Wednesday, October 31, 2012

happy birthday, mama!

My sassy mama celebrated her birthday today!
I won't tell her age because a true Southern lady never reveals that.
My mama raised me on her own & still managed to sit down at the table with me
every night & eat supper. She taught me the value of a dollar and the meaning of hard work.
And she taught me to love Jesus & to have a kind heart that's willing to help others.
She has sacrified a lot for me - in the past year especially -
and I'll always be so very grateful for that.
But she's more than "just" a mama.
She's a really fun Mawmaw to two beautiful little girls.
They worship the ground she walks on!
She's a good mama-in-law to my husband
and she's always been there for us.
Even when I came home one night & told her I'd turned my notice in at work -
and I was moving to England.
So, yeah, she didn't talk to me for a few days -
but eventually she gathered her wits and saw me off...
I would say gracefully, except it really wasn't. ;)
But a year & a half later she flew to the other side of the world
(or so it felt)
and ran down the terminal hall, pushing people out of her way, to grab me.
One of my best memories.
Hers was the first face I remember when I woke up from my coma.
She was singing "You Are My Sunshine"...
I don't ever want to forget how much I love her.

These are the only two pictures I can find on this computer, but they're great.
Her world revolves around these two & they know it. Haha!
Dear Mama,
Even though you are sassy and so down to earth and to the point
(which is the only thing we'veever argued about, lol)
you have taught me so much about life.
More than you'll ever know that you taught me.
Thank you for giving up everything and putting your own life on hold this past year
to help me and my little family recuperat, get back on our feet
& figure out how to adjust to our new life.
Thanks for letting us invade your home for the past 9 months!
But most of all, thank you from the very bottom of my heart
for being my mama. I wouldn't trade you for a million dollars. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

happy birthday, michael!

31 years ago today, my mother-in-law Kelly welcomed her  first & only into this world.
I wouldn't meet him until June 8, 2005, when he was 23.
We were married on December 23, 2005 (he was 24 & I was 20).
That seems like forever ago & it seems like we were only babies then!
Right after we were married -- around 2006 in Oxford, England
Summer 2008 -- Sara's first trip t the beach -- and our first trip as parents!
He's always been an amazing father,hands down. No doubt about it.
He loves his girls with all of his heart & no one can dispute that!
At the Ronald McDonald house in Orlando when June was in the NICU.
He loves to fish, and he's pretty good at it!
He proudly serves his country in the USAF and will be deploying early next year.
I don't know what the future holds for either one of us
ut Iknow that He holds our future in His hands...
His blessed hands.

Re-enlisting under the flag at Childrens
with our baby girl fighting in the hospital behind us.
Proud doesn't begin to describe.
 The morning after I delivered June Claire.

Today we were able to spend a little family time together apart from chemo,
and tonight I made chili and his favorite dessert for supper.
He LOVES dirt cake & although he says I get better at it every time,
I know I haven't quite mastered it yet.
One day I hope to make it like his Grandma makes it for him.

Dear Michael,
I am so thankful to have spent the past 7 years with you.
We've had our ups & downs,
fall-ins & fall-outs,
You've put your foot down & I've stomped mine a lot.
But you have always been my best friend
the one I could count on
the one I could run to
the one I could cry to
You have been there for me the last year in a way that I never imagined.
I'll never forget you walking into the hospital room
and showing me that you'd shaved your head because mine was starting to go bald.
No matter where this road takes us...
no matter wat rivers and borders separate us...
where you go, I will go
and where you plant, I will bloom.

Monday, October 29, 2012

easy days & good food....and a little diva

Hey ya'll!
I hope ya'll are having a great day!
I'm officially feeling much netter. I am sooo happy to be "back"...and so is my family!
We had a very lazy wekend. Saturday we just laid around & relaxed. Mike grilled steaks, cabbage, & potatoes - if you have never had griled cabbage you haaave to try it. Same with corn on the cob. I will never ever boil either one again. With cabbage, you pour olive oil over the top, season with salt &; pepper, and wrap aluminium foil over it. With corn, you can either spray with Pam or put a litle dab of butter, season with italian seasonings & wrap in aluminum foil. Super easy & packed with flavor.

