friendships and giving

I have a bit of a cold. you know the kind that makes you feel like you are going to sneeze every 5 seconds but you never actually do and your eyes end up watering for eternity and your head feels like it will explode? Strike that I don’t have a BIT of a cold, I HAVE a cold. So I suffer through attempting to give 90% when I really only have 5% left to give. But that is life. You are often asked to give more than you can, more than is physically possible.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.Some of my besties (aka the ladies who have known me since I was a bright-eyed, supremely naive college freshman) are coming into town this weekend. The hubbies and the babies are coming too. It is all just so good! There will be a lot of cuddling of children, belly laughs, wine and I am sure deep heartfelt conversation.

These ladies are stretched to the max. They manage jobs and families and still travel hundreds of miles this weekend to spend time with us. Talk about giving when you have not much left in you- one of them moved last week. Yes, moved her entire little family of four (and by little I mean two little ones under the age of three) into a new home and instead of staying home and unpacking their lives they choose to come here. That is a way better example of giving when you have not much left in you then my little cold!

Isn’t it in these moments of giving when we feel stretched that we receive the greatest rewards?

Four women, four husbands, nine children and 17 years of friendship, looking forward to the adventure of this weekend.

ladiesturn 30

“All of my life is arm and arm with you. When you’ve got trouble I’ve got trouble too…. Our lives are intertwined. I’ll ease your pain because you’ve eased mine.”

And then she was nine

Dear Sidney,

9 years ago today you burst forth into our world. You turned two self-centered and broken 27 year olds into parents and began us on a journey we could have never dreamed possible.


From your first days on this planet you brought immeasurable joy to our lives and challenged us to become better people. Nine years later nothing has changed.

You have always been in a hurry. It started when we had planned your birth to occur one week before your due date (wouldn’t you know you have a bit of your father’s stubborn streak and you did not want to flip into the appropriate birth position). When we arrived at the hospital in the very early morning hours of August 27, 2004 the doctors performed the standard ultrasound to confirm your position before surgery. They discovered that at some point in the days prior I had begun to lose amniotic fluid and you my child were swimming in very little of it. It was as if you were trying to assure your family that you did in fact want out now so please just get on with it.


The joy on the day of your birth could not possibly be quantified and that was just the start of it! I didn’t understand how my heart could grow and stretch to accommodate all of the joy that one little girl could bring.

It is such a privilege to be your parent Sid. From your earliest days when we learned of your colic and found that the only thing that would soothe you would be the heartbeats of your parents, we knew that our bond would be a very special one. To this day you are the first of my girls to run into my arms for a hug when I walk in the door after work and you are always sensitive to the moods of both your daddy and I. You rush to the scene dolling out comfort when one of your family members needs it.

sidkissing audrey

You love your animals, your horses and your doggies. sidziva

Today my heart breaks a little when I see you ride your ponies. I think about how independent you now are. You in the stall tacking up, no help from your teacher. And then on your horse (jumping now eeks), pushing us with your desire to do it all on your own. Still in your own time. One day my darling you too will be a mom and you will understand how someone can be so happy and so sad in the same moment.


You my precious girl are strong in both body and spirit. I am amazed every day how you have grown from this-


 first day first grade

to this:


first day fourth grade

Remember how strong you are in the years ahead when someone tells you that you are not perfect (it will happen we all get our hearts broken). Recall the way you shoot a basket, how you swim like a dolphin, can catch a fish (almost bare handed) and how you are loved and cherished by your parents and God.

I always tell you how I wish I could slow down time so you could stay little forever.


sidkindergartenBut Sidney this life, your life, it is not about me. It’s not about your dad either, or your sisters or your friends. It’s about you. We can’t force you to stay little. Your job now is to grow and thrive and learn. You have the power to turn your life into anything imaginable (although I do need to tell you that your chances of becoming a Thoroughbred jockey are slim to none as I believe you surpassed their height requirements in the third grade).

Sidney Reagan Schmaltz, on this your 9th birthday your dad and I thank God for the gift of your life. You are a promised fulfilled. Now get on with it and show the world what you are capable of!


your one and only mama

PS -The following song makes me think of you!

Moments From The Week

I think I will let my playlist stand as reference for how this week has gone!

For those who have been asking my mother in law’s open heart surgery went extermely well, so well that she may be discharged as early as today.

What I am listening to this week:

Who cares if it’s a song from the Twilight soundtrack and most likely everyone and their mother is familiar with it except for me who just heard it for the first time this week and now has it on repeat. Christina Perri’s Thousand Years:

Then there is this one- Liz Longley’s When You’ve Got Trouble

And finally there is Matt Maher’s  Lord I Need You Now:

What I am reading this week:

I love fall and what it brings – mega sized fashion magazines laying out the fall must have’s! I have spent the last week pouring over the following two style guides:

What moved me this week:

I continue to be moved by this commencement address. The words have hung with me the last two weeks and I promise not to forget them.


