And He Clothed Them (Repost)


Although I am the owner of a ton of chapstick, I possess just two tubes of lipstick.

A week ago, Hazel found one of those tubes inside my purse. As we sat together on my bed, She was babbling away about something and I was playing on my phone a game of Words with Friends. I look up from my phone to see our bedspread covered in a reddish/pinkish color. Immediately, I uttered, “oh God!” cause I was at first thinking it was blood. Turns out, it was one of those tubes of lipstick. She was stripped of clothes and thrown in the tub while I snapped a quick photo and Googled “lipstick stains” while sitting next to her while she splashed away. I quickly called Thomas and told him to bring home alcohol. I specified the rubbing kind, although the drinking kind was strongly needed too.



Surprisingly, the stain came out, and I was ridiculously pleased. The second tube of lipstick was placed in my purse and life went on as normal.

Today, Hazel was quiet. And as any mom knows, quiet means “up to no good.” I hunted her down in our bedroom (why oh why can we not 100% remember to close the doors!?!?). There she sat on our carpet, in a puddle of that same reddish/pinkish color. Repeat the tub scenario, minus the Googling, cause this time I already knew what to do, being she just did it a week before.


I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry. I ended up texting a few friends the pics, cause it helped soften the aggravation. We all chuckled together.

Both times, however, I was reminded of this oldie but goodie blog post. With the second incident being so close to the first, I figured I better share this post again, in order to remind me of the truth…….so as to not lose my sanity with this precious third child!

Originally posted on The V Files:

Have I told you about the time Wesley had woken up from nap and Daniel asked if he could go and play with Wesley, which meant throw stuffed animals into the crib so that Wesley could throw them back out, only to repeat time and time again with large amounts of laughter? No? Well, that is how it started……..and then I realized how much laughing was going on and how long it had actually been, so I went upstairs to check on them. Turns out, the copious laughter was nothing when in comparison to the amount of baby powder sprinkled all over the room, along with every item of clothing taken out of Wesley’s dresser and all toys from the book shelves thrown on the floor. Oh, and diaper rash cream was rubbed all over the carpet.

All this with giggles galore emitting from the room. Let me just tell…

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Kindergarten Graduate! 

Our Wesley is done with Kindergarten! He had a great year, meeting all his needed milestones and more!

Wesley popped into a first grade classroom for reading for the majority of the year, which was a good challenge. He knows more than he should, but most of that is because he refuses to be left too much behind his big bubba. I think I’m the only mom in the world that ends up saying, “Absolutely no more math problems at the table!” during dinner. The two boys quiz one another, or me and Thomas, with every bite! Wesley continued his speech services all year long and it is rare that we notice a problem at all with his abilities.

He never, not one single day, didn’t get his sticker or his smiley face for behavior. He once had a blank (his teacher forgot by accident to mark it) and he was very upset, assuring me he had been nothing less than great that day. He wanted to make his teacher and us proud by listening and responding to things as he should. 

He is a secret favorite of a few support staff, and he’s quite the goofball, but only when it’s acceptable to be one. 

As far as his classmates go, he loves them and cares for them. He has one best buddy, Grafton, who has come home from school to our house a few times, and together they’ve went to a few birthday parties/outside of school events. (Grafton’s parents are both over 6ft tall, thus Grafton’s splendid height!)


He had his first crush, Cassie, but “her parents won’t let her have a boyfriend,” so he patiently awaits. 

(He gets his photo taking skills from his Daddy)

We celebrated his graduation with the small ceremony at school and a trip to the Lego store for his graduation box! 


Wesley, we’re so proud of you! Keep being a people loving, God trusting, information seeking, funny little boy! It is a blessing to call you ours. 

Mother’s Day 2015

My Mother’s Day was great this year. I seriously can’t convey how wonderfully it went, and I know I owe that goodness to all of my friends and family that handled me with care and checked in on me in the days leading up to Sunday, as well as making a tiny bit of time in their Mother’s Day to say prayers and share love with me. It’s pretty amazing y’all, so thank you!

I only had one small tear up moment, and that was when the lady I (and mom) buy my make-up from once or twice a year, that I have never met, sent me a text on Mother’s Day sending me love and prayers. A make-up lady, That I’ve never met, shared her concern for ME and shared a love for my MOM. Wow! That’s how loved she was. That’s how loved I am, that even random make-up ladies take time to pray for you! (Thanks Vicki with Beauty Control!)

I got to sleep late, awakened with an ommlet in bed. Thomas had worked the Saturday before, and he had brought me home flowers that night, which were beautiful. 

The kids showered me with homemade cards and some crafts they made. 

