April (thus far) 

4/1 April started with Ellabelle’s first soccer game. The weather has been so wet that they ended up having to move it to an indoor field. Ellabelle’s team is lime green, and she had a blast. She only kicked the ball once during the game, but it may have been more than she did all of last season.

4/2 We had a busy day of Jungle Jims, mulching, playing with bubbles, and taking Maisy for a walk.

The girls love Jungle Jims because we always get them a cookie from the bakery which they eat while we walk around. They also love to stop and look at the live fish.

They adore bubbles. They asked all throughout the winter go outside and play with them.

We took Maisy for a walk, and she did what she does best, she laid down. In the middle of the road. So, she rode in the stroller the whole way back.

4/3 Mamaw’s sister died, and we went to the visitation after work. The girls, thankfully, had no idea what was going on. They ran around and jumped on furniture and acted like kids. No one seemed to mind. I think in such a sad time people were happy to be reminded of joy (at least that’s what I tell myself anyway). Mattie kept grabbing the packs of tissues the funeral home had all around and taking them to Mamaw. Over and over again, she’d grab a pack and run and find her.
 As we were leaving the funeral home, our car started smoking. We went to Cracker Barrel to eat with Mamaw, Papaw, and Trent. We luckily made it home from there. The car was in the shop for the whole week which was frustrating on top of infuriating. Cars make me so angry.

4/5 Josh somehow hurt his back, and he ended up having to go to the doctor to get it looked at. He couldn’t even stand up straight. He was given steroids and pain meds. He felt much better the next day.

4/7 The last fish fry of the year arrived. It was extra bittersweet as it may very well be the very last fish fry at Little Flower ever. I went to elementary school in that building. The church was our home church all the way through high school and even into college. To have no connection to it at all, it’s really sad. For over 20 years, we’ve been going to the fish fry. It was an end of an era.

On 4/8 and 4/9, Josh worked overtime. That didn’t keep us from having fun though. On Saturday, it was finally sunny and warm, so we tested out the sunpaper St. Nick brought Ellabelle. We picked flowers and leaves and dandelions and laid them out in the sun. EB was so excited, and she loved some one on one time with me. They turned out beautiful. We have a few more pages left so I’m sure we’ll make some more again soon.

On Sunday, Ellabelle started the day by going to work her daddy and hanging out.

It was still beautiful so we had popsicles outside in the driveway. Then I took the girls for a walk. I love being able to be outside as much as possible when it’s warm and sunny, and I know the girls love it too.

We even went out to moon gaze that night.

4/9 Our air conditioner stopped working at the end of last summer. We never got it fixed because we survived with fans until fall arrived. So we had someone come look at it in preparation for the warmer temps. Turns out it needs to be completed replaced because it’s over 25 years old (which is ancient for an A/C). No sure how we’re going to manage it yet. 😣 Money, man. It makes life suck. Well, not having any does.

4/10 The girls have really been into dress up lately. I think it’s because Mattie loves dress up, and EB never wants to be left out. So we had two little princesses running around until bedtime. It makes me stop and think when I see how happy these dresses make them. It’s something so simple yet it’s all they need to feel so special.

 4/12 Ellabelle finally had her first soccer practice. She did really well, and Mattie was unhappy the entire time. We bribed her with donuts (which worked temporarily), but all she wanted was to play soccer too.

4/13 Josh and I went and had lunch at a park downtown. It was a much needed refresher during what has been probably the most stressful week of my entire life. This week has been worse than studying for law school exams. The only thing worse was the day into the night that EB broke her leg and was in the hospital. Anyways, we sat in the sun, talked without being interrupted by children, and enjoyed the flowers. It was a nice and much needed recharge.

 I also took the girls outside to play with bubbles again. We’re gonna need to invest stock in them with the way we go through them.

Tomorrow starts our two weekends of Easter fun. There’s lots of things instore – 2 soccer games, brunch, egg hunts, visiting grandparents, and Fake Easter. It will also be very busy because we’ll be leaving for the beach in two weeks and need to pack. I cannot wait for it all to begin!

Keeping and Building Memories (for Grandma’s birthday) 

I’m sitting here, at my desk, waiting for a disc to burn on my computer. There’s an annoying sunbeam that peaks through the top of the closed blinds that is actually welcomed. It’s been a while since it’s irritated my eyes while I tried to work. I’m sipping my morning cup of tea. There’s a little Lipton tag hanging down the side of my mug. And I’m thinking about my grandma. Every time I see Lipton tea I think of her, but especially today.

It’s her birthday.
98 years ago Ethyl Louise was born.

And when I think about her birthday it always makes me think about a birthday 93 years later – when Ellabelle Louise was born. I have come to closely link the two in my head. Because of them name, of course, but also because I believe my grandma is the reason we both survived that day in July almost 5 years ago. I don’t believe in angels or heaven, but I do believe those we love don’t leave us. I know our souls go somewhere beyond here and, on that day, my grandma told that doctor to skip her shower and get to the hospital as fast as she could. I also know that she was holding onto my baby to keep her safe until the doctor could get her out earthside. I’m pretty sure Josh thinks I’m crazy for thinking this, but I feel it in my heart. Regardless of it’s true or not, it makes me happy.

