Making things…

My momma would be super proud because she was always known for the stuff she made. First off she was and still is an amazing seamstress and second off she could make a craft absolutely amazing and out of nothing. Every Christmas people would wonder and wait to see what she had concocted for this year. I will be honest, I never quite appreciated it like I do now. I look back at the things I have that she made and realize that the effort that takes to make things sometimes is so much more meaningful than going to Walmart and purchasing something. However, I won’t lie I tend to be on the sentimental side. Don’t believe me? Look at my teaching wall which could be considered a wall of junk, but to me it will never be that. They are little mementos of the time someone took out of their lives to tell me I mean something to them and I matter. Therefore, made gifts have a similar meaning for me. There is nothing more valuable to me than time. I feel like I never have enough of it, so I feel like if someone takes that time to make a gift it is amazing!

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Earlier this fall my bestie Kpuff was dabbling in making cleaning products. Something I had never really thought about. In fact, I probably would have laughed at the thought of me doing that. A classic, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” She made laundry soap and told me how nice it was and that she loved it and asked if I wanted to try it. I thought sure! She brought me over about two cups of the stuff and it was funny. I used one and I was skeptical it would work, but it did and it smelled amazing. Then I was sure my family couldn’t use it because it did smell good. They are highly allergenic and anytime I try to switch from our All free and clear they break out in hives. I can’t use fabric softeners or dryer sheets or bleach. I started just using it on my clothes and one day in laziness I threw my guys clothes in there with mine. I said nothing. No complaints and/or hives. He also gets ridiculous sneezes and what not with laundry soap changes, but nothing! I expanded it. Two weeks later we all had our clothes washed daily with it. And no complaints from the allergy filled asthmatic, skin sensitive or the one who doesn’t like smells. Wahoo!

detergent1I decided to search Kpuff’s pinterest for the recipe and decided to make it. I found it @ Aprons and Pearls. I made some and my guy helped me to mix it in our giant trash bag. Once I realized how much it actually made and far just a little goes with it I had the idea to just place it into cute containers and give out as gifts. It is HE safe and it smells nice. A thing my highly allergic family had kinda taken from me. It is a subtle good smell though and not over powering. My whites are whiter than they had ever been. I never have to worry if my clothes are clean. The jars I bought were clear and let the pretty shine through and you could smell it. I gifted about 8- 2-3 cup  jars of it for Christmas and that left me with three large OXY clean containers full which will last me for a really long time. I love the stuff and if you feel like venturing out a bit and using it I highly recommend it. I have thanked Kpuff multiple times for it since and will continue to use it. I did pick a detergent2different scent than what the blogger picked. Of course, now I don’t remember what it was. It was purple so that was mostly why I picked it.

My second gift that I made for most of my confidants was this homemade milk bath. I just loved the natural ingredients in it and I struggle with incredibly dry skin in the winter so I thought hey! I made a double batch and also bought pretty containers and placed it into it. It was super easy to make and I am very happy to say since I have made it I have taken two milk baths and I love it. It doesn’t provide much scent which maybe good for some. I wasn’t really looking for a great smell and more to combat dry skin, so it worked perfectly. I would venture to guess an essential oil of your choice would be fine to add. Just make sure it is natural. I wouldn’t want to muck it up with unnatural chemicals. A lavender or lemongrass would probably be really good and probably add some great benefits. I was going to put a pretty ribbon around it like in this one and I even bought it. But once I got it into jars with the measuring utensils I bought I loved the natural look so I left it. This is a great and easy gift to put together for a fairly low cost. I do recommend doing a nice dry milk. I used the vitamin D goat milk to ensure that it had the quality I was after for gifts. I am guessing you could use a generic dry milk, but I am guessing you will lose some of the silkyness that is provided by the higher concentration of fats in goats milk.

I also did several of these color themed gifts for my gifts. I started out shopping for nail polishes that reminded me of my friends and then built their gifts around that. I bought candies, make up bags, manicure stuff all that centered around how I saw their personalities. It was super fun. I even did one for a secret santa exchange for someone I didn’t know that well and went with my old faithful favorite color of purple and I loved it so much. I had a hard time giving it up. The funny thing is it ended up being similar to a first year teacher survival kit which I didn’t intend, but she is a first year teacher so it worked.

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Life is what you make of it.

