2016

What a year has taught me. Chasing dreams, changing times, and rearranging goals. Misery, love, pain, contentment, challenges, acceptance, set-backs, reaching outside your comfort zone, testing the unknown= LIFE. Never pass up a chance to make a change or to enjoy every second.

img_8143

January- March

I discovered that little things in life will make your heart grow. I realized that my 11 year old (now 12) son will soon be 18 and moved away and that paying for him to go through driving school just may be a darn good investment. And necessary for my nerves and anxiety. I also noticed just how close the little eyes watch every single thing EVERYONE does, how they soak in your mood and that the ears in this house DO work.

img_8144

March-May

I noticed that children can entertain themselves with junk and $$ is wasted on all the cool new gadgets and toys they play with once maybe thrice and it’s old news. I learned that even when you’re feeling upside down, there is always someone willing to love and comfort you. I came to the conclusion that the boys in my household enjoy making me crazy. I mastered my goal- school, one bachelors and associates under my belt! Woop! We were able to have a big (and unforgettable) celebration for my childhood bff’s wedding and graduated on the same day. I blinked and my sons appearance changed; every single time. Since growing up is inevitable, I’ve concluded that soaking up all the changes is necessary and sometimes I lose sight of cherish-able moments until it’s a second to late. (working on that….)

img_8142

May-June

Construction will forever be a thing around here and I have come to accept that. Nolan enjoys destruction and construction both. Destruction like Scott and construction like me.  I noticed for the 125, 764, 329, 098th time, my son is the coolest kid ever. I realized that I enjoy quiet time with my husband more than spending evenings and tons of money. Phase 10 reminded us of many more things than signing a check for an overpriced meal ever would. We found out that not only would I be an aunt again but that it was a girl! I just cannot wait! My nieces are the best.

img_8150

June

Summer, bedtimes and routines are near non-existent. Ice cream and messes are necessary. Friends and cousins are a must. Family and fun are impossible to pass up.

img_8145

July

Vacation was memorable and I’m pretty sure everyone enjoyed it. Check out all the photos here:

Vacation, take 1

Vacation, take 2

img_8146

July- September

Surgeries, sickness, changes. Chase started middle school and with that school ball. I learned many more things than these pictures display. I realized, more and more everyday, that people’s actions speak louder than words. I learned that not everyone has the same heart as you and that IF you allow, they will take advantage of you every chance they get. I also realized that some are only out after their selfish best interest, despite who else is involved. And I also learned to never pass up an opportunity to stomp your feet in the puddles. Life is too short to stand on the porch.

img_8147

September- October

I witnessed a baby (or belly) growing, witches walking, my son growing, the toddler’s life lessons, and my heart growing, breaking and changing.

img_8148

October-November

My sons first shiner is in the books and boy, was it a doozie. Nolan transitioned into a big boy bed. I was ecstatic about my sons first F! God knows how much I love that boy. I realized I miss my nieces and nephew terribly so time with them is important. And of course that my grandma and grandpa are still 110% in love after 38 years of LIFE and not only do I cherish them but look up to them as well. My husband and I need to write life goals and see them through. And a big change in my life took place and all the support I’ve had has absolutely blown me away. I love my people.

img_8149

December

Change, challenges, choices and Christmas.

What a year.

5 tips from this dynamic duo.

Don’t laugh y’all. It’s really true. My husband and I are like a dynamic duo. Our marriage has been through many stages and changes and, boy oh boy, it’s been a ride. So , without further ado, here’s a little ditty about us.

He likes the shade while I like the sun. I like my coffee almost black while he likes a little coffee with his gallons of cream and sugar. He likes to travel by car and I like to fly by air. He likes to sleep in while I like to wake with the birds. He likes to spend money and spending money actually makes me extremely anxious. He doesn’t mind to let the grass grow and I think it has to be mowed the same day every week. He like his dressing with a handful of lettuce and I like a bare salad with dressing on the side.

We are two different people. We have two different minds. We have two different outlooks on situations. We have different likes.

He pushes me to build on dreams. I’ve pushed him to be more than he could have been. Several times I wanted to poke out his eyeballs. Many of times he’s wanted to shove a sock in my mouth. Somehow, we are still walking side-by-side, with all body parts in tack.

One thing is for certain- when my heart breaks, his breaks too. When a joyous moment fills my soul, it fills his soul. When I stress, he gets all frazzled right along in the mess. He leans on me and I lean on him. We don’t always level each other out. And that’s ok. Most of the time. 😉

He knows my smiles. He can distinguish between my laughs. He understands my facial expressions. He knows what my silence means. And he’s felt the wrath of each side of my personality. But yet, he still completely accepts me as his wife- every single day as the sun rises and still when the sun set- I’m his wife and he loves that.

