, if you can’t handle some mamby pamby words, you are a fucking pussy.

Then on Friday, my beloved nanny’s last day, when I was already quite emotional and into my Champs, my fiance and I had a fight. He said things, and then he got to hear a real diatribe. I woke up Saturday still licking my wounds and just started attacking again.

Turns out, there are some things you cannot take back. Words are extremely hurtful. And I must learn to use mine better. And not out of anger. Gee, I’m almost 40. Glad I’m picking up that kindergarten lesson now. Wonder what else I will learn this year? Endless possibilities.

The End of an Era

I don’t know how I’m going to make it through this post. I am absolutely terrible with change. Even when I know it’s coming. So, when my beloved nanny Thavone, told me when the boys returned to school it would be time for her to move on, I bawled like a baby. For a week.

Realistically I knew she would not be staying with us forever, but I definitely daydreamed that she would be there by my side, waving with me as I sent Luke and then Cole off to college.

When she leaves I know the boys will be fine.  Cole will be more upset than Luke, but I know they will both be okay. It is me that I am worried about.

Thavone has been with me for five years. She started the week after I brought Cole home from the hospital, and she was immediately family. Her family became my family and vice versa. Her daughter Jade helped out with the boys too, and every time I tell them Jade is coming they shriek with joy.

Friday is Thavone’s last day. Tears stream down my face as I think about it. I watched Jade graduate from TCU and move to France. I was excited when she came home. I remember when Thavone’s husband Phillipe got sick. I watched her care for him daily. I remember when Jade called and told her to come to the hospital now, that it was time. I remember watching in awe as Jade and Alex sang at the funeral, wondering where on earth they got their strength from.

Thavone would hold me as I cried in her arms. I cried because I didn’t know how to handle two kids. I cried because I was unhappy. I cried because I didn’t want a divorce. I cried because I did. I would cry and tell her my kids deserved someone else to be their mother. Someone like her. She was my angel when I needed one. But now her time with me is over. Because I have grown and I have changed.

We changed each other.

She showed me how to trust myself. She showed me that I was not only enough, but all my kids needed as a mother. And she assured me that I was the only mother they would ever want. She told me that I had given my children the two best gifts in the world — the gift of love, and the gift of freedom. Freedom to be who they want to be, and to encourage their individual spirits.

I taught her that it was okay to sometimes just throw caution to the wind. To let your hair down and not take yourself so seriously.

And there was so much more! There was such growth. As I struggled with my various situations, through all my tears… I grew. I learned that I was, in fact, stronger than I thought. I learned that because of what I have gone through, I will be able to help my children when they go through difficult situations. I understand their idiosyncrasies better than anyone, so who better are they to chart these crazy waters with? We were definitely meant to go through this together.

This week will come and go. And so will Thavone. Just like that, she’ll be gone. I know in my mind it is time, but my heart hurts just thinking about it. And as I know this week will be very bittersweet, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes. It’s from Dr. Seuss, who reminds us, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” And today, that is what I will do.

I love you so much Thavone! Thank you for being the sister I never had. I know this transition might be a bit rough, but I know you will always be in our lives. And for that, I am forever grateful. Thank you for everything.


 

The finale of my Whole30

I was doing so good. I had made it through the 4th of July AND a weekend a Great Wolf Lodge. It was day 16, of my Whole30 and I broke. I broke when there was nothing going on. it was just July 16th and I didn’t have the kids that weekend and I wanted a margarita. And a taco. I had both. It was a delicious meal.

The next day, July 17th, I was so mad at myself. I could NOT believe I cheated. I was doing so good. I vowed to make the next 15 days cheat free. That lasted until the following Tuesday when I decided I could not let the taco Tuesday go by without participating. And I wanted another margarita.

The rest of July pretty much followed that pattern. Cheat. Feel bad. Do good. Repeat.

And here is my takeaway… Doing the Whole30 for 30 days would have been great. I was really excited about all the energy I was supposed to have by week three. I was on day 2 of week 3 when it all went to hell, and I must say, I was feeling better.

I lost 7 pounds, which I have managed to keep off. This is no small feat for me.  I have been unable to lose weight for over a year. I was unable to stop gaining weight for a while and I was getting really anxious about my appearance. So, while no one else can probably tell any difference in my appearance, I must say, I feel better, and I learned a few things.

So, to recap, the Whole30 is:

  • No added sugar or artificial sweeteners
  • No alcohol
  • No grains
  • No legumes
  • No dairy
  • No fun

Okay, I added the last one, but it’s true. So, the only thing I didn’t consume on the Whole30 was no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. No Diet Dr. Pepper, no Spark. I’ve had one Diet Dr. Pepper since the Whole30 and no Spark yet… The rest I have tried to only consume in moderation. I’m trying the 80/20 rule, where you eat clean 80% of the time. I must say, this last weekend I was terrible. I was maybe only 30% clean eating, and I am atoning for it this week.

If you are considering the Whole30 I definitely recommend the book. I’m only a few chapters in, and maybe after I read it I’ll try it again. The book is very informative and it’s easy to understand. It’s called It Starts with Food. I would also recommend ordering Chomp Sticks. They are Whole30 approved and delicious. And life saving.

But my biggest takeaway was this… My kids are young. Time is fleeting. I read all those mommy blogs that tell you to get in a bathing suit and get in the water with your kids. Don’t just sit there and watch your kids make memories while you sit on the sideline. Be right there with them. And that’s what I did this summer. I waved my white flag and surrendered. I know I don’t look my best, but you know what? Even though I care, those blogs were right. My kids don’t care.

My kids are happy when I’m with them, just hanging out, being present, not on my phone. Luke, who told me in April that I needed to lose weight, told me the other day that I looked good and he’d rather I eat ice cream with him then say I can’t, because it’s not on my diet.

That kid… I love him more than tacos.