Thursday, June 28, 2012


We're into Week 2 of the big change around here. Mommy's home for the summer and hubby has gone back to work. As many of you know, he got a job with CSX (which has the best benefits ever!). And with having him home for the last year and a has been quite the adjustment.

This month has been the hardest financially so it's no coincidence that he started this month. He's mostly worked 11-7 which really hasn't been too bad. He gets some time in the morning to spend with Gabe before he heads out and then I usually put Gabe down around 7 and fix dinner. Since the job is in Orlando, he doesn't get home until around 7:45 or 8:00 so when he walks in, dinner is usually done and the house is picked up of Gabe's toys. It makes me feel good to have dinner ready for him and a nice neat house when he walks in.

The last 2 days have been a bit more difficult and are probably a sampling of what might be to come. He's worked overtime the last 2 days from 8am-7pm. So he's left at 6:30am (he leaves early just to be prepared for any traffic along the way) and gets home around 7:45pm. He has seen Gabe briefly in the morning before he left and I have made it a point to keep him up until he got home. I must say though, that I like the 11-7 schedule. I like that he gets to spend time with him in the morning and I like that at that time of night, even if Gabe is awake, he's winded down. Last night, while I cooked and we waited for daddy to get home, he laid on the couch and watched a turtle movie...just laid there. If you know my son, you know he doesn't just LAY anywhere. But he did. It was nice to be able to keep him awake to see daddy but still have the chance to get dinner ready.

And so daddy and I have still been able to put him to bed together and pray over him and he doesn't make a peep all night. It sounds crazy but I swear he falls asleep faster and sleeps better (as in doesn't wake up at all) when we make it a point to pray over him.

As for me, being full time mommy again has felt good. I haven't had this for a very long time. And while I've gone a bit stir crazy being cooped up in the house due to no gas money, I feel like I'm getting to know my son. You never realize how much you miss out on while being a working mom until you have the opportunity to stay home. So SAHM's...don't take it for granted.

I finally got my paycheck today which means from here on out, I don't think we'll be freaking out about money. He'll get his first check next week and gets paid biweekly after that. We'll no longer have to rely on those stupid credit cards which will be cut up and never used again. We're going to pay off debt, build up our emergency fund, save for things that we want, give more and bless others just as we have been blessed, and still live frugally. But we'll be living frugally because we WANT to, not because we have no choice. I hope that within a year or two, we'll be able to say that we're debt free.

I am so looking forward to the blessings that God has in store for us. I have felt for a long time that God was leading us into bigger and better things and with both of us having new jobs and having the motivation to live healthy lives, I feel like He is placing us in a position to really bless others and help others.

So, change is a good thing. Though sometimes sacrifice comes with change, it's still good.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

If Those Walls Could Talk

At the end of July, my mom is moving out of the house I grew up in. That's right...the only place of residence I had really ever known the first 18 years of my life. Technically, they didn't move there until I was a year old but I don't remember the other place so as far as I'm concerned, she's lived there my whole life. And now, she's leaving. It's a good change for her. The apartment she's moving to is gorgeous and I'm really excited for her...but it's bittersweet. That house is so full of memories and although it is quite old and needs some serious updating, it has a certain charm about it that I've loved forever and I can only imagine the stories that would be told if those walls could talk...

If the wooden panel walls in the living room could talk, they would probably tell of birthday parties, sleepovers, game nights, Christmas Eves and Mornings spent unwrapping gifts and emptying stockings. They would tell of surprise parties thrown for me and others. They would remember the laughter that filled that room on a constant basis and would tell you that some very happy and blessed people lived there. They also might tell of the rough times, times when tears prevailed over laughter, where hearts were broken, a lie was told, or the family dog sat on the couch fighting for life. Despite whatever stories those walls would tell, you would know there was love.

If the walls of the dining room could talk, they would tell of meals shared, Thanksgiving feasts gobbled up, and party food arranged on the table just so. They would tell of the time I told mom that some turkey she cooked tasted like foot. They would tell of the time I unwrapped kisses for cookies in my "fancy panties" and patent leather shoes. Don't worry, that wasn't recently.

If the walls of the small kitchen could talk, they would tell stories of baking cookies and mixing homemade bread with bare hands. They would tell of a young girl learning how to cook certain things. They might also say that the smell of pizza wafted through that air more so than it should have.

If the walls of the hallway could talk, they would tell the story of each photo that hung there. They would tell stories of a little girl using it as church aisle, walking down it slowly humming the wedding march with her sheet over her head like a veil and a fake flower in her hand. They would tell of the times that angry feet marched down the hall and doors were slammed or when a teenage girl would tiptoe down the hallway after getting home at night to shut her mom's door, the sign that she was home safely if her mom woke up in the night.

If the walls of my old bedroom could talk, oh the stories they could tell. Secrets told to friends, tears cried in a pillow, laughter at silly jokes, conversations with God. They would tell of a mother and daughter sitting on the floor sobbing because for the first time, the daughter had lost her mother's trust. They would tell of a girl growing up, becoming a woman.