For that, I’m internally, immensely grateful. I could never begin to explain, only stand beside him through every path and every walk of life.

He’ll always protect my heart. He’ll always carry his family. He’ll walk to the ends of the earth to make sure his family has their needs met. Despite the challenges we’ve faced, no matter the hurt that came between us, we came out still together.

With that being said…

Here are 5 things we’ve come to realize that are extremely important to keep our marriage healthy.

  1. He hears “I love you” as he should but he should also feel it. And vice versa. My husband works a crazy schedule. Out a week, home a week. More or less. Whether he’s home or away, our routine at home continues. School, routines, errands, plans… it all goes on. So, making him his favorite meal, sitting my phone down to give him my undivided attention, letting him sleep in, or put off a chore to sit beside him on the couch. It really is about the small things.
  2. Make time for dates. Day dates, evening dates, overnight dates. Time together alone, away from the children is VERY important. It can be easy to get so caught up in life that I forget to remember why in the world he is my best friend. Dates don’t have to cost a ton or be all candlelight’s and perfection, it can be as simple as going for ice cream.
  3. Communicate, concentrate, reciprocate. So, in the past year our life has went absolutely haywire. Remodeling, taking on a surprise child, family issues, change in schedules, finishing up a degree… so much change. There were several times I thought I was going to loose my mind. And I’m pretty sure I may have a little. Even though I had things on my mind, he also had things on his. He’s not the only one who needed work on his listening skills. He deserves my full attention just as I do his. Stop what you’re doing, make eye contact, focus, and pay attention. Hard lesson here, but it’s important!
  4. Make to-do lists together and set expectations. So there are things that my husband wants me to do and I put off, and put off, and put off. It’s important to him or he wouldn’t ask me to do it. I forget his needs are just as important as mine. Just like me, he forgets too. He forgets where his dirty clothes go, what needs to be done and that he DOES know how to load a dishwasher or start a load of laundry. Learning to respect one another’s wants and expectations are important. By following through with to-do lists, you are able to avoid bickering and nagging.
  5. I’m not always right. He’s not always right. Give and take. My way isn’t the only way and neither is his. (His toughest lesson to learn. It’s a work in progress.) Work together to figure out what’s best. If it’s a big decision, make time to sit down with undivided attention to discuss it. Marriage is about team work.

image

“A strong marriage requires two people who choose to love each other even on those days when they struggle to like each other.”  ~davewillis.org

 

Vacation. Take 2.

Day 4 ¹/2

Scott is a magnet for trouble. Since Sea World, he broke out in hives. Everywhere. On his legs, arms, stomach, back and neck. At first we thought it may have been his sun allergy but it was’t the same rash. Maybe an allergic reaction to the darn $16.00 sunscreen from Sea World? Nope. The doctor at a knock on the door house urgent care (I know, I know… I didn’t go with him or he wouldn’t have went there.) said it was a heat rash. Makes since, it was hot hot hot and the sun was beaming.

While Scott and Chase was running around trying to fill a script, Kendall, Nolan and I went about exploring the other pools.

Then for dinner and celebration for Father’s Day, we went to Medieval Times for dinner and a show. The food was delicious and the show was great. There were 8 Knights, each with their own color. We were part of the green Knights cheer crowd. Jousting on horseback, horseback sword games (because I don’t have a better name for it) and sword fights on the ground. Each Knight challenged another until all it came down to the two winners. It ended up being the red and black knight and the GREEN! Talk about some excited boys. It just so happens our Knight was the champion. And then, another man in brown strode out on his horse with two men at his side with swords in hand. He was some type of evil emperor from another realm and it just so happens he was there to challenge our GREEN knight. The battle began. There were loud cheers and some boos. There were sparks flying and clinking sounds of clanging swords. The green Knight eventually fell to the ground from his horse and the man in brown followed suit. The clicking and clanging continued as did the sparks and cheers. The green Knight fell and rolled away just before the evil emperors sword came crashing down onto his stomach. Quickly retrieving his footage, the green Knight vigilantly went after the brown and some quick movements later, the evil brown man fell in a reversal move and was “slashed” on the stomach by none other than the GREEN knight. Our man won! Even more cheers and roots and excitedly waved flags came from our crowd.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kendall didn’t sit down, Nolan LOVED the corn on the cob, Chase demolished his chicken and Scott bought “sangria” thinking it was like our sangria at home. Boy was he wrong. Instead, a man brought a glass vase filled with red sweet wine to our table. I laughed knowing Scott couldn’t even sip it because it tasted too much like Ste. Gen wine. Apparently, there was a September night long ago that involved an empty jug of Ste. Gen wine with a story to tell.

