Saturday, December 4, 2021

Last 2 Days of Thankfulness

 Although I am so thankful for everything I list in my last post, the two I’m listing today are the most important things in my life.

Day 29- Today I’m thankful that the Lord blessed me with Rob over 14 years ago. It hasn’t always been easy and there have been times we wanted to call it quits, but today our marriage is stronger than ever! I can honestly say he’s my best friend and that I love hanging out with him. I miss him when we’re not together and I’ve learned to appreciate the things that used to drive me crazy about him. Don’t get me wrong. There are days that he makes me mad as all get out. But when it’s all said and done, he’s my rock. He holds me while I ugly cry. He humors me with my “Honey-Do” lists even if he doesn’t think the chores are important. He lets me email him with the 100 things running through my mind at 1:30am. He lets me vent after a rough day and just listens (Maybe because he’s tuned me out?? 🤣) He makes me laugh…or roll my eyes…with his humor. I love watching him play football or wrestle with the boys every night. He rearranges his work schedule to make sure he’s there for the boys’ events or to help me with my schedule. I’m so thankful for this handsome man and can’t imagine life without him.


Day 30- Today I am thankful for my God. None of these blessings would be possible without Him. He has blessed us in unimaginable ways and I am truly thankful for all of them! His mercy and Grace is something I cannot fathom. While He doesn’t love our sin, He forgives it and loves us unconditionally. That’s crazy, but that’s Who my God is. I am thankful for Him every day, even on the hard days.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Thankful

 Just like that, in the blink of an eye, October flew by as did November. Halloween and Thanksgiving have come and gone. We're pretty much done with the SEC football season and flag football games. Cross country ended last month. We are halfway through baseball academy and hunting season. Every day flies by. And while I may botch up every other month with this blog, I usually nail it in November with daily "thankful" posts. As you can see, I didn't do that this year (but we got family pictures taken and Christmas cards ordered for the first time in years so there's that.) so I'll play catch up in one ginormous blog. Sit down, relax and count your blessings while you read all of mine/ours.

Day 1- Family time. We had surprised the boys with a Luke Bryan concert (E's favorite musical artist) then we spent the weekend, just the 4 of us, at deer camp. We got home Sunday in time to go trick or treating with friends. As the boys get older, it makes me cherish our family time together even more.

Day 2- Sleep. I deal with insomnia and neck pain so, on the rare occasion, that I sleep through the night and wake up feeling rested I am grateful.

Day 3- I am thankful that P is part of an active youth group. The youth pastor holds devotions before school twice a month. Every Wednesday night is jr high youth night (where he plays guitar in the worship band) and there are many other activities to keep the tweens encouraged and growing in their faith.

Day 4- Date nights with the boys. We try to make a conscience effort to do things with the boys 1:1 so they know how special they are. I got special 1:1 time with each boy this month as did Rob. We love that bonding time with them and don't take it for granted.

Day 5- Modern medicine. I have been diagnosed with dyshidrotic eczema, which causes my hands (especially my left one) to itch, crack and burn. It's an autoimmune disease but it's brought on by an allergy to metals. Over the past few years, I have tried multiple topical ointments to no avail. I finally, as a last ditch effort, tried Dupixent injections and that has been a game changer. Every two weeks Rob gives me an injection in my stomach and it has pretty much healed my hand. Yay for one less thing keeping me up at night!

Day 6- Lazy mornings. I am not good at sitting around. However, I really love lazy mornings, where I can enjoy a cup of hot coffee without being rushed out the door. I am an early riser but I like to take it slow when I wake up. I don't want to talk or do anything really, until I've had my cup of coffee. Unfortunately, as a full time teacher and mom of 2 active boys, getting up and out the door in a rush is usually how every morning starts.

Day 7- Friends. Throughout my life I have been blessed with awesome friends. Some friends are for a season and others are lifelong friends. Some live close by and I see them often, while others live in other states and I only see them once a year at best. But, no matter how often we see each other or talk, I am thankful for all the friendships the Lord has blessed me with.