 (Wesley made this in computer class. He typed in Mother’s Day and chose what he wanted. This is what he settled on LOL). 

The Friday before Wesley made me “breakfast in bed” from school, but he couldn’t wait until the actually day, so we ate it on a Friday afternoon on the couch. 

Our plan for Sunday was to have no plan, to do what my heart felt like doing with no pressure to do it if my heart changed. We debated on going to see Thomas’s mom, but his wisdom to just let me gently walk through Sunday prevailed. His mom understood. In fact, my mother-in-law encouraged him and me about this day. She has lost her mother too, so there was/is an understanding there that this first would be hard. 

  I truly did want to go to church, but for only about 3 minutes! Our church takes family portraits on Mother’s Day and I wanted one, but I didn’t want usual Sunday social interactions. So, we got dressed up and walked in, only to basically just walk back out. 

I am glad we got our portrait, even if my head looks a little squished and distorted! I don’t know how I managed that look. Talent, I suppose. 

We’ve traditionally eaten Cracker Barrel to-go on Mother’s Days past, with my mom coming over after church, my brother picking it up and hauling it all in, and no mother having to cook or clean. I still wanted to do that, cause Cracker Barrel makes hearts happy, right? But we thought since we were skipping church we might be able to actually go inside…….ummmm no! Crazy amount of people waiting to be seated! So we called in a to-go order and only had to wait 10 minutes! 

After eating at home, the kids took naps/rested and I went shopping. I found some great deals at one store, and I stocked up on some items for Hazel and my niece, which will eventually make it back to Hazel :). I felt connected to mom, cause she aways loved a fantastic deal. At the outdoor mall, I saw this momma duck with all her babies, and it seemed fitting for Mother’s Day. 

I then went for a run on the greenway.  Before I took off, I had an internal conversation with myself on what to do about my car, the key, the location of my car, etc. Before I wrecked it, my explorer had a keypad on the outside for access. I LOVED it when it came time to run. Lock the keys inside and go, unlocking with keypad upon return. Well, the van doesn’t have that, so I took my key, placed it in a section on my shorts for such, and took off. Right at the turn around point, I realized I had lost the key. Running back in a panic, I retraced my run on the path, eyes peeled. No such luck finding it. So no key…..But also no cell phone because that was locked inside. Spare keys at home, valet key under passenger seat, no ability to get in or contact the hubby, I felt my fantastic Mother’s Day slipping away. 

Enter a suspicious but nice man with a prepay phone from Pensylvania and a load of car picking tools in his trunk. I tried calling Thomas but he didn’t answer (par for the course. He doesn’t answer numbers he doesn’t know). Meanwhile this guy tries breaking into my Honda with no luck. He says “I don’t know why I can’t get into this car. I am normally good at this……cause my niece always needs my help getting into her car, you know…..” A few more calls to Thomas he finally picks up. He will load the kids up and be on his way. 

The man kindly offers to take me home, but I declined, for multiple reasons, but played it off on that I didn’t live close (which was true). He offered to walk with me on the greenway, but I declined again, playing that off on not knowing exactly when my husbandwould  arrive (which was true). So I waited for Thomas, and I sat quietly under a tree and worked on sitting correctly and correcting my awful posture and just prayed about life. I chose not to get upset over my flub and keep the day positive. 

He arrived sooner than I expected and brought my keys. He wasn’t frustrated or mad that he had to drive 25 minutes to come bail me out.  The boys somehow managed to convince us that  they were thirsty and needed slushies. We drove home (in separate  vehicles!) and ate leftovers for dinner. 

We capped off the day with light saber fights in the yard, while also enjoying sandbox fun and swinging. Thomas didn’t stress on work that needed to be done and I didn’t worry on any tasks that needed completing either. We were just a fun little family, which is perfect for Mother’s Day. 

