Everything Happens for a Reason. 🅔 🅗 🅕 🅐 🅡. Sounds cliché, right? And it’s usually the very last thing someone going through something unpleasant wants to hear. BUT, I believe in my very heart of hearts that it’s true. I honestly do.
I’m a glass is half-full, kind of girl. I want to believe that even bad things are part of a bigger plan. I believe in God’s plan. I want to believe that when life gives you lemons, you should make a lemon drop. 🍋
I’ve had many ups and downs in life. Some of them painful. And while I couldn’t see what good could come out of the bad situation while I was in the middle of it, I wanted with all my heart and soul to believe there was a reason for it.
At the end of the day, after all the tears and sorrow were gone, I found some rays of hope 🔆and happiness and joy. The pain of loss is now just a distant memory and I gained some new friends and a lot of strength along the way. 💪🏼
Perhaps I’m just a big romantic or maybe I’m not what is considered a “realist”, but I am most definitely hopeful and want to believe there is a small amount of good in everything and everyone. So, I DO believe that everything happens for a reason. Because changes in our life, whether good or bad, happen for a reason and sends us on a path to a meaningful lesson or maybe even our next adventure! 🚀
On December 8th, 2008, our whole world changed! Our son, Connor Kenneth Charles Zeiss, who was supposed to be born in March, decided to make an extra early appearance. He was born at just 27 weeks. He weighed just 1 lb. 9 oz. He had several complications along the way, including two strokes, which were the biggest of our worries at the time.
He spent 35 days at Rady Children’s hospital in their NICU. The nurses there were absolutely amazing. The love and genuine kindness they exhibited during those extremely trying days were so very appreciated and much needed. Some sweet, older ladies knitted the Santa hat he’s wearing in the picture above. We were given several homemade blankets from children, and other kind souls, knitted blankets, signs, cards and so much more. The blankets were wonderful and we used them to put on top of his isolette, to keep all of the lights and sounds out. We were so grateful for all of the things that were gifted to us. I have a plan in the very near future, to put together bags of necessities and essentials for future preemie parents to help them through their difficult times.
Although the drive back and forth from our home in San Marcos down to Rady Children’s was about 45 miles round trip, we were kind of sad to leave such wonderful care. He was then transferred to our local hospital, Palomar Medical Center, where he was just as well taken care of. The nurses there were just as gentle and caring and we were so appreciative to them as well for helping us put on the 4 lbs. 3 oz. we needed to bring him home. Yes, he needed to weight 6 whole pounds to be transported home!
We finally got to bring him home on February 23rd, 2009. And I need to mention that because of the risk of flu and other viruses, they shut the NICU down for the winter season. Unfortunately all family, including our daughter, who was only 7 at the time, were not able to see Connor until he got home. So his homecoming was extra special for us all.
ALL that being said, this day is always near and dear to us and we love to help celebrate the beautiful birth and life our “little guy”. The March of Dimes has a way you can donate should you feel obliged to!
I would love to hear your preemie stories if you have any! Feel free to leave a comment! Happy World Preemie Day!
Oh….and by the way, Connor is a happy, healthy, 10 and 3/4 old boy! And his sister really does still adore him!
A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of taking a girls trip with my Mom, my best friend from high school, and her Mom. We’ve all known each other since the summer before my freshman year of high school, so there’s quite a bit of history there. Our Mom’s certainly were looking forward to reminiscing about what sweet angels we were in high school! Ha!
We took a trip up the coast to the Santa Ynez Valley to attend their annual Day in the Country event, which has lot of amazing vendors, food trucks, beer gardens, live music & fun stuff for the kids! It’s an event I’ve always wanted to go to, so I was super excited when I mentioned it to my friend, and then my Mom and we actually MADE IT HAPPEN!
The Santa Ynez Valley is located in Santa Barbara County, California, between the Santa Ynez Mountains to the south and the San Rafael Mountains to the north. If you’ve never seen the movie Sideways & you enjoy wine & some good comedy, you need to see it! It was mostly filmed in this beautiful area!
