“Doing it All”

Before I tell you my “secrets” of how I “do it all”, I have to confess something. This Mama is tired, and she has been for the last 11 years. But, she’s not tired of being tired. It’s in my blood to want to succeed, and sometimes, being successful means being ok with being a little bit tired. So that’s one thing you have to keep in mind when I tell you about “doing it all”.

Friday, a friend asked me on Facebook how I have time to do everything I do in a week. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this. In college, a peer and I even presented on “Time Management” at a Leadership Conference (back when my life was controlled by a planner). Several people have asked me in person. I’ve even joked on Twitter that I feel like I should do a Podcamp Pittsburgh 6 session on keeping sane, blogging, raising a family, holding a busy job, and keeping a “face” in the local Social Media realm. For me, it really is just doing me. Anyways, I will share my “tips” and thoughts about how I make things work.

1. I rely heavily on my Droid. Take your pick of any of the smart phones out there. I seriously don’t think that I could do all that I do without my smart phone. It goes everywhere with me (and the bad battery life proves that maybe it goes too many places). I am checking Tweets, Facebook posts, and Google Reader (how I get my daily news, coupon deal hints, and keep up with other similar bloggers) whenever I have a spare minute. Although my husband doesn’t like it, I love to be early to places, which means that I usually end up sitting and waiting for people. Droid in hand, I am getting the news. The bulk of my time on my phone is in the morning with Evan–he is still pretty groggy during his first feeding, and I am honestly probably not completely awake myself, so this keeps me active.

2. I schedule, schedule, schedule. My phone is linked to my Google Calendar (personal) and my work Outlook. There are still four paper calendars in my possession. One “checkbook” calendar for bills–I plan them out in my budget calendar style then transpose to this calendar, crossing them off as they are paid or debited from our account. One “family” calendar–a yearly gift from my Aunt and Uncle where I keep track of family birthdays and anniversaries (all sides) as well as all important snail mail addresses. One “meal planning” weekly calendar that is magnetized to our fridge. Plans can change, but it helps to have meals planned so we don’t spend a lot of time fussing over “what are we eating tonight”. And finally, one “blog calendar” where I keep track of my scheduled posts. Honestly, it is very rare that I put up a post on the day that you see them. In fact, this post is being written at 12:45 AM Saturday. On weekends, I spend a good deal of time after the kids go to bed blogging, reading, and looking at photos that Greg’s taken over the week. This brainstorming time helps me get the posts up on time. Sure, sometimes there are fails, but what matters to me is that I’ve captured memories for our kids. Remember being tired? My kids and husband LOVE to sleep in, so usually weekend wake-up time isn’t until 10 or 11, so staying up until 2 or so isn’t really so bad. I am sure times will change one of these days. 🙂

3. I am ok with saying no. Sure, I feel some guilt saying no, but I have to think about my priorities. People who can accept my legitimate no’s are truly friends.

4. We DVR like crazy. There are a handful of shows that we love to watch, these are usually playing when we are up late and scheduling blog posts. Watching “adult” TV (even Idol) is just not possible with two young ones. Neither one of them can keep quiet for greater than 24 seconds, so watching one episode of The Office can take (kid you not) 3 hours. It’s a 30-minute show, people.

5. My commute is only 15 minutes (unless someone pulls a classic I HATE 28 moment). When I taught, I never lived any closer than 35 minutes from the schools. I learned quickly that this really took a punch to my time schedule. Sure, I did what I had to do, but I’ve gained so much time back in my life by living closer.

6. I outsource (and I am not ashamed). Greg is a SAHD (stay at home dad) who does a majority of the housework. He loves to coupon, so I am not spending a lot of time clipping coupons or going out for deals. He loves it, and I am ok with that being his “job” (it’s so helpful). My parents and brother enjoy spending time with our kids, so if we need to drop them by while one of us has a haircut, it’s a huge blessing. 90% of my bills are paid automatically, and I get alerts to my phone when I have met certain “top and bottom” thresholds in the account. Most of the time, I am not worrying about the finances (but I can, do, and will about 2 times a month).

7. I pray. Back in High School, I started to pray the Prayer of Jabez, asking for blessings. I am pretty sure that my family has been blessed, and one of these ways is with time.

