an as brief as i can make it recap of the past 9 months:
4th of july we had a blast watching the fireworks in the parking lot of the future one life west.
& of course at the scavenger hunt, the reigning champs remained undefeated!!
in our free time, we spent helping update an old brewery into our soon to be new church
then it was birthday time for deedee (the 9th), momma (11th) & gracie gal (lucky 13). as a kiddo, i couldn't wait for the 4th of july picnic at our church, deedee's birthday & of course my own, so much fun in one week! for deedee, we made her a seashell cross similar to one she had talked about since our panama city vacation for her & uncle paul's 50th anniversary.
gracie became his youngest groupie.
gracie had what i thought were some chigger bites...turns out by her birthday she was covered in some type of poison. but she was a trooper.
ben continued to become the monopoly master..
& gracie's love of frogs grew over the summer. every frog she would find we would create a habitat for at least a day.
as did her love for kittrens. thank goodness we are allergic. this is the one she "had" to have at the humane society! i think it had mange.
we went to an outdoor music festival that was loads of fun. looking forward to jamming this summer!
& woah.. we had a date night...the first one in years. mucho needed!
one life west was launched!! the prayers, work, sweat, blood & love that went into making the brewery a place for worship to help those far from our lord experience his love is just unfathomable. prior to the carpeting being placed, a service was held for those volunteering & we were able to write down names of those we were praying for to be touched by God and spend time in worship together. to this day, i'm still praying for those folks i had written down. the excitement when west launched was phenomenal! we were filled to capacity. down in the Kids! area, we were rockin!
there have been many things along this journey i have learned since we started calling discovery church at the movies our home. how our family's faith has grown, the faith my children have & the desire to want to learn more and loving it at the same time is just awesome. giving it all to God has been something i still am working on. my kiddos help me with that more times than they know. thank you, benj & grace. on sundays, i get to be a small group leader for some super cool kindergarteners.
& i can say, even on those sundays when i really wish i could stay in bed, i am so thankful i got to be a little part in the big picture there. i learn, laugh & even cry sometimes (i'm a crier).
big b started first grade. thankfully, some of his best buddies were in his class because it was a really rocky start this year. but, it has gotten much better.
gracie gal started pre-k, loving it & making her list of boys to date in the future..
soccer was going on for both kiddos & of course b was loving it & gracie was loving playing with morgie.
what a month! ben had an ent appointment to discuss his frequent bloody noses. the specialist looked at his tonsils (they were a high 3 - 4 is touching) & his history of frequent strep & recommended we get them out. well, that was a tuesday & on friday he had them removed (thinking that being labor day weekend he would miss less school). i think this momma about lost it those 2 weeks. benj wouldn't take meds, drink, anything. i finally took him to the er where he was pumped full of fluids & then continued for the next week to give him 5mL of gatorade every 5 minutes in his sleep. i was a bit cra-cra. thankfully, deedee & paul and melissa came in to help save the day with taking care of gracie. gracie also helped to provide entertainment through it all.
so that was a bit of a bummer for him.
but, he did still get a medal :)
i don't remember much...but we finally had some family pictures taken!
basketball starting up was the big thing for benj.
halloween. we did our usual- a bit around our neighborhood & then to lori & randy's. gracie was a pumpkin (a quick change after she was set on just being herself) & benj was a super hero.
ben had finished up reading a book on abe lincoln & deedee was telling us the family lineage to him. little did i know that would be the last time i would see her.
the month our world changed. in our kitchen, the kiddos & i made a sign with the mother teresa quote: people are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. forgive them anyway.
if you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. be kind anyway.
if you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. succeed anyway.
if you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. be honest and sincere anyway.
what you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. create anyway.
if you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. be happy anyway.
the good you do today, will often be forgotten. do good anyway.
give the best you have, and it will never be enough. give your best anyway.
in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
these words always reminded me of deedee & paul. dee did for others, that's just what she did & somehow she was there for everyone. i would call her after a night of no sleep with a migraine & they might be in bowling green with janet, but magically take care of me too. when ben was first born, i was running on no sleep & they would just show up & make me take a nap in the basement. i love my mom so & she knows this, but there is a place in my heart & in my mom's that dee had that nobody can replace. the life-lessons she taught us all & continued to were invaluable. just like she was when i was a kiddo, she was my kiddos' babysitter. there was nobody they'd rather be around than dee. it was like having mary poppins be your teacher. lots of love, fun & learning. all from her heart.
