Monday, December 31, 2007

War Eagle, again!

Jonathan and I spent some time with old friends in Auburn yesterday. We had a great time and realized that we really miss it there. We brought the boys some new Auburn gear just in time for the bowl game tonight. My brother is in town, so he'll be enjoying the game with us. I'm sure there will be lots of joking about "hosses" and "refs" to feel like Dad is with us. Just so you know, "hoss" was my dad's term for a big, good ball player. It was his unique way of saying horse in this specific situation. Thats all I can say to explain it. It's one of the things that used to bug me, but now make me smile. So, War Eagle to all those tiger fans out there, and to Dad.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy Zoo Year!

We decided to bundle up and go to the zoo holiday lights festival tonight. We had a fun last Christmas hurrah before getting into the new year.
The little guys in front of a "peacop." Even a certified speech-language pathologist gets attached to the cute ways her kids mispronounce things.
We asked Gammie to join us and she and Ella looked very cute all decked out for the weather.

"It might be Sampta..."

is what Miles said excitedly when he heard our doorbell ring on Christmas Eve morning. It was great to hear the anticipation in his voice as this year was the first time he sort of started to understand things. I had to explain many, MANY times that Santa would not come until everyone was sleeping. This was a bit challenging this year since, due to the broken nose incident, Miles had been in a big boy bed for one night . He only came out to the living room once before "Santa" started working. And, the nose is doing great. It looks like it is healing straight. This is the boys on Christmas morning before we left their room. This is the "bike" Santa left for Miles. Unfortunately, his legs aren't quite long enough to pedal this one yet, but he's still very happy to have it.
This is Ella trying to feed her baby a piece of wrapping paper. What a good little mommy.
Santa even came through on the requested accordion for Eli. The Santa at the mall really tried to help me out of this one by saying that accordions are hard to find,but Eli told him to go get it at Cracker Barrel. Thanks for trying, Santa!
We had a great Christmas with our families. We hope yours was wonderful and full of happy memories.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ella's first post

My name is Ella. This picture was taken when I was much younger - 6 weeks ago. My blog friend Baby #3 tagged me to have my very first blog post. This seems like a pretty big challenge for a 10 and a 1/2 month old, but since I consider myself to be more like 15 months I'll give it a shot. I'm sure Momma will help me anyway. So here are 8 things about me:
  1. I really enjoy making my oldest brother mad by turning the TV on and off while he's trying to watch it. He knows better than to hurt me over it, although he does yell at me...
  2. My other brother doesn't like for me to touch anything, even things that belong to me. This really gets on my nerves, but I still just have to get my hands on him and TRY to give him some love. Don't they say to kill them with kindness? I'm sure that's what I'm thinking.
  3. One of my favorite toys currently is a huge dump truck at my gammie's house. The truck bed goes up and down and makes loud noises at the touch of a button. Very cool.
  4. Miles told me that Sampta is coming to our house soon...
  5. This must be the guy Momma said is bringing my very first baby doll. The one she bought right in front of me the day after Thanksgiving. I loved it and couldn't keep my hands off of it. Then she paid for it and put it away for this Sampta to bring... what does she take me for? A ten month old?
  6. I am the daughter that my Momma always wanted and prayed for... and yes, she absolutely adores my big brothers and thinks little boys are so great. She's blessed to have the chance to experience boys and a girl - that's what she really always wanted - BOTH!
  7. I happened to show up at the perfect time, in God's timing, to bless my family after the loss of my Poppa. My momma thought the last thing she needed after losing her dad was another baby - but, as it ends up, I'm exactly what she needed. She is learning through me to wait and trust. And trust some more.
  8. I hate to wear my shoes. I have more shoes than Momma because she seems to be addicted to cute little shoes. And they are very cute, I just don't want them on my feet. At the first chance I have I remove them and my socks, too. Momma doesn't like this. She fusses at me and then I fuss back as she puts my socks and shoes back on. Is this the way it's going to be?
Now, I'm supposed to tag some friends to do the same: Lily, Cullen, Reese, Shey, Madalyn, K., Todd, and Liam. This was fun and some of you are MUCH older than me - like 2 or 3. You'll do great. Just leave me a comment so I'll know when to check your post. Merry Christmas. We hope "Sampta" is good to you!

Poor Miles...