Day 8- My nieces. I never thought I'd be an aunt, but I am so glad I was wrong. I get to FaceTime with them at least once a week and spoil them rotten. Unfortunately, I don't get to see them as often as I'd like but I'm still thankful for the strong bond we have.

Day 9- My Mother and Father in law. I have been blessed to marry into a great family. Both my mother and father in law love me unconditionally despite my flaws. They are some of the most non-judgmental people I have ever met and know no stranger. They love me like their own and I couldn't ask for better in-laws.

Day 10- Our oldest. He first made me a mom and I am so thankful for all that he brings to our lives. He is kind hearted, mannerly, loves sports, is musically talented and has a heart for the Lord. He is a great cuddler and foot massager. He is always asking how he can help me and is my road trip "ride or die". I can't imagine our lives without this sweet boy!

Day 11- A double dipper. Frist, I am thankful for our veterans who sacrifice so we can enjoy our freedom. I don't take that freedom for granted and I am so thankful for our soldiers. Second, I am thankful for my teaching tribe. I'm not gonna lie. This year has been a rough one. But, when push comes to shove, I know my co-workers are there for me. I had to rush out of my classroom at lunch yesterday due to P being in the ER with severe abdominal pain. My assistant principal stepped in to take over my class. My para helped with the everyday routines and took my bus duty after school. My teaching partner comforted me and got things together for my class to do. I am thankful that they ease the stress on a daily basis.

Day 12- Laughter and priceless memories. I flew to Cali for a memorial service and got to spend the weekend with my parents. On Friday my mom and I picked my aunt up and spent the morning shopping. Then we grabbed lunch from our favorite hole in the wall Mexican dive and played several rounds of Uno. I am thankful for the precious time we spent together and my only regret is that it didn't last longer.

Day 13- Celebration of life. Last month my good friend's husband passed away from ALS. This month my friend's 17 year old son died 2 days after getting his license when he overcorrected his car and slammed into a tree. Both lives were cut too short and left a void in a lot of peoples' lives. But I am thankful that we can celebrate their lives. I am also thankful that we can grieve and comfort each other during this difficult time as well.

Day 14- Modern transportation. I often think back to my childhood and my grandparents. I did not have a strong bond with my dad's parents because they lived in Illinois and flying was a luxury that we couldn't always afford. My mom's parents lived within driving distance but it was an all day road trip full of lots of winding roads. Today when I want to go somewhere that's longer than a road trip I simply get online and book my flight. Within hours I can get wherever I want/need to go. I am so thankful for that convenience. 

Day 15- My parents. I have such a strong bond with them and am so thankful for all that they've done for me throughout my lifetime. They have demonstrated unconditional love in their 49 years of marriage. They daily put the Lord first in their lives. They both have a servant's heart and love giving to/helping others. They spoil their grandchildren and are very hands-on grandparents. I am so blessed to call them mine!

Day 16- Extracurricular activities. I am thankful beyond words that our boys were not brought up playing video games. They don't have much desire to play them. They both would rather be outside and are on a daily basis. They are involved in football, cross country and baseball. They both play musical instruments and are very good at playing their respective instrument. I love that they don't sit around and watch life pass them by!

Day 17- Our youngest. For awhile we thought P may be an only child. But, as he's done since the beginning, our youngest surprised us. He is quick-witted and has made us laugh since he was an infant. He's a natural athlete and loves playing every sport. He gives 110% in everything he does and enjoys learning new things. He's a huge help in the kitchen and often asks to help make meals. He gives the best hugs and writes the sweetest notes. Our lives would be very boring without him!

Day 18- My younger brother. He is a great brother, who FaceTimes us regularly to check in. He's an awesome dad, always patient with his girls. I am in awe of how he parents and strive to be more like him with his parenting style. He is a great uncle and always makes time for the boys. I am thankful for the role he's played in my life and how he's become such a good friend to me over the years.

