Monday, December 24, 2012

The Memories are Still Painful

It's Christmas Eve and I feel like I have been in my kitchen for the last month preparing for parties, making gifts, etc., etc. It has been good to be busy. However, I find myself this morning with a little bit of time on my hands and the need to put my thoughts on paper. Maybe it will help and I won't be an emotional basket case all day!
In so many ways, Christmas Eve holds more memories than Christmas Day. We always have friends over on Christmas Eve and for the last 16 years, my parents have always been here on Christmas Eve, with the exception of maybe a year or two. Last year was hard without them, but we changed up our routine a little, went to someone else's house for our Christmas Eve dinner, and skipped the candlelight service at church. It helped.
This year we are in our new house which helps a little, but I am still struggling. My inlaws are on their way here now and our house will be filled with wonderful friends in just a few short hours. I'm so thankful for each one of them and how they have helped to ease the pain of losing my parents. My mom used to always say that "you've got five minutes to feel sorry for yourself and then you need to pull up your big girl panties and get on with it". I'm taking my five minutes now.
Memories are a wonderful thing, but so many of them are still so painful. I remember so many Christmas Eves with the Hyders and our family, exchanging  crazy gifts, eating, and playing games. I remember so many mornings getting up and seeing my dad in the living room in our old green chair drinking his coffee and waiting for everyone to get up. I remember my mom crying over so many gifts. We always said she cried easier than she peed! It was true! I remember her putting garlic powder in the apple pie by mistake and trying to rinse off the apples, trying to give her the easy jobs in the kitchen that didn't involve knives because she would always cut herself. I remember years of making Christmas cookies. Maybe one of the most painful, yet strangely enjoyable memories for this year has been the ugly big colored bulbs that my dad used to put on the house every year. I used to pick at him all the time and tell him how horribe they were and he kept telling me he was going to wrap them up for me and give them to me for Christmas. Well, he wasn't lying. I found them in the bottom of their Christmas tub. They have now been covered in glitter and are the centerpiece on my dining room table. He would be so proud of how well they turned out. My dad was a man of few compliments, but every Christmas he would compliment me on how good everything was. Last, but not least, I have been using these two yellow tupperware measuring cups all week. These things are older than dirt people, and my mother has had them forever. Every time I measure something with them I can't help but think of her. Strange, maybe, but it is the little things.
What I have found on this journey is that I must allow myself to feel everything as it comes. This is where I am today. It's not pretty, but it's honest. In a few minutes, I will get up, dust myself off, reapply the makeup that I have cried off, and go and do what I need to do today. I will pull up my big girl panties and get on with it because my mother told me to.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Okay, so lately I have seen many remarks about the Elf on the Shelf on facebook, and I am admitting in public forum that I am "that" person. :) And I am having a ball!
We have never really promoted Santa with our kids. We might have a little Santa fun from year to year and put out cookies and milk or something like that, but at the end of the day our kids know that their gifts come from us and that Jesus is who we celebrate at Christmas. If you don't know the story behind the Elf on the Shelf, it comes in a box with a book that tells everyone that Santa has sent him to basically keep an inventory of who is being naughty and nice. At night, the Elf flies back to the North Pole to report on our behavior. And, he sometimes gets in to trouble around the house and always ends up in a different spot. I found a twist to all of this on Pinterest that I loved. Some may not agree with me, some may think I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth. You are all welcome to your opinion, but this worked for me. The twist on Pinterest was that, instead of the book that comes with the Elf, this lady wrote a letter to her kids from "Santa". She wanted her kids to understand that the one that we celebrate is Jesus, but that it is also okay to have a little Santa fun. The letter explains that Santa does not keep a list of rights and wrongs because Jesus came to die for our sins and because of His great love for us, He extends so much grace to us. The letter explains that the Elf is just learning how to be an Elf and sometimes gets into trouble at night and that we would need to extend lots of grace to him as he learns, just like Jesus does with us. So, I put the book in the closet and put the letter in the box. The kids are loving it, especially Tyler. We had to name the Elf and the kids came up with Chillie. Kayla wanted Willie off of Duck Dynasty and Tyler wanted to name him Cheerio, so we compromised. Every morning when we get up and see what Chillie has done, I say to Tyler, "what are we going to do with this Elf?". His response, "just show him grace". It makes me smile and the whole family is having fun with it. I am not doing crazy, make a mess, up at 3:00 a.m. kind of stuff. Thought I would show you all some pictures. Most of them have come off of Pinterest. Have I mentioned that I LOVE Pinterest???

The box from the North Pole was on our stairs when we got home from St. Simon Island.

Love Tyler's face in this picture!

Chillies' designated spot (until the Christmas decorations went up and then he had to find a new resting spot).

This is dry erase marker and it came right off!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2 Year Sabbatical???

Is it bad when you try to get back into blogging and it takes two days to figure out your login information? I have been missing my blog off and on for the past several months and have finally decided to put forth the effort necessary to be back up and running again. And guess what? I already had a cute Christmas background up! Yay me! It's a good thing too because with the blog layout changes I have no idea how to change my blog background! It may be Christmas all year long from now on! :) So much can change in two years. I look at my life now compared to then and I don't hardly recognize it.

Kayla is in the eighth grade! Wow! That is hard for me to believe. This time next year she will be in high school. She is growing into an amazing young lady. She is a typical teenager and we have our typical teenager battles, but she is a great kid. She is still playing softball. This year marked her last year of being able to play for the county. Insert tears here. She is too old! :( She tried out for school basketball this year and made the team. We were thrilled. She is second string and doesn't get to play much, but we are having fun anyway. She is in her second year of Social. For my out of town friends and relatives, that is a dance club of sorts that the kids do here. It starts with a manners class in 6th grade and then the dancing begins in 7th grade. Her partner is her best friend since Kindergarten. They are getting ready for their Christmas dance which is coming up in a couple of weeks.

Tyler is in the third grade. He moved to a new school this year because we have moved. (more on that later) This has been our toughest year of school with him yet. He has never had a problem with grades, but this year we are struggling a bit. Some say it's the grade, some say its the teacher that he has. Whichever it is, I'll be glad when we move on from this. He just finished his first season of tackle football and he loved it! He is still our little family comedian and loves to laugh and make jokes. He still says stuff all the time that cracks me up, but mixed in with that he is also adding in plenty of sass and plenty of potty talk!

Last October I lost both of my parents in a car accident. That has, obviously, made this past year very difficult. They were on their way to church and their vehicle actually ended up in the front yard of the church they attended. Some of their best friends were the first ones on the scene. They both died instantly. I'm sure I will share more about this over time because, even after a year, it is so fresh on my mind and still very painful. My mom was my best friend; I talked to her every day. My dad had plans to retire in April of this year and they were already making plans to move to Georgia after his retirement. As a matter of fact, the last time we saw them was when they were down to our house and we took them house hunting to kind of get a feel for the area of town that they wanted to be in. The hurt is still right under the surface and I am battling tears even as I type this. It is actually surreal to be typing those words. I think in many ways I tend to think that the one year anniversary of the accident somehow marks the end of the grieving period. I've gotten through all of the hard "firsts". BUT, I still grieve. I still hurt. I still miss them.

About two months after losing mom and dad, my boss retired and I found myself out of a job. It was actually a welcome blessing. I wanted time to just be. Well, God had other plans. I was off for just a few weeks when a friend of ours let us know that the attorney's office that he worked at was looking for a paralegal. I sent my resume in and within just a couple of days I had the job. Can I tell you that I LOVE my job? Don't ever doubt that God knows what He is doing. He knew that I needed this job. Even after almost a year of working there I still love going in to work and I love the people that I work with (most days...hehehe).