I mourn my grandparents never being able to meet my babies, on this side of the universe anyways. I know how much they would’ve loved them because I know how much they loved me. It amazes me to think that this woman I only had the privilege of knowing for 19 years had such an impact on me. Honestly, as sad as it makes me, there’s so much I don’t know about her and her life. So many things I would want to know now especially since I’m older. But that doesn’t change how she made me feel and her love still lives inside me today.
I want to be that kind of person, leave that kind of legacy. I want my children and grandchildren to love me as fiercely as Ethyl’s did. I want my children to have those kinds of bonds to their grandparents. I want them to leave such an impression on them that when it’s almost 10 years later, they still ache from missing them. I want them to build memories so solid that they can’t see or hear or smell certain things without thinking about them and smiling.

For me, it’s Lipton tea, ginger, blowing kisses at the door, and her smell. I don’t know exactly what she wore, but I was in Yankee candle store one day and lifted a darker pink candle to my nose and it stopped my breath. They call it “Rose of Morocco.” To me, it flooded me with memories of my grandma.

For my grandpa, I feel a squeeze when I see Pepsi cans, cocktail shakers, dum dums and horse races. Josh tells me about his Mamaw every time we hear a tree frog, and he brings up his Grandma whenever he sees liver and onion on a menu or bran muffins in a store. He tells me stories about cigar smoke and orange Gatorade when reminiscing about his grandpa.

For my kids, it’ll be completely different. Maybe it’ll be the smell of almond extract from baking with Oma every Christmas. Or peppermint because she has an unhealthy obsession with it. Maybe they’ll associate the click and fuzziness that happens for a second when an old radio gets turned on with Opa, just like I do. It’s probably more likely they’ll associate Opa with Good and Plentys, whipped cream, and suckers (much like I do with my grandpa). Maybe it’ll be the smell of the grill that takes them back to their Papaw’s house, and maybe whenever they see fuzzy socks they’ll think of Mamaw (in fact, they already do).

Memories are all we leave behind. It’s really hard to take in the enormity of that (for me anyways). I hope I create such loving memories with my children that they pass that love on for generations. Someday I’ll do the same for my grandchildren.

My grandmother spent 88 years here on earth. That’s a lot of life. I only got about 13-14 years of memories I can actually remember out of that. It was enough though. If you love big enough and strong enough, even the smallest bit is enough.

I love you and miss you, Grandma! Happy birthday! 🎂

☘️ March 🌈

3/1 It was Dr. Seuss week at school, and Wednesday was dress like your favorite Dr. Seuss character. That was a no brainer for Ellabelle. She has been obsessed with a very specific Dr. Seuss based movie since before she could walk. When I asked her, she immediately requested to be the “Lor-lax.” So, I threw together a little outfit for her.

I mean, what would a Lorax be without his Truffula trees? Mattie was obsessed with all of it, and I had to keep it up out of the way off little hands the night before.

3/2 I went to the doctor for what ended up being a sinus/ear infection. I had two swollen lymph nodes behind my ear, and that really freaked me out. Thankfully, with the help of the antibiotics, I felt better fairly quickly.

3/3 The first fish fry of the year arrived with the beginning of the month. The girls were with Oma and Opa all day. The morning started with snow. We ended up passing two wrecks in the 15 minute drive to my parent’s house. The girls had a blast being spoiled all day, and, as always, the fish fry food was great.

We signed Ellabelle up for spring soccer because she’s been asking when she gets to play again since fall soccer ended. It started on the 6th, but there’s only been 1 practice so far. Mother Nature is not cooperating with us, and it’s been freezing or wet on practice nights. The only practice that happened was on a Monday at 5:15, and we couldn’t make it in time after work plus it was snowing during it. No thanks.

Now, we didn’t know soccer was cancelled on the 8th, and we were already there when we got word. Josh tried to take Ellabelle out to practice with just him because she crying in the backseat, but the fields were so swampy it just wasn’t plausible. (He’s such a good daddy. Willing to do anything to make his girl happy)

So we convinced EB that she wanted to go to Kroger instead. She’s been carrying around her Hello Kitty wallet she got for Christmas, and she kept telling me she had money to spend. I didn’t believe her, but turns out she had accumulated $5 from Opa. So we let her go buy whatever she wanted, with her own money, at Kroger. She picked popsicles. She was very excited about it until she put the dollar in the self check out machine and got coins in return. It makes me sad too when that happens! She’s still learning how money works obviously.

3/10 We went to another fish fry. A local radio station was there, and they had a giant catfish with them. Shockingly, both girls were excited about going to see him. They’re both terrified of Wooly Bully at the CRG games, and Mattie cries around the giant singing Elvis at Jungle Jims, but the giant catfish – he was cool.

In fact, Mattie kept running away from our table to go see him and wave and dance near him. He was thankfully only there an hour because I was tired of chasing Mattie around.

Lisa was there that week which means the girls got spoiled. And by spoiled, I mean, cake and cupcakes for dinner.

