Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Rollercoaster Of Life

When I was a little girl, I always dreamed of having a big family.  I loved playing at my friends' houses that had lots of brothers and sisters.  I loved reading stories about big families.   And I was always attracted to TV shows like The Brady Bunch and The Waltons where there was lots of love and always something going on.  There were three kids in my family and Steve has a brother and three sisters.   We both love kids, so we were definitely in agreement that we wanted to have a house full.  And, guess what?  God blessed us with four beautiful children and I got that big, busy family that I always dreamed of! One of the things no one ever tells you about, though, is just HOW busy you will really be with lots of kids and a big family!  Even when they are all grown up!

Not only do we have lots of kids of our own, but most of our extended family lives here in Charlotte and that is a lot of people, believe me.  Plus, we have a big church that we grew up in where we know lots of people. We are also close with our neighbors, our co-workers, and friends we have known since childhood.  At times, it seems like our circle of relationships is very large.   And when you have lots of people in your life, you have all the joy and fun and support and love that goes along with that, but you also have all the struggle and heartache and worry that comes from loving others and wanting the best for them.  Anyway...all this is just to say that over the past two months, my life has literally been such a roller coaster of ups and downs with family and friends that it has been one of those kinds of times where you are just hanging on for the ride and staying on your knees a lot just asking God for help and wisdom and thanking Him for all the joy, too.

Let me go back to February, which is where I left off in my last post.  After all our snow days, we went back to school and work and started trying to get back into a routine.  I don't know if I mentioned this before, but since last summer, my mom has been having trouble speaking clearly.  She seemed to have a permanent case of laryngitis and was slurring her words.  She saw several doctors trying to get some answers, but no one could seem to figure out what the problem was.  So, in late February, she finally went to a neurologist who told her the news that she most likely has bulbar palsy, which is form of ALS that effects your speaking and the muscles above the shoulders. Eventually it spreads and ultimately leads to death. It was a devastating diagnosis.  There is no treatment and no cure for ALS.  There is still a 5% chance that it could be something else such as thyroid issues, so we are still praying for that. I would really appreciate your prayers, too, if you think about it.  Somebody has to be in that 5% and she has had lots of thyroid issues in the past, so it is not too far fetched for that to be her problem!  I blogged about my mom on her birthday one year and talked about how she is a wonderful mother, grandmother, preacher's wife, and friend.  I am praying every day that somehow she will be spared from this terrible disease.  But if she isn't, I know God will give us the strength to get through it and we will still praise Him anyway.  We have been blessed so much in our life.  If I never got another blessing from God, it would be enough already!

In February, we also got to celebrate two of my most precious blessings....David and Caroline!  Their birthdays are two days apart.  David turned three and Caroline turned one.  David had a little party with his friends.

And then they had a family party at home together.

We were excited that Uncle Mark got to come home from Washington to help celebrate!

They make me happy every single day and bring so much joy to our lives.  It was a fun day with them!

February was over before we knew it and it was March.  Lindy was about to fly to Boston with a friend for the weekend to see Laura when she started doubling over in pain with a kidney stone.  We ended up in the ER.  She got tons of medicine, a few shots in her behind, and had to send her friend, Melissa, off to Boston by herself.  THAT was a fun weekend.  Bless her heart.  She was in so much pain and so disappointed at the same time.  Uuuugghhh!!

I had so much going on at school in March.  It was one of those months where I stayed late lots of days, did report cards, graded school projects and just tried to juggle everything in the midst of being preoccupied with thinking about my mom and Lindy and Ashley's baby coming.  One of Mark's best friends also had some really, really hard things happen during March.  He is like a son to us and my heart has just been going out to him and his family.  We love them and are just praying for them every day.  School is hard to do when you have so much to think about at home!

But one of the BEST parts about March was Laura coming home for the weekend and getting to go to the mountains with our neighbors.  They have a house in Boone and it is so relaxing to go up there and just hang out together.  You can almost feel your blood pressure going down!

We ate at Woodlands Barbeque, one of our favorites...

Enjoyed the peace and quiet and some good fellowship with friends...

(Some of Laura's roommates from college stayed with us, plus our neighbor Kelsey...)

Drank our coffee out on the porch overlooking the mountains...

Did some hiking...

Ate at Our Daily Bread in Boone for lunch (which we love!)...

We also shopped and played corn hole and watched basketball and sat around the kitchen table talking in the mornings.  That weekend was so nice.  I was so thankful for good friends and down time.

It was sad watching Laura and Lindy say goodbye to each other at the airport.  They love each other so much!

In the meantime, we attended a 25th surprise anniversary party for Steve's sister and her husband...

And gave our bedroom a makeover...

We didn't get to see Mark for his birthday, sadly.  He couldn't make it home.  But we sent him lots of birthday wishes and a care package.

Three days after Mark's birthday...on March 28th, Ashley had another little boy...John William Scott (Will).  He weighed 6 lbs. 12 oz.  She called us at 5:15 on that Friday morning and said they were headed into the hospital.  He was born at 7:45!  I had a Fun Run at school that day that I needed to go to, so right after it was over, we headed up to the hospital.

He is literally the sweetest baby I think I have ever seen!  He just sleeps so good and never fusses.  He is absolutely precious and we are all so in love with him!!

In the meantime, the weather has gotten beautiful.  The trees and flowers are blooming and pollen is literally EVERYWHERE...

Lindy got a job that she LOVES at a little boutique called Fab'rik and I am so happy for her!

We have been watching lots of NCAA basketball, and Friday night, Steve, Lindy, and I all worked at Joy Prom, one of our favorite nights of the year. You might have heard me talk about it before.  Here is a link that will show you what it is all about.