If the walls of my mother's bedroom could talk, they would tell stories of tickle wars and deep conversations. They would tell of silly things said when mom was ill and on her medicine that made her loopy. They would tell of the times that a little girl would crawl into her bed with her to be close to her or when a teenage girl would crawl into bed with her after a break up so she could just lay there and cry and feel the comforting hand of her mother. They would tell of the morning that little girl, all grown up, woke up on the day she was to be married, excited and oh so ready to start her new life.

All the walls of that house would have stories to share, some sweet, some sad, some slightly embarrassing. Growing up, I'm not sure I appreciated it for what is was. All my friends had bigger houses with more modern things but looking back, I was so blessed to grow up there. We had great neighbors and I grew up with a secure roof over my head.

I'm excited for this change for my mom but leaving that house and that neighborhood (even as bad as it's slowly becoming) means leaving behind years of memories. But, change is good and I am certain that in this new place, new and wonderful memories will be made and those walls will have exciting stories to tell as well.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

I used to hate this "holiday." This one day a year where people celebrate their wonderful and devoted fathers. I never got to do that. Every year was just a reminder that my dad wasn't in my life to celebrate. As I got older and he and I had spouts of interaction, I would try to find a suitable card for this day. But none of them ever fit - they were all about how daddy's always been there or how he's taught so many lessons or how much he is appreciated for being who he is. Yea, none of that ever really gelled with me. And so, the one or two times he received a Father's Day card from me, I'm fairly certain it was a very simple one that included the very deep message, "Happy Father's Day."

Yup, never really cared for this day. Sometimes I would have a little fun with it and get my mom a father's day card because well, she's been the mother AND father to me my whole life. Some Father's Days found me sad, some found me angry or bitter, and some found me apathetic to the whole ordeal.

Now, though, I love this day. I love it because I get to celebrate the love of my life and how he has transformed into an amazing father. This day doesn't make me sad anymore. It doesn't make me angry. I have found the love of a man and have watched him love his little boy with every thing in him. I can't wait to celebrate many more Father's Days with him and be able to show Gabriel how to honor his daddy, not just one day a year, but the big and small things.

Tomorrow, hubby starts his new job. We're so excited about the future and what God is going to do in and through us. I believe my Heavenly Father has some big plans for us. I can't wait to find out what they are...

In closing, Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there...and to my #1.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Small Victories

So it's nearing the end of my 1st week of summer vacation and I really feel like I haven't accomplished much at all. But, I have to focus on the things I did accomplish instead of what I didn't.

-I did walk/jog 3 miles on Monday. Okay, it was mostly walking but I did jog - just not much because my legs were killing me.

-I did get parts of the house clean Monday before seriously injuring the back of my foot. Downer of the week: I caught the back of my foot (right where it creases) on the door leading into the garage and tore a nice chunk of skin off. So, it hurts to walk in tennis shoes. Fantastic.

-I also ate well on Monday - did not drink coffee - and had fresh carrot and apple juice.

-Tuesday I accomplished absolutely nothing except the same juice and no caffeine.

-Yesterday, we did plan to go walk somewhere but it looked like it was going to rain. So, Jason decided to sell 2 of his guns to help us get through the remainder of the month. We decided at best we could walk around Lakeside Village and since we were getting hungry and it was lunch time we decided to try a place we'd never been - GrillSmith. This was a good test for me - - - to see if I could choose healthy alternatives while out to eat. I chose their Fitness Grilled Chicken which came with 2 sides. I chose Jasmine Rice and Smashed Cauliflower. Yummm. The whole meal - yum! I've decided Smashed Cauliflower must be a new staple side dish in our home.

-Last night, we did go for a 3 mile bike ride around the lake with Jason's brother and s-i-l. He even pulled the kiddos in a bike trailer. I was the slowest one of course but I still made it. Then we headed to Chick-fil-a for a late dinner. My wonderful brother in law actually bought all our meals buuuut he ordered me a spicy chicken sandwich with fries and a cherry coke. Very sweet of him but since I didn't know he was ordering, I couldn't tell him what I really wanted. I very kindly declined the meal, which was fine with meant he had lunch for the next day. I ordered a chicken club which is grilled instead of fried, NO fries, and water. Yes, my sandwich did have bacon and cheese but hey, like I said...small victories. If you know how much I love waffle fries AND cherry coke, you'd be very proud.

-Today was much the same as Tuesday, except it was the first day I didn't have a caffeine withdrawal headache. We had freshly juiced OJ this morning which was delish! And tonight I did get to complete more of the book I'm writing. I'm about 30 pages in and while it's slow going, it's going.

-Tomorrow we head to Ocala. Hopefully I can continue to make healthy choices and get some sort of exercise in.

Monday, Jason starts his new job. We are so excited for the day when we don't have to constantly worry about finances. I think it will actually be easier for me to do stuff while he's working because I will want to keep myself busy. I think it will be better for both our healths - he will be working and will take his lunches/snacks with him (which will be healthy b/c I'm going to make sure of it) and he won't have time to sit around and do nothing with me. And I, in turn, won't want to sit around and think about him being away all the time so I will keep myself and Gabriel busy.

