For a year…

For a year I’ve wanted to sit down and “talk” about it. For a year I’ve had some terrible nightmares and deep sadness over what Brooks’ birth and arrival was like. I’ve felt immense guilt at having these feelings. A new baby? It should only be happiness and joy, right?

Today the doom and gloom of that in between holidays and New Year has me forcing myself to just sit down and do it. Maybe this will help my overall mental health. Maybe this will help me let go of the anxiety and the trauma I experienced.

Those closest to me know our story. The story of our last sweet babies arrival and the scariest hours of my life.

This story gets gory and detailed and if you can’t handle medical issues that involve blood and babies, then this blog post is not for you. FAIR WARNING.

Early in the pregnancy I knew something wasn’t perfectly normal. I had some of the same signs of placenta previa that I’d had with Easton. However, I was hopeful. I was hopeful the placenta previa wasn’t actually in existence. I knew that even if it were that it could also “go away” over time as the baby grew. I wasn’t wrong, the placenta previa was diagnosed. My hope lessened as the appointments went on and became more frequence and my OB was very concerned about possible bleeding and not making it to 40 weeks. I had one goal – make it to Christmas. I got close to Christmas and had a small bleed and decided to put myself on bed rest to try and make it to Christmas. I canceled our tickets for Polar Express. I didn’t want to be too far from the hospital. I booked a Santa to come to my dad’s house “just in case’ we didn’t make it to the other Santa we had tickets for so I could see my kids sit on Santa’s lap before Christmas. I gave up a ticket for a girl’s night to see Fortune Feimster because again, I just didn’t want to risk my chances of not making it to Christmas morning with my two big boys. I was trying to be very careful.

His due date was January 22nd, but the C Section was scheduled for December 28th. I was bound and determined to make it to that day. I was going to get through Christmas and then have this sweet boy. Christmas means the world to me. My mom always made it my special and I try so hard to do the same for my boys.

Christmas Eve (of 2021) came and went. We baked cookies for Santa.

We went to church. We read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and then we set out the milk and cookies.

We took our matching family jammies pictures and they went to bed.

Santa went to bed and I was so relieved and relaxed that we were going to make it to Christmas at home together.

Then 2:07 am arrived and Brooks had other plans. I woke up thinking my water had broke. I knew the feeling from a previous pregnancy and I also knew that if it had broke I was in big trouble because of the placenta previa condition. I jumped out of bed and as soon as I stepped down I saw the blood and ran to the bathroom. I was hemorrhaging and there was blood everywhere. The bedroom and bathroom looked like a crime scene and I needed to get to the hospital very quickly. There was blood on the walls. It was so alarming.

My biggest concern wasn’t the hemorrhaging. My biggest concern was making sure my two little boys did not see all this blood. I knew if Easton saw it he would be very sick and Wyatt would be panicked.

In hindsight the last place I should have went was the toilet, but it was where I went as I hemorrhaged and I called Mike from my Apple Watch and thank goodness he heard it and answered. He was sleeping with Easton at the time and Wyatt had been in bed with me when I hemorrhaged. Our kids start every night in their own beds, but rarely do we all end up in those same spots come morning. Mike came in and his face went white. The amount of blood was disturbing. It was scary. I wasn’t sure if I was dying or if I had a bleed that had stopped. I told him to call 911 while I called my sister to get here to be with the boys. Not very many people are awake at 2 am so it took several phone calls to get ahold of Meg, who always stays up late to watch TV. On her way over she called my sister. By the time Mike was able to leave home my brother in law and Meg had arrived to both keep the boys calm and away from the bedroom and also start cleaning. We owe them BIG time for all they did on Christmas morning and those days to follow.

I realized after sitting on the toilet that I needed to move myself to the shower so the EMTs could gauge how much blood was lost. I also desperately wanted to shower because I was covered in blood. Mike was on the phone with the EMTs and Easton had woken up. Mike told him not to get out of bed and thank goodness he listened. Wyatt slept peacefully in my bed next to quite a mess until Meg or Brandon moved him later. He even slept as the EMTs came to take me out.