8. I don’t reinvent the wheel. There are plenty of great apps, bloggers, and templates out on the internet. Meals are prompted by e-mailed recipes or searching “I have this ingredient, give me ideas” sites. No sense wasting time with coming up with brand new ideas (ie for covered dishes, scrapbook layouts, photographic opportunities, etc) when someone else has already done it (and usually incredibly well).

9. My daughter is extremely independent for being 2 years old.

10. Little motivators throughout my day = more productivity. I work through lunch (not always, and not always a good idea), but I do it because it’s really quiet during that hour or so. I set little goals and celebrate when I meet them with quick rewards (a chat with a friend, responding to a text, etc) before I move on to the next.

So for those of you who asked, there are some of the things I do to keep busy–it’s been a habit for 11 years and one of those things that’s hard to really share “how to” (like telling someone how to ride a bike). What are some of YOUR tips for “doing it all” or time management?

The Worst Good Habit

She hands me a string off the hem of her pants. “Mama, I’m sorry.”

Evan drops a bottle, she hands it to me. “Mama, I’m sorry.”

Rowdy knocks a crayon off the table, she puts her head in her hands. “Mama, I’m sorry.”

The sweetest little thing in the world, Little Arianna. While she’s inherited a number of my good traits, saying sorry over the littlest things, many things that are even out of her control. In so many ways, she is my mini-me. I inherited my ‘I’m sorry’ addiction from my mom (who is probably the most guilty of this “good habit”).

It’s hard not to tire of hearing her little angelic voice say, “I’m sorry”, especially when she pops out that darn bottom lip. Such a tender heart at such a young age. But I am confused. Do I tell her to stop apologizing for every single thing that goes “wrong”? If I do, will she learn to genuinely apologize? Do I ignore it and let her get tramped on in the future (because people would get used to her being apologetic, even for those things she didn’t do)? My gut reaction is to tell my little darling, “Sorry sweetie, but you got your Mama’s and her Mama’s habits.” There’s that darn S word again.

Are our sorry’s genuine? I believe so. Are our sorry’s necessary? I don’t always believe so. There are so many things that we are apologizing for that WE DIDN’T DO. To help me learn how to talk to Arianna about genuine apologies in the future, I will refer to this great list of “Seven Rules on How to Apologize” from AlphaMom. I promise I will take some tips about really being sorry and try to instill them in my little sweetie.

Until then, I am sorry if she or I overuse that word. Wish us luck. Sorry!

An Open Letter To My Daughter (on Mother’s Day)

Arianna,

Today, we celebrate Mothers, and I have to tell you, I am so proud to be your mama. There will be a lot of special women in your life, but none of them will ever play the role that I do.

Three years ago today, I privately celebrated you as my daughter and wished myself a Happy (1st) Mother’s Day. You were growing inside of me, and although being pregnant made me pretty sick, I was so happy to know I was keeping you safe. From the moment I found out I had you inside of me, I loved you, and nothing will ever change that.

Two years ago today, you were crawling around, barely able to say “Mama”, but you made me feel so loved. I think that Pappy bought you some snacks for me to put at my desk and Grammie got you some shirts for me. They helped to make our first Mother’s Day together feel special, and I know that they love being part of our lives. Daddy and I were just about to get engaged, but you and I had no clue how much more love we were about to share.

Last year, we had just recently moved into our house and you were getting excited about me having a baby. You were walking up the steps with lots of help from us, talking up a storm, and growing like a weed. We spent that Mother’s Day at your Grammie the Great’s with some of our family at a cookout. Kiddo, you are so lucky to have an awesome extended family.

This year, we haven’t really made any big plans, but I know that you will help make it memorable. You will bring me lots of smiles right from the start when you climb out of your bed and yell, “Mama! Good Morning!” then ask to come snuggle in the big bed with me, Daddy, and baby Evan. We will probably do some couponing (you love to shop like Mama and Grammie and Pop Pop), and maybe watch some of your shows. Both you and Evan will make me so happy to be a mom, just like you do every day.

Little one, I want you to know that although some days being the mother of a smart, sassy, and beautiful 2-year-old isn’t easy, it is the best job I’ve ever had. There are days when I am hard on myself because I work a lot and don’t get as much time with you as I’d like, but you smile and are happy to take me to work and see me come home. That makes my day, everyday. I see so much of me in you, and I am so proud of how smart you are (even if we have to think about how much of a sponge you really are!).

