So grateful to you my baby girls.

I remember very distinctly the first time each of you realized your feet could carry you in the opposite direction of me. At the time it was a game of “Catch Me”, but also at the time was when I realized that parenting was single handedly the most heartbreaking thing I would do because I would forever spend the rest of my life fighting the feeling of letting you go while simultaneously wanting to hang on forever. But I couldn’t and I can’t.

I am just so grateful to have three beautiful daughters who make me so incredibly proud everyday and take on the world’s hard choices even though sometimes other routes would be easier. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your journey and so grateful you call me Momma. You three have always called me momma and that name means everything to me and always will.

And finally thank you for the motivation and encouragement to push me to be my best self and always reminding me along the way that my best self is right in front of you. The best secret to my own success has been making promises to you. ❤

It was so hard to pick just a few and before I knew it I had 100 pictures here! But each and everyone them captures a moment forever in my heart. Life is beautiful and you each have made my life more beautiful.

I am so much more than MR to you all. I am your momma. Forever Grateful, Momma

 

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Quiet Town Catch Up.

I just claimed it this year my mood is heavily changed by the time change and seasonal change together. My mood is meh and I need more sun then I am getting. Add in that I teach in a building with few windows and I work odd hours 9-5 basically I get there early when it is mostly dark and leave usually when the day light is winding down. So….my mood is meh.

But since I know that this year I know how important it is for me to work out. As someone who suffers from OCD and anxiety/depression because of the OCD it is important that I get my workout in because when I do not feel it. My endorphins from my workouts have been helping so much. And because I know this I rarely miss. I have been taking one rest day a week. Thankfully this hasn’t been that big of a deal because I have been focusing on lifting lately, so my muscles are so sore so I save those rest days when my muscles are crying.

But so you can see I am still getting out there and living life, just not as publicly I have some pics from daily life. This is all from the last month.

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The prettiest view in Fort Wayne, IN

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I was kinda proud cause I sewed these. They are capes for my teacher bestie and I

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Facetime with my ladies while they traveled

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The day I dressed up as Meredith Grey. Coffee Included.

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Looking in the mirror and having trouble believing it is you looking back

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Going to movie hoping to be scared and you weren’t

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Resting after a workout and “watching” Falcons football

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Two weeks off of keto – EATING ALL THE BANANAS YUMM!!!!

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And tacos and….

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Can we talk about how terrible I felt after all of that? It was BAD even though I would do it again because it was my birthday.

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My Guy. My Heart.

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Mascara Always.

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The Importance of Being Earnest – Fall Play 2017

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My best friend who always loves me and ready to show me

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Reading my Jewel Poetry

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Trying to become okay with all the extra skin I have and in case anyone was wondering I have lost almost 25 and am rounding out to almost a 30lb lost since my surgery. So skin sagging is an issue. But it is a good representation of how far I have come in 4 years.

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Grading by christmas tree lights is kinda the best for a mood

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There is so much beauty in the world, we just gotta look

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Ummmm can we talk about how much this girl has grown since August. We bought new school clothes and none of them fit now. She literally grew two sizes. She went from my tiny baby girl to a pre-teen (sad face). But I am so proud of her.

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That brings us to today. I am looking forward to a day of back to school shopping in December with my older two because # 2 also decided to have a growth spurt. # 1 just enjoys shopping and a Starbucks. But coffee for me is definitely a necessity because I slept terribly because my puppy girl has a slip disk in her neck and I let her hog our bed all night.

 

Finding Gratefulness in the Midst Of…

ee329d34aaeb841e556ebd56c49a632bMy children have been on my heart and mind a whole lot the last 48 to 72 hours. This isn’t a proclamation that they always are not but more of me giving space in writing to something that has been very much taking shape in my thoughts. I wonder do I write it in letter format or do I just type my heart and guts on a page.

The older my kiddos get the more I feel the world knocking on our door. The world that can sometimes be unbearably cruel. The people in it who may not always have the best intentions with them. The people who look like friends but often are foes. Or the biggest monster still is the unknown ones. The unforeseen circumstances. The life changing ones. The ones that in the matter of minutes change the very essence of who you are. FOREVER.