I remember sobbing and yelling at God. I just wanted to make it to Christmas Day and seeing my babies open their presents. I was so angry. Then I was feeling overwhelmingly guilty for not being joyful at my newest babies arrival. I was a mom torn and heartbroken at missing those core memories and big moments in life and not being present in the moment of the biggest moment of our newest babe’s life.

The EMT’s arrived and couldn’t bring the stretcher in through our house with our. narrow halls so I had to waddle my way through the kitchen to load up for the ambulance. I stopped in to kiss Easton and tell him I had to run to the doctor to check the baby. To this day the only thing he knows is that I got sick and Brooks needed to be born. He also assumes the mess that Unkie B and Meg were cleaning in the room was puke because as I said earlier – he cannot handle blood… all.

When I left poor Mike was so shook. He couldn’t leave with me because Meg wasn’t there yet. I was able to remain calm. The bleeding had stopped for now and I wasn’t panicked. Or, was I? I felt eerily calm almost in shock. I reminded him that the boys could not see the bedroom no matter what. That was my biggest concern. As the ambulance left Meg arrived and shortly (or before?) was my BIL, Brandon. Together they worked to get Mikey packed and on his way to the hospital. They cared for the boys and began clean up in the bedroom. The mattress was ruined. Blood was everywhere. Blankets and rugs covered. I never imagined it would have been like that. My doctor kept warning me but I just had clue that hemorrhaging would have looked anything like it did.

I arrived sometime around 3 am at the hospital, Community North. The entire ride to the hospital in the ambulance was quiet and the poor EMT kept telling me how many babies he had delivered and I kept telling him that it would be life threatening to deliver this baby because of my placenta previa. Poor guy was clueless. He didn’t seem to understand the depth of my condition and how impossible it would be for me to deliver this baby and things go well. He also had a very hard time getting an IV in my hand and after 4 attempts gave up. My hands were bruised for days.

Christmas Eve early morning was pretty quiet in the hospital. The midwife who was working explained that my bleeding had stopped but she’d be touching base with my doctor to suggest an emergency C Section as soon as possible. I was moved into a room of my own and found out I’d be having this sweet boy around 7:30 am pending no more bleeding.

Dr. Henderzahs came in after waking his own children for an early Christmas (I felt bad and had to ask if I’d disrupted his Christmas plans). He was an amazing doctor and genuinely cared for me. I was a nervous wreck to have a C Section, something I’d never experienced before. I was ready to meet our baby, but I was terrified about the road to get there. The room was freezing. Everyone seemed to be working an extremely fast pace. It made me feel like this emergency C Section was urgent and I was terrified that something wouldn’t go well.

For the record, I would take a vaginal delivery over a C Section anyday. The pain of that surgery, the scar, the itching a year later, none of it is pleasant. It’s a far more difficult recovery.

At 8:22 am we met our beautiful little boy, Brooks Alynn. Our Christmas miracle. The boy who scared us all early Christmas morning.

We spent the rest of the day snuggling and loving our new boy and watching his sugar levels very closely. We worked on breastfeeding and we adored him. We FaceTimed our big boys to see how Christmas had gone. I cried. I cried a lot. I missed Christmas with my big boys and I was devastated. I wanted to be able to enjoy this new life yet I was torn at being away from the lives of my other babies. Our people covered it all. They videoed the boys opening all the presents. (I’ve still been unable to watch it). They took pictures. They cleaned the house and organized everything. I was just heartbroken and I cried every time I realized what we were missing. I wanted to get us all home so we could all be together again.

At 3 am on December 26th the nurse woke us to let us know we were headed to the NICU with Brooks “just for a little bit” to get his sugar levels figured out. They had tried two rounds of glucose and his sugar was still too low. Again, I was hopeful. She said “just for a little bit” so surely we wouldn’t be there long. They’d monitor him and get his sugar up and then we’d be ready to head home.

By the afternoon an IV had to be inserted because his levels were dropping again. We were using donor milk because my milk had not come in. We snuggled and continued nursing that day.

On December 27th I continued to pump to get my milk to come in and nurse as often as possible. Each time we got a little more successful with nursing. He was just a preemie with “little white boy” syndrome they called it. I learned in the NICU that little white boys don’t try real hard so his behavior was typical, but I was still very frustrated!