Life will probably throw you hurdles, but I want to be there every step of the way. When you have tears, I want to be able to wipe them away. When you are hungry, I want to be able to give you food. When your hair is in knots, I will try my best to get them out without pulling too hard. When you are scared, I want to send the boogie-man packing. When you are heartbroken, I want to help you pick up the pieces. When you are sick, I want to hold you and make it better. And I want to be there for all the good times, successes, accomplishments, and adventures that I know are soon to come your way.

When you grow up, I hope you are able to look back and remember these days we had together, and tell your children about how honored you are to be their mom. I hope you never forget how happy I am to be your mom and how excited I am to watch you grow into a beautiful lady. Hopefully you will remember this Mother’s Day as an enjoyable one with me!

Love,
Mama

Integrity

A few weeks ago, I decided to take The Mom Pledge, vowing to not “just take The Pledge and let that be it”, but to live up to the standards set forth by The Pledge. I’ve also been conversing with a few people about blog topics (feel free to suggest, by the way), and one that keeps coming up is Truth. I am going to take that one step further today as I blog in response to the first of The Pledge’s Prompts:

“I am a proud Mommy Blogger. I will conduct myself with integrity in all my blogging activities. I can lead by example.” What does integrity mean to you?

To me, integrity takes it up a few notches from simply telling the truth. In “dictionary terms”, integrity really means to be honest, truthful, and accurate to the highest regard. Maybe that’s why I am not afraid to blog about the good and the bad from my point of view.

Sure, I might not always spill all the details (having Integrity doesn’t mean that I no longer have privacy), but it means that what I do tell you is accurate from where I sit. Just like you wouldn’t want to find out that your favorite chocolate was really made out of coffee beans, you wouldn’t want to find out that your best friends or favorite bloggers weren’t actually parents at all (or something). That’s taking it to extremes, but I have heard about some fakes out there, or people who copy other blogs word for word just to say they have a voice. Who are you really blogging for?

Personally, I think part of the mom-to-mom bullying comes from “facts” that mothers and fathers (even casually) tell each other that turn into these “mom-petitions”. I am not going to tell you that A knows all of her ABC’s just to stir up some competition that your 30 month old needs to do the same (when in reality, she only knows about half of them and not the bottom or top halves, just a few letters in order here and there as we sing). I am not going to tell you that Evan’s been rolling over so that you can spend hours with your child working on getting them to crawl by five months (when in reality, he only really leans one way or the other and really doesn’t show a desire to roll–a desire to stand is a bigger thing for him).

While working on this post (one, honestly, to make sure I had the right facts about integrity), I came across The Integrious Project, a project to make people think about their actions at all times–not just in the blogosphere–and how to include integrity in everything they do (my “in a nutshell” version). I was very inspired by a quote they recently Tweeted, and I’d like to use it when I am down on myself re: my blogging:

“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.” ~ Judy Garland

Oh, how right she is. I hope that I raise my children to be open and honest, and not to confirm to what other people want them to be. I hope that I can hold my head up high and continue to blog with Integrity, always sharing the truth with you.

Part of that, though, comes from taking responsibility, being a catalyst to help the “movement” of both The Mom Pledge and The Integrious Project in not only the blogging world, but the world I live in. It means when I get into situations where people are not being honest, I need to let them know they have lost my trust and that I still plan on showing integrity to them. I need to be a model for them to know how to live an integrious life.

Why should I have to hear stories of mothers lying about their children to get out of doing something they don’t want to do? Just be honest and say, “we are not interested”, not “my kid is grounded because they failed a test (or something similar)” and then find out that they turned down time with you and your kids to go with someone else. It hurts a lot less to hear the truth firsthand.

Why should I have to deal with mothers on my street who let their kids throw footballs that hit my truck and then they come to me and say sorry on behalf of their kids for letting the balls come oh so close then I hear from other sources that balls actually did hit it? A few things here–kids should be responsible for their own actions–I always had to apologize to whomever I hurt without my mom or dad coddling me; kids shouldn’t be playing in the street–it’s a safety issue; and moms should be honest when their kids did something wrong and other adults witnessed it–karma, baby.

