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Our Family

John and Megan were born at 33 and 6/7 weeks. They spent 16 days in the NICU before coming home. This is their journey.

Updated: 2018-03-06T09:00:14.020-08:00


Happy Fall


This fall has been insanely busy!

John has finished soccer, is taking a break from hockey, and is still enjoying gymnastics.
Megan is still loving dance and gymnastics classes.
We have made multiple trips to the apple orchards and have enjoyed some quality outdoor time.
We had a great time trick or treating. Megan was a tiger and John was Batman! The amount of candy that they scored was ridiculous.

John and Megan have been doing well academically. They are both able to write their names and as the school year progresses, they are writing better. They know their letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. Megan is still a bit shy and doesn't often lead, however, she is also not someone who follows easily. She is a constant help to her teachers at school and she continues to be very kind, but at times a bit sassy.
John is a very active guy. He struggles when his schedule is inconsistent, but does much better when we are able to stay constant. Unfortunately, with our crazy work schedules, there will be times where he will have to adjust and I hope that he will be able to do so easier as he gets older. It is very sad to see him struggle in this way. Despite his struggle with adjusting to change, he is an amazing little man. He has shown me that he has a kind heart and I am proud of the person he is becoming.

I am working a ton! I love my new job and feel like I am making a difference. I am building relationships with students and families everyday. I do find myself missing the classroom every once in a while, but I am loving the new role and don't have any desire to head back to the classroom environment.

Fall 11/4/12 at


The kids enjoying fall activities!



This new school year has brought a huge change for me. After 11 years in a classroom, I have moved into administration. I am now the Dean of Intervention at Quest Charter Academy. National Heritage Academies (the company I work for) uses a Dean model instead of Principal/Assistant Principal. A dean is in essence an assistant principal. I am loving my new job and am learning so many new things each day. I am blessed that I have an amazingly supportive group of  people at work and at home. I have come to realize that eventhough I want to be perfect in everything I do, I won't be. This is a bit of a learning year for me, and boy am I learning things!John and Megan are doing well!A few months ago we had their 4 year check-up. Megan weighs in at 28 lbs and John is 34 lbs. They are busy little people as well. John is playing soccer, hockey, and doing gymnastics. Megan is dancing and doing gymnastics. Both kids are loving their activities and sleep pretty good on the nights that they have class.Dance Class! Hockey time!A bit excited for gymnastics! Dancing Getting Ready for School Picture Day!  The kids are in the pre-kindergarten class at Real Life Nursery School where they have been attending school since they were 2 1/2. They are working on math and reading skills to prepare them for kindergarten. Tim and I are talking about where we want to enroll them in the fall. I can't believe that we are already talking about kindergarten. Weren't they just born? For the first time in a while, I can say that I am happy in my work life as well as my personal life. Things seem to be falling into place. I have worked hard to build a life for John, Megan, and myself  that is filled with happiness, love, a commitment to each other, and an ability to live comfortably. Some days are better than others (4 year olds sure do whine a lot), but I wouldn't change one minute with them. [...]

I love being a teacher...


I have had the honor of working with the same group of kids for two years. Tuesday my 8th graders graduated. It was a very rewarding and sad day. I always hope that I make a positive impact on my students lives, but this letter I received from a mom affirmed that I am doing something right!

Ms. Nickel, 
Where do I begin to thank you for all you've done for Sarah? You are a phenomenal teacher! How do I know? From all the stories Sarah tells me about your class and everything in between. 
When you send your kids out into the world on that first day of kindergarten, you realize other adults will begin to influence your kid just as profoundly as you do. You are all I could hope for in an adult that interacts with Sarah as much as you have. Your influence, nurturing guidance, humor and strength have influenced Sarah to become the wonderful person she is today. I am grateful for all your love and encouragement you have shown her. I am confident she will never forget you. 
Thank you for modeling that smart, funny, and strong women who speak their minds, and are confident, are positive influences on others. 
Have a great summer. Know you made a difference to me and my daughter.