has obviously been subjected to incompetent parenting. On Friday, he finally decided to climb out of his crib. There was no crash, no injury, just a little bitty guy opening his door after nap to declare "I'm awake!" Later we saw how he gracefully and carefully climbed out while trying to get the boys to bed for the night. Sunday morning was a different story. I was in the bathroom getting ready for church when I heard a crash, then screaming. Jonathan got to Miles first who was in such pain he had the "I'm crying but I can't breathe so you can't hear it all yet" cry going on. His nose immediately began to swell and bleed slightly. I thought I might throw up. We stared at him and tried to comfort him as we went through the "is it broken? surely it's not broken. I think it maight be broken..." kind of conversation. I put in a call to the on-call doctor, who ofcourse happened to be my least favorite of the bunch. He told me that if he seemed well other than the pain and swelling around the nose, to try to ice it (that really worked great, by the way) and give it 24 hours. Then he said, "If a child is able to climb out of their crib, they no longer need to be in a crib." Really? Look, I called to get your opinion on the nose. The NOSE! The one that's likely broken. How about helping me with that and not taking this particular moment to comment on my decision to let him sleep in the crib. Can you tell he made me angry? So, back to Milesy... at church we had a nurse take a look at him and she immediately said, "Yep, it's broken. But there's nothing you can do about it." She told me to give him Tylenol regularly for 48 hours, to expect two black eyes just in time for Christmas and that there was no point in taking him to see a doctor because they'd do nothing unless he's having breathing troubles. He's not. The swelling went down a good bit as the day went on, and when we put him to bed tonight, in the crib with the side rail totally removed and pillows covering the floor next to him, he said his nose felt "bery better" and "I not hurting." One of his eyes is turning very bruised underneath. Poor guy. Thank God it wasn't worse. The last thing he talked about tonight was "Sampta" bringing him a truck. Luckily Sampta is delivering on this request.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
It's about to get crazy around here, so I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas! These sweet pictures were taken Wednesday outside of the boys' school. I hope you all enjoy the holidays and that you take special moments to reflect on our Lord. He left beautiful perfection and His Father to be born among animals in a feeding trough. Later to die a cruel death so that one day we will be with Him and our Father in beautiful perfection. He has done great things. Bless His holy name.

Eli the Innkeeper

Eli played the part of the Innkeeper at his preschool's Christmas pageant. We'd been working on his line - "I'm sorry there's no room for you here." He did a great job and spoke where he could be easily heard. What a cute little guy he is.

Different but better

This is Dad with Miles

Dad with Kell, telling us about next year...

On Christmas night, 2 years ago, my dad said goodbye to us without actually saying goodbye. He told us that he loved us, that that day had been his best Christmas ever, and that "next Christmas will be better, different, but better." We all knew what he was saying, but each in our own way sort of denied it and held tight to our desire and hope for him to still be with us the next Christmas. Last Christmas was indeed different. My brother and his family, my family, my aunt and Mom escaped to Callaway Gardens for Christmas Eve and Christmas night. I think it helped us to be away. There was a huge Dad-shaped void, but sweetly next to that void was my new 2-month old nephew. And sweetly, we were anticipating the birth of the family's first girl in my little boo. And yes, in a way, last Christmas was better because Dad was not suffering through it but was celebrating with Jesus. This Christmas, we will try and resume a "normal" Christmas routine. We will be at home. The Dad-shaped void will remain, as it does daily. But we will feel him urging us to enjoy our day, soak up the sweet time with our children, and surround our mom with love. Will do, Dad. Merry Christmas!

Baby, it's cold outside...somewhere

This serves as proof to all of us in the south that some places do have white Christmases. This is my nephew, Kell, on his way home from the bus stop after school today. I thought this picture was too cute not to share. I can't wait to see this little booger, his baby brother, my big brother and sweet sister-in-law next week.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

40 years ago today...

my parents were married. I look at this picture and think about how they had no idea what the future held. The plans God had for their lives unknown by them. They didn't yet know the ups and downs, the joy and pain they would encounter together. As they promised their lives to each other, they didn't know they would raise and love a boy and a girl. They didn't know they would have 3 grandchildren together and that Mom would go on to have 2 more within a year of Dad's death with another now on the way. They didn't know of the painful and too soon end of their lives together. I'm certain, though, that if they had the chance to go back, they'd change very little. I'm sure they'd still choose to love each other even for a shorter than desired time than to never have loved and lived together. My mom is so thankful to have loved and been loved by my dad. And I know how thankful he also was for her.

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared 'neath the stars alone
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance

Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn't I a king
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey who's to say you know I might have chanced it all

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance

Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain but I'd of had to miss the dance

Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy Birthday to Gammie!

After my morning breakdown (see previous post), I picked myself up and got ready to celebrate my mom's birthday. She spent the day with a friend and I spent the day sewing a purse for her, which turned out quite cute, and making a cake. It was fun trying to spoil the woman who always spoils me. We went to dinner at the Catfish House (yummy!) and then had cake at our house. Here you can see Eli helping her blow out her candles. No, she's not 6 years old. I decided to give her a candle for each grandchild - 6 because my brother is expecting his third in the summer.
Eli helped me with the cake. This means that he cracked open an egg not by hitting it on the rim of a bowl, but by squeezing it in his hand. He then watched my Kitchen-Aid with glee because I've recently introduced him to the dangerous practice of licking the bowl. My dad and I used to fight over who got to lick the bowl when I was little. Now I'll be fighting over it with Eli.
We had a fun little party for Gammie. Everyone got to stay up late. Will they sleep in tomorrow? Happy birthday, Gammie!

It's not fair!