The next few days were almost as traumatic as the delivery. I desperately wanted my baby to be healthy and at home because I had two other boys at home who desperately needed me as well. I realized after day one in the NICU that he wasn’t going to just be there “for a little bit” and I was heartbroken. I saw families going in and out where we scrubbed in. I met mom’s in the NICU family lounge that had been there for weeks and months. I somehow knew we probably weren’t going to be here that long, but what if we were? How were these women doing it? How were these families holding up?

The glucose levels went up and the bilirubin went up – slowly but surely. Eventually the IV came out and nursing got better. Unfortunately he had issues with spitting up so he’d eat so well and then we’d take two steps back. I spent my days in the NICU. Id’ arrive as early as I could get there and stay as late as I could and come home and cry myself to sleep feeling torn between my boys at home and my baby in the hospital. I was a wreck. Between the hormones post pregnancy and my heart in two places, it was just entirely too much. My SIL told me “you’ll look back on this and it will be such a tiny piece of time in the grand scheme of it all.” I would tell myself that over and over just to get through the days. Looking back, she was right. I knew she would be. It helped to think about that. The days just seem so long when your heart is in two places and you physically can only be in one.

One doctor would say we might go home the next day and another doctor would say we weren’t. It was back and forth for 9 days. Brooks had trouble gaining weight because nursing is such a huge exercise for a little guy so he was burning more calories than he was taking in. It was weird to come home for rest on New Year’s Eve and “celebrate” when I felt like there was nothing to celebrate. I felt like a horrible mother leaving my baby in the hospital and a horrible mother spending my days away from my big kids in the NICU with the baby. My heart had never been so torn and I could not figure out how to do it all and be mentally okay.

On January 3rd after fortifying and supplementing and weight gain issues we were finally able to bring Brooks Alynn home.

We surprised the boys when. they came home from school with their new brother.

For a year I’ve dwelled on this experience. I’ve shed tears. I’ve smiled. I’ve learned lessons.

For a year I’ve worried about every single decision I made during that time….and was it the right one?

For a year I’ve had some terrible nightmares where things don’t end in me living to tell about this.

For a year we’ve loved this little boy and brought him into our family so grateful for him blessing us with his grand appearance on Christmas Day in 2021.

Life presents challenges, sometimes so big you don’t think you can overcome them. Somehow, we always do.

Friday Five

  1. New Office! – We finally (by we I really mean Mike) got our office remodeled. We went from a corner desk with limited workspace to a huge 12 ft U-shaped desk. I’m not ready to share pictures of this beautiful thing because I want to get it all decorated. It’s perfect for that space and so gorgeous.

2. Baby Ben – I finally got my hands on the squishy Baby Ben. His thighs are so delicious and watching Wyatt want to hold him and play with him was the most adorable thing ever.

3. Pledge of Allegiance – Wyatt got to lead the pledge this week for the first time ever. This might be the cutest thing you’ll see all week. How adorable?

4. Silly Boys – These two can always make me giggle. They literally wore these fake mustaches all evening and then I started calling them Mario and Luigi. It’s the little things.

5. Target and Dinner – Mike has been gone all week again. The second week in a row. Although I’d like to check myself into a local hotel and straight pass out for 24 hours straight I’m going to rock the Friday evening and hit up Target alone (awwww bliss) and then meet a friend for dinner. It truly is the little things that make a momma happy.

Friday 5️⃣

Five delightful things to share with you from my week.

  1. Snowy Saturday Mornings – The Saturday morning snow was GORGEOUS. Also, the snuggles made it so peaceful and calm. Then the boys started to really wake up and that ended quickly because…..they’re boys. You know what I mean right?

