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.