The E clan has been perpetually sick since Thanksgiving. It has been one thing after another. In the fourish weeks since Thanksgiving some one in my house has ran a fever, puked, been puked on, had a headache, had a stomachache, had breathing treatments, passed out, had nerve pain, a root canal and multiple cavities filled, braces worked on and teeth pulled, had an earache has slept almost 24 hours and had the flu (the illness not the stomach version). christmas2014m

It doesn’t take rocket science for me to know it was kinda our own doing. Stress will kick you in your butt and keep kicking. Those last two weeks before school got out my guy and I were literally grasping through the hours. We just wanted to get through them and not get the dreaded call from school that one of the girls were sick. Or have to finagle classroom subs because we were sick. All of which happened and we survived.

But by the time we got there I knew it was so very important that we re-evaluate why things were so rough this fall. The stress of my going back to school has disrupted the schedule. The stress of trigeminal neuralgia and trying new meds. And somehow both of our jobs have been incredibly stressful this year both for very different reasons. Add in sports schedules, a play, piano practice and a myriad of stuff and it was a perfect storm of not enough sleep, not enough healthy eating and too much caffeine to survive for me. I am trying to revamp it all because not much is changing for the spring semester.

Kyle got into the neurologist with Goodman Campbell who Dr. Cohen likes to work with. He sees him either the 16th or 19th. I am not sure because I don’t have it here in front of me. They added additional neurotin to his meds and with it has come some memory issues. Mostly they are just entertaining at this point, but he is on the same dosage as last year before the surgery. Thankfully, this year he doesn’t have all the other meds added in. But it is still frightening that we are here again. I can say two things for sure, he can eat which is not at all where we were this time last year. In fact, I remember us struggling because Santa could not eat his cookies last year. The other is that his pain is not where it was last year. It has returned to the surgical side and it is also on the right side. Last year his pain was off the charts. He is not there now. He is having the shocks on both sides and the constant numbing like pain. Again migraines have been pretty well controlled and really only flare when he is crazy tired.

FamilyphotoI am hoping in January we have more of a plan of action and idea of where he is headed. He struggles (we struggle) with the meds. They make him so tired. They steal his memory. They age him. Their side effects right now aren’t outweighing their benefits for now. That is why it is so important for me to control that above chaos as much as I can. Calm and peace are so important.

But finding it is the difficult task when you are raising kids and you are in the midst of prime of your life. It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and not even realize it until you are dropped down into a mess of stress/life induced illnesses. I guess you could say a new year’s resolution, but it isn’t really that. It is more about admitting to defeat that we did this fall semester did not work for us. And us has to be a priority because life is what you make of it.

And we gotta make it better. We know that. As big of an advocate as I am for my husband it is so easy for me to let myself drown in the daily ongoings of TN and I just can’t do that. My girls need to see and have us function as normal as we possibly can. Therefore, I intend to do my best to make this life better.

Last week TN Wife, this week MR

I feel like I can write so much more freely as mommy rhetoric than I can as anyone else. It is me. Most people who know me know I am mommy rhetoric, my students know as mommy rhetoric (said as retorerick) and my family knows me as such.

I am sure you have figured by now I am crazy busy with my own school, my job school and my three beautiful girls. All three who are doing amazing. Work is good. I am absolutely in love with the classes that I am teaching this year. Life is good.

But then there is my other life,  I am a TN wife. That means on a daily basis my conversations consist of TN. I watch my husband suffer from a disease that takes its toll on him, our family and our life. From the outsideimage looking in I suppose it looks normal and yes parts of our life are normal. That is because that is the life he chose to live.

It is a choice he makes every day to go on and live our lives as normally as possible. I am sure the people he works with see him as better and I am sure the people that see him being a dad think similarly. And I would too. By all accounts he looks and seems fine.

And I ask you not for sympathy for my family. Sympathy does us no good. I ask that you keep my family in your thoughts, your prayers and enjoy your families. A good friend told me when all of this started in my most desperate of times, “your family will grow stronger and closer” and that is a blessing. Initially, I was irritated because I was not looking for blessings. Instead back then I was seeking sympathy and someone to just say it all would be okay.

And it is. My family is closer and stronger in ways I can’t place words on. A fabric built so strong around our hearts that we will forever be bonded in this unique way. So yes there are blessings everywhere and I try and see them.

But I won’t lie. I am not a saint. I am angry. I am angry at how little the world knows about TN. I am angry that we went through all that we have gone through and yet I still wake up in the middle of the night petrified of tomorrow. I know more than anything that tomorrow is not promised. I am angry that more doctors are not working on TN. I can count on two hands doctors that treat it. I am angry it isn’t in our everyday vernacular like breast cancer or diabetes. I wonder would it all be different if it was?