This is why I teach. This is why I love what I do and hope to always have the opportunity to touch peoples lives in a positive way. It is so nice to have these positive affirmations.

Visiting Indiana soon...


I am so happy to say that we will be making our first summer road trip the week after Father's Day! John, Megan, and I will be in for about 5 days and we hope to see many of you. We will let you know when we have final plans made.

Our first set of stitches...


On April 15th Megan and John were at a bowling birthday party with daddy. I got a call that Megan fell and that she would probably need stitches.
She was a real trooper. John handled things well (thank goodness Brandy was here) and bought Meggie presents at the gift shop while she got 4 stitches under her chin. Tim and I snuggled with her before, during, and after. She didn't like the papoose that they had to use to restrain her, but it was the right choice to use.

Even in pain, she is beautiful! 



It is unfortunate that there were hurt feelings upon reading my recent update about my mothers death. I can only hope that people understand that this post wasn't about what others did or didn't do. It was simply about what I remember going through as I was dealing with the sudden loss of my mom.
All of my sisters came together and did what needed to be done to get through a very tough time. We worked together and picked up where others couldn't carry on. My post was in no way meant to "call people out" or "make others feel like they didn't do enough". We all did our part and did what we could when we could.
It makes me sad that there are others who believe I don't feel like they did their part.
Obviously, Sarah and Tammy did everything that they could to comfort and support, just as Angie and I did.
This post took me longer than a year to be able to write, the details of which are what stuck in my mind. I apologize if you felt offended by the post. Obviously, that was not my intention.

We are still here.


I know that it has been a while since I have posted consistently, sorry. I have found it difficult to blog since mom died. I think that it was because I wasn't ready to write about her dying and I didn't think that I could go on with the blog and pretend that this major life event hadn't happened. Well, I think that it is time to write about it now as I have finally processed that fact that she is gone (which is good, since it has been over a year). Most of you know this, but my mother passed away a year ago February 14th (yep, on Valentine's day). I was in my classroom meeting with students about their research papers and my phone kept ringing. I sent my mom's phone a text message asking what was wrong and got no response. Finally Angie called me and one of my students told me that I better answer the phone. I did and that is when I got the news. Like I said, I was in the middle of class (7th and 8th graders) and everyone was quietly working on their research report. Angie told me that mom died and the first thing that came out of my mouth (in front of my entire class) was "Who's fucking mom died?". At that point I then walked out of my room. Ran into a parent and told her that my mom had died and she responded with "oh fuck" and that she would watch my class. I walked straight to my administrators office and sat down. She knew something was wrong because I had tears running down my eyes. I told her what happened and she took action. It took me over an hour to be able to leave the school building. Not because I needed to get things done, but because I was so numb I had no idea what to do first. All I really had to do was leave. My amazing 7th grade team took over and made sure my students had things to do. I finally made it home and still had to contact Tim to make sure he could keep the kids. I had to pack (and really, what do you pack for your mother's funeral) and deal with getting the house in order as I would be gone for at least 4 days. I called my sister-in-law Sara and told her what happened and she walked me through what to put in my suitcase. My neighbor came down and packed the kids suitcases up and had them ready for Tim to pick up. My friend Kelly was (and continues to be) an amazing support system as well. I finally get on the road and then have to drive 200 miles with nothing to keep my mind occupied. That was not an experience I would like to have again. I will be finding a driving partner for the next unexpected death. After I got there, things continued to suck. Everyone was numb. Angie was there for the entire ordeal and had to see and do things that no child should have to do. I can't even imagine what she went through and only wish that I could have been there sooner. Angie and I went with dad to pick out the grave site and plan the funeral. Angie and I went and purchased mom a new outfit to wear (a bit strange, yes, but she deserved it). You should have heard the saleswomen that were helping us. I am an inappropriate laugher...something happens that I can't deal with, I laugh. They were definately judging me.My other sisters arrived along with my aunts and uncles (mom was the oldest of 7) and we got down to picking out pictures, music, and writing the obituary and creating the pamphlet for the funeral. I have to say that everyone really stepped up, but that Angie and I took a lot of this on ourselves (we are a bit OCD like that and we had started it and felt like we needed to finish it). I knew that if I could focus on something that I could get through this time. Fast forward to this December 26th. My birthday. I am sitting on the couch already feeling a bit sad (Tim had the kids) and my dad called to wish me a happy birthday. Every year since I can remember, I have gottern the birthday song call from mom and dad. It wasn't until dad called to sing me happy birthday t[...]