Today was day 11 of my LAST 20 day cycle of chemo!
SO thankful. Ya'll have nooo idea. But it's scary at the same time.
Because, naturally, while one is on chemo, cancer stays away.
But what happens if it comes back when the chemo stops?
I'm trusting & believing & PRAYING with all of my might that I'll be declared

I snapped this picture before we ran out the door this morning.
It looks like Sara is squeezing the mess out of June but both girls were laughing hysterically.
It's so sweet to wake up to their sweetness every morning!
On Mondays we have dance -- Sara at 4 & June Claire at 5:45.
We raced home from chemo to throw them together & get them there in time.
I made lasagna for supper and I love quick and easy meals like that.
Little miss June is at the age where she is constantly testing us.
At the supper table her daddy reminded her to sit in her chair until she was "all done".
Apparently, she likes to march to the beat from her own drum because quick as lightening,
she waved her fork at him as a princess would a sceptor and said,
Which translates to "Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo!" in June-ese.
She was casting a magical,magical spell on her daddy before he could think twice!
She's also learned to pitch fits (as we say here in the South) & at least five times a day I hear
one foot stomping
two feet stomping
23ish pounds jumping up and down
"I 'ONT WANT" (I don't want to)
Aaah. You can often hear ME saying...
"If she'd have been the first, she'd have been the LAST!"


Saturday, October 27, 2012




This week has been rough.
Hands down one of the worst weeks I've had, health-wise, in a long time.
I got sick Sunday with an awful migraine, was sick on into the morning on Monday,
and my doctor was so concerned that he sent me for a CT scan to rule out another stroke.
That was scary.
But, the test results came out to say that it is "just" a cyst on my sinuses.
However, it feels like someone is beating my head against a cinder block!
Not until today have I had much relief.
I see an ENT on Wednesday & hopefully will have a clear idea of what to do then.
I owe my sisters a HUGE thank you for caring for me & the girls this week while
Mike was away & I was sick.
Sara went to stay with my oldest sister in Huntsville, and June & I stayed
with my two younger sisters here.
I don't know WHAT I would have done without them.
I have all these projects that I need to do, I don't have time to be sick!
But I have hope that tomorrow will be a little easier. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

my mawmaw

Lord knows I've tried to write this post more than a few times.
Forgive me if it's jumbled.
My last post was October 17
saying that my grandmother was in her last days.
I had no idea my phone would ring an hour later
with my oldest sister saying she was on her way to get me
and we were heading to the nursing home where my grandmother was.
About 10 minutes from our destination,
we got the call.
You know -- the one no one wants to get.
"Slow down," my daddy wanted us to know.
"She's no longer with us."
I NEVER thought those words would hit me as hard as they did.
I'm gonna be REAL here.
I didn't have the relationship with my grandmother that my other cousins did.
Ya'll may not know it, but I didn't meet her until I was 17 years old.
I'll never forget that day.
I arrived at her house, with all of my paternal family there (that I had never met)
and when I got out of the truck,
this tiny, 4'10, no-more-than-100-pounds-dripping-wet
woman rushed at me, grabbed me tight, with tears running down her face,
and said one of the most blessed things I've ever heard.
"You look just like a Maynard. You look just like your daddy! Oh, I am so happy to meet you!"
She, along with the rest of them, have never treated me any differently.
But because of that delayed meeting, and me getting married 3 years later & moving off,
I felt like I just wasn't as close to her as others were.
When I found out she was fading fast, I told my mom that I was okay and that
I really just wanted to be there for my sisters & daddy.
But that night, after I hung up the phone, I laid back in the seat and bawled my eyes out.
So many wasted years.
So many missed chances of memories.
For a long time, I didn't see my paternal family.
I was stupid, and young.
But yet they still treated me like I'd been there all along.
The family was given some time to stay with her before the funeral home took her body.
My aunts kissed her, we grieved, then my Aunt Pam tucked her in one last time.
The funeral was this past Saturday.
So hard.
There's just no words to explain that feeling.
We sat through the service,
some choking back tears, others breaking down in shattered pieces.
Rev. Jay Woodall put it simply:
Our hearts were busted slam open.
We crossed the road to the graveside, prayed one last time,
and us granddaughters laid our roses on her casket.
The sound of tears and heartache gave way to light chatter
as people gave their condolences.
"She's in a better place."
"she's with Pawpaw now."
"No more sufering."
"She has a new body."
"She's where we want to be."
But can I be selfish for a moment?

I want her back. I want her to teach me her favorite recipes.
I want her to share stories of her life as a new wife & mother to six.
I want her to get down in the floor to play with my girls like she did my little cousins.
I want to go back to that day when I bought Sara to meet her for the first time.
Mawmaw LOVED babies. Even the day before she passed she just stared at my girls
like she was in Heaven on Earth.
But most of ALL, I want to go back to that first meeting and say --
"Mawmaw, I love you too. I'm so happy today to meet you."
Don't EVER let a single, precious moment of life slip by you.
You don't ever know when it's going to be changed or taken from you.
I was blessed to have two wonderful grandmothers who taught me a LOT.
All of my grandparents are gone now, and I am so sad.
I will FOREVER be grateful for that wonderful visit we had on October 16,
knowing it might be our last but not really expecting it that soon.
She tried to say she loved us, she reached up and grabbed my sisters shirt,
she held our hands, she tried to smile, she watched the girls like they were just precious,
and little Juenbug gave her a kiss that I swear made her day.
This is the last picture we have, it's when she reached up to gab my oldest sister
Elizabeth's shirt -- something she hadn't been able to do & we never expected.

