Monday, December 31, 2012

Oh yes, Christmas was magical.

Yes, it's true. I have been on a blogging hiatus. I'm sure you noticed.

I had to go on this lapse for myself. Too much happening all at once.Too many posts I had forced myself to figure something out to write about. It makes me feel empty.  But for whatever reason, I felt like I had to keep up.  No more of that nonsense.

And then December 14th happened. And I couldn't really do much of anything the first few days. I was sad and I didn't want to write about it. Everyone was writing about it. I couldn't do my feelings or those beautiful kids justice. I still can't. And mostly, I couldn't justify being so mournful. I didn't feel like I had that right. So I'm still not going to attempt it. Honestly, what could I say that you haven't already heard or that you didn't already know. My husband brought it up last night while we were trying to drift off to sleep. I know that's a sorrowful, morbid place to go when your trying to find peace and slumber but I guess if anything that's what I want people to know. What I want people to do. To not ever FORGET it. But who am I? Just little ol' me. I blend.

Christmas was magical. Christmas is always magical. I feel like I don't really ever realize how enchanted it really is until it's over.  I try though. I try really hard. And I hang on to moments. And I recognize the ones that will end up being some of my favorite moments that we revert to when we talk about different Christmases with my children in the near future. Like Jackson's reaction to getting his phone. I'm not sure he has ever hugged Jacob so tightly before. Or Ella's squeal when she got the Taylor Swift "concert tickets". Holy high pitch Sister! You take the cake! I loved when Landon saw his bike sitting out on Christmas morning and instead of attempting to open up any other presents under the tree he walked straight over to his bike, gave us a quiet little "Whoa"...and walked it to the front door to head outside to ride it. Imagine his face when we opened the door to the pouring rain. Well actually, you would think he would have been disappointed by the rain falling in buckets but I don't think that would have stopped him. And my favorite, when my husband opened up the gift I made him. While fighting back tears of my own, I could see how much he loved it in his eyes and I could hear it in his reaction. He was so pleasantly surprised, "it's so much better than what I expected." - Husband said. Which raises the question....What the hell did he expect? And the best...the most memorable part of the entire day...The snow. It was so beautiful and it was the best Christmas present the Big Guy could have given us.

Oh yes, Christmas was magical.

And then I read a book....It was a Christmas gift from my husband. A very thoughtful one. I have wanted this book for months.  And he remembered.  The book changed my insides a bit. Reprogrammed by brain. But did so in a way that you probably won't notice. It was a subtle shift. It was quiet. And the change will be quiet too. But there will be change. You can't read a book like that and not feel compelled. Not crave something new. Something better. Something that says, "Growth is good. And it's time." I haven't figured out how yet. But that's okay. I'm not in a hurry. If anything, the author of the memoir makes me want to be a better version of myself. And she didn't do that on purpose. It's not meant to be a self help book but it turns out that people can inspire you in all sorts of ways.

Lastly, and this always happens to me after Christmas, I need to find a creative outlet. I need to make something.  I think it's because I have to put all the pretty things away. Although, I'm not going to lie...while all the pretty things are out I can't breathe. My living space closes in on me when the tree is up and the wreaths are on the wall and the stockings are hung by the chimney with care. So now that I can breathe again, I need to make something pretty. I have an innate desire to craft the heck out of something. Something that is less space consuming but can wave it's fabulous flag proudly. 

May the creative force be with me.

Happy New Year. Be safe my friends.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Kidless on Christmas

Being a single mom is hard enough as is. Being a single mom on the Holidays is by far the worst. I know. I've been there. And it was hard. And I would never wish that upon any momma. Ever.

I know a Mom that is going to be without her baby on Christmas morning for the first time this year. I went to bed last night thinking of her. That led to a lot of old memories coming to the surface. I got angry all over again. I became really sad all over again. And the tears came all over again.

I remember the first Christmas my kids went away. Ella was nearly a year old and Jackson was a little over 3 years old. I was so happy to be with my babies but in the back of my head I knew my time was going to be short. It would never be long enough again. I knew their dad would be there to pick them up and take them away and I would be left with a lit up tree, wrapping paper every where and toys that weren't being played with. I would be left with the reminder that I was all alone. Thankfully, my mom was there. She helped me put together Jackson's Thomas Train table the night before and set out gifts. She actually helped me in more ways than I realized until now. But it wasn't the same. I wanted to spend that day with my children. I already missed them and they weren't even gone yet. I'm positive I cried because of that before they even left.

And then he came. And they were gone. My house was filled with silence. Deafening silence.

I wanted to stay home. I wanted to feel sorry for myself. I wanted to cry on my own terms. In my own bed, balled up like an infant. But my mom wouldn't let me.

Some how she convinced me to leave the house that day. To go visit family. I did NOT want to. Not at all. I'm positive I was not the cheeriest of people. I thought being around my nephews would make it better. It made it worse. I felt the somberness creep its way back into my aching heart. I felt resentment and anger come back in the form of a lump in my throat. I made several trips to the bathroom to let the tears go that I was so desperately trying to fight back. And then I had to wait it out in the bathroom for the puffiness to disappear from under my eyes.  I did this act consistently through out the rest of the day.

As horrible as it was, something happened that day that changed my life forever. I "met" my future husband. I met the man who, in the next few years, would be my rock and my shoulder to cry on when the Holidays came around and I wasn't with my kids.

And that he was.

Two years after that was the first time I didn't wake up on Christmas morning with my kids. The first time since both of them had come into my world. The first time I didn't hear the pitter patter of feet in the early morning hours of Christmas. The first time we didn't go to bed checking on Santa's location to see if he was near. The first time the house wasn't in an upheaval with wrapping paper and toys before 8 a.m. The first time I didn't care about ever getting out of bed. And so I didn't. I didn't get out of bed for hours. I layed there and I cried. I allowed myself to be sad. I allowed myself to say, "It's not fair!",  I allowed to let it all go. And Jacob just said, "I'm sorry." And he let me be. He was patient and as understanding as he could have been. He never made me feel bad for crying so much or for being so sad. Or for feeling angry or sorry for myself. Never. Not once. He just let me be.

It's been 7  years since I had my first Christmas without my kids all day. Their little brother will never know what it's like to spend an entire Christmas Day with his brother and sister. That's not what I want for any of them but it's our reality. It's been 7 years and I still cry when we drop them off at their Dad's after lunch. I won't have them this year on Christmas morning so I am sure I will be a mess all over again. Only, it's a different version of the mess I once was. I have other things to look forward to. The be thankful for. I know my husband will hug me extra tight and kiss me and say, "I'm sorry. I love you."  I know the excitement on Landon's face on Christmas morning will be evident whether Jackson and Ella are there or not. Yes, I have many other things to look forward to.

