Welcome! My name is Nicole but my friends call me Coley, a cute little boy calls me Momma, and the love of my life calls me honey.
I’m a work at home Mom, birthmom, writer, and photographer, and crafter from the south. I’m a self described mamarazzi and girly girl who loves purses, painted fingernails, funky socks, polka dots, and anything teal.
My son, Noah, is my pride and joy. He's an adorable special needs 16 year old charmer!
Go to the "about me" page to learn more about me and my family!
Noah's been wanting these orange shoes for most of the summer. It took awhile to finally find them in his size but my Mom and I scored them a few weeks ago and he is now the proud owner of the coveted orange shoes. Most importantly, he LIKES to wear them and will even keep them on without being told to!
One of the things she and I both share is a love of photography. She's quite good at taking photos. In fact, some of my favorite photos of myself were taken by her. She came to my Mom's house on Sunday afternoon to join in on my Mom's birthday celebration and my pre-birthday celebration. We had previously decided to try and squeeze in a little time for me to take some engagement photos of her and her soon to be husband. Lani and I have spent hours online looking at photography blogs so I knew what type of photos she loves and what she envisioned.
So we headed to this sweet little downtown area about ten minutes away from my parents' home. I didn't realize there were so many cute photo ops down there. A park, cool buildings, railroad tracks, and more! I took a ton of photos and have lots of favorites and they may not necessarily be a favorite for the quality of the photo but instead either something funny that was going on at the moment or the symbolism behind the photo.
I had such a hard time choosing which pics to post here because I love so many of them, but here are a few of my favorites:
At the Railroad Tracks:
Buildings, Alleys, and Areas Downtown:
At the Park:
At the Tree: Back story: Clinton actually proposed to Lani by a tree so while this wasn't "their" tree, I still think these pictures have special meaning.
We have to have a few black and whites:
I'd seen a story board on another website and decided to give one a try.
Tuesday Night was the Opening Night of the 2009 Fall Season of Miracle League. It was rainy but did stop raining long enough for us to get in an inning and a half. Once again, my Dad was Noah's buddy. He does much better when my Dad is his buddy versus one of the volunteer buddies. I shot a short video of Noah batting and thought I'd share it with you. Check out that huge smile as they are running to first base!
Well, I am now officially a year older. I don't feel a year older though. I guess that is a good thing!
On Sunday, we celebrated mine and my Mom's birthday at her house. My brother was home and my BFF, her two kiddos, and her fiancé were able to drive up for a few hours. Yesterday, my actual birthday, I had lunch with my parents at my favorite Mexican restaurant, dinner with J at my favorite Italian restaurant, and then I came home and snuggled with my Noahie for a few minutes before he had to go bed.
I received nice gifts as well. I have plenty of new crafting supplies to keep me busy and I will decked out this fall in new clothes, jewelry, socks, and shoes.
It was definitely a good birthday full of family, friends, love, and laughter. Thank you to everyone who made it a special day!
In honor of my 33rd birthday tomorrow, I thought I'd share 33 random things about me some of which you may know and others you may not know.
I was born three weeks late and I think I'm still always running late.
I weighed 5 lbs and 13 ounces when I was born.
My birthday, Sept 16, is also Mexican Independence Day.
I'm a southern girl and proud of it. I even say y'all sometimes!
I lived in Mississippi until I was 11 and then moved to South Carolina.
I’ve got two amazing parents. Sadly it took me growing up to realize just how amazing they are – but hey, isn’t that what growing up is all about?!?
I have one sibling – a little (ok, well younger is a better word now that he is taller than me) brother named Andy.
My son Noah was born six weeks early, has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autistic tendencies. Although he is a handful, I can’t picture my life without him – special needs and all.
Noah’s middle name is after my brother’s first name. (It’s Anderson.
I’ve visited the shotgun house (I would call it a shack but my Mother insists it isn’t a shack, but it was one room) Elvis Presley was born in and the now famous Memphis Mansion he died in.
I was very involved in music and chorus in high school and went on a chorus trip to Washington DC where we sang at the Kennedy Center for Preforming Arts.
I married my soul mate on a baseball field. (Yes, I still had a pretty dress.
Someone (my bestest bud) named their kid after me! (A little boy named Nicholas, which is the male version of Nicole in case ya didn’t know, and I refer to him as “my namesake”.) Oh yeah and he was born three weeks early on Noah’s birthday – odd coincidence!