The 3's ! What in the world! There are days where John and Megan are the most amazing little people I have ever had the privilege of knowing and then there are days where I wonder if they have a bit of the devil inside of them.
Today was a bit of a devilish day. Thank goodness I have great friends that are able to support mommy when she needs a time out.

Hi has been a while.


It has been a long time since I have actually posted anything that had some substance to here we go...John and Megan are doing great.At their three year check-up they weighed in at 29 and 24 pounds respectively.Megan has finally made it to the growth charts and is in the 1st percentile for weight! Yeah!!!!!Let's be honest, she is still miniature. She is pretty darn cute though!John is in the 14th percentile and is about 3 inches taller than Megan. He is my handsome little man.Since the last post, they have been moved into their own bedrooms, are in big kid beds, we don't have any pacifiers or diapers/pull-ups in the house, and they are getting smarter by the day!Both kids have begun learning how to ice skate as well as play soccer. They are starting to really get into both sports.The summer flew by. The kids and I spent a few weekends in Indiana with Angie and crew, we also went to Tennessee and Georgia for a 10 day road trip. Grandpa Tad went with us...we all survived the 14 hour drive was touch and go for a while, but we made it. The kids and I had a great time visiting with Tammy, Nick, Sara, Roger, and kids. I had an amazing summer! I spent a ton of time with my kids, got the opportunity to really enjoy myself again, really found out who my true friends were, and learned that I am not just a mommy!Over Labor Day weekend, I (kids were with Tim) took a trip to Florida. My friend and I stayed with Aunt Karen and had an AMAZING time! It was my first adult vacation just for me...I am pretty sure that it will be happening again soon.School has been in session about three weeks now. I lasted two days into the school year before the plague hit and I was knocked on my butt with bronchial pneumonia. It took about 4 days of nothing but sleep and fluids for me to get out of bed. I am feeling much better, but the cough is horrendous and lingering. At one point I was pretty sure my class was going to get to dissect my lung. The kids are also back at school at Real Life Nursery School and Farm and are loving it as much as last year!As of the first of September, I am no longer the chairperson for the Family Advisory Board. I have passed the baton onto someone who is very capable, but I am still going to miss being the chair. I, of course will continue being part of the board, attending meetings and participating in activities and volunteering. November 4th will be our 7th annual fashion show. John and Megan will be in the fashion show this year, but I will be on the sidelines. Tim and I will be there supporting our kids and the NICU that helped to save their lives.Tim and I are working together to make sure that John and Megan have everything that they need in order to be well rounded, happy, and healthy kids. We are doing our best and it seems to be working out well. :)I am still dealing with mom's death. Some days are fine and some pretty much suck. Megan and John talk about Grammy Robbye Lou all the time and tell me that she is in heaven...taking care of the dead baby bird that we found in our back yard. Nothing sweeter than that!I received a letter from my former school district today. They were calling me back from lay off and offering me a 5th grade position. I am so happy that I can say I didn't even hesitate or think twice about the decision I stay with the school I am working with now. I don't know if I have ever had a job that is more challenging or more rewarding.Missing so many of you more than you can imagine.[...]

3rd Birthday Party May 2011 at


John and Megan had an amazing 3rd birthday! So many of our friends and family were able to come and be part of the celebration.

NICU Reunion 2011 - 3 years old! at


Some cute pictures of the kiddos from the NICU reunion. My friend Greta is a photographer and she is amazing!

Terrible 2's...more like terrible 3's!