This Is Not Our Home

In the middle of March, we closed on my mom’s house. It was St. Patrick’s Day and a whole bunch of crazy on my part. Even though I had Power of Attorney for the house closing transaction, it was quite the signing extravaganza. Rather than me signing one signature for her estate as I had hoped it would be, I had to sign a ridiculously long phrase for each of my brothers and myself. It was as follows: My name, Heir-At-Law; My first brother’s name, Heir-At-Law by My Name, his Attorney-In-Fact; My second brother’s full name, Heir-At-Law by My Name, his Attorney-In-Fact. Every. Single. Time…….times about 30-ish times. All this while one of the amazing realtors that I worked with put my baby girl to sleep for her nap out in the lobby. Oh, and did I mention that the lending company for the buyers wanted extra proof that we were my mom’s only kids? Well, they did, so last minute they sprung on me the need for two people to verify and swear to the fact I am her daughter and that she only had me and my brothers, no living spouse. It had to be notarized. And they had to know our family for 5 or more years, And they couldn’t be family. Good thing I know a lot of people, right? I had spent so much of my days there after she passed cleaning it out, setting it straight, checking on it, and all the other type of things that go along with a house. It was a massive amount of time and energy. My kids were neglected at times, being left to figure out something to entertain them while I cleaned, or there was copious amounts of attempting to not suffocate them from the piles of Goodwill donations that surrounded them in the van while on one of our bajillion trips. Before I said my final goodbye to the place, I took one final picture on those blue steps, as well as one of the outside: IMG_5219 IMG_5217When all that was done, what I viewed as the last and biggest step from being able to fully breathe and consider my mom and her passing was over. Yeah, there were some things in my garage from her home that I couldn’t find or figure a location for, whether it be physically or emotionally, but really that was it. Her estate was basically done and could be closed. I could begin, to me, what was the true beginning of healing. One night, while sitting with Thomas on the couch, I told him how I wanted something to signify that this phase of the grief journey was over. I wanted something to represent that stage of estate closing, house clearing, emotional strife, etc. I told him “I want something to represent this moment, just like people do with jewelry….but I don’t want any jewelry.” He suggested I commission some artwork, and he suggested a girl I went to college with who has quite a beautiful business and ministry with her passion in art. I told him that was perfect, and although I didn’t know what, I knew I wanted something from Laura. A quick Facebook message later, I had told Laura of my desire to represent everything that was the cleaning out and selling of my mom’s home, the house where I mostly grew up, the home where she died, a place that will always have a small piece of my heart, but also a place that is now no longer mine or hers. Laura, having lost her mom to cancer a few years back, shared with me a picture of what she made for herself when she closed on her mom’s home. I told her it was exactly what I wanted, without even knowing I wanted it. She asked a few questions and then she set to work. IMG_6044Can you see it? There are so many layers here. It’s just amazing really. First, the fact that “This Is Not Our Home” is writing over a home on a canvas that will sit in my home is just brilliant. It’s not mom’s home, cause now she IS home. It’s a hard fact to swallow, but it’s one I believe to be true. Away from this world is a believer’s true home. It’s not hers, it’s not mine, and if you believe, it’s not yours. No house is your home, not even this world. “This Is Not Our Home” Hebrews 13:14-15  While cleaning out mom’s, before I knew I was going to have Laura create this piece, I had sent her some old hymnals that mom had collected. I knew they would be fitting in Laura’s artwork. When we decided on this concept, I had asked if she could use some of those hymnal pages to create my piece. So, the hymns you see that create the white house were actually my mom’s possessions. The ones chosen here were songs sang at her services. The green roof, the letter T, the #250, all perfectly crafted to represent “the house that built me.” I had secretly hoped to have this custom piece by Mother’s Day, and it turns out I do! I don’t know yet where it will reside, for I am still just so happy about it and everything it represents. I also take great comfort in the fact I know the hands that made it, and I know that she prayed for me as it was designed, knowing all too well the hole that losing a mother can leave. Thank you Laura at Pitter Patter Art. It’s simply perfect. Although it’s true that “this is not our home….”, I will truly miss her until the day comes that I get to go home and see her again, and I am grateful to have such a depth filled piece to remind me of her and this journey.

Tender Hearts and The Grief Journey

I am realizing that some days, my heart is more tender than others about my mom. I really do think of her every day. On some days, it’s just a small thought, a quickly fleeting one. On others, it is a heavy weight, a sinking feeling that persists. Although my dad has been gone since I was 4, I find myself thinking of him more since she has passed than what feels like all the years before. Anger builds in me when I think that I have no parents. I know I’ve said that before, but that’s the thought that goes through my mind over and over. Neither one is here with me any more, neither can see my children grow….I have no parents, and I feel too young to have that status. I am the start of the living in my family lineage. No parents, no grandparents……it feels heavy to me.

2014-04-20 00.07.50When Easter approached, I kept thinking of the Easter before. Last year, mom was still with us. In fact, she looked great, seemed to feel good, and was all-around seeming as if she was winning this cancer fight. Even though she had just recently been released from the hospital, she had energy. Her hair was growing back, her face was round, she smiled a lot and her smile was still hers, not the one where a stroke had robbed her of its normalcy, and her voice was vibrant, not one burdened and crackled by tumor pressure.2014-04-19 23.47.14

I have a voicemail saved on my phone from my mom from last Easter. Although not a message filled with fluffly thoughts, it is still a recording of her voice. It’s preciousness to me is extreme. On it, she tells us to come to her house and get our Easter baskets. And by OUR, she meant everyone, even me and 2014-04-20 00.06.44Thomas. She just couldn’t leave anyone out, grown adults and all. At the close of her brief message, she said “love you” before hanging up the phone.