I eat pizza really weirdly! I use a fork and scrape off all the cheese and toppings, eat the crust, then eat the cheese and toppings. Weird, weird, weird I know, but to each his own – or her own in my case.
I love Mexican food.
I’m allergic to pepperoni, sausage, and hotdogs.
I like Japanese food, sushi, and can eat with chopsticks.
My favorite type of cake has to be the caramel cake from the Mississippi State Bakery but since that's super far away cheesecake or cookie cake will do.
I watch the Today Show every single weekday morning. I just have to start my day off with Matt Lauer.
I don’t like aliens – they look gross. I have this silly fear that one is going to kidnap me and make me have an alien baby. However, I don’t believe in aliens. Makes no sense, right?
I’m addicted to taking photos. Seriously, I need a twelve step program for it. I take pictures of anything and everything – just ask my hubby, family, or best friends. I think it probably drives most of them nuts!
Speaking of taking photos, I love to take photos of socks and plan to turn my photos of socked feet into my own coffee table book.
I’m a creative person and love to craft.
I'm also a writer.
I love purses and have an ever growing collection of purses. I also love purse shaped things – note pads, picture frames, magnets, etc.
I’m a birthmother and since placing my son in an open adoption I’ve shared my personal adoption story in a book, a few magazines, numerous different newspapers, the local news, and on the radio.
I’m passionate about issues involving special needs children and love all special needs kiddos and love mine the most!
I’m lucky to have some really awesome friends.
I’m a Christian.
I love reality TV – especially American Idol and Big Brother.
I enjoy watching news shows like Nancy Grace, Dateline, and 20/20.
I sometimes color (yes in a coloring book – Precious Moments and Care Bears are my favorite) to relieve stress. Seriously, next time you’re stressed trying coloring in a coloring book for a few minutes and tell me it doesn’t relieve your stress. I use colored pencils instead of crayons.
My favorite color is currently brown paired with just about any color but brown & teal and Brown & pink are favorite combos.
And that's it. More that you probably ever wanted to know about me! ;)
On today, the anniversary of the terrorists' attacks against our nation, I find myself thinking of Tom Burnett. Does that name sound familiar to you? If you watched any of the non stop news coverage following the terrorists’ attacks on September 11, 2001, you've probably heard his name.
In the days and months to follow the attacks, Tom Burnett was named one of the heroes aboard Untied Flight 93. You may remember that passengers overtook Flight 93 and caused it to land in a field in Pennsylvania. Tom Burnett, who grew up a Minnesotan, was flying home to California from a business trip to New York and is said to be the leader of the attack on the cockpit that caused the plane to divert its path and crash in a field instead of its target. Tom called his wife Deena multiple times from the plane telling her what was going on and that he loved her and the three daughters they were raising.
So, you are probably thinking, “Ok, I know all this already…”
But, did you know Tom Burnett was a birthfather?
While in college, Tom Burnett’s then girlfriend became pregnant in an unplanned pregnancy. The two were opposed to abortion and initially wanted to get married and parent. Tom was very involved in the pregnancy, working two jobs to pay for medical bills and present for his daughter’s birth. Eventually, the two decided it would be best for the baby if she was placed for adoption.
Two years after the terrorist attacks, Mariah Mills, turned nineteen and was finally old enough to request her original birth certificate from the state. The name Tom Burnett was very familiar in her area and she quickly realized that her birthfather was one of the 9/11 hereos.
Unsure of what Tom’s wife, Deena, and the rest of his family knew about the adoption and how they would feel about this, Mariah’s mother sent word through the agency that had handled Mariah’s adoption that Mariah was interested in meeting her other birth relatives. It turns out that Tom had told his wife about the daughter he placed for adoption and even showed her a letter that he had been writing to Mariah over the years in the hopes that they would one day be reunited.
Mariah has ended up meeting most of her birth family, including Deena, Tom’s daughters, parents, and sisters. She has been welcomed in by most of them. She has ongoing relationships with her half sisters and Deena. She has gotten to know the type of man and father Tom Burnett was through his family and Deena was even able to give her a letter that Tom had started writing to Mariah when she was younger for the day they would be reunited.
Granted I'm sure Tom Burnett was not the only birth parent to die on September 11th, I'm sure that others were triad members as well, but he is one that we know of.
