Forty One

sup-beach-view nell-hat-on-beach rock-climbing sup-selfie nell-and-kiddos 41 single-wave abc-breakfast sup bike-ride

So, this is 41. Supposedly once you’re over 40, then you’re considered “over the hill”, right? Well maybe, maybe not. In my 20’s I did consider the 40’s as being “over the hill” and I had a picture in my head of what that would look and feel like. This is not at all what I expected. Man, am I glad.  I choose to make the most of every day.  I choose to do the things that make me feel alive. So, here’s to the 40’s. Bring it on!

*A special thanks to my three favorite people; Steve, Danica and Trey.  Steve made me feel special and let me do anything I wanted all weekend while he did my chores for me.  Trey went rock climbing with me and we had the best time.  Danica gave me the best present by coming home for the weekend to hang out with me.  To each of you… thank you for being you and thank you for being amazing.  You made me feel so very special. 

 

A Heavenly Birthday

Granny Bridesmaid granny Rose Mardi Gras

Today would have been your 84th birthday if you were still here on earth with us.  They say that time heals.  Maybe it does.  I still just feel emptiness in my heart.  I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that I don’t think about you.  I miss the days when I could pick up the phone and say, “hey granny” and hear your voice on the other end reply, “hey bébé”.

I’m going to admit something here that haunts me everyday.  It’s three simply words that continue to mull over in my mind…I didn’t call.  You died in the midst of my mom’s tragedy.  You were sick.  I didn’t want you to know about mom because you would get upset and worry making your sickness all that much worse.  So, what did I do?  I didn’t call. I didn’t call because I wouldn’t know what to say when you asked about mom and dad. I didn’t call because I didn’t want you to get upset.  In my heart, I thought I was doing the right thing.  I know now that I was wrong.  So what if you asked me about mom.  I should have called.  You needed to hear my voice in the midst of all that you were going through. For that, I am eternally sorry.

I love you with all my heart and miss you like crazy. Happy heavenly birthday, Granny!

PS – My deepest apologies for the heavy post.  You can read the “One Year” tribute post HERE that is a bit on the brighter side.

Sixteen

Danica and Trey Po Disney SignHot Air Balloon Danica in Zero Nell 1970 Nell and Dee Matching Shirts Typhoon Lagoon Trey and Grumpy Donald Nell Flower Wall Steve and Trey Donkey King Trey on Bus Nell and Trey Pop Century Nell 70

This amazing young man is now 16. I remember very clearly the day that he was born. There wasn’t much toil. There wasn’t much labor. In just five hours short hours he made his appearance into the world at 10:35 on a Tuesday night. I couldn’t believe that I had a long, skinny, blonde hair, blue eyed baby.

As I’ve mentioned here on the blog previously, when I was raising my babies, I looked too much into the future and did not enjoy the moment. This is definitely one of my regrets. That being said, one of the things I did right was when Trey was a baby. I had a sinking feeling that he would be my last and every single night, when I rocked him to bed, I held him extra tight and extra long and just gazed at him as he slept in my arms. I didn’t want to put him in the bed before I absolutely had to. I treasure those deep longing moments with him cuddled in my arms sleeping. If I close my eyes and think really hard, I can still see that sweet baby face in my mind.

How to fast time flies. It seems that you blink and suddenly your baby; your youngest is 16 and and in high school.

In those younger days we was all boy and very hard to keep up with. He made us laugh all the time. I guess looking back he’s always been the “funny guy”. This kid was ALWAYS hungry; so hungry, in fact, he wanted to eat every 30 minutes yet spit out all of his vegetables.

Today, he loves football, working out, laying in bed and watching TV,  playing video games, going to water parks and eating.  He is a thoughtful, considerate and kind young man.  He considers my feelings.  He thanks me every night for cooking him dinner.  He apologies when he thinks that he has upset me.  What mother of a 16 year old boy can say that? Not many! I am blessed beyond measure.  Trey is excelling academically, socially and athletically.  I am so very excited about the amazing young man he is becoming and am so grateful to be on this journey with him as his mom.  I think he is just down right pretty darn awesome!

Happy 16, bud!  Here’s to many more together.  I love you!

*Since he loves water parks, we did a weekend trip to the Disney water parks in Orlando to celebrate.  

Sixty

60 sized

This sweet mama is 60 today!  This is certainly a day worth celebrating.  One thing I will never do is take her life for granted.  I will celebrate it and what better time to do it than today.  Join with me in a big celebration of this amazing lady’s life, God’s miracles and grace all around.  She is my miracle mama and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for her life.  She is truly a blessing to all of us.  Happy birthday, mama!  I’m so glad you are here bringing us your sweetness and that beautiful smile each and every day.

What’s in a Decade?

Last Day in 30s

Today is the last day to be in my 30’s. Overall, this decade was pretty good to me. I was much wiser, made better decisions and accomplished more goals than in my 20’s. My 20’s was a decade of navigating a new marriage, having babies, finishing college and starting a career.  They were years of indecisiveness and uncertainty but they were the building blocks for what was to come.  My 30’s was a decade of accomplishment; moving 1,000 miles, pushing the career envelope and it paying off (thank God!), raising one child successfully to adulthood, getting another to a successful place in high school and establishing a very happy marriage.  The 30’s was also a decade that drew me much closer to God which has made all the difference in my life.

