Category Archives: Sarah

Mrs. Nix Goes to Washington

“Liberty’s too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I’m free to think and to speak.”

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Jefferson Smith

Recently we (minus one jealous undergrad) had the most incredible visit to Washington, DC.

I have long loved the capital of our country and have been able to visit a few times. We’ve also passed through countless times on the way to Baltimore, and I was surprised to learn my husband never had the opportunity to visit despite his father’s distinguished military career. Of course my wheels began to turn, and I started making plans!

The chips fell into place. Red was out of school, we were already heading to Hopkins so it was a perfect time for a stop in DC! I was incredibly lucky to find a great place on Airbnb. If you haven’t heard of Airbnb I highly recommend learning more about it! I uncovered the most fabulous find; my entire family was ecstatic and in awe of this little apartment gem. We were mere steps from the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and the Capitol. It was wonderful.

Library of Congress from our apartment

 

Supreme Court from our steps

 

The Capitol from our sidewalk

The absolute best part of our trip was catching up with an old high school friend, Mr. Brian Summers. Brian has been setting Washington on fire with his talent! We never expected our personal tour of the Capitol to be what it turned out to be. It was because of Brian that we had the inside look of a lifetime!

Brian had many Capitol surprises up his sleeve!

Being a historian, Brian was able to tell us great stories about the building of the Capitol, the abolition of  slavery, and other monumental times in American history. He showed us things that gave us chills and mesmerized us about our country’s leaders. Some of his accounts were things we learned in classes, while others were amusing stories that are sometimes heard.

He took us behind the scenes through the halls of the Senate and Congress.

Beautiful tiles and art throughout the halls of the Senate.

Some of our favorite parts included: Sitting at the Senate Appropriations table, visiting the press room and bull pen, and meeting Senator Sessions (AL).

Here Brian is grooming his next candidate!

 

I need Olivia Pope to help me with this Scandal.

 

Red is either going to be a politician, or a political correspondent after this visit!

The two things that really took my breath away, and caused me to really pause: Standing on the floor of Congress, and being where the President stands while waiting to go out to take the oath of office. No unofficial pictures are ever allowed on the Congressional floor, so we turned over our phones/camera to experience what we’ve only been able to see on TV. It was truly profound. I looked at the seats, the large desk where the speaker sits, and all I could think about was the history that has been made. It’s humbling to think about the speeches that were delivered from that podium, and the great men and women who occupied this room. You could not leave that place feeling anything but proud and patriotic! Red was able to take the walk each President has taken before delivering the State of the Union (and, by the way, we each were handed a copy of the recent SOTU remaining from the evening of the speech). Everything experienced was beyond anything a person can learn from a book; we were ALL students that day. After heading into one of the private cloak rooms, Sarah was determined to be a member of Congress after seeing a freezer full of ice cream! The excitement and enthusiasm was palpable.

Brian showed us an incredible view beyond the arch of a small breezeway – it is where Presidents stand as they await being inaugurated. We were told about President Obama having to take a moment to just breathe, and to take in all of the  1.8 million people who were there for him. Now I do not care what your political views are about any President -you have to admit it is awe inspiring. To stand where Presidents stood before their first day of office goes beyond any political party!

Inauguration

Just between the urns is where the President is inaugurated with a breathtaking view.

Our last day started with another inside look at the old Senate and ended with us on the balcony of the Speaker of the House.

Speaker

Speaker’s Area

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Incredible view off the Speaker’s balcony!

What would a trip to Washington be without visits to the White House and monuments? It was especially inspiring that we were able to visit the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the holiday honoring Dr. King. As we stood in front of each great statue and memorial we were humbled by the words and the reasons behind them all.

We braved extremely cold days and frigid nights! Of course, the time we finally get the opportunity to visit it happens to be the coldest days of the year, and a massive winter storm was lurking. Nevertheless, our time exploring our nation’s capital far exceeded any and all expectation. We will be back to take in so many other aspects we could not fit in this trip! For a first visit to Washington, DC, my husband and youngest daughter were treated to a monumental tour.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Inspirations, Life, Sally, Sarah

Timehop Gratitude

I love how Timehop pulls photos from over the years and throws them back at you. I am often amazed to see my girls from five and six years ago! Time truly marches by ever so swiftly.