We stayed at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, where we enjoyed a “home made” charcuterie platter from items we brought from home. Oh, and by the way, you should see the amount of wine we brought with us! We had to grab one of those carts to get all our stuff from the car, up to our rooms!
We got a little bit of a later start to the day than we wanted due to kid scheduling issues, but once we unpacked our rather ridiculous amount of luggage for one night, we had a glass of wine and our snack, & then headed on out to explore. A quick Uber ride put us right in the heart of lovely Los Olivos, where the event was.
We walked around this quaint little city and found some great vendors, food trucks & a remarkable band, signing some classic Neil Diamond. The vendors ranged from beautiful handmade jewelry, to art, incredible, hand-carved lazy susan’s, hand made charcuterie boards, plus, great gifts for anyone & everyone and A LOT of really nice people. As we were winding down from our shopping, I told them there was just one more place that we absolutely had to go to. My favorite “garden store”, J. Woeste!
It’s a magical garden of anything and everything! Outside there are beautiful garden treasures, and inside great gifts, such as candles, artwork, and even Christmas 🎄 items year-round! It’s definitely a must see! Oh… And you can’t miss the amazing and GINORMOUS wind💨 chimes in the front. There always seems to be a nice breeze going in front of the store, so you can almost always hear them. They’re so relaxing!
Our next stop, to settle our aching feet, was a glass of wine. We stopped at The Bear and Star, right in the middle of town. We sat right in front in a very light, bright & comfortable bar area. There was a wedding going on in the back of the restaurant, so it was really fun to watch all of the guests and some of the wedding party, (two adorable flower girls included) come through in their dressed attire.
After refreshing with some water, brought to us in their own cute, little decanter, we ordered wine. Well, as it so happened, they carried a Fess Parker wine, which he named right after me! (wink, wink) So of course, we had to have it! My Mom has bought this one for me in the past, so it was a perfect little wine to split before we journey’d on to the next stop.
After we left The Bear & Star, we decided it was dinner time. We had a reservation for a fabulous dinner at Trattoria Grappolo in Santa Ynez, which was just a short Uber ride from down town Los Olivos. We enjoyed an amazing bottle of Grgich Hills, Chardonnay (2014). This has always been one of my favorites and it was very nicely priced and perfect for sharing. We carb-ed up on bread, pasta and a tasty flat bread pizza. We all shared, and the portions were perfect for that!
Our last stop of the evening was for a night cap! We walked out of Trattoria Grappolo and right there next to it, was the Maverick Saloon! We heard country music playing and we just had to go in! It was so much fun there. We ordered a couple of the drinks at the bar and then proceeded to deface a couple of dollar bills to staple up on the ceiling! Ha ha! So much fun though, and had we stayed a little later, there was a live band tuning up to play. I would like to go back again and stay a little longer next time! Below are a couple of pictures of our mischievousness!
After a great night of sleep and a pretty stellar breakfast buffet (served ’til noon, for us sleeper-inners) at the hotel, we decided to stop in Solvang on our way out. For those of you who don’t know, Solvang is a lovely & quaint Danish town, which has a TON of great little shops, danish bakeries, tasting rooms, & great dining! We hit some souvenir shops for the kids, and enjoyed the Halloween decorating contest the stores were having amongst themselves. My Mom treated me to a new pair of Birkenstocks at the Solvang Shoe Store, which had a pretty large selection, considering the size of the store. We all came home with new shoes! Woot woot! Then, we just had to stop for scoop of ice cream at Solvang Trolley Ice Cream Parlor, (the serve chocolate malted crunch folks!!), and at the danish bakery for some fresh & gooey bread! It was quite the afternoon, but alas, it was time to return to reality!
I highly recommend taking a trip up to Santa Ynez Valley, and if you can take it with your Mom, or sister, cousin or even best friend, it’s even better going with the ones you love!
I’m so thankful for the opportunity to spend a weekend with the people I know always have my back & love me unconditionally. Even though my friend and I don’t get to spend too much time together, (distance & family obligations are always a thing), we always make our weekends count since they are so few and far between! We are both also infinitely aware of how lucky we are to have our Mommy’s here to hang with us! 🙏🏼 We plan on a trip next year to Cambria, CA and I can’t wait!