Thursday, January 17, 2013

all you need is love...

ahhh love....there are so many different ways to love and be loved.  over the past year of my life, i have certainly seen the ups and downs of many relationships.  some were my own relationships, and others were those of loved ones and friends.  there have been tears of joy and tears of sadness, and i've learned the truth about people i thought i knew.   i've lost treasured relationships and gained new ones because of love and the way it goes.
the truth is, relationships are work.  hard hard work.  and you have to be willing to do that work.  you have to be willing to admit when you are wrong and be gracious when you are right.  it doesn't come easy for anyone.  if anybody says differently, they're lying.  i'm not just talking marriage. i have found that even in my friendships and relationships with relatives, you have to do the same.  invest in it what you  hope to get back.  treat others the way you want to be treated.   it's that simple.   be honest and open and kind.  be fair and be respectful.  be generous and hopeful and faithful.
i'm no expert, but i certainly am a believer in real love and i know that i value the people in my life who value me.  i treasure my husband, my children, my family, and my friends.  and i'm a better person because of them.  relationships should challenge you and make you want to be the best version of yourself.   they shouldn't make you doubt who you are or the choices you make.
love is difficult, but it is all you need in this life....xoxo

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Well, here we are....2013.  It's been so long since I've written.  Honestly the past year blew right by me, and was gone before I knew it.  Our holidays were fantastic and we got to spend two whole weeks with Gary here, doing all kinds of family stuff together.  Stuff that we all missed.  We had dinners together, we had family movie nights, we went out with our friends, we spent time with extended family.  It was fantastic.  Seriously fantastic.  I wish it didn't have to end but unfortunately, he went back to work on Monday and the kids and I have fallen back into our crazy daily routine here.
As for Gary's job, he is now working in Shreveport, Louisiana.  His company did not get the job in Tampa as we had hoped, when his time in Pensacola was through, so they've sent him to Shreveport for the next several months.  But....there is good news.  Rather than him living there permanently, his company has agreed to fly him home every weekend.  So, we do get to see him Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  Which is certainly better than only seeing him once a month : )  Right now, we are taking things as they come, learning to go with the flow, and be grateful for the time we do have together.   This has all been such a learning experience for us, and we are hanging in there.

The kids are growing up fast, both of them becoming such different little people.  McKenna is loving second grade and has a wonderful teacher this year.  She finished a few months of gymnastics and loved it but she gets bored easily and was ready to move on to something new.  So for now, we are doing Girl Scouts (Brownies) and soon she will start horseback riding lessons.  I think she is going to love them.  She's started her orthodontics and is currently wearing a top and bottom expander.  We have to turn a key on each of them on a regular basis and it has caused her a bit of pain and discomfort but overall she has adjusted pretty well.  I'll be glad when this stuff is over though.  But that will be a few years.....

Our sweet little Michael is doing much better after a really rough second half of 2012.  Poor thing was suffering from bellyaches and headaches constantly and had some very strange things going on in his body.  After running tons of tests and lots of bloodwork, he went through an upper  and lower GI in order to determine that he could possibly have Crohns Disease.  Basically, his colonoscopy showed postitive signs of Crohns, but his genetic testing for Crohns was negative.  So while the doctor can't diagnose it with 100% certainty, he also cannot rule it out.  The plan of action has been to treat him with a medicine that is specifically for Crohns for 6 months, see how he reacts and then take him off of it and see what happens.  If his symptoms go away, then we're clear and hopefully his intestines have healed all together.  If not, then they'll do another colonoscopy and go from there.  He has been such a trooper through all of it.  He's been poked and prodded and had blood drawn a thousand times.  He never complained, he never fought any of it.  He had to fast for 48 hours and did better than Gary and I did.  It's hard to see your little one go through something traumatic like that, but in the end, we are grateful that his medical issues can be treated and dealt with pretty easily.  He's been on the meds for 2 months now and is doing FANTASTIC.   He is like a different kid.  And he's growing, eating, and just happier all around.  Our fingers are crossed that he will stay healthy after going off the treatment.
Other than that, he is loving preschool, learning a lot and enjoys playing trains and cars and swinging on our swingset.