Remember that movie about the two women played by Barbara Hershey and Bette Midler who meet one summer as kids on the Jersey shore and who through all of life’s ups and downs remain friends? Sometimes I think that Beaches viewed by a young, impressionable 11-year-old me helped to solidify my love of the beach. A summer spent at the shore where you meet your best friend for life under the boardwalk, it doesn’t get any better than that!

Now I travel with my girls twice a year to take in the sun and the salt that sustained me as a kid. It’s not the Delaware shore of my childhood or the Carolina coast of my college and young adult years. It’s the southern shores of Georgia. The islands with their unkept beaches; their rocks, warm waters and shrimp boats. It’s the place where a boardwalk never existed and where you can walk for a mile on the sandy shoreline without ever seeing another soul.

But it’s not just the barren sandy path that has me come back when the calendar turns the mark on the sixth month. It’s the people, those generous of spirit. The potential for lifelong friends that is fostered by the history and culture of the Georgia coast brings us back.

The “hello ma’am” always draws me in. “Where are you from?” “What brings you to Georgia?”. They always reach out first.

I know that most everyone I meet down here I will end up carrying with me on my journey home. People such as Captain Tim.

capain tim

Tim’s not a native (in these parts one defines a native as someone whose family has lived on these islands for at least four generations). But he too was lured by the culture (and fishing of course) of this place and now calls it home with his wife and stepchildren.

He and my husband have been fishing together for the last few summers. But this trip they decided to take Sidney. And this happened:


Look at that proud little lady. Captain Tim spent over 4 hours on the boat with her that day along with my husband and his parents. They fished for bait then fished for shark and Sidney had an absolute blast (well until hour 4 when the 90 degree plus day finally got to her). Captain Tim was beyond patient and had just the right mix of education and fun to keep the morning interesting for her. He didn’t coddle my nine-year old but empowered her with his fishing knowledge and his love of this place.

He also helped my husband do this:

brock fish

Those who know my husband know a smile on his face such as the one pictured above ( you know the kind of smile that is shown on not just your mouth but overtakes your whole face) has only been captured on camera maybe three times since we were married in 1999 (those smiles would be at the births of our girls). According to my mother in law, my husband also spent those four hours learning from the Captain. They talked fishing of course- the tides, the marsh lands and the changes in the geography of this place. And they caught fish (a lot of fish)! Brock came home sunburned and invigorated.

I don’t think I can fully articulate how someone such as Captain Tim goes above and beyond what you ask him to, not because he feels obligated but because the love of this place lives in these people. It becomes tangible when you engage with them. It is a part of their spirit and after a few moments with the Captain Tim’s of Georgia’s Golden Isles their spirit overtakes you as well.

And that my friends is why it’s so hard to leave this place. You long to carry their spirit back with you. In my world of deadlines, highways and highrises, the further you move away from your trip the harder it is to conjure up their spirit.

So we will travel back on the sixth month and we will refuel. Captain Tim will take my family fishing again and those smiles will live for a few more weeks on their faces. No we didn’t meet this lifelong friend under the boardwalk but the salty floors of a fishing boat are just as good.

Beach Days


How can one leave that?

or this?



Struggling today with the after vacation fog.

So many stories from this week but the words won’t come this Monday morning.

Maybe tonight I can summon the sound of the ocean in my ears and the sight of the star speckled Georgia sky.

Then the words will come.

Moments from the Week- Georgia here we come

I don’t think my family could be any more excited to see this week come to an end. The ending of this week marks the start of our summer trip to the Golden Isles of Georgia (we visit St. Simons Island every December and Jekyll Island every August).

I would like to say that I was up at 4:45 this morning because I was too excited for our trip but in reality “the boy” had his own ideas. He woke me up to show me the disaster area he made of our downstairs . I am assuming he decided to tear up a wicker basket and relieve himself on my new hallway rug because he saw the suitcases and was traumatized. But honestly, he is an 8 month old puppy and no one knows why he does what he does.

So in my sleep deprived but heightened state of awareness this morning (2 cups of coffee in already) I decided to do my last blog post from the safe confines of my Ohio home. In a few hours we will be off on our adventure but we did manage to squeeze in some fun this week.


Yes those are green beans. Yes we grew them in our backyard. And yes there are only three of them but we nurtured those little guys until we could eat them.

ellie cooking

My Ellie girl loves to bake. Brownies were her choice on Wednesday night.

Here are more things that spoke to me this week. Enjoy your weekend.

What I am listening to:

Josh Abbott Band She Will Be Free

Bart Crow If I Go I’m Goin

What I am reading: