Friday, April 24, 2015

i knew it would happen

I knew that when I called out my younger sisters
for never leaving comments on my blog
that I'd get a text from at least one.
Boy did I.
World's longest in least in my text history.
Number four (to my number three) said:
"Because it is soooo much easier to text than leave a comment! 
I don't have my password book at school with me
while I read your blog [during lunch].
Not that the book really helped me anyway because
apparently I changed it at some point!
So I had to reset the password.
Well then I couldn't find the reset email
so I had to go through my spam!!
 I feel violated!
 I finally find the email,
reset the password to find 467 emails
 and finally I begin commenting on your blog....
Until for whatever reason the screen goes blank on my phone
 and when I get back to your blog page,
 what I've typed (but did not finish ) is PUBLISHING!!!!
Oy Vey!!! .....
You brighten my day and make me laugh
giving me the strength to go back to my 25 love bugs and teach! 
I've missed you!!!"
With that I let her off the hook about commenting.
Still wondering about number five.
Giving them some hello pete makes me smile.
Is that wrong?
That's what older sisters do right?
Especially after all the grief they've given me about my premature grays.
I forgot about a couple of recent finds that i'm completely loving
so let's add on to the list from yesterday ok?
I found a new Tracy Anderson video one day on amazon.
It found me really.
Does it creep anybody else out when websites make suggestions to you
based on your browsing history?
In this case I was ok with it though since I LOVE me some Tracy Anderson.
Her new Method Express is OFF. THE. CHART. AWESOME.
Broken down into six - ten minute workouts
she wastes no time in getting down to business.
Translation you're gonna sweat and your heart is going to pound.
I'm addicted.
Wish I could say that same about sticking to a "diet"
but that's a four letter I can never get behind.
Can't have it all I guess.
I've been indulging in a little retail therapy.
This little tunic may be on its way to my house.
This look is so me its not even funny.
I've been called the t-shirt queen because I love nothing better
than shorts or jeans and a t-shirt.
Glamorous I know.
At least its not an In-&-Out t-shirt.
Because when my babies were little that's all I would wear.
Did I ever share that one of my husband's so called friends
gave us every  In-&-Out t-shirt and sweatshirt that was in existence
at the time we married and how I thought it was the worst gift ever.
Until I had kids.
I didn't care who threw up, spat up, or messed up on those shirts.
They were the best.
But now I've moved on to little bit nicer t-shirts.
In my humble opinion.
Love me some Lands End and Loft lately.
Can I also just say,
for those of you who love to look at catalogs,
is it just me or are places like J Crew and Lands End
not just hitting it out of the park for kids lately?
Next time you're perusing those catalogs or websites
look at the kids sections and tell me you wouldn't wear some of it.
Don't think I haven't checked the sizing charts
to see if I could squeeze myself in to a child's XL.
Alas...not on your life but I had to try.
While I'm confessing these too may arrive shortly...
Super cute.
Blue and white.
Under $40.
How could I not?
Lands End is great by the way
because of their great sales,
free shipping over $50,
and free returns at certain Sears stores.
Make sure you sign up for their emails
to get frequent codes sent to you.
I usually sign in to my account,
put things on my saved list
and then wait for a promo code.
{She said to the hubs who's favorite word is budget.}
So that's what I bought recently but here's what I'm wanting to buy...

You know I love me some World Market
and these accent tables are making me happy.
No, I don't need one
but wouldn't they be cute
to put outside and rest a drink on
or put your feet up for a little siesta?
They're having 15% off outdoors until 4/26
with the code "SUNNYDAYS"
Somebody grab one or two and let's have a party outside.
I'll be right over with a margarita machine.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