I understand why though. I guess. Chronic pain illnesses are often not talked about. They are the cases that remain undisgnosed. They are ones who have to suffer in silence so we don’t have to acknowledge their pain every day. They are the ones that take countless mind numbing pills. They are the ones that take their own lives looking for relief and comfort. But when you look at it that way it changes you.

So no I don’t feel sorry for myself or want sympathy from anyone. I am just trying to enjoy today, praying for tomorrow and finding my way living as a TN wife. What is going on is long and complicated. It is hard to put into words and it is hard to put out there.

But what I can and will say is in the next two weeks please keep my family in your thoughts. But even more than that keep my husband in your thoughts. Do that by living your life with love and gracefulness.

A New Beginning…

I will admit this is only my third year at teaching in the k12 system and in a high school environment. So by comparison my word may have a little less meaning. But I can tell you this, my school is doing amazing and innovative things. I have the distinct pleasure of working in a department with forward thinkers who not only understand their content at the top of their game, but who push themselves above and beyond Every-New-Beginningand rarely accept just average classroom techniques. What we are doing is hard to place words too. But what we are doing is supporting, teaching and driving a concept in education that I don’t believe many can compare to. 

I do work for a magnet school. I also work for an early college. And I can tell you that you will hear about the things we are doing. You won’t just hear about them, you know that they are making major impacts on our community, in our students and in our own lives. And no I would not dare put down my counterparts in traditional high schools or early colleges. That is not what I mean at all because truthfully I have no background knowledge of other schools. Every single teacher usually has some sort of impact be it good or bad. But what we have is lightening in a bottle and every year we pray and hope it stays. And every year it just gets more and more strong. Sometimes the intensity of such a thing is overwhelming, but then I tend to be an intense person.

I am two weeks into our new school year and two weeks into my dual credit course. I am beyond pleased with the strides we have already made. My juniors have done exactly what I expected from them and above and beyond. I also have had the distinct pleasure of working with these students as freshman and some as sophomores. But to watch their minds grow and change over the last two going on three years has given me more fulfillment than anything other than my own family’s strides and successes.

I have created a college environment in my classroom where the student not only thinks for themselves, but they are expected to think with reason. This has and will be their hardest maneuver yet as students. I have offered a very gray version of an English class. They have had me for the black and white version of an English classroom, so they are adjusting their sails. Or adjusting to me moving their cheese (we read “Who Moved My Cheese?” as freshman together) and trying to figure out what it means to be in a college English classroom.

I am trying to teach them Education has power and that they need to learn to harness it. I truly believe they will; and as they sail off I will be so proud to have been a small little sliver of them grabbing hold of their lives and directing it. I am teaching American Literature this year in my dual credit course with Freshman Composition. And I realized that it is not without thought that 11th graders are being taught to read and write and figure out who they are. All of the literature and writing we are doing is about finding identity, cultural belonging and finding the words to articulate it. It is an existential crisis in the making and is that not what teenagers 16-18 are going through?

They are figuring out colleges, taking tests that tell them whom and what they can be. They are being smacked with the realities of working, realities of people in their way saying you can’t or can, the reality of overcoming their childhoods and truly thinking about what life could be like out there with out the safety nets provided by their parents, guardians, schools, churches and friends. They are being told to find their voice, their own way and do this before you are 18. It is a lot.

I get to help them articulate those voices and put them on paper. It is not just an honor, but a privilege and no matter what my paycheck says every two weeks it has absolutely no comparison to the magic I get to see as they find themselves, their voices and their lives.

I am gonna do what I usually do.

Blogging will happen this summer because I actually have time for it. That is what happens…Fall Break…Christmas Break….Spring Break…Summer Break. It happens because I have time and then I think I will make time but then there is golf, softball, dance and piano. Throw in many other school related events, illnesses and TN. My life is full. 

I am getting better at not promising though. At one break (Christmas I think) I was just honest. It won't always happen. It can't. But my blogging identity won't die. I am fairly certain in the next day or so I will be treking back over to my wordpress blog. My original MommyRhetoric blog with years of history.

I took it offline because I struggled with students stumbling on it and they did. I worried of the impressions they would have of me. And it isn't so much that I try and hide who I am really am. Trust me I know they know exactly who I am. They tell me. But I do struggle with this idea of my identity being public somehow exposing their identities. 