I have been told that the 40’s are even better; that life begins at 40. Well, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be to take it on. I’m excited to see what this next decade will bring.

Celebrations All Around

Angels Trumpet Danica with Tongue Out Earl and JoAnna with Kona Kona and Earl on Float Mom and Earl Sweet Moment mom smelling the flower Nana and Papa Throwing Frisbee Steve Waving papa in the pool full Papa Grilling Nell Jumping in Pool Nell Flower Crown Nell and Mom Flower Crowns

America’s birthday is certainly a reason to pull the family together and celebrate but for us, even more important than that is my dad’s birthday.  Well, technically his birthday falls on July 5th, but we celebrated on the 4th to enjoy the fireworks as well.  We celebrated by having a pool party and grilling out for lunch and dinner; ribs, chicken, fish and duck. Of course, as always with our family, there was a ridiculous amount of food with dad cooking every last bit. He is the grill master.

I haven’t mentioned my mom’s progress here in a while, but man, is she doing well.  She hit the 6 month mark and something just clicked; her short term memory is much better, she’s more alert, more aware and is just simply more like Brenda (mom and nana). So, at the celebration, she did really well the entire day. She even got in a swimsuit and dipped a little in the pool, which was a first since the car accident. At the end of the evening there were fireworks going off all around the house, so we went out back by the pool to watch.  I stood there arm in arm between my sweet mother and my amazing daughter; three generations looking up at the sky watching the magical fireworks all around.  It couldn’t have ended any better.

Happy 59 to my dad!  You are the superhero of this crazy story.  I’m so grateful and blessed to have such an amazing father and so very glad that you had a good day.  You deserve this times a million.  I love you to the moon and back!

Fifteen

Trey with Lit Cake

Look who’s 15! Not even sure how this happened. When I  hug him, my head rests on his chest. He has become a young man overnight.

We have entered the cave phase where he wants to be alone in his cave (room) playing video games. My only complaint at this stage is that I miss him. I miss him a lot. I miss his laugh, his smile and his amazing sense of humor. This kid is hilarious and can make me laugh like no other; well like one other. He’s just like his dad. He is hilarious to the core with an incredibly sweet heart. I am so incredibly proud to be his mom. He is the most amazing boy, ahem, I mean young man.

Happy birthday, Trey! I can’t wait to see what your high school years bring. I love you more than words can say.

Lately

I have to apologize upfront for the lengthy post. If you’re bored, read on. (pictures below)

I know I have been MIA from the blog for a while now. Life has been quite crazy lately. To be perfectly honest, 2015 has been a “B”. Life is hard. Life is difficult. And sometimes life just plain sucks but on the flip side there are always bright spots and things to be grateful for.

You always hear that when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and endure many trials, this is when God can do the most work. All I can say is that God must be doing something big. I have no idea what, but something big. Life is hard. Life is tough.   It just is. If we allow ourselves to be swayed by our circumstances, we will most certainly exist on a roller coaster of emotions. I try to reside above my circumstances and see my life from God’s point of view, but I fail miserably all the time. I’m learning and trying to allow God to mold and shape me along this journey; to become the person that He wants me to be. It’s only April but I’ve learned many life lessons this year, and particularly two lessons stand out to me at this moment and time. First, you have to look at your blessings. If you’re busy being thankful for what you have, you have no time for complaints (I fail at this often – just ask my husband). Second, is to rise above your circumstances and view your life from God’s point of view. It’s difficult but when you do this, that issue that seemed like the biggest thing in the world, becomes only a small blip on your map of life.

Life has been crazy; some things good, some things bad, some things horrible and probably everything in between. Here are a few; my mom’s tragic car accident with a roller coaster of life and death moments, the long continual journey to her recovery, my Granny becoming sick twice, my Granny finally passing away, celebrating my daughter turning 18, celebrating my mom’s 59th birthday (which we weren’t sure we’d get to do), planning my daughter’s senior prom, planning for her high school graduation, planning a graduation trip and trying to land a huge 3 year long technology project at work (in which I am leading).

