My Noticer

My Noticer
There's always time to stop & smell the roses!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The End of an Era

What a graduate of Kindergarten looks like...yeah...a freaking boss!

The last year has been filled to the brim with milestones. I feel like our little family is constantly in a state of flux. Sometimes I feel like I'm handling it all like a boss and other times I feel like a complete and total failure. And I swear, as soon as I get something figured out a new mystery is just waiting to be solved.

Just a few of this year's highlights...

I nursed my last baby for the last time when he was right around 18 months. It was so freeing yet I felt weighed down with a bit of regret and sadness too. It's ridiculous, but I still have all of my nursing/pumping gear in a box AND even some frozen milk in my deep freeze...
I know, its time to let go. There is something about the finality of knowing I will not have any more babies that stings more than I care to admit.

My 6 year old started Kindergarten last fall so that was so exciting and actually not as sad as I imagined. Just give me time, I'm sure when it's Logan's turn I'll be a hot mess.
He already tells me everyday when we take Landon to school that he wants to ride the bus and that he wants to go to school too...SLOW DOWN!
It's gotten to the point where lately he wants to wear a little backpack when we walk out the door in the morning. He kills me!

My sweet little 6 year old FINALLY lost his first tooth just a few weeks ago...that thing held on forever. It was loose for like three months but my ever cautious little Landy wasn't ready to wiggle it loose. He was more like "just leave it alone and it will come out when its ready".
And actually, I totally get that. Why rush this whole growing up thing...
I mean, if I could I'd glue that tooth back in place HAHA.
Maybe I'd put you back in my womb...totally kidding!

Logan gave up  was stripped of his binky AKA the pacifier a few months ago and that was interesting... I find myself holding on to some of the hallmark baby items because I'm having a hard time admitting: One; he isn't a baby anymore, but two; I'm not having any more babies...
So, as weird as it sounds I have been SO LAZY when it comes to potty training. Like, I know life will be so much easier BUT once you take the diapers away what's left of the evidence that he is still in fact a baby; my baby?

Logan now calls the bottom bunk in his older brother's room his bed so I guess the crib is the next thing to go...so that means I have to say goodbye to the crib bedding set I picked out for Landon 6+ years ago...AND I guess the toddler bed in the attic with all of the Dusty Crophopper bedding has to go too...
It's like I'm saying goodbye to two babies in a way because all of that was Landon's and I got to prolong saying goodbye to the baby stage since I knew I was having another baby at some point.
But now...it's just right there in my face; the decision my husband and I made together to be done having babies.
And I don't regret it but it's real now...SO REAL.

Landon graduated to coach pitch T-ball this year and I have already seen so many glimpses into his athletic future and the things that are to come. The boyish banter in the dugout, the passing around of sunflower seeds and Big League Chew, needing me less and less to remind him to switch out his hat and glove for his batting gloves and helmet... And then there is Logan just waiting for his turn in the big leagues! My mama heart can't handle it! What's worse... Landon is already talking football this fall and his dad couldn't be happier! NOOO! Please, for the love of concussions play soccer!

Logi just being a baseball player

Too cool for school


We took our first FAMILY camping trip together. It was...interesting fun. Actually, it was fun we just didn't have the best weather. I was on the fence about camping with a two year old but oh my...
He LOVED it. People can argue all they want about gender roles in society but there is just something about a little boy left to nature. I mean they can't help but get into sticks and mud and dirt..watching Logan become "one of the guys" has been really cool but also again...taking me out of my comfort zone a bit. Okay, maybe a lot.
I think he is more ready than I am and it's hard. And Logan is such a different kid than Landon and we are such different parents with him then we were with Landon...at least I am.
Logan wants to do everything and be everything that Landon is. While it is so sweet and endearing it is also un-charted territory for me. I don't want to stifle Logan's spirit and tenacity but
Holy heart attack...sometimes he says and does things that I just.can't.handle.

