Friday, September 13, 2013

Life is HARD

Ya'll.  I've had this post on my mind and in my heart for quite some time now and just haven't had the courage to write it.  Or maybe I just couldn't organize my thoughts well enough to put it on paper per se.  But here I go.  There aren't going to be any pictures of my kids. No funny stories. Just a little bit of a brain dump about what's on my heart and mind.

These past 6-8 weeks have rocked my world. Seriously. Rocked. My. World. And what I've learned is that life is HARD.  Not just the "what's for dinner" hard but REALLY HARD.  I've got friends going through stuff I can't even IMAGINE facing. And I don't know if it's intentional or unintentional but we put up this fa├žade so many times that life is easy and we don't have tough times.  But you know what.  That just ain't true.  Life is hard.

When my mom was very close to passing or just after she passed, I can't remember, I had text conversation with a friend that was dealing with an issue that was pretty big to her.  She made the comment in our texting that her issue is pretty trivial considering what I was going through.  But you know what? It wasn't trivial to her and that made it not trivial to me either. We all have BIG things that we're facing.  And let us never trivialize what we consider a big event.  Not to ourselves and not to each other.

Friends, YOUR problems are my problems too.  Just because my problem may seem big to you that doesn't mean what you are going through isn't important! Or that what you are going through isn't hard. Yes, losing my mom was devastating, and traumatic and very difficult. But what you are going through could be those exact same things.  And I hope to never be the person that makes any of my friends feel less about what they are going through! I want to be supportive. I want you to talk to me. I want you to talk to other people if you don't want to talk to me. I don't want us to feel like that everyone else has their life together because the truth is, no matter what we put out there on Facebook, or Instagram or what we tell you in real life, we don't have our crap together and life isn't perfect. I don't want us to feel embarrassed that we are going through a tough time.  It's not embarrassing.  Life is HARD and we don't need to be embarrassed to admit it.

I'm not sure what my point is.  I guess my point is at times we have no idea what people are going through.  Let us be a little more understanding with each other.  Let us be supportive.  We DO NOT know how we would react in situations until we are in them.  Let's not say "well I would..." or "you should do..." because you know what? We DONT know what we should do.  We DONT know what our friends should do in situations.  Life is hard. There's no instruction manual.  And if there was, there would be more exceptions than there would be rules.

So let me put this out there.  I don't want to judge you.  I want to support you.  Your big problems are my big problems too.  I'm sharing your burden with you. I'm crying for you.  I'm praying for you.  I'm thinking about you.  I'm hurting with you.  I'm not judging you. I'm not telling you what to do. I'm not disappointed in you. 

Life is HARD.

But let us all try and help each other to make these hard times a little easier.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What to do with Funeral Flowers

Ya'll, I'm not a sentimental person. Have I told you that?  I blame my mom. Seriously. She wasn't particularly sentimental person. But my mom got so many flowers when she passed. So. many.  And they were beautiful.  I would just walk around her room at the funeral home and look at them and read the cards a million times. At the church the morning of her funeral I looked at them again.  She would have loved all the flowers.  They really were amazing.

And so when it came time to bring flowers home or have them donated to a nursing home, I could hardly bear for any of the flowers not to come with me.  They were beautiful.  And amazing. And huge! I actually wrote my name on all the flowers and plants I wanted to come home with me! And then I had an idea. It actually came from my dear friends 7 year old daughter who had come to see my mom.  She said "Aunt Jen, I really like the flowers you picked out for your mom."  Be still my heart people.  I loved them too sweet girl.  I told her after the service I would bring them home and let her pick some out and take them home. Then it hit me.  How about I bring A LOT home and let a few of Avery's friends come over and make their own little flower arrangements? Even in the midst of sorrow I have genius ideas.

And so my sweet friend Tabitha and her girls came over. And also my friends and neighbors Lindsey and Darren and their 3 girls came over.  We got together one evening this week and gave the girls a vase and access to the gazillion flowers I was hoarding.

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The girls picked and chose the perfect flowers to their hearts content!

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It was chaos and a complete mess. My mom would have loved it!
 
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It was such a fun thing to do with all the flowers and a great way to honor my mom. There were so many different varieties to choose from.  They even learned what "filler" is!

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Even little Claire got in on the action!
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The girls had a blast! I was impressed with the arrangements they came up with! Not too shabby for girls 7 and under!
 