Unfortunately, yesterday, Ashley got a kidney stone!! 

It is so crazy that Lindy got one last month, and now Ashley has one!  She was in so much pain and had to go to the ER, so Lindy and I went over to stay with the kids.  It was so windy yesterday and I had been playing outside with David, so my hair is crazy!  Haha!

Anyway...needless to say, our life has been a whirlwind, rollercoaster, up and down crazy ride these past few months.  It wouldn't make me sad for everything to calm down a little bit!

But I am blessed.  I have family and friends and I have so many good things in my life.  Even with all it's craziness!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Weekend

We had a good weekend.  Lindy and I woke up on Saturday morning and went to our new favorite place, Toast, for brunch.  It is funny because last Sunday we went there right after Steve left for Portland, and then we ended the week there again while we were waiting for him to get home.

Steve finally made it home from Phoenix on Saturday afternoon.  I was so happy to see him.  He left last Sunday and was in Portland most of the week, but then he got stuck in Phoenix on his way back because of the snow and couldn't get home.  It seemed like a long week without him!

Since we didn't get to celebrate Valentine's Day on Friday, we went out on Saturday night.  He always treats me like a queen.  We went out to dinner at Bricktops and then went for dessert at a little place downtown.  It was such a nice night.

Yesterday we went to church and then Ashley asked if we could keep David and Caroline for a little while.  They are the sweetest things and we love spending time with them.  We fixed them lunch and then took them to the mall for a little while.  We played on the little indoor playground and went to the Disney store.  They are just fun to hang out with.  (And adorable and kissable, too.)

This weekend I ran across several blog posts that were so good.  I love the blog world because there are some really good writers out there who are able to communicate things that I think so many people are going through.  And they do it so well!  Anyway...this was one of the best things I've read in a while on being a mom of older kids.  It was called Dear Lonely Mom of Older Kids.   I would have said the exact same things as she did if I could write this well! hit the nail on the head!

This is the last day of my super long break!  I have been so spoiled.  I am about to spend the rest of the day just enjoying the sunshine and having fun before it's back to reality tomorrow!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

It's A Marshmallow World

Well, Snowmaggedon actually DID come to Charlotte!  It has snowed and snowed and SNOWED!  It snowed the most I can remember in a really long time!  We got about 10 inches total here.  We had three straight days of at least an inch or more of snow and we haven't had that in 136 years here!

It was so pretty and I enjoyed every minute of it.  I was sad that Steve wasn't here, though.  He couldn't get back from Portland because all the flights into Charlotte were cancelled all day.  And it is looking like he won't be able to get back tomorrow either.  His flight is booked for Saturday morning.  Boo!!!

So, it has just been Lindy and me over the past few days.  But, we have been having fun together! Yesterday we went out for a little while to go on a walk.  It was sleeting while we were out and the sleet was pelting us in the face so we didn't stay out too long.  Haha!

We started putting a puzzle together....

and we made a snowman today.

We have been visiting with our neighbors and have been watching lots of Netflix and Olympics.  We made a roast in our crock pot all day yesterday and the house smelled so good.  Then we had some snow cream for dessert!

Tonight, we are making taco soup and I may bake some cookies for dessert.  Then we are meeting up with our neighbors to play cards and go sledding!

Today I found a neat app called Waterlogue and it turns your picture into a watercolor.  I tried it on a picture of my house in the snow and loved it!

It almost looks like something you could frame!

Tomorrow it is supposed to be warmer and I am sure the snow and ice will melt a lot.  It has been such a nice few days.  I feel so blessed to have this unexpected break!  I love snow days! :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Snowy Day

Well, apparently "Snowmageddon" is on it's way to Charlotte tomorrow.  It started snowing here this morning and it didn't stop the whole day.  We got out of school at noon and my kids were totally beside themselves they were so excited!  This is what it looked like out of my window at school early this morning.

We weren't the only school to get out early, so it took me over an hour to get home because the traffic was c-razy!!

My neighborhood was so pretty today.  I love living here because it is very wooded and it really looks beautiful in every season!  I know lots of people don't love winter, but I think winter has a certain beauty to it.  I am so glad I live somewhere that has distinct seasons!

Once I finally made it home, Lindy and I ran some errands together before the streets got too icy.

We stocked up on some yummy snow day food and I mailed my Valentine's Day packages to Mark and Laura.  I am just hoping Steve can make it home from Portland on Thursday.  We are supposed to get about 5-8 inches of snow here with a layer of ice on top tomorrow!  I don't think we will make it back to school this week.  I have never missed a Valentine's Day at school before but I don't think the roads will be safe on Friday.

Speaking of Valentine's Day, I walked out of my house yesterday and the sky was seriously SO pink!!

It was still pretty dark outside, so this is not the best quality.  But I thought it looked like a valentine! :)

Anyway...I am planning on watching some movies and doing some reading and watching the Olympics over the next few days.

Have you been watching the Olympics?  I have to admit, even though I am pulling for the USA, I thought this story  about Alex Bilodeau from Canada was so sweet and inspiring!

And, I think the commercials during the Olympics are even better than the ones during the Super Bowl! My favorite is the Procter and Gamble one about moms.  I think all moms can relate to it.

I was so sad today to hear that Shirley Temple died.  She was the cutest thing and looked so much like my mom did when she was a little girl.

I just love her wholesome movies and I love that she was a public servant and that even though she was a child star and famous, she stayed married to her husband for 55 years!

I am off to enjoy my night knowing I can sleep in tomorrow.  This winter has been so crazy.  I think we have only had one full week of school since Christmas?  I will let you know how it goes the next few days!  I am just praying that our power doesn't go out!