It was a successful dinner and show.

Day 5 1/2

On our first evening a tragic event happened just a short 9.5 miles from our resort. “An American born man who had pledged allegiance to ISIS came in with an assault rifle and killed 49 people… The deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nations worst terror attack since 9/11” according to CNN.com. Not only did he kill 49, he also injured 53. An act of terror and hate. And I say he, the man-Omar which was his name- was responsible, not the gun. But that’s another conversation. We decided to travel to downtown Orlando to the site. “Club Pulse”

image

Nothing but cops and news cameras had S. Orange Ave shut down for blocks.
On the travel to downtown, the opposite side of the highway was shut down with a cop about every quarter mile. We couldn’t figure out why, until it was too late. Sitting in traffic just off S. Orange Ave, the radio announced that President Obama was coming to Orlando and that there were back-ups and delays due to the shut down of the highway for his motorcade. That would have been something to see.

After sitting in traffic jams, it was back to the resort for more swimming, sand Tic-Tac-Toe, as well as races and fort building.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 6 ¹/2

Last full day of vacation. I’m not sure we’ve been here as long as it seems.
With a slow start, Kendall and I walked the trail around the whole resort. We found a rather sketchy part of the trail. No railings, grown up bushes and the fear of what may be lying in the unknown of the swampy surroundings.

As you might have also heard, there was a toddler that was taken from his mother and father because of a 7 foot alligator. He was innocently splashing in the shallow water at the resort they were staying at. The resort just so happens to be 8.3 miles from our location. I can’t imagine their devastation and grief. The parents even tried tackling the alligator to save their son with no success. My heart breaks for them. The little boy was Nolan’s age. Many prayers for their devastation. May little Lane fly high and watch over his mommy and daddy.

We quickly turned around and headed back to the room.
Bet you can’t guess what we did next… If you guessed golf, you were wrong. More swimming as requested.

There was something huge that happened on this day. Something so enormous that it deserves its own slide show. Kendall lost the floaties and took off swimming.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We also discovered that Nolan loves the water. Like LOVES the water. And what a little swimmer he is.

He may move at a snails pace but by golly he can “oggy” paddle like an Olympian.

Chase on the other hand, is quite the accomplished swimmer already. Beat Scott every time.

After nap, adventure to Downtown Disney and Rainforest Cafe was calling our names.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last night swim and then bed.
7:00 Saturday morning would be coming early.

Day 7 ¹/2

Belongings packed. Sleepy eyes present. Bellies rumbling. We’re ready for home. It’s a good thing that memories don’t take up room in the vehicle. We wouldn’t have room to ride home.

Just a few extra pictures…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Are we there yet?

That question is pretty typical when traveling with young children. Surprisingly, I only heard it about 4 times on our travel down. On the other hand I heard, “Tonna, ah you doin’?” about every 2 miles for most of the hours Nolan was awake. Lots of giggles, watching of license plates and movie switches. There was also ear tingling loudness but I shouldn’t expect anything less. I mean, there were 4 boys under the age of 34 in a van together for ONLY 23 hours.

As we pulled in closer to our destination, the toll roads tripped us up. Thank goodness for the good ole GPS! After many u-turns and side roads, we made it to the address. The resort seemed abandoned from the road. I was a little worried when I glanced towards Scott as he said, “Is this it?” A half mile in, down a concrete road with trees and freshly landscaped bushes, we came to an opening. Tennis courts to the right and a large pond to the left. The resort is beautiful.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


After we checked and finally found our way through the many lefts and rights and parking lots, we found what would be our get-away for a week. 3rd floor. Next to the elevator. Made it a bit easier to unload the very packed van.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ate dinner out at Hurricane Grill and Wings. They had the best steamed garlic-Parmesan broccoli! Delish! Then pool time. Nolan discovered that licking the water was gross. Chase was proud he almost choked out Scott and Kendall wouldn’t stay in one spot long enough to get a picture. We were all happy to be out of that van and in Orlando, Florida.

DAY 1 ¹/2

We decided then that the next day would be spent lounging at the pools and exploring the very large resort. There were 4 pools, kiddie pools included, a golf course, a game room, exercise room, activity room, spa, basketball courts, paddle boats, fishing, sand volleyball and so much more. We chose an easy pizza dinner by the pool and relaxed well into the evening hours.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

DAY 2 1/2

Next up, Sea World. Just 1.8 miles from our resort. The sun was pretty brutal by 9:30 and the heat that came from the sun was ferocious. Sunscreen and plenty  of fluids was a must! I forgot the sunscreen and didn’t realize it until we were parked. We had a darn good spot so… I bought a $16.00 bottle there. :O We ended up buying a cup for $13.00 and refilled that sucker for free all day long.

