Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas 2017

Happy Holidays! Or mostly happy, at least. I've tried to stay on the jolly side without remembering this time last year when Emily was building gingerbread houses with us. It's a hard holiday without her. I've been sad, really sad, not so sad, and occasionally happy with a hint of sad. Basically, I'll always be sad and I'm just going to have to deal with that.


Christmas was pretty great. Jena spent the weekend with us and Alex came over Christmas afternoon. We had our Octoberfeast (minus the deviled eggs because they froze overnight), but with a mince meat fruit cake I made from the World of Warcraft cookbook I received this past Mother's Day. My first run of it was actually really good. The candied ginger takes some getting used to, but other than that, the cake itself was great. My second run was just not good. I couldn't even eat an entire slice. I probably put too much brandy and the texture of the orange zest was not good. I felt like Rachel when she made the trifle. However, I've made some notes and plan to make a third run for New Year's. I'll update the results when the time comes. Also, we bought dinner rolls and completely forgot to make them.

We grabbed a pic with Santa earlier in the month, as well as drove around to look at lights. I've been working so much, we've had to squeeze in time to do things together as a family. It's been rough.

This entire year, I've been spring-cleaning. My kids have toys they never play with, clothes they never wear, etc. so I've been going through things and making trips to the consignment shop and the thrift store for the past few months. I did a lot of thinking on what to get the kids so they each had roughly the same amount of gifts to open, but the gifts would actually be used. I normally don't mention the things they get for the holidays (aside from what's shown in pictures) because I find it silly, but seriously, I'm proud of myself this year. EVERYTHING was considered in each purchase. Will they play with it? How long? Is it durable? Will it last a year? Will it get boring? Can it be passed to a younger sibling? Can it be shared?

James is eleven this year, so I took his age into account of what types of things he may like. We don't have cable, so aside from Minecraft, he doesn't have much he's interested in. So, here's the rundown for James:

  • Star Wars socks.
  • Pokemon wallet. His Cars wallet just wasn't screaming Big Kid.
  • R2D2 mug with a pack of hot chocolate.
  • Gingerbread Latte shower gel and body cream. He's got dry skin like Mama and the scent isn't girly.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Dog Pile puzzle. It requires logical thinking, so it's a fun workout for the brain.
  • Hooded bath robe.
  • Minecraft Steve playset, which is one of his favorite gifts he's "ever" received.
  • Four-piece snack food erasers. One can never have too many erasers.
  • Pokepark for the Wii from Santa. He's been asking for the game all year.
Leah is eight, so this is her list:
  • Star Wars socks.
  • BB-8 wallet because Frozen just isn't cool anymore.
  • Wide hairbrush. Covers more ground, less time to remove tangles. Also has a fun pattern of rainbows and cupcakes all over it.
  • Sugar Plum Swirl shower gel and body cream. It's fruity and purple, but not too grown-up.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Cat Stax puzzle. Also requires logical thinking, but with cats.
  • Hooded bath robe.
  • Minecraft Alex play set. A favorite as well.
  • Cupcake bath bomb because Girlfriend is all about the bath bombs lately.
  • Four-piece dessert food erasers that claim to be scented but smell like erasers.
  • Zoomer Cat, which came from Santa. Said gift was asked for last year, but she got a disappointing Meowzie instead. Zoomer is interactive and pretty awesome. It even rolls on carpet.
Elias is two:
  • Large Magnadoodle with shape magnets.
  • Let's Go Fishing board game, which he loves and can be played with by up to 4 players.
  • Five-pack of Hot Wheels cars because Bun is absolutely bananas for cars or anything with wheels.
  • Mickey Mouse socks.
  • Hooded bath robe.
  • Small wooden puzzle with matching pictures for easy assembly.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas storybook. Zac was jealous.
  • Bath crayons. A hit. Seriously.
  • Frosted Coconut Snowball shower gel and body cream. He loves "loshie" after baths, so the coconut is a nice scent for him. He says, "Mm, nummy good!"
  • Hand sanitizer. Helpful when potty-training.
  • Two-in-one tricycle from Santa. He LOVES his bike.
The best part about most of the gifts is that they are either to be worn or used up, so they aren't permanent. The socks are needs, and the rest will be played with for quite a while. I'm not sure how I'll top next year, so we may take a trip or they just might get edible gifts.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Snow 2017

Last night, Zac told me we could probably expect snow sometime around 1am. I was wrapped burrito-style in our nine-year-old comforter, wearing Emily's knee-high card suit socks, shivering beside him, reading The Help. In the past, our Southern Snow has been mere icy raindrops, melting upon contact, refusing to stick. The ice that did stick was nothing more than a frosty death trap. I looked out the window at 1am to disappointing darkness. At 6am, Zac's alarm went off. He, like me, gets excited about snow, so I felt him roll away to peek out the window. "Oh, man," he said, "you're going to love this." I'm still picturing the ground covered in melting ice in my head, but took the chance to look anyway. Love it much I did.