This is not how I want to remember her, but I'm thankful for this picture.
Please keep our family in your prayers, we'll appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

no words

This women right here is my Mawmaw.
My daddy's mother.
She has been going downhill for a while,
had a troke late Monday & will only be with us for a short while longer.
A short while longer.
It seems so strange to say those words.
We had an amazing visit with her yesterday where she was able to respond to us
but today is a different story.
Please be in prayer for my family as we mourn for ourselves.
I'm not mourning for her.
She is ready to go home to be with Jesus and my Pawpaw.
Pray that her passing is easy as can be and that she remains comfortable 'til then.
Mawmaw....we all love you a whole lot.
We'll never forget the memories we have of you
and we'll make sure to tell the babies all of them so they'll know you, too.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sara's 5th birthday party!

This past Saturday was Sara's birthday party!
We waited an extra week because her little cousin
Gracelyn was coming up from Mississippi and
Sara decided she wanted Gracelyn to be there.
I was thankful because Gracelyn's mama, April, does cakes
and she was a HUGE help and made the cake.
She showed me a few things so now hopefully MY cakes
will start looking a little better.
(No comments from the peanut gallery!)

This is the cake. I think it turned out SO cute! 

Theone lone picture I got of the decorations.
I didn't go all out like I've been known to in the past --
simple is my new motto (or is it just laziness?)
Anyhow -- it still turned out cute & the weather
was GORGEOUS so we were able to have it outside.
I'm all birthday partied out and I'm GLAD I don't have another childs birthday
 party to plan until April.
 But who am I kidding??
I'm already planning that one!
 Minnie Mouse anyone? :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sara Faith turned FIVE on Saturday.
F I V E!
Where in the world has thet ime gone?
We had a really great day -- went with the family
to the Wild Animal Safari Park in Warm Springs, GA.
If you've never been, Pine Mountain/Warm Springs is a really cool little place.
Lots of great shops, amazing food (if you go -- try the Bulloch House!)
and just a cool family atmosphere.
The rare family photo of us --
curly boy hair that I STILL haven't figured out how to handle.

My two younger sisters with the girls.
I couldn't resisit sharing this photo because Sara was SO tired!
It was the end of the trip, she was ill & ready to stop taking pictures.

Clearly you can see she is ready to stop taking pictures!
She loves these cowgirl boots.
I can barely get her to wear anything else!
The family just before leaving.
My dad, Cade, Tiffany, Sara, baby sister Allie, little sister Kayla, June Claire & Michael. 

June Claire was SO excited she kept trying to climb out the window! 

She got to pet and feed a of the best parts of the day! 

Mama & baby zebra.
<3 br="br">
No clue what this animal was, 
but he totally resembled lf from the old school TV show! 

Her actual party is this Saturday & I can't WAIT to shae pictures.:))
Dear Sara,
Happy FIFTH birthday to you! I can hardly believe it. You are my first true love, my pride & joy, and my beautiful baby girl. You have grown so much this year. You're a little spitfire & I love it. You say the funniest things -- like asking Uncle Sonny if he wants an uppercut, telling some random person at church we migt not make it home because we may run out of gas (yes, YOU DID THIS!), etc. You are my big helper, too. Especially since I came homefrom the hospital. You will ask if there'sa nything you can do for me and when I was first getting around you would ask me if you could hold my hand andhelp me so I wouldn't fall. You still do that sometimes. I think your favorite foods are peanut butter pie, mac & cheese, grilled cheese,Mexican, and green bean caserole. You do NOT like tomatoes, but that's okay because I'm iffy on them, too.You are a GREAAT big sissy and you love your little issy to death. You're really into playing house. Youlove the though of school, but when we sit down to actually do your work you're not so hot on it.
I think my best memory from this year would be getting to see you and your sister again on January 16th. I hadn't seen you since November 21 of the previous year because I had been in the hospital. I could barely even see you because my eyes were so damaged. They wouldn't let ya'll come past the front waiting area so they wheeled me out there and you just sat in my lap and snuggled up to me. Best feeling ever.
Every Sunday someone would bring ya'll up and we would visit in the lunch area.
I lived for those days.
Baby love, I don't know what this year brings us. You know I've been really sick and we just never know what the good Lord has in store for us. I want you to always know that your mama loves you more than ANYTHING else in this world. You are such a beautiful child and I don't everwant you to forget that. If you work hard,set goals and accomplish them, you will succeed. I'm not saying there won't' be struggles. Everyone will always have struggles, and no matter how serious yours are compared to theirs, it doesn't mean theirs aren't hard for them. I love you so, so much!