I hope you have someone to fill the void for you. Not that your kids are replaceable but emptiness can be filled with love. With understanding. With Patience. With Family. This is my wish for you this Holiday season and every season to follow. It won't be easy and it doesn't have to be. Time lessons the blow, that I promise. And tears are therapeutic.  I pray you always have someone when you don't have your munchkins. And as cliche as this may be, remember, that in the scheme of things, in this big, beautiful, ugly world we live in, it could be so much worse. We truly are blessed beyond what we deserve. All those blessings come shining through in our kids. It's a reminder that God loves us and He is looking out for us.

God loves you, He is looking out for you.

Be well my sweet friend. And Merry Christmas.

With Love,

Amy Marie

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Taggin' Tursday??

 Okay so oops.... I missed Crystal's Taggin' Tuesday by two days. I procrastinated, I admit it.

Either way, prepare to have your mind blown.

Random Facts About Me

My husband is my bestest friend. 

I eat 2 egg whites every morning and cannot have them without Frank's Red Hot Sauce. That stuff is the bomb diggity.

My husband's brother is my brother in law....squared. And my sister is also my sister in law. 

When I run and when I'm trying to sleep is when I come up with my blog post ideas. I am working on a SOA one currently.  Because I can. 

This conversation just happened. (btw: "stree" is slang on the street for....street...Yeah)

My dumb dog still pees every where. Bed. Couch. Floor.

I put Vaseline on my eye lashes at night before bed. C'mon eye lashes, grow! Damn it!

I love the feel that a lit lamp can give a bedroom. 

My husband paints my toes. What? It saves us lots of money! 

I believe our lives are a series of events that are meant to be. But we have to be content with not knowing the reason for EVERYTHING that happens to us. 

I love the beach. Hate swimming in the ocean. 

I love getting new, fun colored, loofah's. 

I tried to pierce my sister's ears when we were little. I kinda, sorta got in trouble for that. But I blame the movie, Grease. 

I use to have a huge crush on Corey Haim.

I get overly excited and scream with joy when my 3 year old says, "I love you most." 

The End. 

Mind Blowing, wasn't it??



Friday, November 30, 2012

Been There...Tried That - Part Two

I told you guys I would do a post about the recipes I have taken on in the last month and I am a woman of my word.

*taken on - Please don't be fooled by this statement. Not one single dish was difficult.

With all the countless emails I receive requesting me to fill you in on the numerous new recipes that I take a stab at, I figured it's about time I do that. 

I'm just kidding. I don't receive any email regarding food or recipes. I don't get any emails requesting anything actually. Okay, I don't get emails at all. But I've always wanted to put that. Just to feel important for a second. But soon after I wrote it I felt like a fraud. I don't want to be a fraud.

I digress.

I HAVE actually tried a few new dishes and desserts this week. That was not a fraudulent statement. So here's my ever so popular segment : Been There.... Tried That.  Also, it's really not popular at all. 

Caramel Cheesecake Apple Dip I served this at Landon's Birthday party recently. It twas' a hit,  I say. And by hit I mean I have never seen so many kids eat so many apples at once. And double dip. I just bought the pre-packaged Apple slices at the grocery store. (the red and green kind) Here is the recipe. It's easy peezy! Don't recommend the lemon squeezy. Unless of course you use fresh apples and want to help them avoid browning. Then use the lemon squeezy.


Bite Size Party Bark You can find the recipe here for these beauties. But that is all they are to me, Pretty. I love sweet but I had to spit these out. Matter of fact - I'm pretty sure my brother-in-law did too. Or maybe that was everybody. Anyways, these things were super, duper sweet.  Like eating a piece of hard sugar dipped in more sugar. 


So obvs I'm doing all the sweet stuff first. If it wasn't obvious, I'm doing all the sweet stuff first.

Smores Bake - This was really easy and if you can get past the marshmallows you may like it. I'm not a big marshmallow fan, as we discovered on Instagram this week. But my kids don't mind them so much so I thought I would make this while tree decorating and listening to some Christmas tunes. I give it a thumbs up because it was easy, it was definitely tasty and a hit with the kids. But still too much marshmallow for me. Now these puppies (see below) are to die for. They are the perfect mixture of all the glory that goes into a Smore without all the gooey that I don't like . I, personally, have not made them but my girlfriend has and I loved them!!! (Shout Out Erin!!)

You can get the recipe for the Smores Bake hereAnd the Smore Bars here.

Taco Pizza - So I wanted to make this beautiful, picture worthy, Taco Pizza. But I didn't. I made an "eat-worthy" Taco Pizza. I'll take it. Anytime my kids will eat anything, I will take it. And they ate the heck outta this!! You can find the recipe for this awesome dish here.

Side Note: I would use the size dish pan she used or recommends. I didn't have one so I had to go smaller. (9x13) I believe. So the crust was thicker and I was going for thinner. Also, I didn't add anything except the beans, meat (ground turkey) and cheese. When I cut my serving I added shredded lettuce, hot sauce and jaleps. My kids added hot sauce and sour cream. So you can make it your own. Enjoy!!

Tomato Basil Soup - Only this isn't your average TBS. My favorite is from La Madeline. Like it's the best soup in the world. I have tried to find something comparable. Between other restaurants and the grocery store but, to no avail, always came up short. This is no different. There is still nothing like La Madeline but this soup was definitely delicious. There are a lot of TBS recipes on Pinterest. I picked this one because I wanted something a little more hardy for my family since I was serving it as dinner. The thing is, I didn't make it until this afternoon. I pre-made it for our dinner tonight. (may not have been the best idea since it states to serve immediately) But I did give some to my three year old and he ate it up!! Again, if the little likes it then it's a hit in this house. You could always make it without the pasta and ground turkey. I did try it and I'm looking forward to my dinner tonight!!

Crockpot Pineapple Chicken - I loved this. I love just about anything you can put in a crockpot and leave to cook for the day. I made rice to mix it up with and a side salad and crescent rolls. (And I wonder why I can't lose weight. Pfffft...) Anyways, all the kids loved it too and it was really simple. 4 ingredients and that includes the chicken. You can find the recipe here. Hope you love it as much as my family did!

I have updated my 'Recipe' tab on the home page. You can go straight there to see any of these or any previous recipes I have tried and lived to talk about.

 This concludes the 'Been There....Tried That' portion of this post. Hope you all have a great weekend!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing....This actually has nothing to do with this post. However, now that I have Googled it quite thoroughly, I made need to take the time to watch this movie.

I will start over.

This is a compilation of my randoms. You're very welcome.

My Thanksgiving was wonderful, thank you for asking. I did not eat enough though. Days later I wished that I had eaten more. Or taken left overs home. Something. I did burn myself on the delicious and very hot green bean casserole. That numbness stayed with me for a few days and was a nice reminder of how badly I wanted more.

My mom bought the small olives for the appetizer. Therefore, there was no fun eating olives off my fingers. No, not this year. Tragic, I know.

Remember that kidney infection I had back in August. Yeah, my insurance company is still contending with me to settle it. Seriously. It was not a pre-existing condition. P.S. I hate you. (Not YOU, the insurance

I loathe this weather. It's so ridiculous. So not fall like. Which only means winter will, yet again, skip right over us. I know this opinion isn't shared by everyone. But the people that I do share this with keep me comforted. Allison, I thank you for the "future forecast" text. It has done wonders for keeping my hope alive. 