Much of the time we have great laughs at pictures we completely forgot…hairstyles or situations give us a lift…it’s a little photo story reminder of our lives. Today it was all about gratitude and compassion. When I am covered in worry and anxiety, it is incredibly nice to be jolted back to what really matters.

Timehop, thank you for the reminder!

 
  
  

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2015 · 5:26 pm

The A to Z Summer

The end of summer is in sight, and unlike many of my contemporaries I hate the return to school. Our summer days are not always filled with rainbows and unicorns (after all she IS a hormonal tween),  but I soak up every moment with my daughter. 

I begin to feel the pangs of dread come over me the moment I see the “Summer Fun” sections in stores give way to “Back to School” madness. Ice cream makers are replaced with miniature dorm room coffee machines, and bubbles are removed to make way for bright yellow No. 2 pencils. As the school supply lists begin to appear in emails I find that I just want to hit the delete button as fast as they surface. These last weeks always make me take stock in the past months, and survey the quality time spent together.

Nothing has been more real to me than middle school staring me in the face. A friend commented just the other day on how she sees the teen trying to break through in my 11 year old. Of course, being one of the oldest in her class, she is mature for her age and also carries the influence of a much older sibling. I still see the warm, compassionate, young child inside that exterior comprised of eye rolls and “Mother” comments. When, at the end of the day, she still wants to curl up with me I gladly sink into that familiar position without pause. 

I tried hard to live this summer with intention and awareness knowing our world is going to change as her life gives way to middle school, activities, and friendships (as it should). Together we created the A to Z Summer in an effort to do some fun things together. The letter activities did not have to be something epic in nature as much as it was time spent together. 

We went on Adventures and enjoyed several days at the Beach. She had some great fun at Camp, and reached her Swimming goals with Meets and dropped times! She was productive with her Reading lists, and volunteering with Fifth Street Ministries. There were even some quirky experiences like the Livermush Festival…yes, there is such a thing! Together we perfected our Pound Cake recipe, and sampled homemade Ice Cream at an interesting drive-in. You get the picture – there are 16 more letters represented (and some letters even have multiple activities). We have just a few more letters to mark off our list before school begins. Several of our friends are making suggestions for the more difficult letters, and we are certainly open to suggestions! We’ve contemplated awarding a prize for the more creative suggestions.

Middle school is breathing down our necks, but I can say that our summer together has been filled with quality time. As I begin to purchase all the back-to-school supplies (including a calculator bigger than her head), I’m going to be fulfilling the remaining letter activities. In just a few weeks the house will be silent through the day, and full of chatter in the evenings.  The yearly rat race begins with homework, swim practice, youth group, and social fun. I imagine I will see glimpses of the teen trying to break through, but for now I hold tight to our A to Z summer before the madness begins.

    

 

(I know she’s a math whiz, but does she really need a college level calculator in 6th grade?!)

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Job Well-Done

There is nothing more satisfying than sitting back and admiring a job well-done. It is even more rewarding when it involves something you’ve taught your child!

I have been a tad worried about transitioning from a school that requires uniforms to one that does not. When the biggest decision a child has is the shirt they wear and what accessories are acceptable, it’s pretty simple. I do not recall a time in 5 years that we argued over school clothes. Khaki or khaki is a cinch when you are purchasing back-to-school clothes each August!

I have a tween daughter who loves clothes…and shoes! When she was accepted into her new school she began to revel in all the clothing and style opportunities to come. I began to sweat. I started to add up the cost, and envisioned the arguments.

Recently we began looking through catalogs, and viewing back-to-school clothes online. I was honestly surprised and amazed at my soon-to-be 12 year old daughter. She is such the savvy shopper, and is incredibly cost conscious.