I had a small breakdown earlier today. I was reading a few other blog posts that were about loss and I had a big, loud, good cry. Every now and then I just need one. The boys were at school and Ella was sleeping, so for a few minutes I just let it go. It felt ridiculous and wonderful at the same time. To let myself have a few moments like that turned out to be nice. It is interesting how many people have commented on my supposed strength since my dad died and during his illness. While I know I have been made stronger through it all and that God gives us strength in hard times, a good bit of the time I feel like a wounded and scared little girl who wants nothing more than to be held by her Dad again. I just crave the sight of him and the feel of those big arms around me. I long to hear his voice. It is still on my mom's voice mail. We just can't erase it. People also think my mom is doing "great." Sure, she's also been made strong and has received new mercies, but no one sees her when she cries by herself because she wakes up to an empty bed. It's not fair that she will celebrate her 40th wedding anniversary in two days without her husband. It's not fair that I can't have my annual Christmas shopping and movie day with my dad. It's not fair that only Kell and Eli will have memories of my dad - three year old ones at that. It's not fair that 4 of Dad's grandchildren will only know what they are told of their Poppa. It's not fair that I just recently deleted my dad's email address from my list of contacts; I just couldn't do it for the longest time. It's also not fair that I was on the phone with an 18 year old college freshman today who suddenly lost her Mom a couple of months ago. It's not fair that a little 4 year old girl died 2 weeks ago due to a non-cancerous brain tumor. It's not fair that my friend Gina is going through such a mess with her dad. It's not fair that my friend Melissa is struggling so hard for and wanting so badly to be pregnant. It's not fair that I know of an 11 year old girl who will not have her dad this Christmas - he died a few months ago. Sometimes I just want to throw my hands in the air and scream. But I have to hold on to the promises of God. I MUST trust that what he says he will do, he will do. I've learned that many of his promises to us will be granted to us when we are with him. We are not promised a fair life, a good life, an easy life. We are not promised tomorrow for ourselves or for anyone that we love. We are promised that he will never leave us. We are promised that he will not stop his good work in us until it is completed, which I imagine is when we are with him. We are promised rest for the weary and blessings on those who mourn. We are promised that he- God himself- will wipe every tear from our eyes. That the scorching sun will never been down upon our backs. That we will walk and not grow weary, run and not grow faint. So, although it's not fair, it's not fair, it's not fair(!), there will come a day when all of this will pass away. We will be reunited with those we love and crave to see and hold. We will be comforted by the Father of Lights. I just can't wait.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

O Christmas Tree...

The boys got to stay up late last Friday night to help us decorate the tree. We ate Christmas cookies and listened to Christmas songs and had a good time. Miles put on about 5 or 6 ornaments all by himself. All on the same branch. It was so cute and we left it that way until he was in bed. Speaking of that, we knew the party was over when he asked to be put in bed. I love having the house decorated for Christmas! Anita had several of us over Sunday afternoon to take Santa pictures. Her neighbor is a professional Santa and he was great. Miles wanted nothing to do with him until I told him to ask Santa for a bike - then he went up to Santa and turned on the charm! Eli loved being with Santa. Ella, not so much. Click here to check out a bunch of Christmas cuties.

We pumped it up!

We had a great time at Eli's birthday party. We certainly couldn't have entertained 27 children in our home for 2 hours. He had a great time as the birthday boy as you can see here. He's all about blowing out those birthday candles!
Miles and I enjoyed the slide (and enjoyed the slide, and enjoyed the slide). I love this picture of him - pure and simple joy on his face. On a different note, two days after his birthday, Eli and I took a tour of a school he may attend next year. It was sort of strange, exciting and scary all at once...but mostly I just became really sad. I was pleased with what I saw, but I just don't want him to go. Next year is going to be such a big step (for both of us) and a big change. It has just gone way, way too fast.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

My Eli is 5 today!

My first love is 5 years old today. The date for this post is early because I worked on a draft for a couple of days. Today is December 4. Here are a few baby pictures of him. These first two were taken during the first month of his life.

In this one he is around 10 weeks old.
This was taken on the night of his very first birthday. Right before bed that night we took cookies to the hospital for the nurse who had been with me for his delivery.

"Young boys should never be sent to bed, they always wake up another day older."
-- Author:Johnnie Depp as JM Barrie, from the movie Finding Neverland

If I didn't require tons of sleep myself, I might be willing to try this idea for awhile if it could actually keep my E from growing so quickly. As I put him to bed last night I realized that the next time I see him he'll be five. It happened at 4:49 am. He looks tall and slim-faced and not at all like a baby anymore. Didn't we just bring him home from the hospital? Wasn't it just yesterday that he took his first step or spoke his first word? He is five today. Five. All he wants to talk about is what spells what or how he'll soon go to kindergarten. Thankfully, he still loves to sit in my lap. He loves to cuddle. He likes for me to read to him. He asks me to sing to him each night after prayers. He usually wants to hear "Come Away With Me" by Norah Jones. I used to sing this to him when he was tiny and recently started singing it again. Because of this song, he frequently tells me he will never stop loving me. It is precious to hear him say this. All at once I am so proud that we've come so far and we've "made it" to five and I am saddened by how fast it has happened and wish I could go back for a short time to my baby Eli.