And then there is the house. After two to three years of talking about moving, we finally did it. We are still getting settled, but we are loving our new home and the extra space that it has provided. More on that to come. I feel overwhelmed at the strength that God has given me and our whole family as I look back over the last year. I lost both of my parents, lost my job, started a new job, and moved. And, by the grace of God, I am still standing.

Whew, I think I am exhausted from all of that. Two years changes many things...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Long Time No Blog

Wow! It has been a long time since I have posted!

I'm incredibly bored at work this week, so I thought this might be a wonderful time to update my blog, even though I am sure at this point that I have lost my two readers. Oh well, journaling is good for the soul!

Life has moved quickly since my last post. At that point we had arrived in California and were at the start of an amazing vacation. We had a great time, saw some amazing sights, including the Grand Canyon! It was incredible.

The summer was crazy busy. We traveled ALOT! We were able to take a family mission trip of sorts and went to Liberty Retreat where we have some wonderful friends that manage a camp up there. Tyler was able to participate in the camp, while Kayla helped out. I was the cook for the week and Craig was the handyman. It was a fabulous week!

Summer quickly turned into the start of another school year. Kayla started middle school this year and it was an adjustment, but I'm so proud of how well she has done. The second day of school, she started an almost week long process of trying out for the softball team - which she made. We were ridiculously proud! The coach said that she probably wouldn't play much because he pretty well had his team set, but it would give her the benefit of practicing with the team every day and growing in her game. And grow she did! It was a grueling couple of months of two-three hour practices every day and two games a week, but it was a great time. She did get to play a little and we are looking forward to doing it all over again next fall. She is doing gifted classes and they have been tough, but she is hanging in there with them. She also joined our youth group at church and has thoroughly enjoyed every bit of that. Craig and I have commented several times on how God has put leaders around her in youth that continually reinforce what we are teaching at home. It is very encouraging!

Tyler played flag football this year and had a great time. It was a little like watching paint dry, I must confess, but don't tell him I said so! :) They are so little and sort of clueless about the game, but he had fun anyway! He started first grade in the fall and has the same first grade teacher that Kayla had. She is the most wonderful christian lady and we feel so blessed to have her as his teacher! Last month Tyler made the decision to make Christ his personal Lord and Savior. I wish I had his prayer recorded where he told God that he wanted to follow His Son, Jesus. It was the most precious thing I have ever heard! Craig was the one who led him to the Lord and that was just a blessing! I was able to lead Kayla to the Lord several years ago and I was so thankful that Craig was the one to talk with Tyler.

We are now in the midst of the Christmas season and I will confess that I have kind of missed the point of Christmas this year. Praise God that He is bringing me around this week and showing me that my focus has been all wrong. I have been so busy working, shopping, cooking, etc. that I have turned into a grouch this year. I'm working on that! Things will be done differently within our family next year. Enough said.

Craig is in his final week at his current job. A couple of months ago he was offered a different position within his same company and he will begin making that transfer next week. He will be an Airframe Sales Manager...I think that is the right title! It is a corporate job, but he will still be able to be based at the facility here in Augusta where he is now, he will just move to a new floor. This job is something that we have prayed for over the last few years and God just carved this job out special for him. In September, he had his 40th birthday, and we traveled to Michigan to attend his first University of Michigan football game at the Big House in Ann Arbor. It was a huge deal for us...something that he has always wanted to do. We had an amazing time. It was the opening game in a newly renovated stadium. Very cool.

I'm not going to promise to be a better blogger, but it feels good to reflect on all that has happened the last several months. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Yesterday was, maybe, the longest day ever, but we have landed safely in California and arrived at my sister-in-law's house and caught up with all of the family.