Day 19- Thanksgiving break. I am thankful for a week off to rejuvenate and relax.

Day 20- My gym. When I found out last year, around this time, that I won a free one year membership to Fit Body Bootcamp, I didn't understand the magnitude of how much it would change my life. I just knew I needed a change in my lifestyle. I am so thankful for this gym, the coaches who pour so much into each client, my workout buddies who hold me accountable and the family it has become over the past year of my life. 20 pounds down and I feel better than I have in 10+ years!

Day 21- My brother in law. He is quick-witted, a phenomenal singer and doesn't think twice about helping others. The boys love using him as a jungle gym and I love our "dates" to El Som, where we catch up on life, just the two of us. I am thankful for the brother that he is to me.

Day 22- YEC. I am thankful that P asked me to be a chaperone at a local youth conference. It was a great 48 hours spent building friendships and drawing closer to the Lord. My favorite part of the entire time was listening to about 5000 tweens/teens sing old hymns. What a special time in God's Word and bonding with the jr high group! My favorite quotes from the weekend: "People can argue your opinion, but they can't argue your testimony. Your testimony is your most powerful tool." and "God loves you unconditionally. That doesn't mean He loves your sin unconditionally."

Day 23- Hot meals. P and I decided to drive separate from the vans heading back to church. We didn't want donuts for breakfast. We wanted to stop at Cracker Barrel for a hot meal. The restaurant was short staffed and it took way longer than anticipated for our meals. But we were thankful for the waitress who chose to come to work that morning and serve us. And I was thankful for the hot meal I enjoyed because I know a lot of people don't get to enjoy that luxury.

Day 24- A 2 vehicle household. After Hurricane Ida, our neighborhood had a lot of debris piles. With those debris piles came unwanted guests. A mama rat decided that Rob's truck would be a great, warm place to have her babies. The family of rats caused THOUSANDS of dollars worth of damage to his truck. It was in the shop for over a month as insurance dragged their feet in approving the repairs. We did our best to make it as a 1 car family. But I am so thankful that we now have Rob's truck back. You don't realize what a blessing conveniences are until you don't have them!

Day 25- Family and feasts! I'm not good at relaxing and taking it easy. But there's not a lot to do at deer camp so it forces me to do nothing. Today I am thankful that I relaxed all day, spent time with family and enjoyed the best feast I've had with them. I was fat and happy all day!

Day 26- Time with friends who are more like family. This morning I got up and drove a couple hours to meet up with one of my closest friends and her parents. We enjoyed lunch at Olive Garden and got to catch up in life...in person instead of over the phone. I got to give them lots of hugs and share lots of laughter. I am so thankful for friends who are more like family than friends!

Day 27- Christmas magic. Our elf, Shooby, made his appearance this morning. And with him came the Christmas magic that I enjoy every year. The boys love finding him and laughing over his pranks. For 9 years, he's created memories for our boys' childhoods that, hopefully, they'll remember for a lifetime.

Day 28- 4-legged family members. As I write this, our boy is frustrating me because he's being a social butterfly with the neighborhood dogs instead of listening. Our mutts drive me crazy and are so quirky. But they also make us laugh and love us unconditionally. When I've had a long week, Rebel will climb up on the couch and cuddle next to me, keeping me warm and helping me doze off. I am so glad we rescued them and that they are members of our family.


Whew, if you're still reading, thanks for sticking it out with me. Although, I am thankful for everyone and everything in our lives, I have saved the best two blessings of my life for last. Hopefully I won't get too sidetracked by life to blog about them. Stay tuned to see what/who they are.......


A few pictures of our many blessings in life:





















Saturday, October 2, 2021

Mom Taxi

I've gotten to the point where I don't believe, "Life will slow down after....". It won't and I'm okay with that because Rob and I are helping the boys live their best life. We make mistakes and we don't always rock the parenting thing, but neither boy will ever be able to say we didn't give them everything we had (in every sense of the word). 