Why should I worry if I am going to get a coupon deal because other people are creating fraudulent coupons and using them at my favorite stores OR cashiers are hiding products and telling me that they are simply out of the item (even though the store only opened just before I walked in)? Just be honest, you’ll lose me as a customer if you are not. And don’t commit fraud–it’s against the law, and it hurts you, the store, and other couponers.

Why should I have to wonder who is real with me–blood relations or not–? There are enough people leading lives void of integrity, we don’t need to be dishonest with the ones that care about us the most. Mistakes happen, and we should own up to them. I refuse to take anyone serious who can’t be honest with my from the start. I don’t need the drama, and I won’t let my kids be around that, either.

So from now on, I pledge to be honest in all I do (not that I wasn’t before), and to be the catalyst for others to show integrity too. With that said, the Integrious Project also led me to taking another pledge, the pledge to Blog With Integrity which says:

By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge or signing the pledge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me.

I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.

I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.

I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.

When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.

I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.

I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them.

Are you with me?

(Let’s be honest–I know I got off a little on a mash up of thoughts around integrity, but lately, the TRUTH has really been on my mind, even to the level of teaching A about being honest when she has a wet pull up. It has to start somewhere, right? Thank you for listening to me today.)

This post was written as a post for both The Mom Pledge and Blog With Integrity in mind.

BWS tips button

BlogWithIntegrity.com

Emotions

Arianna and Evan,

Just about 2 hours ago, I was ready to call it a night when I went to Facebook and Twitter for “one final check”. You were both in your beds, sleeping soundly, and I was more than ready to join you in dreams. That’s when I saw THE NEWS, Osama bin Laden, leader of the al Qaeda, has not only been shot, but killed, and is in the custody of US Officials.

You ask, Mama, who is bin Laden, and what does it mean that he is dead? My children, my babies who are so innocent and so unaware, this man was an evil man who operated a terrible attack on our country on September 11, 2001.

Your Mama was only 18 at the time, and had just started school. I heard about the attack from a friend while I was waiting for Psych 101 to start–the World Trade Center towers had been hit by a plane that had been taken over by terrorists. We were dismissed from class while the administration determined how they were going to brief us on the situation. Being so young, I had many friends who had just joined up with the troops as well as family and friends already in, so my emotions tore me apart–I remember falling to my knees on the hill at Chatham and just crying out to God, WHY, WHY, WHY?

Pulling myself together, I joined many of my classmates and hallmates watching as a second plane hit the towers and then a plane was brought down in Shanksville. WHY SHANKSVILLE, GOD, WHY? Would my young, fellow (fresh) PK (preacher’s kid) friends be ok? (They had just moved to Shanksville, would their father, a new minister be ready for this?) I ran to my room and called my dad in tears. We could barely talk, we just cried and mumbled prayers, then I left for the briefing by the President of my college.

The days and weeks that followed were tearful, I walked by a flag at half-staff and tears came to my eyes. I still didn’t fully understand how much these sick attacks burdened our country.

And then, in 2002, I went to France for a study abroad. My friend was spit on, and people called us “Damn Americans”–why? Because we wanted to go to war against these terrorists. A short 2 months later, while I was on Spring Break in Canada, President George W. Bush proclaimed the War on Terror. We were going to hunt down this evil man and others like him who brought such grief and fear to our country.

Well, babies, it took almost 10 years, but our great country has won tonight. bin Laden’s death has been confirmed. Well terrorism is not over and our guard is not down, it is big. Navy Seals have taken him down, and our country rejoices. There are fireworks. There is dancing in the street. Social media is blowing up. Party lines are down, we are one united tonight. How long will it last? I do not know, but I do know that I have to have pride in our country, gratitude for our troops, and trust in our Administration that we will keep our guard up.

The thing to remember is that we are “celebrating” (that word is so wrong, but to me, it means justice) his death, the death of a man we hated…while there are people that loved him as much as we hated him. We must keep vigilant and strong. I am interested to see where the next days, weeks, months, and years take us.