Like I said earlier, we are taking things one day at a time.  2012 proved to be a very challenging year for my entire family. But we made it.  We're still here, and we're ready for bigger and better things in 2013.   I'm really hoping to write more this year.

Until then, xoxo.

Monday, June 4, 2012

hello again

well, it's been too long since i've written, once again.  there have been a few times where i've started to write and then get side tracked in the middle of it, and have to start over another day.

truth is, i haven't really wanted to write that much.  because i always start talking about how much i miss gary and then get all teary eyed and can't finish what i want to say.  this is like therapy for me, and if i'm going to let it all out, it's usually about how much i miss him because that's what is on my mind the i give up and go play with the kids or take pictures or find something else to distract me.  but today i just need to get it out....i need to let it go... i never knew that this 10 months of being apart would have such an effect on our lives.  i mean, sure, i knew that i'd miss him and that we'd both get lonely from time to time and the kids would miss daddy.   but it has trickled down and changed our lives in so many ways.  it's changed me.   changed me in that i never realized how much i was dependent on gary, how much he took care of me.  i've always thought of myself as being such a strong independent woman and boy was i off.  there were a lot of times when, as a stay at home mommy, i felt as though i was taking on the world by myself.  i'm sure there are other moms who feel that way, too.  it's like we do EVERYTHING, isn't it?  now that i've been without gary for 4 months, i admit whole heartedly that i do not in fact, do EVERYTHING.  there are so many little things that i've had to learn to do while he's away.  which, in all actuality, isn't a bad thing, i guess.  i know how to flush our a/c  pipes to keep the garage from flooding.  i know how to operate our sprinkler system now to keep our lawn up to the HOA's high standards.  i know how to grow vegetables in my own garden, something i have never had any interest in, but have totally fell in love with.  i know how to take both kids to the pool by myself and actually ENJOY it and ENJOY them.   the list could go on, with such things as taking out the trash and recyclables, hanging stuff on the walls, changing the light bulbs and a/c filter and killing all of the dreaded palmetto bugs and getting the lizards out of the house.  it's been an interesting 4 months to say the least.  last week our garage door decided to break (soon after the sprinkler system meltdown), and i've never felt so incompetent and useless.  i couldn't tell you a single thing about a garage door or how it works.  i got so mad and frustrated with myself. why didn't i ever try to learn to do things around my house?  why don't i know anything about home repair/improvement or yard work or my car?  because i have a wonderful husband who always did that stuff for me.  and god, do i miss him.  in a way its good that i have had to learn to do this stuff because if we come into this situation again, i'll be much better prepared.  but i would so much rather have him here, drinking a cold one in the garage, working on the sprinkler system and changing the oil in the van for me...the fact is, we are partners, we function as a whole, a unit, if you will.  we married each other so that we could take care of one another and walk through life TOGETHER.  and right now, it just sucks to be apart.  it's what we had to do, and yes, we are grateful to God that he has a job, but it's not ever something we saw happening to us.  it's like we are living separate lives right now, and there are days when that is really hard to swallow and both of us just want it to end.  i know, i could be worse, i'm just having a pity party.   there are people in the military and single moms who do this sort of thing all the time, and i do have a new found respect for them.  i applaud them.  but....we are not military.  i am not a single mom.  this isn't how we envisioned things going.   this wasn't part of "our plan" or what we signed up for.  it's been so hard for me to let go of what i cannot change and cannot control.  it's just frustrating.  we are surviving, sure.  we see each other once every 2-3 weeks and thanks to my parents, just enjoyed a nice weekend in new orleans by ourselves.  but it's still hard.  putting the kids to bed at night is always when i miss him the most.  i'm counting down the days, weeks, and months until he's back home and we can get back to our life TOGETHER.

