Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Late To Summer

Escaping the reality of school days with the freedom of Summer break really is one of the most bittersweet times of parenthood. Not only have I come to learn this about parenthood, but I've also realized it with the children I've grown to love over the course of the school year. When you're in a preschool class and have children for more than one year, your love for them grows beyond measure. With this year being my second year, I really learned once again how much I love children in general.

This school year literally kept me on my toes from keeping up with surgeries, to my Dad's illness, to the transition of fourth grade for Charli girl. But I could never be more thankful for a rewarding position that lets me be in the school with both of my children. 


Next year will be incredibly bitter sweet in all that we experience with this being Bryar's last year of preschool. I'm not sure how we'll survive school life of being separated, but of course it will be time for little bear to adventure into Kindergarten. 



As you can see there is never a dull moment with this little character. He's learned so much, and his speech has jumped leaps and bounds throughout this year. While we hope to make even more progress this summer while we're home making memories together, I'm loving being able to witness his first experiences with school. 


Boy, are we glad to have the transition of fourth grade past us. It was a lot of ugly, and a lot of great too. Charli Beth has really developed into her own little person but is still insanely passionate about the things she cares about - animals. 

While I don't see her as often as Bryar in the school building, it's pretty great to run into her. I'll always remember this year being the time she was not too old, or too cool to grab me and give me a kiss no matter who is around. She's multiplied friends, and found love in all new things. 

She may not have celebrated being Leader of the Month, or honor roll every nine weeks and that's okay. I'm actually more proud of Charli than I've ever been. Through the struggles, the let downs and the time spent trying her heart out she built character. I hope that I always remember how my parenting style isn't one of perfectionist moments, but one of making sure my children give their best in everything I do - someone remind me of this will I let them create art projects. 

Our Summer has been a slow go, and we are pretty empty on the bucket lists of items to do. But the most important thing I know we will accomplish is making memories with family. 



Friday, June 10, 2016

The Strength of Love

It's 9:00 on a Friday night and I'm sitting in the worlds most uncomfortable hospital chair. Typically, I would complain or move to another seat but right now my site is too precious to be anywhere else. 

I remember days of sobbing because I wanted happiness for my Mom. I wanted her to find that person that we sang so loudly about in our truck to the Dixie Chicks. 
We're probably not the best at carrying a tune, but we all felt that person would come.. and we were right. 



My Mom has had the pleasure of loving a man who surprised her with a wedding on a beach in Florida with family surrounding. She loves a man, who jokes often and works harder than any person I had ever met. While their love story is still going strong, they're still blessing every person they encounter including myself. 

But tonight even though I'm mad at the world for cancer trying to take this man we all love so much. I can never recall a moment of love that is more beautiful and strong to the foundation as I look upon my Mom holding my Dad in bed cuddling him, just to solely give him peace. 

We may know moments of happiness in marriage. Or the fights that break us to our core. But even after five years of marriage to Curtis I cannot even begin to say, that I am half the spouse that my Morher is. Over the past two years, she has loved in a whole new demeanor. One that is selfless, strong, and as hard as she can. She has missed events, stayed up for countless days, cleaned up, prayed over and just simply loved the man that became our Prince Charming. 


While my heart is aching for my entire family, I cannot help but to also be blessed and touched by the love these two share. As we often share within parenthood that the, "days are long, but the years are short." I also am seeing this to be true in marriage as well. While we may not feel like we can even make it through the day sometimes because of an ignorant fight with a spouse, we must remember how precious our years are together. The battles may be fierce, but let your love be stronger than them. Never let a day go by, that you don't thank your loved ones and most of all without loving to your full potential. 

If there's anything in this life that my parents have taught me, it's how to love. I will never forget these looks of sadness across my Mother's face, or the selfless acts she continually shows. If there's anything in this life that my parents have taught me, it's how love as hard as possible. 

As my Dad likes to sing, "there will be peace in the valley," and even through our hurt we are praying for just that. Please pray along with us for our entire family,  and for the comfort of Jesus across my Parents. 


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Charli Beth's Darling Derby Party

Birthdays should be celebrated and remembered for years to come. Life is too short to not have fun and celebrate in a way you wish. In my past life I was probably a party planner, and for some reason events set me into a new atmosphere of happiness. I reluncantly and selfishly say, that I probably enjoy my children's birthdays as much as they do. I mean after all, it is a celebration for us as parents too...


Charli Beth {somehow} turned ten on April 6. It really has been the quickest and most rewarding ten years of my life. She has grown into such a little lady but even though she's growing older her young loving heart has yet to change. Even after all of the years, horses are still her number one passion. Even though she's more of the cowgirl type, she loves anything and everything to do with horses. But being from Kentucky, she has always held an interest in the Kentucky Derby. We also visited a retired race horse farm in Versailies, Kentucky during Spring Break. So as we began party planning for a huge celebration of year ten, she knew this would be the perfect theme. 