So dear daughters, dear children of party of five and dear strong independent women I hope I am raising you to be,

As much as I want to talk you down from those things above or make you feel better when the world or the people are in it are unkind I don’t feel like that is very productive. There will always be someone who is willing to be mean. There will always be unforeseen circumstances. There will always be cruelty that comes your way that is undeserved.

What I would like you to do is to take a step back….take a deep breath…count to 10 and recognize the world’s reactions aren’t in your control or power. You cannot make a friend be kind to you. You cannot stop that accident from happening. You cannot predict the unthinkable. They are not in your control.

What is in your control is how you, in that moment, move. Notice I didn’t say move forward and I didn’t because sometimes that isn’t how it goes. Sometimes we stay stuck and stunned or even move back. But you choose. Your reaction is your choice.

And as hard as it is to imagine or even fathom I would like you to again start from the top…take a step back, take a breath and count to 10 and realize your next move says so much about who you are in the world. It is your perspective. It is your choice. I encourage you to be grateful for the moment. Grateful in the midst of is a beautiful thing.

If you find gratefulness you keep your power. If you find gratefulness you are the living embodiment of beauty. No the cruel world isn’t beauty, but finding gratefulness in the midst of it definitely is. And if your reaction isn’t always beautiful, just know that is okay. But then start from the top and repeat as needed. Take a step back, Take a deep breath, count to 10 and start over.

Sometimes people take your gratefulness as not being realistic and I encourage you to repeat the above steps and move the heck on when that situation arises. They have their choice and you have yours. What I think happens is those world moments that smack you in the face give you glimpses (or think of them as chances) to shape who you are and what you put out into the world. The cruel world, the unkindness of others, the unforeseen those are all other people’s problems, issues and personalities showing through and though they may be directed at you…they have absolutely nothing to do with you. So don’t repeat or replay what just smacked you in the face. Find gratefulness = finding beauty.

So again I say….STOP…Take a step back, Take a deep breath, count to 10 and start over.

And yes the world can sometimes really suck. I am 41 and yep I have seen some major suckage in the world and when I look back at the moments I was strongest and proudest of, they were when I was grateful in the midst of. Sure bad things happen and I am not asking you to ignore it. We have to acknowledge them, but we cannot give ourselves over to them.

Acknowledge it, but do NOT and I repeat do NOT give over your power. Your power is in your attitude, your response and how you proceed in the moments, hours and years following. So keep your power, own your perspective and know that that moment is a chance to decide who you want to be. Do you want to be the positive or do you want to maintain the cycle of negative.

Notice I didn’t ask it as a question because I already gave you the answer.

Take a step back, Take a deep breath, count to 10 and start over and find gratefulness in the midst of… – MR (Your Momma) 

 

Saturday/Sunday Sharing…A little different.

I was 24. I held my 3 week old daughter in my hands. It was my 2nd day of being fully alone with her on my maternity leave. I was really struggling with postpartum baby blues. I was watching this exact footage of the Today Show. I remember the adrenaline as this was happening and I was watching. It happened again as I was watching this morning. The footage still had the ability to instill and create fear. I remember being so very afraid. Extremely afraid for what was happening and what the future would bring after this. I called my mom. I called my husband. I cried. What followed was days of a blur for a few reasons. I had a friend whose husband was in one of the towers and missing and she had a new baby daughter just like me. That was our “in common”. We were internet friends. We were August 2001 mommas going through our pregnancies and then following raising our babies together.

The news coverage was constant for days. No shows. No DVRs to escape. No Netflix (that I remember). All news stations cable and local combined their news reporting so that everyone had all the same news and same sources. Now as a media teacher I understand just what a big deal this move was and I haven’t seen it happen since and since then our 24 hour news cycle has only increased. It literally changed the way we get our media.