2. Surprise! – It’s one of my life goals to take the boys (all 3 – Mike’s never been!) to Disney World. I’d rather wait until no one takes a nap anymore so that we can all enjoy our time a bit more than if we were to travel there now. Sometimes I consider the trip and Wyatt getting in for free but free isn’t really free if you’re miserable and cranky. So for now, we venture to Disney on Ice when we get the chance. I was super hesitant to go during a pandemic but the ticket situation sounded fairly safe for a large public event. Even in the days leading up to the event I started to wonder if we should use the ticket insurance and just cancel. I had major anxiety. I was pleasantly surprised to find MORE than 6 ft between us and others and event workers who enforced the mask mandate. The lady closest to me tried taking her mask off and within seconds she was told to put it back on. You could only have it off for a drink or a bite. Sounds ridiculous to some, I’m sure, but I’m all about science and I believe masks play a huge role in the prevention of this virus I’m totally over. We didn’t even tell the boys where we were going. We parked in the parking garage and they were still clueless. Telling them is a video I hope to save forever…..they were beyond ecstatic. They’re champs at wearing their masks. Side note: I wonder quite often – how can my little 2 year old wear a mask without complaining yet my Facebook feed at one time was literally every other person bitching about being forced to wear one. I say “at one time” because those people are long gone from my feed…..some unfollowed and several I decided to unfriend. Truth be told – they weren’t my friends in real life so why did I need to be their friends on social media? This was Wyatt’s 1st time at Disney on Ice and his eyes simply glowed the entire time. It’s disappointing to think about the smiles I missed because of the masks, but I know our health long term is more important. When Mickey disappeared he needed to know where and when he would be back. Every. Single. Time. We had such a good afternoon together. Just my little squad.

3. Inauguration Day – This past Wednesday our country swore in a new President and Vice President. For the first time in history a female was elected as Vice President. It’s not that my worth as a woman comes from seeing a female Vice President – it’s more so that seeing a woman in power inspires me. That doesn’t mean I agree with every one of her policies or her political stance, it means that the little girls of color in my classroom can see themselves doing big things that once they didn’t see. Not only that but a TEACHER in the White House. A teacher! This is huge for my profession and my passion. Unfortunately we were unable to watch the inauguration events live in my classroom for fear of what could happen due to so many threats by extremists and radicals. I was able, however, to watch it live while my students were at recess and I caught Garth Brooks singing Amazing Grace and part of President Biden’s address. He gave me chills you guys. I love Garth Brooks and if him singing at this inauguration means less people love him I’m hopeful he’ll do another tour and maybe I can get closer seats than the last two shows I’ve been to. But Amanda Gorman……that girl STOLE the show, in my opinion. The poem she read was incredible, inspirational, and just what our nation needed to hear. The President made me smile. After watching his address, I felt hope. I’m guessing based on my evening scroll through Facebook that many of my friends wouldn’t agree with me. That’s okay….that’s the best part about this country. We can respectfully disagree on a feeling of hope. I’m sure there are life events that give you hope that wouldn’t give me the same feeling. What I’ve decided not to tolerate anymore is including people in my life who represent any sort of hate or spew hateful thoughts. Just reading someone’s hateful thoughts and posts brings me to a very negative place which I can’t allow myself to go – for the sake of myself or my children. Quite frankly, it’s not something I want my children to be exposed to either. I’m ending this week feeling in a much better head space than the previous weeks. I am so thankful for that.

4. Getting Along – Siblings are not meant to get along. Did you know I lost my first tooth by biting my brother? Literally, biting him. I bit into his skin and my tooth stayed. I freaked out at the blood of my mouth while I’m sure laughed at me. Being years apart never helped us growing up. Now that we are older I’m very thankful for my siblings. Getting along in our younger years was always a challenge and now I see that in my own two boys. Wyatt wants to be just like Easton and Easton gets super annoyed with everything Wyatt wants to do. They fight. They wrestle. One of them likes to bite. The other likes to pinch and hit. They’re boys. For a brief moment this week they got along so well. It lasted an entire evening. Aren’t they precious when that happens?

5. Haircuts – What I love second best about haircut week is how fresh and clean the boys look. Total studs. What I love MOST about haircuts is the chance to catch up with one of my dearest friends (and cousin).