To begin with it was more than likely the hardest party to plan. If you're having a party for ten year old girls, in your southern baptist church parlor then obviously that excuses all derby items such as bourbon, mint juleps and betting.  


There are many girls within Charli's grade that are animal lovers and I knew they would love this idea as well. 

It just so happened to work perfectly that the next week fell within Teacher Apprecistion Week and my PTO had a derby themed week. We were able to kill two birds with one stone, and reuse almost all of the decor. 







In saying this, one of my favorite things about planning birthday parties is to make sure you can reuse most items. This is one reason why I always pick to use cloth fabric runners for decoration. These beautiful fabric pieces were picked out by Charli Beth. They are timeless and elegant. She may even want them one day for her future home...gasp.







Our menu: 
Hot Brown Sliders
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Vegetables
Kentucky Caviar 
Tortilla Chips
Derby Pie 
Strawberry Cake 

All Bryer horses are a collection from Charli, even though not all are Kentucky Derby breeds they helped make a perfect touch. We made the cloths from felt that I had left over from previous school projects and added numbers. 


The girls came in and were seated together to start checking their derby knowledge, and of course this consisted of lots of giggles. We then were able to pray together as my Dad blessed the meal, and ate a terrific lunch made at the hands of my loving Mom and Mother in law. After everyone was finished we took turns making derby hats, and doing photo booth pictures. Once the cake was cut the girls are, unwrapped gifts together and celebrated the rest of the time playing. 





It was so fun to see the girls at school the next week wearing their hats in celebration of Derby Weekend. Even though the Bluegrass State doesn't seem to shut down for the derby anymore, we sort of do. Charli has picked the winner the last three years, it's literally quiet amazing. I may not know what the future holds for this girl, but I can sure tell it's going to be amazing.... 


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Convoy Agaisnt Cancer



Coping mechanisms come in all different forms. Sometimes we blind ourselves with happiness, and moments that bring us joys. Others, we distract ourselves keeping incredibly busy for more reasons than I can count. During this season of my life, I've somehow learned to become an avoider of situations. At one time in my life, I shamelessly faced every feeling and heart break right on my sleeve. But with my heart obviously in some form of heartbreak that I don't even understand on most days all for the sake of my parents, it's better to distract myself for the good rather than making wrinkles upon my face.

It's been a while since I've updated on the prognosis of his cancer, and what has been going on in the last two months, I can only apologize. My heart and my mind has really been at a loss for words on how to speak of this. On April 6, after a turn of events my parents were told that the cancer my Dad has been battling has spread to his brain, involving 17 lesions. The day before my sister and brother in law blessed our family with a new healthy beautiful baby boy. My heart was overjoyed but also mixed with many emotions. While I celebrated my new nephew Tytus Timothy, I also longed to help my parents rejoice in someway and to also keep us all distracted from the cancer that is batting on.



On May 14, along with the help of many others I held a benefit auction, BBQ dinner, and Convoy Against Cancer to help with the medical expenses for my Dad. While I never believed that an event in which became so large could be so gracefully laid out, it literally happened and only be the hands of God. During the planning and organization of other events, even birthday parties, I've been anxious and a demon to say the least. But somehow, someway the event just laid our perfectly and the only explanation of this is the many hands of thousands (yes, thousand) of people that helped in some form. This day could've never been a hint of perfection that it was, without their help.


In the days leading to the Convoy Against Cancer, my Dad had only one small request for the day. This small request was to drive a semi in the convoy, leading the way to the Harper Equipment and Auction Building. While this made us worried at the sake of the motions of the rig causing a seizure of some sort that have been cursing him since the beginning of April, we also wanted this day to be perfect for him. Thankfully, my Mom is more of the form of a super woman and was able to ride along side of him to take over driving if need be.



While we thought this would be perfect, we never dreamed of just how beautiful and humbling this experience would be. As many of us stood along side the road and entrance way into where the event would be held, we watched as my parents drove up smiling ear to ear with 41 other semis behind him Some may remember that one of the hardest parts of this journey for us was watching my Dad sell the dream truck, that he loved so much. So, you may also be wondering whose semi he could've been trucking along in, leading the way... While I may not know this persons name, and all who involved in the process it was a truck fixed up in love and friendship for my Dad to drive at some point. These fine men also placed his nickname/CB just under the window, like every honorable trucker would have. I can never thank these men enough, and I'm sure they were able to witness his smile first hand. But I'm not so sure they could see my tears strolling down my cheeks at the thought of just how happy he was in that very moment of being behind the wheel once again.
(You guys are literally incredible.)