happiness is a choice

Thank y'all so much for your kind words,
both in the comment section
and by email
and in "real" life.
In the midst of all this I,
 my whole family really,
have been blown away by the love
that has been shown to us recently.
Thank you.
{insert happy kissy face emoji here}
My husband and I use a certain analogy with our kids
when we talk about our immediate family of five.
We talk about us as a family being in a boat
and each of us has to do our part
in rowing the boat to get to where we're going.
If one person isn't doing their best,
isn't getting along with others,
maybe doesn't have the most positive of outlooks
then we're not moving the boat forward.
Honestly I feel like I'm in a boat by myself right now.
I know I'm not even paddling.
I don't know if I want to move one inch right now.
You remember how my husband made the comment
about things happening in threes?
Unfortunately they did.
One great aunt passed.
Then a friend, someone I looked up to very much.
The life span of these three ladies was from 22 to 90.
I'm trying to digest all this but simply, it sucks.
You know that.
I know that.
Although I'm not sure which way to paddle
I know my family is with me,
my sweet gaggle of guys,
and I know my friends are surrounding me
in boats of their own.
I know they're all tugging the lines to make sure
I don't get too far out to sea.
I know this for sure.
I know none of these women who passed recently
would want us to sit around and be sad.
I'm thankful, as one minister said at one of the funerals,
that none of them are in pain any more
but knowing that we still have to grieve
for it is only human to do so.
I'm desperate though for change right now.
I want the happenings of this past month to,
oh how I hope this does,
it simply must really,
change my heart in certain ways.
I'm going to save my translation of that for another day.
Today though, I'm choosing happiness.
At least I'm telling myself happiness is a choice
and its mine to choose so try I will.
This thought came to me last night
when I couldn't sleep and I was watching tv.
There's a new guy in late night tv
and he was doing a countdown list of sorts.
He made me smile in fact...
so herewith are five things that make me happy...
I love it.
He's funny, self deprecating, he's not afraid to do stuff differently.
Plus he has a British accent.
I'm an Anglophile.
I'm in.
Catch it on CBS at 12:30 am...or DVR it and watch it the next day.
I think he'll make you smile too.
2. Paisley.

Specifically from Target.
I would have deemed Target number two but
I'm not so happy with them right now...
I love their collaboration efforts
but why don't they make more stuff
instead of making it a feeding frenzy every time
they roll out a new joint effort
because it seems they never make enough to satisfy the demand.
I've never seen things last beyond 24 hours in store or online.
Have you?
The latest case in point...Lily Pulitzer.
The only thing left "Lily" in my regular store was
the ad sign hanging above the front door.
Everything else - gone girl gone.
Oh well, I didn't need a new shift dress anyway.
Although I wouldn't have turned it down either ;)
Back to happy though...
I love it.
If that wasn't enough Target also has this paisley perfection...
Makes me think master bedroom reno is in order.
3. Beauty products.

Yes, they make me happy.
If that's wrong I don't want to be right.
Couple of new products I've tried lately...
holds hair, resists humidity, not crunchy.
enough said.
I got a super sample somewhere...probably from Sephora
since I'm a sucker for their promo codes.
But it just sat in my makeup drawers
since I love my regular Ole Henriksen and
But then I got low on each and before I could reorder
I pulled out said sample.
What took me so long?
This stuff is incredible.
It had better be since its a bit pricey...
if I find a good deal on it I'll let you know.
Not that I'm giving up my other loves...
I don't know about you but I'm not going down without a fight...
I just slather on one at a time and allow for a little drying time
for everything to sink in before applying another.
It take a village doesn't it?
And multiple products :)
 4. Cooking shows make me happy.
I'm hoping one day something occurs through osmosis
and I become a better cook than I am now.
I love the Pioneer Woman and have this recipe for
breakfast quesadillas bookmarked on my computer.
Other favs are Barefoot Contessa and Extra Virgin with Debi Mazar.
Who used to be a makeup artist/actress in Hollywood.
I love that she's like a chameleon and had so many careers.
5. Blogs

As you can see from my lengthy blog roll
reading blogs makes me happy.
I've been pretty bad about leaving comments
on other blogs lately
and responding to those of you kind enough
to leave one here on my blog
but please know I am going to try to rectify that
and that I appreciate you taking the time to do so.
Even my own sisters don't leave comments here...
they text me instead and I'm not sure why...
maybe they'll leave me a comment to defend themselves. :)
Now that...that would make me happy indeed :)
See...I'm smiling already.
Hope something on this list made you smile
or feel free to share your personal faves in the comments below.
I eagerly await fresh finds.
The thought of which makes me happy with anticipation.
Thanks in advance :) 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