The boys really seemed to enjoy the aquarium exhibit. Large Stingrays that wouldn’t fit in my bathtub, school of fish, crazy looking seahorses and Nolan even found Dory! (I cannot wait for that movie!! I hope it does not disappoint.)

image

The Stingray Manta ride- Oh. My. Lanta! I about lost it on that ride. Upside down, backwards and laying on my belly, so to say, all at a high rate of speed. What a ride! I recommend it if you like the type of excitement that makes you gasp for air and pinch out a scream that sounds more like a squeak. Nolan and Kendall tried out the seats while they waited for Chase and me. A little more growing is necessary.

We walked clear across the park to catch the Shamu show. But along our way we saw a group of three men performing in the street. They were hilarious. Kendall laughed so hard I’m pretty sure he had tears. I had one of those laughs that makes you look all awkward so you glance around the crowd to make sure no one saw you.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We sat in the soak zone at the show and didn’t get wet but soaked in our own sweat. Did I mention it was 92 degrees and so flipping hot? Poor Nolan was trying so hard to go with out a nap. Dang near lost him to a snooze and then the show ended. No matter how hot, we enjoyed the show. It amazes me how well trained those killer whales are. Impressive.

image

Kendall got to ride his very first roller coaster and unfortunately we didn’t capture that memory because Scott’s camera roll was full and I ventured off to the slides with Nolan, but I am happy to report that he loved it. Rode it twice. We were able to see the dolphins in the dolphin nursery but no good pictures were captured. Darn it. Also, Kendall, Chase and I rode the Wild Arctic simulator. We “rode” a helicopter and while I was trying to stay focused on not getting sick and containing my dizziness, Kendall cackled. I think it’s safe to say he enjoyed that too.

 

Chase and I was able to ride the new “Mako” roller coaster while the other two stayed with Scott at the smaller rides. The “Mako” just opened on June 10th and is the tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster in Orlando. With only a 40 minute wait, we jumped in line. Let me just tell you about our experience there. I had the following thoughts as we stood in line…

image
The furthest this fella stood from us.

Dear sir,

Why do you not have regards for our personal space? I’m pretty sure I smell and I know you do. For goodness sakes, I’ve been sweating for the past 6 hours. It’s 92° out. We are standing in close enough proximity of one another in the blistering sun while we are all waiting just the same amount of time to ride a ride. It doesn’t make me feel comfortable for you to stand so close I can almost hear your nose hair rustling around as you breathe. Sir, I’d much appreciate you stepping just one step backwards and stay out of my swamp rump. Not only are you so close to me that I can feel your breath on the back of my neck, you are now forcing me up the swampy mess of a sweat crack standing directly in front of me to try to get space from you. Please back off. You are invading my bubble. The bubble that is now not only rolling in my sweaty smelling stench, but now has an invasion from you and I am about the pass out from trying to limit my intake of air due to the fact all the combined smells could put someone to sleep for days.
The smell I can handle but the fact that you think you have to be so close is weird. You have now almost assaulted me 5 times by brushing your hand across my butt cheek and it’s quite awkward and obnoxious. You may only mean it as an innocent gesture or as no gesture at all but it is not welcomed nor appreciated here. Also, if you’re going to rub my butt at least wink at me. If not, again, please back off.
By the way sir, the kiss you nearly planted on my cheek due to the simple fact you were, once again, invading my space nearly scared me to death. There is only one man and very few boys that are even welcomed that close to my face and it’s not you.
So if you are babbling on about how rude you may think I am because of the looks I continue to send your way or because I won’t just let you around me, I can promise you it doesn’t hurt my feelings in the least. Just because I can’t understand what you’re saying because I cannot speak your language doesn’t mean I cannot understand looks. Body language is usually the same in every spoken language. Please take my hints and back away.
Oh… And enjoy your ride.
Sincerely,
Perturbed sweaty rider in front of you.

And then,

He ended up in the same row as Chase and me. Turns out he was just so excited to ride the Mako roller coaster that he couldn’t wait in line well. I’m not at all kidding about how close he was, him brushing my rear or nearly kissing my cheek when I turned to look beside me. His lady was just as pushy as he was but she followed his lead.
I nearly lost it during the ride. No, not my lunch, but laughter. He was throwing his hands all around and even in the wrong direction. Poor Chase could’ve came out with a bloody nose had he not moved his head back just in time. I still have no idea how he avoided that near slap. His excitement continued as we pulled back in to be dropped off. He was bouncing up and down and hitting his seat continuously. I’d say he was happy. I’d also say that maybe that was his first coaster ride. So maybe he was overly-excited and ready to ride again.
No matter his excitement, I still have personal space to be respected.