We have told both boys, since they were 5, that they needed to try 1 sport and 1 other activity. Little did we know that would make our lives crazy busy. With Rob still doing hurricane work, it's been on me to be the Mom Taxi more than usual this past month. With Rob's new position, he and I have worked well as a team, getting the boys to their practices, youth nights, etc. But we both knew that storm work would throw a wrench in that and it has.

Let me give you a typical few days for this Mom Taxi:

Monday- leave at 7am to get P to school

Work 7:40-3:40

Pick P up from cross country at 4:15

Squeeze in the gym at 4:45 if all the stars align

Drop E off at baseball academy

Pick E up from academy at 7:30 and race him to football practice until 8:30

Tuesday- leave at 7am to get P to school

work 7:40-3:40

Drop E off at piano lessons at 3:45

Pick P up from cross country and then go back to pick E up from piano lessons

Fit in the gym around 4:45

Take P to football practice from 6-7:30 (and do homework with E during that time)

Wednesday- Leave at 7am to get P to school

Work 7:40-3:40

Pick P up from cross country practice

Race home to get his guitar then take him to worship band practice

Get to the gym at 5:30

Pick P up from youth group at 7:30


I don't write this to show that my life is busier than yours because it probably isn't. If you have kids, you get it. IF you're a single parent, then you really get it. I'm merely blogging this so, someday, when the boys are grown and busy with lives of their own, I can look back at this and reflect about their lives at this stage. Like I've said, I wouldn't trade it for anything. And when Rob is slammed with work, I appreciate our teamwork that much more when things go back to normal. It also makes me appreciate the downtime. I laugh on the weekends when P says, "Can we do something? I'm bored." No son, we can't. The Mom Taxi needs a break....and I've learned that it's okay for me to say that.

Friday, September 24, 2021

A Mom's Life

I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I wasn't one of those girls who planned out every detail of her wedding in her diary, but I knew I wanted to be a mom. When I was in my late 20s I was told by a surgeon that there was a good chance I could not have my own biological children. I was devastated but knew I'd be a mom in some way, shape or form. Today I am thankful that God blessed us with 2 great boys.
The boys are at such a fun age. I liked being a mom when they were toddlers. I was blessed to be able to stay home with both of them off and on for 3 years of their lives before they started school. We played, danced, took walk, did crafts and were silly. But this current age they're at is my favorite so far.
Both boys are becoming their own person. One is quick witted, loves hunting like his daddy and is a natural athlete. One is book smart, analytical and loves all animals. Both are tender-hearted, put God first, love to snuggle, are compassionate and musically talented.
Although I absolutely love this age, it's not for the faint at heart. I am a Mom Taxi the minute my job ends each day. We go, go, go pretty much every day of the week. We also have to have some hard conversations, ones that teach the boys life lessons.
Last night our oldest and I got into a pretty in-depth conversation. After he went to bed I pondered what we had discussed and I was thankful that he could be open and honest with me. That's one of the most important things to me as a parent- knowing that the boys feel safe and comfortable coming to us about anything, knowing we will listen, support and help in any way possible. 
I want to cherish every moment with each boy. We try to do special things for them and with them. One boy is going to a bonfire tonight so I'll be taking the other one on a date. I can't wait! I love our special times together. I love that we do so much as a family now and travel every chance we get. But I also love the every day moments and the 1:1 time with each boy. I love the moments where we just sit and discuss life or watch silly YouTube videos or sing our favorite songs at the top of our lungs or worship the Lord together. Being a mom is the hardest, most rewarding and best job I'll ever have and I don't take it for granted!


Sunday, September 19, 2021

The Story of Two Squirrels

 Hurricane Ida brought a lot of stuff....disaster, heartache, stress, lost lives. One of the good things it brought were 2 baby squirrels that had fallen from a tree near my inlaw's house. Each boy named one and was diligent in taking care of his squirrel by covering it with blankets, warming it under a heat lamp, holding it and feeding it puppy replacement milk several times a day. Both boys knew that the squirrels would be released once they were healthy enough. Although they knew that, they still didn't want to accept it. 