I got to chaperone my first field trip with Landon and we went to the zoo. I was assigned a few other boys in my group too and it was SUCH a treat to be able to be a part of Landon's world.
I got to see how he is in a school setting with HIS buddies. It's like I got to see a whole new side to this tiny little human that I think I know so well. And I do know him well, but I don't know everything and that's okay, I am loving getting to see his world; the world outside of me and our home. His world is full of giggling and mischievous smiles, and lots and lots of running and jumping and competing.
By the end of our field trip everyone had dirt under their fingernails, ( I couldn't help but notice when we were playing a riveting game of rock, paper, scissors on the bus ride home) smelled like sweaty sunscreen, and one poor little boy had a bloody forehead because instead of listening to me he just HAD to toss rocks into the Koi fish pond and consequently ran into tree branches that were head level. I like to call that natural consequences! Anyway, we all had a great time and I think I had the best time of all.

There are no words...






































Today was Landon's kindergarten graduation/celebration...I have had all the milestones my heart can handle this year and it's only June..
For those of you who don't know; Landon HATES dressing up in the traditional sense..
Like jeans are an issue for him...
So, when the flyer came home that said "dress to impress" I planned on a polo shirt with shorts that don't have stains and his atrocious chuck taylor's because ALL of his shoes look atrocious.
This kid is just ROUGH on his clothing/shoes. Like to an abnormal level...
Anyway, he tells me at like 7p last night when we leave the gym because I needed to get my cycle on that he wants to REALLY dress up..."Like a president". He proceeds to describe how he wants a shirt with a tie but not a bow tie... and not nice jeans but "NICE" pants...
So, I do what any classy parent does... I say okay, then we have to eat at Mcdonalds and then run to Wal-Mart because there is no way I'm going to the mall AFTER a cycling class with two hungry kids... I'll just say this...
Wal-Mart was everything you can imagine when trying to buy clothes that fit a "presidential look".
We all survived (barely) and I have to say, I think Landy looked pretty darn good!

Landy requested Krispy Kremes for his "special snack" Bros  & Donuts

Logi always steals the show...for now its cute...

After Logan sucker punched Landon in the face...





















































































I think I finally figured out why this growing up stuff is so hard...it's that saying all moms know;
"The days are long but the years are short"
Yeah, about that...that saying, that sentiment is maddening because its TRUE.
Can't we just fast forward the parts that make the days long but slow down the parts that make the years fly by too fast?? Ugh, I just want it all the way I want it.
But, thats never going to happen OR people would NEVER stop having children..
So, I want to try so, so hard to embrace the long days and the difficult moments because those are where the years are made.
The other day I took my boys on a walk after dinner, mostly just to pass time before bedtime if I'm being honest. Anyway, I saw this older woman sitting on her front porch reading a book and I was IMMEDIATELY envious...Oh, I would have killed to be alone, surrounded by silence reading a book with no interruptions. And then I wondered to myself if she would give anything to be on a walk with her littles talking about magical and impossible things.  It's that perspective that I want to keep on my hardest and longest days because I already know it's going by too fast. I literally pray for patience with my children almost daily because it takes ALL of me sometimes to get through the days, but when I lump the days into months and then years I feel that sting of time gone by too fast.
These boys kill me in ways I didn't know possible..The highs and lows, the ups the down's there is no escaping the polarities that are parenthood. It AIN'T for the faint of heart that's for sure!

Summer is right around the corner and I have so may fun things on our "Summer Bucket List".
There is something about intentionally creating anticipation for things to come that I just LOVE.
I'm getting the boys on board too so maybe soon I'll be posting a blog post with a photo/list of our ideas. I am hoping that this momentum carries into Summer to help me embrace the days that are sure to be long but also to be aware of all the seconds, minutes, hours, days, and months that add up to all those years that I know are sure to fly by!

"BeeBee Logan...he asks me to wrap him up like a baby.. I oblige...VERY willingly"

"Close eyes Logi"

His original idea of dressing up for a DATE with me... I Can't... Dinosaur Landy

Just a couple of nuts!

Teaching Logi the art of window stickies...he was SO proud

He was so proud of himself!


Happy Summering!