Have a fantastic weekend,

Friday Five

  1. Date Night – We don’t get to go out on dates very often anymore. Two little kids, constantly being tired, pandemic, ya know – life. I’d like to be better about committing to date nights so I picked a date, got the sitter, and made it happen! Probably one of my top 3 favorite restaurants is FoxGardin. The food is phenomenal, it’s locally owned, and my childhood friend’s brother runs the kitchen and he is an amazing chef. I get the same thing every time because it’s just that good. Filet Mignon with a delicious topping (spicy creamy crab), mashed potatoes, asparagus, and a side sald. When I don’t get myself too full I’ll add on one of their delicious cookies too. It was nice to run some shopping errands and eat just the two of us. We were able to hold a conversation without being interrupted and I never knew until having kids how special that would be.

2. His plan, His timing – It’s a daily struggle for me to remember His plan and His timing and that I am NOT in control. It seems like I’m getting constant reminders. The positive is that I do feel like I’m getting better at being aware of the moments my brain wants to shut down and think negatively. I find myself getting so upset at the things beyond my control. This is definitely one of my biggest weaknesses.

3. Baby Zoom– Our family is so blessed to be adding another sweet baby boy to the cousin mix. Last time I counted that means 14 boys under the age of 11 in our extended family…..isn’t that crazy? 2 of those are arriving in the next month or so. In 11 years we have not had a baby girl. Insanity! Also, that means these boys are so lucky to have their own baseball team of buddies to grow up with. Unfortunately due to Covid we were unable to have a baby shower the way we had wished to celebrate one of the newest. This life is crazy right now but we made the best of it with a Zoom Baby shower. It was so fun to “see” everyone, the momma to be, play some games, and catch up. I miss everyone in my big family so much but I’m glad we can all stay connected in ways like this.

4. Music Box – This week we began the office remodel which meant taking the room that collects ALL the random crap and cleaning it out so we can paint. Upon gutting it Mike ran across this thing below. It’s made out of some sort of metal and it’s a sculpture of a man playing the piano. When you spin the back of it then it plays a song from “The Sting.” I’ve always remembered this sitting on top of our piano growing up and when I moved out I took it with me since I was the one who had played the piano and also took the piano with me. I never knew the story behind it. I found out from my dad that this was a gift he bought my mom in 1975 in Nashville, Indiana. In 1973 they saw the movie “The Sting” and he purchased this as a 1st Anniversary gift. Moral of the story – Take the time to ask your parents these things. There are so many things I never got the chance to talk to my mom about so anytime I can I force my dad to tell me stories.

5. Family Time – During the spring, summer, and fall it’s very rare for us to have family time every single weeknight. Actually, it’s impossible. Daddy’s job prevents him from being home that much in the evenings. We miss him and it makes things sometimes very difficult for me. The winter, though, is a totally different story. I love how much he’s been home. Sure, he drives me nuts. Don’t all husbands at some point? The gift of all this time together is so very nice. The boys love daddy being home and it makes life easier for this momma. I say that because he was home every single night this week, except for one. Next week’s a different story…..but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Friday Five

I won’t even address the fact that it’s been terribly long since I’ve posted. I want to make better habits with my blog as I see it as an online scrapbook and journal I can look back on forever. So here goes better habits – a weekly Friday Five. Five positive things I’m thankful for from this week.