Like President Obama ended his speech, I will end my note to you. Always be thankful for those who have fought for and continue to fight for our freedom–both at home and abroad. Our Troops, the men and women who sacrifice for us, are so worthy of your gratitude and appreciation. Promise me that you will never forget, like our country will never forget 9/11/01 and 5/1/11.

To Freedom.

~Mama

Las Vegas: Day 3

Our third day in Las Vegas was an extremely relaxing day. We woke up and caught a taxi that took us west to the Red Rock Spa for a spa day. Although I have only been to two other spas, this spa was incredible. I felt so welcomed, so relaxed. My masseuse’s husband just so happened to be a Pittsburgher (awesome). The weather was a bit on the cool side, but after our treatments we hung out by the private pool. I couldn’t convince my friends and Greg to join me, but I took a few laps in the cool water.

Our relaxing morning and early afternoon was topped off by a tasty, stuffing dinner of Chicken Parmigiana at Terra Rosa, a restaurant that claims it is “the best Italian in food in Las Vegas” and I have to agree. The bread, salad, and chicken were simply melt in your mouth. Yes, a salad can melt in your mouth.

We were told misleading info on the shuttle, so while we waited, the Spa let me back in to pump in private (and they even called me “Mrs. Burgher”, remembering me from a few hours before). We even got to play the slots for a little bit and Greg cashed in a few bucks. The shuttle ride back to the strip was quite memorable. First, I was on the phone with Southwest (failing) to extend Greg’s stay in Vegas because I got a call about work that needed attention. Then, while we were at a red light, a truck apparently cut the shuttle driver off and our driver decided to take all our lives in his hands and speed race the pickup down Flamingo Road. NOT a fun time.

After packing up for check out in the morning, Greg and I hit the town again. We wanted to go up the Eiffel Tower and watch the Bellagio Fountains. Since Greg and I love Red Velvet cake, his birthday “cake” was appropriately a Red Velvet Cupcake (which he took home) and a Red Velvet Milkshake from The Sugar Factory. We hit up the Casino Royale for some “slumming” slots and cheap margaritas. It was a nice, relaxing end to our Vegas weekend.

Sadly, Greg had to get back on a plane early the next morning, so we had another Wetzel’s Pretzel and called it a night. I escorted him to the airport, where he smoothly carried on about 20 feedings for Evan, then headed back to my room for a nap before checking out for my conference (more on that to come).

Mr. Burgher, I hope you loved your birthday weekend as much as I did!

Preparing for Easter

Good afternoon! After a much need release of some stress last night, I woke up energized and ready to prepare for tomorrow, Easter! (By the way, I am so glad I can admit my faults and let you know that life is not always smooth ’round here!)

Ideally, I would have taken A to an Easter Egg hunt, but we decided the town hunts were probably too crowded (she gets really clingy in big groups) and she decided to spend the night at my parents’ house (spoiled cutie). That means today we’ve been extremely lazy. I had a wonderful conversation with a ::ahem:: favorite* ::ahem:: aunt and snuggles in bed with Evan and Greg. We put up some dishes and cleared the snacks off the island in prep for lunch here tomorrow. And, I got an idea up my butt.

One of my favorite things to do is be in the kitchen cooking or baking. But this year, I got a pre-made sweet potato casserole and planned on making some pickled eggs. Well…now I have expanded my desires and am going to attempt to make some cake balls to dip like How Sweet’s Cupcake Fondue. Ari’s been begging for cake all week since I bought spring sprinkles, anyways. And I can’t forget deviled eggs. They are one of my favorites, and I know my cousin R would disown me if I didn’t have them for him tomorrow. But then I got to thinking about dinner, and I really wanted chicken casserole (because there so happens to be leftover mushroom soup in the fridge…). So, needless to say, Mr Mister is off to the grocery store to buy more eggs and oil so I can get to cooking! The house is about to smell great, and there just might be a mini-revival of Lil Burgher Delights!

Hope you all have a great day–the sun is shining and the sky is blue here in our part of the ‘Burgh Burbs, so enjoy it!

*shh they are all favorites! 😉

It ended not so ‘Good’

Let me preface this post by pointing out the fact that it is round about 1:00 AM and I am still wide awake. Almost every single post on our blog is scheduled on Saturday nights, so for me to be up and blogging, something is bothering me. Mr. Burgher has pointed out to me that usually our posts are about farting rainbows, and sorry friends, but this is NOT one of those. Bitter Beck reared her head tonight.