We woke up at 3:45 a.m. yesterday to be ready to catch our flight at 6:40. The kids thought that the plane ride was amazing. Kayla did fabulous! Tyler was a typical six year old little boy. A little wild but not too bad. I think he was so overcome with everything going on that he couldn't figure out what to do. He finally fell asleep about five minutes before we landed in L.A. Go figure! We had a short wait in L.A. to wait to meet up with Craig's aunt and uncle. Once we met up with them, we had about a 45 minute bus ride to meet up with Craig's brother-in-law. From there we had about an hour ride to get to their house. It was a loooonnnngggg day! By the time we all arrived we were all tired and hungry. My sister-in-law had a wonderful meal ready for us. We hung out on their outside patio by the pool all evening. The weather here is amazing. There is 0% humidity and a constant breeze blowing. So, even though it is hot, it doesn't feel that warm.

We are staying in a 5th wheel in my sister-in-law's back yard, so even though there is 12 people here, it feels like we have our own little home, complete with running water!

Today's agenda consists of hanging out by the pool and getting caught up from yesterday! More to come soon....

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's Finally Time

Well, after months of planning and saving, the time has come. We are leaving for vacation tomorrow morning! This will be the kids first plane ride and I cannot wait to see their faces when the plane takes off!

Craig's sister lives in California, not too far from Los Angeles. His oldest nephew is graduating from high school on Thursday, so we are flying out for the occasion. His mom and dad are already out there and his aunt and uncle are also meeting us out there. Carrie, Craig's sister, has done an awesome job of planning a vacation for us to enjoy while we are out there. Here is the breakdown:

Tuesday - Get up ridiculously early and fly to L.A. Wait on Aunt Linda and Uncle Dave. Arrive at Bill and Carrie's house around supper time.

Wednesday and Thursday - relax by the pool and attend graduation

Friday - HOLLYWOOD!!! This was Kayla's pick for the day. We are going to shop on Rodeo Drive, see the stars, and catch Toy Store 3 at the El Capitan theatre, where we will also get to meet the cast! My children are going to flip over this. We are having dinner at the original Spaghetti Factory on Sunset Boulevard and then heading home!

Saturday - graduation party and pack up

Sunday - church and leave for Loflin, Nevada

Monday - Hoover Dam and then travel to Williams, Arizona

Tuesday - Travel by train to the Grand Canyon

Wednesday - Grand Canyon and back to Williams, Arizona

Thursday - Home

Friday - relax by the pool

Saturday - back to our own beds!

To say we are excited is an understatement. We don't usually do big vacations like this and I am in awe of how God has provided for us. I believe with all of my heart that God wants His children to have time away to rest and relax and enjoy His incredible creation.

An obnoxious amount of pictures to come when we get home!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The "Season" of Our Life

Well, 'tis the season, baseball season, that is! It is upon us. It is killing me! And we love it!

Last year Kayla played softball and Tyler did the CCRD B.A.T.S program which is like training for underage T-ballers. We didn't have too many scheduling conflicts last year, but we haven't been so lucky with our schedules this year. Add to that, all of the end of the year school activities, like plays and honors night, and you have yourself a pretty crazy life. I'm not complaining just stating the facts. We are at the ball field several nights a week. Most games are on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a few scattered Monday games. Kayla's coach loves to practice and those usually fall on Monday nights or Saturday mornings. So, there you have it.

The kids are having a blast and so are Craig and I. Tyler's games are a little....slow. We are used to the older kids playing and have forgotten what the T-Ball games are like. BUT, he is learning and has one coach on the team that is fabulous! Tyler listens well to this guy and has improved greatly! Last week he threw a kid out at second base. I was stunned (and I think he was too!)

Kayla's games are a whole other story. They are so much fun to watch and so many of the girls are just getting really good. Kayla loves to play catcher and I just want to say that she is awesome at it! The girls can steal bases in her league and are encouraged to do so. She has gotten really close to throwing some of them out.

For about three more weeks we will eat, sleep, drive, and live baseball/softball and we will enjoy every minute of it. It is so worth it to see everything that kids get out of it. They are coordinated, athletic, and I think it is helping to build their self esteem.

So, here you go, pictures from the first games...

This is the only bad thing about playing catcher - her back is always to me, so it is hard to take a good picture! :)