Tag Archives: home

Memories…The Good and The Bad

The one thing about moving into a new house that I absolutely love, is going through boxes of the memories created over the years. Today my husband was organizing the garage and brought me a few boxes to go through. One was filled with photos of the kids and their schoolwork. I spent over an hour looking through those pictures. I smiled ear to ear as I pulled every photo out and remembered exactly what they were doing or where they were when it was taken. It seems just like yesterday I had four children, under the age of 12. Long before the years of teenage angst, teen hormones, attitudes, drivers licenses, first girlfriend/boyfriends, proms, and graduations. Now I have 3 adult children, what used to be the baby is going to her first prom, and I have another baby girl I never dreamed I would’ve or could’ve had! But that’s the thing about memories….there are good, and bad ones. And just as I was busy celebrating all of my good ones, a bad memory was there to slap me in the face!

After over an hour of looking and reminiscing, one of the last picture envelopes I opened took me by surprise and I gasped! Not because it was photos I hadn’t seen before, but because it was photos I haven’t made a habit of looking at. They were photos taken by a relative during a horribly bad time in our lives, but somehow she knew one day, we would need them for closure.

Those photos took me back to being 21. I was married with a 22 month old son…a stay at home mom…when my whole world came crashing down around me! During that time everything was a blur. I don’t remember much. I remember the doctors harsh words, holding my husbands hands and talking to him. I remember the people coming in and out of our home…I can’t tell you who they were though. I remember boycotting food for 5 days…until December 31, 1994…The day I found out I was expecting our second child. And I remember the first bit of nutrition i fed myself after that 5 days, a banana, because the baby would need me to be healthy.

People may wonder why I have those photos or the video tape of his eulogy…it’s simple…he had a son, and unknown at the time, an unborn daughter. I owed it to them, to give them the option of being a part of the funeral if they chose to be when they were ready. My son was too young to understand at the time, so he stayed at home. I remember his first words when I came home…”Mommy, where’s daddy?”

I took a deep breath and looked at my sweet, innocent baby boy and said, “Daddy’s in heaven with God and the Angels!” The same sentence I repeated for years every time he asked, until he finally gave up and stopped asking. I honestly can’t tell you which was worse, saying those words over and over or the day he stopped asking.

Which brings me to my original reason for this post. My son is 25 and my daughter is 22 now. I can’t imagine having to watch either of them go through something like this at their age now. But what I can tell you, is as their mother, I’ve watched them go through it as children their entire lives.

We live in a tight knit community. Most people know my first husband and what happened. They will also speak about rumors on what they think REALLY happened, not thinking about how it may affect my kids or other loved ones. I’ve dealt with being judged for making wrong decisions during the time when my grief was so blinding, I couldn’t see what was clearly a bad decision. But with every bad decision comes a great memory, or in my case child 3 & 4! I’ve watched this town and it’s people put pressure on my son to be someone he was not, just because of his name. And the same people can somehow “forget” my daughter even exists, just because she doesn’t share the same first name! It took years for my son to truly find himself and become the man he was always meant to be. He is strong willed, compassionate, soft-hearted, tender and caring. He still has those that doubt him, but trust me when I tell you, his dad would be SO proud of the man he has become! It has not always been an easy journey, but I’m SO thankful he chose me to take it with him…the good and the bad!

And to my daughter…our last gift….what can I say but WOW! You have surpassed all of my expectations and more. You are so strong and courageous. As a small child I would catch you watching videos of your dad or looking through pictures…you know him inside and out! I still remember him saying, “I don’t want to have a girl! And if we do, she better be fat and ugly so the boys won’t want to date her or else I may go to jail!”

I said, “That’s what we have Little Pit for!” 😀

And from the first moment I laid my eyes on you, I knew his wish didn’t come true….you were the most beautiful baby girl I had ever seen!

So, somewhere out there, there is another single mother making memories with her beautiful children, and sure making some mistakes along the way, but I hope that like me, she can one day look back on the bad times and know the good memories cast so much light in her life, the bad ones don’t seem so dark.

Thanks to my kids for always being the light of my life! 😍😍

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017! 

2016 seemed to fly by so fast!  When we got orders to Washington State at the end of 2013, 2016 seemed like an eternity away! I willed time to speed by, and time being EVER so gracious, did just that! As mid point 2016 approached, I found myself begging time to slow down! As a family, we had grown accustom to our surroundings in Washington.  We got use to seeing our extended family only via FaceTime or during our annual trip to Florida during the summer.  We made wonderful, lifelong friends, we weren’t ready to say goodbye to.  And June 2016 would mark another huge milestone for our family, with Makailyn  graduating from high school. She would be the first to graduate somewhere other than my alma mater, FBHS!  But as they say, time marches on, and so did she.  She marched across the stage with our immediate family cheering her on, as well as her granny, memaw, and papa, who had flown in for her special day! And thankfully, those who were unable to make the trip, they were able to log in and watch via live feed! 

After graduation, we said our goodbyes and headed out across he country. We traveled down the west coast and enjoyed sight seeing through The Sequoia Forest. The trees were absolutely gorgeous, a work of art courtesy of Mother Nature! We spent one day in SAN Francisco.  We walked across the Golden Gate Bridge and took photos.  We even drove by the Full House, house, where we discovered we weren’t the only tourists still obsessed with the Tanners! We drove into LA and Hollywood and became typical tourist!  We even enjoyed a Hollywood tour in which we tormented Meadow, telling her every house was Justin Bieber’s!! We spent a day at Venice Beach watching the kids play in the water and walking along the boardwalk.  We even enjoyed the freak show! Traffic was indeed horrible, especially pulling a Uhaul trailer behind us, but it was well worth it! 