I purposefully do not post any information about my students. I will not do. I have three daughters and would be supremely mad if one of my children's things ended up on their blog/social media. I even try to not even really tell too many classroom stories. I am conservative I am aware. But I have kids and I know how I would feel. I only post it if I can truly make their identities obsolete. 

Therefore, I worry that my blog will somehow over expose them. But my original mommyrhetoric was me. I am quite certain that my biggest issue with writing right now is that my life has changed so drastically since working full time that I cannot talk about one of the biggest parts of my life. My professional self. But I gotta be honest, I miss that. I really mourn at the thought of not discussing my PhD stuff with my readers. Alas, I have made the decision to move the blog. 

To try and think more critically about how I can protect myself and therefore them. I see others who do it quite well so I know I can. I just gotta trust my own judgement. I will keep this one here and probably try and transfer what posts I can. 

Get ready….we are moving!

For every minute you are angry…

You lose sixty seconds of happiness.” Or so says Ralph Waldo Emerson and he is kind of like the go to guy for quotes. He knows his happiness quotes peeps! So go ahead be happy. Life is too short to not be! 

Day # 5 – This is baby girl #2. The one who we bumped upto 1st grade her 2nd week of kindergarten. After we made that move the ride was bumpy. She struggled emotionally. We struggled emotionally. But she did it. We made it. We all made it. And she is doing it with straight A’s and a ridiculously high lexile level. It took its time, but we figured it out. This is her best friend. A friend we were worried she wouldn’t find. This is huge for her. My # 2 is and will do amazing things in this world! 

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Day # 6 – It was mid-week the week before finals and finishing up testing. Waiting to tell kidsour super freaking awesome ECA results. We had an amazingly high passing rate. Good things are happening at my school. This chocolate was just one of them!

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Day # 7 – The last day of school for baby girls. Baby girls who are all about to go around another year. #1 is almost 13 and a 7th grader and straight A’s with distinction meaning all year long she tackled those grade while fighting a bad asthma/allergy year. She missed quite a bit of school and still kicked it. Then my #2 and you know her deal from above. She was also promoted to 5th grade which means she is in the middle school now. This momma can barely handle it. And just cause I feel like I gotta my #3 is heading off to the big kindergarten next year.

Day7

Day # 8 – This year has been hard for KPuff and I. We went through some rough stuff this year. We live less than half a mile from one another but both struggled in our own individual ways to keep it together. While I was dealing with keeping my husband both going and healthy she, too, was dealing with a pinched nerve in her back that required surgery and a tough recovery. I am so used to doing things with her and being with her so much that this year I fear we both felt so alone and isolated when we were not. It was hard. But our friendship has been in tact. This is the real deal. I know that because the way my heart feels on days like this. Her 40th birthday. I know she is struggling because it is fourty, but I can only hope to wear 40 so good. There was a pretty private moment between myself, her and my husband this year that is forever emblazened on my heart. It will forever remind me that she loves me. She loves my family and that I am blessed to call her my best friend.

Day8~~~~~~~

Life is happy people even if you have to go out there and look for it. But I promise if you do, you won’t have to look far. It might be in a friendship that withstands the test of time and hardship or in a moment of success of a job well done or just in the simplicity of celebrating the last day of school. Life is happy. Life is love.

100 Days of Happy Day 8 and Counting….

100 Days of Happy

Who couldn't use more happy in their life? I know I could use it. About a week ago I saw friend that started this and I was pretty much sold on the spot. My life is in a weird spot right now. That is no secret. But there is happiness all around. I realize I am at a point where I need to force myself to see it. The more I see it the more I believe it. 

Signing up is easy and I encourage you to do it. Heaven knows we need more happiness in the world. #100happydays . You can hashtag whatever you want and share where you want. You just gotta share what is making you happy in the world. I plan to share anywhere and everywhere. 

For day #1  -  After this post yesterday morning, I decided I needed to do some birthday shopping for # 3 and spend some quality time with the other two. We needed to talk about how Dad had been feeling and how it made them feel. I had been doing a little too much avoiding. It was time. So while we were out shopping we were trying on goofy sunglasses and using weird accents. It clicked in this moment that this was what 100 days of happy was about. In this moment, trigemenial neuralgia didn't exist and hardship and grief didn't exist. We were just three silly girls bonding over stylish glasses and shopping endorphins. 