on novemeber 4th, daddio was working (very busy at work) & the kiddos and i went to church. after church, we headed to a ms walk to walk with friends. that day, i forgot my cell phone at phone & my biggest concern was finding our friends at this walk. after the walk was over, we headed home & the answering machine was lit up, my cell had missed calls & justin walked in the door. well, back in stendal, the church i grew up in was celebrating 150 or so years. dee went to deliver some leftover food to a couple in town that wasn't feeling well & had a heart attack on that short drive a few blocks from church. i remember asking justin "dee who?"; as i knew it couldn't be our deedee. but it was. and my heart has never hurt so bad. that night, many nights after, and sometimes still gracie would pray for God to please take her to heaven so she could be up in heaven with dee. my course in death & dying was great in college (just what an engineering major needs, right?), but it still prepare me for all the heartache & emotions & anger & hurt & depression & those feelings you never want to have. i was angry at many that i felt didn't seem to care about her death or how it was affecting us, angry at God for taking her from us when we all needed her so, sad that my kiddos wouldn't have more fun times with her & scared. she was that daily phone call, there for advice, there for love, there for anything. there will never be another dee ann. she is who i want to be when i grow up. i am so thankful for the relationship we were blessed with & for paul, lori, janet, the gurls, darby, randy and brad. though i am an only child, i have never felt that way having lori & janet as my big sisters. dealing with death in your mid 30's is hard, watching my children lose a loved one has been heartbreaking but also so amazing. during the funeral, gracie and darby just held each other, providing comfort like sisters. gracie still made deedee a christmas present & plans to place it by her tombstone. benj has a puffle with her name (along with all of our other family members). we talk about what deedee and mamaw barb might be doing up in heaven a lot. we all really struggled with dee's passing & for gracie, it was devastating. towards night or certain times of the day, she would get upset & i couldn't talk to her. our preacher, trey, talked to her one sunday & it just made a world of difference. he told her that God called dee home because she had done all she was to do here on earth & now she was in heaven - but God had plans for miss gracie that only she could do-not me, not her brother or daddy or anyone else & she was here to do those things. his words helped more than he knew. thank you so much, trey.
the rest of november seemed like a blur. i am no longer a full time stay at home mom, but work part time job at gracie's preschool, which has been a very rewarding experience.
big ben turned 7. we had a party at the 2 bit bandit on his birthday, on his last basketball game.
pokemon cake & all!
he & his buddies had a pretty good time. i can't believe he is already 7. the cuddles & hugs i hold on to more and more as he grows.
in my little world, i felt like i was just watching the days go by, just doing what needed to be done, wondering how christmas would be this year without dee,
i still felt lost...
gracie was an angel in the preschool program. cute as can be.
for christmas, we stayed home, as daddio had to work. we did other things at the cook christmas to celebrate. but i sure did miss balderdash & dee's notorious "on an island" definition.
we didn't stay up to see the ball drop, but we drank root beer from fancy glasses!
i must say here, to my family (especially my kiddos), i've wanted to write this blog for you, as your baby books are a bit of a failure..my plan was to document all the good, bad, crazy, funny times we would have. this just lost priority when things were busy & then i couldn't even write down my emotions, so i'm sorry for the lapse in time. every day will get better, we have that choice whether to be happy or sad..momma just has to get this sadness out of her. i hope through all of this, we've still been making it fun & you know you are loved to pieces by not just me & daddio. you are both so special & i thank God for each of you so many times each day. i could write a book on how special each one of you are..& the gifts you each have. i can't wait to see what you do in this world!
big ben brought home a belly bug that we all got. but, there was lots of cuddling & lysol around the house. & lots of silliness. one day in bed, the cartoon had a tutor on it. gracie said, "that's what ben is!!" i said, yeah, he does help teach you things. her response was no... he's a tooter!! oh the things they say. that will be my next post (¬ so long) gracie discovered her love for toast at paul's house one saturday. that is her favorite food now. & daddio turned the big 35!! happy birthday, babe!
here we are...the weather has been crazy!! soccer has started for miss g & mister b has started baseball. this past weekend, we participated in project engage .a day of service to help create & build relationships between one lIfers, life groups & the community. we served at a school, working on the playground, landscaping, raking leaves, painting& fun stuff like that. i am still sore (today during worship at Kids! when we got down, i could hardly get back up!), but what a great thing to be sore from!