The only escape from the coverage was to turn it off, but fear kept me from that. My guy would go to work. I would try and turn the TV off and engage my baby girl to just escape. I wrote. I wrote a lot. So I want to share some of what I was feeling. Some of what I wrote was so personal to my daughter or even my husband because I was trying to just make sense (like everyone else) of what was actually happening. I have pages and pages and pages of writing to her, to the world and of what I dealing with. Here are some brief excerpts:

Sept 11 11 AM- “The President said there are several planes unaccounted for and has ordered all planes that aren’t going where they should are to be immediately shot down. There are so many bomb threats that I have lost count. They are everywhere. All planes were to land exactly where they were. It is eerily quiet because we live by the Indianapolis airport.”

Sept 12 10:39 PM – “I am so tired of feeling down and depressed about all of this. I tried to watch a movie, but it just doesn’t feel right to turn away from the coverage. I don’t even know what feels right at this point. I want to grasp onto the life we had before September 11th, but that isn’t even possible and no I am not being dramatic. It will never be the same; how can it? My baby girl won’t know life before September 11th and I am angry about that. My heart breaks and I know now that we will know war like my ancestors knew war. No one is thinking before they react and all I can do is pray. I don’t know what else to do.” 

Sept 17 11:56 AM – “My friend has confirmed that her husband was lost during the impact of 9/11. All I have is sympathy for her and her precious daughter. They moved from abroad for peace.”

And every single year since then on 9/11 I send love and prayers to my sweet friend Liat and her daughter Sapir. A forced anniversary. I have enjoyed seeing both of them go on to make the best of an unthinkable situation. Sapir has no idea just how many have supported her from afar.

Now I teach students who don’t even have any idea what 9/11 was. Just the other day I said something to all my girls about September 11th and my youngest said, “What’s that?” I said, “Oh yea!” And did a lame job trying to explain. How can you ever explain something so catastrophic with any sort of justice. My answer….YOU CAN’T.

Every year I mark my own memorial of 9/11 by being silent on every media. Tomorrow will be no different. I will never forget. I will never forget for Shai, Liat and Sapir. I will never forget for all the others whose lives were taken that day.

May we always remember. -MR

Date Night # 13453

My guy and I usually have a date night about once a week. We always go to the same place and eat the same thing. We are such regulars that we don’t even have to order. IMG_7123They know. That is kinda how our marriage has worked. We just find what works and it becomes a natural part of the marriage. That is what works for us. Routine and simultaneous movements together.

But we changed it up this week. We changed it up only in a small way and it just felt so different. But yesterday as I sat in a tattoo shop for my fourth tattoo and my guy was sitting there with me I had a moment. One of those moments you are so grateful that you have this person with you for the mundane and for switches from the mundane.

My goodness I have been with him for almost 21 years in a few months. I have had four tattoos with him holding my hand and that isn’t so momentous or gushy as I appear to be writing it. It is more about just always having that person there and making the mundane into fun date nights.

As I was sitting in the chair my tattoo artist asked me about the meaning behind all myyear7 tattoos and this newest one. I grabbed my guy’s hand and realized that every single one is centered around this mundane life we have created together. The hills and the valley, the pain and the happiness.

The first I got three months after I stopped nursing my last daughter as a symbol of taking my body back from pregnancy and nursing. The second was a semi-colon to symbolize my years of battle with my contamination OCD and recurrent depression as a side effect of the OCD, the third to symbolize the terrible year and subsequent recovery from my guy’s trigeminal neuralgia and microvascular decompression surgery. The years of fear that lead up to and after his brain surgery. Five hearts surrounding my semi-colon each one representing our family’s struggle with one teal to represent the love for my guy. The circle of hearts never ends and never begins IMG_8487which takes me to the newest tattoo. A bracelet of love around my wrist. A line of love that never ends.

The tattoo artists love our story because that is what it is about. We always get the same reaction, “Wow, that is a lot stuff.” And they are right it is a lot. It is whole lot of love and a whole lotta living. That is marriage and that is why we appreciate the mundane. When life gets mundane it is our fresh breath of air. Our survival.