Courage is fear that has said it's Prayers...
-- Author:unknown
I hope I always remember that every night Eli prays that God "will not let him have bad dreams, but good dreams about big cheese." We still aren't sure what a big cheese dream is, but this has been his prayer for some time. The other night he added for Ella to have dreams about baby dolls and Miles to dream about tractors. So sweet.

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.
Proverbs 4: 10-12
This is my prayer for Elijah on his birthday.

We'll be off shortly for his birthday party at Pump It Up. I'll post pictures later.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The cutest little santas ever...

Click on this link to see the cutest little Santa hat wearers ever. Anita played around with our combination of kiddos yesterday and, as always, the pictures turned out way too precious. Some of the credit is because our kids (hers and mine) are beautiful, but most of the credit goes to her beautiful photography.

Monday, November 26, 2007

"But I don't want to lose my tooth!"

On the way home from church last night, Eli suddenly started crying and told us he had a loose tooth. It was the first we had heard of it, so I was expecting a barely wiggling tooth. It turned out to be a totally wiggling tooth. So we calmed him down and talked about the tooth fairy and how he eventually does need to lose his baby teeth because he'd look silly one day as a grown man with teeny tiny teeth. Evidently our talk worked because this morning at school he proudly showed EVERYONE his very loose tooth. When I picked him up from school, he proudly showed me where his tooth had fallen out. Is it silly that this makes me sad? First of all, I wasn't anticipating that it would happen yet. But also, I remember like it was yesterday that first little tooth popping up and how huge that was to me. Now that I think about it, I remember being a little sad that he was getting a tooth. Every little thing that changes him makes me realize that he just keeps growing up and that I can't do a thing about it but watch and pray. Next week he will turn five and I can hardly believe it. Five seems big to me. My first little love isn't so little anymore.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

War Eagle!

All of you who know me know that I've always been an Auburn fan. I graduated from Auburn twice. This picture was taken when I got my Masters. Thirty years before that, my dad graduated from Auburn. He raised me to be a tiger. But now I'm an even bigger fan. I guess this is an attempt to feel connected to him. I can hear him talking to the players (and the referees) while watching a game, I can hear him calling me to come see a replay or to update me on the score. I remember how it really bugged me that he had the TV on to watch the game but had the sound muted and listened to the game on the radio. I remember my first Auburn game. I was ten. I was supposed to go with my aunt, but Dad was also going with my brother and for some reason I felt really strongly that I should go to my first Auburn game with Dad. He taught me how to do the wave. He tried to teach me the rules of the game. He yelled and jumped up and down. He covered my eyes when a fan started mooning the other team's fans. And he loved yelling "Waaaaarrrrrrrrrrr Eagle, hey!" during kickoff. He showed me the student section and told me about what fun it was going to games when he and mom were in Auburn. Later, when I was going to my own games as a student, I would remember that very first game with my dad. I'm sure if you can look down and watch football from heaven, my dad was watching last night and yelling "War Eagle!" So, Dad, this video of the band playing the fight song is for you. I'm so happy my first Auburn football game was shared with you. Much love and War Eagle!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a great Thanksgiving Day at Jonathan 's parents house. Our great friends Rob, Anita, Ian and Lily joined us. Check out this link to Anita's blog for a few photos. Check here to see that Elijah was also there! (Very cute picture of my sweet, big boy!) We had a big crowd and the kids had so much fun together. Tomorrow is a big shopping day for Ella and me, along with my mom and aunt, and we will also celebrate my sister-in-law, Allison's birthday tomorrow at lunch. I'm up so late because I just finished sewing her gift. Now I will go to bed. Happy black Friday.

Monday, November 19, 2007

"I can just see part of God...

because just his right leg lives in our house." Eli said this after he had asked me "if there is only one God then how can he be everywhere at once?" We talked about God's power and strength and how he just IS everywhere. Last, he said he's glad God and Jesus can't get lost. Me, too.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

2 little indian boys

On Friday the boys had Thanksgiving feasts at school. They sang a few songs (like Mr. Turkey, big and fat, I am going to eat you!) and then ate a semi-Thanksgiving lunch. I was assigned dressing for Eli's class. I was intimidated but, thanks to my mother-in-law's great recipe, I actually made some pretty tasty dressing. So, above are my 2 little indian boys. Gina, hopefully you'll feel a little better knowing that they actually are 1/16 Cherokee - can't you tell? Post edit: Oops, they are 1/32.
Jonathan and I were so excited to become pilgrim parents in Eli's classroom. I really think the dads were better sports about it than the moms, but collars and hats made from napkins just aren't flattering!
I was a "room mom" for Miles' party and helped another Mom to decorate and come up with a turkey craft/dessert. We had a lot of fun doing it. Here is Miles with his turkey cookie. This turkey bit the dust right after this picture was taken.