our kids are handling things so much better than i am.  they miss daddy every day, but it's amazing how resilient and compassionate they are.  mckenna just knows when i'm having a rough day and will give me an extra hug or tell me that i'm doing a good job.  michael's always making me laugh, and he keeps me on my toes.   not sure what i'm going to do with myself next year when he's in school every morning.  he'll be starting VPK with our beloved "Miss Trish" and he couldn't be more excited.  mckenna is going to be in 2nd grade and is very much looking forward to summer vacation and our trip to missouri.  she can't wait to go fishing with daddy and go water skiing for the first time.  it's the first family trip we are all taking together.  us, my parents, and my brother's family are all going.  and not only that, but we get to hang with my best friend and her family, too, as they are graciously hosting all of us.   gary will be flying there from pensacola to meet us and it will be a whole week of just being together and that is what we need the most right now.
because TOGETHER is what our life is all about.  -xoxo

Here are a few pics from our recent NOLA weekend
Gary checking out the beads for our krewe

My very first hurricane at Pat O Brien's

Gary having a beer at the Crescent City Brewery

Beers on Day two in NOLA, who would've thought after the hang over on day 1?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Had a great time this past weekend celebrating McKenna's 7 birthday.  First on Saturday with many of her little friends and then on Sunday with our family at home.  I truly felt like she was surrounded by nothing but love all weekend.  I don't think she stopped smiling the whole time.  She was worn out and so was I but it was all worth it.
I felt like the theme "you are my sunshine" was so perfect because McKenna is like that for me.  Whenever I'm down or sad or having a rough day, I can always count on her to do something that cheers me up. It's been like that since she was a baby.  Even now, when she can tell that I'm missing Gary or struggling with Michael, she'll give me an extra hug or tell me a joke or something to put a smile on my face.  I love her for that.  She is my sunshine, for sure.
And I can't help but think about the other "sunshines" in my life.  These past few months have been so crazy with Gary being gone.  Often times, I write on here about my parents and the rest of my family because, let's face it, they are just the best.  But I've yet to write about my girlfriends.

My friends have come through for me in more ways than I can count.  They've been there to listen to me cry, to watch my kids, to have dinner with me,  or a girls movie night in.  We meet for coffee and a treat at Panera or meet to take the kids to the playground after school.  We love to laugh and we have all kinds of inside jokes and special memories that will last us a lifetime. We like to go out and pretend we're young and wild and free, and then whine to each other the next morning about how we shouldn't have stayed out so late because we're too old for this crap! I can tell them anything and trust them to keep it safe.  They have husbands that I adore and kids that mean the world to me.
As I've gotten older and wiser, I realize that it definitely isn't about how many friends you have, it's more about the quality of the friends you have.  These ladies I've met here are some of the kindest, most compassionate, honest, and giving people I've ever known.  I can honestly say that I would be in bad shape right now without them by my side.  They are my sunshine on a daily basis.  And I love them all so very much.
Hope ya'll have a little sunshine in your lives too
: ) -j.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Birth Day

Well my baby is seven today....Can't help but think back to when it was just Gary, me, and this new little person we loved more than life itself.  God, we were terrified we might do something to hurt her or upset her or screw her up for good.  Little did we know how much our lives would forever be changed by her sweet little soul.....
I was pregnant with her almost immediately after our wedding.  I think it was two months after we got back from our honeymoon.  We were fortunate to not have any trouble conceiving and overall, I had a pretty easy pregnancy.  I remember finding out we were having a little girl and being so thrilled.  I couldn't wait to dress her up in cute little outfits and take her shopping with me and watch her dance recitals...At 38 weeks, I ended up with pneumonia and was pretty sick.  On top of that I had some issues with my sciatic nerve so by 40 weeks, I was done.  DONE.  But our little princess wasn't quite ready to make her debut.  My mom and I tried everything short of taking castor oil to get my labor started.  My dr. allowed me to go 14 days past my due date, and my induction was scheduled on day +14.  Because my parents lived in Florida at the time, my dad was waiting to come home until I went into labor.   My mom was already staying wtih us to help us with any last minute preparations and just in case I went into labor on my own.  I wanted her to be there with me, and thank the Lord, she was able to do so.  Once the induction was scheduled, my dad went ahead and flew home and I swear, it wasn't after he'd been home more than a few hours that I started labor.  It was as though McKenna was just waiting for her Pappy to get to Ohio and be there for us...