This post wasn’t really supposed to be about our love story. It was supposed to be about how the mundane with my guy can be so much fun. It was supposed to be about us laughing with our tat guy when he said, “YouIMG_0673 guys have a pretty fun marriage, huh?” Because is all of that stuff that much fun? It was supposed to be about the way he expected us to follow up the tattoo with some romantic dinner and night out, but instead we told him we were going to the hole in the wall Mexican restaurant that is in a bowling alley that we go to every Friday or Saturday of every weekend and have for two years. He thought that was pretty funny. And then it was supposed to be about how throughout our weekly dinner I decided to try all the various Mexican hot sauces to just see how hot I could take it because that is where life is at.

When really it is about my family and how each one of them is woven throughout my heart and soul in ways in which they will probably never truly understand. The tough stuff, the happy stuff and the way we pull together is what life is all about. A tattoo can never symbolize it’s end as some assume because most of the tough stuff never ends. TN doesn’t go away, I live with functional OCD every day, we live with the tough stuff everyday, the tough stuff I rarely talk bout on my blog. But one thing is consistently true and that is that love always heals and it always wins. I live my life with this belief and I believe it to my core. My family shows me this. I may lead the charge of love, but it is because they inspire me to. This is more than marriage, this is my family. My every mundane day that we all decide to get up, keep going and live a life full of love.

With love written on my heart and my body -MR 

Time to stop saying, ” It will be okay.” 

In my experience of this world I know fear is a great motivator. It creates an adrenaline burst and motivates forward movement. But sometimes it is also meant for us to take a pause and make a change. 

The last two weeks of multiple global amber alerts, mothers taking their babies to the park and then taking their lives, clowns, violent recorded for social media shootings, politicial scandal. Good versus bad and bad versus good. Another school shooting, a call to a grandparent that he couldn’t take it anymore, so he killed his dad. Guns and violence. Sex scandal and lies. 

Then email after email in my inbox of my daughters Istep results. Her NWEA scores. Points in the grade book based on RIT scores. BOY. MOY. EOY. This score decides your future. Decide what you want to do with yourself at 7. The college you like, a goal for your PSAT. 

My goodness make it all stop. Why do we adults keep saying this is all okay? Am I the only adult left sitting in shock with each one of these earthly revelations? The emails to my daughter that include me talking to her about RIT scores? Are you kidding me? Hell yes I am jolted. Hell yes I am mad. And I know what these words mean. What a crappy assumption for a parent who is struggling just to get home in time from work to hug their kid. 

And why are we not up in arms when another child dies in a school shooting? For real, is our society so far gone at this point that a young elementary school boy is shot while on recess and dies and you barely even acknowledge it? And video after video after video after video after video after video and still it happens over and over? And over. 

The culture that makes me teach my daughters how to defend themselves and be aware of their surroundings. In a movie where we plan our escape. That same culture that attacks our first female presidential candidate about the way she looks and acts and in the same manner is disgusted that we have a candidate that thinks women are there for the taking. A reward for hard work or money supposedly earned.

None of this okay. We have to stop saying it is. I could put them in a bubble and protect them. Or I can teach them how to mauever this strange place responsibily. All the while hoping they never become so oblivious to the world around them that these things don’t shock them they dismiss them as okay. None of this okay. 

I believe I can’t fly. 

The first time I flew I was 18. I had my first credit card and a burning desire to travel. I walked into the airport and purchased the next ticket.

A few things are happening as I think of this story. First is who was this girl? Never ever have I lived so carelessly. Second, can I get some of her back? 

I caught the travel bug that weekend because in less than two hours I was in the warm sun and I was in love with the beach. I had been to the beach before and it was 12-16 hours of traffic jams and curvy mountain roads. 

After that experience rarely did I drive more than four hours. If I wanted to go airplane tickets were purchased. But then I had a family. Airline tickets are expensive. I would often send the kids off with my guy and I would stay back home with our latest little. 

When I was 7 months pregnant with #3 I decided I missed the beach and I wanted to be with my baby girls at the beach. So I flew down to Florida. 