So, here comes Thanksgiving and the countdown to Christmas. We are excited that our friends Rob, Anita, Ian and Lily will be with us on Thursday with Jonathan's family. My aunt will be up visiting my mom and we'll have a big shopping day Friday! We will also celebrate my sister-in-law, Allison's birthday with a girls' lunch on Friday. I really enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas, and barring the shopping and money flying out the windows that the season brings, I'm really happy that we've come to the holidays again.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Kevin and his family made an unexpected visit last week to attend my grandmother's funeral. The kids were so excited to be together. Kell repeatedly professed his love for Ella and decided that his beloved bear is allergic to babies - but not to baby Ella. Eli and Kell had an ongoing debate about who is stronger and bigger - they finally decided that they are about the same size and the "same strong." Ella enjoyed Ian since he couldn't tell her what to do, but he was not too impressed with her this time. They did enjoy playing with the garage without the big boys bugging them as seen in the picture above. We miss them already and can't wait to see them again at Christmas.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Happy Birthday, Kevin...

I thought you could use just one more round of singing while it's still your birthday. Enjoy. I love you! And I'm glad you're my brother even after all these years of you giving me a hard time. Seriously, thanks for loving me and "helping to raise" me as you say. There's a lot I might not have made it through without you.

Friday, November 9, 2007

My grandmother "blossomed" this morning

Dorothy Nell (MawMaw) "blossomed" earlier today. An excerpt from Max Lucado's Traveling Light explains it like this:
Aging is God's idea. It's one of the ways he keeps us headed homeward. What if we looked at the aging body as we look at the growth of a tulip? Do you ever see anyone mourning over the passing of a tulip bulb? Do gardeners weep as the bulb begins to weaken? Of course not. We don't mourn the passing of the bulb; we celebrate it. Tulip lovers rejoice the minute the bulb weakens. "Watch that one," they say. "It's about to blossom."

Could it be heaven does the same? The angels point to our bodies. The more frail we become the more excited they become."Watch that lady in the hospital," they say. "She's about to blossom."

These bodies are weak. They began decaying the minute we began breathing. And, according to God, that's a part of the plan. Every wrinkle and every needle take us one step closer to the last step when Jesus will change our simple bodies into forever bodies. No pain. No depression. No sickness. No end.

This is not our forever house. It will serve for the time being. But there is nothing like the moment we enter his door. ..By that moment only one bag will remain. Not guilt. It was dropped at Calvary. Not the fear of death. It was dropped at the grave. The only lingering luggage will be this God-given longing for home. And when you see him, you'll set it'll drop your longing when you see your Father. Those you love will shout. Those you know will applaud. But all the noise will cease when he cups your chin and says, "Welcome home." And with scarred hand he'll wipe every tear from your eye. And you will dwell in the house of your Lord - forever.

God led me right to this exact page when I picked up this book a little while ago. He is so faithful to give me words when I am at a loss for them. On Sunday I had the honor of telling my grandmother that her first born, my dad, has been waiting for her in heaven. See, she's been sick for a while and when Dad tried to visit her one last time before he died, she didn't recognize him for all the weight he had lost. She had not known and understood that he had died before her. I thought she needed to know. I thought it might help her to let go. So Sunday, I looked into eyes that so strongly resembled my dad's eyes and I told her that her son was waiting and wanting for her to come. I told her that he would wrap his big arms around her for a hug and that his cheeks would be huge from the smile on his face. She looked into my eyes intently and made several quiet noises and at one point she even tried to lean a little toward me and make a longer, louder noise. She understood. I could tell by the look in her eyes. How horribly sad to lose a child, but how joyous for him to greet you when you make it home. I know they are very happy together now. As I looked down upon the face of my grandmother last night, and whispered a last little whisper, I thought about what a beautiful moment she had come to. Just a little bit longer. Almost there. For just a few more hours. And then home with my father and our Father and so many that love her. How beautiful. She blossomed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Two years ago...

my world changed. November 8, 2005 was the first time we were told of Dad's cancer. He'd been in the hospital for 4 days due to jaundice - first due to medications, then due to Hepatitis, then due to a very large ulcer (which was the idea I clung to), then finally (and actually) due to pancreatic cancer. I was taking pictures of Miles that morning as he was rolling over for the first time as my dad was having endoscopy and my mom was being told her husband had cancer. I started to get a bit concerned around lunch when I hadn't heard from Mom so I called. She only said she was coming right over to talk - I knew it was bad and called Jonathan crying. Mom told me and I sat with her as she called Kevin. She headed back to the hospital and as I waited for Jonathan to come home so I could go be with Dad, Kevin called me with the grim information he'd quickly found about pancreatic cancer online. We felt hopeless before we'd even begun. When I opened the door to Dad's hospital room, Mom was standing next to his bed and they were quietly talking. I remember the sweet look on his face as he looked up at her. I saw this and fell apart. I can still hear Dad saying, "Oh, baby..." as I left to cry by myself. I pray that I will never forget the way his voice sounded. This is a picture I took of Miles that day - I'll never be able to look at them without thinking about what happened after they were taken. This was the beginning of my learning that joy and pain will always exist together now.