Sunday, April 15, 2018

The best of the best

I've been wanting to write about friendship for a long time. I like to write about things that make me happy. Over the years I have been so blessed to have some really important girlfriends in my life. I cherish each one and each friendship is so unique and special. I can't imagine going through this life without my girls. Women friendships are fierce and deep and I need them. It probably saves Austin from losing his sanity too!

Tonight Kim, I want to write to you. Over the years your friendship has meant more to me than you could ever imagine. Our friendship is one of my life's highlights! In the past I have sometimes felt like I had to defend our friendship to other people in my life. Like it wasn't okay to say that you are my person because somehow that meant there wasn't room for other friendships and relationships in my life. And I get it.. Saying "best" friend creates this notion of some sort of scale and I can see how it invites a spirit of comparison, jealousy,  and competition. I recently read a post about female friendships and the author said it perfectly!

"best" isn't about exclusivity but rather years of stories, love, and support that have granted us the highest honor of friendship...the best of the best.

I just love that.

My favorite picture of us



















I finally decided to sit down to try to put into words the impact our 10 year friendship has had on me for a couple of reasons.

1. Like I said, it makes me happy. Happy the way that the color yellow makes my soul happy. The kind of happy I feel when I see sunflowers on a warm sunny day. The kind of happy I feel when I smell the sea mixed with coconut sunscreen. Side-note: I can't smell coconut and not think of you!
I guess forging our friendship in sunshiny, beachey Florida did that to me. So many of our friendship memories were made with our toes in the warm sand. In fact sometimes the sand wasn't so warm as we danced the night away at Captain Hirams barefoot with the moon shining.
Our friendship makes me happy the way only a giant ice-cream cone on a hot day can. And you are the only person I know who can eat a cone faster than me...and you know that was hard to admit because I'm competitive like that! Our friendship makes me happy like a fat cat sitting in the warm sunlight that spills in through the windows. Seriously..cats are so smart.
But our friendship is like that..its warm, kind of like that feeling you have about home.
Home is safe and comforting and it just feels good, our friendship is like that to me, home.

2. Honestly, I hate to admit the second reason, but its true so here it is. Cancer.
What is it that makes that word ugly...Can a word BE ugly?

If it weren't for cancer all of the thoughts I have about our friendship would just be floating around in my head. It would all still be there and it would all be true, I would just take me sweet time getting around to writing it all down. And if I hadn't been faced with the thought of losing you before we are old and wrinkly I might not have pondered so deeply the effect of our friendship on my life.
In the last year I sat down several times and thought about us and the evolution of our friendship.
I have listed out my favorite things about you, my first impression of you, funny moments, etc.
I think intentionally thinking on those things added more value and weight to the little things we all take for granted in life everyday. I have never faced the reality of my own mortality so I can only imagine what that is like for you. I think that must change a person in profound ways.
Cancer is scary and you can't help but think of death at least a little. Ironically, thinking about death sheds so much light on life. I know they say the light shines brightest when darkness is present so in that way I'll pay my healthy respects to cancer. But thats it, just a polite nod of acknowledgement.

Kim, I know you have scans coming up and I know you get anxious and nervous. It makes me so mad! If cancer were a tangible bully I would come down there and beat her up. I would take a whole bunch of boxing lessons and just pummel her. Like with brass knuckles. And if I could I would drop kick her like a soccer ball straight to hell. Vivid I know, there are more details about what I would do to cancer in human form. I'll share with you over a glass of wine sometime!
Since I cant actually beat up all forms of cancer or anxiety for that matter Im hoping this post brightens up your day and chases any shadows away!

So, with out further ado in random chaos just my thoughts on you and us.

I'm so glad I met you when I did, both in our twenties and pretty free. We both had our husbands to be, but I feel like they were both always so supportive of our friendship and never tried to hinder us from having fun. We are so lucky that way, we've kind of gotten to grow up together.
Even though we haven't necessarily been close geographically our lives have really paralleled each other and so even though we have distance between us we have these shared major life experiences that lessened the impact of that distance. I LOVE how anytime I talk to you or when Im lucky enough to see you we really can pick up where we left off. I think that speaks volumes about our friendship. There is such a security and feeling of peace in knowing that our friendship is unconditional and can stand the test of time and distance.