The two hour plane ride with my #1 and #2 was riddled with anxiety attacks and the reality that in a split second my whole world could literally crash down. 

Once we landed it was a very long tear filled call to my guy that I would not be flying home and that he needed to find a way to get us home. Yes it seems ridiculous now and it was. Thankfully those three airplane tickets were turned into a Vegas trip for my guy later. 

But I have refused to fly since. It has made it hard to vacation or travel with my guy. Something we used to do a lot together. I decided if I couldn’t get there by car I wasn’t going. 

So we made it the mountains. Eight hours and not a horrible drive. We saved almost two years to take that trip. Fast forward three years, saved money and the beach calling our names and we are headed to the beach in two weeks. 

I have had a unique and soulful attachment to the ocean. I have been more times than I could count. I haven’t been in over 7 years. We sat girls down this winter and asked where they wanted to go. The ocean was the unanimous answer.

Flights weren’t cheap enough and honestly my anxiety wouldn’t let it be an option. So 12 hour drive here we come. But I am so glad to be heading to the ocean with my family. My #3 will get to see the ocean for the first time. 

Maybe I will fly again, but I don’t know. That saying that being a mom is forever having your heart outside your chest is true. As long as I feel that way I doubt I will be able to fly as unreasonable as it is.

Inspire it. Live it. Give it. Reblog: Grace

Here again I find myself seeking out Grace. Capital Grace because always closely behind Grace is Love. 

Reblog from 1.24.2012: 

As a parent there are funny teaching moments that happen as your children grow up. The weird awkward ones that for me usually stem from well versed social norms that my children had not yet embraced or even understood. For example, teachable moments like where we don’t blatantly call someone fat. Yes, I believe, all of my children have done this. The intentions are never full of malice or harm. But still what person likes to hear a tiny toddler say of them, “Momma, that person is fat.” Or worse yet when they point the finger back at you and say, “Momma, why is your skin jiggly?” (I speak not from experience…yeah right).

How many present days (aka birthdays, Christmas and the like) did you watch in horror as your child opened a gift they either did not like or had already received? It is as if you were watching it in slow motion and praying to everything holy that what is on their face is not being read or worst yet….SAID. But it does get said and you sit back shielding yourself from the judgmental light that is now being bestowed upon your head.

These moments provide great parental passage into the teaching of grace but grace, the word, to define and to talk about and make more tactile is hard. What exactly is grace? Is it how we deal with things? Is it how we speak? Is it a thing? Is it how we act? A verb…grace? Or a noun…Grace? I imagine each person has to define grace by how they believe and use it’s powers. For me, it certainly has it roots in religion and spirituality but it is also much more. It is a verb. It is an action that one chooses to impart into their daily dealings. And more than anything in my daily life it is my filter. It is the way by which I try and think before I speak. That certainly does not mean that I do so all the time. Most of the time when I react without thinking I found I have left my grace at home.

But teaching children to have grace seems a much easier task and really the audience is more forgiving right? What happens when we are an adult and we say something, maybe even unintentionally, that comes out and leaves those in it’s path hurt or worse mad? My biggest struggle is having grace when that happens to me. When people say intentionally cruel things or speak without thinking but I then become required to apply some sort of grace to the situation I find myself irritated. Why can I not just revert back to those toddler ways pretend like I didn’t know it was not okay to be an jerk back to them the way they were an jerk to me?

I guess that is the funny thing about grace. You have to practice it to have it. So one could surmise that in order to have grace it requires at least a meager amount of forgiveness or forgetfulness. Both of which I am terrible at. I don’t forgive easily and really when it comes to hurt I don’t forget either. Somehow grace wins in the end for me. But mostly because I don’t like confrontation. I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe to be right and true but would I argue that I am graceful? Not at all but I think the word graceful and full of grace are very different. When I can flip on that ‘grace filter’ I think that makes me more forgiving because it gives me time that normally a reaction in the moment without grace will not.