  1. Routine – I’m thankful for a return to routine for all of us. I love our holiday breaks and summer off, but I can also notice myself spiraling out of control at the end of them each time. My brain and body crave routine. I’m sure if I was able to be a SAHM I’d function just fine, but I think something inside me knows it’s back to work and I get this awful anxiety. Last Sunday the blues were bad….like curl up in a fetal position bad. Monday everything was fine. As fine as Monday can be in a pandemic. I’m thankful for being back in our routine. My boys love where the spend their days and I love my job.
  2. Nintendo Switch Mario Party – This is a game E got for his birthday. We didn’t spend too much time on it over break, but this week he’s asked to play every night – and every night we have. What I love about this game is that all 4 of us can play, including Wyatt. Wyatt is 2 so there are very few games he can usually enjoy with the rest of us. This is one he likes and can play. Win win!
  3. A Cooking Husband – Mike loves to cook. In fact, he would probably tell you that I don’t ever LET him cook. He’s partly correct. I don’t generally let him cook because I’ll fully admit that I’m a control freak and I love to cook too. However, this week he offered to make dinner twice and I happily obliged. We got a Blackstone for Christmas and OMG is it amazing. One night he made fajitas and they were literally the best fajitas I’ve ever had in my life. The next night he made breakfast – bacon, hashbrowns, pancakes, toast, eggs – DELISH! Now he can cook anytime he wants, especially if it’s on the Blackstone!
  4. My People – This is kind of a lengthy list and I won’t name names but dang I’m glad for my people. The events of January 6th had me spiraling mentally out of control. I know who I can call and text and who will respond to talk me off the ledge. Obviously these are people who share similar ideas and philosophies as me or they probably wouldn’t be my people. Thoughts I had – What is happening in this world? Is this the end? Why are they behaving that way? Why isn’t he doing anything to stop it? Do we even live in a democracy anymore? Just a few of my random thoughts from the events of January 6, 2021. I was able to text and FaceTime my people to vent. My little people kept me occupied in the evening and the news was off so I couldn’t continue to spiral out of control. I’m so thankful for all of my people.
  5. A Wonderful Caregiver for My Boys – Everyday my boys wake up excited for the day to start. I wish I had half their morning energy, especially Easton. Wyatt’s a good sleeper and doesn’t always love my morning song and the lights on – but who can blame him? They’re so happy to go to Miss Jenny’s each day and they’re always excited to tell me about their day when I pick them up. I’ve shed some serious tears at the thought that it’s Easton’s last year with her. How could he possibly be going to Kindergarten already? I know she’s prepared him well, but I’d sure love it if she’d provide a K-12 curriculum in addition to all her baby loving.

There’s hope.

Let me preface this by saying I know you won’t all agree with me. I’m ok with that. I only mean this for what I’m about to say…..For once I’m thankful for Governor Holcomb’s decision and I’m given hope in a rather dismal time.

There, I said it. A Governor I spent a day marching in November that couldn’t even have the decency to show up and listen. Ya, he gave me hope today.

Today our Governor in Indiana made the decision to cancel school until May 1st and announced that when and if we do return there would be no state testing. I cried. I actually shed tears over words from a Governor I generally loathe.

For once I feel like I can breathe. There’s a plan in place. It’s a plan with an agenda that’s lengthy and includes weeks of possible Elearning, but it’s a plan. It’s not a plan that cancels everything we hoped and dreamed for the end of the school year. It’s not a rushed decision to forego all activities for the end of the year. It’s a plan that gives me hope. It’s a plan that gives me hope I’ll get to hug my kids once again or see them beyond my screen. This plan also assures that when or if we do return I won’t have to throw a test at them. I’ll be able to reconnect and finish the year continuing to prepare them for middle school life.

I’ve prayed so much these last few days and I prayed for peace and hope. I know He heard me before the Governor’s speech. He has a plan. My favorite Bible verse (Philippians 4:6) has been something I’ve been reading multiple times a day.

As our Indiana Superintendent of Education, Dr. McCormick said in her speech to students……”Be positive and make good choices.”

One last thing, if your child needs assistance with Elearning, please let me know. I’m licensed K-6 and I would be happy to help. We can FaceTime. We can Zoom or Google Meet. We can do whatever works. None of this will be easy but we must make the best of it. Just by doing that we teach our children so much. We teach them how to be good people and we need more good people. We can teach them that we are able to overcome difficult situations with the love and help of each other even when we can’t be physically connected.

We can do this.

We can do hard things.

You’re all in my prayers,

“Unprecedented Times”

I keep seeing this phrase over and over. It’s haunting at this point, it’s now a phrase I wish I’d never had to see in my lifetime. It’s redefined the meaning of unprecedented. In fact, I hate the word now. I despise everything about the situation we are in.

It’s been 8 months since I’ve blogged because………life.

Now, I have no excuse. Unlike so many who are risking their lives at hospitals and health care facilities I am “stuck” at home in quarantine. I have plenty of time to blog, read, and watch TV. It sounds glorious to most but I’m also full time mom mode and blessed with every second of the day with my two boys but they also require constant entertainment on my part. It can be a little exhausting. No, a lot. I think yesterday was our last escape. I dropped the boys to my sisters house while I ran to school one last time. Now our county is under an orange travel advisory meaning we should only leave for work or something essential.