The topic of my mom; where do I even start? It is been miraculous, yet devastating. I have in some ways become a back up caregiver, supporter and mother to her this year and will continue to do so for as long as it takes (probably years). This area can and does easily become a big roller coaster of emotions but I am forever grateful to God for saving her life and slowly brining her back to us. I will say that celebrating her 59th birthday was the most special birthday celebration of all because, honestly, three or four months ago I wouldn’t have thought it would be possible. Then there’s my dad; my poor sweet dad. His life has flipped upside down and inside out. He had to leave his job, sell several properties, fight with insurance (daily), move across the country, take over the rental business, start paying all the bills and biggest of all has had to become the caregiver for my mom. The crazy thing is that he does all of these things simultaneously. He has always been the rock of our family and he still is but my brother and I have been there to help hold him up when he just can’t go anymore. He’s giving it all he has in an extremely difficult situation. As I tell him weekly, “I’m not concerned about mom. She’s coming back. I’m concerned about you.” (posting daily on her CaringBridge site)

My Granny. Oh, my sweet Granny. I’m not ready to talk fully about this yet but when I am, you’ll most likely see a blog post about it. I will state it simply like this. She was more than a granny. I was a daughter to her and she was a mother to me. I meant the world to her. We had a one of a kind special relationship. I have her wedding ring on my finger as I type this post and every time I look at it I cry. There hasn’t been a day that has gone by since Easter that I haven’t cried over losing her. She is by far the closest person to me that I’ve ever lost.

In all of this darkness, there’s the bright spots in my life. I get to watch my little girl turn into an adult, plan prom, pick out a dress, witness all those last moments of her high school career, plan for her upcoming graduation, plan an exciting graduation trip to celebrate, pick a college, pick a major, and plan her future. How exciting this has been. The excitement and joy on her face makes everything better. Yes, there are many difficult things happening this year, but on the flip side of that, there are all these exciting moments that I am so blessed to get to be a part of. This is the biggest, most monumental year Danica has ever had. I am loving every minute of it. These are all lasts to experience and I plan on being there for every one of them. For me personally, it is emotional for yet very exciting at the same time. I can’t think about all if it too hard because I will cry. I can’t believe we have reached this moment in her life. I feel like she should still be that sweet little sassy southern girl with a twang in her voice. I cannot wait to see what her future holds. There is no doubt in my mind that she will do amazing things.

Then there’s work. I never really talk about work on the blog but this year is a big year. My manta last year was that 2015 would be a big year for me (without my mom’s accident happening) due to the launch of this project, Danica graduating high school and going off to college. I work in technology for a local non-profit. This project is three years in the making and it is huge. We are literally replacing the entire technological infrastructure of the organization. God is in this and I am certainly trusting in Him.

When I reflect on everything that my life holds at this moment in time, I can easily get overwhelmed. What I have to remember is that God has a plan. Only He knows the big picture. I’m learning to take each day, one day at a time, which has been a monumental lesson for me as I am a dreamer and a planner. Honestly, for my own sanity, I have no choice but to operate this way and it works. Life is short and fragile. In a moment it can be flipped upside down. The people you love the most won’t be there forever. Your children will grow up fast and move on with their lives. Soak up every moment of this day. Let the ones you love know how much you love them. This may be the only opportunity you have to do so. Enjoy each and every moment with your children because before you know it, they will no longer be living under your roof.

All I can say is this.  Live for today. Life is short.

Here are a few pictures of life lately.

Mom and Dad at LaunchDee FAU ShirtMom and Nell at LaunchNell & GrannyMom & Dad on Moms BirthdayGranny RingNell & Dee at the Beach 18 BirthdayCR Beach

Celebrating 18

Danica Beach Jump Danica Showing off Laptop Danica Smiling Earl & JoAnnaNell & Papa Nell & Steve One Palm Papa & Priss Papa Dee and Priss Priss Trey the Thinker Two Palms Nell and Dee at Beach Nell in Hat at BeachEarl and JoAnna

My sweet Danica turned 18 this past week.  I cannot even describe my very fragile emotions about this occurrence, but we certainly cannot stop time.  All we can do is enjoy the moment that we are given.  We are only guaranteed today.  So, because of this fact and because 18 deserves a big celebration, Dee and I played hooky from school and work and spent the day playing.  We went to the beach, had a nice lunch and got manicures and pedicures.  It was certainly a day well spent.  I am so incredibly blessed that not only do I get to be this beautiful person’s mother but I get to be her friend.  I just love spending time with my Danica.

The celebrating didn’t stop there as we decided to do a cookout at my brother’s house this past weekend to celebrate this monumental birthday.  We were able to get my dad there as well.  It certainly wasn’t the same without my mom (it never is), but I think it was nice for everyone to step back, relax, actually smile and laugh a bit and celebrate this special day.

Well, Dee, this is it.  You’re officially an adult.  I hope and pray that I am still the one that you run to with anything and everything.  As we embark upon college, this will certainly be key.  You came into this world 18 years ago to a newly turned 21 year old with no clue what to do.  You radically changed my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  You have blessed me beyond measure and you continue to do so everyday.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you.  You were are my little girl and no matter how old you get.  That will never change.  I love you to the moon and back!

*Sorry for the disjointed post.  It is sort like my emotions these days.  Thanks for following along.  🙂

Eighteen

Danica 18

Today, 18 years ago, my life was forever changed.  Dee, my life is simply better because of you. You have brought more joy to me than I could have ever imagined possible. You are sweet, kind, loving compassionate, fun and just all around awesome! I am so incredibly proud to be your mom. Thank you for all that you are and all that you bring to my life. Happy 18th birthday! I love you with all my heart.

Also, I’m now officially the parent of an adult. I AM OLD!