Therefore, as I try and decipher grace’s illusive meaning and apply it’s practicality to myself I can see that while I might not inhabit Grace, I certainly have sustained it in action. Maybe not always in beauty but certainly in kindness. The idea that grace is equated with beauty I believe lies in the principles of forgiveness and fortitude. Both actions of beauty and kindness at work.

As you contemplate why this post? Why today? As with most moments in anyone’s life that garner attention, people say things without thinking. Think of that portly woman being asked, “How far along are you?” Or “at least it is not cancer” to the woman who just had surgery or the girl who has been dealing with cancer and cancer threats for four years and someone sentimentally tells her, “Feel better soon” as if chicken noodle soup and a days rest will put cancer fears back to bed. All comments meant with what I hope to be masked in kindness just come across as jerky. I had a few. I have heard a few my friends have received them. It got me thinking how great this “Grace filter” is sometimes. (Click on pictures for credits)

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A different sort of year in review…

Every year in the blog I do some sort of year end wrap up. This year is different. This year my blog has served a very different purpose than it ever has. It hasn’t documented the every day hum drum of life. It documents some things and some things get left unsaid, but if I do this review right most of the important stuff will easily be remembered.

I saw this on pinterest and thought it was a really interesting take on the year in review and hoping it serves as a walk down memory lane for me.

14587398123_69b593e6a3_z10 Highlights-Accomplishments and Best Memories: 1) Watching my family’s faith, love and strength grow in immeasurable ways. This is not really the way you want it to happen, but I remember in those first days several people tried to tell me if there were some good to come from it all that would be it. I had no idea how it would bond us all. 2) The absolute elation when Dr. Banas here in Fort Wayne told us, “I can’t help you, but I can set you up with the best.” I was so worried our lives would be forever spent in protein shakes ashbday10and pain that I had to sit and witness on an hourly basis. 3) And that moment wasn’t that far from the phone call from Indy from my guy after seeing Dr. Cohen-Gadol he said, “They are getting me in in a week.” 4) Not to be out done by telling my guy 247+ times that they found two compression’s on his brain that were aggravating his trigeminal nerve. It was very groundhog’s day like, but wonderful each and every time. 5) Not every good moment centered around TN, Baby girl # 1 turned 13 and we got her good with a surprise party. 6) #2 was picked to help compose a musical piece for FAME something she saw her sister do and wanted to do since. 7) Getting accepted into the Ball State PhD program. 8) Starting a masters program in communications and rhetoric and learning so many new things that I thought I knew or should know but don’t. 9) #3 starting kindergarten and doing amazing despite concerns since she was our last. 10) The massive amounts of support we received this year from friends and family is hard to utter without losing my breath. We are blessed beyond comparison. 

10 Disappointments-Failures or Missed Opportunities: 1) The biggest by far is having to defer my PhD program indefinitely and I am not sure I will ever feel resolved over this, all I know is I cannot realistically be the student I can and need to be at this point with my guy’s TN. I hope one day it won’t be a regret or missed opportunity when my life looks very 41different. 2) Getting healthier in my life. There is always an excuse for why I need the caffeine I do. This year was my best excuse yet, but I know it is just that…an excuse. An excuse I need to quit making. TN isn’t going anywhere and neither is my busy life. I need to just derive my lack of energy from what I eat. 3) I miss my family a lot. I live two hours + away from them in almost every direction and sometimes it is so hard to pack us all up to leave and go see them. I want to and need to, but I don’t because it is hard. Refer to excuse above. But then when holidays come and I don’t have my mom’s cooking or my grandma’s hugs I feel sad and lonely. I learned a huge lesson this year in the importance of my family and I feel close to them all, but I need to see them more. I realized this weekend that my nieces and nephews are almost adults and how much I have missed on seeing them because it is hard to travel and I don’t like it. 4) Softball season. The second it is over I am sad. The minute it is here I complain about the money, travel and time. I need to get over it because I love the chaos and crazy and family time we get traveling. 5) How much time I spend beating myself up for not looking pretty enough, for not being perfect enough, for not cooking enough, for not being a good enough friend, daughter, mom, wife and the list goes on. I seriously look at social media sometimes and feel so inadequate and I am not sure bf1why. I know my priorities but I still let it kick me in my side every time. 6) The opportunity to spend more time with my guy. I made a promise in the darkest days that our relationship would forever be changed and I would always know just how fragile life is and our relationship. And for the most part I do, but man is it easy to go back into being upset because the toilet seat is up and he stinks at matching socks. 7) Another year has passed and on my priority list I am about at the bottom. This reflects in my health and diet more1d84c-6a019aff3f67ab970c019affb5be14970b-pi than anything. 8) To continue to try and make our lives as normal as possible and realize TN is just another component to this crazy life, it is NOT something I can control. 9) A better garden. I love to garden, but since I have had kids I just let it fall by the wayside. When I have energy (which is seldom) I usually opt for something else beside the garden. It is an awesome family activity and something that my guy and I both love, so why would we not do it? 10) Probably the most important of all of these is to be more forgiving of myself for all the above. You know that saying, “You are your own worst critic” ? Yup that is me. I know my time is limited, as is my energy and I am only one person. I also understand that that can be an excuse, but most of the time it is truth. It is my truth. 