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Day # 2 – This was a little more difficult today. I am not sure why. My guy woke up and wasn't feeling the best and decided to do something that makes him feel worse. He mowed. He was being a stubborn guy refusing to rest. I was a stubborn wife who just wanted him to sit down and relax and was super grumpy because he wouldn't. I ended up frustrated with him. So frustrated I knew it was best to just take the girls out for lunch and a quick errand. And that is what we did. And bam there goes that moment again. They were all working on a crossword puzzle. They were talking about my PhD program and asked if I was going to make them call me doctor. For awhile I convinced them yes. It would be required to call me Dr. Mom. This was all while doing a crossword puzzle. Happy moment # 2 not only noticed but stretched out by the awesome suggestions for conversations on the kids menu at Bob Evans. And no I am not joking! 

Happyday2

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It is only day two and I realize there is a lot of happiness. My life is good. Yes parts are really painful. But my heart is happy and loved. I have three amazing daughters who we wanted so badly and I have a husband who loves me so much! That is so very much to be happy for. I am working in a position that fulfills my dream both of teaching and reaching students through writing. It also allows me to pursue my PhD. I am one lucky lady. That alone right there is a whole lotta happy. 

But I won't discount my sad either. It has a place and honestly to appreciate the happy you have to wade through the sad. As well, I think we push people to much to always just present the happy and shush and shame the sad. 

For now I am wading into both waters which also means each can easy appreciate the other. I am okay though. Life is okay. Happiness always finds a way! And happiness to me is love. To repeat: Love always wins! 

The ebb and flow of life…

Westmin-bloghead3

I usually ride the waves of life with great balance and grace. This year the ebbs and flows of life have been so fast and furious that I am feeling myself holding on for dear life. Normally, those ebbs and flows are another kiddos birthday or or new dishes. This year the changes were bigger and more impactful. I have made that no secret. 

To say I am who I was back in August would be completely untrue. I have been searching for my wisdom in all that has changed. Wisdom and ability to know I am a survivor. Because I am. Sometimes my survival mode so strong that I don't even have time to acknowledge it. But more than anything I have to find meaning in it all. 

That is what I do. I learned the Newton's 3rd law in my 11th grade year, surprisingly enough, in my Dramatic lit class. My teacher's name was Mrs. Murphy. But she taught us that each action has an equal and opposite reaction. Of course, she related it to the stage and eventually an even bigger metaphor…LIFE. 

When something bad happens there will be an equal and opposite reaction. I could list for you all of the actions that have happened this year and their equal and opposite reaction. But I do this in my head sometimes because I still can't believe it. It is so easy to get caught up in it.

Therefore, I find if I move forward in living life in the way it matters that eventually the equal and opposite reaction starts happening. I cuddle my baby girls in bed and kiss them good night. I go to #'s preschool program and she graduates to kindergarten. I hug and kiss my guy a little longer everyday. I laugh at the daily hos and hums of being a high school teacher. The funny reactions I get, the funny things they do and say every day.

Those are the things that keep us all living. The life moments that make it matter. That make it worth going through the rough stuff. To get there, to see it and live it. 

I am not gonna lie and say it is easy. It hasn't been and it isn't always. Most people cannot relate. And that is probably the hardest thing for me to cope with. I just want someone who understands. I want someone who can relate. They try. I am trying to make peace with it. The is the one action that I cannot quite locate my equal and opposite reaction to. 

But that is probably because it is the most difficult. It is a part of the grieving process. Grieving for my life before TN. And I was doing well before the death of my step mom. A death that has me in a weird greiving cycle that again places me in a place where most people cannot relate. 

I wish this were my place to cope with it all. It just isn't. The grief cycle is beautiful, ugly, torturing, tiring and isolating. Others go through it, but it is so different for each person. But I am good. My concerns and fears are more for those I love and cannot protect. 

“If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” 
― T.S. Eliot

The title I can’t make up.

I have wanted to write. Oh my gosh have I. I just don't know what to say. I don't want to say the wrong things and I don't want to put something out there I will never get back. My will and strength has been tested so much this year and I have learned one thing through it all. Some of it is meant to be private. Pains, hurts, love and laughter. There are times where it should remain private and not for the whole world to see. This society we live in exposes it all. And sometimes it is too much. We don't need to know everything and feel everything so publically. Or at least I don't. 