I'm looking forward to what the rest of this summer has to offer. I just hope my foot heals quickly so I can jump back into my Couch to 5K.

Here's to summer, folks!!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The End is Here...

The time has finally come.

My final day of kids here at the Hill. It's an odd feeling. In a way, it doesn't even seem like the last day of school. It's 6th period and some kids are writing on my board, some are signing each other's shirts, some are playing cards, and some are just sitting around talking.

I look around at these kids that I've spent 180 days with, the most I've spent with any group in my last 3 years, and I realize that I really am going to miss these kids - not all of them of course, but many of them. I've created some really great relationships with them and I truly do love each and every one of them. I don't always like them, but I do love them. And even as crazy as some of them make me, my desire is to see each of them succeed.

I realize this might be my last time with middle schoolers. I'm going to 5th grade next year and unless something changes, that's probably where I'll stay until it's time for my son to start school and then I'll probably homeschool.

It's a bittersweet goodbye today and even tomorrow when I say my goodbyes to my colleagues. I've made some really wonderful friendships with some really awesome people over the years. I'm going to miss those people that have supported me and helped me and made me the teacher I am today. I still have a long way to go.

The end of a chapter has come. I'm certainly excited about next year and what it will bring but the Hill will always hold a special place in my heart (as corny as that sounds). Crazy, chaotic Sleepy Hill. Oh, the stories. I sure can't wait to share some with my colleagues next year. They have noooo idea. :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

11 Years

That's a long time right?

11 years?

And yet it honestly feels like just yesterday.

I grew up without my father in my life. Yet, I was fortunate enough to have one particular man in my life. He was the father of a very good friend whom I spent a lot of time with. I always felt, in many ways, he made up for the father I lacked. I think I even told my mom that when I got married, I would want him to walk me down the aisle. His wife was like my second mother...and still is. I call her my Auntie. His daughter, though we don't speak all that often and we don't call each other best friends, is like family. She was in my wedding and her daughter, that precious not so little girl, was my flower girl. I used to be a lot closer to the whole family....brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins - I considered all of them family.

But back to the main reason for my post. A few days ago (this post has actually taken me 3 or 4 days to write) marked the 11 year anniversary of the passing of this special man. In 8th grade we found out he had lung cancer. No one that close to me had ever had cancer so it was a tough thing for this 13 year old to comprehend. We didn't really have all that long anyway. It was only a few short months more before he was gone. But the memories...oh those precious memories...those will last forever.

Whenever my mom and her mom would go out, I would stay over at their house with my friend and him. Those are some sweet memories. He was a huge hard rock fan - Rolling Stones, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Seger, etc. They had a huge stereo in the den and he would crank up one of the classics and we would go crazy dancing around the house. He'd twirl us around, down the hallway, in the kitchen, and all through the house. Sometimes the volume would be up so loud that the items on the speakers would fall off. Such good times! Those impromptu dances throughout the house are some of my all time favorite memories. We could always get him to take us to Walgreen's for a late night candy run. He got us into an R-rated movie (which I subsequently got in MAJOR trouble for). He was always there, sitting in his recliner, watching his baseball or football game. We would tease him about being so skinny. He and my mom would battle over bowls of peanut butter cups. He was super intelligent and could kill us at a game of Balderdash. I loved game nights with them. So much fun and so much laughter. I loved being over there. He treated me just like a daughter.

I still remember that day like it was yesterday. We knew he didn't have long but he spent his last days at home. I didn't get to see him that last day like my mom did and when she picked me up from my friend Stephanie's house all she said was that he was gone. We spent the rest of that afternoon with the family, me wrapped in Auntie's arms and my friend wrapped in my mom's. We were always like that when we were younger. We swapped moms. Kinda funny. We reminisced and laughed and spent time together which is what he would have wanted. His service was beautiful and heart breaking at the same time. It took a long while before I could sing "It Is Well With my Soul" without tearing up.

For my college graduation my mom made an amazing scrapbook of my life. Many pages were filled with specific people. On one particular page was a special note from my "Auntie", one of my favorite pictures of her, me, and that special man dancing together at a wedding. At the top, underneath a special piece of paper to make it look "other-worldly," was a note that said "We will dance again someday. Love, Uncle Bobby." It said something else too but that's the part that sticks out right now. When I saw it for the first time, the dam broke. Tears of appreciation, love, and simply missing him flowed down my face. It was so something I could hear him saying.

He was quite a special man and he gave his life to the Lord at a 'Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames' drama about a year before he passed. When he was baptized and the pastor asked for those that were close to him or felt they helped play a part in his salvation to stand, I think almost the entire congregation was standing. Uncle Bobby was a one of a kind man and I have no doubt that he looks down at his family and smiles as he watches his precious granddaughter grow into a beautiful young lady that is much like her mama. I imagine he is quite proud of the mother his daughter has become. I miss him a ton and absolutely cannot wait to dance with him again one day.

Until then, Uncle Bobby...