You know EVERYTHING about me and I think the ability to be vulnerable with you has maybe become the thing at this stage in our lives that I appreciate the most. Its hard to show someone the truth when it isn't pretty. Thank you for loving and accepting my broken parts too.

We have so much shared history and most of it has been good and I'm so grateful for that.
I'm even more grateful for the times when it was hard and we shared in each others pain.
I think sometimes experiencing pain together allows us to go deeper and that's when unbreakable bonds are formed. You were the first one I told when I lost our second baby. I knew you had been there and would understand what I was feeling. And because you have the gift of encouragement I knew you would know what I needed to hear, you always say the right thing! You've encouraged and supported me through so many other dark times and I know that you're in it for the long haul.
You are one of my lifelines.

I think in the beginning I definitely pursued you in our friendship. Sometimes I felt like a creepy stalker "please be my friend" LOL There was just something about you that I liked.
Earlier I mentioned my first impression of you...
So, I distinctly remember getting off work one night and grabbing a drink with you.
In my mind you were like a quiet, reserved, and responsible librarian. Over what probably turned out to be several drinks we discussed some interesting things and I remember thinking...
OMG she's like the quintessential sexy librarian you never saw coming!
I love it when people surprise me! You were interesting and intriguing and I just knew I needed to know you..to REALLY know you.
We don't REALLY get to know too many people so thank you for being vulnerable with me too! There is so much freedom in vulnerability.

So, the other day I had to text you to ask you about the car you had when I first met you. I told you it was/is one of my favorite things about you! So, here you were this gorgeous young twenty something girl living in Florida and you drove a Buick Century...I just call it a granny car HAHA
You just laugh and say they are comfortable cars. That is why I LOVE you.
You are the most down to earth person I know. It is so freaking refreshing! You just are who you are and you're comfortable with who you are. That is such a rare quality today. I feel like so many people are pretending to be what they THINK others want. I think your genuineness is beautiful and brave. You don't put on airs. Thank you for being real! Here I am making fun of your car and I'm still driving my busted up Corolla from ten years ago. But hey, its a comfortable car (and its paid for).

I love that over the years we've made our friendship a priority. We may only see each other twice a year but we know how to cram hundreds of hours of conversation into a long weekend.
We have some pretty great adventures too ;) I promise next time you come here if we go to Philly we won't stumble upon any homeless camps and hopefully we won't run into any insane/drunk creepy men picking up random boulders and smashing them onto the sidewalk in front of us...
Also, Im so grateful for your fight/flight response and your inclination to run AWAY from the man that night! I don't know what I was thinking!

So, once you hired me at Bath and Body Works and I experienced your awesome management style its no wonder I wanted to work with you again! That got me thinking quite a bit of our work history overlaps. I can say this about you, your work ethic is amazing and you are so smart and capable.
You know how much I love and admire women taking work by the proverbial balls and crushing it!
I know jobs you've had in the past weren't necessarily fulfilling to you but I admired your dedication and got to see you in a different light. Its kind of like seeing the inside of the cockpit on the airplanes Austin flies and realizing how freaking smart he has to be to do that job. I thought that about you too when you were working for Coach. To me it seemed glamorous and I was always proud of you.
Even at the Legler's I knew how much pressure there was and I always thought you were such a boss! I guess I look up to you!

I love to think about where we've been, where we're at, and where we'll go in our friendship. The possibilities are endless. I imagine one day we can do a girls trip to Europe or something. Thats another thing I love about you. You're always up for an adventure. It would be so fun to discover a new city together! Ohh, you could show me around Ireland! Can you just imagine the conversations we'll be having in twenty years! UGH, how are we going to survive our kids in high school and college. I have a feeling our conversations are going to stay really interesting over the years.