Today was Good Friday, but for me, it ended not so “good”. I had two meltdowns that would make any meltdown by Miss A pale in comparison, and that girl has had a few classic ones.

One of them was on a park bench well past dark in front of the local grocery store. All because I am having medical issues that are causing a lot of nuisances in my life. All because I can’t see right. I blew up and just needed to cool off by sitting my butt in the rain. Eventually, I cooled off and we did a little coupon shopping and got Silk for A and Rice Cereal for E.

But, the mood hadn’t lifted once we got home. Not even a good episode of “The Office” where **SPOILER ALERT** they sing Michael a remake of “Seasons of Love” made me overly happy. We took E up to bed (A BEGGED to stay with my parents tonight) and I fell onto our bed crying because…

* I don’t feel like I am “enough” for my kids. Why would A struggle to kiss me goodnight? Why did the doctor have to tell us AGAIN that E needs to eat more because he’s “under weight”?

* I don’t feel like I have a “niche”–sure, I mommy blog and it’s really for the kids, but there are SO many other great bloggers out there. I coupon, but the stores don’t consider me one of their “coupon queens”.

* I don’t feel like I have the work-life balance I feel like I have (I know that makes no sense) when I know there is so much more I can be giving work than I already do yet there is so much more I can be giving my family?

* I don’t feel like I have a handle on our money, although I am making more than I’ve ever made in my life and have just 6 more payments left before I pay off those pesky credit cards that got me in trouble. And can I mention the price of gas climbing and making it harder to take the kids to the park, visit my parents (let alone Greg’s!), or coupon?!??!!

* I don’t have my paperwork organized. What if we got audited? What if something happened to me? What if we for some reason needed document 7 article b 3 a from Ari’s adoption or that magazine subscription receipt from 2006?

* I don’t feel like my body is working with me, but against me. Some of you know, I am suffering from Vertigo and seeing an Ear, Nose, & Throat doctor. There is no direct trigger, it’s pretty much constant, so the doctor has me scheduled for a balance test Tuesday. Well, I haven’t been driving since the diagnosis almost two weeks ago and the past few days my eyes haven’t been working the same. Sometimes I see something far away and think it’s really close, when other times I see something close and think it’s really far away. Randomly, words slur. My nausea is just about at the level it was during pregnancy (but I am always hungry). My body craves sleep, but doesn’t let me get a good dose. Ok, enough whining.

So, I broke down and just let G stare at me for a few minutes. Neither of us talked, but we knew I wasn’t right. Thankfully, I have the strength. I have two beautiful children who do love me, a wonderful husband who supports me and goes above and beyond for our family. I have an amazing group of people who are my family–specifically my parents, in-laws, brother, and sisters (in-law), and best friends who I can connect with after months and it feels like just yesterday since we’ve been apart. I have blogger friends, Twitter friends, and work friends who I am sure I’d love to be friends with IRL (in real life). I have a Savior who died for me, to forgive my sins.

Tonight, I remember that I can’t do it all, and I certainly can’t do it alone. Tonight, I will try to make it end good (even if that means reading a few of your stellar blogs while I scarf down a bowl of ice cream). Tonight, I will ask for your prayers that I can realize my strength and potential AND that I am just suffering from a momentary physical impairment. But most importantly, tonight, I am going to turn it all over to God, because He alone can take my broken parts and make them whole.

<3

Scent

On one of my crazy coupon runs, I got a free bag of Jelly Beans. It was the first time I had ate Jelly Beans (not Jelly Bellies or Starburst version) in a very long time. As soon as I tore the bag open, there it was, the smell of spiced jelly beans. I grabbed a handful and started to savor each bite. Thinking back, I don’t know that I have ever ate anything as slowly as I ate that handful of jelly beans. You see, each bite let off that scent again and again. I cozied into the couch and my mind took me away from the busy world. I was in another place and time, years ago with my Great Grandma Yute. I cannot completely describe the moment or the jelly bean connection; however, I do know that those jelly beans had some significance in my memory of her. Although I may never know, now I have a “place” I can go to be calm and just enjoy life–provided a bag of spiced jelly beans is around.