3 Game Changers-Three things that shifted your priorities. 1) The most obvious is my guy’s TN diagnosis. It was piano11devastating, life altering, priority shifting and heart breaking all in one and we went through it twice. 2) Seeing my guy in ICU. I will never ever forget that fragile state and what it did to me. It changed me to the very core. I imagine myself as a quilt being sewn and there is a wrinkle that you find in it after you have sewn it all. That wrinkle is not something you can get out and you just have to find a way to live with it. I feel angry, sad, happy and changed for seeing it. 3) This is a strange one to put into words. But my guy takes care of me. It isn’t in anyway where he takes my independence away from me, but he truly makes my life easier in a whole lot of ways. We have been together for a ridiculously long time and all of that time being taken care of I had to finally stand on my own two feet alone this year. I stood alone in ways I never even dreamed were possible. It was so super scary, but in the end it was so good to see I could. There is an independence within me that I never knew I had.  

3 Things I focused on 1) It is no secret, I am so passionate about what I do for a living. It will always remain one of my steadfast dedications of time. It is mine. I didn’t get it because I know someone. I worked hard for it and I work hard to maintain it. 2) Part of that job was something new I began to focus on. I have always loved theater. That love didn’t change
once I grew up. My love is different than the usual loves of theater though. I love the back stage, the lights the sounds and the chaos. I got to stage manage and light/sound/tech for our school play. I am doing the same for the musical this spring and I am in love all over again. I realized I will always be the silent theater type and I am completely okay with that.
3) My family. We had to really just rely on each other so much because no one can really understand what it is like to watch someone go IMG_0172through what my guy has gone through. I am so grateful for the focus on all three of them. They are amazing little people who are growing up to be amazing big people. 

3 Things You Forgot About1) How much I love to cook. I often cook to relieve stress and get a break. I need to do that more and make more time for it. I have never walked away from cooking being disappointed. 2) More time on me. I need to make time to take care of myself and my needs. It is so hard, but I have too. 3) Photography – I need to remember to take pictures more with more than my cell phone. I love photography, but doing it so much for school I often don’t feel it at home and I need to capture those moments more. They are vital to my existence. 

Reflections for Next YearI need more family time, more time for myself and more focus on the inward and less on the outward. I have an amazing job I love doing what I love doing. I need to focus more on the things that I love to do with my family and for my family. In that I will get more time with my extended family and my immediate family. As we head into TN this January I hope to deal with it with more grace and love than I did last year. I will also be more forgiving of myself if I am not and recognize that the person I love more than anything in this world is hurting and therefore I hurt. I need to be grateful for every single second of my life because I know you aren’t promised anything in life. I need to always remember that love always wins, you just have to let it. 

Baby Girl Updates

Holy cow, how in the world do I have a 13, 10 and 5 year old? When did that happen? Life just does that doesn’t it? I realized yesterday as I was reading my blog that most of my blogs are about Kyle and his TN and not really the original reason that I started this blog so very long ago. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I hate blogging about them the older they get because I just feel like there are things they need to decide to share, not have me share for them.