So, I love to remember how much fun I had when we would get ready to go out together. Trying on each others clothes and shoes trying to find the perfect outfit! Also, I LOVE that we can both do our hair and makeup in like 10 minutes and be ready to go! I actually take pride in that. Its a bragging right of our friendship. Some of those nights out before we had kids are my favorite. Just the freedom to go out unencumbered and recover on the beach with gatorade and subs the next day.
Those were some good days!

Another thing I absolutely LOVE about you is your lack of obsession with your phone and social media. We have talked about this so many times but you need to know how much this matters to me. I love that when we are hanging out or talking we are present. Fully present and engaged.
I feel like what I say and think matters to you and we all want to matter to the people we love so thank you for that! On this note you and I always joke that we never take pictures together and Im glad we've gotten a little better but its also sort of been a hallmark of our friendship.
I love that when we are doing things together we aren't so distracted and caught up with capturing a moment that we miss out on the experience. I remember going to an amazing concert and I looked around and saw hundreds of people videoing the entire concert on their phones...
I thought why are they experiencing this big moment on their 5 inch screen when the musicians were 5 feet away! They were missing everything. I guess all of facebook could see their super cool status update but at what cost. Anyway,  didn't mean to get off on a tangent about society's obsession with social media. I like to think that when we are together we're just having too much fun to think about snapping a picture. All that being said we still need to do a little better. Lets promise to at least take one picture a day when we hang out so that when we are old we can say remember when...

You know I love Winnie the Pooh quotes and this one defines us...
We didn't realize we were making memories we just knew we were having fun.

The fact that Austin really genuinely likes you makes me so happy. I love that when we hang out you like being around him too even though he teases you about your thumbs LOL
Sometimes though Im like "okay Austin...she's my friend I know she's awesome, leave us alone".
So, thanks for loving Austin too. Oh, and for laughing at his corny jokes, isn't he just the best!

I love our traditions. Like, I always know you are down for some Mexican food, that's just a given.
I already know that when you get me from the airport your trunk will be full of wine!
I already know we NEED to see a scary movie together and you better have a zip up sweater with you! (I love that we have our own little inside jokes)
I know we are about to smash some ice-cream when I see you!
My favorite tradition though...I already know that no matter what we do I am going to have the best time!

I love your laugh too. I have a thing for laughs. Like when someone has a good one I notice. I'm like a tooth fairy but I don't want to snatch up your baby teeth I want to bottle up laughter so I can listen to it whenever I want. To date Landon has the best laugh but yours is way up there.
Coincidentally a great laugh is the one thing all of my favorite people have in common!

I like that I miss you the most in the small moments. Yeah, I am so excited to see you and I have so many great memories but its seriously the little things that get me. Like sometimes I wonder what you're having for dinner and I wish I could just say; "Kim, you guys should just come over for tacos tonight". In my wildest dreams we are neighbors and we just walk over to each other's houses whenever just to say hi, and our kids are best friends and they just take turns going to our houses but no matter what they are always home.
When you were sick it was really hard because I wanted to be there for you and I couldn't be.
Like, I wanted to come over and cook for you, and clean your house.
Or, while you were feeling broken and angry I wanted to show you how satisfying breaking glass bottles can be when you are mad at God and the world. Obviously, I would have cleaned up all the broken glass. Hopefully I'm not that only person who has done this otherwise I sound insane..
Although if we were neighbors one of us would have to suck it up and get a minivan so we could car pool when we took the kids on adventures and excursions together. Those are just my silly dreams..

Now that I've made myself sad I need some redemption. So I'll say this..

Our friendship is like a favorite pair of sweat pants. Of course getting dressed up for an hour or two is super fun and you can handle six inch heels for awhile, and yeah the fake eyelashes make your eyes sparkle, and that spanx makes it look like you've never had a baby...but we all know those comfy sweat pants are where its at. That moment you get home and you kick off those heels before you make it to your bedroom and oh my...when you take off that spanx and you remember what its like to breathe.... oh yeah. You put on those familiar sweat pants and you relax and its glorious.
And you get to just be you...