DAY 3 ¹/2

It’s beach day! I was most excited for beach day. Scott wanted to travel further south to Clearwater Beach, FL so that we could make a stop at Hulk Hogan’s beach shop. He is and has been a big Hulkster fan. I don’t get wrestling but hey, whatever. image

Then lunch… imageWe stopped at Cooter’s because I had to pee, it was close and the name was catchy. But, sadly we were disappointed in lunch. Maybe they had an off day. Who knows. It was fuel for the bodies… On to the beach. Oh, AND the kids got a free frisbee with their lunch.

After finding a parking spot we walked to the white sand beaches. It was SO packed. But, it’s the beach on a hot day. How was the water? EH! Not trashy from pollution but from sea scum. Kendall figured out quickly that the taste can make you want to throw up. Again, trying to capture a good picture of that child is a task all in its own. He doesn’t stand, sit or look still for more than a millisecond. He had a great time. Nolan loved chasing the seagulls, smashing the “tastles” but he did not, however, like the moist sand on his toes. Interestingly enough, he would dig his toes into the wet sand and enjoyed it, then after noticing the sand on his toes, he’d “EWWWW” until I helped him wash it off. Chase stood in the waves, crashing into them, riding them in and waited for the next one to come. He said it wasn’t his favorite beach but he was kind of spoiled with his very first trip to Santa Rosa and Destin beaches. We made the best of the beach we were at and left a few hours later.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oh, I forgot to share that Kendall may have been a little scared of the seagulls. He closely watched his back and I just so happened to capture his face when one came a little too close. It was comical.

We finished our evening with watermelon. YUMMMMMMY!

Stay tuned for more to come.

How can they be so selfish?

It’s summer time. Upcoming vacation. Remodeling taking place. Messes need cleaned. Do these children care about that? Nope. They don’t. They are selfish little beings I tell ya. 😉

Floors need swept- again. Floor need mopped-again. Laundry needs to be gathered for washing. Packing needs to be taking place. But I have to pause for a moment because children. Period. You can’t contain wild animals and get things accomplished at the same time.

I re-evaluated my to-do list. We just recently decided to keep the pool and it needed cleaned and filled. So I put out the sprinkler. The inside chores can wait.

The children needed an outlet for their after-nap energy. Children aren’t meant to be locked up in a house because things need done. They can only wait so long before they begin acting out because you aren’t responding to their need to run free. When you are the caregiver, mother, chef, construction worker and maid…. You have to make sacrifices. These children weren’t about to let their needs go unheard and unmet the past couple days. My sanity needed a break. So….We stepped outside.

image

 

Stare down battle. She wins with the crinkling of her nose and the sweet giggle. Dang-it… She’s determined to get what she wants, when she wants it and how she wants it. In this case, she just wanted to put a pony in my hair that was already a pony but she wanted to re-do the pony. #toddlertude #shesrude #butcute

 

Her personality is quite comical.

image

Double gun slinging bad-a** kid. Look out, he’s a good shot.

She wanted to shoot everyone else but didn’t want to get wet.

Chase- “Hold on Kendall, it’s about to get crazy.”
Kendall- “ok, I’m ready.”
Nolan- “Uh, boys, that’s a sled and there’s no snow.”

Needless to say, it didn’t go anywhere.

Chase- “That’s dumb”
Kendall- “Hmmm. It didn’t work.”
Nolan- “I told you so.”

#madeupdialogue

image

Kendall with his best Gene Kelly impersonation. Either that or his swift ninja moves.

Closest thing to a smile I could capture from Nolan. He was too busy raving about how “dood” the water was he was slurping from his lip.

image

“I dit you Tonna”
I would have been wet had he not previously sucked the gun dry. He enjoyed drinking the water more than getting someone wet.

image

The rest can wait. I’ll stop being selfish for a moment and let them be selfish for now.

 

Rain. Rambles. Running.

My ears heard drippling’s as I laid in bed upon waking. It has rained here so much lately, I almost think that Missouri is becoming somewhat like Seattle. It’s caused rising rivers, stopped construction, yard swamps and drive-way creeks. Not to mention somewhat dreary moods. As the sprinkles and drops fall from the sky and collects in a low part of the ground, I ask my husband, “what does rain make you think of?” His response, “being a young kid and splashing in the puddles.”

image

I suppose I could have reverted back to my childhood and went and splashed in puddles. I would have smiled and made memories alone since no one was out of bed when I woke. Well, that and the toddler is with his mother so I wasn’t going to be that needed when everyone woke. So….

