A Lesson in Thanksgiving

Two years ago we were spending Thanksgiving in the pediatric intensive care unit.  Mia fell down and then suddenly had a huge hematoma.  Before her eyes we watched her body be covered in unexplained bruises and dark red spots.  At the hospital we found out that she had no platelets left.  Over the course of days they diagnosed her and worked on treating it.  This all happened the day after we arrived at our new duty station.  So we found ourselves with a sick child in a new city CAM00167with no friends or family celebrating Thanksgiving and just being grateful that our children were alive and we were together.

And so at this time of year when we are being grateful for our blessings, I think back to that scary time and to the lessons I was reminded of during it…

I am thankful for my faith.  Riding in the ambulance with lights flashing, Mia looked up at me and said, “Don’t worry, I’m not scared.  I know that God is with me.”  And she was right.  As our minds started to fill with panic our hearts were filled with faith.  God doesn’t make us sick and He doesn’t necessarily heal our body, what God does is walk beside us, loving us, giving us strength and preparing us for the way ahead no matter what it might be.

Our brave patient with her best buddy

Our brave patient with her best buddy

And I am thankful for the love with in our family.  Zoe would not leave Mia’s side.  When they wheeled Mia up to her room, Zoe rode next to her hugging her.  She laid in her bed, played with her, brought her food, and cried when Mia screamed in pain.  She was everything a sister could be.  I am proud of both of my daughters.  And I am proud of the family we have created and the love we all share for each other.

I am thankful for our friends and family, for all those who love me and love my children and love my husband.  People may be far away at times but our lives are filled with loved ones who will pray for us during our sorrows and celebrate with us during our times of joy.

And I am thankful for the generosity shown to us by both friends and strangers.  That Thanksgiving one of the doctor’s arrived with his family and a Thanksgiving dinner for us.  It was an act of such pure kindness I still tear up thinking of it.  But I am grateful not just for grand gestures like that, but for every time a stranger held the door open for us, gave my family a smile, picked up a dropped cup.  People are kind and we need to remember that.

I am thankful that my daughter is healthy again, yes.  But I am also thankful that our family survived the challenge and that we have learned and loved through it.  It has been a reminder to me of all that we should truly be thankful for–faith, love, friendship, and kindness.

First Day of First Grade

So we started another school year two weeks ago.  I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks.  We got a bit of a late start due to our big trip back East (we did a LOT of traveling this summer) but it’s been good to be home and get back into the groove of things (even if the transition has been a little rough).  I just wanted to share some pictures from our first day back and our family traditions.

graduate Tshirts

I love these shirts!  We bought large ones and made the 2027 logo last year.  We are taking a picture of the girls in their shirts every year to show how they grow and change.  By the time they graduate high school in 2027 the shirts should be fitting a little better (tearing up a little thinking of them growing up so fast). 2028 Graduate

Want to make your own?  Just choose your year, download the pdf, and print it out on iron-on paper.

2026 Graduate

2027 Graduate

2028 Graduate

2029 Graduate

Need a different year?  Here it is in powerpoint so you can change the year: Graduate T-shirt adjustable year

And of course we take normal pictures too:

This is one of my favorite, just because they look so joyful

This is one of my favorite, just because they look so joyful

 

Another tradition is entering the school room.  I shut it down before we start school and work on getting everything clean and set up nicely (this was actually a huge project this year which I will blog about soon because I’m so proud of how it turned out).  This year I decorated the door a little to build up the excitement.

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And then we have all of their new school books sitting out on their desks.  In addition to the books are all kinds of special treats–scented markers, new crayons, smarties candies–just some things to make the day special and celebrate their new beginning.

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My grandmother

My grandmother, Anna Marie Williams, img_1177passed away a few days ago.  I wanted to just take a moment to share some memories to celebrate the life of someone who meant so very much to me.

My Grammy was spunky and loved to laugh.  She loved young people and often complained about all the old people around her being “BORING!!!” (I wish you could hear the high pitched ringing way she used to say this, never once acknowledging that she herself was one of those old people).  When our family would go to the beach, she used to body surf with the older grandkids and play in the sand and water with us younger ones.  She even used to play Atari with my brother and sister which made her pretty darn cool.

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My Grammy was a huge part of my life.  We shared a birthday–something I didn’t really appreciate as a kid but cherished as an adult.