The word LOATHE is stupid. Necessary at times but still STUPID.

In years past, we would normally let our children decorate the tree all on their own. The ritual was that after their bed time I would usually rearrange all the ornaments in an orderly fashion so that my tree didn't look like it threw up all the ornaments in one place. This year, however, the ritual changed. This Holiday Season, my husbands' OCD only compelled him to move a few and these were mostly all of Landon's doing. At the front, on the bottom, three ornaments to one tree branch. Obviously a necessity. Otherwise, I don't know if I'm more proud of myself for not rearranging anything or my kids for decorating the tree with a purpose. I give this year's tree decorating ceremony two thumbs up.

I have four more gifts to get and I will be done with my Christmas shopping. Four. I can hear your applause from a distance. It's very satisfying.

Yesterday, while we were at the doctors office, a stranger came over and started making conversation with Ella and Landon. It was weird. She then proceeded to sit on the ground and teach Ella how to multiply by 9's. The weirdness continued. She heard Ella say that she was going to write a story. Stranger wanted to know every detail in her story, like putting Ella on the spot because she hadn't thought that through yet. And just when I thought she would never go away, she said that she had an appointment with her therapist. Of course at that point, it all made sense. 

I am registered for two different 5ks!!  As excited as I am about this I also believe it will be very anti-climatic. I always pictured my loved ones being at the finish line with a big bottle of water, hugging me and congratulating me on my success. Maybe even some tears. But I run more than a "5-k" distance at least three times a week. This really isn't going to be an accomplishment for me. More like a "Yay!! I got a t-shirt and a runners bib! Go Me!" And the 2nd 5-K, well that's so crowded and colorful I hear you can't even run it because everyone is stopping to get sprayed with color. I mean obviously I will be doing this very thing. I watched the Color Run video again last night, I don't care if I run it, walk it or crawl it - I am so looking forward to this event!!!

I'm going to start training for a 10k. Soon. Very soon. By soon I mean after the New Year. Just so we are clear.

I have tried three new recipes from Pinterest this week. I will be posting about them later. Be excited. Be very excited.

My Mom bought my daughter,Ella, tickets for the Taylor Swift concert. We have decided to give them to her for Christmas. This is torture. I can't even freaking wait to see her face when she gets this gift!! She is going to looooooove it!!

You know when you are uber thrilled about giving your kids a gift that you think they are going to love just to have their reaction fall flat and not meet your expectation at all? Total Bummer.

So you know that Christmas Party that I got so worked up about for my Husbands work? Well now Husband doesn't know if we are attending. Mostly because he doesn't want to have to buy me anymore clothes for anymore special occasions. Is it my fault that his company called for a business attire? Absolutely not. So I may have nothing to report about. What I will tell you is that if my sweet Husband waits until the last minute to tell me we are going just to have me frantic about what I need to find to wear, I may kill Husband.

Later Gators

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A-Z Something about ME....

Ya Know Ya Wanna Know...

A. Age: 34 and I'm okay with it...Well most of it. Hormones are stupid. 
B. Blog? No, I don't blog. 

C. Chore that you hate: Mopping. And vacuuming my stairs. I hate them both because of the equipment that I use to do them.

D. Dream: I love a good dream. But the worst is when you are almost at the end of a dream and you get woken up. It bothers me the rest of the day. 

E. Essential start to your day: Must Pee.

F. Favorite color: Blue. It's always been my favorite. Except for cornflower blue. That shade I never really liked. 

G. Gold or Silver: Both. All depends on the outfit.

H. Height: 54”  last I checked

I. Instruments you play: violin. okay not really but that is my favorite to listen to.

J. Job title: Mom

K. Kiss: Yes, I do. Unexpected ones are the best kind.

L. Live: You only do it once. Make it count. 

M. Mother’s name: Linda Pierce or Mom or Nana...She's the best Nana ever! And Mom! And Linda Pierce - I'm sure of it. 

N. Nicknames: Boo, Shawty, Lady A, 

O. One Day I Will: Go to New York for the Holidays. I love New York but I want to go back when it's lit up everywhere I go. 

P. Pet peeves: I could literally go on forever with this one but I won't. People who take things way to seriously,  Debbie Downers. (go away or shut up),  Loud talkers, People who don't use a sidewalk on a street when there is one for them to use, People that pop and smack their gum, Grammatically challenged individuals, walking into spider webs,  People who try to take credit for things when they don't actually deserve it (grow up), People who still use checks at the grocery store, Using the eraser of a pencil when it is clearly done for (I cringe every time), Procrastination, flies in my home, Pieces of fat on meat, Forgetting something crucial from the grocery store when you just made the trip, the grocery store...Wal-Mart..., 80 degree weather in November

Q. Quote from a movie:  "I'll give this little cookie an hour before we're doing the no-pants dance. Time to musk up." - Brian Fontana. I'm going with this one because I just watched the movie again and because Paul Rudd is my faves!  Otherwise, I'm not really a movie quoter. I don't have the memory for it. (See J: Job Title)

R. Right or left handed: Right

S. Your all time Fave Songs: Dude...Again, too much to consider here. I have so many. It's overwhelming but here I go. Brighter Than Sunshine - Aqualung, God Gave Me You - Blake Shelton, Awake - Secondhand Serenade, Stolen - Dashboard Confessional, Look After  You - The Fray,

T. Time: Yes, I will take some. Thank You.
U. Underwear: Super Hero Undies are the way to go.

V. Vegetable you hate: Beets

 W. Words to the Wise:(See below)

X. X-rated: I know nothing of the sort. 

Y. Yummy food that you love: I love Mexican Food!!

Z. The End: Well Said.

* If you have made it to the end of this blog that means your tagged & must copy & paste and write your own a-z have fun!* And if you would like to see the A-Z blog post I got this from you can visit Crystal Michelle's blog here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Talkin' Turkey!!

Thanksgiving Link Up


I'm linking up with Holly today to talk Turkey and Traditions!! I don't know about you guys but Thanksgiving is my favorite. Family and good food all day doesn't get much better than that!! Or fatter...I'm going to get fat...and I'm going to love every single bit of it!! Until Monday comes around again and I'm at the gym running...then I may not love it so much.

1. What do you look forward to more: the food, football or parades?
This is an easy one for me. Obviously the food. I love all the food. I love that everyone that has gathered together has helped prepare or pitch in with the meal. It's like the biggest pot luck dinner EVER. If you know of a bigger one, please fill me in. I will be attending the next one. My favorite dish is green bean casserole. Really hot, right out of the oven (duh). It's so delicious!!

2. What is your favorite non-traditional Thanksgiving Day dish?  I can't really think of anything that we eat that isn't "non-traditional".  What about olives??? Do black olives count. My mom and/or Grandma always puts out a bowl of olives (among other things) while everything else is being made. I can't stop eating them. Actually, now that I think about it, I usually get full before we even eat linner. Yes, I said linner. On purpose. Maybe I should lay low on the olives this year. And just put them on all 10 fingers once. Once is enough.