After Ulysses and Ruby were at our house for a couple weeks, Rob noticed that there were flies all around the cage that the boys had bought for them. So he decided to move them to the dog crate since Rebel hadn't been using it recently. He put chicken wire all around it, but P's squirrel, Ruby was quick to escape. 

She had been the daring one since Day 1. She was the one we didn't worry about surviving because she was active and eating from the moment she was in our care. P decided it was time to release her. He let her go on a tree by our driveway. But, after considering the fact that the tree didn't have food for her, he decided to relocate her. He put her in a bucket and walked her over to an oak tree on some property across the street from us. That night he started regretting it and cried himself to sleep, worried that she wouldn't survive in the rain. The next morning he woke up early to look for her and bring her back to the house. But she had already relocated herself and we haven't seen her since.

On Thursday afternoon E fed Ulysses before we left for a school football game. After we got home, E went to feed her before bed, only to realize she too had escaped. He handled it well, knowing that she was ready to be released. The next morning, however, as we were leaving for school, she showed up next to my car. She ran over to the flower bed, where she watched us pull out. Then she climbed up the tree by our driveway as we left for school. Later that day, Rob texted me a picture of Ulysses back in her hamster cage. He had gone to check the chicken coop for eggs and she was in the nesting coop next to the eggs. Rob said he put a water container in her cage and she drank and drank from it. That night we put her in the converted dog crate again. She snuggled up under the blanket after eating a feast of squirrel treats. Yesterday morning, I checked in on her before going to the gym. Later P went to give her more treats only to find out that she was once again gone.

We haven't seen either squirrel today. We know they are nearby somewhere and that we may or may not see them again at any given time. We were thankful that we got to rehab them and watch them thrive under our care. Now that we're pros at it, maybe we'll rehab more squirrels in the future. 






Thursday, September 9, 2021

One of the Guilty

 I'm sitting here, wearing a robe because our a/c freezes me out in the morning, eating a hot breakfast and using my internet to blog instead of lesson plan (which is what I really should be doing). When I'm done I will soak in a hot bath and then get ready for work and a dr appt. All with a roof over my head. All knowing that I am secure. This has been the scene in our area for close to a week now. But, 20 miles down the road that is not the case. I have co-workers who still don't have electricity and are humbling themselves to ask for help with laundry. I have a co-worker who is living at a relative's house because her house was completely destroyed when 2 trees fell through it during the hurricane. 

I know I couldn't prevent any of that happening. It's mother nature. But I still feel guilty. It's the same way I felt after the Flood of 2016. We were the first house on our street that didn't take in water. We didn't lose everything like most people did. Our marriage didn't fall apart like some of our friends' marriages did after the flood.

I'm a person who naturally feels guilty, even when I'm not. It's a weakness of mine. But something I consider a strength of mine is my servant's heart. My love language is giving....time, resources, etc. So I've *tried* to turn that guilt into productivity by helping others. Sunday, after church, the boys and I went to a neighbors' house and helped clean up tree debris in their yard. Then we went to a local restaurant, where we picked up 145 meals. We drove around to designated areas, handing out hot meals to the linemen who have tirelessly been restoring power as fast as possible. Tuesday we went up to my school and cleaned up the parking lot and playground. 

I have offered to house people, do their laundry, bring them a homecooked meal. It's something I enjoy doing. I've learned, however, that it's something most everyone in the South likes to do as well when there's a need. Maybe it's not the South. Maybe it's just Louisiana because there are so many natural disasters here. Whatever the case, I have heard multiple times in the past couple weeks that out of town contractors can't believe how giving the people of Louisiana are. That's just their nature. I don't absolutely love Louisiana by any stretch of the imagination, but I will say that the people here are the most unselfish people I've ever met. 