You know what I did today? I found a little motivation that has been trapped within the dusty part of my conscience somewhere. My eyes seen sprinkles as I peered out my window and the cool breeze came in and brushed my skin. “It’s raining” my brain said as I slipped on my spandex pants. “You haven’t ran in almost 9 months, it will be hard,” I thought as pulled on my socks. As I was tying up my laces, my brain intervenes and thinks, “You don’t have to do this.”

As I stood up and walked out the door, a smile crossed my lips because I decided that my lack of motivation was not about to win today. I made my way to the road and I said, “YES I DO… ready or not” And then something amazing happened. I remembered I could run. I put one foot in front of the other, setting a pace and accomplished a goal that I haven’t been motivated to succeed in quiet sometime.

My chest wasn’t pained and my legs barely ached. It wasn’t hard or unbearable, it felt good. So, will I be off for the races tomorrow? No. I don’t think so. But yet another refreshing run, I certainly think I will.

image
I did it! No ambulance needed.

My laziness and lack of motivation has become an easy way to get out of work. Not literally work for my job, but work on myself and around my house. (Sidenote: my house is NOT disgusting dump but with re-construction going on, it’s just rather disorganized and dusty. IT’S ABOUT TO MAKE ME NUTS!) So many days are consumed with the same-ol-same-ol-routine: meals, dishes, floors, laundry, kids, etc. So much so, that I have forgotten what it’s like to have goals for myself.

My selfish goals: running, organization, my blog, my writings, me…

I wrote about my love for running in August but published it here in February. Read that here- I will again-soon. The only thing changed since then is that I graduated with my BS in May. That story is here- One goal accomplished.

One of the most important aspects of being an adult and caring for responsibilities is not losing sight of you. Sanity is a huge requirement in motherhood and life. Right? For months I have been searching for motivation in words, pictures, ideas to help me retrieve sight of my goals to help keep my sanity and lessen my anxiety. Searching and reading isn’t the same as acting and doing.

I have been feeling sympathetic on my behalf since I’m first a mother and my needs come last. Internally, I’m thinking, “wah” and then I move on into breakfast, playtime, stories, messes, etc. I have no time for self-sulking and pity parties. I’m a mother and wife for Pete’s sake. Eventually there will be a time when no one will need me and then the pity party will change themes. In order to be present in this life, you need to have a little amount of time for your “selfish goals” without forgetting those that depend on you.

I have forgotten what it’s like to want more for myself rather than for others. Boy oh boy, did it feel good to slip away into my release, even if it was only 8 minutes. You must start somewhere and I suppose that the pavement pounding was a good start. Now, on to list of to-do’s for the summer before I head back in August and finding motivation to do them. I cannot put off until the last minute. Insert New Year’s resolution here that always seems to be thrown to the wayside.

Is there something that you have been putting off? Something that is causing anxiety in your life because you lack the motivation to do since progress is disguised as work. Work doesn’t scare me, I just don’t know where to begin. The bedroom seems like a good place to start.

I’ll let you know what kind of progress I am making in the weeks to come.

image

I mustn’t walk backwards. I must keep moving forward. Even little bits of progress makes for accomplishments.  Set goals and smash them- one day at a time.

One goal accomplished.

As I sat in one of the chairs that held about 100 other graduates on May 21, I realized that I had began a new chapter in my life. I set out to tackle a goal that had to be achieved in order to continue my specific position as an employee of Head Start. I am thankful and extremely appreciative of the opportunity that was presented to me, my degree achievement.

image
Fist bumping my son. He seen all that I worked for. I set an example for him that education is important. As many sacrifices he’s made through my journey, he was smiling back at me with his fist bump ready. Proud. My heart skipped a beat.

There were a variant of degrees sitting in those chairs. Bachelors of science in nursing, education, psychology, business, elementary education… There were even those that were walking in achievement of Master of Education, Master of Science of Clinical Counseling… And then those who walked with honors. There were even fellow classmates who walked to achieve a like degree as me- Bachelors of Science (Child Development).

No matter what my degree was in, I sat there, humbled, that I had family there- proud of my achievements. There were many a number of sacrifices that had to be made by my family, friends and even myself along the way and no one turned their back on me. Instead, they were completely understanding.

image
It may be empty for now but the folder is a symbol of my achievement.

Despite the degree, that is merely a piece of paper with a label, I’m capable of so many things. One day I may change the world but until then I will stay humble and proud that I, was able to obtain a degree that allows me to touch hearts and change lives. Some children come to school to be educated, some come to school to be loved and feel secure… I’m in charge of little lives that may one day make a difference in the world. No matter where my path may lead- a classroom, an office, behind the scenes or stage front- I have the love and support of so many. I sure am a lucky gal.

Boys will be boys.