AshleyBut what Momma can’t tell you the good things about her kiddos? I know I can. I guess I will start with baby girl # 1. She is 13. As in the big teen years have arrived. I always envisioned she would be irritated by me and my presence as she was growing up. But I find that I think she actually enjoys my company more now. She has begun to matriculate to her room and there feels like days we don’t see her. She lives on Instagram and netflix. But that is okay. She is always good for a shopping or movie date. The girl loves movies almost as much as her Momma. Thankfully, we like similar movies, unless they are romantic comedies, then she is out. She is a pretty cool kid and she has officially surpassed me in height. She still struggles with her allergies and asthma and usually they are fairly under control. This fall has been a little different, but I am imagining that is a metabolism change. She has struggled a bit more and meds have had to be readjusted. She also is following her momma in the migraine path. Thankfully, she and I recognized them much earlier than I ever did and she has meds as needed for those. She has been doing amazing at school and seems to absolutely love it. She can’t wait to tell us all about it at the end of the every day. The girl is super smart too! Scared sometimes to make mistakes, but super easy going personality.

Then we have the beautiful #2 who although she looks just like her Daddy is just like her Momma. She is my kindred spirit. Sheabbie will be sitting with the family having a normal conversation and just disappear. Once we go looking for her we will find her and she tells us she had a story idea so she just had to go write it down. That is so me. One day I was cleaning up files on the computer and I found a ton of stories written by her and man were they good. I love that about her. She is also super sensitive, but has just absolutely just flourished at the middle school. I was originally worried how the middle school transition would go for her, but she has just done amazing with it and really seemed to have blossomed. She has some truly awesome friends that understand her and seem to love her as much as she loves them. But she loves nothing more than her puppy and her family. Roxie has proven to be quite therapeutic for her and she has taken much responsibility for her care. It has made them especially close. She also is doing amazing in school. Ironically, both of the girls made it to the final rounds of their grade level spelling bees and will be competing against one another in the school wide competition after break. # 1 tends to be a natural at academics, as in she doesn’t need to really study, but number # 2 obsessively studies. We sometimes have to make her stop. So we shall see how this goes for the two of them. She has such a fun loving personality, but don’t fire her up. If you do you will know it.

anna1Then we have baby girl # 3. She also seems to be following in the path of her sisters academically. Thankfully, we put her into school younger. She had met all of the kindergarten benchmarks at their first round of testing in the fall. However, socially she is right where she needs to be. This was something we kind had to maneuver around with the other two. We wanted to get it perfect this go round and it seems we have. We did worry a little that it was too hard for her. The rigor of an all day classroom, not necessarily the academics. She would come home and just crash and if she didn’t crash you would wish she had because dang she was a treat to live with. But it all adjusted out and she loves it. I do wish that half day were an option, but in our state it really is not unless you want to pay heftily for it. She to is also flourishing. She is making friends and is in love with school and her teachers. She hates missing which is a tough when she is sick or there is a delay. Her first delay day she through a fit that I was driving her to school. I told her no one would be there and she did not understand. Clearly she is at that state where you believe your teacher and school staff live at school. She so very inquisitive now and obsessed with figuring out how the world works. She also identifies the stories people tell on the radio or in person as fiction or non-fiction. It is quite humorous.

I am so ridiculously proud of all three of them and how wonderful each of them are each in their own ways and the cool things they bring to the world. I am so proud of them with how they have handled this past year. It has not been easy. In fact, I know when they look back it will be incredibly hard, but they have been amazing little people that are growing into even more amazing big people. I know that we didn’t create that amazingness ourselves. They are surrounded by love, laughter, awesome supportive friends and family who love them unconditionally and support each and every single move they make. We are so very lucky and blessed to be parents to these beautiful people.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours! This year our family wore teal and sent out teal focused Christmas cards to support Trigeminal Awareness. We also raised $ throughout the year in different ways to send to http://www.facingfacialpain.org/

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