So, no induction afterall, right?!  Wrong.  Got to the hospital and after they broke my water and gave me labor inducing drugs, she still wasn't in any hurry.  Ended up having a c-section after a full 24 hours of labor.  I was exhausted, and so was Gary.  But then, in that one single second of seeing McKenna's face and holding her that very first time, nothing else mattered.  Nothing would ever compare to that one single moment.  Nothing will ever exceed the amount of love that consumed me, for Gary and for this little baby we created.  I couldn't believe she was ours.

In the first days at home with McKenna, I'm not gonna lie, I was a bit foggy.  So was Gary.  And again, without my mom's help, I'm not sure we would've made it.  She changed diapers, let us sleep during the night and gave us every single piece of advice we asked her for. Things started to get easier as we settled into a routine.  Mom went back to Florida and Gary went back to work.  I decided to not go back to work and there I was, home all day, taking pictures of her to send to my parents , and dressing her up in the thousands of outfits we had gotten for her as gifts.  I bet I changed her clothes 3 times a day!

When I think back to the three of us, living in a teeny little house, just scraping by, making ends meet, we were just living on love.  We couldn't have been happier.  May sound corny but it's true. Gary was working a lot of hours in a job he didn't like and I was going to school 3 nights a week and on the weekends to finish my masters.  Nothing mattered except how much we wanted to take care of McKenna, keep her safe,and protect her from this crazy world.  We wanted to experience everything with her, and we took her all kinds of places to let her explore and discover and enjoy everything and everyone around her.

Becoming parents changed us for the good.  It strengthened our marriage, it opened our eyes to see what was important, and it made me realize that this is what God put me on this Earth to do.  Parenthood has it's ups and downs. Some days are good and some days are crazy bad.  But every night when I put McKenna, and now Michael also, to bed, and they say, "I love you sweet Mommy", I thank my lucky stars for every blessing I've been given and for the road that led me right here to this spot today.
Happy Birthday to my saving grace, McKenna.... I love you sweet girl....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Oh how I've missed you....

Geeesh.  I can't believe it's been almost 2 months since I've written on here.  Once again my dreams of writing on a daily or even weekly basis have been shot down and totally put on the back burner.  It seems that whenever I think I will have time to write, something happens or someone gets a boo-boo or needs more milk, or the phone rings, or the dog needs out, you get the idea....But so much has happened in our lives since my last post and I'm anxious to fill you in on some of the details....Writing for me has always been good therapy, so brace yourselves.  I've got a lot to say : ) Although, I guess since most of you are on facebook, you probably already know most everything about me and us, but bear with me as I elaborate a little....