3/11 Angie and I have been pestering our mom to get a tattoo for a while now. It was mostly as a joke because never in a million years did I think she’d ever commit. But she did. And so we booked the appointment and off we went to Northside. We made mom go first so she couldn’t chicken out. She was a champ even though we picked the most painful place to get a tattoo. She didn’t twitch or bleed like Angie and I did.

And holy moly! I forgot how painful tattoos are! Still totally worth it though. Mom got a light and dark purple shell. Mine is pink and purple. Angie’s is white and light purple. I think the different colors ending up being perfect because even though we’re the same (family, bloodline) we each have our own unique personality, and the shells reflect that.

3/12 We went out for Josh’s birthday dinner with his mom and his sisters family (even though his birthday was in January.) Ellabelle loves spending time with her cousin, Alex, and she got to sit between Alex and her other cousin Rebeccah at dinner. Mattie loves stealing food off my plate, and she was very successful.

Afterwards, we FINALLY brought our table inside. I refinished it last year on the back porch, but it had started getting so cold that we never got it inside. Thankfully it was warm enough that Josh was able to bring it. We had to clean off the dirt it collected over the winter, but it’s in and it’s perfect. Now, we just have to keep the cats off it.

It was also daylight savings time. And that means, we were all screwed! Up that is. Our internal clocks never adjust well to the change especially the girls. They were tired and more cranky than usual. It takes almost a whole week to adjust for them.

3/14 We took an hour off work in the morning because . . . we registered EB for kindergarten 😭 Of course, I’m a freak and had the papers printed out the first day they posted them online and ended up printing out 3 different copies so I wouldn’t lose or forget it. It was quick and easy since I was super prepared. It still made me so sad. Like how did my baby get so big?! I want my little baby bee back. She’s beyond excited though. She talks about starting kindergarten all the time.

It was also Pi Day so a pie had to be made. So, with the girls help, I made peanut butter silk pie.

3/17 Our St. Patrick’s Day was low key. I had a work party and got lots of green food, and we went and had Green Ways at Skyline. Nothing to exciting. Just the way I like it.

3/18 We missed CRG, but we weren’t feeling well, but Ellabelle had a melt down because she had been promised going somewhere so we went to the Disney store instead. She loves the Disney store because it has a magic mirror that comes to life and a giant projection screen where you can pick the songs it plays. We don’t have to buy a single thing, and the girls still have a ball.

Afterwards, we stopped at party at our clubhouse for Josh’s uncle. The girls got to run around and play with their cousin Elizabeth.

Alex was there and Ellabelle got to go home with her and spend the night which she was over the moon about.

3/19 Sunday morning, Josh woke up with an awful migraine. So, Mattie and I let him sleep. We went to target and smashburger and got some quality Mommy-Materz time in.

We also went to Kroger and Horrorhound with Josh once he got up and started to feel better. Josh got some of his Zombie Tramp comics signed, and we found a pink Cthulhu for Mattie. I had searched high and low for one that didn’t cost an arm and a leg at Christmas, and never found one. Who knew all we had to do was go to a convention?

We met Josh’s sister about half way between their house and ours to get Ellabelle. She had fallen asleep in the car, but started asking when she could spend the night at Alex’s before we even moved her to our car. We grabbed dinner at BW3s, and Mattie was angry the whole time. Poor thing had missed her nap so she was just mad at the world (not that I can say I blame her). Josh had to take her outside once before we even got our food. The waitress was so nice and kept trying to help us keep her calm. A little boy brought her a ball he had won out of the crane game to make her happy. Some rude people next to us demanded another table.
Look, I know it’s irritating to hear kids crying in a restaurant. I’ve been there. I still get there sometimes. But we weren’t ignoring her, and we were clearly trying to keep her calm. There was no need to be that rude about an upset kid in a sports bar. Maybe if it was some high end restaurant, but certainly not in a place where the tvs are so loud you can hardly hear the person across the table from you.
Anyways, as soon as I finished eating, I scooped her up and we went outside. I held her and sang to her and rocked her in the parking lot while she tried to calm down. She was settled into my arms until she heard Ellabelle come out of the restaurant. It was an early bed night for the girls.
3/20 was the first day of spring! And we didn’t get to really celebrate the arrival of my favorite season because it rained all day. Like really really rained. So soccer practice was cancelled. Again.

Over the next weekend, Josh worked overtime in the morning. Our friends were down in our neck of the woods so we met them at a playground. I love watching the kids all play together. It’s so crazy to think Josh was hardly done being a kid when him and Jeremy met and now we all stand around and watch our kids play together.

3/29 Soccer practice was cancelled again. Ellabelle cried. Again. Thankfully, April started with a soccer game and some clearer skies.
So our March came in very busy (🦁) and out, like a lamb, it strolled. The weather was a bit wet and cold. So we spent a lot of time inside the house just hanging out.

Mattie had become attached to me and loves being in the kitchen with me while I cook. And when I find something she can help me with she will literally squeak with excitement.

April has already brought warmer weather so I’m so pumped for what the rest of the month has in store 🌷🐰🌷