3. After dinner, is it football or a nap? Neither. It's usually games. If I watch football it's totally by accident and the parades don't really appeal to me all that much.

4. Do you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Which is your favorite float? See above question and answer. The only reason why I like having the parade on is because of what it signifies. It's freaking Thanksgiving ya'll. Let's do this!! If I have to pick one I'm going with SpongeBob SquarePants. 

5. Where do you go to celebrate and eat your big meal? Who is there (family, friends)? Well...usually my family from Nebraska comes in and we all have a ball. Every time we get together it is so much fun. I absolutely love it. This year, however, my cousin is expecting her third baby so everyone is staying behind - Just in case baby comes early!! Last year we spent Thanksgiving at my sisters. God Bless her!! It was perfect and I'm pretty sure she hated hosting. But we didn't have to skip around from house to house. We all got to go to one place and stay there the remainder of the day. I loved it!! This year, a few of us will be at her house and then we will be going to my husbands grandparents.

6. What is your favorite turkey day dessert?
I love cheesecake. And Chocolate Silk Pie. The End. 

If you want to link up just follow this link and Holly will tell you all the how to's and what not's. 

I hope everyone has a Happy Turkey Day and can find plenty to be thankful for!! 

P.S. I am signed up for 2 different 5k races!! Booooyaaaaah!! I am so excited!!! I can't freaking wait! But more on that later.  

With Love, 
 Amy Marie 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Small Talk

Hi, my name is Amy and I am socially challenged. Inept. Incapable. Incompetent. Uncool. Please feel free to insert any and all synonyms you wish because they all apply.

I blame this on two things. #1-  I'm not what you would call a overconfident person. Wait...scratch that...I'm not what you would call confident at all. #2 I'm a stay at home mom. I don't have much practice going out into the real world and converging amongst adults on a daily basis. At least adults that I don't know. The irony is that I could go into a deep conversation with a complete stranger about absolutely nothing.  I enjoy that type of conversation.  But having to make small talk with said stranger terrifies me. I loathe small talk. It's so fake. Always forced. I hate it because I'm not good at it. Most of the time I feel like I don't have much to offer to a conversation amongst strangers. Unless, of course they are discussing things that I happen to be an expert on. Which is what exactly? (Long Pause) Right, so you can see where my discomfort comes from.

I had a friend ask me once if I have social anxiety disorder. "Pfffft...No...why would you ask that?" I responded with surprise.  "Because you are sitting here at a child's birthday party not really talking to anyone. You look like you are uncomfortable." These were our friends she was talking about.  I don't technically know what Social Anxiety Order entails but I do know she was right that day about my behavior.

So you can imagine how excited I was when my Husband told me that his company was having a HUGE Christmas party this year. Spouses included. Yay!!!!!! I'm not going. Annnnnnnd  it's business formal attire.(What the hell...why can't they do an ugly sweater theme or wear your best leggings or yoga pants???)  On top of that there will be other people there. Important people. Ughhhh...Math nerds. I'm never going to survive.  I'm married to freaking Mr. Personality. He can talk to anyone. I got in a car accident the other day and while we were waiting for the police to arrive my husband talked up a storm with the guy who hit me. You know, small talk and stuff.  Small talk.Whatever.

I am meeting Jacob's favorite work peeps this weekend. Like he talks about them all the time. Like it's starting to get weird how much he talks about them. Although meeting just three new people isn't quite as daunting to me as the Christmas party is, it's still intimidating. No one is married. No one has kids.  I think when they ask me if I went to college, I'm going to fib. I'm going to go big. I played college basketball and I whittle cribs from trees in my back yard for babies. My super power is making money disappear and I only wear a cape during business hours. The skies the limit here. ;-) And please don't get me wrong, I am not ashamed at all that I stay at home with my kids. I'm very blessed actually but unless you have kids, sometimes that concept is hard to wrap your head around. At least I have my age. I'm older than everyone pretty much. So maybe they will just think I'm wiser because of it. As long as no one asks to see the gravitational pull the earth has on my breastases....we should be good.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Landon!

My husband and I sat up talking last night after all the kiddos were in bed and we watched our t.v. and blew up all of Landon's birthday balloons. When we should have been going to sleep we found ourselves reminiscing about our baby, Landon. How we couldn't believe he is already 3 years old. How sweet he is. How funny he is. We laughed hysterically as we discussed all his wonderful little quirks.  Idiosyncrasies, that perhaps, sometimes should be disciplined but more often are laughed at. I remember the feeling of not knowing if we were having a boy or a girl, and how much I loved that excitement of the unknown. I told him having done both (finding out and not) I would absolutely do it that way every time if given the chance all over. And there he was...a beautiful, baby BOY!! And the surprise in Jacob's voice in that delivery/surgery room was priceless. "It's a....BOY!! Oh my gosh, I have a BOY!!"  And that we do. Landon is ALL BOY. 150% ALL BOY. He is such a blessing to our little family. He brings laughter and joy. He is an extension of our love. All of our love, put together, in this wonderful bundle of perfection.

I love you Landon Jacob Bryant. 

Sooooo much...


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Short and Sweet

Ahhhhhh.....Where do I begin?? It's been awhile, I know,  but rather than doing a few different posts for this fabulous October I thought I would cram all the happenings into one. Probably a dumb idea because that makes the post even longer and then you lose interest midway through. Or perhaps before that...maybe you have already lost interest. Whatever, I will enjoy writing this one. It's freaking October peeps...and it ended well.

Pumpkin Patches and Halloween Parties and Trick or Treating...OH MY!! That didn't really flow well but you get where I was going with that, right?

I'm going to do my best to make this short and sweet because that is what October was. Too short and super sweet!!

I love adult Halloween Parties. I love dressing up. This year, however, was a bit more challenging than others. Why, you ask?  Because I'm fatter than in years past. Goooo Me! That was part of the issue..another part was that I am horrible at making decisions. Just ask ANYONE that knows me. Lastly, and the most important issue, I believe, is that they don't have mirrors in the dressing rooms of the Halloween/Costume stores that I visited. Seriously, who does that? So every time I tried something on I was forced to go outside the dressing room, having no idea how I looked, to hurriedly check myself out in the "public" mirror all while there was a line of people waiting to try their own costumes on. Because of this I have 60, non refundable,  costumes sitting at the back of my closet right now. Okay, 60 may be an exaggeration. More like 3. And yes, my husband and I are still married in spite of this little debacle.

Either way...I made a decision. Nerd was the WORD. 

We pull this off well, don't we? A little too well. 

Onward and upward...but first, here are a few of my favorite pics from the 2nd Annual Pickett Halloween Bash. And a shout out to the hosts' of this party. They know how to put together a crowd pleasing ambiance. 