Even though we all often say how we have lost hope within the world, I gained so much of my hopelessness back during this day, and the days following. After watching the trucks convoy in, while train horns rolled and thumbs up were given, we all headed in to prepare for dinner.

I literally stood astonished in front of the crowd, not only because public speaking isn't my, "thing" but due to the 600 plus people that came to love and support my parents. We planned for 300 to serve dinner to, not knowing what to expect and somehow we managed to not run out of food. I really shouldn't even try to describe how wonderful the food was, because I'm fairly certain that I will start craving it. At the end of the night, we were even able to auction of nine gallon size bags full of meat. Curtis and I tried to win the bid, but with no such luck it didn't happen for us. Now speaking of the auction, it honestly may fill my eyes with tears to even write about the auction alone. 





It was literally an amazing experience. From the first item auctioned, ( a country ham that was donated by the local Sheriff was bought and donated back at least twelve times, bringing the total of this glorious ham alone to $2,200. I'm still inquiring with my parents on putting this high priced pork on display.) to the last item auctioned almost four hours later. Even Bryar can attest to the amazing job our auctioneers did during this long night, as he has not stated he will finish speech therapy strongly just so he can talk fast like his new found buds.

Exhaustion the next day couldn't have even been close to the way my mind felt. I was sincerely overwhelmed and filled with joy that I still can barely fathom, from the amount of money raised to the loved filled with had. I'm more than certain that none of us will ever experience another day that was this incredible, just like we will never meet another man that is as wonderful as the man that has chosen to be our Dad. If I could ever repay all of the people that helped make this day such a wonderful success, you all would be millionaires. It was more incredible than I can ever describe through this mediocre blog.


We are all overly grateful for the love that you have given, "Marcel." While the days of battling cancer are long for him and my Mom, we continue to ask for prayers. This couple amazes me each and every day with their proof of love, faith and hope through the hardest of circumstances.








Monday, May 2, 2016

The Greatest Casualty..

The greatest casualty is being forgotten. 


I recently read this on someone's shirt. The quote, the words, the many aspects that it could be taken in took me off guard for a moment. I thought of the thousands of soldiers that have been lost in a casualty of war. The roughly millions of others lost by suicides. But also the legacy that each of us leave behind. 

I started this blog around eight years ago. At the time, I was single but also a Mother. Even though I knew that I had wonderful parents to help provide for Charli girl if something were to even happen to me, I was also scared that she wouldn't remember me. Now, here we are roles reversed. I watch as my Dad battles daily. I listen to my Mother's worries and literally some nights just cling to the texts from my sister asking if she feels this roller coaster ride that makes us both want to throw tantrums. 


Watching someone battle cancer is truly a cycle of grief, that seems never ending. I wake up on Monday mornings in a rush to school to somehow ignore the fact that my parents are already up taking medicine or heading to appointments. I'm an avoider. If I avoid the situation, then it's not really happening. But by lunch, the cycle is already rotating. I'm going from avoidance, to crying, to just being mad. 

It may be selfish motives but it's truth. My life will never be the same, all because of his life. My heart longs to have more years, more jokes and tons of laughter to carry us a long the way. 

I told my Mom tonight that my personality is more true with him that anyone else. {That even includes my husband.} We get each other. We get the sarcasm, morbid and even corny jokes. My happiest moments as a tween, were spent flying over the couch like a spider monkey just to tackle him. I miss those days, and I will never forget them. 

"The greatest casualty is being forgotten," will never take place in this daughters heart. My heart may be grieving, and I will continue to hurt. But my happy will continue to lie within the smile of this 49 year old man, that didn't have to choose to be our Dad and is putting up the perfect fight against the demon called cancer.


---

While I'm in my stage of avoiding, we have coordinated an event to help with medical expenses. This is taking place on May 14, with a truck show, BBQ and auction. The memories that he can make there on this night with so many loved ones will be more precious than any money that is brought in. Please pray that this is a blessing to both of my parents in many, many ways. 


Story of Mommy

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I am a Christian, Wife to the man of my dreams and a Mother first before anything. I am the very PROUD Momma of Charli Beth that is a five year old little lady & and a new precious boy Bryar that was born in October! I just hope & pray to be the best mommy & wife as possible! II am a very simple girl, and the little things in life make me the happiest. My heart belongs in the country, and I can never imagine living anywhere else! I have amazing dreams for our family and I cannot wait to see where the Lord takes us on this journey!

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--If you have any questions or just want to chat, feel free to email me! @ paigeleana@yahoo.com --

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