Nov 8, 2013

Countdown to 30: It's Here!

Today is my very last day in my 20s.  I don't remember my last day in my teens, so I am glad to be writing today so that I can remember forever.  These last 10 days have shown you (and myself) my journey over the last decade.  Man, it has been a rough ride.  I am stronger than ever before and I am happier than ever before.  I want to start with saying thank you to my husband, my daughter, my mom and dad, and my sister and her family.  I am only who I am because they are behind me every step of the way.  I could not go on without their love, compassion, and support.

The year 2013 did not disappoint.  I'm secretly hoping 2014 is C.A.L.M.

November 2012 - My Granny was to go into a hospice facility so she could get a bit stronger and get through the holidays without added illness.

The entire family came together for Thanksgiving and it was unbelievable.  We knew the end was near and we all held each other up.

The days before she went into hospice care.  Melt my heart.

The family my Granny and Grandpa created.

Spending Thanksgiving eating popcorn. :)

December 2011 -

Mommy was getting healthier, one plank at a time!

My little Diva!

Love her pretty smile!
We spent the first part of December in Texas, but Andrea and I loaded the kids and headed to Oklahoma as soon as school was out.  We were going to stay through Christmas day and then head home.  The next day it began to snow.  We stayed.  Well, actually God had other plans for us.

December 28, 2012 my beautiful, caring, strong, and compassionate Granny, Bonnie Rose, earned her wings.  I remember the day it happened.  Mom and Joyce needed some rest so I headed up to hospice.  At this point Granny was already unresponsive.  We were keeping her comfortable and just waiting.  I spent three hours with her that morning.  I talked and cried, talked and cried.  I held her hand.  I told her it was time to go and be with my Grandpa and all her family.  They were waiting.    That same evening, with my mom and Aunt Joyce by her side, she crossed into those pearly gates.  Not a day goes by where I don't think about it, want to call her for a recipe, or just think about how she would have handled a situation.  She was a beautiful woman that we had to let go way too soon.

Another special sidenote: Andrea was pregnant with Astoria when my Grandfather passed in 2008.  She was able to find out the gender before he passed... it was bittersweet.  This time, Andrea was pregnant with Asher.  We didn't yet know his gender, but we do know that Granny got to meet him before we ever did.  He was blessed from the beginning.

January 2013 I decided I wanted to become a runner.  I was healthy, I was getting stronger and more fit, it was time!

(In December I am going to do a whole-year recap on my running and fitness journey!)

In February I sat out to run 7 miles.  I had been preparing, prepping, etc. and I was going to do it.  Well, around 7:30am and around mile 3.5 I slipped off the sidewalk into a hole.  I fractured my ankle.  I was devastated.  I had signed up for my first 10k (6.2) miles and it was in 2 weeks!!!  I was determined to run that race, and I did!  (I did not know I fractured my ankle until May...)

This was after 2 weeks.. oh man, it hurt.
I ran those glorious 6.2 miles in 1:11 and it was UNBELIEVABLE!
 So in March, I decided to do it again!  This time it was a night race where everyone was decked out in glow sticks, etc.  It was a 5k and I finished in 34 minutes.  Running is such a high!

5k - 34 minutes
April 2013 - Life was great and the school year was coming to an end!

Oklahoma Wedding - April

In May, my sweet girl turned 5 years old!  She wanted a Spongebob Birthday and her Daddy did everything he could to make it happen!  Including making this beautiful and amazing cake.  She (and we) are truly blessed!
Special girl!
Also in May, I GRADUATED!  I officially was finished with my Master's Degree!  Having never stepped on the campus for classes, I decided I wanted to take a mini-vacation to Beaumont to walk across that stage!  It was an amazing time and I am, once again, blessed to have my family by my side.

Also in May, Olivia graduated from Pre-K!  She would be starting Kindergarten in August and it was time to say goodbye to the school where it all started.  I wasn't ready for Kindergarten!

Olivia's Graduation

2013 Graduates!
Lake time!
 May also proved to be a month of sadness and a true test of my strength.  Olivia's biological father, my ex-husband, passed away suddenly.  Up until this point Olivia did not know of Tony.  She had met him several times, but only knew him of Tony.  I decided right then that my 5 year old daughter was about to learn her family history.

You can read the entire story of my early life and how I handled his death here.
I drew Olivia a family tree and tried to explain everyone the best I could.  She had lots of questions, but none that I felt I couldn't handle or explain.  She still brings him up and asks why he had to die, why he didn't come to her birthday parties, etc.  She is still trying to learn why we call Tim daddy even though he isn't her "real" daddy.  She is learning.  We are learning.  We are all in this together and as long as she knows she is loved more than anything in the world; we have succeeded.

June - Tim and I finally got to take our honeymoon!  We spent almost a week in Mexico soaking up the rays getting sunburnt horribly, getting food poisoning and it was amazing!
Pops and his girls.

Nana and her girls.
 June 20, 2013 - Asher James entered the world!  I am so glad Andrea kept him cookin' until I got back from Mexico.  It was close!  This little boy is a blessing, is an easy baby, and is OH SO CUTE!  Olivia adores him and STILL wants to hold him any time she can. :) And no, she does not need a little brother...

In July, Olivia had her nose vessels cauterized.  She had always suffered from intermittent nose bleeds, but they would bleed heavily and cause her discomfort.  The surgery was a success and we have not had any more nosebleeds!

She keeps me on my toes!
Once my Granny passed, my Mom and Dad moved into her home.  I wouldn't have had this any way; this is where my Mom belonged.  This is where my family belongs.  But, this meant my parents had to sell the only house Andrea and I have ever known.  This picture was taken in that house before we said goodbye for the last time.

 In July I got a new job.  I was no longer going to be teaching as a regular classroom teacher, but as an Interventionist.  I serve students in Kindergarten through 5th Grade who are At-Risk and falling below grade level.  The job is challenging, but I was glad to be putting my time in somewhere outside of the classroom.
July 2013
In August, I was able to travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to take part in the Pure Romance National Conference.  I had joined the Pure Romance family in December 2012 and it has provided my family with great supplemental income.  I love the job!  I love getting to meet new people, make people laugh, as well as educate women on their bodies. 

 Olivia and I also started new schools!  Olivia was beginning Kindergarten at a Math, Science, and Technology school.  She had to test to be accepted and we were thrilled for this opportunity for her.  I was terrified of starting my new school, but was glad I already knew some of the teachers!
September - I had been going to the gym regularly at 5am/3 days a week and running one day on the weekends.  I love going to the gym and have an amazing MOTIVATOR.
Getting stronger one day at a time!
October - How was it already possible we had reached our 1st Wedding Anniversary?  My husband is amazing.  I couldn't have picked a better choice for me and my craziness, not to mention my crazy daughter!

One year later and the dress still fits: SUCCESS!

Pure Happiness!
I also hit a HUGE milestone and ran 11 miles!!!  I am training for a half marathon in December and this was SO amazing to me.  I still can't believe I did it.

Tomorrow is my 30th Birthday.  I have an AMAZING day planned with family and friends.  Before the celebrations begin, I will be running in a 5k to honor Pancreatic Awareness.  This race will be very emotional.  Andrea, Tim, Rex, Mom, the girls, and I will be running to honor both of our Parents/Grandparents/Great-Grandparents who were taken too soon by cancer.
Shirt made by Ruffles With Love
I can't say enough about this last decade.  It has been the hardest and the best.  There have been ups and there have been downs.  There have been tears and there has been laughter.  But most of all, there have been memories.

See you in the next decade!!!!

November 8, 2013

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