I don't have very many traditions with my little ol' family but I'm working on that. A few at Christmas, cupcakes on Halloween and every year, since my oldest (who is now 10)  was 2 years old, we have gone to the same Pumpkin Patch in Flower Mound. I love that place and this year I loved it even more. We literally went last minute and I'm glad we did. The normal crowd wasn't there this time and the weather was a bit cooler as the sun started to go down. Even the bees weren't so plentiful and obnoxious. Needless to say, we had fun. Here are some pics to prove it!! 

*** Please ignore the pregnant blimp pictured above with Ella. Whoa....
Finally, there was Halloween. I love Halloween. Neighbors open their doors for you to pass out candy. Some people go all out and decorate their homes to make it even more fun for the kiddos to come a' knockin'.  I love seeing all the littles dressed up in their costumes. It is just so much fun. I really do love it!! We always go trick or treating in a rather large group. And we usually all get separated one way or another. It's going to happen though. Half the kids are big kids and the other ones are toddlers just trying to get to the next house while going through their bag trying to pull out the next candy of their choice. Actually, when we do all finally catch up we usually take that as a sign that are night is coming to an end. The big kids are worn out and the little kids, who are worn out too, just want to sit and examine their treasures. We always save that fun adventure for the drive way when we are done.

Haha!! Isn't Caleb's beard hilarious!!

Whelp that about wraps up my October. It's the first of November which means I get to update my calendar (yes I get pretty excited about doing this), baseball season is coming to an end (Thank Goodness) and my Halloween Decorations are coming down...but not until this weekend. I plan on putting up some fun stuff for Thanksgiving if I get around to it. Happy November!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

What I Have Learned....

As cliche as it may be, I believe in the old adage that 'Quality is better than Quantity' when it comes to people in our lives. Actually, I don't really know anyone who doesn't believe in it. However, I also believe that there is something to be said about the quantity aspect of this old truism. I am convinced, through experience, that you can have a vast array of friends in your life.  All of them hold a purpose that is specific to our needs. As we have,contained within us, the ability to meet their own emotional needs.

I didn't just write this post on a whim. I have been contemplating it for awhile. I realized, one day,  that my friends, my family, they have all taught me a lot over the years about friendship. About love. About being real. About what kind of person I want to be.  And each one of my precious friends have taught me something different about life.  I decided to sit back and observe. To really consider what I have learned. It forced me to pay closer attention, to open my eyes more, to really appreciate what I have. The opportunity to be a better human being by the examples of others is an amazing thing. I hope everyone has that good fortune.

What I Have Learned....

Ultimately, we all want the same things out of life. To be loved, to be respected. Some of us just go about it in our own way. We take our own paths. It doesn't mean one road is better than the other. Just different but we have the same destination in mind.

The more you love yourself, the more you love others.

Loyalty is tied to faith, in my opinion. It's hard to have one without the other. And even sometimes, when we deserve it the least, when someone loves us the most, it is their faith that makes them capable of this. Their loyalty to a relationship, to a person or to God. This is someone that you know, without a doubt, that no matter what time, distance or circumstance comes between you, their loyalty will always surpass all of that.

A persons wrong doings or bad choices do not define them. Those things ignite change. There is nothing more inspiring to me.

Anytime, Anywhere you need me and I'll be there - this holds truth and comfort for me. This exists in my life. Comfort is the greatest gift you can receive from a friend. Even greater is to give it away.

Everyone has a past. Not everyone's is pretty. Not everyone can come out on the other side and say they have done better because of it. It takes courage, it takes strength and mostly it takes forgiveness. Forgiveness is the hardest thing to give in to. But the most rewarding if you can accomplish this.

Confidence is the sexiest attribute in a person. Especially a woman. Even better is when it's proven that confidence doesn't have to be a size 2. That you don't have to look like, be like or act like everyone else in this world. That you love yourself and embrace your flaws. That you know, you are awesome and you have the ability to hand out the best medicine there is - laughter.

"In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our past and a bridge to our future."  Alex Haley - I would be nothing without a link and a bridge. It makes me whole.

It's easy to give up on people that have hurt you. To give up on an idea. To give up on yourself. The hard choice is to keep going. To keep believing. To give second and third chances. To love no matter what. It's usually the hard choices that are the right ones.

You are never too old and it is never too late to do something extraordinary. It is your life. It is your choice. You have the power to make the best of it.

Sarcastic souls do exist. ;-)

One single human being has the capacity to hold within him or her heartfelt understanding, the concept of unconditional love, unwavering patience and devout compassion ALL at the exact same time.

Happy Weekend!!

With Love,

Amy Marie



Monday, October 15, 2012

Heed My Warning...

I hate contacts. I loathe them in fact. My eyeballs were not meant for contacts. At all. I don't just put them in and then magically get to go about my day. No, I need a good 20 minutes for them to adjust or to not feel like my eyeballs are being scratched out by the Wicked Witch of the West. (she has super long nails, so I went with her)

I ran 4 miles today, and it's Monday.

So listen I know more than my "close" friends read this thing. I need a favor from the people that don't follow this. I need you to answer me a question IF you know anything that pertains to the question I'm about to ask. Eyelashes. The kind that you get threaded on. What's your take? Is it worth losing all your real eyelashes? I don't have hardly any as is!! Ready...Go! Crystal Michelle...I know your thoughts...I read a blog and this girl is addicted them. And I read another blog (I may read too many blogs) and another woman is getting them but her lashes are already so long. I don't get that shiiiiizzzz at all...but she annoys me. Did I just say that out loud?? Rude.

So after waiting for like almost a month, I got the scarves I ordered. Only, I got one that I ordered and the other came in the wrong color. I was waiting to decide whether or not I should give Very Jane a shout out and tell you to go order something through them because they have some seriously cute stuff and at really good prices but I don't think I want that on me. Heed my warning people.

Right now I have a toilet being picked up from our front yard by the garbage peeps. Thanks garbage man. And yes, that makes us officially WT.

This weekend I asked my husband for this necklace for Christmas. His reply sent me into a whirlwind of shock and awe. He said something like, "He already had a plan for me for Christmas." What the what?? Do you know what this means? That he has thought ahead. That a little 'plan ninja' has put something in his big brain. This is epic.

This may be the end of the world as we know it. 

I despise Santa sometimes. And his little elves. Well not Buddy. Buddy who likes to put syrup on his spaghetti and can make some seriously awesome paper snowflakes. Buddy got skills. Not that particular elf. Anyways...mostly Santa. Here is why?

Me - "Ella, if you were to ask Santa for one big gift would it be the itouch or the big Barbie Doll house?"
Ella - "Why would I ask Santa for just one? Santa can make anything. That would be dumb to ask him for just one big thing."
Me - "Well the "big" gifts take Santa a little bit longer to make. And he has a lot of gifts to make. So we should just ask Santa for one big gift and then some other smaller ones."
Ella - "Mom, Santa does not make the big gifts on his own. He has elves for that. So really they get them done pretty fast. I'm going to ask Santa for both."

 What the hell...