the way it was

I've been trying to make myself post for a week now.
I keep seeing things to post about but they seem trivial in a way.
Plus I feel like I need to address the obvious.
Sitting here I can only think of how I would give anything
to go back to the way it was three weeks ago.
Make that four.
Four weeks ago was great from what I recollect.
But somewhere between then and now
has pushed us into a place I don't like,
not one tiny cotton picking bit.
 Last month started out "normal" what ever that is.
I knew the end of March would bring
the anniversary of the death of a sweet friend of mine.
I think of her often but
I thought about her all day that day.
I made sure we played "Fly Me to the Moon"
and we danced and sang in her honor.
Then a blogger I follow,
a young mom of four,
passed away after a battle with cancer.
She shared back in December their decision to start hospice care.
It still took my breath away when I read the words of her passing.
Weirdly enough this was at the dinner table.
My husband asked me why I gasped out loud.
I told him and he made a comment
about how things like this come in threes.
I thought somehow that the week would get better.
It did not.
We got a text with news that I hoped would never come.
Someone dear to us started hospice at home.
Immediately we volunteered our guest apartment
to our friends for their family or guests to stay in.
It may not sound like much
but for me it was all I could think to do.
I didn't know how to help our friends,
no covered dish or card was going to help ease their journey.
But I could open my home to let their family be close
but still giving them privacy.
The guest room had been on my to do list forever.
Just never enough time or money to do it the way I wanted.
Suddenly it moved to the top of the list.
 My sweet friend Laura went with me
on a mission to update the room
which we did in a whirlwind 24 hour turnaround,
the likes of which I'd never done before.
She was a trooper I have to tell you.
I couldn't think at all.
I'd just look at her and she'd help me
figure out things that normally
would just roll right out my mouth.
We did this on a Monday.
By Tuesday the room was ready.
 I love you Laura.
I thought that would be the hardest thing I did all week.
Two days later our world changed.
It still doesn't seem real
but everything in us hurts
so I know its true.

One afternoon as I was walking to pick our boys up at school
my phone started ringing.
I have a wildly loud obnoxious ring on my phone.
Piano riff.
I quickly saw it was one of my brothers in law.
I didn't answer it because at school pickup there are hundreds of people.
Its not really the time or place to talk on the phone.
I put it back in my pocket and told myself to remember to call him later.
I grabbed one kid and was walking to get the others.
The phone rang again.
This time a different in law.
Strange I thought.
Maybe she's in town too.
I thought it was all about going to dinner together.
I rounded up all my boys and started walking to the car.
Then I heard the text ring a ding.
I looked at the words and only really saw one.
I called my husband.
I changed his life with my message.
His goddaughter, our niece, had been in a car accident.
Call your brother I said.

The next hour was a whirl wind of phone calls.
Snippets of news from various brothers.
My husband rushed home.
He had been given the number of the emergency room doctor.
We sent our kids upstairs to watch tv as he dialed the number.
We both listened as the doctor listed her injuries.
I only understood broken hips, multiple facial fractures.
My husband is a doctor.
He knew too much.
He hung up the phone looking absolutely gutted.
I said its pretty bad huh.
It shocked me when he said "it would be better if she died tonight."
I got so mad and told him he wasn't God, he didn't know.
He said "Nancy, I heard every word that doctor said.
You may not have understood it but she is brain dead."
They were prepping her for life flight.
She was flown to a trauma hospital near Waco.
I went outside not knowing what to do.
I called my friend Joyce.
I was crying so hard.
She kept telling me to stop, calm down, talk slow.
I was trying to ask her to help me send our friends an email.
I didn't know what we were going to do with our kids.
She said "I'll be there in ten minutes."
In less than that she was there.
Her first words were "GO!"
We grabbed some stuff and left.
Right at rush hour.
It took us over two hours to get out of Houston.
The longest two hours I can ever remember.
We were each in our own little worlds in that car.
My husband angry at the traffic between us and her.
I was just silently wishing what he said wasn't true.
As the sun was setting I finally noticed the sky.

There was a distinct line across the sky.
Like a clear division between heaven and earth.
A few minutes later I looked up again.

It is hard to see from this picture but right above the road we're on,
up in the sky there was one little cloud
that was catching and reflecting the light of the sun.
The only cloud doing this in a cloud filled sky that evening.
Just one.
I think she's gone I whispered to my husband.
I think so too he said.