If there is a mud puddle, Kendall grabs a truck and destroys it. Not the truck but the puddle. He doesn’t get his feet wet. He doesn’t jump in the puddle. He doesn’t make mud balls. He just proceeds to “mud” the truck over and over. I do believe that one day, when he’s old enough to drive, he will be a lot like his Uncle Levi. He tells me all the time how many vehicles he’ll have. I can guarantee his most favorite will be his “muddin’ truck”.

Boys are just noise covered in dirt with the heart of a angel. They are all different. Some are rough, tough and will test your every ounce of patience. Some are quiet, intellectual and obey your every word. All of the have their own way of winning you over with a grin, a hug or by doing something that you quietly watch and they don’t even have a clue they are being cute.

A little dirt never hurt. God brought the rain and made the dirt. The clouds opened up and raindrops fell to the ground turning the dirt to MUD. Mud is gold in the eyes of these boys. Let them be little. Let them explore. Before you say “NO” ask yourself, “why not?”

Chase wanted to run his four-wheeler through the mud over and over. I said “no” “you are ruining your clothes”. How selfish of me? It’s a shirt. Just a pair of shorts. Who cares if he’s having fun? And guess what? That mud washed right out of his clothes! He wasn’t hurting anyone or anything. He wasn’t destroying the yard or someone’s property. After much thought- I shamed myself. I’m looking into making a  ginormous mud puddle for him. Because, “why not?”

image

By exploring their world, they are learning about themselves. Who knows what you are raising; A  physicist… Could be a lawyer…. Possibly a stunt man.

Foster their needs, wants and messiness. Let them explore their world. Allow them to discover what happens when rain mixes with dirt. Childhood memories last a lifetime. Give them memories worth remembering.

Don’t Fade Away

As I woke up the morning of March 6, I thought, how am I going to survive this day? I mean, here I am preparing for one of the last steps to finalize this whole unimaginable ordeal. How will I even hold it together?  I told myself one foot in front of the other, 5 minutes at a time, we’ll get through, always do. I worried for my siblings and for the grandkids. I worried that things wouldn’t go right or that it wasn’t what dad wanted. I questioned our plans and wanted everything to be just right. The way dad would have wanted it.

Just a short 12 hours previous was his visitation. As we arrived at the funeral home, I didn’t have time to stop and think. We polished up pictures, dusted off chaps, arranged and rearranged. Perfect. Isn’t that ironic? I had no clue what to expect next. None. I stood there fiddling my hands to busy my mind. When the people started arriving, they didn’t stop. So many faces everywhere. Some I knew, but most I didn’t. I stood and accepted hands, hugs, condolences, memories and handshakes. I was in awe and so entirely delighted to see that the man I knew as my father was so loved and thought of. I was graciously overwhelmed and as empty as my heart felt with his absence, it was full.

IMG_2668[1]

Some of my dad’s very prized possessions. He was a man of very simplistic means. Besides his children, grandchildren, family and his old dog “Pep”, he didn’t have anything else. Besides his alcohol, to which he struggled with for a large part of his life. He lost many things over this addiction, but one thing is for certain, he was a great man with many bad choices along his walk of life. He made choices that no one, not even his children could correct for him. We loved him despite his flaws with our entire hearts.

You see, my dad, the first man that loved me, was a hard-headed man. He was more selfish in our childhood years but I didn’t realize this until I was much older. He still stood on a pedestal. He taught me to make a bloody mary the way he liked them. He would sit me in the middle of the kitchen table and feed me mashed potatoes and chicken legs. His favorite meal. He struggled to grow up to raise his children but he loved being a grandpa. He loved his grandkids. More than life. Back to March 6th

There were laughs shared, stories told and new people I met. Most people really only knew Levi and Chelsea. I tended to be the silent, shy and quiet one. And those two, well anyone that truly knows us knows I don’t have to say much more. They both would do enough talking that I didn’t have to.

Everything fell together, just as we had planned. Just the way dad would have wanted it.

IMG_2667[1]

As I woke at 4 that morning with sleepy eyes (from two hours of sleep mind you), a pounding head and an aching heart, it was time to prepare for yet another day. However, I laid there and thought about our ups and downs. I thought about the- if only’s, the sorrows, the good and bad times.  The harsh words we spoke when our stubborn-headedness stood in our way. The memories we shared. I felt sick of a broken heart, and it still to this day pains and my stomach churns knowing he is no longer here. For anyone who has lost a loved one surly knows what I’m talking about.