Grammy was the one who taught me how to sew and together we made an ugly blue jumper I wore with pride on my eighth birthday.  She was the one who gave me back my “blue blanky” when my parents took it away to get me to stop sucking my thumb.  She was the one who made me soup and cottage cheese every single day even in the summer because that’s what I loved to eat for lunch.  And she was the one who played Sorry! with me in the afternoons and didn’t let me win just because I was a kid.

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I know that she had a life beyond being my grandma.  She was born on an orange farm and lost her mother when she was young.  She was a writer and went to junior college.  She had adventures and worries and troubles.  But to me she was just Grammy.  She was the one who took care of me and who loved me.

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Grammy is in the center canoeing with her friends

Grammy is in the center canoeing with her friends

 

Grammy & GrampyYou really can’t talk about Grammy without talking about my Grampy.  They were married in Georgia while he was in boot camp getting ready to head off to World War II.  It’s the stuff family legends are made of–her train trip out with her soon to be mother-in-law, the few days they had before he headed off to war, never knowing if they would see each other again.  Luckily my grandpa survived being shot and came home so that they could have my mom and two aunts who went on to have all of us.  They were a so incredibly in love and so much a part of one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My grandparents babysat me img082every single weekday while my parents worked for the first 10 years of my life.  They took me on outings and chaperoned school fieldtrips.  We did crafts and grew tomatoes together. One summer my grandpa even helped me build a giant tent house in their backyard with dropcloths and my grandma would bring my lunch out to it.  I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

 

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My grandparents taught us all how to live with integrity and joy.  Grampy passed away 19 years ago and yet he is still very much a part of our family’s life.  As my grandma was dying she talked about dancing with my grandpa–I have no doubt that they are dancing now together again.

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The woman my daughters have come to know as Great Grammy isn’t quite the woman I have described. But I am glad they knew and loved her. Great Grammy didn’t go places and build things the way my Grammy did. But she listened to the girls, watched their “shows” they did for her, took them to lunch at her nursing home, and showed them her cat. She even helped make them hats out of the cloth napkins the last time we visited her.

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I can’t wait until my children are older and I can tell them these stories and they can appreciate who she was to me as much as they appreciate who she was to them. And as I look back through pictures of her with the girls I am touched by the big smile and look of utter joy I see on Grammy’s face in every single picture.  She loved her family.

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Towards the end of her life, Grammy used to love to say, “It’s all because of me.  Well, and Thurman.  If it wasn’t for us none of you would be here.  It’s all because of the two of us that you are all alive. I just love thinking about how we made all of this.”

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I loved my Grammy very much!  I am so grateful of all that she did for me and all the happy times we shared.  Until we meet again Grammy, good bye!

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New and Improved

Very excited about the new layout for my blog!  Really I’m just excited to start blogging again.  I know it’s been pretty spotty, especially since our little man joined the family but I’m excited to get back into the groove.

When I started my blog I never really expected anyone to read it.  I just thought it would be a fun thing for me, so I’m really surprised that I have had more than 110,000 views.  I know that’s not a lot for the blogsphere but it’s a lot for me.  Especially since I don’t know 100,000 people so it can’t just be my friends being nice.  (Although I certainly don’t mind if my friends look at it just to be polite–I’ll take it.)

It’s crazy to think of how much our life has changed in the last few years.

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My girls when I started

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My girls now…

 

We’ve moved cities, Ed has changed jobs, we decided to homeschool the kiddos, and we added a child!

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The newest member

And along they way we’ve been having fun and laughing a lot!

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And Now There Are Five…

Usually for my blog I just stick to our activities and things we do.  But I just had to share our family’s big news–the arrival of our newest member, Colton!

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Our girls are thrilled that he is finally here.  I think that my favorite part of this pregnancy has been seeing how much our girls loved their brother before they even met him.

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They have spent the past months talking and singing to my tummy.  When drawing pictures of the family, they always included the baby, before we even knew it was a boy.  When I would think about how much they loved their little brother before they even met him, it would remind me of the Bible verse “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).  The girls and I would talk about how before we got to meet their little brother God already knew him.  And I couldn’t help but wonder, if small children can understand that it is a living person in the womb, why can’t adults?

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P.S.  Want to make the Hello World onesie?  Here is the image my husband created.  We just printed it out on iron-on paper and ironed it onto a blank onesie.

hello world baby onesie

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