No matter how it's happened, everyone in the south eastern part of the state has been affected by this hurricane. As usual, it's drawing people closer together, bringing out the good in them. For that I am thankful.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Hurricane Ida

 Well, I experienced a first this weekend...living through a hurricane. Last week the media began stating that a major hurricane was headed toward the South. By Friday we got word that school would be cancelled Monday because it was heading straight for us. I had been looking forward to enjoying a low-key weekend by myself while the boys and Rob helped a friend at his new camp. Work has been stressful and I was really looking forward to some down time to rejuvenate. Little did I know my weekend would be anything but relax while I rushed around, prepping the house for a hurricane and then racing out of town. 

Saturday morning I went to the gym for a "Hurricane Ida workout" (man, it was rough!). Then I had to go in for a skin biopsy. Once I left there I was hoping I could go back to the house to read and relax a bit before heading to my inlaws'. Wrong! The Weather Channel kept saying to have all prep done by the evening so people could evacuate by nightfall. The hurricane was coming in earlier than expected. Rob called and said he and the boys were heading straight to his parents' after they got done helping our friend and that I should plan to meet them there ASAP. So I rushed around the house, packing up irreplaceable things while putting other things up high in case our house took on water. I grabbed important insurance paperwork to put in our portable safe and made sure other things were in secure places. I packed suitcases with as many clothes as I could cram in so if the hurricane took down our house we wouldn't have to worry about buying new clothes. 

Sunday the hurricane started making its way toward Louisiana. I felt guilty because, while our friends stressed about the hurricane and loss of power, we enjoyed a nice family day together. We got donuts for breakfast, went to church together and then went to a petting zoo (where we had to cut our time short due to the rain). Once we left the petting zoo place we went to a sweet friend's house to celebrate her birthday. Sunday night I fell asleep after seeing all my friends' posts about how scary the hurricane was, how the wind was howling and they could feel their house move. I slept like a baby Sunday night while my friends were awake, wondering if a tree would fall through their house or if their windows would shatter.

Yesterday Rob decided to go to our house to access the damage. We had had a couple neighbors call with reports about our fence being down (which we expected) and a couple branches across our driveway. But we wanted to see it for ourselves. He and I drove the 3+ hours to our house, surveying the wind damage as we drove. Once we got to our house I was pleasantly surprised that the fence, downed branches and lost food due to the power outage was all we had to deal with. Rob and I worked as a team and were able to get back on the road within a couple hours. On our way back to his parents' house we stopped by our property to access the damage. We had learned that the eye went right over the town where our property is. From what we can tell, we lost some trees (the entrance was blocked by a downed tree and powerline) but I was surprised it wasn't worse. All around our property was destruction. Trees uprooted that fell across houses. Roofs missing. Powerlines down across the roads. Buildings ripped to shreds. So heartbreaking! It made me relieved that a) the eye of the hurricane shifted 20 miles east or that would've been the damage at our house and b) we hadn't built a house on that property. I can't imagine how overwhelmed the people around there felt yesterday with all the clean up they had to tackle.

While we were making our way back to my inlaws' the boys FaceTimed us to show us their new pets....baby squirrels. A neighbor had called and said that 2 babies had fallen out of their nest during the storm. The boys spent the day feeding them with an eye dropped and trying to warm them up. As of this morning, Ulysses and Tag are still with us but I don't know for how long. I don't know how to tell if baby squirrels are thriving but Ulysses and Tag acted more spirited last night than they are acting this morning. We are using Max's heat lamp (because, yes, we brought our gecko and 2 dogs with us. We left the chickens to fend for themselves...which they did.) to try to warm them up. Pretty soon the boys and I will go out and see what supplies we can get to help aid the squirrels' recovery.

All in all, things could've been way worse. We don't have power and don't know when it will be restored. As of now, school is cancelled because the schools have damage and/or are without power. Our house is pretty much put back in order so when we are able to go back to an air conditioned house our lives will resume like a strong Cat 4 hurricane did not tear up the state of Louisiana. Thankful for God's blessings and comfort during this time!