Speaking of essential, how do I begin to explain what is essential to a 4 year old who just wants to go to the library and the museum or see his cousins? I’m struggling with this. Any advice is appreciated.

To be honest, I’m struggling across the board. Just a month ago I decided to stop taking my anxiety/depression meds and boy if I had known what was going to happen I would NOT have made that choice. I don’t even know if Lexapro could have helped me through this, but I’m guessing I’d feel a little better mentally than I currently do. Last week when things began spiraling out of MY control I added this photo to my phone background.

Generally on medicine I’m not a crier. During these “unprecedented times” I’ve found myself crying at least once a day. The unknown is horrible. We have no idea how long this will last. We have no idea when normalcy will return. We have no idea…..

Here’s what I do know and I only know this because my incredible friend, Ashley, reminded me last night.

We can do this. We can do hard things. We’ve survived much worse than this. We’ve been through challenges, hardships, and tragedy far greater than this. We will survive.

Stay safe and healthy friends because we are all truly fortunate,


Vacation Exhaustion

Don’t get me wrong, the memories we made will last forever. Even the ones of Easton’s new vocabulary and Wyatt’s obsession with screaming at everything.

But…..I need a vacation after our vacation. More like a momcation.

Vacationing with little ones is a true test of your patience and sanity. In an unfamiliar home with strange beds and no schedule. A place that’s not entirely child safe with two heathens who get into everything they’re not supposed to. A raging 3 year old whose only hopes and dreams when his angelic feet hit the floor is to push everyone’s buttons he crosses paths with. A 1 year old whose quickly learning to be sassy and cries if I’m not holding him.

I’m wiped.

I need my own bed.

I need my kids to sleep 10 hours straight in their own bed tonight and take good naps.

I need the laundry fairy to show up when we get home and get it all clean and put it all away.

But then I feel guilt. Mom guilt for being exhausted and not remembering we made some incredible memories.

We made memories and we were together for a whole week for 24/7. And everyone lived to tell about it. Even Easton.

The boys are true beach lovers like their momma. Daddy knows it’s now 3 vs 1.

We were with our people. As we drive home the oldest is already bummed and teary eyed he won’t be with Bryce building sand castles or ShaiShai dancing to music.

We love you St. Joe.

We can’t wait to be back next year.

And now I’ll sleep for the rest of this drive because I’m betting no one will be ready for naps like I am when we get home….

My Mom

I often find myself reading posts from Grief to Hope with Nikki Pennington on Facebook with tears in my eyes at the connections I make.  She takes my thoughts and beautifully puts them into words every time.

A post she made yesterday had me hoping and wishing that today I’d be given opportunities to talk about my mom.

But being a mom came first today.  A little one who is sick and his big brother who needed constant attention.  A gross day outside with flowers to planet.  Laundry to fold.  Bills to pay.  Life happened.

No one ever asked me about her and I decided that I owed myself this moment to write about all the things I had hoped someone had asked me about my mom.  Her name, what she was like, and all those intimate details that I think about every single day when I miss her.

Her name was Debra, but she went by Debbie.  She was an incredible wife and mom.  She had the greatest smile and an infectious laugh.  She loved the same white Reeboks and bought the exact same shoes every year.  She loved to shop on Saturday’s and had a strong affinity for B.Moss and Kohl’s.  She enjoyed eating Mikesell’s potato chips and Sandies pecan shortbread cookies.  She took care of every single one of her nieces and nephews like they were her very own and when life was particularly tough for our extended family she stepped in exactly where she was needed.  She was a 4-H club leader and a member of Mohawk United Methodist Church.  She played the organ at church and had played there since she was 17 years old.  She made Pillsbury cinnamon rolls or cherry turnovers every Sunday morning and while they baked she would practice that day’s hymns on the organ while everyone got ready.

So many people say that I look like her.  They say our smile and our facial features are so much alike.  I see it when I look back at pictures.