Sometimes I hear my mother when I open my mouth – Money does not grow on trees! … I’m not made of money…No! I can’t just put it on the credit card. I don’t say things like this much, but with two girls who have nice/stylish taste I may have used them a time or two. Life is a little different since my disability and not having a full-time job has changed the way I spend. If I’m being completely honest I have always tried to teach my children to be cost-conscious shoppers – it has just paid off now that I am disabled.

As my tween and I were marking things she liked she began to add things up and budget. I heard her say things like “I don’t want to pay that much for that when I can get something  similar in another store.” That statement caused me to seriously pause and admire her attitude. Let’s face it – we all know this generation is used to excess and getting much of what they desire (there goes my mother again). My child instructed me to look at a couple of sites to compare prices. She began to do the math, and when a huge sale popped up she seriously did a dance! She found a sale at a shop she loves that allowed her to get 3 pairs of jeans just over the price of ONE on another site. She was so happy and squealed , “We’re way under budget!”

The coolest thing here is that SHE drove the discussion. SHE refused to pay a high price, and SHE compared prices on the things she wanted to purchase for school. The feeling of knowing that my child has actually listened and learned from me was incredible. I know she learns from me every day, but to see her apply that knowledge is amazing.

So now I sit back and watch her circle shoe styles in catalogs and wonder aloud why things are so expensive. “I’m just going to show people that you can have a great sense of style while on a budget.” Job well-done mom, job WELL-DONE!

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Sick and Tired

There are things that seem too much to handle sometimes. I am told I am a trooper – I am strong – I am admirable. The truth is I am weak and  I. Am. So. Tired.

I’m tired of being held hostage by my illness. I am tired of the unrelenting pain. I am tired of trying to constantly explain so much in order to be minimally understood. Most of all I am tired of what all of this does to my family.

The most empty feeling I am left with is when I am sharp-tongued and harsh with the people I love because I am suffering. What is this doing to THEM?

I suddenly became paralyzed with grief at the thought of altering who my child becomes. So much of her young life has been filled with worry about me, and seeing me so broken. I have been absent for many things, and when I am involved it is a struggle. Her eyes often meet mine and mouth, “Are you okay?” What has my being so ill done to her little heart and mind? Has all of this crap damaged her? The worst part of it for me is that I can never get the time back. I can only focus on what is ahead and what I can do from here.

What can I do from here? I just do not see an end in sight. After taking some great steps forward – I am back to a place I didn’t want to be. Lost. No answers.

The past several days have been a deep struggle. I am confused and frustrated at the moment – all because of the pain and the unknown. I search for ways to keep my mind off my body, and today my mind just keeps going back to my little girl (who is suddenly not so little anymore). I pray and hope and beg that answers come, and pain is gone or fleeting. Though I may get upset and down, I keep telling myself something good has to come from all of this! I am waiting on the good. Oh God, I need some good!

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Filed under Brain, Life, Sarah

Wine, The Dentist and The Anaconda

It’s been a long morning. I’ve been wrestling an anaconda (well, at least that is what it feels like.)

Both of my children have an irrational fear of doctor visits and visits to the dentist. For every visit I am repeatedly questioned:

“I don’t have to get a shot do I?!”

“Please don’t let them take blood. I don’t have to do that do I? DOOO I?!!!!”

“There are no poky things at the dentist are there?”

“No needles of any sort are going to be used, right?”

Nobody loves a needle! I get that. I just don’t get the insanity that occurs when the word injection is used. It’s like my children become two-headed monsters and it takes super hero strength to handle them.

My oldest is better now that she is in her 20’s. I say better because you can actually reason with her and she doesn’t become hysterical. However, she does suffer from a real medical syndrome called vasovagal syncope. Google it – It’s a real condition with real triggers. I had never heard of it until her surgeon explained it. She sees her own blood, or experiences great pain and down she goes. She gets the cold sweats…she turns white…and she faints. Out cold. She cannot help it. It has gotten better with age because she can sometimes talk herself down from the ledge and do breathing exercises. I still worry that she could go down.