Thank you for letting me just be me and for that always being more than enough!

Here are some pictures of us through the years! Yeah, I guess we need to get better about this. I need more pictures of us in my life!

OMG...Circa 2008 where it all began BBW

Blurry but I still love it

Capt. Hirams

OMG remember Ryan was upset about something and just went and sat in the middle of a field all alone LOL

You and Ryan..remember at your baby shower I was jealous I wasn't keeping track of the gift list!

Scary Movie

Look at our boys!

I so need a pedicure

Morgan....so gorgeous thanks for letting me crash when you're in NY



Me and Logi

Baby Morgan's Tea!

Wow, Savannah...weren't you pregnant? I feel like this is when you got sick on the ghost bus tour..

Alabama

Austy and baby Morgan in NY

Philly when we almost died LOL

Just so you know...I'd do it again a hundred times!

Oh my gosh, I just love this picture of you and seriously that night we had the BEST fried pickles!









Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Raindrops on Roses

Raindrops on roses
and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles 
and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things...

This is your new favorite song. I think its because its longer than "Twinkle Twinkle" and
"Jesus Loves Me"... It was your brother's favorite song too for awhile. I caught on pretty quickly with him and stopped singing the chorus between every verse because bedtime was taking WAY too long. I think that was precisely why he asked for it all the time :) Now I sing the three verses and at the end you get the chorus and thats shortened it quite a bit. Anyway, you ask me to rock you and sing this to you every night. Then, when I lay you in your crib you pull at my mama heart strings and ask for "Jesus"....as if I could say no to Jesus...and I think you know this you sly guy! And, then because I've already given in once you push harder and ask for "Twinkle Twinkle". You're my second baby so you'd think by now childish ploys wouldn't work on me. But you my little nut are a tough one to crack.

seriously, look at you in your potato head glasses...uncrackable
I know for your benefit and for ours we need to set boundaries while you are little, but its so, so, SO HARD. Tonight daddy put you to bed and you decided to come out of your room numerous times and scream for "mama"...Why do babies never scream for "daddy"?? Is it some kind of cruel joke?? And then the dads are always frustrated with the moms and thinking they are too soft but their hearts aren't the ones breaking while their littles hiccup and choke on that word "mama" because they are crying so hard... Its too much!

So, I did what any sane person does. I camped myself outside your bedroom door and cried while you cried. I convinced myself at least 10 different times that I needed to come in and check on you. Then you started crying "where mama go" over and OVER...and thats it. I broke. I decided I didn't care how mad your dad got at me I was coming in. I convinced myself that you just needed a small drink of water and your nose wiped after all that screaming. I came in and did just that. You gulped the water down, I cleaned your nose and then calmly said its bedtime. Did you politely agree after I so thoughtfully came in to check on you... Did you reason like a normal adult.... NO...you saw that you won a small battle and decided to go for the ultimate victory. You had my attention so why not hit my blind side AKA my mama heart.

You said "mama sing raindrops". In that moment I knew that I had to be strong. Because if I sang you that song tomorrow you would cry twice as long. I told you; NO, it was bedtime and because the answer was no you raged out again. "Mama want raindrops" over and over again. I had to firmly tell you no and shut the door and walk away... but I didn't walk away. I sat outside your door again like a psycho torturing myself. There are some people out there thinking "for the love of God sing him his song" and a part of me wanted to because I know that would have been easier. But only easier in the moment. And its the moments that are the hardest when it comes to parenting. Its in the moments of life where patterns and routines are built. Its the moments where habits are formed. And the moments matter. Moments are what we are all trying to create and capture and live in. Moments are what memories are made of, they count.

Tonight was hard for me, I almost forgot about how hard the toddler years can sometimes be. And the older and bigger they get the bigger the problems become. Raising kids is a constant reminder to how important a good foundation is. And so, when its hard and I just want to give in I have to remember that small battles now add up to major victories later.