Speaking 10 year old still believes in Santa. I really don't know what to do here. I forget he believes in Santa sometimes. I just assumed when you turn a certain age there are some things that are just automatic. At ten, you now get just money for your birthday, sports cards are still allowed and the spirit of Christmas gets taken from you. I don't want to be the one to tell Jackson about Santa...Some punk kid in 4th grade told me. Why can't some punk kid in 5th grade tell him. Even worse, the punk kid tries to tell him and my sweet Jackson defends the jolly ol' man til the end and now Jackson looks like the fool.

I really don't know what to do here.

I have never done crack...however, I may have found a snack food that has the same effect. These are tha bomb diggity. For real...I. Can't. Stop.

My mom is also tha bomb diggity. The End.

I made this last night. I will give it a 4 out of a 10. It has potential though. I think if you add some things that the recipe doesn't call for....(more cream cheese or spag/pizza sauce or cream of mush sauce) It could easily be an 8. Just my thoughts.

My curling iron went to it's resting place this weekend. I have had it for like 10 years though. It was just a 1 1/2 inch barrel curling iron. Nothing special about it but I need to buy another one soon to replace it. Question: Is it better to get a curling iron again and any recommendations or a straightener that can also curl my hair? I read that if I have a straightener with curved ends that it would be able to curl my hair really well. And I don't want to buy a really super expensive product either. Help....Erin Butcher. ;-)

The fam bam and I went to an ice hockey game Friday night. It was free fun that we couldn't pass up. But if I'm being honest, I went for the cold. I'm serious. I hate this weather. I want the cold. At this point I will take chilly. I will settle for anything 72 and below. So....we went. And it was fun.....and chilly.

I'm kidnapping two of my nephews in a little while. Mission 'Mom You are Friggin' Awesome' in full effect. 

Some Pics from my weekend!! Have a good week!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Today, I will not be a speed bump!!

Random Thoughts:

I'm considering making a cup of NyQuil part of my nightly regime until Landon figures out that it's not cool to get up every night to have to go to the restroom. Yeah, Yeah...he's all potty trained and stuff now...And there are some serious advantages to this. Like, not having to buy diapers at the store anymore. My husband will tell you this is by far the best one yet. I would have to agree. And not having to change a poopy diaper anymore. Because, let's be honest, it's disgusting. However, Landon, gets up every night between the hours of midnight and 5 ish a.m. and yells, "Have to go Potty!!!" He does this at least twice a night. And in the beginning we just thought it was ploy to get out of bed but the kid goes pee every time. Every. Single. Time. Which just means we can't ignore the cries in the middle of night. I mean how do I tell him that it's okay to pee pee in your pull up? No seriously, I'm asking. If I take NyQuil I won't have to pretend that I don't hear him because I actually won't hear him. Problem solved.

Which leads to my next thought - I'm exhausted. All the time. I do  NOT sleep enough.

So I have been going through old pics for someone that is working on a project.  And in doing this I have discovered something. Something that is not acceptable. Something that is definitely not fair. Men age much better than woman do. I don't like this revelation. It pisses me off.  It's rude. And it's annoying.

I'm going to a haunted house next weekend. The last time I went to a haunted house I was 21 years old. I use to frequent haunted houses. Like a lot. I loved going to them. As many as I could every year. Until that last one. I walked straight through it. Nothing made me jump, nothing scared me. I knew the chainsaw guy couldn't really touch me. There was no element of surprise for me anymore. It was one of my darkest days. It was like I was all grown up. First Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny and now this. I met my ex husband that same night.  I was in a state of depression. I felt lonely. It's all starting to make sense to me now. ;-)

Pedestrians are funny to me.  There is rarely a "happy medium" pedestrian. Meaning that most of the time, they either take their sweet little time while crossing the road. (this comment excludes all elderly) To the point where you start picturing what it would be like if you slammed on the gas pedal in your car and got points for turning them into speed bumps. Or there is the kind that does this walk/run thing. Like maybe you look like the type that are gracious enough to wave them along to cross but really it's just a set up. It's a game of 'Do I stay or do I go?' How slow is too slow? I get the feeling that with each step they take they are saying with conviction, "Today, I will NOT be a speed bump!"

Speaking of speed bumps. I'm slightly sad about my car. I have had that piece of junk paid off for a few years now. It has been so nice to not have a car payment. But said piece of junk is on its last legs. It is not going to survive much longer. I mean, don't get me wrong, having a new car would be awesome but I think I almost prefer the no car payment to a new ride. Ask me if I still feel that way when my car no longer goes forward or the transmission just falls out completely.

So I take pride in the fact that I let my kids be anything they want to for Halloween. Mostly because I don't know if they are given that option at their Dads house. Jacob and I love when the kids are creative and come up with their own version of something. This year though, is a slightly different story. Jackson wants to be a spy. His variation of spy means wearing all black, and wearing his spy glasses with handcuffs. Maybe a black beanie hat thingy. So now we are looking at borderline spy/robber. But Jackson is wearing his costume to a 5th grade Halloween party. Yeah, IT just got real over here. I know Jackson and I know it's going to bother him if the other kids don't know what he is. I think I talked him into picking something else while making him think that he decided to be something else. How, you ask? Two words. I'm Brilliant.

I am so over baseball. Late night games means arriving home late. It means starting and eating dinner late. It's either a game or practice almost every single night of the week but definitely every single day of our weekend. I am so over baseball. Meanwhile......Jackson just keeps getting better and better. Sweet.

Jackson wants a phone for Christmas. He wants a phone because "all the other kids at school have a phone". When I asked him what he would do with the phone he said, "I would call you." The thing is, he wouldn't call me. Because he would be with me when he had the phone. I'm not sure what to do about this. I cannot think of any good reason for him to have one at his age. But I have been there. I know what it is like to want things because everyone else has one. I tried to explain to him last night that just because they all have phones or he was to have a phone does not make anyone "cool". I don't want him to think that way. I also realize if my mom had given me the same speech (which I'm sure she did) that I'm sure I didn't care. And it definitely didn't make me want whatever it was that was "cool" any less.

We are completely caught up on SOA. Jacob is excited about this. I am not. I now have to wait an entire week, with the rest of the world, to watch it. Not Sweet.

Happy Friday!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tri-Monthly Joy...

I decorated for Halloween last weekend. I know, I waited longer than usual. ;-) I love Halloween. I don't even really know why I love it so much. I just do. I'm guessing it has to do with the time of year. It's the first Holiday that kick starts all the other Holidays. It's this tri-monthly joy we only get during this time of the year. It's the weather changing and the leaves turning shades of red and yellow. (I believe in Texas this happens for like 2 weeks and then the leaves fall off the trees) It is being able to enjoy playing outside more and have fires going on inside. There is a certain chaos to the next three months that I actually really love. I think it may be the only time I really look forward to chaos. The only time I invite it in with open arms and say, "Bring it on".

Consider what happens in the next three months. I know you are very much aware of the obvious things we  all have to be excited about. Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas. But what does that mean. I think some of what to look forward to is different for everyone but a lot of it is the same.