My neighbors kept telling me that the three's were going to be rough. I didn't believe them. John and Megan were great at 2...why would I expect anything less at 3.
Well, sadly they were right. These two are insane! It takes at least an hour to get settled for a nap, bedtime isn't so great either! Before I would lay them in their beds, give them some hugs and kisses, and leave the room. The angels would be asleep moments later. Now it is World War III trying to get them to leave each other alone. The phrase "I just want you" comes out of John's mouth every time I leave him alone (Tim has informed me it happens at his house too). They are kicking on the doors, jumping from bed to bed, and messing with each other. At this point, I am seriously considering separate bedrooms immediately!

Although that rant makes it sound like things are not so great...there are many amazing things happening at our house with my people as well.
John and Megan are both officially potty trained - NO pull-ups....dry over nights too!
The paci fairy came to mommy and daddy's houses and took the paci's away. We survived the 4 days of screaming and no longer use pacifiers!
They kids are talking a mile a minute, they are both active and happy. Megan loves reading and John is all boy!
They just started a 6 week ice skating class. Tim took them this week and I am excited to tag along and watch next week. I will get some pictures.

I will post some pictures before we head on our trip to Tennessee/Georgia the first week of August. I am looking forward to spending time with family for an entire week. I hope that they are ready to have my two little people infiltrate their space!

My Amazing Miracles at


Please join us as we walk with the March of Dimes on May 1st at Hudson Mills Metro Park. If you can't join us on the walk, please consider making a donation by going to our personal webpage.



In two months John and Megan will be 3 and I am wondering where the time went.
About a month ago John started showing some excitement about using the big boy potty. For the past two weeks I have worked with him daily to get him to use the potty. We are now on day two of big boy underpants (after about 2 weeks of pull-ups) and we have had only one accident per day. I am so proud of him! Megan isn't really interested in potty training. She knows how to use the potty, will use it if I make her, but doesn't really want anything to do with it. I am hoping that with John in underwear she will want to try harder.

Both kids went to the allergy and immunology doc today for their yearly check-up. Megan continues to be my little peanut. She weighed in at 23 lbs even. Wearing clothing! John is up to 27 pounds. He is also 2 1/2 inches taller than his sister. Both kids take singulair and zyrtec daily to help with their allergies and asthma. We are going to try to take them off their singulair in two months and see how they do. Because of Megan's shoulder (hysteocytoma...sp) she will need to continue to take the zyrtec and might have to take an antihistamine for the rest of her life. Boo to that, but it is better than lesions all over her body.

The kids are thriving at daycare. It amazes me how much they do each day. I am so happy that we made the decision to put the kids at Real Life Nursery and Farm. They have adorable friends, amazing teachers, and a great learning opportunity!

Many of you know this, but on February 14th my mother passed peacefully in her sleep.
It was definitely a shock and I am still not fully processing what happened. I am still expecting her to call me to talk. I will post more about this later, but I am just not ready now.

Amazing Life Changes!