Friday, November 2, 2007

My birthday

Today is my birthday. I'm 31. That seems so strange to me, sort of. To all my high school buds - I can remember like it was yesterday when we all turned 16. I never expected to be blowing out my 31st birthday candles with three little ones helping me. They are the true gifts of my life - I may not always act like it, I may not always recognize it because days sure can be hard sometimes. But I always know in my heart that these three are the best gifts ever. Thank you, Lord for these children. Eli was just about to burst in anticipation of singing happy birthday and helping me blow out my candles. Before we lit them he asked me what a 3 and a 1 are when you put them together. Then he asked about a 1 and a 3 together. I am absolutely ecstatic that I am 31 and not 13! This is way better than that was. Thanks to my high school friends for remembering my birthday with comments or emails. And to my brother for his very special rendition of the happy birthday song left on my cell phone. ("Happy Birthday, Baby!"). And to my mom for always making over me (not just on my birthday). And to my sweet husband for always making me feel special.
We also celebrated little sissy turning 9 months today. I took several pictures today in what is about to become her room. I had to share one of them. I can't believe she's already 9 months. I just want to soak her up. I love my little boo!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A robot, a spiderman and a ballerina

Here are the boys at Mr. Richard's house (our neighbor who also works with Jonathan). He loves Halloween and has a special treat for all the office children.
Eli won the costume competition at Landmark's Trunk or Treat! Jonathan put 4 years of model making experience to good use in making this costume. Eli was so excited in spite of not being able to hear or walk very well.
Miles wasn't too sure about what was under Mr. Richard's house.
Here is our sweet little ballerina. Her favorite part of the night was pulling off her cute little shoes to chew on her tight-covered toes.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I'm glad we become civilized...

because we sure don't come here that way. Let me just share what my very uncivilized little loves did today. My poor mom had the misfortune to have taken Miles to the potty at McDonald's. While they were waiting for a free stall Miles, who had been fighting his urge for about 30 minutes, lost the fight and his stinky job somehow came out of his underwear and out of his long jeans and on the floor. I'm not sure how that happened. Mom was not too happy with me for sending her to do such a dirty job. Tonight, Eli had an absolute and ugly fit when we did not have a second chocolate donut with sprinkles to give him. This is actually somewhat understandable (I love myself some Krispy Kreme)! And Ella has decided that her new hobby (or maybe habit?) is licking the chair legs in the dining room. I cracked myself up thinking about how crazy it would be if none of us ever learned to be civilized. What a daunting task it sometimes seems to be to help our children eventually outgrow their childishness!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'm just away down the river...

This Alison Krauss song reminds me of the last time I cried in front of Dad. It was our first night home after our last UAB visit. Mom and Dad both slept all the way home while I drove and cried. Cried and drove. I think I almost believed that if we went the other way or took a wrong turn or ended up anywhere else, he would be well and would be able to stay. But Dad wanted to go home so he could go Home. As he lay in bed that night, I laid my head on his chest. He let me cry for a few minutes as he ran his fingers through my hair and then said, "Oh, baby this is nothing new." Of course it was new, I'd never lost him before. But I sort of knew what he meant. This song made it so clear to me when I heard it yesterday that when he said that he meant... I'm dying, we've known it deep down for a while, but I'm just going ahead of you, I'll wait for you, you know I love you and I know you love me, we've talked it all out, you'll make it, you can do this, now...let me go...

Baby dry your eyes
There's no need to cry
Cause I'll see you again
It might be a while
Before you understand

I'm just away down the river
A hundred miles or more
Crossing over Jordan
To the other shore
I'll be standing waiting
With all who've gone before
I'm just away down the river
A hundred miles or more

Now the pictures on the wall
Will help you to recall
They're not there
To make you sad
But to remember
All the good times we had


When it's time to leave
You're gonna feel the mountain breeze
And the snow will fill the stream
And carry you to me


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sweet blue eyes...

Anita was experimenting with new backdrops today and took this very cute picture of my very cute Eleanor! I just had to post it. The green paisley seems to make those blue eyes pop.

If we were a family of pumpkins...

then this is what we'd look like. Eli and I thought it would be fun to paint the 5 little pumpkins I bought in a bunch to look like the 5 of us. As it ended up, I had great fun doing this mostly by myself, although Eli stood nearby to offer his opinions as he thought I needed them. That's him with the red mouth and scary triangle teeth! And notice Jonathan's different-colored eyes and Ella's bow. We are getting excited for Halloween - we'll have a robot, a spider man, and a little ballerina!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ice milk?

Elijah has been reminding me of my dad lately. He has recently decided that he likes "ice milk." That is white milk with ice. Our waitress tonight was sickened by the idea. Chocolate milk has no ice, neither does his sweet tea. I'm not sure why he's suddenly so picky with beverages. My dad liked ice in his milk, usually alongside a hot dog. Disgusting, I know, and I really think the ice milk idea is pretty gross in and of itself. But I love that there are things about Eli that are like Dad. It's also in the way that when he's lost something he first asks me where it is before he even looks for it. I hope I will always find bits and pieces of my dad in my children.