We get to pretend to be anything we want to be. Anything at all. That is so magical to me. Something that a child talks about or watches on t.v. or meets in a book and pretends to be through out the year.  And now they get a chance to really play the part. And show the "world" how awesome they are at portraying that character. And then they get paid in sugar. Now tell me...What is better than that?

I will give you a close second. November. Not just Thanksgiving. November. All 30 days of it. The sunsets are prettier. The are is crisper.  Being outside and smelling the smoke from a neighbor burning a fire in their fireplace.  Family coming in town. Watching football games together. Wearing warm boots and jackets. Gathering around a table simultaneously and eating all of your favorite foods. Food that was made by someone that loves you, for you. Real mash potatoes. Green bean casseroles. Stuffing. Pumpkin Pie. Hot Chocolate. Everyone laughing together. Playing games together. All of our kids getting to enjoy each others company. And not one single present is involved. This is why I love Thanksgiving. Because it's more about family than any other holiday. It's about being together. That's it. Just being together. 

And then there is December. I use to hate how early stores would put Christmas trees up to advertise. I use to plea, Dear Lord just give Halloween a chance!! Reluctantly, no one ever really responded to my outcry. Thankfully, this year, I realized I don't mind it so much. Mostly because I make the most out of my Halloween whether Hobby Lobby has that pink tree up with blue Christmas lights adorning it or not. But also, because it's a reminder of what's to come. The best part about December for me is decorating our house for Christmas. I think it is because it was such a strong family tradition for my family growing up. My sister and I took turns every year putting the top on the tree. We hung up all the ornaments together. I always, always, always got to put out the little Santa and reindeer exhibit with the cotton ball snow. As my sister got older, she wasn't too happy about it. We hung our stockings the same every year. Stockings that were made by my mom. It was always Mom and Me on the right and Lisa and Dad on the left. We left the cookies and milk out for Santa. And I don't know why it never occurred to me how gross it was for Santa to drink warm milk. Seriously. Gross. My favorite was the village my parents had collected over the years. I had started to collect a village for myself and it turns out, I don't have the room. My kids love this part about Christmas too. We put on some Christmas music. I make hot chocolate for everyone before we get started, with marshmallows of course. You cannot have hot cocoa without the marshmallows.  And so the tradition continues. It's like wrapping a little bit of history with our own version of any new traditions we have created. It's a good balance of both. It makes me happy. Very happy.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I Like Having Options...

I had a dream a couple nights ago about my dad. I think the best part about dreaming about someone that you have lost is that in your dream you have the option of  seeing them or talking to them or calling them. I like having options. Meaning, that in my dream, I really didn't talk to my dad much. I went to his house, which was nice, to know I could just go to his house and that he would be there. But I talked to someone else the whole time. I think maybe they were his daughters. I guess daughters from his new marriage. It was very Kardashian like - if you get what I'm saying. And I like the feeling of going to the house I grew up in and not feeling like a stranger. That wasn't the case in the last couple years of my dad's life. Things got a little....uncomfortable. Sort of shifted the wrong way. Knocking on the door to the home where I spent 15 years growing up and feeling like I didn't belong was very surreal to me. Like someone had knocked me on my ass and didn't know how to help me up.

My dad and mom had decided to split up for at least the third and final time when I was 17, fast approaching 18. At least that is what I recall in those 15 years in that house. I remember my dad leaving twice. I was too young to know why. I didn't get it. I didn't like it but I saw my dad enough that it didn't phase me too much. Also, my dad had some good years in him. He coached my soccer teams, he cheered me on and literally ran up and down those side lines at my high school and select games. He fixed my cars. All of them. He got me home when I would call him lost and this happened frequently. He built a big pool that created all sorts of memories for my sister and I growing up in our back yard. He took us on vacations and camping trips. He even attempted to talk to me about boys.  He did all of this with my mom by the way. They did it together. As our parents. I had a good childhood and I can't complain. My dad was goofy. All my friends liked him because he was always playing some sort of practical joke. He knew which boys weren't good for me. And I can't remember a time when it was my best friend, my sister, my dad and myself  when we were together that we were not laughing. Laughing until we cried. My parents would let me have little get togethers and watch scary movies (all of course just an excuse to cuddle with my current boyfriend on the couch) And he would take the screen off of the windows behind the couch and come crawling through like a Zombie looking for it's next victim. It worked. It scared the BeJeeezus out of my friends. My dad was cool like that.

When he left the last time I was annoyed. I was sort of over the back and forth of it all. Then they said they were actually getting a divorce and my annoyed state turned into anger. At this point my dad hadn't been around as much. He was always playing softball late at night. He always came home smelling of alcohol. He just wasn't around as much. I guess for me, because I needed him less, it wasn't THAT big of a deal....but being a wife now, I know that for my mom it had to have been awful. So I gravitated towards my mom more. I felt sorry for her. I don't know why either. My mom never acted like she was a victim or never spoke ill of him. I guess I was old enough to know that him leaving was kinda the coward thing to do.

And then I found out he had a girlfriend.

And then I hated him.

Like really hated him.

For a Very Long Time.

And my dad didn't know how to recover from that. He didn't know how to make it right. He didn't know how to say, "I'm sorry." And make it count. Truth be told, it was impossible. At that point I wanted everything that had happened to go away. And it wasn't going to. So whatever my dad tried to say to me, to plea to me (which he did - ugh...this part breaks my heart). I wasn't listening. I kinda disowned him. I was so disappointed in him. He was NOT the man that took me camping on a beach, he was NOT the man that was seriously a good fill in DAD to my best friend, Kim. He was not the dad that rooted me on my whole life. The last thing I yelled at my dad before pretending like he didn't exist for so long was, "What am I suppose to tell Lisa now?? How could you do this to her, to me, to our family!!"

And then I got in the car and left....

I didn't talk to my dad. I don't even know how long I went without talking to my dad. Without answering his phone calls. Avoiding his visits at my work. It's really devastating to think about it now actually. The way I treated him. I was young. He was my dad. I expected more, I suppose.

I have never regretted anything more in my life. Ever.

One day, my dad begged me to go to lunch with him. I figured free lunch and I'm poor, fine. But I'm not talking to him. It was awkward. Not how it should be with a parent. Especially someone I had been close to for so long. My dad then told me that him and his girlfriend  broke up. I thought, seriously? What the hell do I care? I don't. At all. And then I saw my dad trying not to cry. He was hurt. All of the sudden guilt coursed it's way through my body. All this time and I had forgotten that my dad was human. He's an idiot. But he's human all the same.

I wasn't excited about mending my relationship with my dad. But it wasn't completely off the table for me anymore.  If it worked, great, if not, then whatever. Nothing had changed. And maybe I won't let my mom know about what I'm thinking either. Just in case.

And slowly, very slowly, things started to change a bit.

I still couldn't forgive my dad. But I realized, this is my one and only Dad. The only one I get in this life. I can't not talk to him forever. I mean one day he's going to walk me down the aisle and be a grandpa to my kids. I can't hate him forever. Can I? Plus, I always thought it would be fun to go have a drink with my dad when I was of age. My mom wasn't/isn't much of a drinker, my dad may appreciate that outing a little more.