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Avery
 
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Lyla
 
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Chloe
 
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Natalee

I missed getting a picture of Hannah with her arrangement. I'm pretty sure Hannah was just as happy that Ellie would actually sit in her lap for a short time! It is kind of a big deal. Ellie kind be a snob sometimes. a lot.
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And the aftermath.
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This actually looks cleaner than it actually was! But I wouldn't change it for the world.  It was such a fun time.  We ended the evening with pizza and playing outside.  It doesn't get better than that.

So if you ever find yourself in a situation with tons of flowers that you can't bear to get rid of, have a flower arranging party with your bestest friends (of the little or big variety).  I promise a good time will be had by all.
 
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Girls Day

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Before Avery started school I told her we'd have a girls day.  Avery started school on a Friday but Ellie started her Children's Day Out on a Thursday so it was just Avery and I for most of the day.

We decided we would go to the movies, get our nails & toes done, and do a little shopping.

When we got to the mall for the movie, it was a little too early to get tickets so I got a little breakfast and we just hung out.  Avery told me she didn't want anything and then ended up eating half my breakfast.  Typical.
 
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Avery decided she wanted to see Despicable Me 2. I didn't realize it was 3D until we got to the theater. Confession: I've always thought the idea of 3D was dumb. Who wants to wear glasses during a movie?! Especially my 5 year old! But I have to say that my view is not forever changed. It was actually really fun and on several occasions Avery stuck her hands out to try to feel stuff that was coming for us. It was pretty cute. And the movie was adorable.
 
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After the movies we went and got our nails done. Always a favorite event with us!
 
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After we got our nails done we did a little shopping. Avery picked out a special outfit for the first day of school. Even accessorized with jewelry.
 
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It was a great day for us. Just what the two of us needed. But the day was a little sad for me knowing that was something my mom would have definitely been a part of. She never missed a good girls day!
 
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I love making these memories with my girls. I hope they will cherish them always!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wedding pictures...a new generation

A few weeks ago I desperate to get pictures of Avery taken in my wedding dress.  My mom was not doing well and I knew that she would not be around to see those BIG moments in my girls' lives.  You know those moments like their first boyfriend, first day of high school, first prom, etc.  But what killed me the most was that my mom was not going to be around to see the girls get married.

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Because she is a saint and the scheduling worked about one of my favorite photographers, Erin, agreed to come down from Tulsa for a quick, somewhat impromptu shoot of Avery in my wedding dress.  The pictures could not have turned out more beautifully. 

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Erin has some exciting new opportunities in her future and likely won't be able to take pictures for us again soon.  I was honored she would take the time to do this for my family.

I gave the wedding dress pictures to my mom when we had our big talk. As you can imagine she loved them.  We laughed and cried as I told her about the photo shoot. It was such a special time and I'm glad that we did it. I mourn the times my mom will not be around to see my girls go through those big moments in life.  But she will be with us in our hearts and I know we'll be able to feel her presence there.
 
Here are the pictures of my little girl looking far too big.
 
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One of my favorites...little miss pouty.

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Be still my heart...


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I love this one. Avery looks like a little girl having fun playing dress up.



I know it's picture overload but I can't help it. I puffy heart love the pictures. I can't wait to get Ellie to do this in a few years! It was such a fun time and something I'll always cherish. Thank you Erin!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day of Kindergarten

My big kid started Kindergarten last Friday!! How is that possible?

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I know how it's possible.  She keeps growing! 

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I do wish she would stop but I know it just isn't going to happen.
 
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So in the midst of all the sadness last week, we at least had Kindergarten to look forward to!It was the perfect distraction!
 
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Avery was so excited. I think she asked me every day for an entire month when she was going to get to go to Kindergarten. We met her teacher last week and it just fueled her enthusiasm. Her teacher seemed very fun and the room was just what I would imagine a Kindergarten room to look like.
 
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This kid just takes my breath away on a regular basis. She's so sweet, sassy & funny. Love her!
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I'm looking forward to hearing lots of wonderful stories of Kindergarten this year!
 
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Drop off was a family affair! Don't judge us for taking Ellie in her pj's.  It was EARLY ya'll.  7:30 AM to be exact!
 
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One final picture before we said goodbye! She's such a big girl and so brave!
 
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Have a great year Avery Grace!!