I'm not a morning person. Or maybe I like mornings, but don't like getting up early. It's one of those. But, this morning, I was out of bed and in the kitchen to reach outside and feel the snowflakes falling before I even put on pants. By 6:30am, I decided to take the risk of waking the kids so they could see the "fluffy snow". My kids have seen the ice snow, but none have ever seen the fluffy snow. The big kids were asleep, but let me persuade them to "just look outside real quick, then you can go back to sleep." Leah was out the door without a sweater or socks to run around before I could get her back in a bundled up. Then, I woke up Elias, who was not at all happy about that, but let me wrap him up to show him the snow. He asked for "swedder on? shoos on?" and I brought him outside. It's been a magical day. Top it off with having the day off work because it's too icy with the possibility of Zac coming home a bit early this afternoon and we've got ourselves an awesome Friday.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Ice Skating

Zac took the morning off to come with the kids and me to an ice skating rink with the homeschool group. The last time I went ice skating was back in 1999. I wasn't good at it then, nor am I good now, but Leah got the hang of it so quick. She was impressive. James was more timid, but managed to skate a bit without holding the wall. I fell and hurt my bad knee (of course), but we had a fun time. Zac didn't get to skate since he was holding Elias, but he didn't mind having some quality time with his Weirdos on Ice.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Another Day

I went to work yesterday. Lots of new candles and soaps are out, so nothing is familiar. I broke down a few times, but told them I'd keep it together and finish my shift. They're all so supportive, though, which is one of the reasons I love my job. It's just hard going back to "normal" when nothing is "normal". I feel guilt and anger and regret and sadness and all the other things bereavement brings. It's going to get easier. I know it is. But, that relief feels so far away. Everything smells of her. She loved the glitter mist and it's like part of her is there.

My birthday passed. Zac's did, too. Emily came over for my birthday and gave me a three-tier pumpkin snow globe. She had been holding onto it for a few weeks. She sat on my sofa and played with the kittens and we talked about her starting work with me soon. Then her memorial was on Zac's birthday, just two weeks later.

The memorial was depressing, though the "viewing" day was a nightmare. I didn't go. I knew I'd never be able to go and it was something she and I had talked about in the event she died. I was being pushed by my siblings and mother to go see her "one last time". They used guilt and even tried to corner Jena, Zac, and Alex to convince me to go. What would seeing her do? Would it bring closure to me? Would I feel at peace? Fuck no. There is no closure in her death. Closure means you close it off, you're done. Over it. I won't be over this as long as I'm living. I won't have peace with her gone. I'm going to be sad. I won't always grieve like this, but the sadness will stay with me. Maybe the anger will, too. That's all I'm feeling right now: anger and sadness. And I'll never know "why".

Mom brought over a few of Emily's things this morning. It was hard going through them, but I decided to keep a few things like the knitting needles I gave her and some balls of yarn, but I gave Leah the nail polish. There are more boxes, but Mom's going to try to rent a Uhaul sometime in the near future. Alex is going to come by when he's ready to take anything back home.

Meanwhile, the days are going by and I'm sad and there hasn't been much to write about right now. Bear with me.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


I am standing upon that foreshore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails in the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, "There! She's gone!"
"Gone where?"
"Gone from my sight, that's all."
She is just as large in mast and spar and hull as ever she was when she left my side; just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of her destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at that moment when someone at my side says, "There! She's gone!" there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

I lost my beautiful baby sister, Emily, yesterday to suicide. She struggled quietly for years with depression and mental illness and it became too much for her sweet soul to bear. In her world of so much darkness, she always reflected light. I am so lost without her and don't know how I will get through the rest of my life without my best friend by my side. She was forever loved, she'll be forever missed. Rest peacefully, my love, until I see you again.

Emily Jean
September 10, 1985 - November 15, 2017

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween 2017

Happy Halloween!

Emily, and our friends, Mike and Ashley, came over with their three adorable little boys. We had tons of pizza and went trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. We didn't get many trick-or-treaters, so I've got a large cauldron full of candy... most of which is still there, but I won't lie... I've got my own stash hidden away. I've also tucked a bit away for stockings.

You'll notice my smallest is not a hot dog. He refused to put on his costume, so I dug James' old "skelly-bones" suit out of the baby box and he fit into it enthusiastically and perfectly. He also braved his first time going up to the doors and holding his bucket high to receive treats. He even bypassed a lovely green-haired witch to ask a freakishly convincing Michael Myers for candy, while completely disregarding the large, plastic knife being wielded in said-murderer's hand. No joke, I hesitated going up the driveway. Spooky spooky spooky.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Kittens 2.0

A few weeks ago, Karen mentioned she had a few kittens free-to-good-home. Zac and I were both in agreement that losing Figgy was devastating and we definitely wanted another cat, but only after the grief subsided a bit. Karen's kittens arrived in perfect time. We've named them Colby-Jack and Monty (Montery Jack, obviously) because they're cheesy names and we've got a theme of food names with human nicknames. They're super sweet little fellas. Colby is incredibly playful, while Monty is more of a snuggler. They have bonded with Toby and Ruby without issues, and they're fitting in just perfectly.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Ghosts in the Oaks 2017

We surprised the kiddos with a trip to Ghosts in the Oaks this year. They had so much fun last year, so it only seemed perfect. We met up with Katie and Spencer at a playground near City Park and were able to hang out for a while. James and Leah were so happy to see Spencer. Elias was more excited about the swans.

We had a lot of fun, for the most part. Elias was too small to ride anything except a truck-on-a-track, so I cramped myself next to him a few times. James was too big for a few of the more fun rides, so Leah rode alone. However, they didn't seem as bothered by it as I was. Next year, I'm hoping we can do something else locally and with a bigger variety of rides.