I'm reminded of a dream I had some months ago. Everything was the same except that Jonathan and I were getting married again (I'm not sure why). I knew in the dream that my dad was gone. We were rehearsing for the ceremony, although a large crowd was already there watching. We were in an old cathedral. During the rehearsal, the door to the cathedral opened loudly and sunlight streamed in. Before I could look back to see who was there the minister said something like, "Oh, good. I knew you'd come." It was my dad and he was wearing what he always wore (short-sleeved, botton-up plaid shirt with khakis) looking like his old, healthy self. He hugged me as I sobbed uncontrollably. He took me to a small, private room to console me. When I looked up he was gone and I was at a nurses station in a hospital. The nurse asked me what was wrong and I told her that my dad was gone and that I couldn't see him. She said, "What do you mean? He's all around you."

I believe that dream was either from my dad or from God. I need reminders that Dad is still all around me. He's in my children. He's in my nephews. He's in my brother. He's in me. It's funny how the things that used to bother me now bring me comfort - like the ice milk, and the way I have several projects going at once, none of which are finished, and how my fingers and toes look like his. I'm always saying things he used to (like "not only no, but probably not"). And I find myself singing some old gospel songs he used to sing (like "daddy sang bass, momma sang tenor"). Do I now like old gospel? Absolutely not. But I like that it reminds me of my dad.

Daddy sang bass,
Mama sang tenor.
Me and little brother would join right in there.
Cause singing seems to help a troubled soul.
One of these days and it won't be long,
I'll rejoin them in a song.
I'm gonna join the family circle at the Throne.
Oh, no the circle won't be broken.
By and by, Lord, by and by.

I can still hear Dad singing this. I never paid attention to the words of this song until recently. I take this as another sign that Dad is still near. After all these years, teasing him for loving this song, now it is comforting me. Singing does help a troubled soul. And one day I will rejoin Dad in a song. By and by, Lord, by and by.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Gina tagged me to talk about my man, so here we go. By the way, this picture was taken back in July.

  • 1. Who is my man? Jonathan
  • 2. How long have we been together? About 14.5 years, but we've known each other for 18 years. Now I feel really old.
  • 3. How long did we date? We dated 4 years and were engaged a year and a few months.
  • 4. How old is he? 30
  • 5. Who eats more? It used to be him. Now, I'm not so sure. I hate this question.
  • 6. Who said "I love you" first? He did, very sweetly.
  • 7. Who is taller? He is.
  • 8. Who sings better? I do. (Thanks to the ACA Chorus, of course!)
  • 9. Who is smarter? My IQ falls under what I call the "painfully average" category. Let's just say his is several, several points higher.
  • 10. Who has more of a temper? His temper is worse but takes a little longer to bring out than mine.
  • 11. Who does the laundry? I do. I call it "pile management."
  • 12. Who takes out the trash? He does.
  • 13. Who has sharper computer skills? He does.
  • 14. Who sleeps on the right side? He does. Only because I'm closer to Ella's crib on the left. Soon it won't matter because we are FINALLY going to turn the playroom into her room.
  • 15. Who pays bills? He has since Miles was born. He'd love for me to take this job back, but I don't plan on it.
  • 16. Who mows the lawn? He does. Miles wants to.
  • 17. Who cooks? I do sometimes. I'm trying to do better.
  • 18. Who drives when we are together? He usually does.
  • 19. Who pays when we are out together? He does.
  • 20. Who is more stubborn? Good question. It's probably Miles. :)
  • 21. Who is first to admit it when they are wrong? Jonathan
  • 22. Who asked out who? I tricked him into going to homecoming with me.
  • 23. Who kissed who first? He tricked me into asking him to kiss me.
  • 24. Who is more sensitive? I wear my heart on my sleeve.
  • 25. Who has more friends? For the most part, my friends are married to his friends, so it probably evens out.
  • 26. Who has more siblings? He has 1 brother and 3 sisters and I have 1 really strange (but really great) brother.
  • 27. Who wears the pants? In a lot of ways we share the pants, but he is the true leader of our little family.

Now, I will tag the three people who knew us back before we were us - Erika, Carrie B., and Rebecca H.

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Dedication

This is another special song that is really carrying me along at the moment. It is Yesterdays by the group Switchfoot. They have a song for every part of my loss of Dad. One about never having hurt so bad and learning to crawl, to breathe again, and depend on God and one about how in 24 hours everything can change and this one. I love this one so much because it speaks to how difficult it is to let someone go, but how at the same time you know they are free. And they want you to keep living. I want to dedicate this post to my friend, Elizabeth, and her family at the passing of her Uncle Michael. He passed away yesterday after his own battle with pancreatic cancer. He fought for close to two years - amazing when you realize that 95% of pancreatic cancer patients die within a year of diagnosis. My dad lived 4 months, someone else I heard of lived 2 months, another lived just 8 weeks. My thoughts and prayers are with Elizabeth and her family. Michael leaves behind an 11 year old daughter. I urge anyone who reads this to please say a prayer for them.

Friday, October 5, 2007

I Am

This song is by Nichole Nordeman and has really been speaking to me lately. It reminds me that God is always, always near. Even when we don't feel him. Even when we don't believe he's there. When we question. When we wonder. When we hurt. When we can't understand what is happening in our lives. When we are overcome by sorrow. When we are overcome by joy. When we are exhausted at caring for our children. When we look into the faces of our children and see Jesus. And how amazing it will be to one day be "headed home!" Then we will know. We will see the big picture. We will love without fear. We will be with Love. What a promise...