Let the healing begin....

Over time things got a little bit better. He took care of me when I had the worst case of strep I have ever had. He came over to our apartment and would smoke cigars with us. We went to bars with him in the Stockyards. He let me throw way cool parties at his house when he was gone for the weekend. And he would only get a small degree of pissed when things weren't put back in their rightful place. But even after all that things were not the same. It was like I was trying to fill a void that may never be filled. I was trying to fill this hole in my heart with a Dad but I was really just making a new friend.

And then he got a new girlfriend.

I had to close my eyes really tight and grit my teeth and figure out what I was going to do next. Because he really liked this girlfriend. He really liked this girlfriends daughter. And he really liked this girlfriends daughters' daughter. What? He was a grandpa and it wasn't my kid. WTF? It's like he got a whole new family overnight. {And you want me to come meet them? And see your new "house"? Whoooa....hold up here...I was okay with making things right when you were lonely and I felt like you needed me but now this? This isn't okay. This is too much to digest. What about Mom? Is Lisa okay with this? I am totally not okay with this. This makes my stomach hurt. No. No. No. I need some time.}

And there I was again. A selfish, desperate daughter back at it.

I think it was my sister that convinced me to meet them. To go to their house. To pretend like I was okay. So I did it. It was as bad as I thought it was going to be. But I missed my "friend". I missed talking to him and hanging out with him. I use to call him every Monday to see how his weekend was. I didn't want to stop that. I wasn't going to take two steps forward just to take a billion steps back. I was going to fake it. And that's just what I did. I faked it. I pretended to be happy all the time around him. I even invited him out to my 21st birthday (with the girlfriend) and excluded my Mom. Totally hurt my Mom's feelings by doing that. I suck.

After awhile the faking became easier. I started to believe it myself. Like maybe this could work. And maybe my dad would feel like my dad again. For a brief amount of time it was that way. I let go of all of my hurting and saw how happy he was. He was so good to his "grand daughter",  that I could only imagine how he would be with my own kids. We were going to be okay.

Monday Morning, January 10th, 2000 -
I'm at work, my dad calls me there.

"Hey Amy, I didn't think I would catch you at work on a Monday morning."
"I usually work Monday nights but I traded shifts so that I could go to Abilene tonight. What's up?"
"Well I'm going to be in the area around lunch time, do you think your ol' dad could take you to lunch today?"

At lunch my dad told me that he asked Annette to marry him. That they wanted Lisa and I to be in the wedding. He told me that he really wanted to make things right with people in his past. With family. With friends. He told me not to tell Lisa, that he was going to tell her later that day. I faked the biggest smile in the world and hugged him and told him I was excited about looking at dresses. When I got back to work I cried for what seemed like forever to my friend, Lee. He looked at me like I was crazy. Like what's the big deal. I don't even know what the big deal was to be honest. I don't even know. Because, looking back, it was the smallest deal in the world. Looking back I would do anything to see my dad get married to Annette. If it meant my dad was alive today he could have married her a thousand times.

On January 11th, 2000 my dad died. I was in Abilene. Far away from people that loved me. From people that needed me. From people that I needed.

 My Mom called my boyfriends house number. He went back in the bedroom and talked on the phone with her for a little while. I had only been with him for four months. He met my Dad once. My Dad met the wrong man in my life. My Dad knew it too. My Mom was crying. My Mom rarely cries. Her voice was shaking. She went on to tell me that Dad had an accident. Something with his heart she thought. And....I said...And...And He didn't make it, Amy. I'm so sorry. Where is my Sister?? Where is my Sister!!!! I yelled it. And my knees buckled and my body found a place on the floor where I would not move until daylight.

I layed on that floor and I cried and I cried and I cried. I couldn't stop crying. I had no one to console me. Even if he had tried, it wasn't genuine. He didn't know me. He didn't know my dad. He didn't know what to say.  No one really does. I cried until I couldn't anymore. I would start to doze off and then wake up suddenly. I thought it was a horrific nightmare. But the reality set in seconds later and I sobbed some more. You cannot shed enough tears when you lose a parent. I never moved from my spot on that floor. Unless it was to get up and get my own tissue.

The next morning my Mom called me and told me that we had to figure out a way for me to get home. I refused. I did not want to go home. I did not want to see him. I couldn't bare to see my sisters face so hurt. If I go home this will all be real. I will have to deal with it. I can't deal with this. I cannot deal with this. I won't deal with this. And then Kim, who had lost a father too, her husband and their friend drove to Abilene so that I would not have to drive home alone. So I sat and waited. I sat on the couch in a fog. I just stared into nothing. I sat and I waited for two hours. The things that I thought of in those moments crushed my little heart. Broke it into a billion pieces. Did my Dad know that I loved him? Did I tell him that on Monday when he left? Did he ever get to call my Sister? Oh God, please let that be the case. What did he mean he wanted to make things right with people in the past? Could my dad see right through me? Did he know I was faking it for so long? Did my Dad know that I loved him? I really did..I mean I really did. I hated him but I loved him. I loved him so much. He made me very angry but he was my Dad. Did he know that or did he think I was still mad at him after all this time? All this time...I lost so much time with him...How can this be real? This is not real. I am going to wake up any time now. I know it. What am I going to say to my sister. My poor sister. I was empty.

If Kim was good for anything in my life it was for the next two hour ride home. We laughed. We laughed so much together and had so many memories of my Dad. It was just what I needed. It was a cleansing. We cried some too but if there is anything that I learned on that ride home it was that there was hope for me yet. If you can find laughter in your darkest moments, you will surely find laughter when the sun is shining. And it will shine again.

It has been almost 13 years since we lost our Dad. 13 years. But when I think about it...when I think about all the things he has missed out on it hurts just as much now as it did then. That never changes. What changes is the frequency of the hurt. What changes is realizing how precious memories really are. What a gift life really is. I get angry when I think about how my Dad isn't around now to spend holiday with us. Or how I can't call him on a Monday morning to see how his weekend was. Or maybe I wouldn't have to call him because he came to Jackson's basketball game on Saturday and on Sunday he picked up Ella and gave her a big bear hug and pacified Landon by playing "tackle" football with him in our living room. My children are really the ones that got screwed. He would have made one heck of a Grandpa. I wonder what he would have done when I was going through my divorce. He would definitely enjoy hanging out with my husband and  brother-in-law. These are the kinds of thoughts that could make you go insane and put you at peace all at the same time if that is even possible. And who really knows if any of this would have actually taken place. Maybe he would have checked out when he got married. There is no way of ever knowing. It's a reality I created. My own made up version of how my life would have been different. How the lives of the people that I love would have taken a different turn. I have options in my conjured up reality.

I like having options.

The hurt never stops. The tears will always come. But it becomes fewer and far between. It's a good reminder for me. Let the little things go. Everyone is human. We all make mistakes. Time is not guaranteed. Make sure you spend it wisely.

With Love,

Amy Marie