When we went to retrieve our baskets a few days after Easter, we took this picture.2014-05-25 15.00.44

It was almost right after this that everything began to fall apart.

I wrote that first half of this blog post, everything above this point, and then I paused. Now, I can’t remember my train of thought. I can’t seem to find the vein of those emotions that got me to begin writing it. Yet, I’ve never stopped thinking about it. Somehow, that seems extremely fitting, for as I wade through this grief process, that’s how everything seems to be to me. My heart feels one way, and then it is changed, on a whim. A pressure on my mind and heart. My spirit feels one emotion, and then it is adapted, placid to a storm. Everything swirls from okay to horrid. It affects all things, and the worst part about it is that you don’t know it until its too late and it’s already happening, and those around you feel ashamed to want to blame your actions or feelings for the day on grief. It’s almost like that cliche of the man wanting to blame his crazy wife on it being “that time of the month.” You don’t want to say it, but you think it, and it’s usually right, and you can’t claim it to be true, cause it feels like a cop out to want to excuse your emotional whirlwind on grief.

I wonder when it will stop.

Nothing about the grief process is linear. You don’t go from one stage to the next and never back to that stage. One isn’t conquered to never be experienced again. I’ve always taught this about the writing process, encouraging students that even once it is “published” or turned in to me, changes still need to be made, ideas revised, errors adapted, materials deleted. It’s never “done” as a piece of writing, hence multiple editions of a book. That’s the grief process it seems, and it is troublesome. You feel like the loss shouldn’t have that effect on you. But it just does. Eventually, I will hit a year without her, which will mark making it through most all the “firsts” without her. After that though, I assume it just turns into something else that can bring the sadness.

This Easter just enters into another one of those “firsts” without mom. I wouldn’t have ever thought “yeah, Easter is going to be hard without her!” but yet it is. I didn’t know it mattered so much, yet apparently it does. I think the contrast of the two is what hurts so much. My littlest is a whole year bigger, which is extremely noticeable at her age. She’s grown so much and mom can’t enjoy it.


DSC_0008My boys have grown so much and she can’t participate in that either.


DSC_0040In my mangled sadness, I occasionally have the foresight to grab my emotions and ask for help.  I asked one of mom’s friends that spoke at her funeral to pray for me on Good Friday. As we traveled to get Wesley’s cast off, I knew mom would be excited about that venture. She would be likely right in the middle of our day, lavishing love on our littles. On Saturday, our church’s Children’s Pastor, Bridget, texted me that when she saw me at our Saturday night Easter service, she nearly cried. She wondered if she was in tune with something, channeling mom. I shared with her how it has been such a hard few days, cause I keep thinking of the extreme differences from this Easter to last.

I stopped by the graveyard this week, which I normally think is a stupid thing to do. It just seems like a waste of energy to me, and I have never cared to ever do it before. I find myself now wanting to take pictures with my kids standing next to her and my dad’s grave, just like she use to make us do next to my dad’s tombstone. What it profits, I have no clue, yet I feel like I want to or need to do it.

But this Easter weekend, there were a few things that really stood out to me as “she’s still here and loves you” moments.  After coming home from eating Easter lunch with my family, I put the spoon which I had used to serve our green beans on the counter. And there it was, faded but still present: Boyd.IMG_5643

It had actually been her  spoon. It was one from her house that I had brought into mine, and that was the spoon, out of all my spoons, that I took with me that day. It made me crack a smile.

Then, a picture of me holding Hazel. One that a my cousin’s mother-in-law took of me at the close of Easter Sunday service. My sweet Hazel had fallen asleep on me, and I just sat and lingered at the close of service in order to let her get as much snoozing as possible. And at that moment, on the empty pews, me, Hazel, and my mom’s rings on my fingers. The way I am holding my hands, I could have had my left on top, hiding hers and showing my wedding set……but I didn’t. That makes my eyes fill with tears.


Little moments, sweet elements of her.

I know she’s not still here but when I say “she’s still here,” it is the whole “her memory is alive and that love never goes away” type of here.

Just like the name on that silly spoon, “faded but still present.”

Cast Off!

After a month of healing, Wesley got his cast off this morning! To say he was excited is an understatement. In fact, Daniel came downstairs last night after bed time and told Thomas, “Wesley can’t sleep; he is too excited about tomorrow!”
FullSizeRenderAfter some sound counsel to “count Pokemon” in order to fall asleep, we all woke up bright and early this morning and headed to the hospital for the appointment.