Parenting intentionally is hard, and these tiny cute little humans are my kryptonite. But, my little emotional/psychological ninjas...you have met your match. I accept your challenge.
I might cry tears the size of big fat raindrops (while creepily sitting outside your door and possibly while you cry too cuz your grounded for the Summer) that you will never know about but thats okay, because like the old adage goes...

This hurts me more than it hurts you! But lets be real, its for your own good. And with that...I just became my parents!



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

This is Us..

The night you died I knew what crying an ocean of tears really felt like....waves and waves of sadness washed away my sand castles.

I wrote this little note on a piece of paper I still have today in the hours after my Grandpa passed away Super Bowl Sunday when I was 15. He and my Grandma were driving home and hit a patch of black ice and in a matter of minutes...maybe seconds it was over. His life was over. No goodbyes, no last words, nothing. And life is like that sometimes...a sucker punch to the gut that leaves you breathless and seeing stars...

I wonder what torture that must have been for my Grandma to hear the love of her life take his final breaths. And its hard to think about. I was supposed to be in the car with them that evening. I spent part of the day with my Grandpa because he was helping me practice parallel parking so that come May I could get my license. I am so thankful that I had that time with him. I wish I would have known because I wouldn't have ever stopped hugging him. I would have breathed in his scent and memorized the way it felt to be hugged by him. I would have recorded the sound of his laughter. You see, he had a great laugh. When I think of him I think of that. It was one of those laughs that is contagious and even if something isn't that funny you cant help but laugh along.

I said I was supposed to be with them...BUT it was Super Bowl Sunday and I wanted to hang out with my boyfriend and some other kids from school. I used to wonder if I could have saved him...
like maybe he would have let me drive for the extra practice and I might have missed the black ice and I wouldn't be talking about him dying. Then I think...what if I would have died...
It's too much to think about and I'll never know so I stopped torturing myself years ago. Denial is a funny thing, it makes the craziest of thoughts seem sane. Like, I used to think his death was some sort of conspiracy and I used to look for his face in cars that passed by... It was really hard to accept that he was gone forever.

I can't really explain who my Grandpa was to me except that he was my favorite person. He had this special way of making me feel important. I can remember when he would introduce me to anyone he always used adjectives..not just; "hey, this is my grand daughter" but more like; "This is MY grand daughter, we think she is something special, smart, wonderful, etc. I always felt like I was his favorite. But then I think everyone who knew him probably thought that because that's the kind of guy he was. He used to call my Grandma his girlfriend in a silly, flirty voice. I remember seeing him sometimes brush and braid her hair...it was long.. and I just remember thinking he was so gentle. Sometimes my Grandma's yells said otherwise. If we went to restaurants he made it a point to know the waitress' name... and that's what I mean about him making people feel special. There are people who are genuine and who notice and that's the kind of guy he was. He always had a pocket protector and an abundance of pens in his shirt pocket. He had this certain smell,  and that laugh...I can't say enough about it.

I can remember when he and my Grandma would come to visit one of the ways we
(my siblings and I ) showed our love was to make sure when we set the table he got the special blue flower plate...we had a matching set of plates but in my mind and my sibling's minds the blue flower plate was a badge of honor. So, Grandpa...I hope you eat every meal in heaven off a pretty blue flower plate. We would FIGHT over who got to sit next to him, and I always wanted to hold his hand. And when we left restaurants or other places if we were holding hands he would run with me and jump and it was just so fun and magical. The crazy thing is we only saw them a couple of times a year but that speaks volumes about the kind of Grandparent and person he was. He managed to cram lifetimes of memories into days and weeks.

I actually wanted to ask him if when I got married he would walk me down the aisle...I wanted to make him promise but I was afraid if I asked he would die before that day came...like I would jinx it...I was so dark geez! I wish I would have asked anyway...because then you he would know.

My favorite memory I have of him happens to be captured in a photograph but then maybe thats not a coincidence..maybe the photograph helped solidify that memory because I was young. I was five I think and he and Grandma came to visit us in California and we went hiking around. We were standing on what felt like and looked like a cliff to me and he wanted me to jump down. It felt impossible and scary but he held my hand and we leapt...at least it felt that way. It was exhilarating and I was so proud of myself after. Im so glad there is a picture. Ive had it framed and with me for the last 17 years.