We finally got to her bedside in the ICU around ten that night.
I can still see her now.
Her petite little person, barely five feet tall.
Her wavy brown hair still with a braid off to her left side.
She was on a ventilator, machines beeping.
Briefly I was taken back to our boys' stay in the NICU.
Remembering the sounds of their time there.
This was no place I ever thought we'd be again.
Not with someone so young.
She was a beautiful being.
She wanted to be a nun.
Even right out of high school.
The convent she wanted to join urged her take some time,
to experience "real" life first.
She worked summers at an ice cream shop,
graduated college in three years,
was deeply religious and faithful and true.
I became her aunt by marriage when she was barely ten.
She read from I Corinthians during our ceremony.
She was extraordinary.
She was petite.
She was a giant.

Over the next twelve hours the kind hospital workers
prepared my brother and sister in law for the worst.
They graciously and lovingly took care of their first baby girl.
Throughout the night family and friends arrived.
Both of my niece and her family.
There must have been at least thirty young college students
there in the packed waiting room.
Parents of her friends arrived too.
Throughout the night they ran tests
to confirm that there was nothing that could be done.
I think they were giving family time to let reality sink in.
No one slept but rather kept watch on the doors
leading into the ICU.
Two would go in, two would come out, two new would go back.
It was like a dance of people who loved her.
Each going in so hopeful,
coming out in sorrow.

My sister-in-law was incredibly strong that night.
A mother warrior standing tall like an iron rod.
Only in the wee hours of the next morning,
when the medical team as a whole did morning rounds,
did she bend over at her middle,
hands on her knees,
tears in her throat,
to say that they had decided to turn off the machines.
She generously and graciously suggested that if anyone wanted
to go say goodbye they should do it now at that moment.
The whole room of fifty plus people moved as one.
We all went through the doors we had stared at
and passed in and out of throughout the night to see her
and filed into her room that was as tiny as she was.

For the next hour we all stood at her bedside.
The only sounds in the room were the machines
and the occasional ruffle of tissues and sniffles.
A nurse came in to explain what would happen next
as the machines were turned off.
She went quickly after that.
No alarms sounded but a doctor and two witnesses
came in and made their pronouncements.
Her friends then all left so the family could have privacy.
followed by the parents of some of her friends.
Next her grandparents.
Then her uncles and aunts.
My husband didn't want to say good bye.
He didn't want it to be his turn.
I told him he'd regret it all the days of his life.
He was in a pained way I'd never seen before.
I had to physically push his body toward her bed
where he bent over and kissed her forehead.
I squeezed her hand and kissed her cheek as I whispered in her ear.
I asked her to be an angel to our boys.
I told her I knew she already was one.
We left her siblings and her parents alone with her.

For a while the crowd that had gathered by her bedside
now was outside her room,
none of us knowing where to go next.
Our only thoughts were to get home to our boys.
We wanted to tell them in person.
We made it in time to pick them up from school.
We waited until we got home even though
they kept repeating questions about how she was.
My mini-me knew.
He kept asking if she was ____ but he never said the word.
Finally we got home and sat them down.
We told them there was a car accident.
We didn't know the details then.
We told them we couldn't explain anything,
only that she was gone.
We all sat there and cried together.

A short time after, my sweet peep Joyce
called to say she had something for us.
We went outside to wait for her
where the sweet sunshine of spring
kissed our foreheads and somehow, at least for me,
made it seem like she was watching us from above.
Joyce pulled up and jumped out with a bag
of five pints of ice cream.
You didn't have enough while I was here last night.
You only had one little pint she joked.
Your kids need more dang it.
Aren't girlfriends the best?
Mine sure are.
They fed us every day and night for over a week.
My boys kept saying "Mom, you have the best FRIENDS ever!"
Boy don't I know it.
Joyce reminded us that it had been report card day
and she shared that what they do
on report card days is a reverse dinner...
or in other words dessert first
or in their case sometimes dessert only :)
My husband and I just looked at each other.
Done we thought.
Going forward we're going to honor
the day of our niece's passing
with reverse dinner - ice cream for every body.
She would have loved that.


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