I have tried to write this post at least half a dozen times, but I haven't known where to start. I write something and then erase it because it just doesn't sound right. Or, I log in to get started and then something will distract me. I have decided that I need to just write from the heart and leave it at that.A year ago in December, Tim and I made the decision to separate. He moved out and the kids and I began a new life. A life that I never thought I would have, but the one that had been handed to me.The first few months were difficult as I struggled trying to be a single mom, find a job, and relearn what it was like to take care of things on my own. Tim continued to be part of the kids lives (as he still is), but I had very little down time to mourn the loss of what I assumed my future would be.I began taking the kids to an at home daycare one day a week as well as having someone come to the house half a day a week. This gave me time to go to the grocery store, see a therapist, and really take a little time for me. These women who cared for my kids gave me the opportunity to heal and be a better mom. I will never forget what they did for me.In January of last year, the kids started spending overnights with Tim. This was a difficult transition for me as they had never slept anywhere without me. I was so proud that I was able to make it around the corner from Tim's place before I had to pull over and break down. The kids had a difficult time transition at first as well. They were used to having mommy tuck them in and be there in the morning. The three of us made it through the first few overnights and things started getting easier.I was able to realize what it is that I wanted and needed out of life, which made the decision to file for divorce last February an easier one. Once the decision was made and the paperwork was started I realized that I really needed to get a job.I applied several places and actually had interviews in each district I applied for. I was surprised by that as I have been out of the game for a few years. I received an offer to teach the 5th - 8th Grades - Accelerated Learning Program at South Arbor Charter Academy and I accepted.Having a job made me feel more secure in the fact that I would be able to take care of myself and my children. It really let me know that I could do this on my own.My divorce was final last October and Tim and I have been getting the last of our things taken care of. We realized that John and Megan deserved to have the opportunity to be with each of us as often as possible. Because of this, we decided to share custody. They spend Monday, Wednesday, and every other weekend with Tim and are with me the rest of the time. I miss them terribly when they are gone, but realize that I am a better mom because I have the time to take care of myself. I am now the proud homeowner of the home that I have lived in for the past 10 years. The kids have been transitioned into a full time nursery school setting (more about that later) and I am have transitioned to being a working mother. I am happy to report that I am in love with my life right now. I have two of the most amazing children in the world. If not for them, I would not be the strong woman that I am today. At the beginning I survived because I knew that I had to take care of them. Now I thrive because I am privileged to be their mother. I have a terrific job that allows me to work with students who are excited about their learning and who teach me something new everyday. I have strengthened the friendships that are important to me and separated m[...]

Fall Fun at


The kids had a great time playing in the leaves. They have been at their new daycare for one week. These are pictures of their first day!

My Montage 10/10/10 at


Finally posted some recent pictures and video clips! We had a wonderful weekend playing outside with great friends! Miss you all and can't wait to see you soon!

So busy!


For those of you who don't know, I have decided to go back to work and was fortunate to secure a teaching job in this economy. I am teaching the 5th-8th Grade Accelerated Learner Program at South Arbor Charter Academy. I will teach Science and Language Arts and am very excited for this new adventure!

This means daycare for the kids and what a stressful situation that is! A daycare has been chosen, but the kids can't start until they are 2 years and 6 months (November) so we had to figure out an alternate plan until then.

I have two amazing women that care for my kids when I need a moment. They have agreed to work together to care for John and Megan. Our sitter will come to the house in the morning so I can leave for work and she will take care of the kids until lunch time when she will drive them to daycare. This will let the kids be in their home, let them sleep in, and allow them to slowly transition into full time daycare in November. I can't imagine what I would do without them and know that my kids love them too!

I am still volunteering at St. Joseph Mercy (where the kids were born) and continue to be the Chairperson for the Family Advisory Board in the NICU. Our annual Fashion Show and Silent Auction are right around the corner and we are working hard to make this the best year ever.

This summer I continued with my canning. The kids and I are enjoying our jams, tomatoe sauces, and peaches. I am looking forward to the fall when I can make applebutter and applesauce.
The kids are amazing! Earlier in the summer they had surgery to put tubes in their ears. There have been minimal runny noses since then! They are talking up a storm and communicate in full sentences much of the time. John is riding his bike like he has been doing it his whole life, they love swimming, and are pretty excited about ice cream. Megan is still pretty tiny (about 22 pounds) and John is bulking up (nearing 27 pounds). They are both working on their two year molars which is super fun! They love going to birthday parties and singing "happy to you" to everyone who will listen. They are transitioning to full time daycare well and I hope that they continue to enjoy it! John now has curly blonde hair. It is fantastic and I hope that he keeps it. Megan has gone through a few stages of hair likes...ponytails are now acceptable again, but not everyday! She is very particular about it and we are letting her hair grow out. Unless it becomes a mullett again!

I am hoping that things calm down a little and I will be able to update everyone on my life soon.

Enjoy the rest of your summer....mine seems to have flown by!

John and Megan Turn 2 at


I added pictures from the birthday party in Indiana. If you don't want to watch then entire thing again the new segment starts at 3 minutes 8 seconds.