They day she left for Heaven was definitely the worst day of my life.  A difficult decision had been laid upon us after we watched her fight for her life for 18 days.  A very sudden death.  A tragic death.  A death that shook the whole community, really.  A death that never destroyed our family because we’re entirely too strong to be destroyed, but it did change us forever.  A death that may have been prevented if the hospital would have done their job right the first time.  A death that makes me wonder day in and day out so many “what ifs” to mistakes that people had made.  A death that makes me angry for having to live through so many special moments and so many major adult choices without the rock of our family and the glue that held us all together.  I’ve never doubted I’ll see her again, but I certainly wonder what that joyous day will be like.  I have so many questions to ask her about that day she left for Heaven.  Every day since she’s left has been slightly sad, because without her life just really isn’t the same.

I miss her every day. I miss her so much that I experience physical pain and depression at times.  I have two blue eyed babies and one handsome man who make getting out of bed worth the struggle.  But I miss her.

I have days and weeks where my husband is working long nights or out of town and I think – if mom were here none of this would be difficult.  Heck, she’d probably just stay the night with me when he was gone if I really needed her to.  That’s the kind of mom she was.

My mom lived her life always giving to others.  She lived to serve the Lord and she always wanted to help others.

I deal with my sadness and grief by trying to keep her memory alive.  I’m active in the church she raised me in.  I volunteer time in our county 4-H program that she was a part of.  I cook the recipes she brought to our table growing up.  I visit her grave and eat a cupcake on her birthday.  I tell my boys stories about the amazing Mamaw Debbie they never knew.  I love her grandkids (my nieces and nephews) in ways I know she would.  I spend time with her sisters who remind me of her in so many ways.  I spend time with her friends who take care of me like I’m one of theirs.

My boys don’t know their Mamaw and as the years pass by I feel like my mom is slipping away too.  The memories start to fade because the business of life takes over.  

My mom lives in me each and every day and Mother’s Day is one of the many holidays that is difficult to get through without shedding a few tears.  It’s a struggle to get through this day knowing I can’t celebrate with her in person. 

I’m blessed to spend this day as a momma myself.  The reason I get up every single morning.

I woke up to the most precious cards and the sweetest hugs and smiles a mom could ever ask for.


I’m blessed that I have memories of my mom.




I am fortunate to have been raised by the greatest mom there was.  The day may cause an ache in my heart but nothing can separate us.


I miss you Fall Break.

Fall Break was one week ago.

We survived the first week back.

But oh how I miss it…..the relaxed days of nothing.

We snuggled.

We spent a lot of time on our couch.

I took a break for myself and went to paint some pottery with friends.

We went to a church bonfire and made hot dogs and smores over the fire.

We enjoyed a hayride with friends.

We took a trip to the zoo with friends and Aunt Cathy.  The animals were active and fun because the weather was gorgeous and sunny!

We snuggled some more.

Easton wore his “Fuzzy Wightweer” costume a LOT!

Even to the field to take Papaw, Jeff, and Bruce some dinner and for a ride.

We ate breakfast out and enjoyed a HUGE fuffin.

We painted pottery with friends.

Wyatt Lee turned 5 months old.

He finally got his wish of baby food and LOVED it.

We snuggled some more.  We held hands.

We even took a dip in the pool because it was over 80 degrees on FALL BREAK.  What?!?!

We took a trip to the Children’s Museum with our friends Katie, Rory, and Didi.

We even snuggled a bit with daddy.

We checked out a VERY awesome park in Carmel that we will definitely go back to.

with our favorite people…..

We smashed some paint balls with Kiki.

We took a trip to Tuttle’s Orchard…..#3 Pumpkin Patch in the UNITED STATES!

We had a major Pinterest fail  with Wyatt.

I took Wyatt on a date to our friend Teri’s wedding.

Mamaw had a Fall Party and bonfire.

We relaxed a lot.

We loved a lot.

I miss those days of no schedule and being at home.  It’s always hard to get back in a routine but it’s also great to be back in.  We love our Miss Jenny and I love my students.  Of course if I could win the lottery and feel financially unstressed I’d choose to stay at home.  Sadly, that doesn’t work for us.  BUT, we make the best of what we’ve got and teaching my cherubs gives me the best possible schedule to be with my own babes every night, every weekend, two week break, and all summer long.

We are blessed.