Pencil marks on a wall I wasn’t always this tall,
You scattered some monsters from beneath my bed,
You watched my team win, You watched my team lose,
You watched when my bicycle went down again.

And when I was weak unable to speak,
still I could call you by name,
and I said “Elbow healer, Superhero,
come if You can,” and You said “I Am.”

Only 16, life is so mean, what kind of curfew is at 10 pm?
You saw my mistakes, You watched my heart break
and heard when I swore I’d never love again

When I was weak, unable to speak,
still I could call You by name,
and I said “Heart-ache Healer, Secret-keeper,
be my Best Friend” and You said “I Am.”

You saw me wear white, by pale candlelight,
I said forever to what lies ahead
two kids and a dream, with kids that can scream
too much it might seem at 2 am

When I am weak, unable to speak,
still I will call You by name.
“Oh Shepherd, Savior, Pasture-maker,
hold on to my hand” and You said “I Am.”

The winds of change and circumstance blow in and all around us
so we find a foothold that’s familiar,
and bless the moments that we feel You nearer.

When life had begun I was woven and spun,
You let the angels dance around the throne, and who can say when,
But they’ll dance again, when I am free and finally headed home

I will be weak, unable to speak,
still I will call You by name,
“Creator, Maker, Life-sustainer,
Comforter, Healer, My Redeemer,
Lord and King, Beginning and End, I Am, yes, I Am.”

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Looks like an angel when he's sleeping...

Miles and Lion taking an afternoon snooze.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Miles was there!

Anita couldn't (wouldn't) post this picture of Miles at the park today on her blog because neither of her kids were in it. This is to show that he was there. Having fun. By himself. Well, he did play with Elijah and Ian some, and he yelled at them some, and had dirt thrown on him some. So, mostly he played by himself. I don't blame him.

Old Bean

Jonathan's name for Ella has been "Bean" since the week she was born. It started because he looked down at her sleeping one day, and the way she was laying there her body was shaped like a kidney bean. So now it is not uncommon to also hear Miles call her Bean or Ellabean just like Jonathan. My names for her are Boo and Ladybug or sometimes just Lady. This week I've been finding myself calling her Bean also. Here's why. Last week I was reading the instructions on a bag of frozen green beans and there they had also listed a few bean colloquialisms. One was that fifty years ago in England if you called someone "old bean" it meant you were good friends. That struck me so sweetly. It's funny how when Elijah was born, I wondered who this stranger was who had come in and taken over my life. With Miles I never felt like he was a stranger and he just quickly fit into our little family. When Ella was born it was as if she'd always been with us. Here is this precious, precious little girl who seemingly sort of happened upon us. When we found out we were expecting so soon after losing Dad, I thought another baby was the last thing I needed. I just wanted my dad back. But I know part of Ella's purpose is to remind me that I still have life in me and that I am so incredibly blessed. The song "In My Daughter's Eyes" says this:
In my daughter's eyes, I am a hero
I am strong and wide and I know no fear.
But the truth is plain to see, she was sent to rescue me,
I see who I want to be in my daughter's eyes.
In part, Ella was sent to rescue me. From my sadness. From my questioning. From my doubt. God answered a prayer from so long ago when He sent Ella to me. He revealed to me the delicate details of His timing and the sweet grace of His comfort. I can't wait to see what else He has purposed Ella for. But for now, she's our Old Bean. Our good friend.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The 3 "Mikeskateers" and On Why I Miss My Mom

The picture of my parents was taken the day Miles was born. It serves as proof that my dad actually let my mom hold Milesy for a few moments that day. Shortly after it was taken, my dad said, "I don't share babies very well." He meant it. Miles, or "Smiles" as my dad called him, really brought a lot of light to all of us, especially Dad, in the darkness to come.

The picture of Kevin and me was taken about 2 months later, on their first visit with Miles.

Recently, Mom, Kevin and I decided that we are the 3 "Mikeskateers." A goofy title, I know, but sometimes you've got to laugh so you don't cry. We've always been very close, but going through Dad's illness and death side by side made our little trio even that much stronger. So, we are what remains of the Michael Cash family. Being without our leader is a struggle, and we all feel better when we are together, but I know we are making Dad proud as we carry on his legacy.

Mom is in Michigan with Kevin, Christine, Kell and Ian right now. She will have been gone for three weeks when she gets home next week. We've all missed her very much. Elijah keeps asking if today is the day we'll go pick her up at the airport. We haven't been to Chappy's since she left - we haven't verbally made that decision, but I guess we just don't go there without Mom. I miss her help with the kids, ofcourse. Who doesn't like reinforcement in caring for their children? But what I really miss about Mom is her company - just knowing she's here. So, while I truly want her to enjoy the rest of her trip, I'm ready for her return, as is the rest of my family! To all of my friends who are mad at me right now because they are away from their moms much longer than 3 weeks at a time - I'm sorry. I know you miss your moms and that one of you in particular wants to strangle me when you see me in Target with mine. I do realize how very lucky I am to live near my mom.