I'll end with a quote out of a newspaper article by Tom's daughter, Maraiah, “Even if he’d never been on that plane on September 11th, he’d still be a hero to me. He gave me life and a chance with a wonderful family.”
I've been meaning to post pictures of this for awhile now and just keep forgetting!
Back in July, my Mom and I were at the AC Moore craft store in Charleston. We saw this little purse shaped box complete with pull out drawers.
If you know me you know I adore purses and not just purses themselves, I collect purse shaped things like picture frames, nic nacs, etc. It looked pretty boring all plain and white. It had some scratches on it but it was on clearance for just three dollars.
I knew it had potential, it just needed some love. So, with a bit of Mod Podge, some cute paper, and of course RIBBON I took this little box from blah to oh la la!
Ah, much better now, don't you think?!? I think it's technically a jewelry box but it sits on my desk and holds rubber bands, staples, etc..
Since I posted about Noah's meltdowns, I have received more than a few emails from some of you offering compassion, support, questions, thoughts, and even a smidge of advice. First of all, let me say thank you. Kind words can go a long way and they are much appreciated.
Let me update you on how Noah is behavior wise at the moment and then I'lll move on to some of the questions. Right now, he is doing pretty good! Just as thought, settling back in to school and the routine that goes along with school has helped tremendously. As much as I tried, I just can't provide the exact same structure and routine that school can provide.
There have been some minor issues and adjustments. The first few days of school were pretty tough but we were all (teachers and staff included) expecting that. Noah's in the middle school section of the school now which means a different area of the school, different rules, different teachers, etc. so that will take a little bit of time for him to get totally adjusted to but for the most part he is doing pretty well.
At home he has been really good - even on weekends. He's eating better and sleeping better. He seems to enjoy just playing and reading his books and what not again. He seems much more like the old Noah. That's not to say he is perfect - what child is? But he's much more manageable and when he does have his meltdowns they are easier to deal with because there are breaks in between them instead of constant meltdowns which is what it felt like before.
Now let's move on to the Question and Answer portion of this post. :) A couple of you emailed with questions - good questions I might add. I answered your questions in email but I also thought that it would be a good idea to share those questions and answers here as well. Maybe someone else reading had the same question but just didn't feel comfortable enough asking.
Is there anything I can do to help?Honestly, unless you are local and I super trust you and you want to watch Noah for an hour then no, the only thing you can do is pray for us and that is powerful and appreciated. I have a friend who's child has meltdowns and seizures, is there anything I can do for her and her husband to make this easier? (My answer to this one is going to be similar to my answer to the above question asking what could be done to help me.) Depending on how close you are to your friend and how comfortable you would be watching your friend's child, you could offer to watch him or her for a bit so your friend and her husband could have a small break. If that's something that you and your friend are not comfortable with you could bring her family a meal, offer to assist her with some mundane house chore like laundry, or just come over and have a cup of coffee and conversation with her. Adult conversation can go along way especially if you aren't going out all that much because you are worried about how your child will act in public.
I've seen a child having what I now think is a meltdown in public, is there anything I could do to help that parent? I think it would depend on the situation but honestly, there probably isn't a whole lot you could do. You could politely ask if there was anything you could do. If the Mom was trying to juggle the child and groceries or something, you could offer to carry the groceries out to her car or something along those lines.
So again, your support means a lot and I also don't mind answering questions - it just sometimes takes me a day or two to get back to you but don't worry I do respond!
So my niece Holly and I went downtown today. For months now I have been wanting to take photos at a graffiti wall that Holly had told me about. Well, finally the weather was a little cooler so we weren't melting and she had a day off so we headed downtown cameras and tripod in tow.
We had fun, enjoyed some girl talk and lunch, and of course took some photos in front of the infamous graffiti wall. I think they turned out pretty cool.....
This one is Holly's favorite I think.
This one is my favorite I think.
So I told Holly that I thought it would be cool if she got on top of the graffiti wall, half kidding. Well, once the idea was in her head she was determined to get on top of that darn wall. After a little (ok, a lot!) of work of dragging some bricks to use as a little "step" she finally got on top of that wall! Wasn't it worth it?!? LOL
Then we went to this other park downtown that had a cute little fountain and bench so we did a few photos there too although the graffiti wall pictures are definitely my favorite.
Holly and I don't have any cute recent pictures of us together so we decided to remedy that today using the tripod and the timer. Love it!