36bc3f748be6c20369cc908c1998280cMy phone has rang off the hook. The texts were coming so fast and furious the other day I gave my phone to Kyle. I couldn't respond quick enough or give myself time to say the right thing. I came home and just handed my phone to Kyle. I am good with words. But not on this. My words are sad and dark and lack a sense of understanding. How do I have a conversation with someone and then a few days later she gone? There are no answers to that. How do I attempt to explain death to my four year old. Cause frankly I don't want to. 

How do I explain the complications of life to people that ask? No one understands it, unless you lived it. I have lived it. I have been living it and I feel so isolated. I don't feel helpless or hopeless. I feel lost and incomprehensible and I don't know what to do with that. Neither of those I do to well. 

Last night Kyle and I sat in bed with a 17 years of photos and cards. We laughed, we cried and we sat utterly shocked at how much life we have lived in the last year. Hell the last 6 months. The moment is one I want to describe because it is one of those "life moments". But my best description wouldn't come close to explaining how it made me feel. 

The moment you realize you aren't 20 anymore like you were. When the concerns and worries of life were figuring out if he likes romantic movies (he doesn't by the way…haven't been to once since Titanic) and what my favorite food was (Pizza by the way). We are hurdling on the track of life another death. Another burden and grief. 

Each hurdle hits a little harder and feels a little more harder to recover from. The happiness seems bleak and unreachable. But I know it is not. Thank God for my beautiful girls who keep me smiling and laughing each day. 

# 3 tells me on Thursday after I explain Nana's death to them that, "It is okay Mom, your show you watch always makes you cry. It is okay." I am not sure if she thought I was talking about my show or if that was a four years rationale for death in that moment but we all giggled. The giggly type of laugh that is covered in tears and the only thing left is to hug through them. And we did. 

And # 2 who struggles processing big life changes and sees the world so black and white finds herself concerned with the logistics of a death. How does it happen, where do they go and what it means to physically move on. 

And my # 1 who probably feels this loss more than the other two. More time spent with Nana and old enough to have her own relationbship with her. She is the one I worry about. So quiet and so much like her Daddy who doesn't talk. 

Life goes on and no one understands this more than my family this year. But it is hard. It is hard. That is all I can say. It is so hard. 

One less reader…

My blog isn’t for everybody. My family and my closest friends. I don’t think they read too much, or maybe they do but don’t say it. Sometimes I am too tough on here. But I always had one reader. One faithful reader since the moment I opened up my blog and started writing for the world to see many, many years ago.

That was my step mom. I know I need to write this and get it out. But I don’t know what to say. Some of it is shock and some of it is just ugh. It is too much. My strength is being tested. My will and my resolve.

All of which my step mom would tell me to get over. She had a knack for that. I met Robin when I was four. I honestly don’t remember a part of my life without her. I am
Imagenot gonna lie and tell you it was always easy. Because it wasn’t. Being a step parent to someone like me was not easy I don’t imagine.

But she always tried. She always was constant and she loved me. I could tell you of how things went for us and story after story of the good and the bad. But I think it is important to tell of what makes me the happiest.

The many, many late nights we stayed up well passed my dad and talked about life. We did this well into my married life and into being a mother and there was one thing she always convinced me to do and that was follow my dreams. Not in the repeated statement of go for your dreams.

She had this way to make me feel like there were no other options but my dreams. If I gave her reasons why I couldn’t she would always counter with a no or why not. Once I moved two hours away these conversations often took place in email or even facebook conversations.

We just had one not to long ago. She was always that person who reminded me I could do it and was doing it. She understood my love for writing, and books and life. She knew of my deep heartbreak this January and gave me so much strength to get through.

One day I posted that Kyle and I were having trouble finding bandanas for him to wear to cover his scar and she emailed me immediately that they were coming in the mail. I am talking 30 seconds later. I said thank you over and over and told her how grateful I was.

But I wish time was back so I could be sure she knew I meant it. I have spent most of tonight re-reading our Facebook conversations and oh my gosh it goes back years. Some made me cry and some made me giggle. But I will be ever grateful for them.

I have said multiple times in my life that it takes a village to raise a child. Some of that village is family such as grandparents and aunts and uncles and some of that village is friends. Well I am here to tell you she was the leader in my village.

My village lost its leader today and I am not exactly sure what to do with that. I have two amazing parents. But Robin was also an amazing. The will with which she fought for her life was instilled within me and that is a gift I will always have.

When I can I will share what this quote meant to me and how it involved her.