My youngest, however, has a deep seeded delirious fear that I cannot explain or console. I’ve purchased every book in the world, had every type of conversation, and still the fear appears in explosive ways. I dread vaccinations, or bloodwork! DREAD. She becomes freakishly strong and incredibly stubborn. It has taken four people to hold her for booster shots. Go ahead and shake your head, question my parenting, and think about how YOU would make sure this did not happen. I get it, but I scoff. My redhead is not going to do it any other way than how SHE wants to do it.

Today the thing I have feared the most with one of my children occurred. Dental work…with NEEDLES!!! The dentist, his assistant and yours truly offered every gentle nudge right down to the threats. The jaw would clench and there was no rational bone in her body. So much so that she insisted that our beloved dentist work without numbing meds. Well, you know how THAT went. A hideous, massive anaconda appeared and we all had to wrestle it to save ourselves.

What should have been a 10 minute visit turned into a 30 minute ordeal for the books. Eventually the Novocain was injected (as we knew would be the end result) and the work was complete. We were all haggered and worn. There was mention of needing Valium and wine…and that was from the dentist. We all composed ourselves, said our apologies and went on with the rest of our morning. The anaconda turned back into my precious redhead (whimpering of course).

The morning went on and I couldn’t get the poor dentist or assistant out of my head. So at noon I went BACK to the office with bottles of wine and a note, “I can’t supply the Valium, but I CAN supply the wine.”

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I’m Going To Explode

I seriously cannot contain my excitement and I am pretty sure my family thinks I am losing it. It’s vacation time!

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It has been so long since I have been able to get away for total enjoyment, though this time will not be without its challenges. I have tons of family surrounding me for support and I am READY! All of our road trips and extended stays  have been to Baltimore for medical specialists. THIS trip is about me, my family, fun and frivolity, and Vitamin Sea! I’m not a sun goddess by any means, but simply being out of my bubble is all I need.

My  attempt to recharge for three days at the beach last year resulted in a nasty sun/medicine reaction  after the first day. Lovely. For this attempt I needed a place that was an easy car ride away, and had more to it than just sand and surf. Voila…my old friend, Hilton Head Island. A beautiful place in South Carolina with trees, beaches, sound, harbors and SOOOO much more.

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Currently I am fascinated by the wildlife at Hilton Head! One famous animal has kept me entertained for some time now…Mary Lee. Mary Lee is a great white who is 16 feet and weighs over 3000 pounds. Gasp! She’s been tagged and “pinging” all around the SC coast. Just today my app reports she is near… and, Oh, she is preggers! For a while she was not pinging, but made a special visit to the surface to entertain me. Some are wondering if she has finally given birth.

Just the other day a fascinating article appeared about great white sharks sticking around SC coast. I love how they refer to Mary Lee and the area of Port Royal:

“I suspect she was making that move to drop off her pups somewhere,” Fischer said. “We know how prolifically vibrant the Port Royal Sound is, and it appears to be a hugely important hot spot for sharks in the Atlantic. If you’re a big shark, all of the estuary, inshore coastal area is just fabulous to drop off your baby shark, so it can gorge on (all the sea life).”

Guess what area of Hilton Head we are staying? Port Royal, of course! I will be adhering to my rule  of toes in the ocean – body in the pool.

Mary Lee being tagged. Courtesy of OCEARCH.

Mary Lee being tagged. Courtesy of OCEARCH.

Hilton Head Island’s alligators are also a prosperous lot! Just this week a 12 foot alligator walked right out of the surf. It is pretty much guaranteed that numerous gators will be spotted. It’s a look only scenario people!

Photo courtesy of the Charlotte Observer

Photo courtesy of the Charlotte Observer

There are also way less menacing creatures that call  Hilton Head home – dolphins galore, and sea turtles as well. Not to mention egrets, herons, osprey, and white-tailed deer.  It will be interesting to see what photos come from this trip and what I am able to report. You can rest assured that I will be making my way to Port Royal Sound to see what I can see – safely from land!

It’s VACAY COUNTDOWN and I am like a kid on Christmas Eve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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