Since my previous post, Gary has gotten settled in to life in Pensacola and the three of us are finally into a decent routine here at home.   Although I still hate that he's away, I've learned to accept it and try to see the positive in it and move forward from there.  I remember when he got his apartment and moved in, I just couldn't get my head around the whole thing.  An apartment?  For my husband of 8 years?  8 hours away? And I'm happily married?  Strange, yes.  Overwhelming, yes.  Emotional roller coaster, yes.  All of the above.  But I learned very quickly that you have to roll with the punches and keep on truckin'.  Some days are harder than others, but we are managing and surviving here in our little corner of the world.  My parents and my best friends have helped me in more ways than I could ever write and sometimes I think they don't realize how much they get me through the bumps in our road.....I thank God for them every day and I know it makes Gary feel a little better to know that we have people looking out for us here.
The hardest part in all of this for me has been all of the little things about Gary that I realize now I took for granted and got annoyed with for no apparent reason.....Which is probably a good thing for our marriage because I find myself now being so much more appreciative of him and the father and husband and friend to me that he is.  I miss him sitting by me on the couch in the evening and how he is so slow to fast forward through the commercials on the DVR.  I miss him sitting out in the garage taking a nap, which used to drive me insane.  I'd be in the house with the kids fighting and there he is just snoozin' away, all cozy and happy in the garage.  I can't tell you how many times in the past two months,  I've walked into the garage and just wished I'd see him sitting there asleep in his lawn chair.  Oh, and the snoring.....Believe it or not, I miss the snoring next to me, sometimes within seconds of us going to bed.  I used to be like, "Are you kidding me?  He was just talking to me, and now he's snoring?!"  But oh what I wouldn't give to have him there next to me at night....
As for Gary, people ask me a lot how he's doing in Pensacola.  And truthfully, I think it is much harder on him than us.  My good friend, Jaime, recently told me this and I think it's so true. She said, "Remember, you have one person to miss and he's got three."  I never thought of it that way, but when she said it, it resonated with me.  It's kinda funny, actually.  He's always telling me how he misses the noise in the house and the chaos that is our little Michael....All the while, I'm begging for quiet and alone time and what I wouldn't give for a meal by myself!
But anyways, his job is going well and I'm so proud of him for being there and doing this.  He is doing what needed to be done for our family, and regardless of how hard it is on us, we both knew that God led him to it and it was what needed to be done at the time.  I truly believe that it will make us stronger and better people.
And now for some fun stuff....We have a new puppy that was a HUGE surprise for our little ones.  Emmie is her name and she is the sweetest little thing.  In fact, I think my dad may be more in love with her than we are.  She is 14 weeks old, getting better on the house training, and as playful as can be.  It has brought such joy to the kids, almost too much if you ask me.  I can't say that I love the delightful squeals and hilarious (and LOUD) laughter at 6 am, but I guess it could be worse ;-)  Momma just needs her coffee before anything LOUD in the morning!!!
School is winding down for McKenna, I can't believe she's going to be going into second grade and will be turning seven this month.  What happened to my little baby?!  She's just like her mommy , busy planning what kind of birthday party she wants and what the theme and color scheme will be.  The apple doesn't fall from the tree in this case!  Michael is loving his little preschool class at the YMCA  and just keeps asking me, "But Mommy, when can I ride the bus?"  Baby steps, little man....Mommy is nowhere near ready to send you off on a school bus....I can barely stand the fact that he is growing out of the cuddles in the morning and the "Mommy, hold me!" phase.   Like most of my other mommy friends, I'm sad to see them grow up so fast, but I know it's my job to let them go and be the capable, responsible, little people they are meant to be.
Well, that's it for now.  It's Thursday night and that means "Swamp People" is on TV.  I just wish Gary was here to watch with me and talk in his best cajun accent that I love....
Good night ya'll.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

tiny dancer

i remember when i first found out i was having a daughter, i was thrilled.  a little princess i could dress up and go shopping with, and share secrets with.... and in my case, i was also happy that i'd be able to teach her to lay down a good bunt and shoot free throws just like i did.
however, as mckenna has started to become her own little self, it has become clear that she is not the super star athlete i had hoped she'd be.  don't get me wrong, she is a super star, no doubt.  but she has zero interest in playing softball or basketball or any sport for that matter.  "those are for boys" she says.  at first, i struggled with it because i so badly wanted to coach her in something, anything.  but as time went on and i started to see how much joy she got out of acting, dancing, singing and performing, i realized that it isn't about what i want her to be.  this is up to her.  and it's my job to encourage, nourish, and support whatever it is she chooses to do.
 how on earth i created such an artistic little thespian is beyond me.  every day i watch her and am amazed at the imagination and creativity that flows from her little brain.  she loves to put on plays (in which she is the set designer, producer, director, and of course star of the show), write music, play the guitar, and play dress up.   i'm posting some pics of her in her jazz dance class.  each week she smiles from ear to ear the entire time she's there.  it makes me happy from the inside out to know that she is doing what she loves.  i can see her name in lights someday, and i just hope she scores her momma some good seats for the show : )

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