They loved our Maltese, Kingston, at The Freak Show!! 

We left California and headed into Vegas!  To say it was hot is an understatement! It was 115 degrees and being outside felt like you were literally cooking.  The heat hampered our sightseeing, but Makailyn, granny, and I did get to enjoy The Thunder From Down Under! Front row seats and they were worth it! Granny and Makailyn had never been so now they are able to cross that off of their bucket list!  The next day we went to The Secret Garden and happen to run into Siegfried! The girls had no idea who he was, but he was nice enough to take a picture with them!  Meadow got to take pictures with a dolphin.  In spite of the heat, we enjoyed our time in Vegas. 

Our next stop was Oklahoma to see my parents on our way through.  We stopped by and saw Grandpa Kenneth’s gravesite like we do every time we visit Oklahoma.  This time was the first time we were able to visit Nanny Joy’s gravesite.  She is buried next to my cousin Dustin who passed away from cancer as a young boy.  It was bittersweet.  I’m glad we had the opportunity to see her final resting place, but oh how I wish we could be sitting at her dining room table, playing a game of Farkle or Yahtzee instead! 

The final two days of our trip were a blur.  We were exhausted from our trip and ready to see the Florida sign!  Pulling across the Florida state line felt oh so nice!

We’ve spent the second half of 2016 getting reacquainted with our Florida lives.  Some things have changed and some things have stayed the same.  During our time away, I’ve learned a few things.  I learned who my true friends are, and who are just really more like acquaintances.  I’ve learned who I can count on and who is really just out for themselves.  I’ve learned for some, out of sight, is really out of mind.  I’ve learned distance does make the heart grow fonder, if the relationship is strong to begin with!  I’ve seen first hand, some people only want you in their lives if they need something from you, but if you need them, they are too busy to care. I’ve learned some of your best friends will still love you even if you haven’t called them because 3 hours time difference messes up your chat schedule, and the only time you can talk, they can’t, so they will settle for Facebook comments and likes from you without getting their feelings hurt, because like you, they KNOW how much you love them!!! My girls know who they are!!! 😘😘

2016 ended with  Chris and I celebrating our 10 year Anniversary! Every day I look at him I wonder how in the heck I got SO lucky!! He’s an amazing husband and to top it off, he’s an incredible, loving father!! What more could a girl want!! 😍❤️

 I’ve learned that family is the most important thing in the world.  If you want your family to make you a priority in their lives, you better be willing to make them a priority in yours.  You can’t sit back, complain and be jealous of the relationship other family members have with each other, if you aren’t willing to make an effort on your own.  Stop being a victim, make an effort and enjoy your family while they are still around to do so! Life is too short to waste your time on petty feuds and unspoken words! Live today like it’s your last! 

I am so blessed to be home in Florida, surrounded by family and friends. My resolution for 2017 is to focus less on the things I can’t change, and be happy with what God has blessed me with! I mean, seriously….have you seen my kids?!?   Those are seriously some pretty incredible humans I gave birth to! 

Pit will start 2017 walking through an adventure I’m sure he never thought he would embark on! As he turns 24 in February, I can honestly say, as a mom, I’ve raised an incredible young man with a good head on his shoulders!  He’s been on more adventures in his short life than many dream of, and I can’t wait to see where 2017 takes him! KaileeLane will start her final semester of Paramedic school in North Carolina and will graduate in May!  She works as a waitress, goes to school full time and enjoys her time in clinicals.  I love her phone calls telling me all about her day! Time will tell whether or not she will continue to call North Carolina home, or if Florida calls her back! We sure do miss her around here, but I am SO proud of my independent young lady! Her strength and drive amazes me! Makailyn is enrolled in online classes at FSCJ and is working as a waitress.  She’s venturing out into the world one step at a time, deciding where life will take her! She has big dreams and a bright future ahead of her, and no matter where her heart may land, I know she will always be my happy girl! Meadow will turn 15 in 2017 and finish up her Freshman year in High School!  She left Fernandina Beach in 6th grade for 2 1/2 years and came back a beautiful, confident, young lady!  She knows what she wants and expects out of her life and the people in it, and she will not waste time on anything less!  She’s definitely strong-willed and tough, with the right amount of sweetness and charm! And let’s not forget, she’s an absolute makeup fanatic! 😀 She closed out the first half of her Freshman  year on the honor roll and has set big goals for herself and her future!  I’m excited to watch her continue to grow and achieve all of her dreams!   And last but not least, we have little Miss Everleigh! She is a 3 year old, little mini teenager! She has watched and mimicked her sisters every move for the last 3 1/2 years! From her obsession with lipstick, selfies, sassiness, hands on her hips and the infamous eye roll, she’s got the role of “teenager” down pat! 😀 Before moving back, I worried Everleigh would be less than friendly to family and friends since we moved when she was 5 months old and she was pretty much secluded except for our immediate family!  NOT in the least!!! She never meets a stranger!! She absolutely loves her brother Pit and cousin Dylan, which somehow she now has claimed as her brother as well! 😂  she adores “Aunt Saucy” AKA, Aunt Sylvie! But, no matter how many new faces she meets, she will run up and hug them whenever they are leaving.  She is smart enough to recognize family when she sees them! She is taking dance and is in cheerleading! She loves to dance around the house with her current favorite, The Trolls soundtrack! 

2017 will most certainly be a great year for our family! My parents are building a house which should be finished in February, and will be moving back to Florida from Oklahoma! And if that wasn’t great enough, our house is being built right next door and should be completed in May! We have been so unsettled since moving back, planning and waiting for our dream home to be complete! But the one thing I’ve learned, anything is possible as long as you have your family and friends by your side! Thanks for making 2016 a year to remember! 😘😘