We ate breakfast in the cafeteria, and I, for better or for worse, told the kids “Pick whatever you want to eat” and gave them no restrictions. This is not something I do, like ever. So, a package of smores Pop Tarts, a cup of Lucky Charms, and container of chocolate milk later, the boys had chosen their breakfast. Oh my…..

Being the kind hearted boy that he is, Wesley, with the help of Daniel, made some Easter eggs filled with candy for the hospital workers. He gave out several as a way of saying thanks. He is a child with gifts as a love language, so giving some out made perfect sense.

The pin removal was swift, thankfully. They brought in an iPad for him to play with, and while in distraction mode, they tugged with their sterile pliers and pulled  out the three inch piece of metal. Wesley didn’t cry a bit, although he did turn a bit red faced and scrunched up his body in resistance. It was quite gross to see it. We didn’t take a picture, so you will have to take our word for it. I wish I had though, cause Wesley didn’t really look, and now he is curious about it. There was quite a bit of blood, so he is suppose to keep the white bandage on for 12 or so hours and not get it wet for 24 hours. The hole in his arm which previously housed the pin will scab over and heal soon.

Right after the appointment was finished, I was scheduling the month out visit while Thomas walked out with Wesley. Suddenly Wesley started to run in order to catch up to me. At this, Thomas said, “Wesley, let’s just be careful when running, okay?” Wesley then replied, “Okay, I will run like a pregnant girl then” I am not sure if that was the excitement of the cast/pin removal or the breakfast sugar talking, but regardless he was a hoot all morning long.

For now, he is free to do most anything he feels comfortable doing. Orders do exist for him to not jump on a trampoline, climb the rock wall at school, or do any monkey bars. He also needs to complete a few exercises each day to regain function. In one month, we go back for a final follow-up to see if he has regained full mobility. If he clears that, we are done for good!

(Take special note of the shark tooth necklace. He and Daniel each got one as their souvenirs while on our trip to see my friend Jennifer at the beach over Spring Break. They have become outfit essentials in the days since. LOL)

Hazel’s First Party

Well, before the month is out, I need to be sure to post about Hazel’s first birthday party! We had scheduled her party for her actual birthday month, which is February, but some less than stellar weather made us delay it until March. Good thing she was turning one and had no clue and couldn’t get upset about it!

Being that I now have a GIRL, we went girly with the theme. Some clearance items at Target helped me officially decide, so cupcakes, pink, burlap, and lace were the go-to decorations, and most were handmade goodies by me, so don’t look overly close at these pictures. You will certainly see lots of flaws!



DSC_0073I took a plastic table cover and used it to decorate Hazel’s highchair, so she will be all pretty for her happy birthday song and smash cake.

DSC_0074Hazel was in joyful spirits for her day, thankfully. You just never know with kiddos what the mood might be like! I did, however, plan it to be right after her afternoon nap!

DSC_0079DSC_0085We opened gifts first.



Hazel stayed pretty confused most of the time. “Why are all these adults so happy? Why is everyone saying my name? Why am I being encouraged to rip this paper? Am I suppose to eat this?”


She did get pretty excited about her Daniel Tiger toy that Thomas and I got her, only after staring at it blankly for a bit first.

We moved on to eating and then pretty quickly to cake. I drug Hazel’s highchair into the middle of the floor so she could be front and center. With a small candle on her homemade yellow cake with chocolate icing, we began to sing to the sweet girl, which made her grin from ear to ear.

DSC_0110She was quite the proud little girl!

DSC_0111And then she got super intrigued by the glowing little light in front of her that was flickering and begging for her attention… she grabbed it.


And then she cried.


But I am not sure if the tears were from pain or from being scared, cause every family member present gasped when she did it. Regardless, the plan of action was comfort from momma.


I can’t believe I let my one year old grab fire. This is just another sign that Hazel is totally the third child! In our parenting defense, her brothers were all up in my personal space and hers, “helping” us with the moment, which was anything but help. I had stepped back to take a picture with my phone (my sis-in-law was taking with our real camera) and then suddenly she just moved and grabbed it. Ooops. Poor baby! All in all she was truly fine though, thankfully. IMG_4765

She did not, however, care too much about the cake, which was the same status for her one year photo shoot experience.

DSC_0123We even tried with a fork, but she was still underwhelmed. At one point, she even shuddered with disgust. I suppose that is a good thing to not like sugar!

We were so blessed that people took time out of their busy schedules to come celebrate our baby girl.