I would say that it’s time to get rid of my tear-streaked pillow but its not. There will be many more tears, sleepless hours and endless thoughts. I told myself to buck up, show up, be tough, and hold my head high. My dad, despite all his ways, was a great man. You either liked him or you didn’t. I will take pride in knowing that he is happy now. His pain is no more. The suffering is over and he is in a much better place. I loved him and he loved me. I was his Tonto. When God looked down and said, jump on cowboy it’s time to go, he gladly did just that. He had one hell of a ride here on this earth and the memories are left behind.

IMG_2669[1]

This is the man I inherited my brown eyes, my Dumbo ears, and the eyebrows from. I miss him every single day. It was from him I learned to love music; from Nitty Gritty and Willie Nelson to Don McLean and John Prine. My heart aches from time to time knowing that I was so damn furious with him in the last year of his life because he wouldn’t give up his habit. It pains me to think the last time I talked to him was on March 1st when he called to tell me he was sick yet again and I stopped briefly to see him. I regret this time because I should have stayed longer, insisted he go to the hospital, but I didn’t. Something I realize now is- he felt alone and that the alcohol brought him happiness and occupied his time and drowned his sorrows. There’s some of the “if only’s” and the sorrows I was just talking about.

“People keep telling me that life goes on, but to me, that’s the saddest part.” Never waste a day saying, I will tomorrow; I’ll call tomorrow; I can tomorrow or even, yeah later. Sometimes later or tomorrows never come.

As for the children he left behind, we have been separated by grief. Lost in a world where our father is now gone. Not that he was the glue that held us together but more like a string that was loosely tied and fraying away. Our life has forever changed and a piece of our heart is gone. But there is one thing I do know for certain, he loved his children and grandchildren with whatever soul and heart he had. Keeping his memory alive is something that we should strive to do so that our children will know just how his love felt. The real sober love he gave us. The pain in our ass, the cowboy we knew, the “papa” to our children, the listening ear (because we all know he only had one left thanks to a certain donkey) is now watching over us.

Thank you to each and every family member, friend- whether mine, his or otherwise for anything and everything you all have done. I can’t even begin to explain my gratitude still to this day.

Just a short year ago on March 1st, was my dad’s last day. Little did we know when these pictures were taken, it would be the day my dad took his last breath. You see, two years before on March 1st, my niece gained her wings and went to heaven. She didn’t know pain, hurt, hunger, or fear; one thing she did know was her mother’s love and the sound of her heartbeat. This year she would have been 3. In the same day we celebrate her birthday, we shall celebrate my dad’s life as well. With tears, cupcakes and a little song. They may be gone from Earth but ever present in our lives.

Addiction is a family disease. It doesn’t only hurt the addict- the entire family suffers. Seeking to help the one who is addicted can be tiresome because they may “see” they have a problem but haven’t fixed their minds to the seriousness of the problem. As much as you want to, you cannot fix their “problem” for them. Pointing out their faults, actively criticizing them will only push them further away from you and closer to their habit and their “friends”. When the habit is all you know, it’s how you live. Buried within the confines of the darkness called addiction. There is a way out.

But how do you help one you love when they aren’t ready for the help? What do you do when one that you would give your life for only denies their habit and insists they are better when clearly you know that they’re not? Or how about someone that you would walk to the ends of the earth for is busy soaking their sorrows in something that may only numb them for a time and the rest of the family is lost in what the “right thing to do” is?

Some who suffer from addiction are lucky enough to have a family who care and that try time and time again to help, assist and even support them- financially, emotionally and physically. When you love someone so much, you do it because you feel sorry for them, you feel guilty you can’t take away their addiction, pain or sorrow. The road to recovery isn’t easy at first. There will be speed bumps that will slow you down. There will be mountains you will have to conquer. There will be wide rolling rivers you will have to cross in a boat that is slowly sinking. More often than not, you will feel alone, stranded, bitter and deserted. If you help yourself, truly and give it all you’ve got until there is nothing left to give, others will notice and reach out to you.

There is a better life on the other side of the pain, the struggle, the addiction. There is more to a struggle than the pain it takes to get through it. There is blessings and peace awaiting you. There is strength and pride along with your sense of accomplishment. Just like learning to ride a bike or making it clear across the pool and back for the first time just so you can jump off the diving board- that feeling. The “I DID IT, ON MY OWN!” feeling. It increases the dopamine level in your brain that allows a natural high pushing you into your next goal.

I know too many who suffer from addiction. They seek to press blame, make excuses, speak more lies than truth and replace one habit with another- it saddens me because I know there is a bigger life out there for them. If only they could see it too. How can the blind lead the blind? When the addicted doesn’t want you to help them through their habit but merely to just enable them.

“If the addict is pleased with your help, you’re probably enabling them. If the addict is pissed as hell, you’re probably helping the person you love.” Piss them off; don’t enable.