Anyway, I am a HUGE "This is Us" fan and Im a little obsessed with Jack so like every other American woman my heart died a little when his character's death was finally revealed. "Crazy" that the episode aired on Super Bowl Sunday and his character died on Super Bowl Sunday all those years ago. I KNOW its fiction but the feelings and emotions hit me like a ton of bricks. Suddenly I was 15 again and my heart was breaking all over again.  Thank God I didn't actually watch it on Super Bowl Sunday. Not sure how cathartic that would have been. Super Bowls used to be tough for me but enough time has gone by that life has gone on...its not the same but lets just say Im not looking for my Grandpa's face in cars passing me on the highway.

When I found out he died I was SO mad at God....More mad then I've ever been about anything. At that point in my life I was pretty sure everyone sucked and I kind of hated people...And I thought why would you (God) take someone so good. I felt like the world was so full of terrible people and so God should leave the good ones alone...like we seriously need people like my Grandpa on this earth...did He not know that...was He selfish?? Did He want him all to himself. Did God not know how much we all needed him, how much I needed him...In my mind it was like God orchestrated the whole thing.

This is all terribly sad but I had to talk about him and how wonderful he was so I could talk about my husband and how wonderful he is. They are two men cut from the same cloth! Oh Austin, you would have loved my Grandpa. He was a pilot too so you would have lots to talk about!
And your laugh...yeah its a great one! It's loud and contagious. And even if something isn't that funny you cant help but laugh along with you.

Seriously, Austin...YOU are the best thing that has ever happened to me. You have seen me in pieces so broken I thought there was no hope and you didn't leave. You might have wanted to sometimes..I think you saw the real me and you thought I was worth it.

You are one of the good ones and I am one of the lucky ones. You are a man of integrity. You have principals and morals and values that quite honestly not a lot of men have these days. And let me just say this...You as a father have surpassed any and every expectation I could have ever had. You genuinely want to spend time with our family. Like...you sleep with Landon in his tiny twin bed just to make him feel special...You take him hunting and fishing when I know it would be so much easier to go alone. You "camp" out with him in the playroom because you said you would even though you have a trip the next day and you have to be up at 5AM. You ask him to help with projects even thought he probably adds on hours to the task because you know it will benefit him..And I know how you love your golf yet you take Landon with you any chance you get..again, its about him and not you..your selfless like that, and I notice.

You work hard for our family and you give me the freedom to choose whether I stay home with our babes or go to work. And there is no judgement...that's true freedom, you never have "agendas".  You support my interests and hobbies, you encourage me to have friendships and you make it easy to go out with girlfriends and to have time to myself. I LOVE you for this because I need this. You have changed just as many dirty diapers as I have and when I was spiraling with post-partum depression after Landon you were an anchor for our family. And thats what you are...You are my rock.

When I look back on our 12 years together I realize we've grown up together...
We jumped out of an airplane together and you asked me to marry you!
We survived Cancun together as a 20 and 22 year old WOW...
We've made babies together! WE are responsible for two little lives together.
I watched you lose your sister, I know it broke you and it broke me to see that.
We've been through so MANY moves together... ugh!
We finally bought a house together!
We said goodbye to Stewie together.
We lost a baby together.
We were together when your mom battled cancer.
You shaved my head for me when my best friend had cancer and lost her hair.
Through it all; the highest highs and the lowest lows...its been us.
Its like its always been us and it will always be us!
I can't imagine living this life with anyone else.

You are hundreds of miles away and you made me feel special today.
I hope you read this and you feel special.

You are the real deal, you are who they write about...
You are the stuff of fairly tales and happily ever afters.
You are the character people can only imagine and dream up.
I love you.

Us





















Multi-Tasker




















Im in love with you seeing you fall in love with Logan
You teaching Landon..

this one is delicious

my boys, my whole world..

secrets

this...this is why i love you!

You told me I could, so I believed you.